Honorable mention - AJ Styles
AJ Styles has been the Phenomenal One in the WWE ever since his debut in 2016. This year has been the best of his career as he set a record for WWE Championship reign, which lasted for 371 days - the longest title run in the history of Smackdown Live. The Champ continued to build his legacy over on WWE, throughout this tenure.
Plus, AJ Styles remained the marquee attraction on the blue brand, solely when Monday Night Raw had to many names to compete with. The championship run also included some must-see matches at Fastlane, Wrestlemania, Money in the Bank and Smackdown, on a weekly basis. This makes him a must-mention name in this list to start with.
We never would have thought of seeing Daniel Bryan in this list at the beginning of this year. He defied all the odds to make a comeback of the year in March that set an example to all the athletes in pro-wrestling circuit. Before this, no one was able to overcome neck injuries and return to in-ring competition. Just when we thought the YES movement will continue to run wild, it was not successful and that forced him to find an alternative way.
The GOAT did it successfully too by turning heel and giving the most shocking moment of the year. Within two months of time, he established himself as the best heel on the roster and became the WWE Champion. As 2018 comes to an end, Daniel Bryan is closing the year with the promise of doing heelish antics that we have not seen before. So there is no way that we could exclude him from this top 5 list.
Did Charlotte Flair ever find herself going through a tough time ever since her debut on the main roster? The answer is a big NO. Haters would say that WWE always kept pushing her. But the reality is none of the women's roster members have been trustworthy to carry the division than her. It automatically set her up for some historic matches as she continued to be the benchmark in the WWE.
Be it the Money in the Bank ladder match, dream match against Ronda Rousey, first-ever TLC match or the Last Woman Standing match, The Queen came up with show-stellar performances, one after another. Two women's Championship reigns were added to her kitty making her the seven-time champion. Plus, she also holds 25 victories in PPV which is an all-time record in the female roster. 'All Hail The Queen' is not just a catchphrase any more as she dissolved this into her gimmick being the genetically superior athlete.
So the Irish Lass-kicker finally received the push that she was hoping for in the last three years. Her fans were so much in anticipation that the heel-turn at Summerslam took the pro-wrestling world by storm. Then came the Hell in a Cell PPV where she dethroned Charlotte Flair to win back the women's title. Followed by the main event performance at Evolution 2018, she earned the nickname of being 'The Man'.
It's one of the rarest things that a villain gets thunderous cheers from the crowd on a regular basis. Becky Lynch has been able to do this, effortlessly. Her savage social media interactions be it with the pro-wrestling world or guys like Conor McGregor, makes her the hot cake of this industry, today. Although she lost the championship, we assume a Wrestlemania main event is waiting for her to make 2019 even better for Lynch.
If performance inside the squared circle is the only measure, then no one could have toppled Seth Rollins, in 2018. For the entire year, he delivered uncountable show-stealing performances. WWE never put him in the main event spotlight but he converted most of his matches to a must-see, that deserves a round of applause. He continued to be the carrier of Monday Night Raw as they dealt with lack of star powers for the most part of 2018.
The Gauntlet match in February (when he pinned Roman Reigns and John Cena on the same night), Backlash PPV match against The Miz, numerous Intercontinental Championship Open Challenges set him as the standard bearer in terms of performances. The absence of Roman Reigns and the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar doubled his job. But he pulled off the job, successfully establishing himself as the new locker room leader. This momentum is bound to land him in the title picture at next year's Wrestlemania. So, this list would be incomplete without The Architect's presence.
The former UFC Bantamweight Champion had a huge chip on her shoulder while coming to the WWE. A major portion of the fans and critics believed that Ronda Rousey will not be as successful as she was in UFC. But not only did she dominate the very best challenges that WWE had to offer but also managed to establish herself as the biggest fish in the pond.
From the moment, Ronda Rousey stepped her foot into the squared circle at Wrestlemania 34, she's been a treat to watch. We can barely blink our eyes whenever the former Olympic medalist is in the ring. That showed why WWE handed over her a title opportunity in her second only televised match. The much-anticipated title run finally began at Summerslam 2018 that made her skills even sharper.
Also, the presence of Ronda Rousey on WWE Raw helped WWE to give a green signal to the all-women PPV, Evolution. Her work ethics deserve a salute as she barely missed weekly programmes of Raw and continued to be a rating-booster on TV. This lady deserves a Wrestlemania main event for being the savior of WWE's flagship show and is likely to get it on April 7th. There can't be anyone else to reserve the top superstar's spot for the year 2018 than 'The Baddest woman on the planet'.