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The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards (Part Nine) – The Most Overrated Performers of 2021

January 11, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
AEW Dynamite Cody Rhodes Image Credit: AEW

Welcome back to Part Ten of the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards of 2021! The Year-End Awards have been out for a couple of years but they’re back, and here’s how they work. For the next couple of weeks, we will present our top choices for a particular topic relating to wrestling in 2021. All the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic and the end, based on where all of the votes rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

Once everyone’s had their say, we will tally the scores and get our overall top 5. Tonight we’re looking at the Most Overrated Performers of the year. Let’s get right to it…

Rob Stewart

5. Alexa Bliss
4. Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss
3. Jade Cargill
2. LA Knight

1. Bobby Lashley – And no one else is even in the same stratosphere as The All Mighty. I am writing this without even bothering to figure out who #5-2 are yet. Lashley’s title reign made Raw INSUFFERABLE for most of the year. He murdered, buried, and humiliated Kofi Kingston; just made poor Kofi look not only like a nobody, but a fool as well. He completely sucked the soul out of Drew McIntyre’s momentum. He had a tedious feud with Goldberg. And then, right as the year was ending, he was positioned RIGHT BACK in the WWE Title picture. I’m writing this on New Year’s Day, and I can tell you that if Bobby wins (won?) the title at Day One tonight, I will be EVER SO CROSS. If I could just put Bobby Lashley five times here, I would, so my apologies to whoever else I throw in to fill out this category.

Jeffrey Harris

5. Charlotte Flair
4. Roman Reigns
3. Randy Orton
2. Cody Rhodes

1. Brock Lesnar – Brock Lesnar is little more than a novelty act at this point. His big return in 2021 saw him setting up yet another feud with Roman Reigns. These two had feuded before and had many matches; all of which were relatively disappointing and were never setting the world on fire. The only difference is the hee/face dynamic with Reigns had changes. Meanwhile, the problems remains. WWE has completely failed at building newer and bigger stars, so much so that they have to continue relying on Lesnar when things get dicey.

Steve Cook

5. Seth Rollins
4. Flip Gordon
3. The Young Bucks
2. Matt Hardy

1. Charlotte Flair – This is a tough one for me, as I’ve always been a fan of Charlotte. I’ve always seen her as supremely talented, and deserving her spot at the top of WWE’s women’s divisions. But man, most of her matches in 2021 didn’t deliver, and it was mostly due to dumb stuff she was doing. That whole moonsault into a standing position into another moonsault thing, nobody knew what she was doing and how to sell that. One time, we can blame the other person. More than twice, we can blame the person thinking the move is a good idea. Add in the fact that she does very little to get any of her feuds over, and this sadly seems like an easy choice to me.

Andrew Cazer

5. Jungle Boy
4. Nick Gage
3. Adam Page
2. Drew McIntyre

1. Cody Rhodes – I want to begin by saying I actually enjoy all of the wrestlers on this list but to an extent each has been overrated by their fanbase in some capacity. Cody Rhodes so much so that the fan base essentially turned on him. Cody believes in himself and to many that almost comes off as arrogant, I don’t view it that way but I do find that those who are fans with Cody tend to be a bit naive and I believe in a sense Cody is as well. He felt at one point he should’ve been PWI’s #1 wrestler in their PWI 500 and as great as it is to aspire for that I don’t think Cody as a total package exceeds some of the other talent we see capture that spot. I believe Cody is great but I think to a great deal of people he’s the best in the world and I’d argue he may not even be in the top ten best wrestlers in the US let alone the world.

Ian Hamilton

5. Britt Baker
4. Cody Rhodes
3. Cara Noir
2. Karrion Kross

1. Charlotte Flair – This vote usually boils down to personal preference (hence Cara Noir being on the list, while Cody’s here just because of his flip flopping). Charlotte… it’s an easy target, but in my limited main roster watching, I just don’t agree that her push is commensurate with the output – and I’m not talking about the evergreen moonsault GIFs or anything like that.

Kevin Pantoja

5. Britt Baker
4. Sammy Guevara
3. Brian Cage
2. Raquel Gonzalez

1. Karrion Kross – Some of my usual suspects for this list were either rated about right by most this year (Kazuchika Okada) or barely competed (Will Ospreay), so I had to go with different options. The likes of Britt Baker and Sammy Guevara are good but I think people rank them way higher than they should. Meanwhile, Brian Cage is just kind of bland to me and Raquel Gonzalez has gotten progressively worse since her push started. To top them all though is Karrion Kross. People say WWE blew it with him but I honestly don’t see that. They did him no favors on the main roster but he was never anything special. Just the Marc Mero to Scarlett’s Sable but way less interesting to watch in the ring. He was an overproduced entrance, a corny theme song, and goofy effects but no substance.

Jake Chambers

5. Darby Alin
4. Xavier Woods
3. Eddie Kingston
2. Adam Cole

1. WALTER – This is going to be very straw-man of me, but I heard people citing WALTER as one of the best wrestlers in the world multiple times this year, probably more times than he’s actually had matches. I mean, the guy basically had 4 televised matches in 2021, and while they were awesome matches we’re talking four matches here in an entire year. I thought it was super lame when people started defending Brock Lesnar for only appearing as champion a few times a year because that made it “special”, but we’re long past that dumb logic. Everyone reading this agrees we want to see the best wrestlers in the world fighting in meaningful matches on a weekly basis, right? WALTER’s overrated-ness is especially egregious for me since he was the absentee champion representing what I consider the best wrestling brand in the world, NXT UK, where a long list of underrated wrestlers – from A-Kid to Wolfgang – bust their asses on the regular. Come back WALTER and fight these guys if you really want to prove you are the best.

Jeremy Thomas

5. Riddle
4. Bobby Lashley
3. Charlotte Flair
2. Nick Gage

1. Jade Cargill – Okay, so I should start this as saying that this is likely the last year for this category (and Underrated). I’ve never loved it because it’s such a hard to define category. You can see that in how spread out everyone’s list is; what exactly IS overrated, and how do we each define a performer as such? It’s a fine category for lists generated by a single person but in a group awards thing, it’s harder to make work.

All that said, they are categories this year so here we go. I’m not going to deny that most of these performers are talented or have a lot of potential. It’s hard to deny that Riddle, Lashley, and Flair are incredibly talented but they are performers that have either never connected with me (Riddle & Lashley) or presented by the company as untouchable when she probably shouldn’t be (Flair). Nick Gage is a guy who I respect for being as insane as he is, but I don’t much like him and I don’t get why people do. And then we have Cargill. Make no mistake: I like Cargill. I think she has a ton of potential, and she is off to a good start. But while she has all the tools she needs, she’s still greener than anyone in her position should be and I see a lot of people ignoring her flaws for one reason or another. Putting her at #1 isn’t a slam on who she is as a performer, but rather how people regard her.

AND 411’s TOP 5 Most Overrated Performers of 2021 ARE…

5. Bobby Lashley7 points

4. Jade Cargill8 points

3. Karrion Kross9 points

2. Cody Rhodes11 points

1. Charlotte Flair14 points


* 1. The Biggest Disappointment of The Year: WWE’s Talent Releases – 28 points
* 2. The Best Non-Wrestler: Paul Heyman – 40 points
* 3. The Best Tag Team: The Lucha Bros – 32 points
* 4. The Worst Major Show: WrestleMania Backlash – 18 points
* 5. The Best Major Show: AEW All Out – 34 points
* 6. The Best Weekly Show: AEW Dynamite – 42 points
* 7. The Best Promotion: AEW – 47 points
* 8. The Best Match: WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov (NXT Takeover 36) – 35 points