wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards (Part Ten) – The Most Overrated Performers of 2020

January 12, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Bray Wyatt The Fiend

Welcome back to Part Ten of the 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards of 2020! 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 2020. 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. Jay White
4. King Corbin
3. Elias
2. Karrion Kross

1. Chris Jericho – Chris Jericho is one of the most UNDERrated wrestlers of all time. And if I were to name my favorites ever, he’d be no lower than top four for me. And maybe it’s because of that that I’m grading him so harshly, but Chris Jericho was still treated as a main event talent in 2020, and that was absurd. He looks like a trailer park grandma, and his ability to go in the ring is just slightly better than said grandma’s. Dude is still WILDLY entertaining in speaking roles, of course—you don’t lose that—but he shouldn’t be a main eventer at this stage; he probably shouldn’t be anything more than a pure mouthpiece. It does seem like he fell out of the main event as the year went on, at least.

Jeffrey Harris

5. Brock Lesnar
4. Bill Goldberg
3. Drew McIntyre
2. Keith Lee

1. Randy Orton – Listen, I think Randy Orton is a very good wrestler. I think he’s generally got all the tools. And for a guy who for a long time earlier in his career had a reputation for having a bad attitude and being a troublemaker, he’s certainly cleaned up his act and become an elder statesman for WWE. That said, he’s still been part of some of the worst angles in wrestling and 2020. Most notably, this stupid angle with Bray Wyatt. Secondly, while his matches with Edge are good, calling their rematch the Greatest Match Ever doesn’t make it the greatest match ever. So just remember, I’m not saying Orton is bad, but overrated? Yes.

Steve Cook

5. Riddle
4. Velveteen Dream
3. Flip Gordon
2. Nia Jax

1. The Fiend – To be honest, I can’t really think of too many wrestlers I find to be overrated or over-pushed these days. A lot of people the Internet will usually cite in these arguments are folks I don’t really mind too much. The Fiend is just something I don’t really get. Does nothing for me character-wise, and the matches usually lead to something stupid like people getting set on fire or drowned or something like that. I get that a lot of people like it, it’s just not my thing. When people were crying about Goldberg squashing The Fiend, I wasn’t.

Len Archibald

5. Tessa Blanchard
4. The Young Bucks
3. Charlotte
2. Goldberg

1. Karrion Kross – I get it. I really understand everything about the Karrion Kross character. I get the OTT Broadway meets metal entrance. I get the methodical MMA monster he is going for. I dig it all as PRESENTATION, but…and it’s nothing personal against Kross himself…but imagine Sean O’Haire in his Devil’s Advocate character tweaking a lot of Kross (including Scarlett) with him: I think O’Haire would take it further. I like what Kross has to offer and his potential, but 2020 was the definition of too much too soon for me with his rise to the NXT Title and essentially banishing Keith Lee to the Bermuda Triangle that is the main roster – and it doesn’t help that Kross is taking cues from the Triple H methodical “epic” school of in ring storytelling which has made most of his in ring offerings….okay. I can live with okay. But we’re talking about someone being crowned the NXT Champion – essentially a symbol of being one of WWE’s entrusted workhorses. Kross is right now all sizzle (most of it belonging to Scarlett). Of course all of this means he is main roster ready and will win the 2022 Royal Rumble. 🤣

Jake Chambers

5. Deonna Purrazzo
4. Kevin Owens
3. FTR
2. Karrion Kross

1. Keith Lee – I was never a super fan of Keith Lee from when he started to regularly appear on my radar in ROH. Sure, he had some good matches there, through to BEYOND, EVOLVE and then NXT, but I never considered him one of the elite from that mid-2010s crop of exceptional indie wrestlers who have moved on to the mainstream. Part of me never liked his bouncy style for such a big guy; I want him to wrestle like Samoa Joe or Takeshi Morishima, not Lio Rush or Ricochet (two guys he lost to in back-to-back matches on Wrestlemania weekend in 2017). One of my favourites of all time is Yokozuna, a wrestler of such a unique shape that he developed a way to push that around with flashes of breathtaking stamina and dexterity while never looking like he could be beat. Meanwhile, Keith Lee is doing like Code Reds from the top rope… and losing. I don’t get it.

Ian Hamilton

5. Damian Priest
2. Joe Coffey

1. The Fiend/Bray Wyatt – Look, I know he has his fans, but Bray Wyatt/The Fiend is the ultimate “…and then the bell rings” guy. Every now and then the promos or what have you get me intrigued, then I remember “ah hell, I have to watch the match.” This isn’t a “Bray Wyatt sucks as a wrestler”, but more the presentation of the character being so overboard that his matches are more like bad horror movies. And not the “good bad” kind either!

Kevin Pantoja

5. Shawn Spears
4. The Guerillas of Destiny
3. Braun Strowman
2. Bray Wyatt

1. Karrion Kross – I have been watching him on NXT since he arrived and I just don’t get the Karrion Kross hype. His entrance and whole gimmick feels wildly overproduced for starters. When it comes time to talk, Scarlett does all the work and is too over the top. There’s a reason that Damian Priest and Keith Lee came across as way cooler when they feuded. Because they are. Lee’s flat out, “I’m gonna beat that ass” and Priest calling him out for not attacking him like a man or for Scarlett doing all of his work were great and true. Then, when the bell rings, Kross only works in short squashes. His actual matches nearly put me to sleep. There’s just nothing about his work, presence, or anything that clicks with me, yet he’s booked as NXT’s top guy.

Jeremy Thomas

5. King Corbin
4. Sami Callihan
3. Damian Priest
2. Riddle

1. Velveteen Dream – For me, there is a difference between an overrated wrestler and an overpushed one. Sure, someone like Nia Jax is almost inarguably being pushed more than she deserves, but for someone like her to be overrated people would have to have a high opinion of her abilities in the ring. And all due respect to Ms. Jax, that’s just not really the case. Meanwhile, guys like Velveteen Dream and Riddle are absolutely beloved by certain parts of wrestling fandom and I just don’t get it. Are they bad performers? Not necessarily, but I just don’t see what people love in them — and certainly not enough for some to overlook the accusations against them. But the accusations isn’t what lands Riddle or Dream at the top spots for me. They’re just kind of there as characters and performers. Riddle’s Spicolli thing is second-rate at best, and Dream is just a pastiche of other, better performers. They’re never really bad, but they do have these esteems that I simply don’t think is deserved and that’s the definition of overrated to me.

AND 411’s TOP 5 Most Overrated Performers of 2020 ARE…

5. Goldberg6 points

4. Velveteen Dream7 points

3. Keith Lee9 points

2. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt14 points

1. Karrion Kross18 points