Top 5 Performers of WWE NXT 2018
What a cracking year it's been for WWE NXT. At the start of the year, Andrade 'Cien' Almas was the NXT Champion, the NXT Women's Champion was Ember Moon and the Undisputed Era had the tag team gold. Since then, only the Undisputed Era is still in NXT with Almas being called up to Smackdown Live and Ember Moon now competing on WWE Monday Night Raw. At the start of 20128, there was no NXT North American title, as the belt was first introduced in the lead up to Takeover: New Orleans.
Through the year, stars like Ricochet, War Raiders, EC3, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Punishment Martinez, Candace LaRae and more made their debut for the promotion, while talents like Almas, Moon, No Way Jose, Sanity, the Iiconics, Authors of Pain and Drew Mcintyre were called up to the main roster. While NXT has had so many roster changes, they have maintained a quality of the performances, and arguably gotten better than ever. With NXT receiving more 5 Star matches and rave reviews than the main roster and has put on solid Takeover events every single time.
The rankings are based on a weekly assessment of the top 3 performers of each week's NXT. The third best performer got 1 vote, the second got 2 votes and the performer of the week received 3 votes. Unfortunately, as the articles only started in August, the votes were only tallied from that point onwards. When the reviews began, Tommaso Ciampa had claimed the NXT title, Adam Cole was the NXT North American champion, Undisputed Era had regained the NXT Tag Team titles from Moustache Mountain and Shayna Baszler was still in her first reign of NXT women's title.
#5 Adam Cole (8 Points)
What a year that Adam Cole has had since arriving in NXT, last August when he attacked a celebrating Drew McIntyre. Cole established himself as the leader of NXT's best stable, the Undisputed Era, with his cohorts Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly and later Roderick Strong. Cole initially looked like he would challenge for the NXT title. However, the tact would change and at Takeover: New Orleans, Cole would win the ladder match to become the first ever NXT North American champion.
On the same night, Cole helped Kyle O'Reilly retain the tag team champions after the Undisputed Era were joined by Roderick Strong. Following the triumphs of Takeover: New Orleans, and with the services of Strong now added to the Undisputed Era's roster, allowed Cole to focus on defending his North American title.
This would lead to a battle between Cole's Undisputed Era against Ricochet and Pete Dunne, who would team up with the War Raiders. Cole ended the year promising that 2019 would see Undisputed Era covered in gold, only time will tell if his prediction comes true.
A highlight of 2018: Cole winning the 6 Man Ladder match for the North American title at Takeover: New Orleans.
Given that Cole seemed to make a statement that he was chasing the NXT title when he arrived at NXT, he was never really given a program with the belt. So when NXT announced that they would be crowning a North American champion, Cole was the perfect fit to take the first title run. Despite his relatively short time with the belt, his victory and defenses have been entertaining throughout and the belt has held its status with Adam Cole around it.