So many guys (and gals) in 2014 had their “moment.” They grabbed that brass ring. While the youth movement moniker has been tossed around over the last decade, no other year has been filled with as many young guys fighting for a spot as 2014 was. Did Bray Wyatt solidify his spot against John Cena at Wrestlemania? Did The Shield trio finally earn their dues? What about NXT stars who stole spotlight after spotlight on the WWE Network? Read on to find out who we picked…
Brian Fritz (@BrianFritz): While you could easily go with someone on the NXT roster, I think the main WWE roster gets precedence so I’m giving the nod to Seth Rollins. When The Shield broke up, the common thought would be that Dean Ambrose would turn heel, Roman Reigns would be off to bigger and better things and there would be plenty of questions on what would become of Rollins. Instead, he’s the one who turned and has taken off the most since then. He’s now part of the main segments on television every Wweek, can talk much better than most expected and has great matches every time out with whoever he is in the ring with. Plus, he has turned out to be a fantastic bad guy, getting heat from the audience while wielding his Money in the Bank briefcase. And it’s looking more and more likely that he will be cashing it in soon and will be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Michael A. Wiseman (@therealwiseman): Without a doubt, Seth Rollins. While I’d love to nominate Dean Ambrose (and his eccentric, wild card character), Bray Wyatt, or even somebody from NXT (Samy Zayn?), nobody had their “breakthrough” moment and defied the odds like Rollins has in the past year. He was my big question mark from The Shield – we knew Ambrose had the charisma, and Reigns had the look – but since Rollins has stepped out on his own (in dramatic fashion), he’s become a main-event heel. His matches have been fantastic, his mic work dynamic, and he’s rubbed shoulders with more big names than any other rookie. Congrats, Rollins – I expect big things from you in 2015!
Josh Lopez (@JoshLopezCSR): I’m going with Fritzy’s boy Tyler Breeze as my Breakout Star of the Year. I’ll admit that when I first saw Breeze on NXT I wasn’t totally sold on his gimmick. I got sold on Tyler Breeze after his match with Sami Zayn on the very first NXT Takeover show. I think the Tyler Breeze gimmick works in today’s society he reminds me a lot of Derek Zoolander from the Zoolander movie. Breeze is a very good performer in my eyes and I think there’s a lot of upside with Breeze with his in-ring work and his gimmick and I think that 2015 will be a great year for Tyler Breeze.
Danny Bixby (@DannyJBixby): I have bought in to Seth Rollins. A breakout star signifies a guy who has come into his own, who has pulled away from the pack. What better person than a man who was the “high flyer” of the best faction of the past several years: The Shield. Nobody called Seth being the guy turning on the rest of the Shield (we all thought it’d be Ambrose), but since that time Rollins has really elevated his game. He’s main evented several PPV’s, put on great matches with nearly everyone, is in a program with golden boy John Cena AND is Mr. Money in the Bank. If that’s not enough, he plays his part perfectly! Getting consistent heat from the crowd. Expect more of Rollins real soon, especially as he cashes in on Reigns after Mania 2015.
Justin Kendall (@JustinDKendall): Sami Zayn. I was skeptical of WWE’s decision to unmask the former El Generico. The McMahons needed a dynamic luchador — Rey Mysterio was injured for the 619th time and Sin Cara’s push was botched from the start — and seemed to be missing a golden opportunity. I was wrong. Zayn’s talents would have been wasted as a generic luchador. He’s proven himself as the best of NXT — a guy who can do it all. Zayn can talk (see his go-home promo before NXT R Evolution — and tell a story a story in the ring, as his feuds with Tyler Breeze, Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Adrian Neville have shown. Let’s just hope WWE doesn’t blow what they have in Zayn when he’s promoted to the main roster.
Did we get it right? Who was your “Breakout Star of the Year”? Let us know in the comments below! And keep up with our ‘Best of 2014’ series all week as we count-down to 2015!