2017 Awards: Rookie/Newcomer of the Year

You have to restock the shelves somehow.

Over time, wrestling fans are going to get bored with the current crop of talent. Seeing them every single week is going to cause you to stop caring about them at some point, which means that enough is enough and it’s time for a change (thanks Owen). Therefore, today we’re looking at the best rookies and newcomers of the year.

Just to clarify, this isn’t someone we haven’t seen before but rather someone who made their debut on a new roster. You can barely ever find a true rookie and it would give you quite a shallow talent pool to pick from.

We’ll start in developmental with one of the latest names to become a big deal off of Tough Enough. Patrick Clark is now named the Velveteen Dream and while that sounds like a stupid name and gimmick on paper, Dream has turned it into one of the most entertaining things around NXT. On top of that he had one of the best matches of the year against Aleister Black and there’s a very high place on this list for him.

If there’s one thing WWE knows how to do, it’s book the heck out of a monster. That’s what they have with Lars Sullivan and he’s one of the best I’ve seen in years about running through people with reckless abandon. Just don’t let him talk and he could be one of the best monsters NXT has had since Bray Wyatt.

We’ll stick with NXT (shocking I know) and look at Aleister Black. While he might not talk very much, Black lets his fighting do the talking, including that awesome Black Mass kick. Couple that with his amazing presentation and the sweet entrance and there’s no way Black won’t look awesome. He can kick your head off and look awesome doing it. If he’s not NXT Champion by the end of the year, I’ll be rather surprised.

This was actually a really hard pick and it took me a long time to make up my mind between this one and the winner. Pete Dunne is one of the best young stars I’ve seen in a very long time. He has an incredible look and has some great matches to go with it, all in his early 20s. My only criticism of him is we don’t see enough of him, which is the case with almost all of the British guys. He’s outstanding and there are a lot of people I’d love to see him against on the NXT roster. Give us more.

You really can’t say Dunne without going with Tyler Bate as well. Those two have beaten the heck out of each other in three straight up classics (even Jim Cornette loved them) and you can’t have a great match without a great opponent. Bate is just 20 years old and that alone makes him an amazing newcomer.

As great as all of those people have been, the big one for me is still Samoa Joe. Not only did he debut and start a pretty dominant feud against Seth Rollins, but he moved on to become a big time Roman Reigns antagonist, plus there was that whole main eventing a pay per view against Brock Lesnar and then being in the main event of Summerslam. Joe should have been in WWE about ten years ago but better late than never, especially when you have such a high level of awesome.


  1. Wim Boeren says:

    You consider Bray Wyatt to be a monster? I hope you meant Braun Strowman…


    klunderbunker Reply:

    I mean in NXT, where he certainly was one.


    Wim Boeren Reply:

    Ah okay, I started watching NXT later, so never saw him there.


    klunderbunker Reply:

    Check it out if you get the chance. Bray’s time in NXT is why so many fans today drool over him.

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