A note on the criteria:
Recent form is probably the most pertinent consideration; if historic performance was weighted too heavily, Kurt Angle, for instance, would clearly top this list. Instead, the currency of his legend could only carry him through the one smoke and mirrors impromptu TLC headliner. At Survivor Series, the irony of his not being “100%” exposed the sad fact that, in his battered condition, even a cameo seems beyond him.
Experience in WWE must also shape the rankings. As infuriating and counterproductive as the “You’re nothing until you make it to WWE!” rhetoric is, on this occasion, it needs to count for something. It’s difficult to rank Mike Kanellis above even Curtis Axel, given that ‘Professional Wrestling’s Jesus’ has been Judas’d by SmackDown creative.
In-ring work is the main criteria, given that it is imperative in succeeding in 2017. Grasp of character, rate of improvement/regression, promo work, and booking were also considered. So too is visibility; though 205 Live is home to some of the best technicians on the entire roster, Gran Metalik can’t occupy the top bracket because he’s too far down the totem pole.
Where not woefully out of date, WWE.com’s main roster page was used as source material…