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Top 5 Breakout WWE Stars of 2015

WWE

WWE

2015 was another weird year in World Wrestling Entertainment. While some quality wrestling has taken place, the product still seems to be littered with poor booking decisions and the recent Raw ratings reflect that. The company is still searching for its next transcendental baby-face, but Seth Rollins had a banner year as a heel WWE Champion.

While some things are still yet to be sorted out in 2016, some wrestlers seized the opportunity to break out and establish themselves as credible and valuable additions to the WWE/NXT brand this year.

Click below to see the top 5...

5. Dash & Dawson

Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder went from enhancement talent to the NXT Tag Team Champions in 2015 - for good reason. These guys can work. Lately, they’ve been given more promo opportunities, and have demonstrated a nice ability to entertain in that facet of the business as well.

Oddly enough, the old school roughneck style of these two is a breath of fresh air in 2015. These two add a dynamic to today’s tag team wrestling scene that hasn’t been present for a long time: tough, technically sound dudes.

There’s an air reminiscent of the Brain Busters between these two.

Baron Corbin

4. Baron Corbin

This probably won’t be a popular choice, but like him or not, Baron Corbin has become one of NXT’s greatest heels. What started as a rather boring face run has transformed into one of the greatest unlikeable villain characters in recent years.

He’s so great at playing the entitled jerk, and after a dud against Rhyno, really started stepping up his in-ring performance. His match against Samoa Joe at NXT: Brookllyn was a display of his progress. Now, he’s feuding with Apollo Crews and is a focal point of the NXT brand.

3. Becky Lynch

After debuting in NXT as the generic Irish Jig dancing, emerald green clad diva, many wrote Lynch off as a talent. However, after the inevitable split between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, she was given a chance to pair up with Banks as antagonists to Charlotte. Still, she didn’t get much of a chance to shine on her own until she left Banks’ side.

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Even then, it didn’t seem she was taken seriously. Many thought it was odd that she was the one chosen for Banks’ first opponent as champion, but the two delivered one of the greatest matches in women’s wrestling history at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable. And so, the “Lass Kicker” was born.

Surprisingly, she was brought up to the main roster to be a part of the Divas Revolution storyline, and has continued to impress ever since.

Kevin Owens

2. Kevin Owens

Every diehard independent wrestling fan knew of Kevin Owens’ prowess upon hearing the news he was coming to the WWE. What no one expected was that he’d make such an immediate impact. He attacked Sami Zayn on his first night in NXT and won the NXT Championship within weeks.

Many thought he’d have a lengthy run as the face of NXT, but instead he was called up to the main roster in May. He was the first man to pin John Cena cleanly in an exhibition match in years and was featured as a legitimate heel in the WWE landscape.

Just when his star appeared to fade, he was given a featured bout opposite of Cesaro on the SummerSlam card and had a run with the Intercontinental Championship. Owens was even featured as one of the final four combatants in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament that concluded at Survivor Series.

It’s safe to say nobody saw this coming.

The New Day Big E Kofi Kingston Xavier Woods

1. The New Day

When the New Day was first brought to our attention in late 2014, critics were pretty harsh. The bit was labeled ‘hokey’ and ‘racist’ by many. The message of the ‘power of positivity’ was rather annoying, and the group was booked as a face faction. Simply put, the early incarnation of the New Day was a hot mess.

However, the trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods pushed their own personality through the characters and, when the WWE decision-makers could see that these guys weren’t getting over as faces, they turned heel.

Now, the New Day is a staple of WWE programming and their majestic unicorn merchandise is selling well. Big E blindsided us all with his tremendous comedic ability, Xavier Woods is shining as the charismatic personality we expected him to be upon his call up from NXT, and Kofi Kingston has found the cure for his stagnant lower mid-card drift.

These three have set a new standard for what breaking out means.

Stoney Keeley covers the WWE for WrestlingNews.co, and is a Tennessee Titans Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @StoneyKeeley and the SPOT’s Tennessee Titans Twitter feed at @spot_titans.