It’s a brand new year & a brand new decade! So why should you stick to watching the same handful of wrestlers you’re currently watching? There are thousands of pro wrestlers in hundreds of different companies around the world that are waiting for you. The wrestling world has been blown wide open over the last half decade with even the smallest promotions making their shows available somewhere on the internet.
If you’ve never checked out other pro wrestling scenes across the world, this list is going to be your best friend. Regardless if it’s the American independents, the Australian scene that’s thriving right now, the Irish scene that has been one of the biggest under-looked scenes for years, or even the British wrestling scene that some people tout is “dying out” after WWE’s expansion into the UK with NXT UK – I have so many wrestlers I enjoy watching and keep an eye closely on. Some more new to wrestling, some veterans to the craft, but overall they share the same common theme: you do not for any reason want to ignore them this year.
The Calamari Catch King, Chris Brookes is someone who I’ve been a fan of for years now. Regardless if it was his team with Jonathan Gresham, his team with Kid Lykos, or his incredible singles run over in Fight Club Pro, Chris has been on top of his game for a while. In 2019, I truly believe that Chris just hit another level.
Chris Brookes is one part of a larger stable by the name of Schadenfreude. Schadenfreude includes names like Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis, Lucky Kid, Jonathan Gresham, Kid Lykos, Timothy Thatcher, and WALTER. The stable was easily my favorite thing in wrestling throughout 2019. Chris was at the forefront of that group and helped turn the group from just another wrestling stable to a strong brand with a unique identity. Chris didn’t just keep his travels to the UK wrestling scene in 2019 however, he set off to make a name for himself in foreign territory.
In 2019, the Calamari Catch King found himself competing in Japan for the company Big Japan Wrestling just for two matches in January, teaming with Kid Lykos. From there he returned to Japan in June of 2019 for the company DDT, also known as Dramatic Dream Team. Chris had a very successful month-long tour with the company and that wouldn’t be the last time he’d be in Japan during 2019. He’d return in October and primarily stay in Japan for the rest of his 2019 and into his early 2020 competing for various companies under the DDT umbrella as well as Gatoh Move.
Where can you find Chris Brookes in 2020? He announced on his Twitter account that he was moving to Japan. It was an announcement that made me personally extremely happy for Chris, as I mentioned he’s been one of my favorite wrestlers for years now. I’m so excited to watch him grow over in the Japan wrestling scene. Without a doubt, his rise in Japan will be one to watch in 2020.
Switching gears from the UK wrestling scene and moving over to the US wrestling scene – Chris Bey is a name you’ve more than likely heard of. If you name a promotion in the United States, there’s a huge chance Bey has worked for them. Regardless if it’s WWE’s 205 Live brand, Impact Wrestling, GameChanger Wrestling, I’d name every single one but we’d be here all day.
Chris’ style is one that is always fun to watch no matter who he is in the ring against. Multi-man matches? Chris Bey will be the person in your mind after the bell rings. Singles match early in the show? By the car ride home, you’ll be talking about how good that “Chris Bey guy” was. The man is a natural talent who has charisma for days and athletic prowess that sticks out in a day and age where everyone is doing incredible things in the ring. There is absolutely no way that Chris Bey enters 2021 without a big contract in a major wrestling promotion in the States.
I could have honestly named seven and only seven Australian independent wrestlers on this list with ease. The Australian wrestling scene is one of my absolute favorite in the world to watch currently, but I knew that I wanted to spread the love all across the globe. So with that thought in mind, one name stuck out to me as someone you possibly don’t know but you need to know: Kingsley.
She’s typically found teaming up with her partner, Xena, as apart of the team dubbed LUX. The thing that stuck out to me so much about LUX is their entertaining promos. Kingsley and Xena are both so witty and could read a phone book and make it entertaining. Recently, Kingsley started to show a darker layer to her character. She even said that it’s a “darker brew of tea”, which perfectly goes along with her more “cheery” gimmick.
Kingsley’s progress inside the ring has been one of my favorites to see. With each match, she continues to get better and like anyone else on this list it’s only a matter of time before she gets signed up to a bigger promotion in the world. Jump on the Kingsley bandwagon now because, after all, she’s a bad bitch and you can’t kill her.
This list is going all across the globe and now we’re finding our way over to the Ireland independent scene. LJ Cleary is breaking out at a fast rate; as a member of the trio “More Than Hype” alongside Darren Kearney and Nathan Martin, the name of their trio couldn’t be any more fitting. Any time I check out a show over in Ireland that features Cleary, I find myself getting lost in hype from bell to bell.
At only 20 years young as of the writing of this article, Cleary has a long way to go in his professional wrestling career, but he’s already incredibly seasoned. He’s also been traveling across the UK wrestling scene as of late experiencing new talent to face off against. It’s actually mindboggling to think about where Cleary will be at when this current decade comes to an end. He’ll be thirty, and if his current in-ring ability is anything to show, he’ll absolutely be one of the best in the world.
Cleary actually had one of my favorite matches of 2019 in Over The Top Wrestling against Scotty Davis for the OTT No Limits Championship at the OTT Fifth Anniversary show. Regardless if he’s wrestling in singles matches or if he’s joined alongside the “More Than Hype” crew, you’re in for a good time with LJ Cleary.
There is nothing in professional wrestling that I love more than discovering someone very early into their professional wrestling career. Watching the growth of a wrestler, seeing them gain experience with each match they’re in, and seeing them gain confidence as a performer. Aleah James has become one of the newest wrestlers that I’m having an absolute blast watching.
Aleah has been training for around a year and a half now but she’s only debuted in 2019; Halfway through 2019, actually, as her debut came at the London Lucha League in June 2019. As of this article, it’s been seven months and Aleah is unquestionably one of my favorite wrestlers to watch every time she’s in the ring. There’s just such a uniqueness to her personality and charisma inside the ring that is hard for me to put into words. When you see Aleah, you instantly see a future star in the wrestling world; She’s practically a walking billboard for star quality.
Her performance at Pro Wrestling EVE’s She-1 is what I usually recommend to people when I put Aleah James over to them. Another breakout match so far in her career was her match against Chris Brookes at Schadenfreude & Friends. That unique match against Brookes was everything I needed to see to know that it’s not a question of if Aleah James will become a big star in the UK, it’s a matter of when.
You’ve more than likely heard of Jordan Oliver as the kid that needs to “slow down” after his match at GameChanger Wrestling against fellow star on the rise, Blake Christian, blew up over social media. At only 20 years old, Jordan is absolutely killing the American independent scene right now. No matter where he goes, he’s getting a buzz about him that is hard to ignore.
Jordan’s apart of the group “YDNB” (Young, Dumb, ‘N Broke) alongside Griffin McCoy, Charlie Tiger, and Ellis Taylor. All four are just what the group claims to be and they all have an upside about them that just screams big-time stars in the independent scene. The four are all brash, they’re confident, and they don’t care who they piss off.
Jordan Oliver’s run in Combat Zone Wrestling as the Wired Champion is one that you need to seek out. It encompasses everything that Jordan is all about and with Jordan branching out to so many different promotions these days it’s only a matter of time before he’s world champion somewhere.
The last wrestler on my list is a wrestler from the United States independent scene – the Sorceress of Sin, Elayna Black. She has only been wrestling for a short amount of time but Elayna is already showing huge signs of big star potential; She really became one of my favorites to watch as the 2019 year came to an end.
Elayna, while only recently turning 19 years old, already has an aurora around her that shows she’ll be on headlines for years to come. While being the youngest wrestler on the list, don’t let that fool you, she’s already had a few huge moments in her career. She recently was an extra at All Elite Wrestling appearing on AEW Dynamite. She’s also making waves at SHIMMER, one of the top women’s independent promotions in the United States. On top of that, she also had a dark match with EVOLVE Wrestling – the independent promotion closely attached to World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT branch. The Sorceress of Sin is only getting started, but I can see her easily being one of the bigger in-demand independent talents by the end of 2020.