The WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world, but they aren’t the be all, end all, as there is an entire world of wrestling out there that is getting better and better by the year. From New Japan Pro Wrestling to ROH to all of the great promotions in the UK, you need to check them out. But wrestling is about the stars in the ring, and although you may have heard of them, these are 5 performers you NEED to check out.
5. Matt Riddle
There have been many tough guys in the wrestling business over the years, and even with the likes of Brock Lesnar and Shinsuke Nakamura in WWE, one of the toughest in all of wrestling could very well be The King of Bros, Matt Riddle. The former UFC fighter was on an impressive win streak before quitting MMA, and since that point, he’s become one of the hottest and most exciting professional wrestlers in the entire world. He’s already wrestled in countless promotions and can do literally anything in a wrestling ring. Whether it’s Progress, Evolve or any other promotion he may join in the near future, you NEED to watch as much Matt Riddle as you can, because he might not be in the WWE for quite some time.
4. Keith Lee
Wrestling, particularly in the WWE has seen plenty of athletic big men, and there’s few better in the world today than “Limitless” Keith Lee, who is as talented as he is charismatic. He wrestles in Progress, Evolve and many smaller promotions in the US and combines great size and strength with crazy athleticism which is a combination that few in the world can match. It would be surprising if Lee never ended up in WWE because there would likely be a huge push awaiting him. But you need to do your best to seek out his matches against the likes of Ricochet, Matt Riddle and Travis Banks.
3. Travis Banks
Speaking of Travis Banks, The Kiwi Buzzsaw is quite possibly one of the hottest wrestlers in the world today, and if his in ring talent is anything to go by, he could likely be recognized as one of the top performers in the entire world. His character may not be as defined as others in independent wrestling, but he has proved time and time again that nothing gets a crowd going like ‘Kiwi Strong Style’, which has resulted in some incredible matches. He wrestles in some smaller independents in the UK, but you NEED to go to Progress and PWG to see some of his best work, as he truly is a star on the rise.
2. Dalton Castle
All the guys on this list are here because of their in-ring ability (albeit with very different styles), but The Party Peacock Dalton Castle is certainly making a name for himself in a very different way. His in-ring ability is very tough, due to his background as a fantastic amateur wrestler, but it’s his flamboyance and pure dedication to his character that makes him one of ROH’s most popular performers. He was rumored to join WWE this year, but that was put on hold for a while with his re-signing to ROH. It will likely happen one day, but in the meantime, go watch Castle in ROH, where he will battle Cody at Final Battle for the ROH World Championship.
1. Jeff Cobb
When you watch “Mr. Athletic”, it’s crazy to think that the WWE haven’t thrown everything in the world at him to bring them onto their already stacked roster, because Cobb is everything the WWE want in a star. He’s good looking, muscular, incredibly talented and has an amateur background (he even competed in the Olympics in 2004 for Guam), and often defies gravity with his many different suplexes. He is currently one half of the “Chosen Bros” with Matt Riddle, and one day it would be incredible to see the two in WWE, and if you don’t want to watch him as Jeff Cobb, go check out Lucha Underground where he portrays Matanza Cueto.