The wrestling industry has become more of a worldwide entity than ever before with stars emerging from all over the globe. It used to be very rare for a wrestler from outside of North America to get an opportunity in WWE but times have changed. The global branding of the WWE and tours all over the world has led to the company looking to form a varied roster of performers from various backgrounds. Not only does it give foreign markets a representation but it will lead to a better product with the different styles making sure there’s depth and variety on the show.
European wrestlers are starting to breakout more than ever before. Sheamus, Paige, Wade Barrett, Neville and a few others have been representing the Euros in WWE but the independent scene has created new faces to keep an eye on. The market in the UK has specifically grown to a point where the wrestling fan base is supporting live local shows. PROGRESS Wrestling is one of the fastest rising promotions with a world of buzz right now. A few other companies like 1CW, Preston City Wrestling and Revolution Pro feature a hit list of the best United Kingdom talent today showing why they are taking over the business.
The European stars are not only getting over in the United Kingdom but are starting to become beloved by American fans. Popular independent wrestling companies in the United States such as PWG and EVOLVE are bringing in the international talent to satisfy the requests of their fan bases. WWE has started to reach out to the best talents all over the world in hopes of improving their roster and that bodes well for the stars we’ll look at today. NXT already has quite a few international superstars like Finn Balor, Hideo Itami and Samoa Joe but more will be on the way soon. These are fifteen of the best European independent wrestlers that WWE should sign in the near future.
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15 Rampage Brown
Most of the performers featured on this list will be shorter or smaller wrestlers due to the European wrestling scene featuring the high-flying and technically sound talents rather than the power guys. Rampage Brown is the exception, as the physically imposing badass can go in the ring at any speed but can also use his strength to his advantage. WWE once employed Brown in their developmental system during the FCW days but he has improved greatly since those days and can add to the main roster right away. Brown holds the rare trait of looking credible and performing well against any wrestler of any size which is something important in WWE.
14 Martin Stone
Martin Stone is another example of a wrestler from the United Kingdom scene improving and adding depth to his work over the last few years. WWE actually signed Stone to NXT for a couple of years before releasing him in 2014. Stone still appears on NXT television every now and then as an enhancement talent but deserves another realistic opportunity in the system. Between his work in various European promotions and the independent wrestling matches he has worked here in the United States, Stone is a very good hand that can make inferior wrestlers look decent and with the right booking, he could become a player in NXT.
13 Sha Samuels
The very talented Sha Samuels wrestles all over the British wrestling scene with various traits that highlight an entertaining wrestling performer. Samuels is a great in-ring talent but also knows how to tap into his character work to give an impressive all-around performance. The biggest stage for Samuels has been TNA’s British Bootcamp 2, a reality show in the UK with various independent wrestlers trying to win a contract. While Samuels did not win, he delivered a great outing in the peculiar reality show setting and showed the television presence that could be valued more in WWE or NXT.
12 Mark Haskins
Mark Haskins is a highly skilled wrestler that has been getting booked all over the world, gaining a great deal of experience in his young career. Fans may remember Haskins from a few appearances on TNA Impact when the company taped television in the United Kingdom and gave him X-Division matches in 2011. Despite getting signed, things didn’t work out due to injuries and inconsistent use of Haskins when he was back to full health. The rising star has been a fixture in the British independent wrestling scene since ditching TNA and has improved as a performer. Haskins would do very well in the NXT atmosphere and should be on WWE’s radar, especially with the Cruiserweight tournament coming up soon.
11 Nikki Storm
Women’s wrestling has become more popular all over the world since the rise in WWE with the NXT division creating excitement like never before. One of the best female talents on the European side of the wrestling world has been Nikki Storm. The Glasgow native is an outstanding all around performer with stellar promos and outstanding matches. There were recent rumors of a potential NXT offer coming Storm’s way but nothing has been made official. Storm would be one of the best female signings the company can make and add another dynamic performer to the NXT roster, which they'll need when Bayley eventually gets called up.
10 El Ligero
The silly masked gimmick may sell his skills short when taking a quick glance at El Ligero but the British high flying star is extremely talented and adds excitement to any crowd he performs in front of. El Ligero is very similar to Sami Zayn’s old El Generico gimmick, so a WWE signing would likely see Ligero losing his mask and being rebranded. El Ligero is good enough to overcome any changes that would be needed and he’d likely thrive in the NXT atmosphere. WWE should be scouting him to be a part of the upcoming Cruiserweight tournament, with or without the mask.
9 Big Damo
Big Damo is a mammoth of a man that can move around the ring with the finesse of a cat. If you’re still watching TNA, Damo was recently on Impact in an impressive match against Eric Young from the UK tapings but it was just a hint of what the big man can do in the ring. Damo has become one of the most popular independent wrestlers with his matches always delivering excitement and variety. Revolution Pro’s recent hit show High Stakes featured Damo and Speedball Mike Bailey having a spectacular match. Damo is firing on all cylinders right now and deserves an opportunity in WWE, as he would very well become a credible star in NXT at the least.
8 Doug Williams
The always underrated Doug Williams has been among the most underrated European talents of the last fifteen years. Williams achieved success in TNA as an X-Division Champion and member of The British Invasion, but the technical wrestling wizard was never able to show his full potential. While he is 43-years-old, Williams still performs at a high enough level where he could contribute to NXT for another year or two. Young wrestlers need to compete against talents like Williams to learn new aspects of the game and become better performers. Williams would be the perfect signing to serve as a coach that occasionally wrestles noteworthy matches.
7 Jimmy Havoc
The recent rise of independent wrestling in the United Kingdom over the last few years has seen Jimmy Havoc become a popular performer. Havoc may be most remembered for his classic work against Finn Balor in PROGRESS Wrestling before Balor joined WWE. The two are close friends as Havoc was spotted in the first row at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn in 2015 cheering on Balor. It may be a nice connection to lead him to NXT where Havoc would be a welcomed addition. Havoc's overall in-ring work is great but he has also become one of the best hardcore wrestlers and developed a stronger character presence.
6 Dave Mastiff
Dave Mastiff is one of the last wrestlers you’d want to have angry at you. His size and huge beard make Mastiff come off as one of the more intimidating wrestlers on the European indie circuit. While he is quite large in size, Mastiff shows great athleticism and agility in the ring for a bigger man. Mastiff had a highly praised match against Ring of Honor star Adam Cole on a Preston City Wrestling show that gave a small glimpse at how well he could perform against wrestlers who are used to the traditional American style. WWE needs more unique characters that can go in the ring and Mastiff is the perfect example.
5 Marty Scurll
Marty Scurll has been among the best European wrestling talents over the last decade but he has taken it to another level over the past couple of years. Scurll always had the in-ring skill to provide great wrestling matches but he has stepped up the character aspect of his game and implemented it to become a more entertaining performer. With standout matches against all of the other top UK talent, Scurll has been booked against top American stars like AJ Styles when they come over for tours. Scurll is basically the measuring stick for all British talents trying to elevate themselves into a bigger commodity. American fans love the work of Scurll and that’s just one of many factors why WWE should look at him.
4 Noam Dar
One of the most impressive things in the wrestling business is finding a top tier talent putting it all together at a young age. Noam Dar is just 22-years-old but has emerged as one of the best prospects in the business. The Scottish standout has made a few appearances on TNA, including the British Boot Camp series, and is known for his great matches at various United Kingdom independent wrestling shows. Considering how good he is and how much better he can become under the right system, Dar to WWE makes perfect sense and it will be surprising if he doesn’t get a shot at some point.
3 Kay Lee Ray
Another young Scottish star making an impact in the wrestling world is Kay Lee Ray. The international women’s wrestling star is one of the best prospects in independent wrestling and has been traveling the world improving consistently. Ray was arguably the most impressive standout on TNA’s British Boot Camp series and looked like she belonged on television in her rare TNA matches. Her combination of great in-ring skills, an exciting style, a likable personality and stunning looks should make Ray a perfect candidate for the future of NXT’s women’s division. Ray has appeared on NXT television in one-off spots and looked like she could acclimate well to the WWE environment, if given the chance to become a future star Diva.
2 Will Ospreay
The art of the aerial display has reached new levels in wrestling and it takes a truly special performer to wow the fans with their high-flying moves. Will Ospreay has done just that with incredible matches against the likes of AJ Styles, Matt Sydal and many others in Revolution Pro. American fans have fallen in love with Ospreay and he is starting to get booked in promotions like PWG and EVOLVE. Ospreay will be making his NJPW debut this spring and is currently one of the industry’s top free agents. You have to imagine WWE will recruit him for the Cruiserweight tournament and, if he appears, there’s a great chance Ospreay will dazzle his way into getting a well-deserved contract offer.
1 Zack Sabre Jr.
The argument could be made that Zack Sabre Jr. is the best wrestler in the world today. Sabre has been great for many years now, but the last year has seen him emerge into the premiere technical wrestler in the industry. Sabre's work is very reminiscent to Daniel Bryan’s before he signed with WWE and many believe Sabre will follow the same path. The British superstar has outstanding matches in every promotion in the UK and has entered the American wrestling scene as a top star in PWG and EVOLVE. Sabre has delivered classic matches against AJ Styles, Chris Hero and Roderick Strong in the past year. WWE is looking to add the best wrestlers in the world to the company and Sabre making the jump should be a no-brainer.
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