Photo by Rob Brazier
With the likes of NXT UK, AEW, ROH, NJPW, and the larger WWE signing up talents to exclusive deals all around the world thanks to increased competition, independent stars are being captured left, right and center, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a wealth of self-employed stars out there to carry on entertaining fans everywhere away from the big companies. So this list celebrates just some of the great performers that are, at least for now, remaining independent.
This isn’t ranked in any order, and this isn’t to say that these are the best available out there, these are just wrestlers that I love to watch and hope you will love to watch too. These are 25 Amazing Free Agents in Pro Wrestling Today (and a recommended match for each of them).
If you don’t love Kris Wolf then you have no soul. She may just be the most instantly likeable person in pro wrestling today. Take one look at her and her fluffy tail, and you will immediately feel happier. Even if she doesn’t put on the best match of the night, she’ll put the biggest smile on your face with her primal antics, and you certainly won’t soon forget her.
Speedball Mike Bailey
For me, Speedball Mike Bailey may just be the most underrated independent pro wrestler in the world.
Sadly, just as Mike was building up steam in the US, mainly thanks to PWG where he had matches against Kenny Omega, amongst others, Speedball was banned from entering the States for five years when he was caught entering the country without a work visa. So now, he travels across the UK and Japan wowing people with his physical, high-flying, martial arts style.
Speedball Mike Bailey enjoys hurting his own knees just as much as he enjoys kicking the shit out of his opponents. You’ll wince at how much pain he puts his own body through in the pursuit for victory, whilst also gasp at the strength of his trained feet. As someone that’s actually been kicked by Mike, I can vouch for how strong they are (my hand ached for two days after one kick).
Once this ban is lifted, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mike Bailey became one of the top stars in the US.
In 2018, Team Whitewolf member, A-Kid, became the youngest person to be involved in a singles match to get five stars from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter when his match against Zack Sabre Jr. gained a lot of attention. When he’s not putting on brilliant one-on-one matches, A-Kid is one half of this exciting young tag team along with Carlos Romo.
With both members being in their early twenties, Team Whitewolf are one of the most promising teams out there at the moment, full of exciting high-flying moves. You can currently see them across the U.K. and in their native Spain, but with A-Kid recently making his US debut for Warrior Wrestling, it shouldn’t be too long until we see this duo all over the world.
In my opinion, Omari is part of the future of the British independent scene. With only a few years of experience under his belt, he’s already had some really impressive matches against the likes of Shane Strickland, Will Ospreay, Mark Haskins and Jordan Devlin. His tall frame, athletic build and long legs give him an entertaining in ring style filled with high kicks and impressive speed. You can find Omari in more and more promotions across the UK, mainly FightClubPro and Defiant, but no doubt soon The Hock will be branching out further than that soon.
Session Moth Martina
Grab some cans and prepare to get on it with Session Moth Martina. Quickly becoming known as one of the indie’s best comedy wrestlers, Martina is pure fun wherever she wrestles. She grinds on people, she’ll occasionally dress up as famous characters, and she’s even tagged with the legendary Dave Benson Phillips of Get Your Own Back fame.
From competing in her native Ireland, Martina now travels all over the world to wrestle and drink cans, most notably to Stardom in Japan, all thanks to her entertaining charm, solid wrestling ability and dedication to this fantastic character. Oh, and it’s a good job her schedule is so busy, she has a load of kids back home to feed.
Simply put, El Phantasmo is one of the best high-flyers you will see in the world today. His moonsaults and swantons are some of the smoothest I’ve ever seen, and the way he moves around that ring transitioning from big move to big move is a delight to watch. Phantasmo has an extremely fun move set, and is guaranteed to wow anybody that watches him. Basically, if a ten year old put together a move set in a video game, it would be his. If you need confirmation of how good he is, he’s pretty much the reason why my best friend became a wrestling fan. Oh, and he’s my nephew’s favourite wrestler too.
Having won RevPro’s British J Cup towards the end of 2018, things are looking up for El Phantasmo. You can see him across the UK independent scene, and online in Defiant Wrestling.
There’s two main things you need to know about Chris Ridgeway: he’s hard as fuck, and he bloody loves kicking people. Ridgeway employs a blend of stiff physicality and technical ability, comparable to the likes of Zack Sabre Jr. and KUSHIDA. If you enjoy watching competitors that hit their opponents really hard, you will have fun seeing Chris Ridgeway. Having recently made his US debut for Defy Wrestling, it looks like there are big things on the near horizon for this BritWres up-and-comer.
Bea Priestly is somebody who I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow over the last few years. She’s managed to form a great set of moves inside the ring and an awesome look. Bea also happens to have one of my favourite finishers in wrestling at the moment: a combination of Meiko Satomura’s Scorping Rising and a double curb stomp. Bea’s style is a good mix of flash and viciousness that makes her a lot of fun to watch. You can see Bea mainly in Stardom, Defiant, WOS and more.
For 25 years, Kikutaro has been one of the most hilarious wrestlers in the world. He is the master of slow motion wrestling, and makes his money by being funny. Within the last few years, Kikutaro relocated away from his native Japan over to the United States, so you can see him in indies all across America. If you want a good chuckle today, go watch some Kikutaro.
Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis are easily one of the best unsigned tag teams in the world today. In promotions across the U.K., such as PROGRESS, Defiant and RevPro, they’ve held gold and put on some absolutely incredible matches.
Aussie Open are simply incapable of having a bad match, and are just as skilled with comedy wrestling as they are with good old tag team wrestling. Fletcher brings the speed, Davis brings the power, and their blend of styles leads to some brilliant, fluid combination moves. Also, they’re bloody lovely dudes too.
This Australian native (currently residing in the UK) has yet to have his breakout opportunity, yet once you see Sean Kustom perform, you will realise that he needs to be given that chance as soon as possible. Kustom has a combination of size, athleticism, speed, and a gorgeous move set that could make him a huge star in the near future.
Mike Parrow is a name you’ve most likely heard about. His coming out story in 2017 went viral, educating and inspiring readers in equal measures. As inspirational as this former college football player is outside of the ring (and a genuinely lovely person as I have experienced), once he steps between the ropes, Parrow becomes a powerbombing machine as one half of The End, along with the equally massive Odinson.
Regularly competing for EVOLVE, and having recently had a very successful stint in All Japan’s annual tag league, The End are a destructive force comparable to the likes of Demolition and The Road Warriors. It’s only a matter of time until these get snapped up by a big company.
RECOMMENDED MATCH: Vs. AR Fox and The Skulk – EVOLVE 109 (Available on FITE TV)
Have you ever wanted to see a wrestler that could not give a single fuck about anything? Not in a teenage angst kind of way, but simply through pure laziness? Well, Orange Cassidy exists. He hasn’t even bothered updating his own website, orangecassidy.com, it’s just a basic template that he’s added a photo of himself to.
In the ring, Cassidy can do some really impressive things… when he can be bothered. Otherwise, his lackadaisical actions always create moments of pure comedy to entertain audiences for the likes of EVOLVE, GCW and more.
His stablemates may have all signed deals with WWE, but Timothy Thatcher is still out there destroying people as a free agent. Sure, his partner WALTER is still there most of the time, and Thatcher is still there to react perfectly to how hard WALTER launches his limbs at people, but do not overlook how good this man is. Thatcher is hard-hitting, physical, and always a delight to watch.
After breaking out of the Australian scene thanks mainly to impressive performances against the likes of Will Ospreay, Cody and Zack Sabre Jr., Robbie Eagles has began to make a name for himself across the world. Over the last year, Eagles has been wowing PWG audiences with his lucha-influenced in-ring style, and his rise in popularity led him to being involved in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Super Jr Tag League as a member of Bullet Club.
By the end of 2019, Robbie Eagles will most likely be signed to NJPW full-time, and will be one of the most exciting members of their junior division, so make sure to check out exactly why the Sniper of the Skies has been getting so much praise and attention as of late.
This Suplex Apparel sponsored athlete gets better every single time I see her, which is scary considering how incredible she already is. Millie McKenzie was born in the 21st century, and she’s already good enough to have competed for WWE, inside Wembley Arena, for Stardom in Japan and held tag team championships with Pete Dunne. It’s almost depressing how good she is at only 18 years old. Being able to mix it up with a variety of opponents, Millie always puts on a great, suplex-filled performance regardless of who she faces.
Ilja Dragunov is one of the most promising talents in independent wrestling today. His plucky, violent attitude in the ring and determination to slay giants has made him extremely popular among wXw fans. His standout match against Pete Dunne inside of Wembley Arena in 2018 opened many people’s eyes to Ilja’s talents, and it won’t be long until he takes over the independent wrestling world.
The Freaky Princess is all about explosive power moves and a whole load of high speed hip attacks. Sierra is already making a name for herself in UK promotions such as PROGRESS, ProWrestlingEVE, ATTACK and IPW, yet in the next couple of years, I am positive she will be one of the biggest names in the UK scene.
Ironically, the Anti-Fun police are one of the most fun acts going in British independent wrestling today. No Fun Dunne and Los Federales Santos Jr. aim to eliminate all fun from British independent wrestling, whilst ironically creating some very entertaining antics in the process. If you want some guys to both laugh and boo at, these are the force for you, either in ATTACK Pro Wrestling where they formed, through Defiant Wrestling, or in many promotions across the UK, such as PROGRESS and NORTH.
Whenever she steps into the ring, Lana Austin is always full of personality. Sometimes she likes to inject fun into her fights, and at other times, she is as vicious as they come. Lana knows how entertain, and she can pull out some beautiful moves when she needs to, such as her tilt-a-whirl stunner. After recently making her NXT UK debut as an unsigned performer, it’s clear that Lana’s hard work on the independents is beginning to pay off.
Mills and Mayhew
Mills and Mayhew are a team that look like they’ve been honing their craft inside the ring together for years, yet this pairing are both still in their teenage years. At such early ages, M&M show massive potential as two exhilarating and inventive high-flyers, both as a duo and as individuals. It wouldn’t surprise me if within the next few years, Mills and Mayhew were one of the biggest junior tag teams in the world.
Another breakout star of the Australian scene, Adam Brooks is a great all-around performer. His in-ring work is smooth, balanced and of a very high quality. His efforts have started to bring him recognition across the globe, mainly in the UK and in PWG too. It may only be a matter of time before Brooks joins his best friend, Buddy Murphy, up in WWE.
Jack Sexsmith has been winning hearts across the UK wrestling scene, delighting fans inside the ring, and helping to support important changes outside of it, Making his name mainly in PROGRESS, this openly pansexual grappler has become a fan favourite thanks to his ability to put on gutsy underdog performances which rarely result in a victory. Beyond proudly representing the LGBT community within the ring and on social media, Sexsmith even has his own LGBT supportive clothing line, PROUD, which in Jack’s own words is, “about letting people know that the hyper-masculine world of professional wrestling welcomes you, whoever you are,” with the end goal of being, “used as a means of encouraging inclusivity in all sport.“ PROUD gives 25% of profits to the charity Stonewall, and has already raised thousands.
After seeing just one of Sadie Gibbs’ matches, you will realise that she is already extremely special. Despite a lack of experience, Sadie is already arguably one of the best high-flyers in Britain, regardless of gender. Her gymnastic-inspired arsenal of flips is the perfect foundation for internet-breaking GIFs and exciting pro wrestling matches. After recently making her Stardom debut, I fully expect Sadie Gibbs to be a major star by the end of this year.
For me, Jimmy Havoc is one of the most entertaining independent wrestlers in the world. If I’m watching a show with Jimmy on, I know I’m getting my money’s worth. The beauty of Jimmy in the ring is that he is a master at bringing out emotions in you, whether that be laughing hysterically, or almost feeling uncomfortable with the level of violence and gore his matches can involve.
Jimmy is world-renowned as a deathmatch specialist, having won CZW’s Tournament of Death in 2017, yet if you’re not a fan of that level of hardcore, do not deny yourself the experience of a Jimmy Havoc match. Havoc’s style adapts to the audience he’s working in front of, and it always delivers.
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