In addition to excellent matches and an incredible number of highly talented wrestlers, I love watching independent wrestling to see people develop and grow and get a glimpse of tomorrow’s stars today. I previously featured Timothy Thatcher, Dalton Castle, and Nicole Savoy in my first The Future is Now blog, and Su Yung, Leah Vaughn (then Leah von Dutch) and Takumi Iroha in my second.
Here’s a look at four more wrestlers who show signs of big possibilities down the road and all certainly have the potential to make that a reality.
I find myself starting yet another rising stars piece talking about an experienced wrestler (eight years), but Courtney Rush is not the same performer she was just a year or so ago. Her transformation into the demon assassin has been remarkable and made her one of the most compelling performers in all of wrestling. Her presence is absolutely captivating (and disturbing).
There isn’t anyone in wrestling more in command of their character than Rush (and only Dalton Castle and Su Yung even really come close). Her mannerisms are appropriately creepy and intimidating, and she blends it all seamlessly with her ring work. With Courtney now working for TNA under the name Rosemary the next step for her already seems to be underway.
I’ve never seen ANYONE develop as fast as Matt Riddle. His growth in the short year he’s been a part of pro-wrestling is incredible. He’s taken his MMA background and adapted it to the particularities of his new profession and gets better and better every time he gets into the ring. He’s still working on little details of character and the finer points of selling, but overall his level of performance, instincts, and charisma for his experience is unreal.
His time spent in Evolve has let him wrestle a variety of opponents and exposed him to many different styles, all of which can only help him continue towards fully becoming the star he already shows signs of being. Watching him wrestle fellow grapple based experts like Timothy Thatcher and Drew Gulak, as well as other world class stars like Chris Hero, Zach Sabre Jr., etc, has been an absolute treat.
Just about everything I just said about Matt Riddle also applies to Shayna Baszler. I only recently saw her for the first time so didn’t get to watch her progress over the course of her initial year like I did with Riddle, but she shows the same high aptitude and ability to incorporate her MMA skills into a pro-wrestling appropriate style. She’s more “dominant monster” where Riddle’s more “cocky but extremely dangerous,” which is awesome as they each are playing to their strengths and carving out their own niches.
Baszler already carries herself like a star and has the presence and in-ring charisma to match. The intimidating edge to her character is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see more from her recently formed team with Nicole Savoy and Mercedes Martinez.
O’Reilly has wasted absolutely nothing from any of her training and six years of experience and it shows in the way she continually evolves every time she gets in the ring. I feel she is sometimes underrated and it was wonderful to see her wrestle the some of the best Shimmer had to offer at the recent taping weekend, including Nicole Matthews, JWP Champion Arisa Nakajima, and the previously mentioned Shayna Baszler.
Rhia’s extremely adaptable and reminds me of an Arn Anderson type that can adjust to any style and make any opponent look their best. I hope she continues to get opportunities to really show what she can do, as she’s definitely capable of making the most of them.
Hope everyone enjoyed my look at some more of the best on the indies, and definitely jump at the chance to see them if you get one.