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Week of October 20, 2014
- Adam Cole. I realize that this guy isn’t the biggest in the world, but between his good looks, his speaking ability, and his in-ring skills you should be hearing more about the former ROH champion in the years to come.
- Jay Briscoe. While he might be better signed to WWE in a tag team with his brother, Jay has quietly become one of the best singles competitors in North America. His promos are mesmerizing and his in-ring ability is second to none. He can brawl or he can high-fly. His physique has developed well over the years and I could easily see him as an Intercontinental or US champion. As it stands, the current ROH champion is under contract and probably not going anywhere any time soon.
- Michael Bennett. I’m not sure if the reported backstage heat on Maria will prevent Bennett from making the WWE, but I sure hope that’s not the case. Bennett is quickly becoming an all-around athlete with a ton of charisma and natural talent. He’s got a great physique and has all the tools that WWE (seemingly) is looking for. I’m just hoping that he gets a shot, because I think he could be a big deal down the road.
- Ricochet. The unfortunate line on Ricochet is that he’s small. He’s only noted as being 5’10” and about 160 lbs. Not everybody can be a Rey Mysterio or even an Evan Bourne, so even the most talented “small” wrestlers can get looked over from time to time. Ricochet is unbelievable to watch, though. He’s a high-flyer like none I’ve seen. He does everything so smooth, too...it’s impressive to watch. It’s a shame he’s THAT small, though...he could be a huge star if given the proper push.
- Brian Cage. At the other end of the spectrum is a mountain of a man named Brian Cage. You look at him and immediately think muscle-bound no-talent steroid freak. When you see one or two matches of his, though...all that will change. This guy is good. Not only is he good, he does things a man of his size shouldn’t be able to do. I see a ton of talent in Cage and in a few years I think WWE will come knocking on his door.
- ACH. This is another high-flying wrestler that, I think, will eventually catch on. WWE isn’t normally about flippy-floppy guys who can’t actually wrestle a match. They like to see a solid skillset with the high-flying thrown in for good measure. It took 10 years to sign guys like Adrian Neville (i.e. Pac) and Sami Zayn (i.e. El Generico) because WWE wanted to make sure they had solid wrestling backgrounds on their resume first. I suspect ACH will be contacted in a few more years.
- Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae. Known as the World’s Cutest Tag Team, these two have really come into their own as a team over the past year. Let’s face it, though...if Ryan was just a little bit taller, he’d have already been signed by WWE. He’s a former PWG champion and BOLA winner, so his resume speaks for itself. Candice, however, is relatively new to the ranks of male wrestlers. The great thing about her, though, is that she’s a GREAT wrestler so when she’s in there, you tend to forget the whole “male vs. female” situation. She has a great skillset and takes sick bumps, so I’m all about her. Add in Joey Ryan and you’ve got a really talented, entertaining tag team.
- Christopher Daniels & Kazarian. While getting up there in age (Daniels is 44), they’re two wrestlers that TNA dropped the ball on. They’ve got charisma and personality and ability in spades, whether as individual wrestlers or as the team of The Addiction (i.e. Bad Influence). Any indy promotion would be lucky to book them and I think they could have a productive run in WWE if they were put on the roster quickly. I doubt that will happen, though.
- The Young Bucks. No...I don’t think so. As a life-long fan of tag team wrestling, I prefer to have my tag teams actually know how to wrestle...not just do flippy-floppy spots for 15 minutes. I’d rather sit back and enjoy an awesome tag match than sit in a crowd yelling “This is awesome” because it’s one spot after another. No thanks. Until these kids learn how to tell a story in the ring, they can continue to be on the outside looking in. And if anybody can show me a match where they DID tell an in-ring story, I’d LOVE to see it.
With the flurry of signings that WWE has done over the past few months, a lot of the top independent talent has been scooped up. There is, however, still a ton of quality indy workers out there that you should keep your eye on: