Furious 100 June 2018 Final
Back in the day I used to do an incredibly time-consuming column called the Furious 100. I’d tally up all the matches I’d seen that year and award points for star ratings and then compile a list of the hundred best wrestlers of the year. Now, although I’ve easily seen enough wrestling to do that again here I’m not going to.
This is something slightly different. It’s my 100 favourite current active wrestlers. I’ve tried to incorporate the star ratings and make sure that if you’re near the top here you’ve had a good year in the ring. However it will also include a tonne of personal bias based on interactions and fanboy mentality towards certain workers. What really interests me is the long term of this. How will the list change from year to year. Will each list serve as an accurate capsule of how I felt about wrestlers at a certain time? Here’s the first one! Enjoy…
Honourable Mentions: I’m sad I wasn’t able to find room for all the wrestlers I wanted to talk about but 100 isn’t as many as it sounds when you’re faced with all the wrestlers in the world.
Hangman Page, Jeff Cobb, Suwama, Naoya Nomura, Kris Wolf, Charlie Morgan, Kurtis Chapman, The OJMO, Hazuki, Rey Horus, Avalanche, Young Bucks, Mika Iwata, Arkangel Divino, Munenori Sawa, Nicole Savoy, Nick Gage, Bandido, Shigehiro Irie, Becky Lynch, Omari, T-Hawk, Dragon Lee, Tetsuya Endo
A few of these are particularly shocking to me while some are just wrestlers I really like and haven’t had the chance to break out anywhere yet. On the first version of the list, before I remembered a tonne of other wrestlers I had Rey Horus quite high up. Irie makes me sad. I love him to bits. Becky Lynch would have placed if WWE had done anything with her. T-Hawk would be on there if OWE had started up two months earlier than it did. Arkangel Divino I’ve only seen wrestle once and he was incredible. There’s a distinct lack of luchadores on this list due to my unfamiliarity but remember as we go through it’s a list of my favourites, not the best. Sometimes that happens to coincide.
100. ORANGE CASSIDY.
The gimmick alone is worth including him. He’s an incredibly gifted wrestler as a stand-alone in Chikara but the gimmick is majestic. His approach to pro-wrestling can politely be called ‘laid back’.
99. DOUG WILLIAMS.
This may be my last ever chance to put Doug over so I’m taking it. He’s been involved in British Wrestling for so long that I don’t remember a time when he wasn’t relevant. He used to be top ten without a shadow of a doubt.
98. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI.
If STRIGGA is reading this; I was wrong ok! I used to hate Taguchi because he had so much skill and potential and all he did was flying hip attacks and it felt like such a waste. Taguchi Japan has turned me around on Taguchi and every year at Best of the Super Juniors he kills it.
97. THE ROTATION.
This might be a strange one if you’ve never met him but Axel is a lovely guy and he’s incredibly good at wrestling. It’s only a series of injuries that have prevented him from becoming a big star in wXw. I clearly remember bagging on his gimmick and look on the BritWres Roundtable. So there’s a theme developing. If I dislike you there’s a strong chance I will eventually like you. Just keep plugging away.
96. CHUCK MAMBO.
If there’s a nicer person in BritWres than Chuck Mambo then I’ve not met them. In between becoming one of the break-out stars of the territory in 2018 he took time to teach me valuable life lessons. Back in January he told me that whatever you’re doing you should try and enjoy it. Life’s too short man! Happiest bar tender I’ve ever been served by.
95. ALEXA BLISS.
I’ve always liked Alexa. Always thought she was good in NXT and I’m pleased with how she’s progressed as a performer and as a person. Her promos, where she blurs the line between character and reality and snaps back into being a heel in an instant are nothing short of fantastic. If she was a bit better in the ring she’d be threatening the upper echelons.
This is an example of how I wished I’d been tracking this over the past few years. Until DDT went behind a pay window and my access to it became sporadic (I’ve had DDT Universe for months and barely watch it) HARASHIMA was one of my favourite wrestlers. His consistency and raw talent were undeniable. I’ve several conversations trying to point out he’s one of the best cruiserweight wrestlers in the world. The less I see him the more he drops down this list though.
93. JORDAN DEVLIN.
Spoiler: Finn Balor isn’t on this list. I feel like he’s lost something of late. Devlin has all the momentum in the world. He gets better every time I see him and his OTT run has been exceptional. He’s a true ace. If I watched OTT more he’d probably be in the top 50.
No YOH but room for SHO. The difference between these two lads is that SHO just keeps improving. He looks more intense, more ready for the challenges of being a star in New Japan. YOH has gone from being the outstanding junior in their rookie class to being second best. SHO has potential to be even better. I await his forthcoming improvement with glee.
91. FLIP GORDON.
Flip wouldn’t have been in consideration before Mania weekend this year. However he killed it that weekend and has been steadily improving ever since. His BOSJ tour was very impressive and apart from his whole ‘Flat Earth’ deal he’s got it made. I mean, no one said wrestlers were smart but come on Flip.
90. BRYAN CAGE.
He looks like Wolverine.
89. SHANE STRICKLAND.
I’m still somewhat confused as to how Strickland isn’t a bigger deal, isn’t getting bigger opportunities within wrestling. He’s literally got all the same skills as the most hyped cruisers only he’s bigger and looks way cooler. How is it only CZW push him? Also – best entrance music in wrestling.
88. MIKE BAILEY.
Speedball would be a lot higher if he didn’t insist on dragging his girlfriend to shows around the world with him, stinking up indie cards. If he was solo he’d be top 50 easy. He’s honed his work outside of the USA and being in DDT and wrestling in Europe extensively has made him a better performer. When he’s allowed back in the USA he’ll be ready to blow some doors down.
87. KILLER KELLY.
If there’s ever an advertisement for upping sticks, moving somewhere bigger and chasing the dream it would be Killer Kelly. Moving from Portugal, where the scene is very small, to Germany and wXw she catapulted herself into mainstream European wrestling and has now worked for WWE too. Quite the story for someone who, this time last year, was a complete unknown.
86. DANIEL MAKABE.
Speaking of unknowns; Dan Makabe is one of the best kept secrets in professional wrestling. Mainly competing for 3-2-1 Battle he’s had a series of excellent technical bouts. He works great as a face and heel and has huge potential. Considering how shallow the North American talent pool is right now (WWE have cleared a lot out) I’m shocked he’s not being booked everywhere.
85. DAVID STARR.
And speaking of being booked everywhere! Starr wrestles everywhere bar Japan. He seems to find his way into every promotion through a combination of persistence and hard work. He’s very entertaining. He’s a great heel, although he works face all over the world. His in-ring has gotten a lot smoother and he’s the template for working overseas in order to better yourself. There are a tonne of American wrestlers who could follow Starr’s approach.
84. MASA FUCHI.
Yes, I know he’s ancient. Yes, I know he only does two moves (one of which is illegal). Yes, I know he wouldn’t have come close to this list when he was in his prime. But there’s something so loveable about this old geezer, his concealed punches, getting blown up scoop slamming people. I love him. I could watch him do those basic things all day long.
83. TAKUYA NOMURA.
This is a kid who’s going straight to the top. He came through the Big Japan dojo and instantly dropped into the top end of BJW. He’s a natural. Some people just are pro wrestlers. They come into it with the footwork and the positioning that it takes others years to learn. He’s only been wrestling for two years and every time I see him he’s a little bit better than before.
82. KEVIN OWENS.
I feel like the shine has come off Big Kev a little. When he first hit NXT he was sensational. An instant hit as a heel. He’s done everything WWE wanted him to and killed it. It just feels like they’re running out of things for him to do and Vince has this issue with his weight that means he’ll never be the main star, which is what he should have been two years ago. Now it’s probably too late.
81. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA.
When he left NJPW and arrived in NXT, in style, there was a feeling Nakamura would have the world at his feet. While he’s regained some edge of late, with repeated ball shots to AJ Styles, I added him to this list as an afterthought. Imagine him being an afterthought on any list before the WWE?
80. ELI EVERFLY.
This kid is exceptional. He reminds me of a young, raw Rey Mysterio Jr. He’s so small that he looks inconsequential but as soon as he starts popping spots off. Whoa. I’m aware there are luchadores that are this impressive but for Eli to stand out on the US Indies is special to me.
79. JURN SIMMONS.
Jurn would probably be higher if he wasn’t injured. A badly timed broken leg sabotaged a tremendous run going into 16 Carat this year. His ‘I only care about me’ heel persona is perfect. I still can’t wait for that Starr match. It’s going to be great.
78. ZACK GIBSON.
Zack would make the list for his promos alone. While they can be a bit samey (if you watch too much wrestling) he always hits the nail on the head. Always finds the truth and the truth hurts. Which is why people hate him so much. The level of heat he attains never ceases to astonish me. There are wrestlers I’ve gotten tired of cheering for but I’m still booing this guy with all my heart! The Liverpool FC thing probably helps.
77. RUBY RIOTT.
A fine example of being different in WWE and how that can benefit you. Having a different look, approach, style. Stand out from the pack.
76. DANIEL BRYAN.
I never thought I’d see Bryan in a wrestling ring again, performing. And yet WWE have bungled his return, making it all about another returning wrestler; Big Cass. I was ready to have a second round of Bryan love but it’s not happened…yet.
One of the few luchadores who’s actually made the list. Flamita is someone I saw in Dragon Gate and my rave reviews of his performances actually got him booked in Progress for Super Strong Style 16. That is legitimately how it happened. With the collaboration with WWE/NOAH, I look forward to Katsuhiko Nakajima in SSS16 next year.
To be continued….