Hes used his innovative offense to go toe to toe with giants with the likes of Jake Something and Ace Romero and still come out to tell the story. If you ask anyone in the midwest, its hard to deny that the Lost Boys are going to be the next group to blow up and find themselves wrestling all over the place. Hes an absolute unit, he hits opponents incredibly hard, and he has more than a few screws loose.
He has been with the company for just under a year-and-a-half and has largely been in the win on Dark, lose on television role. Its a brutal sport for anybody, but for someone who has gone so hard for so long on such a petite frame? Hes been in the ring with the likes of Jungle Boy and Blake Christian, who are two of the best at the style Starboy Charlie seems to be building upon. He hasnt lost a singles match in five months, and hasnt lost back-to-back matches, period, in his entire time with the company. It wont be long until the Kings of the District prove their dominance over wrestling. Even though Jody wrestled the likes of Killer Kross and Hammerstone in FSW, his work this year is really what set him apart from the pack. Well see. Thats two completely different divisions, with a completely different style of opponent. Who knows? (It will.). When she had her next match on the October 5th episode of NXT, a couple weeks after the rebrand, I didnt even remember that she was there before. SOMETHING TELLS US THAT WITH THE NEW EYES ON CALLUX, 2021 IS GOING TO BE A VERY BIG YEAR FOR HIM AND HOPEFULLY HE LEADS THE CHARGE TO BRINGING BACK MORE ATHLETIC BIG MEN IN WRESTLING BECAUSE THERE CAN HONESTLY NEVER BE ENOUGH. As the longest-reigning TNT Champion in the brief history of the title, its clear that hes popular with the company, as well. The names on this list are just those that, for one reason or another, I feel have the best chances to see success in the future. Moving on from some bad writing (his feud with Matt Hardy) and stuff that wore out its welcome (Inner Circle feuding with The Pinnacle for just short of 39 consecutive years), Sammy has grown into becoming one of the top young stars on the roster. Prescott brings an electric personality to the group as the only athlete sponsored by Natural Light beer, The Hoodfoot supplies a feeling of realism on the mic and violence in the ring, while Chase Holliday and Adam Slade show a ton of in-ring prowess. They are the total package for every wrestling promotion and is a needed asset to wrestling as a whole.
She was one of the many, many debuts for the NXT 2.0 rebrand, where it seemed like every other match or segment involved at least one person we had never seen before, or at least hadnt seen much of. Now, as one-half (with Jayne) of the NXT Womens Tag Team Champions, there is an added spotlight on her and her work. Make sure that if anybody on our list catches your eye that you support them whether it be through follows on social media, watching their matches or purchasing merchandise. Is she going to bolster the AEW womens division? Combined together, they make a stable that may become undeniable in 2021. Was someone included that shouldnt be? NXT since the pandemic began.
He would wrestle for The Crash again, dropping their Heavyweight Title just after Halloween, wrapping his reign up at 713 days. Every time I watch Jordan in the ring I feel like she can absolutely demolish anyone she is standing across from.
Omos (Born on May 16th, 1994): Heres another wild card, as we havent exactly seen him work a ton of matches, but its clear that he has some backers in high places. Not that 61 is short, but lets be real if Austin Theory was 64, he wouldve been WWE Champion by now. Her phenomenal reign as the World Of Stardom Champion (the companys top title) just came to an end on December 29th, giving her an impressive 409 days with the belt. Feuding with AJ will be a great way to make him look as good as possible, but will the feud be a vehicle to get Omos over as a monster, to get AJ over as a singles star again, or both? Then her momentum was stopped almost dead in its tracks and people began wondering if wed ever see her regain it. Liv Morgan (Born on June 8th, 1994): In last years 30 Under 30, I mentioned the weird roller coaster ride that was Livs main roster tenure to that point. He comes out in a pastel windbreaker to Yung Gravy, for two. My lists are purposely mainstream-centric.
His 2-5 singles record (5-9 overall) on AEW television after Darius got injured doesnt look wildly impressive, but he makes up for it with a 20-3 singles record (24-3 overall) on Dark and Dark: Elevation. Jay White (Born on October 9th, 1992): It almost seems like Switchblade has become a bit of a forgotten member of the New Japan roster, and thats a shame. Then, Darius went down with a knee injury, and hasnt wrestled in over ten months. I just want to hear from you. She has become one of the more accomplished women on the Stardom roster in the three-and-a-half years that shes been there, winning just about everything there is to win. There has been no word on when Darius Martin will return to the ring, but I dont see any way Top Flight wont be in a more marquee spot than they were last year, barring Darius returning at a much lower level of quality than he delivered pre-injury. Their match with Lee Moriarty at PPW Fighting Spirit Heavyweight Grand Prix 2 showed this new change and even in defeat, we could tell Max was not playing around. He broke out in the eyes of many independent wrestling fans with his appearance in the scramble match at GCWs Just Being Honest in early 2020. It could be an early gauge of what WWE sees for the future of the big guy. Maybe shes leaving the wrestling business to become a astrophysicist or to play Animal Crossing on Twitch all day. Her in-ring talent speaks for itself, and along with the bright aesthetic of her character and the giant unicorn mascot head she wears to the ring, she promises to always be someone thats fun to watch. We are an independent news outlet and are not affiliated with any wrestling promotion. Furthermore, wrestlers like Lee Moriarty arent included because they are simply too popular to be considered up next. In 2021 all of wrestling might just end up becoming the Wasteland as we have a pretty good feeling Max the Impaler is going to make their impact felt after a breakout year in 2020. Man, we love AC Mack. No Idols. was entertaining for what it was, and even with a WWE Womens Tag Team Title reign for them, it did little to squash the complaints about how far Ripley had fallen. With everything going on in the world, the only question is just how many opportunities hell be able to get. Two matches into his career, and hes on my 30 Under 30 list. The proof of Macks greatness is in his run as the first and current reigning ACTION Champion for over 700 days. He hasnt been seen on NXT television since the day before Halloween 2019. The term it-factor gets used a lot in professional wrestling and a lot of the time we really dont see it. If hes not on the average independent wrestling fans radar by the end of 2021, Ill eat my hat. While he has been losing on Dynamite and Rampage, its what hes doing in those losses that has my attention. Then, smack dab in the middle of that, I came down with a stomach bug, which meant all three of us got to be sick at the same time. Honestly, it doesnt really matter what camp you belong in, because AEW finds tremendous value in him. As Starboy continues to wrestle against better and better opponents, he should become one of the premier wrestlers in America, if his current ability is any indicator of where hell end up in the future. The name Big Beef should tell you everything you need to know about, well, Big Beef. He continues to show that he is on the doorstep, just ready to kick the door down, but it hasnt quite happened yet. Honestly, I still have no idea how much of social medias obsession with the guy is legit, how much of it is trolling and how much of it is people just people going with what seems to be the popular thing to do. A pairing with Nikki A.S.H.
The official NXT Twitter account posted the video and made the connection between the two, so its certainly a possibility.
Its just a matter of how much success youll see. Even if we dont get it, for whatever reason, Darby remains one of the most popular members of the AEW roster. We would find out the answer to that is a resounding yes. His in-ring work features one of those exciting styles and movesets that plays out better as a face. As long as her matches continue to be excellent, and as long as she continues improving and adding to what may be the largest moveset in the business, shes going to have a blindingly bright future. A little, but not much. He embodies skater stereotypes to a tee, which makes him one of the realest wrestlers on the independents today. I just look at it like this its a lot easier to look at the futures of people in, say, WWE than it is of people who wrestle in front of 30 people in an elementary school gymnasium. He has a grand total of nine televised matches in his NXT career, to go with five on WWE live events.
Beefs potential is nowhere near fully reached yet, and as we head into a future where hosses are back in control of pro wrestling, Beef should be at the top of the list for anybody looking to get a complete lunatic on their show. At only 17 years old, California native Charlie has since had two more matches under the GCW banner, both at this years Collective. He was unsuccessful, but it was an incredibly entertaining match that helped solidify his spot on the map. Drop me a line in the comments section below, or on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage), and let me know whats on your mind. Maybe theyre midcard (or lower) names who I feel have a shot at being World Champions. Many people wondered if he had what it takes to eventually work as a face.
Im just saying. That last part is the key thing to remember. Four months after making his debut, he defeated Isaiah Swerve Scott to win the NXT North American Title, and has helped to elevate the title with his impressive in-ring work. Hes so good as a loudmouth that you love to hate and immediately want to see get destroyed as he did in his match against AJ Gray at SUP Swing of the Axe during The Collective weekend. While she was on top of the womens division in Impact, she found time to climb the mountain elsewhere, defeating Faby Apache to win the AAA Reina de Reinas Title, which she still holds to this day. No matter where he is, he is in the spotlight, and he gets a chance to put on a show, win or lose. From being the guy with the sword in the early pandemic to creating engaging social media content, merchandise, and matches he shows the importance of growth outside of the ring and how much it can impact your trajectory in the world of wrestling. While hes still doing a lot of good things for the NXT United Kingdom brand, its still not something that the average WWE fan knows anything about.
It was there that we saw White challenge Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title and the IWGP Intercontinental Title. As one of the most gifted performers in the business today, hes still going to get mentioned in columns like this, no matter where he is. Hooray! Sting and Matt Hardy yeah, yeah, whatever. All four of them have had impressive showings everywhere from Paradigm Pro to Unsanctioned Pro to Southern Underground Pro in the last couple years. I come up with a list of the 30 wrestlers under the age of 30 that I think will have the brightest futures. WrestlingHeadlines.com is your daily source for pro wrestling news headlines. Your list doesnt have to be focused on the major promotions. Will Ospreay (Born on May 7th, 1993): As I type this, were mere minutes removed from Ospreay unsuccessfully trying to take the IWGP World Heavyweight Title from Kazuchika Okada on night two of New Japans Wrestle Kingdom 16 show. At one point, it looked like Bate would be the clear choice. While remaining a comedy act, he was then able to show more of a serious side to him in a feud with Duke Hudson. Not because of her talent, but because we dont know whats next for her. He has already completed the transition from Junior Heavyweight in New Japan to Heavyweight in New Japan. Ive watched her continue to grow as a performer, and have seen her make great strides from the time she first arrived in AEW in April 2020 to now. Does it really matter? Rhea Ripley (Born on October 11th, 1996): It has actually become pretty difficult to make any sort of predictions about Rhea Ripleys future. IN THE LAST HALF OF 2020, NO ONE HAS RAISED THEIR STOCK MORE THAN BIG CALLUX. Hook (Born on May 4th, 1999): Well, the hype is certainly there, thats for sure. Daniel Garcia (Born on September 17th, 1998): This is one of those entries that features someone who hasnt exactly done much as far as what the mainstream audience has seen, so its all about potential.
When all could have been lost for Liv, the last seven months are when she has achieved the most singles success of her WWE career. If that continues, and if he continues improving and impressing in the ring, why wouldnt he have a bright future? He got a prime spot with AJ Styles, and then looked unbeatable from the start, basically beating Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods by himself at WrestleMania to win the Raw Tag Team Titles. Bron Breakker (Born on October 24th, 1997): The brand new NXT Champion. At the time, he was the PWG World Champion, one-third (with Flamita and Rey Horus) of the RoH Six-Man Tag Team Champions, as well as The Crash Heavyweight Champion. Some of the things these two do are absolutely insane and their respective backgrounds in shoot fighting and martial arts take their in-ring ability to the next level. IN AN AGE OF WRESTLING WHERE THERE ARENT ENOUGH BIG MEN, CALLUX FILLS THE MISSING ROLE PERFECTLY WITH AN INCREDIBLE MIX OF SIZE, POWER, AND AGILITY THAT REMINDS US OF A NEW AGE BIG BOSS MAN OR ABYSS. While it can be argued that Bate was never a big singles star for NXT, outside of those NXT United Kingdom Title matches, Dunne has worked his way into the main event scene for the brand. Hes getting better and more confident every single week. The kid has skills. Hes simply too good to ignore. Bandido (Born on April 17th, 1995): In last years 30 Under 30, Bandidos entry was filled with a ton of mystery. It honestly qwhite interesting that Trish Adora isnt on more shows seeing how much of a star she is but something tells me that in 2021, promoters everywhere will have no choice but to buy-in to our world champion. Its not that I dont know or care about the small independents. Something tells us that by the end of this year, Mack will end up with a 1000 day reign and on our televisions in some form. Combined, theyre poised to have huge years in 2021, possibly reaching beyond the midwest and making themselves known to indies around the country. Give it to me, WWE. When a new calendar year arrives, you already know that youre going to see success for Iwatani. Hes more than just a deathmatch wrestler, too. When Rhea dropped the title to Charlotte Flair, people had flashbacks to her loss to Flair at WrestleMania 36, which was what put an end to her push in the first place. The mysterious promos with his eerie voice inflection giving off Twilight Zone vibes made me interested in ONeal before I even saw him in the ring. That was the only thing I felt was missing from his act. Our coverage includes WWE, AEW, IMPACT, NJPW, ROH, MLW and more. After their second consecutive Match Of The Year (to me), Dragunov would finally defeat WALTER to win the NXT UK Title. Leigh is an intense performer and gives it all in the ring and most of the time we watch her wrestle, someone is leaving with a bloody nose or mouth, and its usually her. With a new year, its time for me to bring my 30 Under 30 column back. Even if she loses to Ruby Soho, though, its pretty clear that she has arrived and that shes going to be a major force in the AEW womens division for what could be years to come. Hudson brings a shooter style to the table that perfectly encapsulates PPWs attempt to revive UWFi rules, while Miles is the ultimate underdog that makes himself impossible not to root for. Formerly Lords of Pain (LOP), we have been publishing WWE news and rumors since 1998!
Something tells me that Erica Leigh is going to capture championships and contracts in 2021 unless her sicko tweets get in the way. Carmelo Hayes (Born on August 1st, 1994): Christian Casanova was really making a name for himself in the northeastern part of the United States when he signed with WWE. If you know, you know, though.
Each of them have their own unique personalities and in-ring style, with Puf and Ronnie leaning a bit towards the comedy aspect when they team as the Beverage Barons, Blackwood being a scrappy striker and Daniel Garcia being hands-down one of the best technical wrestlers in America if not the entire world today. Hes got the talent. Im not saying I need him to be Goldberg, taking himself as serious as a heart attack, but it couldnt hurt to let his in-ring work shine more than his character work. Its not like shes a complete dumpster fire in the ring, either. Cora Jade (Born on January 14th, 2001): When she first arrived on the scene in NXT, I didnt think much of it. Only Max. Personally, we think he should bring the sword back but honestly thats just us. AKIRA is here to stay. Thats it. Two months later, he challenged for Kenny Omegas AEW World Title. Sasha Banks (Born on January 26th, 1992): Sometimes, it feels like Sasha has been wrestling on Raw and Smackdown since 2005. Alright. While I wont sit here and say that doesnt matter at all, I will say that it clearly doesnt matter much to Stardom. Theyre both young and immensely talented, and they were able to showcase themselves on the WWE Network on multiple occasions. Becoming the new Million Dollar Man and then actually interacting with the original Million Dollar Man himself was a lot of fun, and it concluded with him becoming the new Million Dollar Champion. The Deathmatch Samurai has the guts, innovation and motivation to last as long as anybody on or off this list. Anna Jay (Born on July 15th, 1998): Heres a woman who really doesnt have a ton of in-ring experience, pretty much starting her career with AEW. When you combine his popularity with his high-quality performances in big-time matches, its only a matter of time before the door is off its hinges completely. It would be rated as one of the best debut matches of all-time, and she has only gotten better since. The WWE Universe has really started to rally around here, so she might be here to stay, even if she is unable to take the title off of Becky Lynch. He and the rest of MexiSquad would drop the RoH Six-Man Tag Titles, as well. Her in-ring performances give an air of legitimacy in independent wrestling. It has been all uphill ever since. Utami Hayashishita (Born on September 14th, 1998): In the Bron Breakker entry, I talked about how wrestlers like he and Kurt Angle just got it right off the bat, looking incredibly impressive from the very beginning of their pro wrestling careers.
Theres just something about Erica Leigh that screams star power. Thats nothing but good news for Darby right now. When Max first started truly making their presence felt in the middle of 2020, they were already terrifying, but in the last few months, they have transformed into a monster.
When you peel it back a bit more and look at his promos and his charisma, thats where people begin to have problems with him.
As soon as she appears on your screen, you take notice of her. Last year our 20 For 20 feature was well-received, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring it back for 2021. I think hes in a good spot right now, in a place where he can continue to get those things and continue to grow. Personally, Im waiting for what I feel is the inevitable showdown between Bate and Ilja Dragunov. The only thing missing during his time in AEW is title belts, as he is 0-2 in them, but you have to assume that will change and change soon. He has taken Darby Allin to the limit twice, and has done the same to CM Punk and Eddie Kingston. That part is fun. Over in Japan, you could say the same for Utami Hayashishita. Similarly, the first time we saw Jordan Blade we were instantly hooked watching her throw people around and bend their arms and ligaments in ways we didnt think were possible.
Billie has seemingly put in nothing but star-making performances when she wrestles. You cant be the present and the future.
PPW Fighting Spirit Heavyweight Grand Prix 2, Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Championship, PLAYLIST: JOHNNY WRESTLING - THE BEST OF JOHNNY GARGANO, WHY THEY RULE: WHY CHRIS HERO IS PHOENIX NITRO'S FAVORITE WRESTLER, ALLIE KATCH'S HARDCORE WORKOUT MUSIC PLAYLIST. Then, The Undertaker would go on record saying that Omos is as close as weve come to seeing Andre The Giant since Andre himself. Its not a transition that every Junior Heavyweight is able to pull off, but he did it with style, going on to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Title in April. At just 22 years of age, The Prize has become a mainstay of Limitless Wrestling in Maine where he has undoubtedly solidified himself as the future for that promotion. In any case, all of that positive energy almost went right out the window as soon as the bell rang. Both Freddie Hudson and Dont Die Miles have been raising their stock through their appearances in Paradigm Pro this year. Sadly, the kid knows how good he is and will let you know it.
Maxs unique look paired with their incredible power and hunger for destruction makes them an incomparable force in wrestling today. Her performances on the PolyAM Cult shows as well as in AIW alongside Derek Dillinger as The Production have all shown how good of a performer she is as a wrestler and manager. Its a meteoric rise, especially considering she isnt even old enough to legally buy alcohol yet. The main thing working against her is something Ive mentioned a few times in my columns through the years, and thats the physical toll that wrestling has put on her body. Thats cool and all, but with the world going to hell in a handbasket, he wasnt getting to appear for those promotions at all, let alone as an active and defending champion. I dont remember the first year I did this column, but its been a tradition for years now, and I love doing it. Those two matches, both losses (one to Xia Li on February 10th of this year, and one to Franky Monet on May 25th), combined to last a total of 3:56. Last years Wrestle Kingdom show seems like such a long time ago. Pete Dunne (Born on January 31st, 1993): A few years back, there was a big debate about whether Pete Dunne or Tyler Bate would have the biggest career in North America. What about going to Impact, where Juice Robinson (her fianc) has been working? That doesnt guarantee success or anything, but its a certainly a good indicator, based on history, that Vince is high on somebody. The only knock people seem to have about her is that her personality and charisma may not be on the same level as a lot of the other top talents that have come and gone through Stardom. Im just mentioning the comments that youll see when someone has won as much as Mayu Iwatani has in Stardom. For the time being, the future appears to be now with the NXT 2.0 brand, as they have put a ton of their eggs in the Bron basket. The youngest wrestler on our list, Billie Starkz has taken huge strides in 2020. She is a part of the new class of east coast performers that have been making a name from themselves over the last two years. As of right now, we dont know what her plans here, but Im keeping her listed tentatively. His reign would come to an end after six weeks due to a neck injury he suffered, but he has shown that he can, and will, be a major player for the company moving forward. With all the exciting high flyers like The Rascalz, Ben Carter and Alex Zayne signing major contracts, it feels like a no-brainer for Brayden Lee to be taking their spots on these notable independent shows. He showed out against Levi Everett at Black Label Pro, then followed it up a bit later with a spectacular hoss fight against Rip Byson at Limitless Vacationland Cup event. My 30 Under 30 for 2022. Pre-WWE (at least the official signing in 2018, and not the occasional matches for the company in years prior), she had some good runs in Ring Of Honor, Stardom and TNA. She has been a bit of a standout performer since the start of the Toxic Attraction stable with Mandy Rose and Jacy Jayne. Toni Storm (Born on October 19th, 1995): Admittedly, there might be an asterisk attached to this one now that she has been released from her WWE contract. Maybe its this confidence that makes him good in the first place. In terms of deathmatch wrestlers, nobody made more of a name for themselves this year than AKIRA. That makes it so strange to place her on lists like this where you look at how bright someones future might be. I hope your holidays went as well as you deserved them to be. Theres also the nagging questions and comments about whether or not she has done everything there is to do with Stardom, and if she should ply her craft elsewhere. Then, she pulled off the upset victory over Monet. Whether or not you enjoy the story being told, it should come as no surprise that Vince McMahon is randomly working with Theory on television now. They can be title contenders right away when he comes back. Since returning from her latest injury, she has put on some impressive performances, culminating in her final match of 2021, where she and Tay Conti defeated Penelope Ford and The Bunny on Rampage in one of the wildest Street Fights youre going to see. Yet another unsuccessful attempt, but it was also yet another really good match. Nobody in the world of mainstream pro wrestling looks like her. Its not like she needs those things, but hey, theyre still on the table for her.