Here we go with the Top 10 independent stars of the world this week on the Indy Power Rankings on The Barbwire Blog; where we rank the best professional wrestlers from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico, from Europe to Japan. we’ll count down the 10 most popular wrestlers in the world this week, hot off the votes from the online poll as well as the votes from independent wrestling writers for the week ending January 12, 2015. Now, on with the countdown!
Indy Power Rankings for the Week of January 12th, 2015
1. Blake Steel (@BlakeIsOK)-After really getting on a roll in 2014, he struggled down the stretch towards the end of 2014 and missed out on the 2014 IPR 100 entirely. On January 10th, he sought redemption in the form of the PGP Ryan Buckley Memorial Tournament. It was the first of its kind and Blake Steel came to fight that night. Despite an attack by Ethan Page post-match that injured his left arm, Steel was able to defeat Tommaso Ciampa in the Finals after knocking off Louis Lyndon and then Ethan Page earlier in the night. A 3-0 weekend and the first ever Buckley Memorial Cup winner not only impressed over the weekend, but made it almost impossible for the official voters not to vote for him. We hope to see more big things out of him as 2014 rolls on. Also of note, this was a TIGHT voting race between 1-3. As always, the fan vote MATTERED as while Sugar Dunkerton had more votes than Blake Steel, Blake received just another votes in the fan poll to sneak him ahead of Dunkerton this week in the “total points/votes.” Tied for #5 in the online poll with 27 votes.
2. Sugar Dunkerton (@SugarDunkerton)-In October 2014, we talked to Sugar Dunkerton on IPR Live on Weekly Wrestling Podcast (now under the Elite Podcast umbrella) and we discussed him never being able to be “the guy” in any company he’s worked for. He’s been a key piece and integral part of a card anywhere he goes, but over the weekend, he took the bull by the horns. First, he defeated Chris Hero in what was described as a fantastic match and then he won the Strong Style “Defining Moment” Battle Royal to become the first ever Strong Style Wrestling Champion. Truly a phenomenal weekend for a wrestler who hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit for what he does in and out of the ring. #2 in the online poll with 191 votes.
3. Rich Swann (@GottaGetSwann)-Going into WWN Live’s HUGE weekend in Florida, Rich Swann may have been the overlooked man as far as their champions went. Between Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann, and Drew Galloway, many expected Gargano and Galloway to have the better weekend. Swann succeeded a bit more than them in terms of shear match quantity. 3 matches. 3 wins (albeit with one of them being a DQ and one being a 6 Man Tag). A win is a win is a win however as Swann conquered Florida once again over the weekend to jump back into the Top 10. After JUST missing out on the 2014 IPR 100, Swann has some good momentum in the early part of 2015. He came very close to being higher, but the fans didn’t come to his aid this week as he received ZERO fan votes. Again, fan vote matters.
4. KENSO-The GAORA TV Champion had a big week leading to his first ranking this week as he defeated Yohei Nakajima at AJPW on 1/7 in a non-title match, then defeated Naoya Nomura at AJPW on 01/10 to retain the title, then defeated Masashi Aoyagi on 01/11 to go 3-0 for the week. It may have taken a little bit of time, but since his departure from the WWE several years ago, he has experienced a lot of success in the Land of the Rising Sun. With that success this week came his first very first ranking. Now with so much international talent making waves in the IPR Top 10, can he make establish some consistency going forward throughout 2015? We’ll have to wait and see.
5. Johnny Gargano (@JohnnyGargano)-The DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate Champion and overall #13 in the 2014 IPR 100 receives his first ranking of 2015 this week as he successfully defended his title vs. Shane Strickland on 1/9 at EVOLVE and then followed that up with a big 6 Man Tag Team victory as he teamed with Ronin teammates Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann to defeat Moose & The Bravado Brothers, forcing them to break up. He was #3 in the IPR 100 in 2013 and then fell 10 spots in 2014. We’re just a few weeks into 2015 and he’s already making an impact. If he can continue to defend that title against big names, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing yet another high ranking in the IPR 100 for 2015 at the end of the year. Until then, he’ll continue to be one of the best on the indies.
6. Biff Busick (@_StarDESTROYER)-After getting a #1 last year when he won the CZW World Title, Busick really failed to make as much of an impact for the rest of 2014. Sure he had fantastic match after fantastic match, but he was unable to string together a lot of victories in singles to get himself very high into the Top 10. 2015 is looking up for Busick as the #32 in the 2014 IPR 100 defeated Trevor Lee at Evolve on 01/09; then defeated Uhaa Nation at Evolve on 01/10 to go 2-0 for the week. Definitely a couple of strong wins against top competition leading to this ranking.
7. Drew Galloway (@TheDrewMcIntyre)-Very few finished as well in late 2014 as Drew Galloway. The EVOLVE Champion not only defended titles all over the world, but he added further gold to his collection in country after country. This week was a continuation of that success as the #14 in the 2014 IPR 100 fought to a no contest vs. Roderick Strong at EVOLVE on 1/9, then beat last year’s IPR #1 and IPR Wrestler of the Year, Ricochet at EVOLVE on 1/10 to retain the title. It’s hard to argue that any single victory was bigger over the weekend and thus, the reason for his ranking. 2014 was a HUGE year for him. With a win like that, we expect nothing less in 2015.
8. Mojo McQueen (@MojoMcQueen)-Here’s a name that perhaps a lot of fans of wrestling, whether it be independent wrestling or otherwise, may not be too familiar with. He is the NEW UW Champion after he defeated Brendan Conway in the first round of their title tournament, then defeated Ovirload on 01/10 in the semis and then “Delicious” Danny Scott in the final the same night to become the inaugural champion and go 3-0 for the week. A 3-0 week honestly might garner him a higher ranking on most weeks, but with so many “big names” picking up victories and defending titles, it was tough to get into the mix this week. Let’s see what the rest of 2015 brings for him.
9. El Patron Alberto (@VivaDelRio)-When looking at his ranking, keep in mind that his ROH work this year is not eligible for what he has done on the indies as we no longer consider ROH an independent wrestling promotion. That being said, the former Alberto Del Rio is having one GREAT 2015. He is the NEW WWL World Heavyweight Champion (and AAA World Champion) after he defeated Glamour Boy Shane and “El Mesias” Ricky Banderas on 01/06 to win the title. He has won 6 of his last 8 matches (excluding ROH). Solid start to the year and with as much as he’s been getting around, he’s got a lot of chance for growth moving forward.
10. Dave Crist (@OIFK1324)-Usually noted for tags, ½ of Ohio is for Killers has gotten off to a hot start with some success at Rockstar Pro. He holds multiple tag team titles and while Jake holds the singles glory at Rockstar Pro at the moment, Dave came through with a 2-0 week in tags with 2 different partners. He teamed with Matt Taylor at Rockstar Pro to win a losers must disband match against The Fight (Kyle Maverick, Jerrod Harris, Draven, & Samantha Heights) on 1/7, then teamed with Jake Crist at CZW on 01/10 to beat Papadon & Pepper Parks to retain the CZW World Tag Team Titles to run his record to 2-0 for the week. He’s also on the tag team poll this week should you care to cast a vote for The Crist Brothers. #8 in the online poll.
Honorable Mention. Zakk SpadeZ-After being ranked last week, strangely, SpadeZ wins the Rockstar Pro American Luchacore Title from Alex Colon on 1/7 yet gets snubbed by the official voters. It’s been a great 2 weeks for an up and comer on the Midwest indy scene as he has now won 3 matches in the last 2 weeks. #4 in the online poll with 42 votes.
People’s Champ. Cassidy Cain-The NEW SEPW Heavyweight Champion DOMINATED the online voting competition this week with 191 votes. With 50 more votes than 2nd place Sugar Dunkerton, it was his fans that truly did make him People’s Champ this week.
Here’s what he had to say about the result of the fan vote:
Sixteen hours. I only found out about being put on the Indy Power Rankings ballot 16 hours ago. I asked my loyal amazing ballin ass fans to vote for Cassidy Cain – Professional Wrestler on a whim to be Indy Power Ranking’s People’s Champ of the Week. And in only 16 hours, nearly TWO HUNDRED people voted to make me number one! Not only did we win, but we won with like a 40 vote margin or somethin like that! And I was in a class with the best freakin wrestlers around! From Sugar Dunkerton, to Zakk Spades, to the Crist brothers, to Matt Hardy, to Alberto friggin del Rio. And Cassidy Cain’s fans came to represent!!!
I didn’t win any poll, YOU won! Thank you all for continuing the greatest week I’ve had in a long time, and it’s all thanks to you guys. Everything I do is for you. Thank you a thousand times over. I gotta do something fun for you guys now. I’ll think about it and get back to you. I would never call myself the greatest wrestler in the world…But I for damn sure have the greatest fans in the world! Love you all! Thanks again!
That’s why the fan vote matters, folks.
Others missing out/receiving votes:
JD Mariani-#3 in the online poll with 61 votes
Falco-Tied for #5 in the online poll with 27 votes
Danny Duggan-#6 in the online poll
Brute Van Slyke-#7 in the online poll
Will Huckaby-#9 in the online poll
John Wayne Murdoch
Joey Triton-#10 in the online poll
And there you have it, the 10 of the most popular independent wrestling stars of the world as voted by the fans as well as independent wrestling writers across the country. To check out their official web site where YOU can participate in the weekly online poll voting, visit indypowerrankingsipr.wordpress.com as well as their Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/IndyPowerRankings. They can be found on Twitter @IndyPowerRankin. They can also be found on Instagram @IndyPowerRankings.
You can follow me on Twitter @matthewhollie as well as The Barbwire Blog’s official accounts: