Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The 2013 TWB 100 Slow Release: #100-#76

Roderick Strong was the last one in this year
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The main run of the TWB 100 kicks off today with the first 25 entrants. Let's get it started:

100. Roderick Strong
Points: 405
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 22nd Place (Steve Hummer)
Last Year's Placement: 62nd Place

99. Paul London
Points: 407
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 16th Place (Chris McDonald)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Paul London's return to Ring of Honor coinciding with my first ever Internet pay-per-view purchase was a godsend. He made a match with Davey Richards not only enjoyable but downright cromulent. In addition to his work in PWG, London was one of the best special-attraction indie guys of the year. A guy of his experience didn't have to bump like he was in ladder matches in his pre-WWE days, but he kept going hard. Any time he popped up on tape, I was enthralled.

Taker's signature in-ring moment from 2013
Photo Credit: WWE.com
98. The Undertaker
Points: 414
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 11th Place (TJ Hawke)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Undertaker wrestled three matches in 2013. Two of them were among the best of the year, and the third was a decent jaunt on a Smackdown against a guy who could have used the exposure. He and CM Punk had the best at WrestleMania, and then weeks later, he arguably was the star performer in a match that included The Shield and Daniel Bryan. His quantity may not have been up there, but his quality in that short sample size of matches landed him a spot late on my ballot.

TJ Hawke: As my wrestling passion adapts to the current product available, I find myself interested in fewer companies, matches, and wrestlers. I used to be able to watch any match from any wrestler from any company, but I’ve found that I just no longer feel like that practice is worth my time. I think there’s multiple reasons why (getting older, natural repetitiveness of the art, the feeling I’ve “seen it all,” etc.), and that had caused me to cherish quality over quantity more than ever before. In 2013, no one in North American represented “quality over quantity” more than The Undertaker.

The man only had three matches, and one of them was what will likely end up being his last victory at WrestleMania. Despite a shaky build, Taker and CM Punk pretty much saved WrestleMania with their great match that provided great drama and excitment on the biggest wrestling show of the year. The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak gimmick has been one of the more exciting things in wrestling since 2007. The 2013 match was special enough for me to rank The Undertaker highly on the list of best North American wrestlers for sure.

97. Tyler Breeze
Points: 422
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 9th Place (Angelo Castillo)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Brandon Stroud: His entrance alone merits him a spot on this list. Honored to be in the first crowd that gave him a "that was awesome" for it. He was at the very beginning of my first trip to Full Sail, and I'll love him for it no matter how many times WWE Network glitches on his entrance and tries to ruin it.

Kimber Lee giving Allysin Kay the what-for
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
96. Kimber Lee
Points: 428
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 15th Place (Frank McCormick)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: A lot of wrestlers excel at playing one side of the coin in the ring, but when called upon to work the other alignment, they fail. Lee was asked to wrestle as both a heel and a face, depending on the promotion, and she did well at both. In CZW and WSU, she worked the crowd into a frothy lather with her underhanded tactics, and in Beyond Wrestling, she was able to draw on babyface fire to make comebacks and show she could lead a crowd back into a match (her Beyond matches that I saw were in front of "the boys," so it was a skewed crowd). She has an innate grasp on how to orchestrate a match to get the desired results, and that kind of savvy at her age is amazing.

Alex Torres: If Kimber Lee isn't already the best women's wrestler in the United States, and for my money she is, then by this time next year she will be.

Martin Bentley: There are many women with bright futures on the independent scene. If she carries on the path she's treading right now, Kimber Lee may have the brightest of them all.

From her role in Drew Gulak's Campaign for a Better Combat Zone, which sometimes involves her having skewers stuck in her head courtesy of people like Christina Von Eerie, to her fun turn in Wrestling is Fun as the obnoxious Princess Kimberlee, to being pure awesome in the likes of WSU and Beyond Wrestling, even to her rare appearances in SHINE (including a match booked as a rib where she took on Kimberly), anywhere Kimber Lee was in 2013, she got noticed, and left a heck of an impression, as well as some stiff kicks and suplexes.

Most notably, 2013 was Kimber's debut in SHIMMER, where she stood out in two fronts, both in amazing singles matches with the likes of Evie, Athena and Kana, and as a part of probably the most fun female team on the indies right now, the Kimber Bombs with Cherry Bomb. In addition, Kimber made a hell of a mark on the 2013 JT Lightning Invitational Tournament in AIW, defeating both Bobby Beverly and Louis Lyndon to reach the semifinals, before falling to Johnny Gargano, and earning his respect.

If anyone is in the running for the title of "the next Sara del Rey", then I feel Kimber Lee is the closest. Her base and kicks certainly resemble Death Rey's, and if she has a career anything like the current NXT trainer's, she'll go down as one of the greats.

Joe Roche: If the only wrestling shows I saw Kimber Lee in during 2013 were the Block A, Block B and Tournament For Tomorrow 2 tapings for Beyond Wrestling, I'd still put her on this list. Lee's matches with JT Dunn in 2013 were all excellent but the standout match she had for me this year was an outright brawl with Allysin Kay that included a curling iron being used as a weapon. During that same taping Lee had an incredibly hard hitting match with Rory Mondo that legitimately seemed like it ended with Rory being dead. Lee has a brutal feud with Christina Von Eerie in CZW which plays perfectly whenever they're around each other and let us not forget that she had a really good match with Kana at SHIMMER 59.

Rob Pandola: She was so good as a heel in Wrestling is Fun that people cheered for Portia Perez, but so good as a face that you want to boo JT Dunn. She's a great striker, her kicks are no joke, throws a hell of a German Suplex, and IS CZWs women's division. No one is more ready to have a break out 2014 than her.

John Rosenberger: Man did anyone on the indies have a better back half of 2013 than JT Dunn? The man who was for a while one of the best kept secrets in all of pro-wrestling blew up big time this past year. Beyond Wrestling’s explosion shined a light on a lot of relatively new faces but nobody picked up that ball and ran with it more than Dunn. His flow is so smooth and his move set feels fresh, I can’t wait to see what’s next for The Juice.

95. Summer Rae
Points: 432
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 22nd Place (Angelo Castillo)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Scott T. Holland: Summer Rae shined at times in 2013 when allowed to actually be a wrestler, specifically her two matches in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament. Her semifinal loss to Emma was the best non-title match of the tournament, and it showed what happens when women are allowed to perform as individual wrestlers with unique physical traits instead of all wrestling the same style of match regardless of build or frame.

94. Jigsaw
Points: 438
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 19th Place (Ryan Kilma)
Last Year's Placement: 39th Place

93. JT Dunn
Points: 438 (ranked ahead of Jigsaw based on highest vote tiebreaker)
Ballots: 10
Highest Vote Received: 13th Place (Tristan Wolfe)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Dunn busted out big in 2013 along with Beyond Wrestling's breakout due to getting chance after chance to hang with the best in the ring. His Tournament for Tomorrow weekend was an incredible three days packed with five marquee matches, including two with Kimber Lee. He has great potential to move alongside the indie strikers in 2014.

John Rosenberger: Man did anyone on the indies have a better back half of 2013 than JT Dunn? The man who was for a while one of the best kept secrets in all of pro-wrestling blew up big time this past year. Beyond Wrestling’s explosion shined a light on a lot of relatively new faces but nobody picked up that ball and ran with it more than Dunn. His flow is so smooth and his move set feels fresh, I can’t wait to see what’s next for The Juice.

Curtis Axel's push may have sucked, but he was a fine in-ring performer
Photo Credit: WWE.com
92. Curtis Axel
Points: 439
Ballots: 10
Highest Vote Received: 23rd Place (Jesse Powell)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: As a character, Axel was a failure, but he had an unfairly shat-upon run in the ring, especially during the summer. He always had a methodical grasp on the heat segments of matches, important as a heel working as a Champion. I always felt like he was the better wrestler in his series with Chris Jericho. His tag team run with Ryback at the end of the year was pretty good too. Again, conflating his character work with his in-ring feels wrong. His 2013 was solid at the very least.

Ryan Kilma: Poor Curtis Axel, had his Dad been Arn Anderson (Arn & Perfect are both from Minnesota, I'll look into it)we'd be praising him as a technical ring general with a lumberjack's grit. Despite becoming a splendid mat wrestler, Axel will never escape his father's Perfect shadow. The next generation superstars that succeded (Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt) had the benefit of lowered expectations, if you're going to criticize Axel for being imperfect and least thank him for not becoming David Flair or Nick Hogan.

Scott T. Holland: Erstwhile Paul Heyman guy Curtis Axel is a professional wrestler who appeared on my TV screen in 2013. He won the Intercontinental Title in a three-way match at Payback and defended it for more than five months before losing it to someone who has far more watchable wrestling matches. If you say nothing else about Axel, at least respect the guy throws a textbook PerfectPlex and has shown a mastery of the art of the near fall. He’s also one half of a fungible midcard tag team.

91. Estonian Thunder Frog
Points: 451
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 9th Place (Ryan Kilma)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: I was in the bag for the Thunder Frog as soon as I knew who he was because I love outlandish gimmicks. However, he surprisingly brought the thunder, pun intended, in the ring. He was able to work the mat wrestling style required of a Chikaraverse denizen despite being taller and bulkier than most of his competition. His theatrics and body language are natural. He always makes the match he's in a spectacle, but when he has to trade holds with a Drew Gulak or engage in a hate-feud with a member of the Bloc Party, he comes through. I expect big things from the Frog going forward.

Ryan Kilma: Like John Henry before him, this electric amphibian acheived folk hero status by picking up a hammer a striking a blow for the working class. Much of Daniel Bryan's grassroots appeal stemmed from nearly a decade of performing in front of dozens for gas money. Although it's been five years since the American Dragon stepped foot in a high school gymnasium (unless he has a niece in volleyball or something), the DIY spirit of independent wrestling is very much alive, and no one is continuing its legacy more eccentrically or beautifully than the Estonian ThunderFrog. ETF only had one CHIKARA match in 2013 (a cup of coffee at the Tag World Grand Prix w/ the Latvian Proud Oak) but became the placeholder of that fallen company via frantic antics stop gapped by tremendous professional wrestling. I might be CHIKARA (or you, or Icarus) but in all seriousness, Froggy is CHIKARA

90. TJ Perkins/Manik
Points: 451
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 9th Place (Ryan Kilma)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: TJ Perkins made the top ten on my ballot, and I did not see a single minute of footage of him as Suicide/Manik in TNA. His work in the indies, whether on the West Coast or Midwest, was among the best I've ever seen. While the indies have trended towards high spots galore, Perkins has taken the road back towards heavy mat-based influence and made art out of it. Few wrestlers were able to hybridize a stiff, highly impactful-looking execution into preliminary feeling-out process holds and exchanges the way Perkins did last year.

He had several matches to seek out. He provided a worthy challenge for the Champion in his main event battle against Jeremy Wyatt for the Metro Pro Championship on Episode 116. Even in a truncated timespan outdoors in overcast, windy weather, he managed to put on a clinic with Timothy Thatcher. His masterpiece for the year, however, came at PWG's All-Star Weekend 9 Night 2. The combination of mat wrestling mastery and lucha libre flair made it the highlight match not only on the card, but perhaps for the entire year for that company.

Samuel DiMascio: TJP has never really been a guy whose clicked for me but this year I had to give credit where credit was due because Perkins really had some stellar stuff going for him. Perkins managed to bring some of his swanky grappling to various indies without falling into a lot of traps that certain American indies sometimes do. His match against Timothy Thatcher for Bushido Pro was a wonderful grapplefest and probably one of the most memorable indie matches of the year for me. When Perkins took a trip to Metro Pro he found himself again in another swell match in another under-the-radar promotion this time against Jeremy Wyatt. In both matches Perkins more than held up his end and showed how well his fluid brand of wrestling can work. Oh, he also works for TNA? Yeah, that’s not too important.

Ethan Page's breakout match in 2013
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
89. "All Ego" Ethan Page
Points: 468
Ballots: 7
Highest Vote Received: 8th Place (Philip Rosenbaum)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Alex Torres: The best character in independent wrestling. No one on the scene provides the entertainment value that he does.

Martin Bentley: Jesus wears a cross with Ethan Page on it. "All Ego" isn't just a catchphrase with this guy, it's a way of life, and it's brought him to a fantastic 2013, albeit with one slight bump in the road.

Thanks to a problem at the US/Canada border, which resulted in Page not being able to make a booking with Ring of Honor, promotions now have to be careful in how they advertise him, with most settling on the hashtag #AllEgo to promote him on posters. Still, with lesser guys, they'd have given up. There's a reason after all this why the likes of AIW and AAW continue to make Page a major priority on their shows.

The year started at National Pro Wrestling Day, where Page and long time running buddy Josh Alexander arguably stole the entire day in representing AIW, bringing fresh eyes to the Cleveland promotion. After a faked feud with his valet Seleziya Sparx, Page wound up winning the 2013 JT Lightning Invitational Tournament, and would turn this into becoming AIW Absolute Champion with a win over Colin Delaney, who had just won the belt himself, at Absolution VIII. Page would run into UltraMantis Black at Double Dare and lose the title to him, but he would regain it right at the end of 2013 at Dead Presidents... only to then lose it right to Michael Elgin on the same show.

In AAW, Page initially took over the tag team division with Alexander as the Monster Mafia, and worked their way through the division in fantastic matches, getting to the semifinals of the Allegiance Tag Team Tournament. However, Alexander would get injured, resulting in Page looking for new partners. For the remainder of the tournament, Page turned to Ricochet, briefly forming the New Age Nation of Dominiation, but when they fell to Jimmy Jacobs and Silas Young in the final, Page turned on Ricochet. Once a tag title shot came calling, Page somehow convinced his fellow Ontarian Michael Elgin to be his partner, and somehow they won the titles as the Men of the Year.

Ethan Page used 2013 to set the stall for an even brighter future, not through confidence, but All Ego.

Joe Roche: Page is a bit of a throwback. He isn't going to impress you with you any one piece of his arsenal but as a total package, he just has "it." His victory in the JT Lightning Tournament felt like a big deal and was a great showcase for his ability (beating Gargano and Michael Elgin). His run with the AIW Heavyweight Title wasn't great, but he really impressed me in 2013 with his work in tag teams. The Monster Mafia is one of my favorite things in wrestling and you should absolutely go out of your way to see their match with The Young Bucks from IWL. Page also had a couple great tag team match as the New Nation of Domination (w/ Ricochet) at AAW Windy City Classic IX and he even made Kung Fu Manchu interesting with Michael Elgin as the Men of the Year. The other thing about Page is that he got appreciably better over 2013, he does a rope in ace crusher that looked a bit like garbage early in the year that now looks flawless. He's a big guy who has some power and a ton of charisma and I think he's poised for an even better 2014.

Rob Pandola: No one brought goofy, cocky heel work to the ring better than All Ego. His trash talking was on point the second he got in the ring, but his matches against UltraMantis Black, Johnny Gargano and ACH were great. His best opponent, and his best partner, was the Walking Weapon, Josh Alexander. From Philly to Turners Hall, they had great, standout matches against each other, but they truly shined as Monster Mafia. With matches against Team Ambition, Zero Gravity and Kung-Fu Manchu, they became the stand-out team in a deep AAW tag division, and one of the fastest rising stars on the indies.

88. Veda Scott
Points: 477
Ballots: 12
Highest Vote Received: 6th Place (Brandon Stroud)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Brandon Stroud: Veda Scott is legit. She can do anything. She's one of those wrestlers where you like her immediately, but when you really stop to think about and notice all the places she's been, things she's done and accolades she's received in almost no time in the business, it's incredible. She should be at the very top of everyone's favorite female wrestlers list, and at the top of most of the gender-neutral ones.

87. Samoa Joe
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 4th Place (Brock Lutefisk)
Last Year's Placement: 63rd Place

TH: I didn't watch a lot of TNA last year, but of the episodes of Impact I did catch, Joe was more often than not the standout performer if he had a match on the show. I don't pretend to know whether someone is "trying" from what I see on the screen, but Joe at least showed up and put his working boots on for the first part of the year last year. His inclusion on my ballot was due mostly for his match against Willie Mack at Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. Even with the shitty fancam video I watched (thanks, TNA's oppressive appearance policy for contracted talents appearing on outside dates!), I was amazed at his portion of the match. He brought good stiffness and gave Mack a lot to make the match live up to its dream potential.

86. Rey Mysterio
Points: 484
Ballots: 9
Highest Vote Received: 28th Place (Brandon Bosh, Joey Splashwater)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Mysterio didn't make a lot of ring time this year, but when he was able to lace up the boots, he put in some standout matches in perhaps the finest in-ring year on free television in WWE history. He had a decent sprint with Daniel Bryan in February, and he did some pinball bumping after he came back from injury in the fall. For a guy whose knees are made of papier mache at this point, he still bumps hard to help bring out the best in any match he's in, and his high flying game, though diminished over the years, is still an attribute.

Brandon Spears: Shame on everybody that gives Rey Mysterio hell for working with the knees he has. Obviously, his best years are behind him and he's certainly not able to do what he used to, but he's still Rey Mysterio and he's still able to captivate a crowd. Respect

85. Ophidian
Points: 484 (Ranked ahead of Rey Mysterio based on highest vote tiebreaker)
Ballots: 10
Highest Vote Received: 13th Place (Philip Rosenbaum)
Last Year's Placement: 78th Place

TH: I had soured on Ophidian in 2012 because he had developed a habit of wrestling in long matches without a proper idea of how to pace them. Following that year, the most pleasant surprise of 2013 was that he worked the longest match at Aniversario: Never Compromise, and I thought it could have gone even longer. He and Amasis told a brilliant story, and then afterwards, they reunited and picked up right where they left off in the tag ranks, having great matches all across the Wrestlings Are family of promotions. This past years was a nice bounceback for the master of Snake Style.

John Rosenberger: His commitment to character and movement showcasing his unique style makes him impossible not to watch. See also, being a sucker for the Canadian Destroyer.

84. Natalya
Ballots: 10
Highest Vote Received: 19th Place (Chris McDonald)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Scott T. Holland: Natalya earns points in my book more for her performances in the NXT ring than anywhere else, though her in-ring skill is not commensurate with her canonical reputation. Still, when given a bit of room to operate freely, she seems to understand her size as it relates to her competitors and is a worthy proving ground for the newer members of her division.

Mike Quackenbush's final in-ring year may have been 2013
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
83. Mike Quackenbush
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 17th Place (Danielle Matheson)
Last Year's Placement: 35th Place

TH: Quack may have wrestled his last match in 2013, but his in-ring career coda was impressive. He had an impressive run of mat-based sprints, including a too-short contest with Colt Cabana at National Pro Wrestling Day, an excellent finale in his series with Green Ant, and a rough-and-tumble match with Jaka at Wrestling Is Art's debut show. Quack may turn his attention more towards booking and announcing now, and while he'll succeed there, I will miss seeing him in the ring.

Dave Kincannon: Mike Quackenbush didn’t wrestle a lot in 2013. In fact, his last match of the year was in April, but those handful of matches were all so good, that it’s no surprise to me that he made the TWB 100.

Inside Chikara rings, he fought his former tag team partner, Jigsaw in a series of tag team and trios matches that culminated with, as of this writing, his last wrestling match. That match, at “The Shoulder of Pallas” during WrestleCon, saw Quack team with one of his heroes, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, and put on a clinic of mat wrestling and high flying. He put his already battered body through a lot, and was fortunate enough to come away with the win.

Outside of Chikara, Quackenbush had brilliant matches with the likes of Drew Gulak, Jaka and Green Ant. He also had a classic bout with Colt Cabana at National Pro Wrestling Day. These two men (along with referee Bryce Remsburg, who played a big part in the match) were able to use their bodies to create a piece of performance art that had me laughing out loud and applauding while sitting on my couch over 1700 miles away.

82. Kazarian
Points: 517
Ballots: 10
Highest Vote Received: 21st Place (Chris Harrington)
Last Year's Placement: 64th Place

81. Fire Ant
Points: 522
Ballots: 11
Highest Vote Received: 20th Place (John Rosenberger)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH:Fire Ant spent most of 2013 lost in the storyline portion of wrestling, but he was a great, if a little more subdued than usual, complement to Green Ant in tag matches. He was a bit more versatile than in previous years, but when he broke out his high spots, he nailed them for the most part. I also dug his work as more of a straight man to the whacked-out stylings of Los Ice Creams at various points of the year.

80. Hallowicked
Points: 531
Ballots: 11th Place
Highest Vote Received: 21st Place (Philip Rosenbaum)
Last Year's Placement: 54th Place

TH: I didn't see a lot of Hallowicked in 2013 in singles matches, but he did well in tags and trios matches. He added physical counterweight to Frightmare and did well taking the hot tag. I thought 2013 was a surprisingly low key year in terms of spotlight for 'Wicked, but he made the most of it in the ring, especially against the Colony: X-Treme Force at Aniversario and against the Wrecking Crew at the Wrestling Is Fun! Norristown show in the fall.

79. Cheerleader Melissa
Points: 546
Ballots: 7
Highest Vote Received: 4th Place (Willow Maclay)
Last Year's Placement: 87th Place

Martin Bentley: Cheerleader Melissa achieved the revenge she wanted in 2013, when after a year of hunting Saraya Knight down, she finally won back her SHIMMER Championship inside of a steel cage at WrestleMania Weekend. However, this was also the year when she turned her back on the fans after becoming champion.

In her previous reign, Melissa kind of took her eye off the ball, when Saraya attacked her and took the belt off her, so this time, she wasn't trusting anyone. As each title defence approached, Melissa got more and more aggressive, to the point of unfairly abusing her opponents, including popular stars such as Courtney Rush and Kalamity. Things came to a head when Melissa was invited to take part in Allison Danger's retirement tag team match - when Melissa aggrevated an old Danger injury (which Melissa had caused several years before), instead of backing off and allowing Danger one last moment before her retirement, she zeroed in on the injury, not caring one bit. Ayako Hamada would stop Melissa from doing further damage, only for Melissa to give Hamada an Air Raid Crash, so bad that we haven't seen Hamada in SHIMMER since.

From there, Melissa would keep attacking her opponents even after her matches, including the likes of Leva Bates and Hiroyo Matsumoto, before LuFisto got involved, sticking up for those who couldn't fight back. Their eventual match for the title was epic, with LuFi opening Melissa up to the point that it ended her amazing match streak in SHIMMER, stopping at an even 60 volumes, but it would be Melissa who would retain the title.

Melissa also had success with the Pro Wrestling Revolution Women's Title in California, and River City Wrestling in Texas, as well as taking on the likes of Allysin Kay and Courtney Rush in nCw Femmes Fatales, where she also renewed hostilities with LuFisto in tag team action. There is a reason why she was voted #1 in PWI's Female 50 for the year, ahead of big performances by the likes of AJ Lee and Mickie James, and Melissa certainly backed that up throughout 2013.

78. Chris Dickinson
Points: 554
Ballots: 8
Highest Vote Received: 8th Place (Alex Torres)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Alex Torres: Chris Dickinson is possibly actually crazy, and that's what makes him so compelling to watch. Dickinson's presence has helped mold ISW and CZW shows into more complete cards, and he has standout matches where ever he goes. Only Chris Dickinson can stop himself from being one of the most important names in indie wrestling.

Joe Roche: When you watch a Chris Dickinson match, there is a very real chance that you're watching someone shoot trying to hurt his opponent. I honestly have no idea if Dickinson is the one of the most convincing professional wrestlers in the world, or just an asshole who is trying to hurt people. I think this is a compliment to Dickinson, or it's very close to the truth and the next time he sees me, he might try to harm me. Dickinson had a really fun knockdown drag out brawl with Tommaso Ciampa in Beyond Wrestling (and another one with Kevin Steen), he also had some really good performances in CZW that put him on this list. Dickinson has the ability to be very funny in the ring. However, his kicks are brutal, his chops are stiff and he does things (like suplex a guy off a balcony stage) that just seems like it's being done by an actual psychopath.

Rob Pandola: The living, breathing embodiment of old school AJPW. An underrated submission game. One of the hardest, most viscous kickers I've ever seen live AND one of the best shit talkers. Three of the most painful looking finishers in wrestling (The Brain Eater, Burning Hammer and The Pazuzu Bomb). A great brawler, as his matches in AIW against Necro Butcher, Masada and Matt Tremont will attest to. He could hang with high flyers like AR Fox and technical wunderkinds like Drew Gulak. He's one of the reasons I love watching Beyond and ISW. Put all that together, and you have one of the most entertaining wrestlers to watch in a year where a lot of personalities broke thru. PAZUZU AWAITS!!!

Frank McCormick: I'm not a natural Chris Dickinson constituent. He's a macho meathead, misogynist, and homophobe. He's more than a bit scuzzy, and I don't really like scuzzy. But despite all of this, as I've gotten to see Dickinson go in WSU and ISW, I have to admit to being impressed. He's good, and he's hard-hitting, and you can't say he isn't committed to the scuzziness in his character (?). (And if WSU, where he bumps as hard for the women as the men, is any indication, Chris Dickinson the person, not the character, is a thorough professional, which is to his credit. Of course, these matches also usually involve oral sex sight gags, so...) If a wrestler makes you like him or her despite yourself, you have to give them their due props.

TJ Hawke: For a man who is often in the headlines (ie: talked about on Twitter) for the wrong reasons, Dickinson worked with a variety of promoters in 2013 (some of whom are not known for playing well with others). The man competed in Wrestling Is, CZW, AIW, AAW, ISW, Beyond Wrestling, and a few others (the fact that anyone was working for Deej, Quack, and ISDub at the same time was incredibly odd to me). More importantly than any of that scenery though is that Dickinson delivered memorable performances in just about every company he worked for. In a lean year for greatness in independent wrestling, Dickinson's accomplishments stood out to me more.

Ethan Carter III's TNA debut saw him arm dragging his future lackey across the ring
Photo Credit: ImpactWrestling.com
77. Michael Hutter/Derrick Bateman/Ethan Carter III
Points: 561
Ballots: 10
Highest Vote Received: 5th Place (Brandon Stroud)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Alex Torres: He's one sweet dude.

Mike Pankowski: TNA obviously does not do a lot of things right. But one of their best moves was bringing in the former Derrick Bateman and giving him the opportunity that the WWE never gave him. He does a great job of portraying his character in the ring while showing his power in the ring. I’m glad to see him get a chance to show off his potential.

Brandon Spears: It warms my heart to see that Derrick Bateman is consistently the best thing on TNA television, though it shouldn't surprise anyone. Carter carries an air of arrogance with him that is just plain fun to watch even when he's met with his comeuppance.

Brandon Stroud: When people get released from WWE, no matter who they are, people jump to defend them. OH I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS GUY GOT RELEASED. THEY JUST DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO USE HIM. THEY DIDN'T USE HIM RIGHT. ECIII is the only time I've ever really done that as a functioning adult. The timing was bad for him there, and he got injured at the worst possible times ... and then he showed up on Impact as the one ex-WWE guy who didn't FEEL like an ex-WWE guy. He feels new. Exciting. Really weird. On top of that he keeps getting better in the ring, and he's got that hyper professional wrestling training so he KNOWS how to wrestle on television. He gets it more than almost anyone else in the company, especially out of the young guys.

If TNA's going to sign goobers like Gunner to long term contracts, EC3 needs one of those decade-long Mark Henry deals.

76. Fandango
Points: 59
Ballots: 12
Highest Vote Received: 28th Place (Angelo Castillo)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Fandango, after a hot debut, got shoved into midcard comedy matches right quick. Despite the lack of focus, he did the yeoman's work and made every match he was in better to watch for his inclusion. He was one of WWE's best heel workers, and he made use of crowd work and taunting better than a good percentage of the roster. He also took some big bumps in the Money in the Bank ladder match. I wish he would change his finisher up, because he's not going to last long doing the guillotine leg drop. Either way, he was a notable bright spot on a strong WWE roster last year.

Andrew Rosin: Even if it was just for one night, Fandango was the most popular wrestler in the world.

Tomorrow, the second quarter…