Thursday, March 17, 2016

The 2015 TWB 100: 51 Through 75

Jay Briscoe kicks off today's TWB 100 portion
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The first quadrant of wrestlers for the TWB 100 were unveiled yesterday. I don't want to keep you waiting too much longer as the list gets up to the halfway point.

75. Jay Briscoe
Points: 1269
Ballots: 22
Highest Vote: 13th Place (Matthew Hollinger)
Last Year's Placement: 45th Place

TH: Jay Briscoe is one of the best brawlers in indie wrestling history, period. He got plenty of opportunity to show it off, even though some of his matches were marred by overbooking *cough cough*Anniversary Show*cough cough*. He had no shortage of great matches to back up his reputation, including an excellent bout with Bobby Fish at the New Japan set of shows in Philly. Say what you want about him otherwise, but the elder Briscoe is a fine in-ring competitor.

Bob RT: Hate him or love him, he was strong in 2015, delivering in pretty much whatever was asked of him, including the amazing build to Best In The World, where he and Jay Lethal put on a classic.

Photo Credit:
74. Johnny Gargano
Points: 1277
Ballots: 28
Highest Vote: 17th Place (Stygimoloch)
Last Year's Placement: 75th Place

Bob RT: Another indie lifer getting the call to NXT, and he did not disappoint.

Butch Rosser: The lucky bastard and future Mr. LeRae found himself on the biggest stage of his career to date with a few matches in NXT that got the formerly unfamiliar more acquainted with Johnny Wrestling, and he even got to notch a few W's in the process. Of course, this happened in conjunction with a tag title run over in EVOLVE, alongside a tag team partner that's probably Reason #3,292 that Jim Cornette's going to stroke out before the year's over, but that's here nor there--the important thing is that we engineer a situation where Baron Corbin yells at him to go back to IWA Mid-South.

Photo Credit:
73. Stardust
Points: 1290
Ballots: 27
Highest Vote: 15th Place (Frank McCormick)
Last Year's Placement: 28th Place

Bill Bicknell: Look, Stardust had a pair of giant leather guardian lions standing next to him at ringside so he could make Frank Gorshin faces while I clapped like a baby. That's a fast track to my heart.

Jeff Stormer: Whether it was his open challenge with Cena or his SummerSlam match with Stephen Amell, Stardust was a workhorse in 2015, delivering in whatever he was asked to do.

Bob RT: Cody got the most out of what he could with the gimmick that has become staler than week old bread, but when a (B-list) celebrity match is your highlight of the year, it probably wasn't a great year, and I think the man behind the paint is ready to move on from it.

Butch Rosser: I was far less offended by the Artist Formerly Known As Cody keeping up his Gorshin persona than by him being another victim of main roster booking hot garbage (noticing a pattern in this part of the countdown?) and sticking him with the essentially DOA Ascension (remember the last parenthesis like two seconds ago?). Still, it's not as if he's lost any in-ring steps; the tag match against Stephen Arnell at SummerSlam where he failed this city proved that much. He should still get to put a paper bag over the head of everyone who's consigned him this far down the ladder, however.

Scott Holland: I don’t have a way to put this into words that sound good, but Stardust inhabits his persona incredibly well — every movement connects physically and conceptually. It’s just hard for me to not be bummed about what we’re not getting to see.

Photo Credit:
72. Scott Dawson
Points: 1291
Ballots: 31
Highest Vote: 20th Place (Willow Maclay)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Dawson showed flashes in the past of being an above-average worker, so it's not entirely surprising he took a step forward as part of the Revival. He and Dash Wilder are arguably the backbone of the newly revitalized tag division in NXT because they are so good at playing the old-school, grumpy, limb-hating heels.

Jeff Stormer: I like Scott Dawson slightly more than Dash Wilder, but I think that's just because I've been aware of Dawson for longer.

Bob RT: Came from out of nowhere to become a staple of the NXT tag division. Proof once again as to why NXT works.

Butch Rosser: When people imitate their influences unsuccessfully, it's called a ripoff. When they succeed at it, it turns into an homage. Every wrestler should want to be like Arn Anderson anyhow; the former Mechanic turned Revivalist just turned that knob so hard it broke. Being willing to be despised and catchphrase free in the 21st century seems like a defiant act on it's own and the fact Dawson is bringing somebody up the ladder while still putting on in-ring clinics means that he can do this either as long as he wants or until his body corrodes. To paraphrase someone else who wasn't afraid of being hated? You want Scott Dawson on your roster. You need Scott Dawson on your roster.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
71. Hallowicked
Points: 1315
Ballots: 22
Highest Vote: 6th Place (Bill Bicknell)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: 'Wicked has run hot and cold for me in the past, but his newer, more evil oeuvre has led him to a comfort zone of brutal, aggressive heeling in the ring that fits him. He found the presence he's been lacking, and it made his matches flow a lot better.

Bill Bicknell: 2015 saw Hallowicked gain evil priest banners and monster armor and a DEMON HELMET. He's been secretly one of the best wrestlers on the independents for years, so it was nice to see him finally get his due with a very good top title run.

David Kincannon: Hallowicked’s turn to the dark side, thanks to Eye of Tyr based shenanigans at the end of 2014 provided some fantastic match-ups for the Chikara original. He even stepped up his game and added a new move “Never Wake Up”, a fisherman style variation on the DDT. His run as Chikara’s Grand Champion featured great matches with the likes of Shynron and, of course, the three way match between himself, Icarus, and Eddie Kingston

Jeff Stormer: In turning rudo, Hallowicked was able to spread his wings and showcase what makes him Grand Championship material. He shined in singles, tag, and trios matches alike, culminating in the brutal three-way dance at Top Banana.

Bob RT: Served as the face of CHIKARA for a good portion of 2015, and made himself a part of history at Top Banana by dropping the belt to Kimber Lee.

Brandon House: Nazmuldun's broad sword, last year gave 'Wicked a chance to show his stuff as Chikara's ace as he held the Grand Championship for much of the year. The match he won the title was good stuff as was the triple threat at the season finale. The Nightmare Warriors vs Team AAA was good too (even with Fenix loudly cursing at Frightmare)!

Photo Credit:
70. Paige
Points: 1316
Ballots: 27
Highest Vote: 19th Place (Joe Drilling)
Last Year's Placement: 21st Place

Jeff Stormer: Though she was slightly overshadowed in the back half of the year, Paige spent much of 2015 having dynamic matches with everyone she was up against.

Butch Rosser: By the time this section is over her alignment will have changed three more times. Feh--whether showing her commitophobia outside of the ring for the Exclamation Point or in-ring showing why the Divas Revolution probably actually started with her claiming the NXT Women's Title a few years back the Anti-Diva maximized as many of her moments as she could get while still doing good to occasionally excellent work, and that's detraction-proof from the outside forces weighing on her by being demoted to Monday nights.

Scott Holland: Here’s hoping Paige actually fares better in 2016. That’s no knock on her 2015, but the field has gotten a lot deeper. She’s certainly displayed the skills to hang with the pack, I just hope not being a “horsewoman” won’t be held against her in the minds of fans. Some do say she started the Divas revolution.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
69. (nice) ACH
Points: 1328
Ballots: 24
Highest Vote: 10th Place (TH)
Last Year's Placement: 30th Place

TH: I'm an ACH guy, as referenced by my first place vote for him back in 2012. The guy just knows how to put a match together, how to balance spectacle with story, how to dazzle without losing the need to build pathos. Even though he was stuck in traction in booking in ROH for most of the year, he always went out and made the most of his airtime. His showcase matches especially, both in ROH and Inspire Pro, had big fight feels to them, largely in part because ACH played his role well, whether as an underdog or as a special attraction guest star. That's not to discount his jaw-dropping acrobatics either. Every time he flips into the ring or does an effortless, no-hands Fosbury Flop, it's a thing of beauty. Basically, ACH was one of the best wrestlers I saw last year. Especially check out his match from the Anniversary Show against AJ Styles.

Bob RT: Had a consistently good year. Started off the year with a phenomenal six man tag at the Arena. Thought he should've been involved more in some title chases, but maybe in 2016.

Butch Rosser: Groundskeeper Willie's favorite wrestler spent most of 2015 steadily working his way up the ladder in ROH and finally even got a couple of title shots to add more cred to his bona fides. It's a delight when the man out of Austin is in flight, and don't be surprised if this is the year those title shots turn into victories, especially in the Television Championship division.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
68. Aerostar
Points: 1337
Ballots: 25
Highest Vote: 17th Place (TH)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Aerostar at times looked like he was going to topple over and get hurt, but that's just a function of his precarious signature rope walk tope. Otherwise, the Lucha Underground staple made his high-flying look effortless, even more than some of the other flyers there, and boy, LU had a ton of them. Whenever LU needed a hot match to get the blood pumping for a weekly episode, it turned to Aerostar, who had tremendous opening contests with the likes of Jack Evans, Drago, and Johnny Mundo just to name a few. His run at Trios with the other AAA guys was amazing as well. He may not have as much acclaim as some of the other stars of LU, but Aerostar certainly belongs in the conversation.

Bill Bicknell: I'd attribute most of Aerostar's success this year to his best-of-seven with Drago, which helped him rise from "that guy who's maybe a space Super Calo or something" to "HOLY WOW LOOK AT THIS DUDE." Of the 2015 King of Trios, I feel like Aerostar's the one most people sleep on, but he deserves his due.

Jeff Stormer: His 3 out of 5 series with Drago alone would've earned him a solid spot on my list. Same with Trios. That he was a vital part of both makes this an easy decision.

Ryan Foster: Aerostar was Lucha Underground’s version of Sixth Man of the Year. He wasn’t one of the main players on the show, but every time he appeared you knew you were in for one of the better matches of the evening.

Photo via Lucha Underground Facebook
67. King Cuerno
Points: 1335
Ballots: 23
Highest Vote: 13th Place (Henry Casey)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Bill Bicknell: In addition to being a fantastic wrestler and one of LU's most tragically overlooked characters (in the last half of 2015 anyway), Cuerno gets mega bonus points for the greatest out-of-ring gear in human history. I have no words.

Butch Rosser: Here's the thing, when your tope is the tightest in the industry, you could easily rest on that laurel. Worse comes to worse, you would be that POS who can only do that one thing right, but maaaaan does he ever nail it. But that'd be more befitting of something along the lines of a Pawn Cuerno, and one of Lucha Underground's brightest lights is far from the easiest piece to get off of the board. Randy Orton gets reptilian for a descriptor of his movement and looks like a spaz in the opening moments of an embolism; King Cuerno moves around the ring truly like a hunter, deliberate while being fast and decisive. AND HE COMES TO THE RING WITH A DEAD DEER ON HIS HEAD ABOVE HIS CAPE AND HAS ONLY BEEN SEEN IN COWBOY REGALIA OUTSIDE OF IT HOT *DAMN* LUCHA UNDERGROUND RULES. Sorry about the all caps. But the points still stand.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
66. Heidi Lovelace
Points: 1352
Ballots: 22
Highest Vote: 9th Place (David Kincannon)
Last Year's Placement: 54th Place

TH: Lovelace continued being Chikara's resident spitfire in 2015, settling into a regular role with the company. Her presence on cards more often than not brought the show up, as few other wrestlers right now are able to take a beating and build towards the big hot comeback like she is.

Jeff Stormer: Lovelace seemed to tighten up her offense in 2015, and in doing so, took her matches to a whole new level.

Frank McCormick: Heidi Lovelace is the best in THIS BUSINESS at getting her ass kicked. I believe that deserves some decided kudos.

Scott Holland: At my first ever Chikara show in October in Chicago, Heidi Lovelace was an absolute revelation. Perhaps some of this is attributed to my limited experience in watching legitimate intergender wrestling. Perhaps it’s live show bias. Regardless, she was an absolute badass that night (in a trios match teamed with N_R_G to defeat Blaster McMassive, Proletariat Boar of Moldov and Missile Assault Man) and I came away from that match thinking, “This, this is why you come to local shows, to see people give it their all

Photo Credit:
65. Randy Orton
Points: 1370
Ballots: 26
Highest Vote: 14th Place (Jamie Girouard)
Last Year's Placement: 19th Place

Elliot Imes: He had a lowkey good year. Most importantly, he pulled off that amazing RKO on Rollins at WrestleMania. Not just any ol' tattooed, vaping superstar could do that, ya know.

Jamie Girouard: Orton was hit-or-miss in terms of motivation this past year, but when he cared (as in his matches with Seth Rollins) he was one of the best wrestlers in the world. The problem was there were too many matches where he clearly was going through the motions which hurt him in my eyes.

Ryan Foster: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but WWE really could have used more of Randy Orton in 2016. Building on an incredible performance at WrestleMania, Orton was starting to come back into his own when the injury plague struck. Still, Orton turned in enough spirited performances to deserve a spot on this year’s list.

Photo Credit:
64. Alberto el Patron/del Rio
Points: 1375
Ballots: 32
Highest Vote: 13th Place (Stacey Costabile-Wenslauskis)
Last Year's Placement: 55th Place

TH: If del Rio spent the entire year in WWE, he wouldn't have made my ballot. Thankfully, his work in Lucha Underground was a lot more inspired. He felt at ease in the ring working as a top babyface, and he even got something watchable out of Texano, which is no small feat.

Bill Bicknell: EL PATRON came into Lucha Underground and seemed to have a fire lit under his belly. Amazing promos, amazing ring work, just all-around great stuff. In my headcanon he's currently residing in the "where are they now" file.

Jeff Stormer: If he had stayed on the indies, he'd probably be 10 places higher on my list, easy. His performance in Lucha Underground more than makes up for his dead-eyed WWE work.

Joey on Earth: Alberto Del Rio aka Alberto El Patron aka the moody wrestler on Twitter had a pretty weird 2015. The body of work in Lucha Underground and Ring of Honor provided great results. After a few years of irrelevance in WWE, it felt like he was rejuvenated and inspired to show just how great he was. Alberto then signed with WWE once again and he became painfully boring for the final two months of the year. At least we had the first half of 2015.

Photo Credit:
63. Xavier Woods
Points: 1403
Ballots: 28
Highest Vote: 8th Place (Charles Humphreys)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

Bill Bicknell: Good wrestler, gread character, great trombone player, dead wrong about hot dogs being a sandwich (THEY ARE).

Jeff Stormer: Arguably the weakest of the New Day in the ring, Woods still found new purpose as part of the team, and became a pretty great trios wrestler--when he actually wrestled, at least.

Bob RT: Limited in the ring, but the hype man of the New Day probably saved his career with his absolutely unlimited charisma, and ability to work the stick.

Butch Rosser: If you don't love the New Day, you're wrong, and Woods' stick work -- alongside his awesome hair styles for the specials and unshakable love of his Francescas (may the First rest in power) -- was a large reason why. Also he gave El Torito a Face Eraser on the floor during a match once, reason enough for him to get on anyone's ballot.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
62. Matt Sydal
Points: 1403 (Ranked higher than Woods because of a better high-vote)
Ballots: 25
Highest Vote: 5th Place (Joey on Earth)
Last Year's Placement: 89th Place

Bob RT: I never was an Evan Bourne fan, but becoming more of an ROH fan in 2015, I warmed up considerably to Matt Sydal. Definitely re-established himself as a more than serviceable hand.

Joey On Earth: The resurgence of Matt Sydal was one of the best stories in the independent wrestling scene. Sydal tore it up in every promotion and is a lock for an entertaining wrestling match at this point. Once known solely for his high-flying display, Sydal has become a better all-around wrestler and it was a true joy to see him perform in 2015.

Joshua Browns: Just based on the little bit I got to see of him at BOLA, it looks like Sydal is back and better than ever. Glad to see it.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
61. Shinsuke Nakamura
Points: 1423
Ballots: 18
Highest Vote: 2nd Place (Bob RT, Cam Is Like)
Last Year's Placement: 78th Place

David Kincannon: Another victim of the narrow focus of this list. He is, obviously, one of the best wrestlers in the world, but had limited time to prove that in the United States and Canada. Something tells me that his place on this list will be a bit higher next year...

Bob RT: Admittedly biased, I had him ranked in my top 10 despite his limited work in America in 2015. I was absolutely in awe of him seeing him live at WOTW at the Arena, and that may have influenced my voting, but ultimately, his limited work was still some of my favorites from the year, and I think he's in the top 3 of performers in the world.

Butch Rosser: Like Okada before him, he's one of the 10 best in the world, and no one with operating brain cells would argue if he was in your FAVE FIVE. Now that he's changed employment and should have a full nine months to label his imprimatur on a ballot maker's eyes? Expect him to vault into this top 10 come next March.

Joshua Browns: His TWB 100-eligible work is such a small sample size, but c’mon. It’s f**king Swagsuke. I shouldn’t need to say anything else. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be over here with hearts coming out of my eyes until April.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
60. Bobby Fish
Points: 1434
Ballots: 24
Highest Vote: 12th Place (TH)
Last Year's Placement: 43rd Place

TH: Fish continued his mission to make ROH a far more interesting place than it is without him, and this past year, he got to run the ball not just in his reDRagon tag team, but with some singles matches as well. Predictably, he shone even by himself. Even if his Final Battle match was marred with terrible booking, he still got to show off at a high level with Roderick Strong. However, his best match of the year came against Jay Briscoe. They had a main-event level match through no small part of Fish's efforts.

Bob RT: Had one of my personal favorite matches of the year in a losing effort against Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Championship at WOTW, and proved that he is just as viable as a singles competitor as he is a tag competitor with reDRagon.

Photo Credit:
59. Simon Gotch
Points: 1566
Ballots: 30
Highest Vote: 12th Place (Andrew Smith)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Gotch is one of the most uniquely gifted wrestlers in WWE's employ. Using deceptive strength, supreme grappling, and timely crowd work, Gotch stood out even from his partner in the Vaudevillains. I don't want to say he's being wasted in the team, because they're an effective duo of workers, and the NXT tag division is getting better. However, his portions in those tag matches have left me wanting more, which is probably the highest compliment I could pay him.

Jeff Stormer: Gotch was already great, then he started throwing Glacier karate kicks and doing crazy submission work.

Bob RT: Love the Vaudevillains, but they just couldn't find a groove in 2015, but out their work, Gotch definitely carried the tandem, and if they do get another push, I'm sure he will be the one to shine again.

Butch Rosser: Every once in a while the more irrational parts of my brain are convinced that Simon is the best wrestler that NXT has on their roster right now. And I'm not just saying that because he retweeted a Straight Outta Compton/They Live crossover reference I made to him that happened during the parameters of the judging period.

Ryan Foster: Something tells me the word “quietly” will appear in a number of blurbs for Gotch. He isn’t flashy and works almost exclusively tag matches, but Gotch has developed such a smooth, seamless style of technical wrestling that he always manages to stand out. It’s hard to say whether he would thrive in a singles role but he’s destined to be more than a role player in a wacky tag team.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
58. Drago
Points: 1619
Ballots: 26
Highest Vote: 5th Place (Henry Casey)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: LU's legit dragon was one of the sliest good workers. He was better known for the theatrics, but he often turned in solid efforts against a wide variety of opponents. He had his array of flips and dives, but it felt like he acted more like a "cruiserweight bully" which was a nice counterweight to all the high flyers on the television show.

Bill Bicknell: Drago is perfect. He has a perfect aesthetic. He has a monster tongue. He moves like he's 20 rather than 40. He's the sort of wrestler that you can point to and scream, "THIS, THIS, THIS IS WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS STUPID HOBBY." He's ridiculous and amazing and silly and wonderful.

David Kincannon: In addition to be fantastic in the ring, he’s a literal fire-breathing dragon... how could he not make this list?

Jeff Stormer: Drago moves like a dragon, flies like a dragon, and fights like a dragon. It's really cool to watch.

Butch Rosser: If six-year-old me could reach, he'd beat the crap out of me for not having the nunchuk-wielding black-tongued fireibreathing luchador at the top spot, and little me's got a little bit of a point there. His rivalry and friendship with Aerostar (in six-year-old me's FAVE FIVE for sure) was one of the many subcurrents that made Lucha Underground's season 1 pop off the screen so well, and even in a hypersurreal environment he managed to make himself appointment television while standing out in his own right and putting on excellent matches concurrently.

Brandon House: HE'S A BLOODY DRAGON!

Photo Credit:
57. Tyson Kidd
Points: 1656
Ballots: 31
Highest Vote: 8th Place (Brandon Rohwer)
Last Year's Placement: 14th Place

TH: Kidd suffered the cruelest break of them all when he got injured in the middle of last year, as he was in the middle of a decent at the very least tag run with Cesaro. While it might be insulting to call him a tag wrestler, he works so well in those kinds of matches and is at his most enjoyable.

Jamie Girouard: The career-threatening injury to Kidd was a crying shame, because he really was coming into his own in the Cesaro tag-team. Tyson Kidd for a full year would've been knocking on the door of the top-10, if not higher.

Jeff Stormer: Though tragically cut short--thank goodness he can still walk--Kidd had a great year, rising from the bottom of the tag division to win the titles with Cesaro.

Bob RT: Absolutely devastating injury derailed his 180 turnaround. Was doing the best work of his career with Cesaro.

Butch Rosser: It was all going so well TK was bringing that which had made his NXT resuscitation such a delight to the masses writ large, his rad bromance with Cesaro showed off Finn-Poe levels of chemistry, and it seemed like after almost a decade of not getting his due that his time has come. Sadly for us all, it looks like a fluke accident means this may be his last entry on the 100. Even if this isn't the way he wanted to go, let's remember the fact that he'd evolved to his best possible self before Murphy's Law pulled him over

Ryan Foster: This sport just isn’t fair. After years of doing nothing, Kidd was starting to thrive in not one, but two roles. On the main roster, Kidd was able to capitalize on his partner Cesaro’s connection with the crowd to rediscover his legs and start to pick up some charisma in his own right. In NXT he became a workhorse, making every opponent look great and improving with each appearance. Kidd’s year – any quite possible career – shouldn’t have ended like it did.

Scott Holland: If you let yourself think about it long enough, the sadness of Tyson Kidd’s career likely being over just when it was finally ready to skyrocket is much sadder than having to say goodbye to Daniel Bryan. His 2015 run with Cesaro is the textbook example of what can happen to people willing to be “demoted” to NXT, and anyone who missed the tag team WrestleMania 31 title match because it was on the pre-show is only cheating themselves.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
56. Biff Busick
Points: 1709
Ballots: 26
Highest Vote: 6th Place (Kenn Haspel)
Last Year's Placement: 35th Place

Joshua Browns: Another hard-nosed technical favorite, except with a little less flexibility than say, a Drew Gulak. I love the “tiny psycho” persona, he plays it beautifully, and it just works with the violence of his offense. When he really lays into his strikes, especially that wicked running European uppercut, he routinely makes me wince in pain. His match with Chris Hero in the 2nd Round of BOLA this year is a favorite of mine.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
55. Ethan Carter III
Points: 1738
Ballots: 27
Highest Vote: 5th Place (Bill Bicknell)
Last Year's Placement: 56th Place

Rich Thomas: If Carter was in any other company, people would be talking about him being the wrestler of the year. He was many time the only reason to watch Impact other than the car crash aspect.

Bill Bicknell: I find it really hard to explain why the esteemed Carter causes me to explode into a shower of heart-eyes every time I see him. He's really, really good at his job. His character arc has made sense and has seen him grow and develop--and in TNA, where Abyss is STILL in a SCARY MONSTER STABLE called THE DECAY, that's a bolt out of the blue. Carter is something special, and if more people were watching the show he was on, he'd be in everyone's top ten.

David Kincannon: Carter is a figurative oasis in the desert that is TNA. He has been the best part of that promotion ever since he debuted, and he did not disappoint in 2015.

Bob RT: The only reason I paid attention to TNA last year, and solidified himself as one of the best heels on the game. Plus his work locally at HoH at the Arena was very good.

Sean Williams: Glad to see Carter get his due, as I was worried I was the last remaining human being watching TNA. He's the guy that TNA did, and should (at least for a little bit) build the company around. Supremely entertaining in the ring, he had a ton of memorable matches while never really being a ZOMG moves guy, and seeing as how I AM a ZOMG MOVES! guy, that's a pretty big complement.

Photo Credit:
54. Dolph Ziggler
Points: 1741
Ballots: 30
Highest Vote: 11th Place (Jesse Powell)
Last Year's Placement: 10th Place

Elliot Imes: He's the king of Trying Too Hard, and the love for him has certainly cooled off in recent years. But he always gives his best for the people, and we should always love him for that.

Brandon House: Dolph brings up the rear of my list because he always has these matches that are usually pretty good, but never great. There are a lot of good Dolph Ziggler matches, but none I could say are must see, y'know?

Photo Credit:
53. Bray Wyatt
Points: 1760
Ballots: 35
Highest Vote: 12th Place (Joe Drilling)
Last Year's Placement: 15th Place

Brandon House: Some of the matches against Roman Reigns were pretty decent and the Wyatt Family vs. Team ECW match in Philly was fun!

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
52. Trevor Lee
Points: 1763
Ballots: 28
Highest Vote: 1st Place (Okori Wadsworth)
Last Year's Placement: 73rd Place

TH: I didn't get to see much of Lee this past year, but his crazy, Carolina junior heavyweight caveman act was amusing and entertaining when I got a chance to peep it. I hope to catch more of him in 2016.

Okori Wadsworth: Trevor Lee is the 21st-century version of a distinctly 70's thing, namely, the hometown superhero. Like Jack Brisco in Florida, or Verne Gagne in Chicago, Trevor becomes infinitely better in the Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium in North Carolina. He's entertaining in PWG, and loaded with potential in the dying husk that is TNA, but for CWF Mid-Atlantic he is godly. Just watch his title match against Brad Attitude or his young-boying of Darius Lockhart.

David Kincannon: The Carolina Caveman just gets better and better. 2015 was a great year for him, as he excelled everywhere from his home promotion of CWF Mid-Atlantic to PWG to AAW (Lee vs Eddie Kingston vs Ethan Page was absolutely briliant) or anywhere else he wrestled. I look for more big things from him in 2016.

Brandon House: I don't think I've ever seen someone who entertains me and makes me fear for their well being like Trevor Lee. Dude is probably a little bit crazy, but sometimes you need a little crazy.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
51. Speedball Mike Bailey
Points: 1784
Ballots: 26
Highest Vote: 5th Place (Greg Johnson, Francis Adu)
Last Year's Placement: Not Ranked

TH: Bailey may have been the revelation of 2015 for me. The dude packed so much pure energy into one, chubby Canadian frame that it was unbelievable to my eyes as I was watching him go. In many ways, he's the platonic super indie wrestler because he embodies that sort of strikes and MOVEZ ethos but seems to know how to mold it into a coherent match frame. His bout with Roderick Strong in PWG this year was among the best.

Elliot Imes: God bless him for having the most embarrassing farmer's tan I've ever seen, and still going out there and having a completely believable PWG World Title match with Roderick Strong. He looks like a total goober, but he wrestles like a king.

Joey On Earth: My favorite new independent wrestling star in 2015 was Mike “Speedball” Bailey. Speedball was tearing it up before 2015 but seeing him emerge as a standout star in PWG and EVOLVE was wonderful. Bailey’s matches with Chris Hero and Roderick Strong in both promotions were among my favorite all year. The sky is the limit for the most adorable human being that can probably kill you with his kicks if he wanted to.

Tomorrow, the list will be 75 percent unveiled.