The Turnbuckle Bandwagon: Independent Wrestlers To Keep An Eye On

Being 10 days away from Wrestlemania, the world of sports entertainment and professional wrestling is gearing up for the biggest weekend in the business. However, the WWE isn’t the only company out there so let’s took a look at some performers you may or may not have not heard of, but may want to look out for.

Rich Swann

Recently in the EVOLVE and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla  promotions, Swann brings cruiserweight flash and a main event personality. He’s competed against many international superstars like The Young Bucks and Kevin Steen (now IC Champ Kevin Owens in WWE). In his first two appearances for PWG, he faced off against Roderick Strong and El Generico (NXT’s Sami Zayn). Swann has recently made his debut in NXT, facing off against Baron Corbin and a non title match against current NXT champion Finn Balor. His signature moves include a standing 450 splash and the Chicken Fried Driver, a spinning suplex pile driver.

Dalton Castle

Citing “Macho Man” Randy Savage as a main influence, Castle takes theatrical to a whole new level. Beginning his career in Chikara Pro Wrestling as “Smooth Sailin'” Ashley Remington, Castle quickly became popular with the fans due to his over the top personality and the ability to suplex anyone within arm’s reach. Castle has since moved on to Ring Of Honor, showcasing a personality close to that of Gorgeous George or David Bowie, but don’t let the act fool you. Castle has laser focus and is currently riding a winning streak to compete for the ROH World Title.


Moose ROH Independent Wrestling
Moose with the Hit Stick on an opponent
photo: Ring Of Honor

Quinn Ojinnaka played for 4 NFL teams from 2006 to 2012 as an offensive tackle and guard. After not finding his place in professional football, Ojinnaka decided to give professional wrestling a try. Beginning training in 2012, he would make his ROH debut and adopting the name “Moose” would proceed to tear through anyone and everyone put in front of him. At 6’5 and weighing in at 295 lbs, Moose brings the power game, but is quite agile for a big man. His spear and top turnbuckle dropkick are equalizers, the dropkick coming when his opponent is seated on the top rope.

Princess KimberLee

Princess KimberLee Wrestling
Princess KimberLee captures the Chikara Grand Championship
photo: Chikara

Debuting in Chikara during their King Of Trios Tournament in 2014, KimberLee was an instant hit with the Chikara audience. 2015 was a solid year for Lee as she would compete regularly in singles and tag competitions with Jervis Cottonbelly and Los Ice Creams, and racking up unexpected victories along the way. In December 2015, KimberLee would become the Chikara Grand Champion and is currently the only female performer to hold the top singles title in a major independent promotion.

Joey Ryan

Ryan has been a part of independent wrestling for the better part of the past two decades. He is a founding member of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, which is a showcase for some of the marquis independent wrestling talent throughout the world and has even wrestled for the WWE. While not the biggest performer, his solid moveset and personality turned up to 20 have made him a go-to performer for many independent organizations, and it appears that Ryan is finally getting his due. He has recently made his debut in Lucha Underground and the raucous crowd in the Temple is right behind him.

The Turnbuckle Bandwagon is MFR’s semi regular column on the world of professional wrestling.

Did we miss someone? Have an honorable mention?

Let us know in the comments or yell at me on Twitter at @MatPDouglas

Mat Douglas
Mat Douglas
From Connecticut, that state between New York and Massachusetts, he enjoys well-made cookies, sarcasm, and Liverpool FC.