Getting into wrestling can be hard, but also rewarding. The incredible athleticism of the wrestlers, the drama of watching the underdog thrive, the friend who turned another friend to get a shot at the title, yes, it’s scripted, but one can still revel in the quality of both the stories and the performances. Here are the best British wrestlers working today around the world:
Where can you see him? WWE (Global)
Neville (formerly PAC) is one of the best high flyers around. A short guy from Newcastle with an incredible physique, Neville was a star on WWE’s ‘minor league’ show NXT before being promoted to the main show ‘Raw’ in April. As the longest reigning NXT champion, Neville showed a great ability to tell a story through his actions in the ring while going from underdog good guy to a cocky champion. Since arriving on ‘Raw’, Neville has been presented as a guy who on his day can beat anyone, coming within a hairs breadth of winning both the US Title and the main belt, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Neville was involved most recently in a tournament for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship but lost in the quarter-finals. Due to the global exposure WWE has he’s by far the easiest of the top British guys to see on a regular basis.
Zack Sabre Jr
Where can you see him? NOAH (Japan), PWG (USA), PROGRESS (UK)
Zack Sabre Jr looks nothing like your idea of a wrestler. Just 6 foot tall and maybe 14 stone wet-through, Zack specialises in technical wrestling. That is, ground-based holds and joint manipulation. He can stretch and bend opponents limbs in ways that look entirely unnatural. His matches are often sprinkled with some dry humour and he is currently my favourite wrestler around thanks to his great in-ring personality and ability. I first got exposure to him via YouTube and some of the stuff Progress has done in the past but he truly came to the fore in my fandom thanks to his amazing performance at PWG’s Battle Of Los Angeles 2015. He’s been linked recently with a move to WWE and while that would be great for his global notoriety WWE tends to tone down some of the more violent strikes and lengthy submission work Zack is great at.
Where can you see him? PROGRESS (UK), IPW (UK)
Will Ospreay, aptly nicknamed the “Aerial Assassin”, is perhaps even slighter than Zack Sabre Jr and even more deadly in the air than Neville. Something of a unique wrestler Ospreay was trained in the Lucha (Mexican) style and uses moves more commonly associated with wrestlers in the south-west United States and Latin America, but he can also mix it up with the more traditional British style wrestlers. Ospreay made his US debut in PWG’s Battle Of Los Angeles 2015 wowing the crowd with his flips and dives but also great psychology and some humour as well. The least known of the 3 Ospreay has only been wrestling for 4 years but is the current PROGRESS Champion. I strongly suggest a trip to Youtube or Daily Motion to get a look at these guys, and just maybe you’ll find yourself falling for professional wrestling.