WWW Editorials

WDKW100 (50-41)

NOTE FROM SAM: Brock has been instrumental when going into the official WDKW100. Brock added some additional blurbs and match recs.

First year ever for the WDKW100! Are you excited? You probably should be because a fabulous countdown is about to unfold. Earlier this year I talked to my We Don’t Know Wrestling co-host at the time, Tanner, about what was going to be happening here. We were saying how it would be cool if we could do something that was like the WKO100, a list I loved watching unfold for years, but make it a bit more inclusive while still maintaining some sort of barrier to entry. The idea being that we cared more about people putting some sort of effort into their list rather than a bunch of people listing some of their favorite wrestlers of the year real quick. I stuck with the idea and had the backing of Trask and Al to get a forum set up for this project (we should be having a 2017 section going up soon to help kick that off but we are likely being attacked by evil bots).

Let’s get down to what this is, the WDKW100 is a fan voted list of the best in-ring pro wrestling performers of 2016. Your ability to gab doesn’t mean much in these parts. Each ballot consisted of 100 pro wrestlers. We used the Pat LaPrade weighted voting system which works as follows:

1- 125 pts
2- 115 pts
3- 110
4- 105
5- 102
6- 99
7- 96
8- 94
9- 92
10- 90

The more points you scored the better you ranked. Ties were broken by who received the most votes and then who ranked highest on an individual ballot. In any other case there was a tie.

Might never get to #1. This is where the list peaks in my eyes. A smattering of names from across the globe that made their names, and cases, in niches with only one from the “mainstream”. For those in those bubbles it isn’t exactly surprising to these names in the top 50 of the #WDKW100. They don’t have the ballots to make it much higher but as you will see there are plenty of wrestlers here that were the highest ranked for their number of ballots. The variety of types of wrestlers is also there. Not sure whether this will make the smaller groups happy their favorites got as far as they did or sad that they didn’t get more public support. Use #WDKW100 on Twitter to say either way.

  1. Pete Dunne (17 ballots, 1087 points)

High Voter: Timothy Robert Buechner (4)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Joe Coffey (OTW, 5/28)

vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (OTW, 8/6)
vs. Luther Ward (OTW, 9/10)
vs. Will Ospreay (RPW, 7/10)
vs. Mike Bailey (RPW, 6/2)
vs. Matt Cross (RPW, 6/5)
vs. Morgan Webster (RPW, 1/16)
vs. Ricochet (RPW, 8/12)
vs. Tommy End (FCP, 7/8)
vs. Tyler Bate (FCP, 2/5)
vs. Wild Boar (ATTACK!, 2/14)
vs. Da Mack (wXw, 9/30)

“Pete’s a friend of a friend, so I’ve been watching his work for a number of years now, since he was a teenager. I’ve watched him evolve through multiple styles and body types, all while being fairly meh as wrestler. 2016, though, it all came together, and he quietly became the best guy in the UK. It clearly seems like his best stuff will be coming in 2017 and beyond, but his work in RevPro, OTT, PROGRESS, and FCP easily lands him a spot on my list for 2016.” Brock!

“My favorite European wrestler at the moment and one of my favorite wrestlers in general. Great matches in OTT against Joe Coffey, Zack Sabre Jr. and Luther Ward, in RevPro against Ospreay, Mike Bailey, Matt Cross, Morgan Webster and Ricochet, some good tags in PROGRESS, and a number of good matches in smaller promotions like ATTACK, Fight Club: PRO and VII, including some against Tommy End and Tyler Bate.”

“Lock for my list, possibly in the top 50. Every since he’s come back to PROGRESS I think he’s been a standout on every show he’s been on. Great work in RevPro too, but generally just tearing it up all over Europe. He was great in his debut weekend for wXw for their tag league shows.”

“Pete would be in my top ten easily, seeing him grow as a performer over the last 18 months in person has been a joy to watch. Since the start of the year everything’s clicked for him and he’s been on another level which he himself has admitted on Morgan Webster’s podcast. I want to see him work everyone now and can’t wait for him vs Hero in OTT next week.

I’d add his match against Da Mack from the first night of the wXw tag league to what Dylan recommended also vs Wild Boar from Attack in February.”

“Top 10-15 for me. He’s rapidly becoming the best in Europe. Never has a bad match and often has excellent ones.”

  1. LA Park (15 ballots, 1092 points)[HIGHEST RANKED 15 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Dan Rice (2)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Caristico (LLE, 10/21)

vs. Rush (MDA, 7/31)
vs. Rush (LLE, 7/14)
w/Hechicero vs. Pierroth & Rush (UWE, 8/27)
vs. Blue Demon Jr. (LLE, 9/30)

“If you have two things and one of them is a dancing skeleton it’s inherently superior to whatever the other one is.”

“Easily the best brawler in the world which is just insane to think about, his matches vs Rush is easily enough to get him within Top 100, count in everything else and he’s going to make my Top 50 somewhere. Splendid stuff.”

“LA Park is also one of the best brawlers, but he’s not usually this active or at least it seems we got way more Park than usual. The Rush matches, vs Escorpion, and vs Caristico were all top level brawls. Every year I think it could be Park’s last great year, but this is Lucha so realistically he could have a decade left.”

“Will make my list based on the Rush matches and may even move up once I catch up on Elite.”

“Just watched the Caristico cage match from last week (it’s on YouTube). Great performance by Park with some absolutely viscous spots. Really liked the finish even though I don’t know the story behind it. This match and he Rush ones see him on my list. Going to dig into some other matches this weekend.”

“Couple of days ago watched the matches against Blue Demon Jr and Caristico and just now finished up Park and Hechicero vs Rush and Pierrroth. The Blue Demon match is legitimately great and maybe Park‘s best performance of the year. The Caristico cage match a ton of fun and the tag match is very good too. So yeah, watching that is boosting Park on my list.”

“I think we have taken for granted how lucky we are for the run Park has been on this year. There have been prior years where we were lucky to get one great Park brawl and this year we are on about 4 (Two Rush matches, Blue Demon, and Caristico). He creates an atmosphere that few wrestlers can match as few wrestlers can be a middle-aged, bit of shape, skull mask wearing luchador while maintaining a sense of immense danger. At any point his matches feel like potential shoots. His pairing with Rush has heat. Rarely do we get pairings where by just sharing the same ring does the intensity and suspense amp up. At some point you know they will clash, even if briefly, bringing you to your knees praising all that is good.

He is up for SPOT OF THE YEAR for the spear on Caristico into the chairs.”

  1. Io Shirai (16 ballots, 1124 points)

High Voter: Mark (2)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Alpha Female (STARDOM, 3/26)
vs. Mayu Iwatani (STARDOM, 5/15)
w/Kairi Hojo vs. Meiko Satomura & Mika Iwata (STARDOM, 6/5)
vs. Momo Watanabe (STARDOM, 8/27)
vs. Jungle Kyona (STARDOM, 8/28)
vs. Kairi Hojo (STARDOM, 9/3)
vs. KLR (STARDOM, 9/22)
vs. Yoko Bito(STARDOM, 10/30)
w/Mayu Iwatani vs. Kairi Hojo & Yoko Bito (STARDOM, 11/11)
vs. Mayu Iwatani (STARDOM, 12/22)

“She has played the Ace role very well in Stardom. Being the cocky world champ this year has helped her a lot and she’s been very consistent in her matches. The two Kairi Hojo matches along with the match vs Viper, Iwatani, Kay Lee Ray, and Meiko make her singles resume. Good in tag matches as well with Mayu vs Kairi and Meiko plus the tag with Kairi vs Meiko and Mika Iwata.”

“I love how her persona’s developed – and how it plays into her in-ring work. “Consistent” is probably the best word for her – she can have a good match with pretty much anyone. I would add her 5*STAR GP match with Momo Watanabe to the previous list – it was my second favorite bout in the tournament, and had me believing that Watanabe might upset Io.”

“After seeing the Pentagon match, she leaps into my Top 10.”

“Tremendous worker, one of the best in the world. Year-End Climax match with Mayu was easily one of the best this year. Hits hard, moves fast, incredibly entertaining.”

“Now that Kento Miyahara seems to be getting enough love, she is the most underappreciated Ace in Japanese wrestling. She has a huge personality that she brings to every single title match, and she still manages to be a top tag worker in Stardom on top of it. Her resume checks all the boxes: consistent work with no low points, high degree of difficulty, many types of matches work, solid lineup of high end matches. She rules.”

  1. Kyle O’Reilly (22 ballots, 1129 points)

High Voter: Mike W (3)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Matt Sydal (ROH, 4/1)

vs. KUSHIDA (ROH, 5/11)
vs. Adam Cole (ROH, 4/2)
w/Bobby Fish vs. Kenny King & Rhett Titues (ROH & NJPW, 5/14)
vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (PWG, 7/29)
vs. Mark Haskins (PWG, 9/4)
vs. Katsuyori Shibata (NJPW, 10/10)
vs. KUSHIDA (NJPW, 5/21)
vs. Gedo (NJPW, 5/23)
vs. Matt Sydal (NJPW, 5/29)
vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (NJPW, 5/31)

“O’Reilly’s year has gone under the radar, but he was another guy that really tore it up during the BOSJ and has held steady in ROH, despite the company being so lackluster this year. The big match is obviously the one in Korakuen vs. KUSHIDA and now he has the Shibata match from Sumo Hall to add into his high-end catalog. Two really fun matches with Sydal this year – one during BOSJ, the other in ROH. reDRagon hasn’t had too many opportunities to team, so he’s missing a big tag aspect, but when they’ve had the opportunity (1/4, 2/11).”

“It pains me to say but not sure if Kyle will even be in my top 50. His case grows as the year progresses like the Haskins BOLA match, and there’s still Final Battle to come where he’ll become champ. Favorite matches from him this year are KUSHIDA x2, Cole grudge match WM weekend and Sabre Jr. PWG Title.”

“I have Kyle up there also fairly high and that’s only based on having liked a lot of what he did in the early part of the year. I’m actually way behind on his singles stuff in the later part of the year. Since I love Shibata so much, I imagine I’ll like those matches and KOR will go even higher for me.”

“High end candidate for me.

Really enjoy the stuff vs. KUSHIDA and Shibata.

In ROH, he has the stuff vs. Jay Lethal which I thought was a fantastic bit of TV and I have liked his matches working underneath guys like Adam Page and Jon Gresham on the latest tv show.

reDRagon hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz but their tag matches in ROH and PWG have all been very good in my eyes with the All Night Express match form Winter Warriors Collinsville being a complete hidden gem and ****.

In New Japan, he had a strong BOSJ tournament with matches vs. Taguchi and Sydal. I enjoyed the match vs. Juice from Destruction and he has also had some fun stuff with Fish as reDRagon.

I think he is someone that overall may be a bit forgotten because ROH and PWG aren’t the hot shit in 2016, but O’Reilly has easily been a highlight in both promotions.”

“Another guy who’s stuff hasn’t been heavily pimped. I would have gone O’Reilly in the Omega role in NJPW. I feel Chad summed up things to watch of O’Reilly’s. A top 15 guy.”

“I thought his 10/10 match with Shibata was probably the best I’ve seen him this year in Japan. He had some fun matches against Romero, Sydal, and KUSHIDA in the BOSJ. Haven’t seen any of his stuff in the states from this year but based on his stuff in NJ, he’d probably be in the top 50.”
  1. Shinsuke Nakamura (21 ballots, 1135 points)[LOWEST RANKED 21 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Tom Ray (10)

Recommended Matches:
vs. AJ Styles (NJPW, 1/4)

vs. Sami Zayn (NXT, 4/1)

“He’s an interesting one this year. For me he’s had two top 20 level matches (AJ Styles and Sami Zayn) and two good to great matches (Finn Balor and Samoa Joe) and then a bunch of TV matches where he just does his thing. I’ve not watched the other NJPW stuff from the start of the year yet, but I’m still struggling to work out which section of my list he would place in.”

“I have him at 25 right now.

Nak/Zayn is my MOTY. Liked the Balor match. Liked the Styles match. Probably liked the Aries match better than most. Enjoyed some of the tag work in New Japan in January before he left.

I thought the Brooklyn match against Joe was not good.

He’ll end up dropping for me as I catch up on more things because I doubt we’re getting much more out of him the rest of the year.”

“He’ll wind up making my list off the strength of the Styles and Zayn matches but that’s about it for him and probably gonna keep falling on my list when I hash it out more. Maybe the next Joe match in Toronto in a few weeks is awesome but I’m just not sold.”

“This actually ends up being the classic Nak top-heavy year in a lot of ways. I lean more towards top flight performances in the end so he’s going to rate high, but hopefully 2017 ends up being a year where he gets a more regular run. And on SmackDown.”

“Not a high volume year for Nak in terms of great matches. Two match of the year candidates with A.J. and Zayn along with good to decent matches with Finn and Joe. Besides those, it’s mostly been squashes and an incredibly “meh” match with Aries.

Still the most charismatic wrestler in the world today and always entertaining, though.”

  1. Rush (18 ballots, 1181 points)[HIGHEST RANKED 18 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Mayafacetico (4)

Recommended Matches:
vs. LA Park (MDA, 7/31)

vs. LA Park (LLE, 7/14)
vs. Bobby Lashley (LLE, 3/30)
vs. Negro Casas (LLE, 5/4)
vs. Volador Jr. (CMLL, 6/27)
vs. Ultimo Guerrero (CMLL, 10/3)
w/Pierroth & Toscano vs. El Hijo de LA Park, LA Park & Super Parka (LLE, 4/27)

“Very strong candidate to be my #1, the feud with L.A. Park is one of the most special things to have happened this year and the Elite match is a high end MOTYC. The Maximo feud is another highlight because it told a very unusual storyline for Lucha standards and the match itself was great. His trios matches were outstanding (w/ Pierroth & Rey Escorpión vs Mascara, Shocker & Terrible and w/ Pierroth & Toscano vs Park, Hijo de La Park & Super Parka being the standouts) as well as his singles (vs Volador Jr, vs Negro Casas and vs Último Guerrero). A really complete year, full of great rivalries, singles and trios matches.”

“Definitely making my list. Easily the best guy when it comes to feuds in lucha and this year it was on full display against Maximo and LA Park. Even the stuff with Marco Corleone was really enjoyable. A forgetten gem from 2016 is his match with Bobby Lashley from March that I thought was pretty damn good.”

  1. Fenix (21 ballots, 1181 points)

High Voter: Another Spammer (11)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Will Ospreay (PWG, 9/2)
w/Pentagon Jr. vs. Chris Hero & Tommy End (PWG, 9/3)
vs. AR Fox (AAW, 10/7)
vs. Pentagon Jr. (AAW, 5/6)
vs. Chris Hero (AAW, 9/16)
vs. Prince Mustafa Ali (AAW, 10/8)

“I’m not anywhere near as high on him as some are, but he’s certainly one of the better flyers in wrestling, and can’t be dismissed for consideration. Has been very fun in AAW and PWG. I think in unfettered spotfests he’s one of the better guys around, as he does have cool movements and explosiveness that few have. I like the AR Fox and Ospreay matches better than Ospreay v. Ricochet as pure strokefest, top this, flips bouts. His team with Pentagon is better than I would have thought on paper and I enjoyed their match with Hero and End. He’s unquestionably one dimensional, but I give him credit for being a master of what he’s good at and not trying to force a bunch of stuff he can’t do.”

“I also think he’s a really underrated babyface. I think an argument could be made as him being one of the top 5 or 10 babyfaces right now.”

“I’ve watched more Fenix than I have most US guys this year. Thought he had an amazing BOLA. Loved the match with Ospreay and ate up the two tags (now I’m chomping at the bit for more Pentagon/Fenix tags). I’ve been a huge fan of him in AAW this year. The June match vs. Pentagon was a top tier touring match, and I thought he outworked by Scurll and Hero when he worked against them. The Hero match was great and both of his singles matches during JLMT (vs. Fox, Ali) were killer. Before the finish, the match vs. Ali was my favorite thing in AAW this year. He feels like a Top 30 guy.”

“He hasn’t really stood out as much this year as he did last year, but he’s had a series of fun matches with Pentagon (namely Six to Survive and the Korakuen Hall Match) and his bout with Mil was one of the best this year. He’ll at least be top 50 for me.”

  1. Shuji Ishikawa (16 ballots, 1204 points)[HIGHEST RANKED 16 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Dylan Harris (2)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Yuji Okabayashi  (BJW, 5/5)
vs. Tetsuya Endo (DDT, 6/26)
vs. Yuji Okabayashi (BJW, 3/6)
vs. Kazusada Higuchi (DDT, 9/25)
vs. Konosuke Takeshita (DDT, 8/26)
w/Kengo Mashimo vs. Kento Miyahara & Zeus (AJPW, 5/7)

“I don’t know that there’s a more versatile utility player in Japan than Shuji Ishikawa. Whether he’s main eventing Sumo Hall, defending tag belts in multiple promotions, having the occasional deathmatch, or dressing up in a giant puppy costume, there’s little that the Big Dawg can’t do. Oh yeah, and his matches are great too.” Brock!

“The best big match wrestler in puro? It’s hard to argue against. When you put Shuji in a big time spot, he’s going to deliver for you. Matches with Kazusada Higuchi, Tetsuya Endo, Yuji Okabayashi, Konsuke Takeshita, and Hideyoshi Kamitani are the big case makers for him but you can’t forget how constantly good he is teaming with Kohei Sato as the Twin Towers or how good he is in any 6 man tag he gets placed in.”

“Does anyone play giant as well as Shuji Ishikawa in pro wrestling 2016? This guy is a giant yet he has incredible matches every month. Singles, tag teams it doesn’t matter. A lock for my top 10 as i think he’s the best wrestler in Japan outside of New Japan this year.”

“Honestly a #1 contender for me, just a mountain of absolutely killer stuff. As long as he keeps going like he’s going and his KO-D Title matches vs Dino and HARASHIMA are worthwhile, no way he does anything other than Top 10”

“At a core level I really love this guy and always will despite his flaws, but his flaws also drive me nuts. He’s kind of a more believable and credible Sekimoto to me which actually isn’t an insult as Sek is someone I always want to like, but can’t quite get there. I still prefer him in tags and probably always will just because I think his bullying presence is better suited for an environment where the inevitable excess that comes with it can be hidden or tempered. That said he has had some matches this year that I have really enjoyed as a single. Would be in my top five for Japan.”

  1. Meiko Satomura (17 ballots, 1217 points)[HIGHEST RANKED 17 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: GOTNW (1)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Aja Kong (Sendai Girls, 4/8)
vs. Io Shirai (Sendai Girls, 7/02)
w/ Ayako Hamada & Mika Iwata vs. Alex Lee, Hiroyo Matsumoto, & Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls, 9/29)
vs. Chihiro Hashimoto (Sendai Girls, 10/16)
w/ Ayako Hamada vs. Aja Kong & Hiroyo Matsumoto (Sendai Girls, 11/09)

“Part of me thinks that putting Meiko as my #3 is a vanity pick, but a greater part of me honestly believes that she deserves it. She stands tall above the pack as the greatest final boss in joshi today, and she’s far from alone in the running for that title. No one brings the level of gravitas and intensity to matches that she does, whether it’s in wars with 20 year rivals, passing the torch to rookie phenoms, or playing to a few hundred fans in Easton, PA. When I watch Meiko, I see someone who puts her all into wrestling, and that means a lot to me, as does the fact that she had my match of the year.” Brock!

“Meiko Satomura, for my money, is one of the five best wrestlers in the world. With high-end singles matches against Io Shirai in July, Aja Kong in April, Syuri in March, and some great tag matches, she’ll finish very highly on my ballot without question.”

“She’s a lock for my top twenty at this point, Satomura’s high end work this year has been extremely good and variated and I still have some matches to watch. The only female wrestler I can see over her is Arisa, but that’s unlikely to happen.”

“She also had a great run in King of Trios this year, which further adds to the case.”

“And she just had a great match with a rookie in the main event of her promotion’s big show. She gets better with age like a luchador.”

“Meiko carried 2016 Aja Kong to a great singles match, that’s not an easy feat.”

  1. Hechicero (20 ballots, 1237 points)[HIGHEST RANKED 20 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Sam DiMascio (6)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Rey Bucanero (CMLL, 11/1)

w/Ultimo Guerrero vs. Trauma I & Trauma II (Lucha Memes, 6/19)
vs. Virus (Lucha Memes, 5/15)
vs. Ultimo Guerrero (Lucha Memes, 4/10)
w/LA Park vs. Pierroth & Rush (UWE, 8/27)
vs. Negro Casas (Fighter Nice, 4/24)
vs. Mascara Dorada (Fighter Nice, 5/22)

“After a disappointing 2015 (compared to his 2013 and 2014, but that’s a high standard tbf) he is having a great year and I think he’s easily the most interesting offensive wrestler in the world: good striking + fantastic matwork. He’s also a great base for any kind of técnicos and never disappoints on trios. His matches vs Virus in Lucha Memes and vs Negro Casas in Monterrey are the obvious highlights. In resume, he’s great and will be around my top 15-20.”

“One of the best trios workers in the country and delivers when he gets thee chance to have a singles match, the matches with Casas, Dorada and Virus prove that. Also has been in the two best 2 vs 2 tag matches of the year, in one teaming with Cavernario against Black Terry and Bestia 666 and one teaming with Dr Cerebro against Los Traumas. Doesn’t have the volume of some of the luchadors I’ll have above him but he’s for sure making my list.”

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