Editorials

WDKW100 Honorable Mentions Part 9

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.

Okay, 173-150. We get ever closer to the WDKW100. Sorry Dragon Gate and Joshi. Also, sorry for Kofi and Bray and all those that voted for them and decided to not recommend matches for them. BLAME GAME IS TOPICAL! Some rad wrestlers flying under the radar are popping up here and hope you seek out some of their stuff. Use #WDKW100 when tweeting about this stinky garbage.

  1. JT Dunn (7 ballots, 179 points)

High Voter: Cam Donahue (57)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Joey Janela (Beyond Wrestling , 1/31)

vs. Joey Janela (Beyond Wrestling, 2/28)
vs. WALTER (Westside Xtreme Wrestling, 9/29)
vs. Ace Romero (Limitless Wrestling, 5/28)
vs. Keith Lee (Pro Wrestling Magic, 9/17)

“He saves pro wrestling!”

  1. Aja Kong (4 ballots, 180 points)

High Voter: Mike W (29)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls, 4/8)
vs. Yoshiko (SEAdLINNNING, 9/28)

“2 really good matches vs. Satomura and vs. Yoshiko. She is slower and fatter, but somehow that doesn’t hinder her much as she looks even more like a monster. Still hits hard, sells well and does nifty stuff like feigning her finisher to keep you interested. Have only seen 2 matches, but it feels like Aja is worth checking out in 2016.”

  1. Ray Rowe (5 ballots, 180 points)

High Voter: Timothy Robert Buechner (23)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Pentagon Jr. (Absolute Intense Wrestling, 3/18)

vs. Tommy End (Absolute Intense Wrestling, 8/26)
w/Hanson vs. Dan Maff & Monsta Mack (Beyond Wrestling, 10/2)
vs. Keith Lee (VIP, 9/9)

  1. Kofi Kingston (6 ballots, 182 points)

High Voter: Tom Ray (54)

Recommended Matches:
w/Big E vs. AJ Styles & Chris Jericho (WWE, 3/7)

  1. Bray Wyatt (5 ballots, 188 points)

High Voter: Charles Dulaney (33)

Recommended Matches:
w/AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon & Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Braun (WWE, 11/20)

  1. Hiroshi Tenzan (5 ballots, 192 points)

High Voter: Heikki Oinonen (43)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Michael Elgin (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 3/3)

vs. Katsuyori Shibata (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 4/10)
vs. Tomohiro Ishii (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 7/18)
vs. Kazuchika Okada (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 7/31)
vs. Hirooki Goto (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/6)
w/Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata vs. Go Shiozaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya & Maybach Taniguchi (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 10/10)

Tenzan‘s gotten a lot of flak the last few years, and even though the critics are usually right about his poor condition and need to retire, I have a soft spot for the guy and he’s been surprisingly good this year.

He had a short (8 minutes) but fun match with Elgin in the NJ Cup, a pretty good match with Shibata at Invasion Attack, and in my opinion he was the only one keeping A Block afloat for a while in the G1 because of his strong and emotional performances. He had great matches with Ishii, Okada, Goto, and Marufuji during the block shows, and he has been in every NJPW/NOAH multi-man match, all of which have been really good. The story of his final G1 and how he kept getting beat down was one of my favorites all year, as I was completely invested.

He’d be in the lower half of the list, but I could definitely make room for him on there.”

“I actually have Tenzan at 67 on my list, believe it or not. I’ve been doing a huge New Japan catchup this month, and he’s not a guy I expected to enjoy watching so much. I’ve enjoyed his work in tags. I loved the Shibata stuff too. I doubt he stays that high but he’ll be in my final 100 at the end.”

  1. Naruki Doi (4 ballots, 197 points)

High Voter: Dylan Justin (32)

Recommended Matches:
w/YAMATO vs. Big R Shimizu & T-Hawk (Dragon Gate, 3/29)

w/YAMATO vs. Shingo Takagi & Cyber Kong (Dragon Gate, 4/24)
w/Shingo Takagi vs. Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy Kategora (Dragon Gate, 9/22)
vs. Masato Yoshino (Dragon Gate, 6/2)
vs. Big R Shimizu (Dragon Gate, 5/22)

“There are going to be a number of Dragon Gate guys on my ballot, Naruki Doi being one of them. One of the best tag team wrestlers on the planet, had good matches with YAMATO against Big R and T-Hawk in March, with YAMATO against Shingo and Cyber Kong in April, with Shingo against Kagetora and Susumu in September, some great multi-mans including the two Unit Disbandment matches from February and October. Good singles matches against Big R and Yoshino in the summer as well.”

  1. Neville (5 ballots, 198 points)

High Voter: Devon Hales (46)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Rich Swann (WWE, 12/27)

vs. Kevin Owens (WWE, 8/22)

“Like Kalisto was really good and then got hurt. Still has some of the prettiest AND hurriest looking high flying in wrestling. Has had some of my favorite Raw performances of the year.”

“Want to stick him at the bottom of my list because I enjoy watching him so much. His chemistry with Owens is outstanding. Wish he’d breakout more with the 205 gimmick.”

  1. Colby Corino (6 ballots, 208 points)

High Voter: Dylan Hales (26)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Jesse Adler (CWF Mid-Atlantic, 4/30)

w/Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy vs. Chip Day, Darius Lockhart & Mason Maddox (Premier Wrestling Xperience, 7/24)
w/Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy vs. Kerry Awful, Nick Iggy & Tripp Cassidy (Premier Wrestling Xperience, 9/17)
vs. Fred Yehi (TWE Chattanooga, 2/13)

“Crazy underrated year because he’s done almost all of his best work in places that few people pay attention to. PWF Crystal Coast is kind of his hub and he’s been really good there against same names, but I’ve most enjoyed him as part of the Ugly Ducklings trio in PWX and as a the cocky shitbag touring through North Georgia and East Tennessee having frighteningly good matches with people even younger than him. The Ducklings matches at PWX often steal the show and are frantic sprints with Colby being the cleanest worker in the unit, but then he can turn around and work 20-30 plus minute matches v. Fred Yehi built around body part selling that are legit excellent or the same length against literal high school kids in great matches (v. Matt Develine and Jaden Newman which are two of the more impressive singular performances I can remember anyone having this year). I also loved his sprint v. Chip Day from AWE more than pretty much everyone else and that wasn’t even a match I was there live for”

  1. Darby Allin (7 ballots, 211 points)

High Voter: Devon Hales (56)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Tony Nese vs. Fred Yehi vs. Chris Dickinson (EVOLVE, 7/16)

“One of the most unique wrestlers in the World, maybe the most unique in some ways. Total lunatic bumper to the point where his matches are largely built around whether or not he will survive to fight another day. In WWN so far he’s largely been a much needed change of pace and entertaining side show who still ultimately feels irrelevant to the big picture of what’s going on. That said I’d be pissed if I saw an Evolve show that didn’t have him on it at this point and what we have from other indies this year is actually very fun as well.”

  1. Takashi Sugiura (5 ballots, 213 points)

High Voter: Dylan Justin (39)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Naomichi Marufji (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 1/31)

vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 3/19)
vs. Go Shiozaki (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 5/28)
vs. Go Shiozaki (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 7/30)
vs. Masa Kitamiya (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 9/23)

“Sugiura may make my list, but it’s a feeling out process right now as I have no idea what the standards are going to be as I dive deeper into my list.”

“Sugiura gets a lot of flak for his long, “formulaic” matches, but I personally have enjoyed his GHC title run. Great matches with Marufuji in February, Nakajima in March, Shiozaki in both May and July, Kitamiya in September, plus some solid tag matches in between.”

  1. Shane Strickland (6 ballots, 214 points)

High Voter: Francis Adu (46)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Cedric Alexander (Nova Pro Wrestling, 8/12)

vs. Will Ospreay (Westside Xtreme Wrestling, 3/11)
vs. Will Ospreay (PROGRESS, 8/28)
vs. Dezmond Xavier (Combat Zone Wrestling, 9/10)
vs. Lio Rush (Pro Wrestling Empire, 2/20)
w/David Starr vs. Marty Scurll & Zack Sabre Jr. (Westside Xtreme, Wrestling, 10/2)

“Surprised he’s not nominated already. Has had a very fun year as a high spot guy and tag worker. Loved his match v Ced from Nova Pro. I know some people think he’s had the best year of his career. Would be interested in seeing a list of his top matches.”

“First year I haven’t loathed Strickland. The Swann-lite portion of his career looks to be behind him. Killed it in Europe all year. Two tremendous matches with Ospreay, one in wXw, the other in PROGRESS.”

“Definitely the year I’ve enjoyed Strickland the most. Two really fun matches with Ospreay, especially that PROGRESS match. The Dezmond Xavier match from Down With The Sickness was great. The Cedric match from NOVA Pro is great. JML has also quickly become one of the better teams in independent wrestling. And in Lucha Underground he had a fantastic match with Marty the Moth even though I’ll admit the star of that match was clearly Marty.”

“I’ll add that Strickland vs Lio Rush at Pro Wrestling Empire was a ton of fun too, if maybe slightly too long.”

  1. DUSTIN (7 ballots, 227 points)

High Voter: Andrew Shillinglaw (23)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Trent (Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, 7/29)

  1. Canis Lupus (7 ballots, 231 points)

High Voter: Brock Jahnke (29)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Trauma I (IWRG, 9/4)

“He’s been fine in random IWRG six-mans, but really he’s worth considering for a spot based on That One Match, and mostly the odd-numbered falls in That One Match. In the first and third, however, he more than held up his end — if Trauma I unsurprisingly had the stronger offense, the match wouldn’t have meant anything if Lupus wasn’t credible as well. Not even sure it’s his career best match, but surely his best that wasn’t against a guy in a chicken suit.”

  1. Mark Briscoe (8 ballots, 237 points)

High Voter: Mike W (52)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Bobby Fish (Ring of Honor, 8/19)

“Probably lower than his brother this year but I could see an argument ahead of Jay considering where someone lands on stuff like the Lethal match at BITW. Mark has the tag work that I laid out in Jay’s thread and also the main feud with Bobby Fish which I enjoyed their matches together. I don’t know if he will make my list overall but he is borderline.”

  1. Chihiro Hashimoto (5 ballots, 240 points)

High Voter: GOTNW (31)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Meiko Satomura (Sendai Girls, 10/16)

vs. Jungle Kyona (STARDOM, 6/5)
vs. Nanae Takahashi (Sendai Girls, 4/8)
vs. Aja Kong (Sendai Girls, 1/9)

“She’s the current Sendai Girls World Champion and is the third best rookie in wrestling behind Matt Riddle and Lio Rush.

Just had a great match with Meiko Satomura and has had good matches with Jungle Kyouna, Nanae Takahashi and Aja Kong. Solid in tag matches and has legit amateur wrestling background as she trained with a lot the women on the Japanese National team that took most of the gold medals at the Olympics.

If people took the time to watch her matches, they would be very impressed with how she implements the amateur wrestling into each match.”

  1. Nick Richards (7 ballots, 241 points)

High Voter: Chad Campbell (38)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Kamakazi Kid (CWF Mid-Atlantic, 6/18)

vs. Arik Royal (CWF  Mid-Atlantic, 8/13)

“Total sleeper pick but gun to my head at this point he makes my ballot. He’s kind of the unheralded gem of CWF, the better working Tommy Dreamer, who will die for the promotions sins against everyone else’s better judgment. In the average match he’s a good, spirited worker, who is much better than he looks but not a true standout per se. But when you give him a bout with big meaning he hits a home run. I’m not sure there are 20 guys in wrestling this year who’s two best matches match his (v. Arik royal in the Weaver Cup Final and the wild brawl v. Kazi) and those are two radically different matches. At the very least he’s got the best two matches in CWF this year not involving Trevor Lee and that’s telling.”

“Figured Richards was coming down the line. Behind Lee and maybe Royal, he has been my favorite guy in CWF-MA. A great underdog babyface that is always seems to be the rock for the promotion. He turned in a great feud with Kamikazi Kid and the Weaver Cup match vs. Royal was insanely dramatic. I really like when he uses his bumping to allow the match to reach the next intensity level and a layer of violence gets integrated.”

  1. Rey Cometa (7 ballots, 243 points)

High Voter: Gagne West (44)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Barbaro Cavernario (CMLL, 6/10)

vs. Barbaro Cavernario (CMLL, 7/1)
w/Guerrero Maya Jr. & Blue Panther vs. Hechicero, Kraneo & Ripper (CMLL, 4/1)

“One of my favorites of his type in Mexico, had a really good feud vs Cavernario, was a part of one of the best trios of the year (w/ Maya Jr. & Blue Panther vs Hechicero, Kraneo & Ripper) and his performances on those are usually very consistent. Lower half candidate.”

“I was actually thinking of nominating him myself. Unfortunately like Tritón and a shit ton of others is pretty much stuck in midcard CMLL hell forever and that hurts him, but his feud with Cavernario really helped him get his foot in the door to slightly surpass that in viewers minds. Or mine anyway. Will make the list. Could be way higher if given more chances.”

  1. Caristico (5 ballots, 246 points)

High Voter: Another Spammer (32)

Recommended Matches:
vs. LA Park (LLE, 10/12)

vs. Rush (CMLL, 1/15)
vs. Volador Jr. (LLE, 4/6)
vs. Mascara Dorada (LLE, 6/2)

  1. Jay Briscoe (9 ballots, 247 points)[LOWEST RANKED 9 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Chad Campbell (32)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Adam Page (Ring of Honor, 8/19)
vs. Moose (Ring of Honor, 6/4)
w/Mark Briscoe vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 6/19)

“Lower end candidate but one I plan on voting for. He has two great matches vs. Adam Page and vs. Moose. Tack onto that matches vs. Lethal and White that I enjoyed. The Briscoe Brothers output this year hasn’t created the MOTYC that some of the past years have but there has also been some enjoyable stuff mixed in there like the Young Bucks and MCMG matches. Him and Mark were even able to get something watchable out of Guerrillas of Destiny which is no small feat”

  1. Tetsuya Endo (4 ballots, 248 points)[HIGHEST RANKED 4 BALLOT WRESTLER]

High Voter: Mayafacetico (15)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Shuji Ishikawa (DDT, 6/26)

vs. Konosuke Takeshita (DDT, 7/17)
vs. HARASHIMA (DDT, 10/23)

  1. Big R Shimizu (6 ballots, 251 points)

High Voter: Quentin Moody (34)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Naruki Doi (Dragon Gate, 5/22)

vs. YAMATO (Dragon Gate, 6/12)
w/T-Hawk vs. Jimmy Kategora & Jimmy Susuma (Dragon Gate, 7/2)

“Low key Top 10 guy. Turned very good to great this year. Most protected finisher in wrestling and it is built up BEAUTIFULLY in big matches. Someone that even if you aren’t into DG, you should give a look.”

“Yeah low key Big R has had a hell of a year. I actually really loved that Doi match from KOG and the YAMATO finals. I wish the team with T-Hawk didn’t end so abruptly because I felt like they had so much more to give but it was fun while it lasted.”

“He won’t be top 10 for me but he will be around my top 50 more than likely and easily in the top 5 of DG contingent. He has done a great job of not seeming phased in the big moments and his size, base, and power moves really help contrast the younger generation DG stars.”

“Definitely one of the top DG names for me. Had a really fantastic year, both in singles and tags.”

  1. YOSHI-HASHI (8 ballots, 251 points)

High Voter: Dylan Harris (32)

Recommended Matches:
w/Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles & Kenny Omega (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 1/5)

vs. Tetsuya Naito (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 8/10)
vs. Kenny Omega (New Japan Pro Wrestling, 7/22)

“Embarrassing it took this long to get him nominated. On top of his max effort and strong wrestling he would also rank #1 in my who is married to the best worker list.”

“Dylan when we were talking about WDKW100 this morning, I figured it wouldn’t be long before you started the thread on your boy YOSHI-HASHI

There’s no question he’ll make my ballot. Not only did he take his opportunity in his first G1 with both hands as opposed to Tama Tonga who flopped, I thought he was the Block B MVP~! I loved pretty much every match he was apart of that tournament right from his upset over Omega. Add in all the Chaos tag matches and the SANADA stuff and he has a really solid resume in 2016. A breakthrough year for him.”

  1. Minoru Suzuki (6 ballots, 253 points)

High Voter: GOTNW (17)

Recommended Matches:
vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 2/24)

vs. Ryo Kawamura (Ryo Kawamura Produce, 7/2)
vs. Go Shiozaki (Pro Wrestling NOAH, 1/31)

“Well…it’s been largely a coasting year for MiSu, although I fully expect him to be on at least a few ballots. He’s had a fantastic banger vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima as well as being involved in various other fun things. I don’t remember a lot of his work this year because he hasn’t done that many important things. He also had a letdown match vs. Yukio Sakaguchi in which expectations were HIGH, HIGH, HIGH. Come to think about it, I’m going to have to think if he’ll make my ballot. The time bomb is ticking. Wink.”

“MiSu also has the what many people consider to be a disappointing match with Yukio in DDT earlier this year, his best match to me is vs Ryo Kawamura which is literally a MiSu, can’t see ranking him unless he busts out some great shit in the next two months.”

“The 2/24 match against Nakajima is still probably my Japanese match of the year so far, definitely the best match from NOAH. I enjoyed the brutal Kawamura beatdown and I thought the Shiozaki match was pretty fun given the Suzuki-gun shenanigans. He’ll probably be on the lower end of the ballot though.”

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