Indie Watch is our regular series that looks at all of the amazing talents working the independent circuits around the world. Some are veterans revitalizing their careers, some are indie prospects hitting their peaks, while others are names to be on the watch for! This edition looks at another rising star from the West Coast in “Superstar” Jake Atlas.
In just over two years, Jake Atlas has taken the west coast wrestling scene by storm and it won’t be long until we see this “Superstar” on a bigger stage. Atlas knew at a young age he wanted to be a professional wrestler. In 2014, he joined Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy where he trained for two years before he made his pro debut against Robby Phoenix on August 6, 2016. He won the contest by Disqualification at Santino Bros. Wrestling (SBW) that night and would quickly push himself onto the proverbial fast track.
The first few months of his career were rough as expected. With more losses than wins, Atlas took his bumps for the remainder of 2016 taking on the likes of other up and comers like Douglas James, and recent Ring of Honor signee Brody King. He wrestled primarily for SBW in 2016, but Atlas also saw time in Championship Wrestling From Hollywood (CWFH), Empire Wrestling Federation (EWF), and competed for the Finest City Wrestling (FCW) Lightweight Title losing to Eli Everfly.
2017 started quickly, as he beat Brody King in Round 1 of the FCW Proving Grounds Tournament, but was eliminated by Jesse James in the semi-finals. Atlas used this early momentum that year to beat Jacob Diez at a PCW ULTRA Young Guns event in Long Beach and then teaming with Ty Ray, challenged for the EWF Tag Team Titles against HATE (Che Cabrera & Rico Dynamite). Unfortunately for Jake, they were disqualified and lost the contest. However, Atlas and Ray beat California juggernauts True Grit (Hoss Hogg & Jesse James) eight days later in EWF. Atlas continued his tag team success with “D-Man” Dan Parker as the duo took down Rocketboy Wilson and Damien Smith in his first CWFH win, and then picked up a singles W on a Desert Pro Wrestling (DPW) card against Onyx.
It was early summer of that year when Atlas hit a rough patch. While competing throughout Southern California, he dropped one to Bad Dude Tito in CWFH in May and that June, Adrian Quest got his hand raised against Atlas at Maverick Pro Wrestling (MPW) in Los Angeles – three weeks later in July, he lost to Bad Dude Tito again this time in Bell Gardens with SBW. Finally, he lost to B-Boy at an Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS) Event in South Gate. But all this adversity did was make him better – Atlas was booked with better competition and it showed. Yes he lost a few, but he improved dramatically over the summer as a result.
When Atlas returned to Hollywood, he would get a win over Chris Bey in late September, but the current Future Stars of Wrestling (FSW) Kingpin would get revenge. The Superstar entered the All Pro Wrestling (APW) Young Lions Cup and lost in the 4 Way Final to Bey. This would lead Jake Atlas to be awarded the Southern California Rookie of the Year for 2017.
You can see Atlas’ background in gymnastics in his wrestling technique. Incredibly agile for his size, Atlas routinely uses hand stands, or hand springs to move into offensive position, or possibly out of harm’s way. The LGBDDT is devastating and finishes fights. Jake does a hand stand walk across the top rope and then drops his opponents head into the mat with a DDT. His chops are quick and deliberate with brutal consequences and is accurate with either foot in the kicking game. Atlas has any kick in his arsenal and changes his opponent’s eye level by mixing up his targets keeping them from getting set.
It’s hard to say a guy who strikes with the velocity of Atlas is a smooth wrestler, but he is. He does an exceptional job defensively with his ability to move while never staying long in any position allowing opponents to have clear strike targets.
Sometimes Atlas tries to get too clever and gets burned. His inexperience gets the best of him and has to be careful. He gets over-confident and pushes around opponents if he thinks the win is locked up. This tactic worked against him in his December 2018 war with Andy Brown at Ground Zero: Champion and likely cost him the match. This young man is very competitive, and his intensity shows in the heat of battle.
Atlas is openly gay, coming out in early 2018, and has been transparent about other battles in his personal life. Instead of this being used as a gimmick or sympathy, it looks to motivate him. After dropping an AWS Title Match to Tyler Bateman, he rebounded with a win against Matt Vandagriff a week later. After mixed results the next couple months, Atlas collected wins against Daniel Moon in April and B-Minus on May 12th. He made his Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) debut losing a tough one to Rey Horus, and in July at Ground Zero, Atlas regained his footing with a big win over “Super-Talented” Jorel Nelson, followed up two weeks later taking down Andy Brown. In October Atlas became number one contender for the PCW ULTRA UltraLight Title defeating Chris Bey, Eli Everfly, and Marko Stunt in a Four way Scramble.
I did some pretty cool stuff over the weekend but not once did I let labels define me. I more than just gay. I am more than just Mexican-American. I am more than just champion. I am Jake Atlas. I am a Superstar inside & this, this is only the beginning.
— Jake Atlas (Kenny Marquez) (@iamjakeatlas) January 21, 2019
Then thirteen days after the aforementioned GZ loss to Brown, Jake would win his first Championship, the SBW Title against Brody King in December. He learned from his mistakes in Imperial Beach and took the fight to King to get the biggest win of his career. Atlas ended an amazing 2018 with a tryout at the WWE Performance Center and showed his class with a heartfelt thank you that he posted following. That will not be his last visit.
On January 18, 2019, Atlas won his second belt by winning the PCW ULTRA UltraLight Championship against returning former Champion Douglas James, Eli Everfly, The Oracle, and Fidel Bravo. It’s a different view when you have the Gold then when you’re chasing, so it will be fun to see how Atlas handles the pressure of having the target on his back. Atlas has tremendous potential and “The Superstar” is likely on his way to becoming another kind of Superstar.
Catch Up on Previous Indie Watch Articles!
- Indie Watch: Laredo Kid (Mexico), January 31, 2019
- Indie Watch: “Master Class” Michael Su (China), January 28, 2019
- Indie Watch: Channing Decker (Canada), January 25, 2019
- Indie Watch: Ricky Starks (USA), January 25, 2019
- Indie Watch: Alexander Hammerstone (USA), January 22, 2019
- Indie Watch: Zombie Dragon (USA/China), January 15, 2019
- Indie Watch: Chris Bey (USA), January 14, 2019
- Indie Watch: Maria Manic (USA), January 11, 2019
- Indie Watch: The Kings of Catch (Scotland), January 8, 2019
- Indie Watch Sefa Fatu (USA), January 6, 2019
- Indie Watch: Austin Theory (USA), December 27, 2018
- Indie Watch: Homero Simpson (Mexico), December 20, 2018
- Indie Watch: Damian Drake (USA), December 12, 2018
- Indie Watch: “Red Death” Daniel Garcia (USA), December 11, 2018
- Indie Watch: Royce Isaac$ (USA), November 29, 2018
- Indie Watch: A-Kid (Spain), November 16, 2018
- Indie Watch: Rush (Mexico), November 12, 2018
- Indie Watch: Addy Starr (Canada), October 24, 2018
- Indie Watch: Puma King (Mexico), October 14, 2018
- Indie Watch: Kevin Ku (USA), October 11, 2018
- Indie Watch: The Filip Brothers (Australia), October 10, 2018
- Indie Watch: Daga (Mexico), October 9, 2018
- Indie Watch: Salina de la Renta (Puerto Rico), October 5, 2018
- Indie Watch: Sheldon Jean (Canada), September 29, 2018
- Indie Watch: King Khash (USA/Persia), September 25, 2018
- Indie Watch: Martina ‘The Session Moth’ (Ireland), September 18, 2018
- Indie Watch: Zachary Wentz (USA), September 9, 2018
- Indie Watch: Scotty Davis (Ireland), September 4, 2018
- Indie Watch: SCHAFF (USA), August 21, 2018
- Indie Watch: Bandido (Mexico), August 15, 2018
- Indie Watch: Aiden Prince (Canada), August 7, 2018
- Indie Watch: “The Business” Slex (Australia), May 9, 2018
- Indie Watch: Robbie Eagles (Australia), May 1, 2018
- Indie Watch: Jordynne Grace (USA), April 27, 2018
- Indie Watch: D.L. Hurst (USA), April 13, 2018
- Indie Watch: The Maine State Posse (USA), January 24, 2018
- Indie Watch: The Women of PROGRESS (England), January 20, 2018