For the Culture: 50 Wrestlers of Color To Watch For (VIDEOS)

For the Culture

With the recent announcement of Game Changer Wrestling (GCW)‘s wrestlers of color showcase, For The Culture, and the recent issues over Jordan Myles‘ NXT T-Shirt, the subject of African-Americans in pro wrestling has become a hot topic once again. But while it’s always a hot topic about WWE’s portrayal of African-Americans, the indie scene is flourishing with a plethora of rising and emerging stars, even after the recent loss of such indie superstars as Shane “Swerve” Strickland (now Isaiah Scott in NXT), ACH (now Jordan Myles), Keith Lee, Private Party, and others. As we approach 2020, here are 40 wrestlers of color you should keep your eyes on. NOTE: Does not include any wrestlers signed to any major promotion – WWE, AEW, IMPACT Wrestling, Ring of Honor, NWA, or Major League Wrestling. Obviously not all of these wrestlers can be booked on the For the Culture card, but they are worth keeping an eye on.

For the Culture: 50 Wrestlers of Color To Watch

AC Mack

A three-year pro who is emerging as a top star from the Southern indies…Current reigning ACTION Wrestling Champion in Georgia and Southern Underground Pro (SUP) Bonestorm Champion in Tennessee…Student of the WWA4 Wrestling School in Atlanta.

AJ Gray (For the Culture)

Photo: Jon Washer

Four-year pro from Tennessee who has been exploding in the Midwest, Mid Atlantic and Eastern indies…Had a breakout match against Tony Deppen on Beyond Wrestling‘s Uncharted Territory Season Two…Regularly works for Ohio’s Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), Indiana’s Black Label Pro (BLP) and Paradigm Pro Wrestling (PPW), Illinois’ Glory Pro, Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) and more…Current reigning BLP Midwest Champion, PPW Heavyweight Champion, and Glory Pro Crown of Glory Champion…Is a part of GCW’s For The Culture event.

Aja Perrera

Photo: twitter.com/PereraPower

From Aracaju, Brazil…Started off in the Southern US indies in 2013…A regular with Shine Wrestling, Women’s Superstars Uncensored (WSU), and Queens of Combat (QOC)…Has also worked SHIMMER and in Japan with Marvelous…Former Shine Nova Champion (189 days) and one half of the current reigning Shine Tag Team Champions Triple Aye with “Big Swole” Aerial Monroe.

AQA

For the Culture

AQA stands for Angela “Queen” Arnold…Originally from Alabama, moved to Texas to train with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T and work for Reality of Wrestling (ROW)…Is a 2x ROW Diamonds Champion…Recently debuted with RISE Wrestling and SHIMMER, as well as appeared on the IMPACT Wrestling show with ROW, Deep Impact.

AR Fox

For the Culture

12-year veteran still one of the top players in the US indie scene…A longtime regular with EVOLVE Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW)…Competed in Japan with Dragon Gate as well as Dragon Gate USA, Beyond Wrestling, AAW Pro, and countless more top US indies…Appeared on Lucha Underground as Dante Fox…Former EVOLVE Champion, 2x CZW Wired Champion, CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion, 2x AAW Pro Tag Team Champion, and Lucha Underground Trios Champion…One half of the current EVOLVE Tag Team Champions with Leon Ruff.

Ariela Nyx

For the Culture

5-year pro from New York City…Works the NY/NJ indie circuit, with Capitol Wrestling, Victory Pro Wrestling (VPW), Blitzkrieg Pro, Pro Wrestling Magic (PWM), as well as WSU and …Current reigning Capitol Wrestling and VPW Women’s Champion and former PWM Women’s Champion.

Arik Royal

For the Culture
Photo: Jay Lee Photography

13-year veteran of the Mid Atlantic indie circuit and longtime regular with Carolina Wrestling Federation (CWF) Mid Atlantic…Reigning and 3x CWF Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Champion and 3x CWF Mid Atlantic Tag Team Champion…Also works the Southern indies with ACTION Wrestling.

The Beast

For the Culture
Photo: WOW

A professional bodybuilder and black belt in Krav Maga, she’s also trained in MMA, Muay Thai, and boxing…Trained and debuted with Women of Wrestling (WOW) for the first season on AXS TV in 2018.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zkbxMmRcSk

Big Swole (Arial Monroe)

5-year pro from Florida who has become a staple with Shine Wrestling and RISE…Current Phoenix of RISE Champion and Shine Tag Team Champion with Aja Perera in Triple Aye…Appeared at AEW All Out in the Women’s Casino Battle Royale…Competed in the second WWE Mae Young Classic in 2018…Also competes for Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS) in California, Battle Club Pro in New York, FEST Wrestling in Florida, and made her UK debut this year with Riptide Wrestling.

Big Twan Tucker

Rising Midwest star who is a favorite with Ohio’s AIW…Trained by NXT Superstars Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae...Briefly appeared in NXT as part of Gargano’s storyline against Adam Cole in 2019…Regularly tags with Parker Pierce in The Party Never Stops.

Billy Dixon

Photo: Taped Fist Photography

3-year pro and native of Bronx, NY…LGBTQ+ advocate and regular with A Matter of Pride Wrestling…Only 24 years old and only getting better…Also wrestles with PAW-DWC F1ght Club Pro, a new promotion pushing wrestlers of color in the DC area.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtu5ozfAsx8

BLKOUT (Ruckus & BLK Jeez)

Veterans of the game, these longtime CZW mainstays are still heavily active…Ruckus is a 20-year pro, while BLK Jeez is a 19-year pro…Together as BLKOUT, they’re 5x CZW World Tag Team Champions and MCW Pro Tag Team Champions…In singles, Ruckus is a former 3x CZW World Heavyweight Champion, 2x CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion and MCW Heavyweight Champion…BLK Jeez is also a former CZW World Champion and 3x CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion.

Brent Banks

13-year pro from Toronto, Ontario, Canada…A regular with many Canadian indies, such as Smash Wrestling, Alpha-1, Superkick’D, and Border City Wrestling…Made his UK debut in 2018 against El Phantasmo with Defiant, and in 2019 debuted with PROGRESS against David Starr and Jordan Devlin…Has appeared on several episodes of IMPACT Wrestling…Former Smash Tag Team Champions with Tyson Dux, Superkick’d Champion, and Alpha-1 Alpha Male Champion.

Chakara

Photo: Rob Brazier- Head Drop Photography

3-year pro from London, England, trained at the PROGRESS Dojo by Jimmy Havoc…As well as PROGRESS, is a regular with Tidal Championship Wrestling (TCW), Riptide Wrestling, Pro Wrestling EVE, and Kamikaze Pro Wrestling (KPW)…Is a former TCW Women’s Champion and the reigning Kamikaze Pro Fighting Females Champion…Former member of The House of Couture, the stable lead by NXT Superstar Jinny.

Chris Bey (For the Culture)

Originally from Virginia, but has made his name on the West Coast scene since he debuted in 2016…At 23 years old, he’s already one of the top unsigned indie prospects in the US…A regular with Future Stars of Wrestling in Las Vegas, Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, and Washington’s Without A Cause (WAC)…Has also competed for PCW ULTRA, GCW, Bar Wrestling, and more…Has appeared for IMPACT Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and WWE’s 205 Live in an explosive 2019…Is the reigning FSW Heavyweight Champion, Maverick Revolution Champion and WAC Champion. He will be part of the For the Culture card.

Darius Carter

10-year pro from New York City…Was a longtime regular with Beyond Wrestling…Now a staple of the NY/NJ indie scene with Warriors of Wrestling (WOW), Battle Club Pro, BriiCombination Wrestling (BCW), Pro Wrestling Magic, and more…Is the reigning WOW and BCW Heavyweight Champion.

Darius Lockhart

Photo: Oli Sandler / Ringside Perspective

6-year pro from Charlotte, North Carolina…Started out in the Mid Atlantic region with CWF Mid-Atlantic and Premiere Wrestling Experience (PWX)…Has become a staple of the UK indie scene the past two years, working with Revolution Pro (RevPro), International Pro Wrestling (IPW), Southside Wrestling Entertainment (SWE), and Riptide Wrestling…Frequently tags with Suger Dunkerton in the UK as A Tribe Called Catch…Former 2x PWX Innovative Television Champion.

Dementia D’Rose

8-year pro from Atlanta, Georgia, also known as Doube D Rose…A veteran of the Southern indies, she made her Shine Wrestling and SHIMMER debut in 2017…Also works the West Coast, where she’s a former 2x Big Time Wrestling (BTW) Women’s Champion…Is a member of The Cutie Pie Club in Shine, alongside Candy Cartwright, Keira Hogan, and Aria Blake.

Faye Jackson

6-year pro from Toldeo, Ohio, but is already emerging as an international star…Joined Ring of Honor in 2016, where she was part of the Women of Honor for two years…A regular with BriiCombination Wrestling (BCW), Women’s Wrestling Revolution (WWR), QOC, and more…Made her European debut in 2019 with Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) and England’s Pro Wrestling EVE…The reigning BCW Women’s Champion and Pro Wrestling Magic Women’s Champion. She would be a great addition if added to the For The Culture card.

Fred Yehi

8-year pro from Georgia…Started out in Southern indies before exploding in EVOLVE Wrestling in 2015, where he joined Catch Point with Drew Gulak, TJ Perkins, “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, and Matt Riddle…Held the EVOLVE Tag Team titles with Williams…Held the Full Impact Pro (FIP) World Championship for 562-days…Left EVOLVE in 2018 and became a regular in Germany with wXw as well as appearing for Major League Wrestling (MLW)…Made his UK debut with the likes of PROGRESS, RevPro and Ireland’s Over The Top (OTT) Wrestling…Appeared for Beyond Wrestling on Season One of Uncharted Territory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbEqLzTunag

Holidead

Photo: Rob Brazier – Head Drop Photography

One half of Twisted Sisterz with Thunder Rosa…Started on the West Coast with Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy in 2013, trained by Rikishi and Gangrel…Spent two years with Stardom in Japan…A regular with Shine Wrestling, SHIMMER, and Ring of Honor, as well as stints in the UK with Pro Wrestling EVE and PROGRESS…Former Shine Tag Team Champions with Thunder Rosa.

Ike Cross

4-year pro from Alabama…Trained by Robert Gibson of the Rock N’ Roll Express…An emerging star in Southern indies like ACTION Wrestling, Southern Fried Championship Wrestling (SFCW), Anarchy Wrestling, and Southern Honor Wrestling…Took a sabbatical away from wrestling for most of 2019…Hopefully returns to continue his progress as was starting to turn heads.

Jaiden

Photo: Lady Bell Photography

20-year old phenom from Portland, Oregon…Innovative high flyer, who works in the Pacific Northwest with 3-2-1 BATTLE, DOA, WAC, Prestige Wrestling, and more…Looking to break out in 2020.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbRCVuw783c

Janai Kai

A young grappler who has emerged as a rising new star with RISE Wrestling…Only 24 years old, she’s a black belt in Tae Kwon Do…Trained by recent NXT signing Santana Garrett…Barely a 2-year pro, she also competes for the Wild Samoan’s World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) and various other US indie promotions.

Jason Cade

7-year pro from New York City, who got his big break starting with FIP in 2013…3x American Combat Wrestling (ACW) Tag Team Champions with Aaron Solow…Has become an underrated veteran, working the likes of EVOLVE, MLW, Wrestling Revolver, Smash Wrestling, PWX, AAW, and more, including recently appearing on the IMPACT special, All Glory…Former FEST Wrestling Champion out of Florida…Missed nearly the first half of 2019 due to injury, but back strong.

Jazz

Photo: WWE

Former 2x WWE Women’s Champion has made a comeback on the US indies in the past few years…Was the NWA World Women’s Champion for 948-days until she had to vacate the belt this past spring due to health issues…Appeared in the Women’s Casino Battle Royale at AEW All Out this summer…At 46 years old is still one of the toughest women on the planet.

“The Real McCoy” JDX

2-year pro from Chicago who got his start training under Mr. Anderson (WWE’s Mr. Kennedy) in Minnesota…Regular in the Minnesota indie circuit, with American Wrestling Federation (AWF) and F1RST Wrestling, as well as other Midwest indies…Reigning 2x AWF Heavyweight Champion, as well as reigning Midwest All-Star Wrestling (MAW) Champion.

Ken Broadway

A 6-year pro and student of Amazing Red…Has been a regular with House of Glory since debuting in 2013…A former 2x HOG Crown Jewel Champion, whose second reign was 281-days…Has also worked Beyond Wrestling, GCW, CZW and NYWC…Appeared on the IMPACT/HOG special, Code Red, this past spring.

Leon Ruff

Originally from Detroit, moved to Georgia to train under AR Fox at WWA4 Wrestling School…Joined AR Fox as part of The Skulk in EVOLVE Wrestling…Emerged as the brightest star of the Skulk entourage, and currently one half of the reigning EVOLVE Tag Team Champions with Fox.

Livvii Grace

Photo: Rob Brazier – Head Drop Photography

6-year pro from London, England, and graduate from IPW training school, where she was taught under Zack Sabre Jr…Longtime regular with IPW from 2014 through 2017…Also a regular with PROGRESS, before joining Pro Wrestling EVE in 2018…Now part of a faction featuring EVE Champion Rhia O’Reilly and Nightshade.

Malcolm Monroe III

Third-generation wrestler from Detroit, Michigan…Trained by his father, Malcolm Monroe Jr. (DBA) and Truth Martini…8-year pro and staple of the family business, Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (XICW), where he’s a 3x XICW Tag Team Champion and reigning XICW Midwest Heavyweight Champion…Not afraid of the violence, he also competes in hardcore matches with the likes of Horror Slam and Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW).

Michael Oku/OJMO

Photo: Robyn Goding – Beyond Gorilla

A 2-year pro from London, England, this impressive youngster is already one of the UK indie scene’s top prospects…Trained by NXT UK’s Eddie Dennis…Works all the British major indies, including RevPro, PROGRESS, IPW, Riptide, and Battle Pro Wrestling (BPW)…Was the BPW Champion for 315-days.

New York Wrecking Krew (Chris Seaton & Smoothe Blackmon)

The deadly duo has been together for 5-years after starting out together in NYC’s House of Glory…Has also appeared for CZW, Beyond Wrestling, and New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC)…Former HOG Tag Team Champions, and current reigning NYWC Tag Team Champions.

Nicole Savoy

Photo: SHIMMER

Pound-for-pound, one of the top indie wrestlers in the US…8 year pro out of Missouri, who trained with indie legend Michael Modest…Has been a regular with SHIMMER since 2014, and has been the reigning SHIMMER Champion for 715 days, defeating Mercedes Martinez for the belt in 2017…Appeared in the inaugural WWE Mae Young Classic, making it to the second round…Has done two tours with Stardom in Japan (2015, 2018), and appeared in the Women’s Casino Battle Royale at AEW All Out this summer.

The N-Words (Acid Jazz & Bryce Benjamin)

A staple of the Chicago and Midwest indie circuit, The N-Words have been a unit since 2014…Began together in GALLI Lucha, but have become regulars with Freelance Wrestling and Berwyn Championship Wrestling (BCW)…Former 2x Freelance Tag Team Champions, and reigning 2x BCW Tag Team Champions.

O’Shay Edwards

Another student of Rock N’ Roll Express’ Robert Gibson, has emerged as one of the top young stars from the Southern indies…An imposing figure, at 6’3″ and 235 lbs…A 4-year pro from Georgia, he’s breaking out in 2019 with the likes of ACTION Wrestling, Black Label Pro, SUP, and Southern Honor Wrestling.

PB Smooth

An imposing 6’9″, trained by Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae, and a 4-year pro in the Midwest indie circuit…Has broken out as a star with AIW and in 2019, held the AIW Absolute Championship, ending Tracy William’s 200+ day reign as champ.

The REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter)

Originally started out together as Young Money in 2012, then the Dub Boys, before becoming The REP in 2017…A mainstay of the CZW tag team division, where they’re the reigning 2x CZW World Tag Team Champions, as well as 2x NYWC Tag Team Champions.

Saieve Al Sabah

For the Culture

A 3-year pro and product of the Florida indie scene, working with the likes of FEST Wrestling, American Combat Wrestling (ACW), and Full Impact Pro…Had breakout moments with MLW and EVOLVE Wrestling…Has been working the Mid Atlantic area recently with PWX…Reigning FEST Champion (over 320 days) and former PWX Innovative Television Champion.

Sheldon Jean

For the Culture

From Ottawa, Canada, was trained by Scott D’Amore at Can-Am Wrestling School in Windsor, Ontario…Went to Japan to further his training with Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2017…A 4-year pro, he’s now a regular in the Canadian indie scene with hometown Capital City Championship Combat (C4), as well as Montreal’s International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS), and has been breaking into the US scene with Glory Pro, AAW and IWA Mid South.

Seishin (Tootie Lynn Ramsey)

For the Culture

An emerging star in the Midwest and only a couple years into the business…Works regularly with Glory Pro and IWA Mid South…also employs a masked gimmick known as Seishin.

Stephen Wolf

For the Culture

5-year pro from Illinois and student of former 8x NWA World Champion Harley Race…Has been a top star in the Chicago and Midwest area, with AAW, Glory Pro, DREAM WAVE, Wrestling Revolver, and more…Made his EVOLVE debut in 2017…Had a hugely successful tag team with IMPACT Wrestling’s Trey Miguel (who will be on the For the Culture card), but now teams with Myron Reed, with whom he captured the Glory Pro United Glory tag team titles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1oLzXZvda0

Sugar Dunkerton (booked on For the Culture)

For the Culture
Photo: Y2Grae Photography

A 16-year pro from Augustus, Georgia, starting out in the Southern indies with Anarchy Wrestling…Over the course of two decades, has worked for Beyond Wrestling, AIW, CHIKARA, IWA Mid South, Freelance Wrestling, and many more…Has seen a career resurgence after relocating to the UK indie scene in 2018, where he’s found great success in PROGRESS, Preston City Wrestling (PCW), Tidal Championship Wrestling (TCW), Kamikaze Pro, IPW and many more…Held the TCW Championship for over 200 days…Is a former Freelance World Champion and IWA Mid South Tag Team Champion with Myron Reed (who will be on the For the Culture card). He will be part of the For the Culture card.

Tasha Steelz (booked on For the Culture)

For the Culture

A 4-year pro from New Jersey, trained by Kevin Knight…A staple of the East Coast and Northeast indie circuits, she’s a regular with Chaotic Wrestling, Women’s Wrestling Revolution, RISE Wrestling, and Northeast Wrestling (NEW)…Has also appeared for Beyond Wrestling, IMPACT Wrestling and Ring of Honor, and has been courted by WWE and AEW. She will be part of the For the Culture card.

Thomas Sharp

For the Culture

A 7-year vet, gifted with immense size and strength at 6’5″ and 240 lbs…Trained by Mike Quackenbush at the Wrestle Factory, debuting with CHIKARA in 2012 as Blaster McMassive…Left CHIKARA in 2016 and headed to EVOLVE for two years…Has joined Beyond Wrestling where he’s the enforcer for Cam Zagami‘s Club Cam stable.

Trey LaMar

For the Culture

A rising star in the Midwest scene, with a break out year in AIW as well as Black Label Pro…Is part of the Blood Diamond faction alongside BLP Heavyweight Champion Kobe Durst and Jake Lander, with whom he holds the BLP Tag Team titles with…From Canton, Ohio, the 22-year old is another former student of Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae.

Willow Nightingale

For the Culture

4-year pro from New York…Has been a huge presence in the NY/NJ indie scene, breaking out with NYWC in 2015…Debuted with RISE in 2017 and in 2018 debuted with SHIMMER…Has been a star with CHIKARA and Beyond Wrestling the past year, following creating the tag team The Bird & The Bee with Solo Darling…Suffered a broken neck in early 2019 and missed 6 months, making her return recently.

These are just a small sample of the amazing wrestlers of color in the international indie scenes, it’s hardly a complete list. Feel free to post more names in the comments below! It will be interesting to see who of these performers will be part of the For the Culture card.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. We will continue to follow the announcements as the full card of For the Culture is released.


17 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. Solid choice! It was incredibly hard to narrow it down to just 50, there’s hundreds more! But from what I’ve seen of Moriarty this year, he’s definitely another one to watch for sure!

  1. This was awesome and introduced me to a lot of new wrestlers I didn’t really know about! The only thing I’d suggest is… maybe do another one of these for Latin-American or Asian-American wrestlers, too? They’re POC as well, after all.

  2. Irvin Legend should definitely be on this list ! 5 year pro from Vcw has been in the ring with the names of Cw Anderson , Elijah Burke and Gangrel.

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