Indie Watch: Top 5 Prospects to Watch in 2023

Top 5 prospects -Chandler Hopkins

It’s been quite the eventful year in pro wrestling. Between free agent defections, new stars emerging, and the most powerful man in the history of the industry stepping down from his throne? You could say it’s time for some relief. It’s time to turn the page and get on to 2023 as quickly as possible. In this article we will be looking at the top 5 prospects on our watch list for the new year.

Never fear, the future is here. Before you know it, even more, new and exciting talent will begin making waves in major promotions. They will represent one of pro wrestling’s greatest strengths: The fact that it can regenerate itself, every generation, with a new batch of talent. Those hungry mat warriors are always ready to take the next step forward.

And it never stops. So, in many ways… it’s like the ‘Squared Circle of Life’.

As the sun prepares to rise in the coming year, there are many exciting prospects to keep an eye on.
Here is a list of five phenoms that will definitely want to see in the upcoming year:

Top 5 Prospects of 2023

#5 – ‘The Young Gun’ Chandler Hopkins Is Shooting for the Stars in 2023

Chandler Hopkins has a very smooth, yet solid, style in the ring. He can dish it out but can also definitely sell. Having already appeared for AEW, he wrestled a very impressive singles match with Dante Martin that definitely made a huge statement: He’s ready to take a giant leap forward.

While some might call Hopkins a ‘sleeper pick’ for the upcoming year, that’s not entirely accurate. For those who follow the industry closely, his star is on the rise.

Hopkins (@TheYoungGun_CH on Twitter) takes on the persona of a wild west outlaw, but it’s definitely not your typical, ‘cowboy gimmick’. While he’s definitely not afraid to throw some blows in the middle of a donnybrook, he can also take to the skies as well. His version of the Shooting Star Press – or, the ‘Six Shooter Press’, as he calls it, is a thing of beauty. And he delivers it with on-target and with accuracy, more times than not.

“I started doing (the Six Shooter) because another wrestler once told me that I couldn’t,” he laughs.  “I don’t like the word ‘can’t’. ” 

With his long and lean build, The Young Gun is quicker on the draw than some might expect. That speed, matched with his working knowledge of chain-wrestling, makes Hopkins what’s been referred to as a ‘toolbox guy’. Someone who can basically work with any opponent, because they have a varied skill set. In essence, he’s a good match-up for virtually any opponent.

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#4 – For Anthony Catena, Professional Wrestling Is a Family Tradition

Another name on this list who has appeared on AEW DARK, Anthony Catena is ready to take the next logical step forward. He’s got really good mat skills, and is right out of central casting: He just looks like a wrestler.

He’s got all the tools of a well-versed grappler and actually resembles a young Randy Orton – at least in terms of his size and frame. Catena is listed at 6’4″ and 240 lbs, and he looks like he could easily add another 15-20 pounds of muscle and not miss a step in the ring.

Anthony Catena (@FNCatena) benefits from being a second-generation performer. It’s pretty obvious by the way he moves in the squared circle and by his use of psychology that he’s been schooled in the business his entire life.

When discussing what motivated him to become a pro wrestler, Catena told Last Word on Pro Wrestling that it was a multitude of factors. However, his family ties are what really laid the foundation for him to chase his dream.

“No specific what or who, really,” he stated. “It’s just something that’s always been in my family, from my great-great-grandmother, who was a fan, to my dad (Richard) who wrestled for WCCW in the late 80s.”

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#3 – Daisy Kill Burst on the Scene Quickly

One of the newer names listed here, pro wrestler and musician Daisy Kill has been plying his trade primarily in the southeast region of the United States as of late. However, he’s wrestled in various other markets as well. In just four years as a pro, he’s already drawing a lot of attention.

Kill is a mix of a rock star/comedian/competitor. Blessed with an athletic build and a great look, he’s combined those natural attributes with a thoroughly entertaining persona. Armed with his trusty ukelele, he can infuriate the crowd, make them laugh, or get them to sing along with him. His act is so unique that many in attendance aren’t sure what to expect. That hold will only grow as he gains more notoriety and experience.

Much more than a ‘comedy character’, Kill can hold his own in the ring and continues to improve each time out. With his look, gimmick, and use of psychology, he will likely broaden his horizons over the course of the next year. A promotion like IMPACT Wrestling or MLW would be the logical next step in his professional progression.

Trained by the legendary Dr. Tom Prichard, Daisy Kill has appeared in several regions of the United States including the Southeast (Florida, Georgia, Alabama) Mid-South (Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina) Midwest (Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana).

Speaking to LWOS, he told us why he’s definitely worth watching.

“Daisy Kill has always loved whooping ass and having a good time doing it. Putting on a show, blow-by-blow.”

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#2 – Missa Kate Is the NWA’s Newest Acquisition

The news broke recently that indie star Missa Kate had signed on with the NWA, so she will begin 2023 under the watchful eye of Billy Corgan. She is sure to be an asset to the women’s division there, likely right from the beginning.

This Chicago star has plenty of in-ring skills. And, Kate has everything it takes to be a major player in any company’s women’s division. Given time, she should develop into a championship contender and featured personality in the National Wrestling Alliance. It’s a great building block in what already looks to be a promising career heading into 2023.

Tough and strong, Kate works a style that is pretty bullish in between the ropes. While she can definitely wrestle, she really seems to enjoy mixing it up quite a bit. And she’s effective, too. Her kicks and strikes are very reminiscent of the ‘crazy’ version of Nikki Cross. In other words… it looks like she’s really laying them in good. So, she’s very convincing when she’s in ‘fighter mode’.

She’s also got a great name for her finisher, ‘The Kick Fil-A’, derived from her martial arts training. On top of her skills, Missa has a great outlook in terms of her goals in pro wrestling.

“My ultimate goal is to tell stories & entertain the crowd,” she told Last Word on Pro Wrestling. “Pretty much to be a fan of, like how John Cena and Lita were to me.”

Missa Kate (@MissaKate11) also had a message for her friends, family, and many supporters. 

“Thanks for dealing with me and supporting this crazy-ass lifestyle of mine. You will never know how grateful I am to have you all by my side, pushing me & keeping me motivated.”

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1 – Damian Fenrir Should Shine in 2023

A superb athlete with a shot of swagger, Fenrir has also already worked for All Elite Wrestling. He appeared in an excellent match on AEW DARK against Ricky Starks in late 2020. Even then, he already came off looking ‘TV-ready’. He’s only improved since. You’ll be seeing a lot of him in the coming year.

Although not a giant in the ring, he has proportionate size and strength to go along with explosive, athletic skills. And although he is already on Tony Khan’s radar, Fenrir looks like the kind of performer who is custom-made to someday wear the IMPACT Wrestling X-Division Championship. He just fits the mold and tradition of that title.

Fenrir could also be part of the re-tooled NXT. No matter where this shooting star finally lands, he will most definitely grab some people’s attention in 2023. That’s mainly due to a couple of factors that can’t be measured in a traditional sense – his work ethic and determination.

“I’ll continue to grind till I can’t grind anymore,” Fenrir stated. “On top of making my dreams come true, I want to show everyone who’s ever had a dream – a goal – that anything can be achieved if you believe in yourself. I want to lead by example and make everyone proud.”

These are the top 5 prospects that you should be keeping eyes on ahead of the new year. Who else would you add to the list? Let us know!

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on the wrestling ratings reports 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.