Welcome to the MNDIY 50. For the wrestlers ranked 50-11 there will be short paragraphs including thoughts from those who submitted ballots as well as conversations throughout the year on their achievements and accolades. Direct quotes will be referenced as such whereas the rest is delightful conjecture from yours truly.
40. Ricky Noren
“When you look at the future of the old school heel you’re staring at the reflection of Ricky Noren’s face in the gloss of a perfectly poached egg lightly drizzled with hollandaise. He is a wonderful combination of a talker and a shit heel that knows how to take the crowd and hold them in the palm of his hand.” ‘Nuff Said. Actually, keep on with that social media game. That’s some #GalleryReady work that should be getting more attention.
Starting the year as the IWI Heavyweight Champion and forming a new faction in Pro Wrestling Battleground, an ankle injury caused this veteran to fall in the rankings. Rumors abound that he may resurface in some capacity soon which has us not only chomping at the bit to hear a familiar “WHAT NOW?” but to ask, “what’s next?”.
38. James Tapia
A super promising graduate of the Academy, Tapia has been seen around town most recently in Showtime Championship Wrestling where he showed off not only his wrestling skills but differentiating himself from his peers as he refused to follow the cheap tactics of ESQ IV and Rylie Jackson. He certainly has all the talent to blaze his own path on our local scene and 2018 should be a breakout year.
37. Aiden Wake
It turns out that all Aiden Wake needed was a little time by himself. After splitting (for the most part) from the managerial services of Tom Butterman and ending his tag team with Joseph Wayne, Wake has rejuvenated himself in MIW with a series of comedy-based matches that have been huge crowd pleasers. We would love to see him #SoInTheRopes for other promotions creating fresh matchups in the new year.
36. Kyle Pro
Cheese Louise! The Academy sure made a big splash in the middle of the rankings. With the third graduate going Pro this year and tackling the local scene whole hog, a lot of people have remarked on his focus and acumen in the ring and huge babyface potential moving forward. If he keeps getting ring time, there’s no doubt he could measure up with Minnesota’s top bananas in the next couple years. Add in a bit of development on the mic and Kyle Pro could be the total package.
35. Ty Cooper
“Mr. Entertainment” is the reigning Lion Open Weight Champion in MIW and always gets a great pop wherever he shows up. He and Giant Griffin were responsible for one of the most innovative spots this year at Inn Kahoots this summer when Ty programmed his Power Glove to win the battle of the chokeslams and force choke the 6’-9”, 240 lb Giant to the mat for the three count. A big defense of the Lion Championship over Ryan Cruz sets Cooper up for a big return to Murzyn Hall this Spring.
34. Angry Dragon
Ric Flair may still have the corner on the “Dirtiest Player in the Game”, but in the fair state of Minnesota, there are non dirtier than Angry Dragon. From his alliances with Prophet and Stonehenge in Pro Wrestling Battleground, to his penchant to start a congo line where the sun don’t shine, Angry Dragon sows discomfort and discord wherever he lands. Word to the wise: keep his hands away from your face. You don’t know where he’s been.
33. Sterling Bond
“In 2017 Sterling Bond has solidified his persona as the resident nut-case in Minnesota indie wrestling. Just don’t let him hear you say that…”. There is no doubt that this year saw Bond grow by leaps and bounds from his video promos to his in ring prowess. His match with Air Wolf at Battleground was one of his finest of the year. If he can maintain that level of focus we wouldn’t sleep on the King of Psycho Style in 2018.
32. Rylie Jackson
“The Young Gun” may not have the most experience of the trainees making their way onto local cards but he has done a great job of creating visibility wrestling for Battleground, MIW, Fully Loaded, and Showtime. Time is the great determiner in refining your craft and continuing to improve in the ring and on the mic, but recognition is sometimes enough to get you on the card. Now we’ll see if the same drive can keep him there and see him become a regular fixture.
31. Tomahawk Kid
“Another young wrestler with a heart of fire, I can see him getting better and more confident every match.” The Kid is another person that has benefited from polishing and developing many different aspects of his character over the last year. There are certain aspects that have been turned up and others that have been cut that benefit Kid overall. A reviewer commented he “has a grit and determination that should see him go far.” We are inclined to agree.
Check back tomorrow for the MNDIY50: 30-21
Header Photo by Wayne McCarty