Wrestling Special: International Talent Better than the WWE: Non-“WWE Model” Wrestlers


A few weeks ago, I posted a list that included a number of reasons why a professional wrestler should not sign with the biggest promotion in the United States, World Wrestling Entertainment. I encourage you, if you found this first, to go and read that before continuing on with this list. But basically, I am firmly behind the idea that WWE is or should be the pinnacle in which all people strive. I am critical of how they do business, how they treat their talent, and the condescending nature they take against the fans that pay money for their product.

But I do not feel that this is enough! No! For those of you out there who do not know of the alternatives available to you, I would like to start a series that highlights some of the best wrestlers who are either ‘on par with’ or ‘better than’ some WWE talent. Thus, I give you this wrestling special.

The Criteria

I am going to split this special up into eight (8) posts: Non-WWE Style Wrestlers, Technical Wrestlers, High Flyers, Commentary Team, Non-Wrestling Talent, Tag Teams/Teams, Female Wrestlers, and finally Main Event Talent. I will take the wrestler that I view as the pinnacle of this division from WWE and compare them to international talent.

NOW! This does NOT MEAN that the wrestlers I have selected are necessarily ‘better’ than the WWE Talent. What I am saying is that they are on par with their level of skill and are just as good, if not better than, the WWE talent. Please keep that in mind when I create this list.

To start off this list, I am going to start with Non-WWE Type Wrestlers. These are wrestlers who do not fit the ‘WWE Model’ of what a wrestler should look like and carry themselves as. These are wrestlers who may be on the larger side or they could be very small. Bottom line, while they are talented, these are the wrestlers whose ‘look’ just doesn’t scream WWE wrestler.

Benchmark: Kevin Owens

My benchmark for this case is Kevin Owens or Kevin Steen from his earlier years. Kevin Owens is one of the most over and talented wrestlers in the WWE today. He is an amazing heel, has excellent talent, and is an all around professional when it comes to being in the ring and out of the ring.

Kevin Owens was selected for this position due to the fact that Kevin is a big burley guy complete with a pot belly. While he is insanely talented, he is not typically what the WWE looks for in their wrestling talent. Other wrestlers who were up for this spot that Owens beat out were: Bray Wyatt.

downloadAngelico (Lucha Underground/AAA)

For anyone who watches Lucha Underground/AAA, you will know Angelico as being the tall South African wrestler who is 1/3 part of the trios team along with Son of Havoc and Ivelisse. While not the strongest speaker in the world and with a body structure that could be described as a ‘swimmers build’, Angelico is one of the most impressive talents on the roster. How could anyone forget his insane cross body spot from the top of Dario Cueto’s office during the first season of Lucha Underground? That was in contention for most insane spot of the entire year.

In AAA, Angelico teams with the other prodigiously talented high flyer Jack Evans. Together, the two men make of the tag team Los Gueros del Cielo, a Tag Team that will make it on the tag team list that will be published later. The man has one several high quality tag team matches and continues to impress Mexican and US audiences alike.

Likelihood of Signing: Unlikely

Angelico seems to be pretty set in his ways. He makes good money working in Mexico and for Lucha Underground, he has a good thing going with Jack Evans, and he can make a good living by putting on high flying spot fests with other international talent opposed to being heavily grounded by the WWE and their aversion to ‘dangerous wrestling spots.’ While it isn’t outside the realms of possibility for the South African native… I doubt he will be signing for a developmental contract anytime soon… or ever.

Why They Shouldn’t Sign

This will tragically be a pattern for this particular list. While other lists may include incentives for a wrestler to sign with the WWE, considering this list is made up of wrestlers who do not fit the WWE model… A lot of them are going to be a big fat no for the sake of their own dignity. Angelico is not a guy that the WWE would push or even see him past the training center to NXT. While he is prodigiously talented, a lot of Angelico’s move set will be tossed out the window by the WWE system who does not want high risk spots to be highlighted on their program. To add on to this, his lanky body and lack of strong acting skills means that he would quickly find himself as a jobber the likes of Justin ‘PJ Black’ Gabriel. In Mexico, Japan, and ROH/Lucha Underground Angelico can thrive. With WWE, he will become nothing more than a joke to the majority of people who watch the promotion.

CCrvBjRUEAENgD8The Mack (Lucha Underground)

For anyone who hasn’t seen The Mack wrestle… Take a few minutes and go watch Lucha Underground. This man is something to behold. When I first saw him in Lucha Underground, I honestly thought that the man who played Big Ryck really got his cousin hired to do some spots. The Mack is a slightly pudgy man and I honestly thought he was going to come out, do a few simply maneuvers and call it a day… But then he did a Shawn Michaels knip up, followed by a STANDING moonsault, and a flying head scissors. I honestly do not know how a man the size of The Mack does it, but this guy has the body of Kevin Owens and moves like Kalisto. It is fucking insane!

Likelihood of Signing: Probably Not

The Mack is insanely talented and his high flying, fast paced style in addition to his body type could bring in some viewers. However, WWE likes their wrestlers toned and The Mack just isn’t toned. I doubt he is someone who the WWE would ever look to hire.

Why They Shouldn’t Sign

PLEASE! For the man behind The Mack gimmick, I implore you! NEVER SIGN WITH WWE! WWE would absolutely ruin The Mack. Not only would his high flying offense be taken away on safety concerns for the other athletes, but he would be stuck with a racist gimmick, and be treated as low card enhancement talent for other wrestlers that Vinnie Mac wants to push to the top. This man can be a legend anywhere other than WWE.

080714_michael-elgin_600Michael Elgin (ROH/NJPW)

Michael Elgin is a big burley son of a bitch on par with someone like Kevin Owens. He is huge and extremely talented when it comes to power lifting. He can pick up most of his opponents with ease and does an excellent job in throwing his weight around. Elgin is a former ROH Champion and was supposed to be the next big thing for the promotion until some series of events lead to this not being the case. Elgin now works primarily for NJPW where he is incredibly over and with ROH on the occasion since the two currently have a partnership.

Likelihood of Signing: Maybe

Elgin is approaching 30 years in age and does not have the following that other indie talent like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, or Sami Zayn generated. While an attempt may be made to recruit him akin to Samoa Joe and Asuka to boost NXT talent, he will never be a big superstar for WWE.

Why They Shouldn’t Sign

If anyone can get over out of this group, it is Elgin. He has the build similar to Rusev and could work a match to WWE’s liking. Personally speaking, I would stick with NJPW where you are already over and can make large sums of cash instead of being a mid card big man like Rusev or Ryback.

download (1)Mark Briscoe (ROH/NJPW)

Brother of the higher pushed Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe is no shortage of wrestling talented. Master of the art of ‘redneck fu’ as he calls it, the man missing his front two teeth is a wrestler who has wowed the world over. While tragically the Marty Janetty to Jay’s Shawn Michaels, Mark Briscoe has proven time and time again that the man has the charisma and staying power to be a consistent mid card and tag team talent for Ring of Honor.

Likelihood of Signing: Slim to None

Mark and his brother Jay have already turned down multiple WWE offers. They stated that the transient lifestyle of being constantly on the road does not appeal to them. Considering they own a chicken farm and are pretty well set in their ways, I am willing to bet they will wrestle for Ring of Honor until they retire.

Why they Shouldn’t Sign

While Jay could probably get over in WWE, the man missing a few teeth would be slapped with a insensitive redneck gimmick quicker than you could say The Godwinns. Considering that Vince hates the mere concept of southern people, Mark signing with WWE would be a terrible idea for him.

download (2)Toru Yano (NJPW)

For anyone who has not had a chance to watch Toru Yano’s work in NJPW, please go and look it up. That shit is memorable. Toru Yano is the appropriate way to get over with a comedic gimmick. He isn’t a talented wrestler. But his mannerisms and attitude makes him a perfect comedic bit for crowds to laugh with instead of laugh at. He is an excellent tag team specialist when paired with more talented acts like the Briscoes (they are currently the NEVER 6 Man Tag Champions in NJPW) or with someone like Togi Makabe. He can come in, do some comedic stuff, and then tag out so that he doesn’t have to work the entire match by himself. He is an excellent talent and a wonderful act.

Likelihood of Signing: Near Impossible

Considering Yano’s age combined with the fact that WWE only attempts to take the more martial arts/high flying talent from Japan, odds are he would never even consider signing with WWE and it is a sentiment that WWE shares.

Why they Shouldn’t Sign

New Japan will treat Yano with respect and know how to book him as a comedic babyface. WWE will fuck it up and make him a racist Japanese caricature for 6 years olds to giggle at and the rest of us to groan on and on about. He will also make more with New Japan, so his reasons for signing are near zero.

download (3)Rockstar Spud (TNA)

There are still some TNA fans out there last I noticed and for anyone who is still a TNA fan will know of Rockstar Spud. The tiny talent from Great Britain, Rockstar Spud is one of the flashiest wrestlers out there as well as a killer on the microphone. Forever the underdog in the industry, the man has made a name for himself for being insanely talented and able to keep up with the big dogs in the ring.

Likelihood of Signing: Possibly

It isn’t outside the realms of possibility. TNA is similar to WWE in style and it wouldn’t be a terrible transition for the british talent. However, WWE might not want him as a wrestling talent.

Why they Shouldn’t Sign

Odds are Rockstar Spud is not someone the WWE would want even if the man was interested. He stands at 5’4 and weighs about 140 pounds. While other wrestlers, like Spike Dudley were able to make something of themselves in the WWE system, Rockstar Spud would more than likely be recruited as a manager or a referee instead of an actual wrestler.

download (4)Kill Shot (Lucha Underground/CZW)

Kill Shot, or Shane Strickland dependent upon if you are watching Lucha Underground or Combat Zone Wrestling is a wrestler who finds himself in a similar world as Angelico. He is a wrestler who is very talented and can perform a great match… However, he is very much on the lanky side as far as a body is concerned and his mic skills leave a lot to be desired.

Likelihood of Signing: Maybe

Shane Strickland may not be the picturesque wrestling talent for WWE, but he could make it work for him. He has enough charisma and talent to get over as a lower mid card act. The idea of him signing to WWE if they came calling is not outside the realms of possibility.

Why they Shouldn’t Sign

Like I said, Kill Shot/Shane Strickland would never be a high mid card talent and as long as he accepted the fact that he could possibly walk away with one 30 day IC or US title reign and be considered one of the worst to ever hold either of those belts.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this list, please like and subscribe for more.

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