This list is completely subjective. It doesn’t make them the best or that I don’t love other athletes. These are just the folks that brought me the most joy this year.

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ld5
image via Larry D Facebook

10: “Legendary” Larry D

This man has finally started to get the respect he has earned. I think that 2019 may be an even bigger year for this great and underappreciated athlete. Some of the matches he has had in the past year are unreal for a man of his size.

 

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image via JD Drake Facebook

9: James “JD” Drake

This man is a modern day Anderson. From his ability in the ring to the believability in every promo he cuts this man is the real deal and has done nothing but impress in all of 2018. Look out 2019.

 

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Image via Mouse’s Wrestling Adventures

8: Calvin Tankman

Underappreciated. Underutilized. This is one of the most impressive and talented big men to come down the pike in some time. He brought nothing but the good stuff to 2018 and I have a feeling that 2019 will only be better.

 

7: Jonathan Gresham

Simply put, this may be the greatest technical wrestler on the planet. I didn’t watch ONE Gresham match this year that I didn’t enjoy. The man is simply amazing from bell to bell in every contest he participates in.

 

6: Shane Strickland

Holy Crap. This is another man that just seems to only have good matches and nothing else. When he blows up up on a bigger stage this year I will be as happy as I’ve ever been for an athlete. From hardcore to technical the man can do it all.

 

Gary Jay
All credit due to original Photographer.

5: Gary Jay

Gary Jay is not the most well built athlete on this list. He’s not the biggest, tallest or strongest. Doesn’t matter. This man is willing to take any kind of abuse his opponents can give out and still go toe to toe to prove he is the better man. Gary is a bad dude.

 

4: Joey Janella

Joey is another guy that gets by on a combination of heart and talent. He made himself into one of the most sought after performers on the independent scene through hard work and determination. When he recovers from his injury look out 2019 because he will be better than ever.

 

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Image via Mouse’s Wrestling Adventures

3: Aaron Williams

This man went from a potentially career ending knee injury to having one of the best years of his career. He is possibly in the best shape of his life right now and I can’t think of one sub par match he has had all year, and I’ve seen a lot. 2019 will be another year where he impresses everyone that sees him in action.

 

Anthony Henry
image via John Moses

2: Anthony Henry

The fact that this man is not one of the most talked about athletes in the country is a travesty. He gives nothing but 100% every single contest and steals the show every time he is on it. If you get the chance be at a show he is on in 2019 and join me in me in my unabashed love for everything this dude does in the ring. Quite simply he is one of the most underrated athletes on the planet.

 

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Image via Mouse’s Wrestling Adventures

1: Mance Warner

If you have ever read anything on this website then you know that this is the guy that I would have at the top spot. He has done NOTHING but improve every time he has stepped in a ring the last couple of years. 2018 he went from just a guy to a man that could be THE GUY in 2019. He will out fight, out talk and plain out work every person he is in a building with. Mance is one of those people that will define independent wrestling soon. Get used to it.

 

That’s my list folks. There are tons of folks that deserve to be on this list but I had to cut it off. I’m hoping all of these folks have an amazing 2019 and beyond. Thanks for reading.

 

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