2016 Whose Year Is It?

2016 The Year of …. Zack Sabre Jnr

Wow what a year for Zack Sabre Jnr already and we’re only 20 days in! He’s teamed with and turned on Rey Mysterio and beat AJ Styles to become Revolution Pro Wrestling Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion.

British wrestling has been going from to strength in the past few years showcasing a stellar crop of upcoming wrestler’s. But one name has always been at the forefront of the recent crowd and that is Zack Sabre Jnr.

Sabre Jnr has established himself as one of the best technical wrestlers of this generation, his innovative counter after counter after counter, super strong strikes and well versed submission style has made him one of the most talked about wrestlers in recent times. His tornado DDT into an armbar is a thing if beauty.

There was online chatter last year that NXT had been calling due to his breakout performances in EVOLVE and PWG over the pond. His matches with Nakamura, Roderick Strong and AJ Styles are must see matches, which will inevitably have NJPW or NXT come knocking in 2016.

2016 The Year of …. Will Ospreay

Stealing the show already Will Osprey is continuing 2016 just as he did in 2015. Going toe to toe with the best wrestlers in the world across promotions, across the world, Osprey was able to showcase his amazing ariel skills, technical mat expertise and charisma to match. He won the Super Strong Style 16 that featured esteemed names such as Roderick Strong, Tommaso Ciampa and Zack Sabre Jnr. He was crowned the PROGRESS Champion after bloody battles with Jimmy Havoc and had standout matches against Okada, Marty Scrull, Matt Sydal, Austin Aries and AJ Styles placing him firmly on the wrestling map.

Since his debut in 2012 Ospreay has been a standout name in the overflowing pool of British wrestling talent. Still at the tender age of 22 the lad has got an extremely bright future.

Along with Havoc and Big Damo, The Ariel Assassin Ospreay will be appearing in his second major tour this year at the UK TNA Impact tapings 29th, 30th, and 31st January. If you haven’t already go and buy tickets and see live the wrestler that could take 2016 by storm.

2016 The Year of …. Prince Puma/Ricochet

Where do I start with this guy? His agility and move set is incredible that will literary leave you breathless As Ricochet he showcased his breathtaking talent across the world and as Prince Puma he solidified his super-hero status on Lucha Underground. As Puma he dazzled TV audiences on a show where every luchadore shined, as Ricochet he wowed crowds at PWG, Dragon Gate, RPW, NJPW. The point I am making is that it doesn’t matter where he is or whatever alter-ego he is he always steals the show.

When Lucha Underground hit our screens all were blown away by the innovative product that featured some of the best free agents in North America and Mexico but despite this abundance of talent on show LU hung all their hopes on Puma and he was pushed as the major face and remained the unbeaten champion until the season finale.

Lucha Underground returns for its second season 27th January on the El Rey Network and there is no doubt that Prince Puma will create the attention grabbing displays that made him one of the ones to watch last year.

2016 The Year of …. Johnny Mundo/Morrison

Another of Lucha Underground’s highlights former WWE Superstar Johnny Morrison seemed revitalised last year displaying the stellar matches that made him one the most entertaining wrestlers of recent years. His matches with Puma, Cage and King Cuerno put himself and Lucha Underground on the must watch list.

His martial arts mixed with Parkour wrestling style gives Mundo an extreme and innovative edge over his opponents while enthralling fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Mundo showed the wrestling world what we had been missing in 2015 and with season two around the corner he’ll continue where he left off only this time with the Lucha Underground Title around his waist.

2016 The Year of … AJ Styles

Ever since his departure from TNA, the Phenomenal AJ Styles has had a new lease of life upon crossing the Pacific and entering NJPW, taking his floppy fringed bad boy persona along with him. Joining up with popular heel faction The Bullet Club cemented his attitude change but his status and accomplishments in the ring demand respect and admiration from fans on all international shores.

Always at the top of his game and 2015 was no different, at the age of 38 he seems to be coming into the prime of his career as his second IWPG Heavyweight Champion reign states as do his matches with Adam Cole at ROH/NJPW’s War of the Worlds 12/05/15, NJPW Invasion Attack 05/04/15 versus Kota Ibushi and Dominion 7.5 05/07/15 against Kazuchika “The Rainmaker” Okada.

With a heavily touted WWE contract signed apparently on the horizon many are asking the question, will he sink or swim? Given the WWE’s inability or unwilling to book previously established stars (Hi Sting) I feel their doubts. However this is AJ Styles and he IS the phenomenal one.

2016 The Year of …. The Peacock of Professional Wrestling, Dalton Castle.

Dalton Castle has gone from strength to strength this year; having been a standout of Ring of Honor’s ‘Top Prospect Tournament’. Though he was unsuccessful in that particular tournament, Castle’s refreshingly outlandish style, his endlessly entertaining antics with ‘his boys’ and eccentric in-ring ability really struck a chord with the ROH fans. Turning down a TNA offer after a strong ‘One Night Only’ showing, Castle has been ascending the Ring of Honor card at an accelerated pace.

In 2015, we’ve seen the Peacock’s Caligula-esque style lead to great matches with some of ROH’s top stars and these matches will surely continue in the coming year. 2015 was definitely a year where Dalton Castle became a wrestler that a chosen (but growing!) few were talking about; 2016 will be the year where fans really sit down and take notice.

(Dalton Castle piece written by Coire McCyrstall)

2016 The Year of ….Chris Renfrew

One of the best outspoken wrestlers in the UK has 2016 in the palm of his hand. Verbally he has the ability to make you hate him one minute and later on make you question your thoughts about the subject he was discussing, no greater evidence than this that seen on ICW Friday Night Fight Club when he unleashed a savage speech on TNA & Grado.

Renfrew may not be the best technical wrestler in the UK but he is certainly one of the most ruthless and opportunistic, both qualities exactly what will help him make 2016 his.

Last year, the spokesman for The NAK was distracted with Dickie Divers and this year, 2016 aided with the most dangerous version of The NAK to date, is targeting the ICW World Heavyweight Championship, come January 24 he challenges Grado but win or lose, this year Renfrew has shown that this year he is more focused, more savage, more hungry and this means no one, in any promotionas he already has been booked across the seas Italy, is safe from his wrath.

(Chris Renfrew piece written by Craig Hermit)