by Damian Wilson
NOTE: This is the opinion of Damian Wilson, not EPW. Feel free to direct all complaints to the Insider.
- Davis Storm (Previously 7)
Admittedly, this is an emotional decision. I had almost mentally retired the man after his devastating losses to The Don, and then Warship in back to back events. However, now that PROGRESS x EPW is on the horizon, I will happily eat my words.
The second Marcius Pitt was deposited over the top rope at EPW @ The Aberdeen, I think we all knew what was coming. Davis Storm vs Pete Dunne is an absolute dream match for any long-time EPW fan. Love him or hate him, this man has carried Explosive Pro Wrestling on his back for over 16 years, and now is his time to cement the flag. Win or lose, this is going to be special.
- Chris Vice (Previously 5)
Things Chris Vice has done since winning the #1 contendership at ReAwakening 16:
1 – Destroyed the EPW champion by dropping him on his head on a metal ramp.
2 – Knocked out a local legend in a Professional Bare Knuckle Boxing Match for Lethwei in Japan.
3 – Won the United National Championship for major worldwide promotion, Zero 1.
Undoubtedly, Chris Vice is a bad man. Bets are on him moving up to number one once he’s come home (IF he comes home). For The Don’s sake, we all hope he has a long and fruitful career in the land of the Rising Sun.
- Damian Slater (Previously 1)
Sorry Slater. Number one wrestlers do not lose two big main events in a row, and so down the list you go. The coming-and-going between tag team and singles action seems to have disrupted his style. It might be time to pick a goal and stick to it. I for one would love to see what The Untouchables can do as a full-time team. Scoring a win over international superstars Moustache Mountain at PROGRESS x EPW could be the major score they need. We all know they’re good enough, just have to keep moving those mountains (pun very much intended).
- Marcius Pitt (Previously 2)
Also, see a shrink you crazy bastard.
- “The Don” Michael Morleone (Previously 6)
I’ve copped some heat of late for previous articles not listing the EPW Champion higher up. However, despite moving up a spot, here is an extremely unfortunate fact: The Don has been champion for almost five months, and is still yet to defend his title… Granted, he is not exactly at fault, but if you want to be at the top of the list, you need to nail down some big matches on repeat.
I can guarantee no one is more annoyed about this than The Don himself, and I would put money on that having a little something to do with him very stupidly accepting Jimmy F’N Havoc’s request for a No DQ match for the EPW Championship at PROGRESS x EPW…. not a smart move for any of us.
Except Havoc, maybe.
- Scotty Ryan (Previously 9)
WOW. A successful title defence in a quality genuine main event match against Damian Slater… Now THAT is how you climb the rankings! Ryan is an absolute gun. He wears his heart on his sleeve and fights with a passion you can feel in your bones. He is tough as nails and will keep throwing punches as long as his heart is beating. I can’t wait to see what this guy’s future holds. The Coastal Champion could be in for a monster year… IF he can get through Jay Taylor.
- Street Gang Hooligans (Previously 3 & 4)
Two incredible wrestlers who missed the Aberdeen show, consequently a slip a little in the rankings is merited. A huge match at PROGRESS x EPW against bonafide superstar Travis Banks, and his fast-rising makeshift tag partner Julian Ward. I can’t remember the last time any of these guys had a bad match, so we can all strap ourselves in for a legitimate show stealer. I smell another highlight video.
- Julian Ward (Previously 10)
Ward didn’t get the win at EPW @ The Aberdeen but put in another A-grade effort as always. Cool, calm and collected, Ward has always let his wrestling do the talking for him and he never lets us down. I feel like he’s one step off really seriously diving into the true upper echelon of EPW, but I can’t help but feel something is still missing. His partnership with PROGRESS World Champion Travis Banks should have him up and about.
- Jay Taylor (Previously 15)
Finally, the real Jay Taylor has stood up! This guy has serious potential but seemed to have been happy floating in the lower card for the last few years. I’ve wanted to see a mean streak in him for a long time, and now he has focused his intentions… Scotty Ryan had better be ready. Taylor is no joke. He is experienced, dangerous, savvy, and an excellent professional wrestler. Taylor is a sleeping giant in EPW and unfortunately for everyone in that locker room, he may have finally woken up.
- Gavin McGavin (Previously 8)
Oh McGavin, what has become of you. Never has there been a more deserving wrestler of the year than Gavin McGavin in 2017, however his 2018 has not started well at all. His matches are still quality, but you will not climb my list by kicking people in the balls and playing dirty. McGavin may be doomed to irrelevance if he doesn’t start getting some clean wins over some A-graders.
- Gen Zero – Allyson Cruz & Hayden Zenith (Previously 12 & 13)
What is it with Gen Zero? Just like their stablemate Morleone, these two have also failed to defend their hard-earn belts since winning them almost 5 months ago at ReAwakening. I’ve heard whispers that a challenge has been offered by an interstate duo for Collision Course, so I’ll be keeping an ear out for more information. I’m sure if a challenge is laid, these two will accept. In the meantime, Cruz had better be ready for Toni Storm. God knows she has a hell of a fight on her hands.
- The Headhunters – Dan Steel & Jarrad Slate (Previously 11 & 17)
These guys are great. They punch people in the face and don’t give one iota of a f*@k what anyone else thinks. Slate mercilessly put his long-time friend and tag partner Dan Moore on the shelf and hasn’t even bothered to look back. And Dan Steel… he is just a serious badass. They’re the kind of guys who’d push your grandmother down a flight of stairs, then dare you to get upset about it. Good luck to whoever is next matched up against them.
- Dave Nero (Previously 14)
I know a good wrestler when I see one, and this guy is a very very good wrestler. Has very quietly gone about his business in EPW by simply having incredible match after incredible match. I’ve been itching to see what he can do against some of our finest guys and thought the Aberdeen would be our chance, however, due to unforeseen circumstance, Marcius Pitt had to withdraw from the match. It’s only a matter of time before he gets his big break.
- Kiel Steria (Previously 16)
If you need any more proof of the depth of the EPW roster, look no further than this guy. It’s a disgrace that someone of his talent should consistently rank in the low teens, but unfortunately for him, this is just how packed a competition he has. Steria can deadlift the earth and has a high flying arsenal no one of his size has any right to pull off. If you haven’t seen him in action with your own eyes, do yourself a favour and get to a show now.
- Taylor King (Previously 18)
I’ll admit it, I’m a Taylor King guy. Who invites an A.S.S Carrot onto his own talk show and then elbows him in the face? This guy, that’s who. He’s entertaining as hell, laugh-out-loud funny, and is as crisp an in-ring mover as anyone else on the list. The future is very bright indeed if he can lock down a regular spot on the roster.
- Johnny Wimbledon (Previously unlisted)
Three things in life are certain: Death, taxes and someone attempting to destroy Johnny Wimbledon at an EPW show. How this guy can still walk unassisted is beyond me. He actually managed to escape the Aberdeen with a rare victory, and dare I say it, may actually take that momentum with him to PROGRESS.
- Tyler Jacobs (Previously unlisted)
For 16 years, Tyler Jacobs was a force of nature in EPW. He is a grand slam champion and has as left more people beaten than Tom Brady, but all of a sudden… I don’t really know how to explain it. He has found… a book? Not just a book as such, but THE book. Apparently. To be fair, this is a breath of fresh air for the Awakening alumni. We’ve never seen the former champ stray too far from his tough guy persona, so I’m genuinely excited to see how this all plays out.
- Nacho Friends – Grande Calita, El Taco Nacho & Del Cano (Previously unlisted)
These guys are everything that is wonderful about Professional Wrestling. These taco loving “Mexicans” are a dead-set highlight of every show they’re on, and I’m really hoping they have a sustained run in 2018. Unfortunately, it will take more than laughs to carry them up the ladder but I wouldn’t sleep on El Nacho Taco or Del Cano. They are fantastic in the ring and can actually hold their own when they’re not clowning around. Also, let’s not forget that once upon a time, Grande Calita was the manager of an EPW Champion…
- AZ Vegar (Previously unlisted)
If Kiel Steria being 14 doesn’t prove the depth of talent at our disposal, then this one absolutely seals the deal. AZ is one of those backbone guys any wrestling company in Australia would kill to have on their roster. His last six months have been slow, but make no mistake, at any stage, he could jump ten spots up the rankings. Once he has settled into life after the Solution, he is going to be as dangerous as any man in that locker room. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
- “The Natural” Cal Cousins (Previously unlisted)
Did you guys know Cal Cousins is a vegan? He hasn’t mentioned it in the last 15 seconds, so you all may have forgotten. That well-hammered fact aside, Cousins is our latest regular from the EPW School of Pro Wrestling, and a walking talking advertisement for what a quality training facility it is. He’s still extremely raw (like his diet) and lacking in experience, but his fundamentals are as sound as anyone else’s on the roster. One to look out for in the future, for sure.
Agree? Disagree? See the roster in action April 18 at PROGRESS x EPW and let us know!