The UK has rebuilt itself into a cornerstone of the wrestling world, but the rise of British and Irish wrestlers across the globe in the past year has only proved how much talent originated on our shores – let’s check out the Top 10 British wrestlers to watch in 2024.
There are now more British and Irish superstars in WWE than ever before, and almost all of them started their careers hustling on the BritWres scene. But who will follow in their footsteps? From The United States and Japan to the mean streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, we look at the men and women who are set to have unmissable moments in 2024.
10. Kid Lykos
A man in wolf’s clothing! One of the most notable masked men in England is now without the persona he has adorned for over 10 years. During PROGRESS Wrestling’s Chapter 160: VENDETTA, Lykos ended up on the losing end of a mask vs title match against PROGRESS World Champion Spike Trivet and revealed his real name, Ethan, for the first time. The next chapter of his career is uncharted territory as he continues performing as Kid Lykos but without the mask; a challenge he has already called “terrifying and heartbreaking, but it is something I will need to get used to.”
There’s no question we will still see Lykos Gym (with Kid Lykos II) tearing up tag team divisions across the country. Some of their best displays last year came at North Wrestling, where they still hold the Trios Tag Team Championships with Gene Munny – with the three winning Tag Team of the Year – and at the RevPro/CMLL crossover event Fantastica Mania in September. Whilst multi-man matches are the 26-year-old’s forte, we should expect more singles action and a heartfelt vulnerability from the newly uncovered man.
9. Natalie Sykes
Using social media to promote yourself is nothing new for wrestlers, but no one does it quite like Natalie Sykes. The Gen-Z star in waiting exudes personality and character from the first step past the curtain to the last letter of a Tweet. Her matches aren’t complete without an in-ring selfie to seal a win or celebrate with a new tag team member, as you’ll never see her entering a match without a phone in her hand.
Whilst Sykes’ fun comments and photo editing skills online make you notice her, it’s the action during the matches that keeps you hooked. The ‘21st Century Liability’ is a former Tidal Wrestling Women’s champion who has fought for titles in a host of independent promotions in England in her five-year career. With unique style, good vibes, and an unwavering ability to engage a younger audience, missing out on Natalie Sykes would mean missing out on a wrestler poised for the big leagues as the Leeds native finds her route to the top with her humble, dynamic charm in tow.
People who don’t know Rhio might recognise her from the viral clip from her match against Molly Spartan at Insane Championship Wrestling: 11th Annual Square Go! where she fell from the first-floor balcony into the ring apron. The polarising spot sparked a debate within the wrestling community about dangerous spots, with some not favouring the moment.
However, for those familiar with Rhio, this was just another iconic display of her fearless grit. The 27-year-old from Preston has graced rings across The UK and internationally since 2015 and has six belts from five different companies to her name, including the PROGRESS Women’s World Championship and ICW Women’s World Championship which she currently owns.
The powerhouse won the North NCL Cup in Newcastle as one of two women in the eight-person tournament and finished her year in the company undefeated. Rhio has been breaking glass ceilings and blowing away fans for a while, whether she is wrestling men, women, hardcore matches or battle royales, it continues to feel like the potential bubbling underneath the surface is ready to blow at any moment. Keep your eyes sternly fixed on the girl with the purple hair and you will not be disappointed.
7. Jack Morris
Six years after his debut, Jack Morris found a new home in the land of the rising sun, where he found major success in Pro Wrestling NOAH. His legacy of tag team triumph in Scottish promotion Insane Championship Wrestling as part of Nine9 with Dickie Divers means he excels in every division he performs in. The Scot ended the year as a double champion in the stable GLG (Good Looking Guys), which also includes blossoming Irish talent LJ Cleary. With both the GHC National Championship and the GHC Tag Team Championships with Anthony Greene, there is no stopping Morris’ growth.
He is a versatile big man, standing at six feet tall but regularly pulling a shooting star press out of his pocket with no trouble. He has the aura of a star built into his genes. Although singing may not be a successful avenue for him to take, as we found out from his appearance on BBC’s I Can See Your Voice two years ago, Morris is on track for another career boom as he will surely manage to deliver more fantastic matches in the Far East this year. Having already challenged for the Heavyweight Title more than once since the summer of 2022, watch out for the sight of the first Scottish man to hold the top belt in NOAH very soon.
6. Leyton Buzzard
Another man making a name for himself in Japan is Leyton Buzzard. Hailing from Bristol, the 26-year-old has already made history as the first English champion in Big Japan Pro Wrestling when he held the Six-Man Tag Team titles with Project Havoc (Tempesta and Tyson Maddux) in October. In the space of five months with the company, he has had several championship fights but the most special to Buzzard is the BJW Junior Heavyweight Championship bout at Korakuen Hall, which he described as a dream he’s had since he was 18 years old.
He has already begun the year on the front foot with a main event match challenging for the BJW Heavyweight title at the iconic venue – the “greatest match of my life,” as he called it. The former child actor spent years touring The UK, competing for the likes of Rev Pro, ICW, and wXw during the 2010s. But 2023 has been his best year of all – with 121 matches in 11 countries, he broke title records and faced some of the biggest names in wrestling.
He is lined up to face Minoru Suzuki at Rev Pro in February after already securing a win in the company during the first weekend of the year. With Project Havoc by his side, Buzzard will be stepping into the limelight more often and cementing himself as one of the best up-and-coming junior heavyweights on the international stage.
5. Lana Austin
Lana Austin may be one of the most audacious heels in The UK, but she is without a doubt one of the most original. Easy to watch and easy to despise, she flaunts her despicable nature in every way she can. From performing karaoke at BOXPARK Wembley before an AEW: All In London watch party to feuding with the owner of PROGRESS Wrestling on social media, obstacles just don’t exist to Austin.
She toured up and down the country for virtually every independent promotion you can think of in 2023, occasionally conniving with Skye Smitson and LA Taylor, or Decibelles partner Ivy to get her dirty work done. Austin brandishes a love of the TV show Friends within her move set and carries a devilish sense of style in her ring gear. When it comes to talent on the mic, Austin is next to none in the women’s divisions she performs in, and the new year will bring no change to the talented ways she will spread her cunning acts – it promises to be as loud, as brash and as entertaining as always.
4. Charles Crowley
He may be the only man who could one-up Lana Austin with dastardly levels of smarminess. Charles Crowley is a performer for the ages. He brings a career of musical theatre and acting to the squared circle and his flair is impossible to miss. A strong partnership with British wrestling main-stay Alexxis Falcon has proved successful for the self-proclaimed “wind-up merchant” as he held the TNT Extreme Wrestling World Championship for the majority of 2023.
He carries the Riot Cabaret Tag Team Championships with Session Moth Martina into the year and they are bound to have exceptionally entertaining title defences together. Crowley launched up the cards and attracted new audiences with his stellar character work – something that he doesn’t limit to wrestling. Crowley, under his real name Richard Summer-Calvert, has found roles in Eastenders and The Witcher: Blood Origin, as well as starring in a play about wrestling Viking gods – Mythos: Ragnarok.
Keep a lookout for a couple of video game releases this year, including Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones, where he will land as a voice actor. Last year gave Crowley a boom in multiple areas of his career, and 2024 is on course to make it even bigger for the 31-year-old. But truth be told, how can you get better than wrestling Mr Blobby in Riot Cabaret’s 90’s Rumble whilst dressed as Team Rocket from Pokemon? Charles Crowley may be the only man to find a way.
3. ‘Drilla’ Dan Moloney
There may be no better breakout year for a performer than the one of Dan Moloney. At only 26 years old, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s older than he is due to his accumulated achievements. The ‘Drilla’ started the year sharing a story of a car crash he experienced in January 2022, and the lessons the incident taught him about life. Soon followed the brightest year of his decade in wrestling. Moloney had long been a big hitter in the British wrestling scene, boasting title wins in the biggest companies in the nation.
But an alliance with Will Ospreay’s United Empire at Rev Pro: Revolution Rumble catapulted him into a different stratosphere. After 10 weeks and a Best of the Super Juniors tournament debut in New Japan Pro wrestling, Moloney switched sides and joined Bullet Club, kickstarting an exciting run with new faction sub-group Bullet Club War Dogs, which also boasts English youngster Gabriel Kidd. Drilla carried the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles with Clark Connors for six months but dropped them at Wrestle Kingdom 18.
Despite his success overseas, the Birmingham native keeps his home ties strong. He reunited with ‘0121’ partner Man Like Dereiss at PROGRESS Wrestling’s final show of the year. Sidenote: Dereiss is also a can’t-miss performer who held five titles at the same time last year and will notably be part of a talent exchange with American promotion GCW in 2024, so keep your eyes on him too. There is no doubt Moloney will continue to crop up on UK independent shows in the future, but he should expect great things in high places as he rises up NJPW’s roster with his brutal offence and undeniable star quality.
2. Callum Newman
When Will Ospreay’s United Empire recruitment failed with Dan Moloney, it succeeded with Callum Newman. A young star in the making, he broke into NJPW in the autumn of 2023, wrestling on the Road to Destruction and the World Tag League. At just 21 years old, there is so much more to come from the high flyer. Newman spent most of the year within the stable CPF (Close Personal Friends) who have steadily become one of the best teams in the country.
With Danny Black, Joe Lando and Maverick Mayhew, they delivered countless wonderful bouts, including a match of the year candidate early in February in PROGRESS Wrestling’s 8-man ‘Lucha Rules’ tag team match against 0121 (Dan Moloney, Man Like Dereiss, Leon Slater, Omari). For a man crafting his singles and tag team expertise, there is so much potential ready to blossom out of Newman in the coming months. The “Prince of Pace” is no stranger to title fights but is awaiting the big championship win that will cement him as the thriving athlete he is becoming. September 2023 was the busiest month of his five-year career and it should only get bigger and better for the sixth.
1. Leon Slater
No list of British wrestlers would be complete with the brightest star of them all. Leon Slater is a professional wrestling prodigy whose star power grows with every day that passes. In a Wrestlesphere interview, wrestler and coach Liam Slater said it feels as though Leon has “grown 10 years in experience when it’s only been a year.” His natural talent is next to none, and few have risen to the heights he has in such little time. At 19 years old, he truly is the ‘Youngest in Charge’.
If you picked any of his 165 career matches, there’d be a good chance it was the best match of the show. Slater is renowned within the industry already as a sensational stand-out. In October, he and ‘Pink Princess’ Harley Hudson received TNA Wrestling contracts following UK tryouts at TNA: Gutcheck – solid proof that the Leon Slater stock is on the up on an international level. The cruiserweight has competed in 35 promotions and won six titles.
He starts the new year as a double champion, with the NORTH Championship and the Rev Pro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship, as well as holding Rev Pro’s British J Cup until the next annual event. Slater was regarded as multiple companies’ wrestler of the year/tag team of the year and fought against some of the world’s top competitors, providing hits against Will Ospreay and fellow teenager Nick Wayne.
We’re still in January and Slater has already thrown himself into match-of-the-year contention against ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey. In the same way he leaps over the turnbuckle into the front row of the crowd, Slater is skyrocketing into success with no sign of slowing down. Maybe the most promising young wrestler in the world, Slater competes all across the country and delivers masterpieces wherever he goes that you simply cannot miss.