2020 will be remembered as the year of LGBTQ pro wrestling. From Nyla Rose’s AEW Women’s World championship victory to Billy Dixon invoking Marsha P. Johnson’s name before vanquishing Darius Carter at Paris Is Bumping, images LGBTQ people only hoped would materialize when they discovered pro wrestling became tangible.
Butch vs. Gore, EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch and MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party proved to wide audiences that LGBTQ pro wrestlers were more than novelties. Paris Is Bumping, Uncanny Attractions and Pride Championship Wrestling showed that LGBTQ culture belongs in the wrestling industry. And new companies like Pride Pro Wrestling and the revamped Butch vs. Gore brand are ready to help carry those messages into 2021 and beyond.
These advancements wouldn’t be possible without the wrestlers themselves, which is exactly why Queer Wrestling Index (QWI) 100 exists. Inspired by the Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 list highlighting the top 500 wrestlers in the world annually, the QWI list began in 2019 on the Outsports podcast, LGBT In The Ring, with an unranked list of 25 LGBTQ wrestlers.
But this year’s QWI represents an answer to another challenge posed to me last December by Billy Dixon. That challenge was to expand the QWI list of the top LGBTQ pro wrestlers from 25 to 100. Just as a year-end list celebrating LGBTQ pro wrestling was long overdue last year, limiting the QWI to only 25 honorees didn’t fully encapsulate the rising presence and reach of LGBTQ identities within pro wrestling worldwide.
The difficulty found in the QWI’s expansion wasn’t in finding enough LGBTQ competitors to fill it out: it was in paring it down to only 100. It is a beautiful, empowering and still sometimes bewildering problem to have, and one I look forward to dealing with every annual QWI 100 list going forward.
But the lasting message this list sends isn’t in its construction. What this list says to the wrestling world is that LGBTQ pro wrestling is growing to a level where ignoring their presence isn’t an option anymore. There are no more excuses.
Here are the five installments of our Brian Bell’s 2020 QWI 100, with each wrestler listed in alphabetical order.