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QWI 200: The best LGBTQ pro wrestlers of 2021, #80-51

Day five of the QWI 200 delivers another 30 top LGBTQ pro wrestlers.

Paris Is Bumping
Mariah Moreno, Aubrey St. John and Nyla Rose (left to right)
Jay Lee Photography/@JayLeeAC

Welcome to day five of the 2021 QWI 200 list. We’re more than halfway there!

Last year’s introduction to the Queer Wrestling Index 100 ended with the point that LGBTQ pro wrestling had grown as a movement and community to the point where “ignoring their presence isn’t an option anymore.”

Just like the community grew and evolved, so too must the QWI. That’s why the list has expanded to 200 stellar and proud LGBTQ wrestlers. That’s why I’ve made the decision to rank the list going forward, instead of 2020’s alphabetical order structure.

Previous entries:

Day one - #200-171

Day two - #170-141

Day three - #140-111

Day four - #110-81

Here are the wrestlers ranked this year from 80 to 51.

80. Snypes

What’s his name? Snypes, simply put, is a West Coast name ready to be on everyone’s radar. After showing he is more than hype on Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, Snypes swept through multiple California independents and debuted for FSW Las Vegas. That hype turned to Pride as he popped up on numerous LGBTQ-focused events, including Full Queer, Dark Sheik’s Fearless and Big Valley Pro Wrestling’s Outrageous.

79. Skye Smitson

If there is a major British wrestling promotion, chances are “The Villianess” applied her best beating tactics in its ring this year. Smitson warred with All Elite Wrestling’s Jamie Hayter over the Revolution Pro Wrestling Women’s championship, challenged for the CATCH Wrestling Women’s title at Wrestle Carnival and entered PROGRESS Wrestling’s Revelations of Divine Love tournament. Smitson found herself part of one of pro wrestling ‘s greatest moments at Pro Wrestling EVE Wrestle Queendom 4 when she faced off against a returning Charlie Morgan.

78. Theo Ivory

A true all-around player, even when he is demanding people leave his “Tea Time” YouTube series, Theo Ivory did a good amount of everything. In the ring, Ivory impressed audiences at both Pro Wrestling After Dark and World Wide Wrestling Alliance, including challenges for the 3WA World and Extreme titles while defending his Tea Time championship. Ivory also lent his voice to Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21 and Combat Zone Wrestling and co-hosts frank discussions about pro wrestling on “AC and The Tea.”

77. Solo Darling

A being of empathy anywhere else but the wrestling ring, Solo Darling lived up to her nickname, “The Limb Reaper.” Darling maintained her presence in Beyond Wrestling, reaching the finals of the Tournament For Tomorrow with tag partner Willow Nightingale and shared an emotional reunion with Edith Surreal. Darling also competed in the inaugural Enjoy Wrestling Cup and faced off against Billie Starkz at GCW Fight Forever.

76. Karen Bam Bam

Bam Bam Two Belts ran through her competition throughout the Northeast U.S. in 2021. The reigning Victory Pro Wrestling and Test of Strength Pro Wrestling Women’s champion, “The Conductah” appeared on multiple significant shows, including Black Girl Magik, Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21 and MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party 4. She also logged appearances with Pizza Party Wrestling and Industrial World Wrestling, knocking some sense into young star Alec Price in the process.

75. JJ Blake

The inaugural New Texas Pro Wrestling champion, JJ Blake made sure to let opponents know that anyone that comes through Houston has to go through him. Blake logged multiple appearances with New Texas Pro, including an intriguing battle with LGBTQ pro wrestling icon EFFY. He closed the year by making his debut for the Premier Wrestling Federation, quickly inserting himself into the PWF Lonestar title picture.

74. Veda Scott

Veda Scott has been top tier for a while now, and their year proved just how many tools they have at their disposal. Scott was the voice of multiple promotions this year, stepping into the commentary booth with MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party and Enjoy Wrestling. But they also proved how talented they are as a performer, stepping into the ring at Jersey Championship Wrestling, Wrestlers Lab, SHIMMER, WAC and C4. Their battle with Edith Surreal at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch was fire and they secured the International Wrestling Syndicate Women’s title from Addy Starr.

73. Dave Turner

“The Black Sheep” Dave Turner pummeled his way through the Pacific Northwest in tag team competition. As the Bash Bros, Turner and his tag partner and close friend Chris Ross became the inaugural Without a Cause Wrestling Tag Team champions. They challenged for the FSW Las Vegas Tag titles in a title vs. title match, and logged appearances with Relentless Wrestling, DOA Pro Wrestling and Championship Wrestling From Atlanta.

72. Saint Synclair

The groundbreaking exotico stayed proving that he transcends that label on events across the country. Synclair established the Haus of Atari at Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21 before challenging Eddy McQueen for the Divas championship, stealing the belt as he left the ring. He made appearances for KnokX Pro Wrestling, teamed with Jamie Senegal at Dark Sheik’s Fearless and dove into the fray at Full Queer.

71. Great Bambina

Great Bambina continues to push herself to be her best, even if she remains somewhat of a spacetime anomaly. “The Base Hit Bitch” rose her star in 5CC Wrestling’s tag team division, teaming with Kendall Marie and reuniting with Allen Jepsen to reform The Home Team and challenge for the 5CC Tag Team titles. Popping up at SOS Wrestling, MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party and Scuttlebutt Spot Fest, Bambina rose to new challenges against top class competition, including Daniel Makabe and Lee Moriarty.

70. Eden von Engeland

One half of the reigning New Wave Pro Tag Team champions along with their spouse Sid von Engeland, Eden von Engeland brought renewed intensity while challenging pro wrestling’s gender binary. They competed in Kaci Dillon’s BellaDonnas Division, shined in Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFi Rules division and turned in great performances at Flophouse, Absolute Intense Wrestling and Juggalo Championship Wrestling. Eden secured notable wins over Shea McCoy, Sandra Moone and Athrun Amada.

69. Abadon

All Elite Wrestling’s resident Living Dead person delivered plenty of horror and hard-hitting action in the company’s women’s division. Abandon regularly put opponents in the ground on AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation, earning them a shot at then-champion Hikaru Shida’s AEW Women’s World championship. They entered the Casino Battle Royale at All Out and celebrated Halloween by battling AEW Women’s World champion Dr. Britt Baker in a Trick or Treat match on AEW Rampage.

68. Charlie Kruel

Whether you know her as the Pop-Tart loving fighter or the totally not the same person Hardcore Charles, Charlie Kruel reached new heights in 2021. Kruel reigned as Women’s champion in both Emerge Wrestling and Asylum Wrestling Revolution during the year and challenged for the VERSUS Battleborn title during her time on Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s No Hook. She entered Pro Wrestling After Dark’s Cannabis Cup tournament and brought pastries and pain to Ohio Valley Wrestling and New Wave Pro. She capped her year by stepping into the ring with Ruby Soho on AEW Dark: Elevation.

67. Bonesaw Brooks

Bonesaw Brooks is a suplex and haymaker throwing force that the pro wrestling world missed dearly. Her Combat Fights Unlimited debut cemented that point, and she continued to prove it at Camp Leapfrog, Black Girl Magik Pro Wrestling Magic. Brooks entered the Battle Club Pro Franchise title tournament and challenged Billy Dixon for the F1ght Club Pro Wrestling Chocolate City championship at Industrial World Wrestling’s Thots & Prayers event.

66. Tyler Klein

The fashion designer half of The Runway, Tyler Klein drew up plenty of beatings for opponents in the Northeast. He and tag partner Calvin Couture once again simped for Parrow at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, but they also secured tag team gold in Prospect Pro Wrestling. The Camp Leapfrog regular also starred in singles competition, challenging for the Titan Championship Wrestling Hardcore title and defeating Nick Ando at Ryse Wrestling.

65. Calvin Couture

Pro wrestling’s favorite Fashionista made waves in both tag team and singles competition this year. Along with his and Tyler Klein’s 2PW Tag Team title win, Couture planted himself in the Ryse Grand championship picture, challenging for the title at Ryse Wrestling’s return show. Couture and Klein shined at Enjoy Wrestling, Pro Wrestling After Dark and the Intergender Bonanza.

64. Jack Andrews

The Paradigm Pro Wrestling top name rose even higher thanks to some calculated decisions in 2021. Aligning himself and tag team partner Chris Copeland with then-PPW champion Myron Reed on PPW No Hook, Andrews became even more of a player in the company. He and Copeland, known collectively as The Ody, captured the PPW Tag Team titles and Wrestling Theology Fellowship Tag Team titles. They also challenged for the Emerge Wrestling Tag Team titles.

63. Aaron Rourke

Perfection is unattainable, but Aaron Rourke comes pretty damn close. Self-described as “Perfection Personified,” Rourke continues to be a rising name on the East Coast. The Chaotic Wrestling regular challenged for the CW Pan Optic championship, won the WrestlePro Silver title and became a favorite of Beyond Wrestling audiences in 2021. Rourke also notched multiple appearances with All Elite Wrestling and Blitzkrieg! Pro.

62. Big Callux

BIG CALLUX. IS A BIG WRESTLER WITH. A BIG HEART. Ok, I can’t keep up with Big Callux’s BIG style, but trust that Big Callux brings powerhouse energy to any show he’s on. With appearances at MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party, Camp Leapfrog, Wrestlers Lab and Limitless Wrestling, Big Callux struck fear into the small. He also brought his Batista guns to Invictus Pro Wrestling, challenging for Big Game Leroy’s Invictus Pro Wrestling Internet championship.

61. Jaiden

Pro wrestling is often described as real-life superhero theater, so why not bring an actual superhero into the fold? Portland’s own “The Unbelievable” Jaiden brought his high-flying style to the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, becoming an integral part of Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s No Hook project. Jaiden challenged for the PPW title, formed an alliance with Don’t Die Miles, wowed at MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party and toppled the evil Kai Fayden at WAC. Jaiden also made his hometown return at DOA Pro Wrestling’s anniversary show, facing off against HBQ and Titus Alexander.

60. Laura Di Matteo

Fighting out of Italy, Laura Di Matteo turned in another stellar year across numerous European promotions. Di Matteo challenged for the PROGRESS Wrestling Women’s championship multiple times before making her return to Pro Wrestling EVE. She also got a taste of WWE’s NXT UK brand, wrestling top names such as Nina Samuels and Stevie Turner. Di Matteo also entered PROGRESS’ Revelations of Divine Love tournament, facing off with Skye Smitson.

59. Terra Calaway

There are few figures in pro wrestling more beloved by the community than Terra Calaway. The reigning Interspecies Wrestling Undisputed King of Crazy champion, Calaway made multiple appearances with H2O, including challenging for the H2O Tag Team titles with her husband, Jeff Cannonball, at a stadium show headlined by Matt Tremont and Atsushi Onita’s Exploding Ring deathmatch. But the crux of her work this year focused on addressing mental health awareness and sexual misconduct in wrestling. The Dropkick Depression founder partnered with RAINN to develop an initiative addressing still present concerns raised during the #SpeakingOut movement.

58. Gabby Ortiz

The reigning East Coast Wrestling Association Women’s champion built a dynamite resume in 2021. Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21 saw Ortiz join the House of McQueen and defend her house mother against Haus of Atari. She competed for the Women’s title at Kaitlin Diemond’s Iron Heart Pro Wrestling, entered the ECWA Women’s Super 8 tournament and tapped into something different against Allie Way (aka Allie Katch) at GCW Emo Fight. Ortiz was also part of one of the more interestingly named matches of the year, entering Felicia Rose’s Gay or Stay Three Way at Pro Wrestling After Dark’s Taste The Rainbow.

57. Anthony Bowens

All Elite Wrestling’s “5-Tool Player” notched quite a few benchmarks in his first full year with the company. As part of The Acclaimed, Bowens and tag partner Max Caster challenged the Lucha Bros for the AEW Tag Team titles, made his AEW pay-per-view debut at Double or Nothing in May and delivered his best singles outing since joining the company when he took on Bryan Danielson on AEW Rampage. He also traveled back to his old stomping grounds at WrestlePro, entering the WrestlePro Tag Team title gauntlet alongside Caster.

56. Toni Storm

Toni Storm climbed the ranks of WWE in 2021, beginning the year embroiled in the NXT Women’s title picture and ending it as part of the Smackdown roster. Storm challenged then-NXT Women’s champion Io Shirai twice before battling Zoey Stark at NXT Takeover: Stand and Deliver. After joining Smackdown, Storm entered the Queen’s Crown tournament and represented the show at WWE Survivor Series. But the most important developments for the New Zealand native came outside of the ring, coming out as bisexual and getting engaged to New Japan wrestler Juice Robinson.

55. Charlie Morgan

There is no more touching story in pro wrestling this year than that of the return of the Ace of Pro Wrestling EVE, Charlie Morgan. After retiring in 2019 due to what was believed to be a career-ending leg injury, Morgan exploded back into Pro Wrestling EVE in August, toppling Skye Smitson in the main event and celebrating with her fiancée, Jetta, afterward. She made additional appearances with EVE and CATCH Wrestling, even facing off with Jetta at Wrestle Carnival, but her raucous return, Pride flag in hand, can’t be topped.

54. Jetta

Speaking of Jetta, she reached her greatest height this year on the same night that Charlie Morgan returned to the ring. Jetta toppled Pro Wrestling EVE champion Rhia O’Reilly in the EVE Title Rumble at Wrestle Queendom 4, becoming the Pro Wrestling EVE champion for the first time. She later teamed with and faced her fiancée, the above Charlie Morgan, but the lasting image of 2021 for Jetta will be Morgan raising her onto her shoulders as she held the Pro Wrestling EVE title high.

53. Doudrop

Not only did Piper Niven change brands, but she also changed names. The NXT UK stalwart began the year in the mix for the NXT UK Women’s championship, but soon found herself on the opposite side of the Atlantic, debuting on Monday Night Raw under the name Doudrop. After dispatching Eva Marie, Doudrop reached the finals of WWE’s Queen’s Crown tournament and challenged for the WWE Raw Women’s title on a series of house shows in the UK.

52. Connelly

Connelly found himself this year, and it translated into his most successful year to date. Connelly opened eyes on Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFi Rules Contenders Series and No Hook, translating into notable matches with Davey Richards, Jordan Blade and “Hoodfoot” Mo Atlas. Connelly also claimed gold, winning the New Wave Pro Higher Ground championship in October. He also appeared for Flophouse, Unsanctioned Pro and Zero1 USA, establishing himself as an intense force throughout the Midwest.

51. Mariah Moreno

Mariah Moreno is LGBTQ pro wrestling royalty. Like Broken Roxy, Moreno is a trailblazer for trans pro wrestlers, and she was honored as such in the first class of Paris Honors. She kept doing what earned her that recognition as well, battling in the main event of Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21, entering the Princex of Pride championship tournament at Full Queer and competing in Crimson Crown Wrestling’s SUPREME Memorial Rumble. She also got back to her deathmatch roots, entering CCW’s Goddess of Gore tournament.

Come back tomorrow for the next 30 2021 QWI 200 honorees.