clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

QWI 200: The best LGBTQ pro wrestlers of 2021, Top 20

We’ve reached the end of the QWI 200, the top 20 LGBTQ pro wrestlers of 2021.

Allie Katch Effy
Allie Katch and EFFY, the tag team known as Bussy
Kevin Quiroz

Welcome to the final day of the 2021 QWI 200 list. We’ve made it to the top 20 LGBTQ pro wrestlers of the year.

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

Day five - #80-51

Day six - #50-21

Here are the wrestlers ranked this year from 20 to 1.

20. Keita

Keita bookended his year with significant championship victories at a promotion that is quickly becoming a second home to him, Without a Cause. He became the inaugural WAC Stallions champion in January and defeated former Impact X-Division champion Chris Bey to become WAC double champion.

He didn’t stop there, adding notable appearances with Paradigm Pro Wrestling, No Peace Underground, Dark Sheik’s Fearless and EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch. He barely missed claiming the Princex of Pride title at Full Queer and stared down Dark Sheik, Jai Vidal and Alan Angels in high caliber bouts.

19. Jordan Blade

Daddy says protect your joints when the “Submission Sniper” Jordan Blade is in the vicinity. “The Daddy of the District” brought a distinct version of DMV destruction to her matches this year, becoming a two-time Pro Wrestling Magic Women’s champion and Paradigm Pro Wrestling Super Middleweight champion.

Her all-out war with Parrow at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch Chicago stands as a statement, her rivalry with Janai Kai stoked excitement and Blade’s challenges for Trish Adora’s Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling championship were of personal importance. Blade also impressed in tag team action with Eel O’Neal as Kings of the District and part of the Best Business Bureau. The two topped notable teams, including Higher Society, Bussy, and YoKai.

18. Jamie Senegal

2021 was a historic year for Jamie Senegal. The “Punk Rock Qween” became the first out trans wrestler to ever compete in the National Wrestling Alliance when she entered the Women’s Invitational Cup at NWA Empowerrr. She shattered another benchmark when she became the first out trans wrestler in Impact Wrestling history at Knockouts Knockdown, where she honored the memory of her close friend and mentor Shannon “Daffney” Spruill.

Senegal also cemented her place as the First Lady of No Peace Underground, battling Ace Austin, Atticus Cogar and Kennedi Copeland. She rounded out her year with appearances at New Texas Pro Wrestling, Dark Sheik’s Fearless and Ladies Night Out.

17. Mercedes Martinez

The 20-plus year veteran Martinez proved why she still stands as an inspiration and measuring stick for generations of women and LGBTQ wrestlers. Beginning the year in WWE, Martinez challenged for the NXT Women’s championship multiple times and teamed with Aliyah in an attempt to claim the NXT Women’s Tag Team titles.

She teamed with Jake Atlas during Pride month in her last WWE match, but she quickly inserted herself in the Impact Knockouts title picture. Martinez won the KNockouts Knockdown tournament and nearly dethroned Impact Knockouts champion Mickie James at Turning Point. Her return to the independents was highlighted by her return to SHIMMER and battles with Allie Katch and Masha Slamovich.

16. Max The Impaler

“The Non-Binary Nightmare” was a being of obliteration throughout the USA this year. They became the first out non-binary/trans masculine wrestler to join the Ring of Honor roster, running through the company’s women’s division with incredible feats of strength. They entered New South’s HOSS tournament, belittled the competition in Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFi Rules division and entered the deathmatch pit at ICW No Holds Barred.

Max’s brutal throwdown with MV Young over the Enjoy Wrestling title was Wasteland worthy, and their wars with Erica Leigh and Edith Surreal showcased them as an intimidating force. Their victory at Fest Wrestling Pickle In The Tree 4 sets up another clash with Young for the Fest title where they will undoubtedly bring the terrors of Wasteland War Party once again.

15. AC Mack

Mack’s monumental 798-day reign with Alice, known also as the ACTION Wrestling championship, came to an end earlier this year, but the “Loudmouth” never stays down for long. Mack remained a force in ACTION, defeating Alan Angels in a Last Man Standing match, before striking gold once again with the Intense Wrestling Entertainment Mayhem title.

He showed out at GCW For The Culture and EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, entered Pro Wrestling VIBE’s Cassandro Cup and showcased his star ability on Championship Wrestling From Atlanta. But Mack’s highest achievement this year was winning the Scenic City Invitational and earning a shot at Alex Shelley’s Independent Wrestling championship.

14. Veny

The sole entrant from Japan, Veny, also known to fans as ASUKA, is a powerful voice in redefining gender identity in Japanese pro wrestling in addition to being a fighter with a distinct mix of grace and fury.

Veny dominated multiple promotions in Japan, holding the GWC Six-Man Tag Titles in DDT, SEAdLINNNG Beyond the Sea title and SEAdLINNG Beyond the Sea Tag Team titles alongside Las Fresa de Egoistas partner Makoto. The duo also won a number one contenders tournament in November, setting up another potential reign in the new year. Veny also made their All Elite Wrestling debut, entering the AEW Women’s World Title Eliminator tournament in February.

13. Sonny Kiss

Sonny Kiss lived up to her “Concrete Rose” moniker in numerous appearances with All Elite Wrestling. After her tag team with Joey Janela imploded, Kiss and Janela brought the fight to one another in an impressive physical contest on AEW Dark: Elevation. Their feud spilled out of AEW to WrestlePro as well, delivering another hard-hitting bout.

Kiss hit paydirt in Pro Wrestling After Dark, becoming the company’s inaugural Pride champion by defeating Kiera Hogan in the main event of PWAD’s Pride show, Taste The Rainbow. And she did it all while providing genderfluid and gender-diverse fans a beaming example.

12. Erica Leigh

If all Erica Leigh did this year was use fart noises as entrance music, she would be worthy of note, but Leigh’s sense of humor is only surmounted by her in-ring ability. The reigning Pro Wrestling Magic champion, Leigh was top-tier in appearances with Pro Wrestling VIBE, Paris Is Bumping, Game Changer Wrestling and Enjoy Wrestling. She capped things off with her AEW debut on AEW Dark, but her year-long feud with The Goons tops her year.

From the Big God Damn Cine-Magic to multiple battles with Killian McMurphy to literally zapping McMurphy out of existence at Camp Leapfrog’s Killianvision, Leigh and The Goons showcased a delightfully unique touch to pro wrestling storytelling. Also, all those pee pee poo poo chants...

11. Killian McMurphy

Speaking of McMurphy, “The Shooter’s” year was one where he fully embodied his new philosophy on pro wrestling. Some may designate McMurphy as the leader of The Goons, but he, Eel O’Neal, Myles Millenium, Robbie Radke and Big Dust equally represent the group’s ability and approach. McMurphy himself went to hell and back to deliver his best year to date, winning the ECWA Super 8 tournament and challenging Wheeler Yuta for the Independent Wrestling title.

From Big God Damn Cinematics to title defenses on podcasts, McMurphy’s feud with Erica Leigh across the East Coast tapped into something different, which spun out into the McMurphy-produced Camp Leapfrog Killianvision. The loudest mouth in the Best Business Bureau, McMurphy made deathmatch history, wrestling the first no ring deathmatch ever held in Maryland against Casanova Valentine.

10. Nyla Rose

Nyla Rose continued her path of destruction in All Elite Wrestling this year after a 2020 highlighted by her historic AEW Women’s World title victory. Rose challenged Dr. Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s World title and reached the finals of the AEW Women’s World Title Eliminator tournament, falling to Ryo Mizunami.

Rose is currently in the semifinals of the AEW TBS title tournament with a matchup against Ruby Soho looming. Outside of AEW, Rose elated the Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21 crowd with a surprise appearance and defended her RWR Vixens title against Raychell Rose.

9. Ashton Starr

Starrfire in the flesh, Overkill in the ring, Ashton Starr put everyone on notice with exemplary performances from coast to coast. Starr built his 2021 foundation early with appearances in ACTION Wrestling, Southern Honor and Game Changer Wrestling before reaching the finals of Pro Wrestling VIBE’s Cassandro Cup. Stellar matches at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, Dark Sheik’s Fearless and Paris Is Bumping: Solid Gold ‘21 pushed Starr further, and he cashed in with multiple title wins.

Starr currently reigns as the Tapped Out Sideshow, Southern Honor Tag Team and Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment Tag Team champion, the latter of which he holds alongside EFFY. His Championship Wrestling From Atlanta debut brought him back to television, and he entered the deathmatch world in a light tube-laden battle with Billy Dixon at No Peace Underground Fear The Gay Agenda.

8. Edith Surreal

In a year defined by evolution and accomplishment, Edith Surreal stands as the definition of both. The first Cassandro Cup winner turned in brutal affairs against Masha Slamovich and EFFY in Camp Leapfrog before challenging Lee Moriarty for the Independent Wrestling title at IWTV Family Reunion. Edie entered GCW’s Acid Cup tournament and delivered museum-worthy bouts at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party, Beyond Wrestling and Jersey Championship Wrestling.

“The Ephemeral Queen” turned in a feud of the year contender in Enjoy Wrestling, battling Ziggy Haim in a Hair Vs. Mask match. She even tried her hand at shoot-style in Combat Fights Unlimited. Outside of the ring, Surreal provided one of the most vulnerable and authentic portrayals of trans identities seen in the greater wrestling world on IWTV’s “The Life Of” docuseries, sharing just a slice of the everyday experiences of trans people with the world.

7. Parrow

Many claim the title “Daddy,” but only Parrow threw a human body through a flaming pane of glass to earn it this year. One half of The End, Parrow turned in a match of the year contender at No Peace Underground Fear The Gay Agenda, defeating EFFY in a bloody Last Daddy Standing match. He captured the No Peace Underground title and destroyed more twinks at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch.

The Daddy issue presented itself again in a brutally beautiful fight against Jordan Blade at EFFY’s Big Gat Brunch Chicago. But Parrow reached his highest point in Major League Wrestling and the National Wrestling Alliance. Alongside Odinson, Parrow challenged for the NWA Tag Team titles at Hard Times 2.

6. Allie Katch

Allie Katch evolved from kitty to killer in 2021, showcasing a new level of intensity and viciousness in and out of the ring. When she wasn’t pulling knives on foes, Katch ignited GCW crowds with memorable matches against Dark Sheik, Billie Starkz and Sandra Moone. She established her own event, GCW Allie Katch’s Real Hot Girl Shit, showcasing top names in women’s wrestling to larger and new audiences.

Katch captured the Pro Wrestling Magic Women’s title and starred in multiple promotions across the country. Her tag team with EFFY, collectively known as Bussy, thrilled in tag team action as well, challenging for the GCW Tag Team titles and embroiling themselves in a battle with Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green. She capped off the year by making her AEW debut on AEW Dark, cementing herself as one of the most exciting and unpredictable forces in pro wrestling today.

5. MV Young

Renegade, Unsafe King, and Outlaw all fit MV Young, but there is only one name that truly fits him: The Motherfucking King of the Polyam Cult. Ok, I lied, there is a second name for Young - champion. Young currently reigns as the Enjoy Wrestling, Wrestlers Lab, Ryse Wrestling and FEST Wrestling champion, draping himself in nearly as many belts as he has sexual partners. With notable battles at Graphouse, Dark Sheik’s Fearless, Paris Is Bumping and No Peace Underground, Young is undeniable as a cross-country talent.

His powerbomb to Harlow O’Hara through a crucifix blew up social media, but Young also provided an enormous amount of LGBTQ talent opportunities to shine through his Polyam Cult Party events, including a star-making brawl with Jody at PCP 3. Not even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey can keep the Polyam Cult movement from growing.

4. Trish Adora

Trish Adora has one thing that no one else on this list has: a world championship. The reigning and F1ght Club Pro Wrestling Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling championship saw her title recognized as a world title by PWI earlier this year. And she constantly defended it across a myriad of promotions, turning back opponents like Jordan Blade, Don’t Die Miles, Mazzerati and Suge D.

Both the “Afro Punk” and her title represented Black excellence across the board, but she built up the LGBTQ community as well. She reached the semifinals of the Ring of Honor Women’s title tournament, defeated Tony Deppen in The Iron Match and cleansed Soundbar before bringing plenty of smoke Dark Sheik’s way at No Peace Underground Fear The Gay Agenda. But that wasn’t enough for Adora. She got personal on IWTV’s “The Life Of” docuseries and made her AEW debut against former AEW Women’s World champion Riho.

3. Dark Sheik

The Mother of House Hoodslam. The High(est) Priestess of the Church of Wrestling. The founder of the Accidental Phenomenon. Dark Sheik contains multitudes, and all within her comes through when she steps into the ring. The 20-year veteran continued to break barriers for trans and other LGBTQ communities in wrestling in her most high-profile year to date. Hoodslam’s return in front of 2,000 fans was only the tip of the iceberg. Sheik defeated Titus Alexander for the UGWA San Jose title, rechristened it the Oakland title and then reintroduced herself to Game Changer Wrestling.

She wowed audiences in battles with Nick Gage, Allie Kat, AC Mack and AJ Gray, capping things off by main eventing GCW’s first LA Fights event against Sandra Moone. Sheik joined her tag team partner, Anton Voorhees, to reform The CAUTION and enter the 5CC Wrestling Tag Team title tournament, impressed in both Industrial World Wrestling and No Peace Underground and provided LGBTQ wrestlers a platform through her Fearless event. Most of all, though, Dark Sheik continued to embody the inspirational force she has represented for the trans wrestling community and made sure the West Coast was heard.

2. EFFY

Fun fact: If you’re reading this list, then you’re interacting with EFFY right now. He is the internet, after all. Seriously, though, EFFY stands as one of the loudest, most powerful and influential voices throughout the rise of LGBTQ pro wrestling. His Big Gay Brunch events provided dozens of LGBTQ performers a chance to step onto the GCW stage, which EFFY knows very well, and LGBTQ fans a space of self-expression. His battles with 44.OH and Matt Cardona ignited GCW audiences, the former culminating in a brutal War Games match. The list of promotions EFFY graced in 2021 is too long to lay out here, but his appearances at Enjoy Wrestling, No Peace Underground, Freelance Wrestling and Ring of Honor stand out above many.

He and Bussy teammate Allie Katch represent one of the more intense tag teams in pro wrestling. His continued rivalries with close friends Billy Dixon, MV Young and Parrow delivered match of the year contenders throughout 2021, and he held his share of gold, claiming Cardona’s Internet title alongside his Fest title and Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment Tag Team title with Ashton Starr. EFFY continues to spread the power of independent wrestling through his words and Twitch channel, even counterprogramming Monday Night Raw with his own Monday Not Raw indie wrestling showcase. Simply put, EFFY is EFFY, and he is far more than fine.

1. Billy Dixon

From Straight Bill (aka BJ Gray) to Billiam and everything in between, Billy Dixon lived up to his signifier “The Business” in 2021. Nearing two years as F1ght Club Pro Wrestling Chocolate City champion, Dixon put together his best in-ring year to date. His never ending rivalry with EFFY delivered memorable brawls. His multiple battles with Darius Carter invoked a level of emotion one step beyond while nodding heavily to the unending spirit of both Dixon and the LGBTQ community. Dude tapped out Eel O’Neal on the streets of Brooklyn.

But no match represents Dixon’s place in wrestling and the minds of all who watch him than his Pup Collar match against AJ Gray at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch. The bloody war showcased Dixon’s tenacity and the respect earned from audiences and peers alike. The image of a blood-soaked Dixon yelling directly at GCW owner Brett Lauderdale is still an image that’ll make you run through a brick wall. But Dixon also created some of the most inclusive spaces in Pro Wrestling VIBE and Paris Is Bumping, providing a space for free LGBTQ expression that honored facets of LGBTQ culture foreign yet growing more familiar to pro wrestling. “The Business” showed what the business and image of pro wrestling should look like going forward.

Congratulations to all 2021 QWI 200 honorees and all LGBTQ figures in pro wrestling. See you in 2022!