In every corner of the world, LGBTQ people, including LGBTQ pro wrestlers, aren’t simply existing anymore.
We are thriving.
With nearly 500 out LGBTQ professional wrestlers worldwide (and counting), those who want to erode what we’ve built are in for the rudest of awakenings.
The Queer Wrestling Index 200 aims to celebrate the community making that possible within the pro wrestling world.
Welcome to the 2022 QWI 200.
110. Veda Scott
Veda Scott is the single best commentator on the independents and sorely deserves to bring their talents to a major promotion in the near future. But they still know how to handle themself when they step between the ropes. Scott reigned as the International Wrestling Syndicate Women’s champion for most of the year and challenged for the Love Pro Wrestling Challenge and Immortal Championship Wrestling Women’s titles. They scored a victory over Brad Cashew at Rhode Island’s Fight Life and delivered a physical bout with NWA Women’s Tag Team champion Kenzie Paige at Uncharted Territory. But their most fun moment of the year came when they briefly commentated their own match against Edith Surreal and Vita VonStarr at LVAC.
109. Jaques Kennedy
Flower crown in tow, “The Luminary” Jaques Kennedy reached their highest peaks yet in 2022. Kennedy entered the year as the reigning IWA-Unlimited Club champion and won it for a second time later in the year. But their crowning achievement came in New Wave Pro where they defeated Connelly for the NWP Unified Higher Ground championship, making them a double champion for most of the Autumn. They also regularly appeared for ZERO1 USA, including run-ins with longtime rival Anakin Murphy, and asserted themself into the ZERO1 USA Jr. Heavyweight division.
108. Jared Evans
Jared Evans turned himself into one of the menaces of the queer pro wrestling community with ease this year. His newly formed union with Max Zero complicated his appearances in Industrial World Wrestling—at least until he ran into Sawyer Wreck. Evans entered Pro Wrestling VIBE’s Cassandro Cup Rumble, costing Ashton Starr the match after already being eliminated. Evans and Zero would take PWV the next night at Paris Is Bumping, continuing the beef with Starr and entering the Grey Sweatpants scramble, even if Evans clearly didn’t follow the rules. Every community needs those people that love to be hated, and that is Evans’ thing. That and hitting picture-perfect meteoras.
107. Cameron Saturn
The “Bifurious” force of the Midwest U.S., Cameron Saturn carved out plenty of space for themself across multiple promotions. Saturn and Don’t Die Miles held the Paradigm Pro Wrestling and while Saturn and Freddie Hudson held the New Wave Pro Tag Team titles, finding themselves in bouts with The Ody and The Von Engelands during those reigns. Saturn was a fixture at Unsanctioned Pro and Hybrid Championship Wrestling and went one-on-one with Davey Bang at NLS Is For Everyone, but the region could only contain them for so long. They made their Las Vegas debut, main eventing PrideStyle against S4TB, and debuted in Denver at Joan Jetson’s Big Queer Launch. Saturn also made their way out east, appearing at Wrestle Queerdom and NFW.
106. Angelo Carter
“The Moment” created many moments in his first full year in the ring. Carter and The Network partner Indigo forced the Northeast’s tag divisions to pay attention, challenging for the H20 Tag Team titles, returning to Industrial World Wrestling and debuting for Wrestlers’ Lab and Blitzkrieg Pro. “The Money Dragon” turned his focus to singles wrestling as well, becoming a growing presence in Pro Wrestling Grind and participating in Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFI Rules Contender Series. Carter’s most iconic moments of the year came during Pride & VIBE Weekend with his Beychella entrance during the Cassandro Cup Rumble and donning the sweats for the Grey Sweatpants scramble.
105. Satu Jinn
Satu Jinn is a cleaver-wielding artist of the deathmatch scene, and he is beloved for it. An ICW No Holds Barred regular, Jinn turned in memorable performances this year between the chains and in the pit, defeating Casanova Valentine, Jeff Cannonball and Neal Diamond Cutter. He reached the semifinals of Primos Pro’s Slave to the Deathmatch tournament and reigned as the Ruthless Pro Wrestling Deathmatch champion. His multiple battles with Hoodfoot, Remington Rhor and deathmatch legend Mad Man Pondo were blood-filled spectacles and he came close to winning gold again, facing Sean Lawhorn for the Horror Slam Undeniable championship. Truly godforsaken stuff.
104. Joey Mayberry
One of the patriarchs of the Chicago queer wrestling community, Joey Mayberry brought out a new intensity this year. He and Mateo Valentine turned in a feud of the year contending series of battles across multiple Chicago-based promotions, culminating in the second ever Beauty Supply match at Chicago Style Wrestling. The two also joined forces under the name Glamorous and Yummy (G.A.Y.) to make their EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut in September. Mayberry challenged MV Young for the Enjoy Wrestling title at NLS Is For Everyone and ended the year with bouts against “DFB” Greg Murray in CSW, Lucha Libre Total and All Heel Wrestling.
103. Mateo Valentine
The other side of the G.A.Y. coin, Mateo Valentine spent 2022 proving doubters wrong and becoming the Bridge Queen of the Chicagoland area. Valentine’s feud with Joey Mayberry found drama at every turn, and their EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut together in the Tag Team Gayntlet drew cheers from the hometown crowd. He and Jack Moody, collectively known as Big Mood, challenged for the Chicago Style Wrestling Tag Team titles in a TLC match and the Berwyn Championship Wrestling Tag Team titles. In singles competition, Valentine shined at NLS Is For Everyone and got his dream match against Donnie Primetime at Palmhouse Pro. But their top achievement of his year came when he won the All Heel Wrestling Heavyweight championship, a perfect addition to “The Fat, Fem Asian Sensation’s” crown as a leader of the Chicago queer wrestling community.
102. Gabby Ortiz
Within the deep women’s divisions across the Pennsylvania and New Jersey independent wrestling scenes, Gabby Ortiz ranks high on the depth chart. She captured the Monster Factory Pro Wrestling Women’s title early in the year, adding it to her ISPW Women’s title. She logged matches with Women’s Wrestling Army, Intergender Bonanza and Capital Championship Wrestling, where she is currently next in line for a shot at the CCW Global Fighting title. One of the glamorous counted among the ranks of The House of McQueen, Ortiz competed alongside her housemates in Pro Wrestling VIBE and Industrial World Wrestling, but she also faced fellow member Karen Bam Bam in NFW. All families fight, after all. But a late 2022 AEW appearance and a Pro Wrestling R Women’s title win are sure to be a nice salvo.
AEW loves its spooks, but no one in AEW reaches the level of Abadon. The Living Dead They was a staple of AEW’s Dark series of programming, striking fear into opponents’ hearts with a glance and toppling Emi Sakura, Charlette Renegade and Abby Jane. Outside of AEW, they returned to their old stomping grounds of Colorado to battle Bryn Thorne at Lucha Libre & Laughs, battled Janai Kai at Baron Black’s Battle Slam promotion and faced fellow AEW roster member Athena at Metroplex Wrestling. Abadon also found themself in a battle of gender-diverse grapplers when they challenged Kidd Bandit for their Pandemonium.TV title.
100. Riley Shepard
Riley Shepard brought her sword ready to fight in 2022. The New Jersey native was solid in singles action, appearing for Wrestling Open, Mission Pro Wrestling, Women’s Wrestling Army and Dropkick Depression. Her AEW debut against former AEW Women’s World champ Thunder Rosa saw her reach her widest audience yet. But Shepard shined even brighter in tag team action. Her and B3CCA won the Capital Championship Wrestling Capital Cup tournament, and her team with Kennedi Copeland, dubbed The Hardcore Geeks, battled top teams in WWR+ and Blitzkrieg Pro, most notably the Kings of the District and Artsy Fartsy. She even challenged for the CCW Tag Team titles with a third tag partner, Devlyn Macabre. “The Gladiator of the Geeks” always has a sizable party when heading into battle.
99. Lucia Lee
Lucia Lee cut her own trail through the British pro wrestling scene this year, pulling up to multiple prominent independent promotions along the way. “The Cult Classic” made stops at Revolution Pro, Wrestle Carnival and Wrestle Island, including a battle with Harley Hudson and The Von Engelands. She set her sights on gold as well, challenging for the Queen of the Carnival title, the Kamikaze Pro Fighting Females title and the Phenomenal Elite Wrestling Women’s title before capturing the FUTR DSTNY title. The BDK member isn’t slowing down any time soon.
98. Bonesaw Brooks
“The Brooklyn Bruiser” lived up to her moniker both in Brooklyn and beyond, showcasing her toughness and ability to knock your lights out. Her suplex prowess was on display at Combats Fights Unlimited, Dropkick Depression and Brii Championship Wrestling. She entered the ECWA Women’s Super 8 tournament, battled Jordan Blade in a vicious Pure Rules match at Black Girl Magik 2 and pushed Erica Leigh to the limit at Wrestlers’ Lab. Her year culminated in a shot at the Battle Club Pro Nemesis Battleweight title, a glimpse at what should be more title shots for her in 2023.
Jody is a wrestler. One of the minds behind Las Vegas’ Graphouse promotion, Jody kept his spot as an ambassador of the Vegas scene intact. He regularly appeared for Versus Pro and showed his more intense side in multiple bouts at PrideStyle, including a nasty clash with longtime friend/rival Papa Jace. While Vegas is home, Jody brought his personality to multiple spots outside of the desert. He debuted for Without A Cause Wrestling, Prestige Wrestling and Wrestlers’ Lab before tacking on an UGWA Tag Title challenge with Lazarus and the most ludicrous Terminal Combat match in Paradigm Pro Wrestling history.
96. Robbie Radke
You knew we were going to get to The Goons at some point, right? “Rockin’” Robbie Radke was a key part of the faction dominance in East Coast promotions, including SWO where he held and defended the SWO Tag Team titles alongside his fellow Goons. Radke put his power on display in Flying V Fights, Invictus Pro Wrestling and High Tension Wrestling and reached the semifinals of the ECWA Tag team Super 8 tournament with Killian McMurphy. Outside of Goon duties, Radke also reigned as Outbreak Wrestling Badstreet Tag Team champion and defended those belts against the legendary Rock & Roll Express. He also wrestled for Team Pineapple at Pizza Party Wrestling and survived Hell with Casanova Valentine. Truly goonish.
95. Joey Scott
“Hot Shot” Joey Scott was one of the most prolific and well-traveled British wrestlers this year, feeding a reputation he’s built over his decade-plus in the ring. Scott rang in 2022 as the reigning New Star Pro Wrestling champion, PRIZE champion and LDN Capital Wrestling champion and looking for more. He challenged for the LDN British Heavyweight title multiple times and nearly captured the WIN Open To Anyone title. He also wrestled for his own promotion, Full Force Wrestling, one of the few LGBTQ-led promotions in the U.K. He lost a Career vs. Career match to Jason Joshua in May, but made a surprise return in an attempt to dethrone Joshua as the FFW Barracks Academy champion in October.
94. Brad Slayer
One of the top talents in Norwich’s World Association of Wrestling, Brad Slayer built on that legacy with another year of stellar matches and championship gold. He became a double champion in April, holding both the WAW European and British Heavyweight titles simultaneously for a brief time. Slayer added another accolade by winning the Scott Hall Trophy tournament and reached the finals of the WAW King of the Ring tournament. He nearly captured the WAW World Heavyweight title for a third time. Slayer added another battle late in the year against AEW star and former tag team partner Kip Sabian.
93. Dave Turner
Dave Turner’s “Black Sheep” moniker doesn’t do the value he brings to the Pacific Northwest wrestling scene justice. He and Bash Bros tag partner Chris Ross injected themselves into the tag team division in multiple promotions, including a lengthy reign as DOA Pro Wrestling Tag Team champions. Their rivalry with Konami Code was a violent affair, with the teams clashing in a ladder match and DOA Asylum match over the belts. The Bash Bros were also prominent in Without A Cause, POW! Pro Wrestling, SOS Pro Wrestling and Relentless Wrestling. His contributions went beyond the ring as one of the heads of WAC and training the next generation of wrestlers at DRGNxPLEX Dojo, including multiple out LGBTQ stars in the making.
Vipress put her evil ways to work in multiple rings to great effect this year. Her and The Coven partners Kelsey Raegan and Chelsea Durden defeated former NWA Women’s Tag Team champions The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle to win the SHINE Tag Team titles. Vipress logged more appearances with AEW as well, but the desire for singles gold called to her. She challenged for the Generation Championship Wrestling Women’s, Hurricane Pro Cruiserweight and WOW Women’s titles, but where she proved most dominant was Hoodslam. She defeated Suge D at GLAM’s return show before winning Hoodslam’s Battle Royal of Supremacy and defeating Royal Rumble of Ranking Ramifications winner Mylo. Her win over Drugz Bunny and an intense fight with Lady Frost at Ladies Night Out 12 put a black bow on a solid year for “The Serpent of Evil.”
91. Charlie Kruel
The Pop Tart loving firecracker raked is always a fun presence in the ring, though things can get a little bloody when Hardcore Charles comes out to play. Kruel rarely found a day where she didn’t carry a championship in 2022, holding the EMERGE Women’s title for most of the year and ending the year as Pro Wrestling King and Wrestling Theology Fellowship Women’s titles on her shoulders. She made appearances for Paradigm pro Wrestling, Ohio Valley Wrestling and Black Label Pro and faced down GCW star Allie Katch. Her most striking bout came when Hardcore Charles emerged to battle deathmatch icons Mickie Knuckles and Mad Man Pondo in all-out brawls. That’s almost sweeter than a wildberry Pop Tart.
90. Eddy McQueen
Eddy McQueen is a legend for the trail he blazed for queer wrestlers over the last decade. The head of House McQueen was recognized for that during Pride month, being inducted into Paris Honors—but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have her fair share of in-ring fun. McQueen led her House into battle with The Better Business Bureau and entered the Cassandro Cup Rumble in Pro Wrestling VIBE. McQueen defended his DIvas title at Chad Spectacular’s Soiree 2 before linking up with Dillon McQueen to win the Gayest Tag Gayntlet in his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut. The McQueens would nearly capture the Mission Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles at Uncanny Attractions’ return event, putting them squarely in line for another title shot in the future. You never know what could happen with the McQueens united.
It makes sense that “The Fallen Flower” would flourish in the rains of the Pacific Northwest. Kikyo validated her reputation as a PNW constant in Timber Pro Wrestling, 5CC Wrestling, Reactive Wrestling and Without A Cause. Her various tag teams in SOS Pro Wrestling with Max Burnside and Vicky Dreamboat were sublime in SOS’s unique environment. But Kikyo is known to hit the road as well, debuting with Vancouver’s WrestleCore and bringing her mix of power and humor to promotions in Tennessee and Texas. She captured the Best of the West Women’s title, entered DOA Pro Wrestling’s Queen of Thorns tournament and challenged for the PCW ULTRA Women’s title in one of her handful of DEFY appearances. Throw in some stellar bouts with Allie Katch and Sandra Moone at POW! Pro Wrestling and you have one hell of a comeback year for one of the region’s favorites.
88. Karen Bam Bam
The House of McQueen’s powerhouse flirted with gold squished many a bish across the Northeast U.S. in 2022. She took part in the Slayvivor Series at Paris Is Bumping, warred with Kayla Sparks over the Immortal Championship Wrestling Women’s title and gave Anastacia Morningstarr a powerful fight at Wrestling Open. Bam Bam also challenged for the NYWC Starlet and Brii Championship Wrestling Women’s titles. They would win the Spartan Championship Wrestling Women’s title, but they scored perhaps the largest victory of their career, defeating reigning PAWD World champion Trish Adora in the main event of Black Girl Magik 2. It seems “The Conductah” may be in line for a world title shot in 2023.
87. Shea McCoy
Hello there. You can bring us to a local wrestling show near you in the year 2023, ya know ;D— The Outfielders (@Outfielders_HM) November 10, 2022
Paige Watchey Photography pic.twitter.com/b1xjJieikk
Shea McCoy didn’t flinch at the start of the new year, kicking things off by winning the Wrestlers’ Lab Experimental Tag Team Gauntlet alongside Outfielders tag partner Weber Hatfield. It would be the start of countless great tag team performances, with the duo challenging for the New Wave Pro Tag Team titles, entering the ECWA Tag Team Super 8 tournament and defending their Camp Leapfrog Campeonatos de Ranas titles. McCoy nearly captured the Wrestlers’ Lab Collaborative titles with Athrun Amada and reached the finals of Invictus Pro’s 8 City Open tournament. In singles competition, she kept running into Aiden Von Engeland, throwing fists with him in Combat Fights Unlimited and Wrestle Queerdom. McCoy also took a trip to the no ring deathmatch scene, a perfect environment for someone of her grit, and left her mark on Pittsburgh’s Enjoy Wrestling.
86. Armani Kayos
The skinny legend of the New England pro wrestling scene turned his best year to date—one that ultimately landed him championship glory. Kayos became a fixture of Wrestling Open and WWR+, battling top names including Alec Price, Edith Surreal and B3CCA. He and Paris Van Dale, together known as Higher Society, teamed in Beyond before picking up on their rivalry in Chaotic Wrestling, the promotion where Kayos truly shined this year. He challenged for multiple titles in Chaotic before dethroning Aaron Rouke and winning the CW Pan-Optic championship in July. Kayos rounded out the year by entering the Cassandro Cup Rumble and making his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut in Chicago. He’s definitely on his way to higher places.
85. Sidney Von Engeland
Niche wrestling shirts are just one of my interests.— SID VE / シド V.E. (@sidvonengeland) December 4, 2022
Tom Brazier Photography pic.twitter.com/hnPGna8dsw
Catch wrestling aficionado Sidney Von Engeland is a gaijin treasure and part of a household that stands apart in the Midwest pro wrestling scene. Sidney and his spouse Aiden, known as The Von Engelands or The Heritage, dominated the tag team division in New Wave Pro, holding the NWP Tag Team titles twice. Sidney also established himself further in Paradigm Pro Wrestling, competing both solo and with Aiden in UWFI Rules matches, challenging Suge D for the PPW Heavyweight title and becoming the first PPW North Atlantic Commonwealth Heritage champion. The Absolute Intense Wrestling fixture Von Engeland made his Enjoy Wrestling debut before heading back to his homeland, teaming with Aiden against out tag team Fight And Flight (Beau Belles & Skye O. Shure) in Pro Wrestling EAST.
84. Aiden Von Engeland
Aiden Von Engeland’s fierceness in the ring is beyond reproach, but he also provided one of the most emotional in-ring moments of the year. Aiden came out as a trans man in the ring at Wrestle Queerdom, embodying the very spirit of the embattled event. But Aiden did so much more once the bell rang. Along with his stranglehold on the NWP Tag Team titles with spouse Sidney, Aiden developed into a force in Paradigm pro’s UWFI Rules division. He avenged the only blemish on his UWFI Rules record at PPW Terminal Combat, ending Jordan Blade’s year-long reign as PPW Super Middleweight champion. He defeated Shea McCoy in his Combat Fights Unlimited debut, challenged for the Absolute Intense Wrestling Hoss title and reached the semifinals of ZERO1 USA’s Josei Taichi tournament and even battled his spouse in a Southport Strap match at PPW’s 5th anniversary event. Aiden should also be commended for anchoring the aftermath of Wrestle Queerdom and showing the power that a community can have in response to adversity.
83. Anastasia Morningstar
Anastasia Morningstar may be the most dominant competitor to burst onto the independent wrestling scene this year. And the non-binary soultaker has the accolades to back up that designation. They took Wrestling Open by storm as part of The Church of Greatness, devastating opponents weekly. Morningstar found themself adorned with gold as well, holding the Big Time Wrestling Women’s title, the 1DP title and the Locked Target Wrestling Women’s and Intergender Tag Team titles during 2022. They also showcased their hellish power at Black Girl Magik 2.
Doudrop opened the year fixed in the Raw Women’s championship chase, earning a shot at the title against Becky Lynch at WWE Royal Rumble in January. She hovered around the title picture early in the year, including competing in the Elimination Chamber at WWE’s Saudi-funded event of the same name. Doudrop rekindled her tag team with Nikki A.S.H. as the year progressed, entering the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title tournament and challenging for the NXT Women’s Tag titles. She also added a brief reign as WWE 24/7 champion.
81. Shayna Baszler
Sticking with WWE, Shayna Baszlerremained a fixture of the WWE women’s tag team division for a good chunk of the year. She challenged for the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles with Natalya at WrestleMania 38 and battled Naomi and Sasha Banks over the titles at multiple WWE house shows. The “Queen of Spades” earned a shot at the Smackdown Women’s title, facing Liv Morgan at WWE Clash At The Castle. She did snag one championship in 2022, though, winning the LeftRightLeftRight title on WWE star Xavier Woods’ gaming YouTube channel, UpUpDownDown. Here’s to another Warhammer 40K unboxing.
Come back tomorrow for the next 30 2022 QWI 200 honorees.