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.
80. Candy Lee
After years of waiting, Candy Lee finally brought her special brand of chaotic energy (and her boat fund) back to America—and we were not ready. Lee entered the Cassandro Cup Rumble at Pro Wrestling VIBE’s Pride & VIBE Weekend, but her spotlight moment came one night later. Lee bam, bam, bam-bam-bammed her way over Dark Sheik and Edith Surreal in a historic all-trans femme main event to win the Paris Is Bumping Grand Prize trophy. She went on to defend the trophy twice at Wrestle Queerdom, defeating IMPACT star Gisele Shaw and AEW star Sonny Kiss in the same night to bring the trophy back home to New Zealand.
79. Malcolm Monroe III
Michigan deathmatch wrestling runs through Malcolm Monroe III. The third-generation wrestler stood atop multiple promotions throughout the year, holding both the Horror Slam Heavyweight and XICW Midwest Heavyweight titles. He competed for a Memorial Cup bearing his own grandfather’s name, made multiple appearances for GCW, including a queer throwdown with Chase Burnett and BUSSY, and earned the admiration of ICW No Holds Barred fans. Most impressive is the list of deathmatch heavy hitters he toppled this year (Bobby Beverly, Mickie Knuckles, Jake Crist, Satu Jinn and Cole Radrick), all matched by his battle with Australian deathmatch pioneer and Deathmatch Down Under champion Joel Bateman.
78. Abigail Warren
“La Bruja” (or “La Bruja-ja;” IYKYK) Abigail Warren clicked into something special this year, wrestling for promotions up and down the West Coast. She took the Bay Area by storm in Hoodslam, Full Queer and UGWA and headed up to Sacramento to win the Action Coast Wrestling Tag Team titles with Brittany Wonder before challenging Wonder for the GLAMpionship. Her evolution in DOA Pro Wrestling led to bouts with notable opponents (Jaiden, Heidi Howitzer), a spot in the Queen of Thorns tournament and a shot at DOA Tag Team champs the Bash Bros alongside Sandra Moone. Warren will always hold at least one championship going forward as she and Rebel Kel, two-thirds of The Sweethearts stable, captured the Without A Cause Tag Team titles at the promotion’s final show. The forever champ can also be found talking about the spookies on her YouTube channel.
77. Marco Mayur
With many cries of “Sexy Time,” Marco Mayur developed into one of the best tag team wrestlers to hit California in recent years, alongside Money Power Respect tag partner Fabuloso Fabricio and “Manager of Champions” Pollo Del Mar, Mayur collected enough tag titles to necessitate a new trophy case to accommodate them. The duo held the UGWA, PSG, Wrestling War Zone, Gold Rush Pro, Full Queer Harvey Milk & Sylvester, PCW and East Bay Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles at different points of the year. They made their EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut in Chicago and dropped the Bash Bros through tiny tables at CasGAYdia. There were even some matches where Pollo wrestled alongside them. Perhaps the most special in-ring moment though came at Full Queer’s Bearrison St. Fair event where the Full Queer co-founder stepped into the ring with Joshua City, giving him his first match since learning he was HIV+ nine years ago and using the ring to help destigmatize the condition.
The head of the Haus of Visage and a trailblazer for gender-diverse individuals in British pro wrestling, Visage decided 2022 would be their final year in the ring. So the Queen decided to go out with a bang. They delivered a brilliant match against Lizzy Evo in NORTH Wrestling, challenged for the House of Pain Heavyweight title one last time and snagged a victory at Art of Combat. But they shined brightest at TNT Extreme Wrestling, building a lengthy feud with fellow out wrestler Che Monet. The two battled for a chance to face EFFY only for both to wrestle the queer icon in a triple threat match when GCW visited. When Monet and EFFY faced each other again, Visage cost EFFY the match and showed a united front with their former rival. With that, Visage closed their career, at least until EFFY brings the Big Gay Brunch to the U.K. next May. Until then, all hail The United Queendom.
75. Lindsay Snow
One of the most brutal strikers and mat technicians on this list, Lindsay Snow’s intimidation factor is off the charts. Snow held the Georgia-based promotion Intense Wrestling Entertainment’s Women’s championship for most of the year, turning away challenges from Shalonce Royal and Kelsey Raegan. She made multiple appearances with SHINE and Jersey Championship Wrestling and entered the Bloodstorm Pro Tag Team tournament with Mother Endless. Snow added a diverse WrestleMania weekend docket, teaming with Masha Slamovich against Kilynn King and Sawyer Wreck in a no ring deathmatch for No Peace Underground and then wrestled Slamovich for Mission Pro Wrestling the next day. Another title nearly landed around her waist when she challenged for the GCW Extreme title at GCW Tournament of Survival 7.
74. JJ Blake
JJ Blake is a constant in Texas, and he isn’t shy about reminding anyone. Blake held both the New Texas Pro Wrestling Tag Team and LoneStar titles, turning in a stellar contest against tag team Fly Def during WrestleMania Weekend. Uncontent, Blake snagged the PWF LoneStar title as well, placing two pieces of Texan iconography on his shoulders. It wasn’t all about Texas, though, as Blake traveled to Puerto Rico to face former WWE star Carlito in the historic Puerto Rican promotion WWC.
73. Jason Joshua
“Big Daddy Unicorn” accrued plenty of championships to wrap around that horn, adding the Full Force Wrestling Barracks Academy WIN Open To Anyone titles to his Pro Wrestling Subjective championship. And those are just the titles he won. Joshua challenged for the New Star Pro Wrestling, PEW Internet, Academy Pro Wrestling, WIN Heavyweight and FUTR DSTNY titles as well. They booted Joey Scott from his own promotion by defeating him in a match where both their careers were on the line. But his desire to advance LGBTQ identities in pro wrestling goes beyond himself and the ring. Joshua’s Big Queer Wrestling Podcast highlights LGBTQ talent in the U.K. and other nations, bringing awareness to the community’s presence in the ring.
72. Charles Cassus
Charles Cassus may be the single most decorated champion in the Southwest U.S. this year both in singles and tag team action. Cassus and tag partner Bryce Saturn, known together as Final Destination, held the Versus Pro Tag Team, Party Hard Multiverse Tag Team and VWE Tag Team titles as they ran roughshod over Las Vegas promotion PrideStyle. The “Big Bi Bear” added singles gold in the form of the Arizona Wrestling Federation Heavyweight and the Party Hard Chairizona State titles, the latter of which he won by defeating EFFY. He even faced off with his tag team partner for the Wrestle Drag championship, meaning everyone in the region is on notice, friend or foe.
71. Che Monet
Scotland has its own Queen in the form of Che Monet. The young grappler made himself more of a constant in Glasgow-based Insane Championship Wrestling, snatching victory from Eddie Castle and The Manifesto and competing in a wild ladder match in the ICW Zero-G title division at the company’s largest events. Monet’s tenure in TNT Extreme Wrestling proved to be another huge catapult, scoring wins over queer pro wrestling cornerstones EFFY and Visage before joining forces with Visage to form The United Queendom. Monet checked another top LGBTQ Britwres name off the list, defeating Shay Purser at PCW UK’s Pride In The Ring event. He also set his sights on creating a space for LGBTQ pro wrestlers in the U.K., announcing his own event set for next year.
70. Victor Analog
One of the most (techni)colorful entities of the Midwest independents, Victor Analog’s in-ring prowess supersedes his dynamic entrance. Competing for multiple promotions across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, Analog found the most success in New Wave Pro. He defeated Aiden Von Engeland for the WrestleNerds Internet Domain title, challenged Gary Jay for the NWP Crossroads title and came oh so close to winning the NWP Heavyweight title. Analog also delighted crowds in St. Louis Anarchy, entering the annual Dingo Invitational tournament. Naptown All Pro Wrestling became a new home for him and he captured the Pinfall Wrestling Association Regional Heavyweight title back in his original home of Illinois.
69. Heidi Howitzer
Heidi Howitzer is the post-apocalyptic-sized bottle rocket of the Wasteland War Party, and she puts that fervor to work for the group to great effect. Howitzer entered the year as FEST Wrestling Tag Team champion alongside fellow WWP member Leon Ravage, and she added another tag title with the most devastating third of the group, Max The Impaler. The two seized the New South Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles early in the year and battled teams in brawls at Journey Pro and DOA Pro Wrestling. Howitzer did well in singles competition as well, holding the Denver-based Lucha Libre & Laughs Women’s title and feuding with Edith Surreal over the belt for a good chunk of the year. Howitzer added an AEW Dark appearance, made her DEADLOCK Pro Wrestling debut and teamed with her real-life partner Austin Reddick to battle Brandon and Kasey Kirk in WrestleRave.
68. Kiera Hogan
It’s the Baddies Section’s turn to weigh in. Kiera Hogan spent the majority of the year as part of The Baddies stable with All Elite Wrestling TBS champion Jade Cargill, Red Velvet and Leila Grey, aiding the champ in fending off challengers for her title. Hogan racked up a number of victories on AEW Dark and AEW Dark: Elevation and faced down Baddies opposers on AEW Rampage, including Trish Adora, Willow Nightingale and Athena. Outside of AEW, she held the River City Wrestling Women’s title and challenged Jordynne Grace for the IMPACT Digital Media title in her hometown of Atlanta at TERMINUS. Hogan most recently broke from The Baddies, positioning her for a TBS title shot in the near future.
67. Terra Calaway
Terra Calaway’s surprise return to the ring late last year stands as one of the most memorable in the H2O Center’s history. How did she follow that up in 2022? Dominance. Calaway defended her InterSpecies Wrestling Undisputed King of Crazy title all over the Northeast, turning away former champion Addy Starr, burgeoning star Kennedi Copeland and Cecil Nyx in the process. She challenged for the H20 Danny Havoc Hardcore title and starred at Dropkick Depression, a charity promotion she founded. Though she and husband Jeff Cannonball threw down on one another in Blitzkrieg Pro, her true test of the year came against Deathmatch legend Matt Tremont. Calaway defeated Tremont, hopefully proving to herself how talented fans already know her to be. Also, check out her zine focused on women of deathmatch.
66. Big Game Leroy
Who’s up for a few rounds of Smash? Big Game Leroy may have blown up in 2019 thanks to a viral video of his distinct ability to wrestle while playing his Nintendo Switch, but he is so much more. Leroy carried his Invictus Pro Social Media title into the year and inserted himself into the Wrestlers’ Lab title picture. His rivalry with Max Zero in Wrestlers’ Lab was both emotional and existential. He made his Canadian debut at Toronto’s Demand Lucha, competing for the company’s Openweight title before returning to the states and challenging for the PAWD Chocolate City championship in his Pro Wrestling VIBE debut. Leroy also took the Rainbow Road to the midwest, debuting for Palmhouse Pro Wrestling. And, of course, he got good and grimey in the no ring deathmatch world at New Fear City’s The Great American Trash. Game!
65. Ava Lawless
Hell is in Calgary, and “The Hellion” Ava Lawless is its most destructive flame. Lawless dominated multiple promotions in Central and Western Canada, holding the Real Canadian Wrestling Women’s title for 10 months and winning the RCW Gas City Cup. She made her way to Ottawa, stepping into the ring with Trish Adora, Jody Threat and Janai Kai at C4 and captured the Top Talent Wrestling title in Edmonton. Lawless added a challenge for the AAA Reina de Reinas title before making her American debut at Seattle-based promotion DEFY Wrestling, adding another great name to its growing women’s division.
64. Brad Cashew
Brad Cashew is synonymous with Massachusetts-based promotion Chaotic Wrestling. He challenged for every CW title, facing off with the likes of Aaron Rourke, Davienne and Ricky Smokes. But he also was called upon to battle celebrated veterans Scotty 2 Hotty and Gangrel in Maine’s Limitless Wrestling. The former CW New England champion and Boston University’s favorite alumnus also made appearances with Fight Life, Lucky Pro Wrestling and Atlantic Pro Wrestling, proving there isn’t a corner of New England that he won’t survey.
63. Uncle Chase Burnett
For the 99' and the 2000's pic.twitter.com/0JZzaHqsGV— Uncle Chase Burnett (@UncleChase248) December 15, 2022
Don’t let the cane fool you: Uncle Chase Burnett is the acrobatic elder of the Michigan pro wrestling scene. He brought his array of moonsaults and those sweet rainbow suspenders to multiple Michigan promotions, but no place felt more like home than Mr. Chainsaw’s Pro Wrestling. The innovator of 2000s independents reached the finals of the Chainsaw Cup tournament and toppled his idol, former IWTV Independent Wrestling World champion Alex Shelley, inside of the underground which he rules as king. Burnett held the BCWA Heavyweight title and shined in scrambles for Absolute Intense Wrestling. But he reached an even higher stage in GCW, battling Blake Christian, making his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut and teaming with Malcolm Monroe III against BUSSY in Detroit.
Few raised their profile on the West Coast more than Mylo did this year. The best example of this was her rise in Hoodslam, challenging Dark Sheik for the Golden Gig title and winning the Royal Rumble of Ranking Ramifications to earn another chance at the title in November. Mylo was also a major part of PrideStyle’s first year, both in singles and alongside her Myloboo Barbie tag partner Barbie Boi. The duo defeated Money Power Respect to win the Full Queer Harvey Milk & Sylvester Tag Team titles, while Mylo on her own challenged Viva Van for the FSW and New Tradition Lucha Libre Women’s titles, took Sandra Moone to the limit in West Coast Pro and debuted for All Elite Wrestling against Diamante.
61. Max Zero
Max Zero is equal parts violence and beauty. Pro wrestling’s favorite “Handsome Himbo” gave fans plenty to boo about this year, establishing himself as a smashmouth heel in Wrestlers’ Lab and Industrial World Wrestling. He opened the year by nearly securing the Wrestlers’ Lab title from MV Young and pounded his way to prominence in Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFI Rules division. He won the PPW Heavy Hitters tournament, earning him a shot at PPW Heavy Hitters champion Connelly in a dog collar match. Zero formed a versatile tag team with Jared Evans during Pride & Vibe Weekend after both failed in their bid for the Cassandro Cup. There’s almost a Shawn Michaels and Diesel vibe to the duo, except more of a ki.
60. Papa Jace
When Papa says he’s going to come, he doesn’t miss. Papa Jace developed himself into one of the final bosses of PrideStyle and the greater Las Vegas wrestling scene this year. Jace held notable titles in Las Vegas, securing the Versus Pro BattleBorn, PHW Party Monster and Big Valley Wrestling Las Vegas championships at various points. His status as the last Party Monster champion earned him a shot at the Party Hard Legacy title at the promotion’s final event. Papa added tag team gold to his flower crown, winning the Best of the West Tag titles with Nic Zander. “The Meat Grindr’s” battles with Jody Himself and Cutthroat Cody were brutal, but no in-ring performance will top his clash with Sandra Moone to crown the inaugural PrideStyle champion.
59. Logan Black
Logan Black is the living embodiment of the desire to punch a TERF that hangs out in the back of your mind. “The King of Chaos” took New York, New Jersey and the rest of New England to the mat, building himself into a title contender in Pro Wrestling GRIND. Black pulled double-duty at Pro Wrestling VIBE’s Cassandro Cup event, battling in a hardcore scramble before entering the Cassandro Cup Rumble. He also built himself into a force in Blitzkrieg Pro and Dropkick Depression, but his role as a trainer at T2T Wrestling bled into the ring too. He wrestled a number of his out students (Sazzy Boatright, Nick Pierce, Angelo Carter, Indigo, Chris D’Amato), helping them build a foundation as the next generation of indie stars.
58. Kayla Sparks
“The Spice Ranger” shocked audiences when she returned to the ring last year after 14 years away, and her 2022 felt like Sparks was speedrunning making up for that time away. Sparks won the Capital Championship Wrestling Network title and the Immortal Championship Wrestling Women’s title before becoming an integral part of the upstart Women’s Wrestling Army promotion. She logged multiple appearances on AEW Rampage against the likes of Serena Deeb, Nyla Rose and Mercedes Martinez. Sparks also fulfilled a dream, wrestling for WWE on Monday Night Raw. She also pulled off the first “Rick Rude” of the current wrestling war, appearing on WWE and AEW programming on the same night.
57. Aaron Rourke
ARTE should be experienced, and Aaron Rourke wants to make that experience painful. A major name in Chaotic Wrestling, Rourke reigned as the CW Pan-Optic champion for most of the year. The colorful star also held the Create-A-Pro TV and WrestlePro Silver titles as he built himself into a star at Wrestling Open and Limitless Wrestling. Rourke reached the Big Gay Brunch for the first time as well, debuting in a scramble at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch 5 in Chicago.
56. Charlie Morgan
Charlie Morgan’s return to Pro Wrestling EVE last year still rings in fans’ brains today, and her first full year back in the ring built on what is already an astounding legacy for the British star. She challenged for titles all across the region, including the OTT Women’s, Queen of the Carnival and Kamikaze Pro Relentless titles. She entrenched herself in the Pro Wrestling EVE tag team division, challenging for the EVE Tag Team titles with both Alex Windsor and her partner Jetta. Morgan even found herself clashing with Jetta over the Queen of the Carnival title, but finally reclaimed gold, becoming the inaugural Pro Wrestling EAST Women’s champion.
55. Don’t Die Miles
The high-flying namesake of the Shooters Don’t Die stable defined 2022 with historic performances and waves of championship gold. Miles entered the year as New Wave Pro Heavyweight champion, one of the few out non-binary heavyweight champions ever. They’re defense against Max The Impaler was one of the first, if not the first, times two out non-binary wrestlers competed for a heavyweight title. Miles added tag team titles at Paradigm Pro Wrestling and New Wave Pro. They battled Kidd Bandit at Wrestle Queerdom and turned in a banger against Malcolm Monroe III at Flophouse Wrestling.
54. Harley Hudson
Harley Hudson may be the quickest rising star within British pro wrestling, and the pink-clad bruiser put credence to that fact this year. “Hudzilla” collected both the Wrestle Island Women’s and PCW UK Women’s titles. She nearly captured the Wrestle Island title as well, but 2022 also brought Hudson to new, high-profile promotions. She made her debut with Pro Wrestling EVE against EVE Tag champs The Uprising and wrestled her first match at Glasgow-based Insane Championship Wrestling. With challenges for titles in PEW and Riot Cabaret, Hudson is poised to break out even more in the years to come.
53. Tyler Klein
A fellow key to The Runway’s success, Tyler Klein helped craft a banner year for the duo. Along with their 2PW and RYSE Wrestling Tag title reigns, Klein and Couture notched victories over heavy-hitting teams, including BUSSY, The Outfielders and The Goons. The Runway reached the semifinals of the ECWA Tag Team Super 8 tournament and teamed up with lewk magnate Eddy McQueen at Chad Spectacular’s Soiree 2.
52. Calvin Couture
The Runway is the first team of the Pittsburgh pro wrestling scene, and “The Fashionista of Pro Wrestling” is a key part of why they’ve reached such heights. Calvin Couture and tag partner Tyler Klein held the 2PW and RYSE Wrestling Tag Team titles and nearly became the inaugural Enjoy Wrestling Tag Team champions, reaching the finals of the Enjoy Cup tournament. The duo also returned to the Big Gay Brunch, entering the Gayest Tag Gayntlet. Couture also challenged for the RYSE Grand championship.
51. Rolando Perez
“Miami Ice” Rolando Perez kickstarted his year with an AEW appearance, cashing in his New South Winter Warz Rumble win and defeating Adam Priest for the New South Pro Wrestling championship. Perez defended the title at Southeast First and battled Kenzie Paige over “Humongold” before breaking out as a star for the NWA. Under the name Rolando Freeman, he scored two pinfall wins over former NWA Worlds Heavyweight champion Matt Cardona and secured himself and his bowtie as a fan favorite.
Come back tomorrow for the next 30 2022 QWI 200 honorees.