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.
50. Skye Smitson
Skye Smitson is the embodiment of evil in Pro Wrestling EVE. “The Villainess” reigned over the company’s tag team division for most of the year, winning the EVE Tag Team titles twice alongside The Uprising partner Rhia O’Reilly and fending off The Royal Aces multiple times. She challenged for EVE singles titles as well, including a battle with EVE champion Jetta. Her skills as an enforcer weren’t exclusive to EVE, however. Smitson counts herself among PROGRESS Women’s champion Lana Austin’s stable, The Lana Austin Experience. The reigning World War Wrestling Women’s champion nearly added more singles titles to her waist, reaching the finals of the Maiden of Chaos Title tournament and challenging for Germany-based promotion wXw’s Women’s title.
49. Mr. Grim
Few have the mix of athleticism and power housed within “The Hitman For Hire.” And he made sure the world remembered. The D.C.-native carried the IGNITE Wrestling title into 2022 and looked to add more gold early on, challenging longtime rival MV Young for the Enjoy Wrestling title in a casket match. Grim maintained his place as the powerhouse of Wrestlers’ Lab and Combat Zone Wrestling as he warred with Shawn Carlson over the 1CW Bulletproof title and Kyngs Heavyweight title. He even wrestled in Peru and Bolivia, but his most memorable moments came in two matches back in the DMV: his battle with Willow Nightingale at F1ght Club pro and a hoss fight with Hoodfoot at Pro Wrestling VIBE.
48. O’Shay Edwards
Speaking of dominant forces known for their exploits in the Grapitol Region, O’Shay Edwards enforced his will up and down the East Coast. Edwards emerged as a major force in Massachusetts-based promotion Pro Wrestling GRIND, entering its Emerald 12 tournament to crown its first champion. He captured the Catalyst Wrestling Sapphire TV title, closed his years-long feud with Billy Dixon in a brutal Last Fighter Standing match at F1ght Club Pro Wrestling and logged an appearance with AEW. “God King” went international as well, wrestling in Canada and famed German promotion wXw. His and Shane Taylor’s tag team battle with WWE stars Top Dolla and Ashante Adonis at GCW For The Culture rekindled the Shane Taylor Promotions stable en route to a near show-stealing performance.
47. Bryn Thorne
“The Belle of the Brawl” staked her claim to the throne of the Southwest pro wrestling region this year, showering herself in equal amounts of accolades and energy drinks. Thorne captured the Party Hard Chairizona State title, earning her spot in the PHW Legacy title match at the company’s final event. She walked out as the Party Hard Legacy champion, defeating Papa Jace and Jakob Austin Young. She starred for multiple Las Vegas promotions, including Graphouse and PrideStyle, challenging Sandra Moone for the PrideStyle title. She faced off with AEW star Abadon and legend Dark Sheik in Lucha Libre & Laughs, logged multiple bouts in the Pacific Northwest at 5CC Wrestling and claimed the Impact Zone Wrestling Women’s championship back in her home of Arizona.
46. Ace Perry
Ace Perry continued to build himself into a must-see name across the Midwest U.S. with his mix of agility and reckless abandon. He entered the year as AAW Tag Team champion alongside Alexander Hammerstone, notching multiple defenses. “The Black Diamond” also challenged for singles gold, battling for the ZERO1 USA World Junior Heavyweight and Hybrid Championship Wrestling Midwest titles. He stood victorious over Kevin Giza in a 60-minute Iron match before teaming with Giza to challenge for the New South Tag titles and won the Big Starkz Brand Invitational tournament, defeating Tre Lamar in the finals. Perry also got hardcore, establishing himself as a force in Circle 6, competing in No Peace Underground and going to war with Anakin Murphy in New Wave Pro. Throw in an appearance against Alex Kane on Uncharted Territory and you have another soulful year for Perry.
Priscilla, one of the trailblazers for LGBTQ representation in British pro wrestling, reached the tallest heights of their 20-year in-ring career this year. After winning the PCW Road to Glory tournament, Priscilla captured the PCW Heavyweight championship at the company’s Pride of the Ring event in June. The “Queen of the Ring” carried that title for the rest of the year, defending against talents including Kidd Bandit and CJ Banks. Priscilla took the title to other promotions as well, defending it at World Association of Wrestling’s Norwich Pride event before debuting with Spectrum Wrestling and Brittania Wrestling Promotions in a hard-hitting battle with fellow Queer World Order partner Mitchell Starr.
44. Brooke Valentine
The “Queen Bee” came to crush 2022. The Midwest U.S. darling broke out in a big way all over the East Coast, logging appearances with Wrestling Open, Beyond Wrestling and Flying V Fights. Valentine further linked herself to Pro Wrestling VIBE, lasting to the final two in the Cassandro Cup Rumble and battling the Kings of the District at Prime Time Vibes. She and Thick & Juicy 2.0 tag partner Willow Nightingale tore the house down at Black Girl Magi 2 before challenging for the Battle Club Pro Tag Team titles. The two actually faced off against each other in Pro Wrestling GRIND as well. Valentine also became an integral, heavy-hitting part of Women’s Wrestling Army. The Midwest did come calling though with appearances in Naptown All Pro and T2T Pittsburgh.
43. Da Shade
The long-reigned Versus Pro champion found himself in title matches with every corner he turned. Da Shade defended his Princex of Pride title all over Las Vegas and the West Coast against stiff competition, including Mr. Grim, Kidd Bandit and Bryn Thorne. He challenged for the Versus Pro BattleBorn and Party Hard Chairizona State titles and battled Keita for the Without A Cause double crown. Shade helped establish PrideStyle at its first few events before making appearances with Full Queer, Impact Zone Wrestling and Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling. He reached his highest stage in Chicago, making his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut in a scramble match full of his trademark yeeting.
42. Anton Voorhees
Anton Voorhees did not proceed with caution (caution) in 2022, throwing himself into major matches across the West Coast. The Hoodslam staple was a major presence as the Oakland-based promotion got back into the swing of things. Voorhees challenged for the Hoodslam Champion Ship, showcased many a cosplay look and defeated former Ring of Honor TV champion Tony Deppen. He made multiple appearances with PrideStyle and dropped 64-bit carnage alongside BloodBond 64 partners The Stoner Brothers. Alongside tag partner Dark Sheik, collectively known as The CAUTION, Voorhees challenged BUSSY for the GCW Tag Teams titles in his debut with the company. As a member of The Agenda, Voorhees helped the group become a dominant force in UGWA and invaded Full Queer. All in a day’s work the “The Link to the Future.”
41. Adriel Noctis
Pro wrestling has a decent lineage of vampiric forces, and Adriel Noctis is the latest to pick up the mantle to great success. The “Blood Thief” took the Pacific Northwest by storm, challenging for titles in both DOA Pro Wrestling and DEFY Wrestling. Noctis made his debut with popular indie promotions Prestige Wrestling and West Coast Pro Wrestling as well. He helped build the profile of Las Vegas wrestling with his brawl against Akira at PrideStyle and his run as the inaugural Graphouse champion. His thirst brought him to UGWA where he won the Quest for the Key gauntlet and challenged for the UGWA title before returning to the Midwest to trade shots with Chase Holliday and Darian Bengston at Naptown All Pro. If that wasn’t enough, Noctis also made his AEW debut, appearing on AEW Dark against The House of Black.
40. Laura Di Matteo
Laura Di Matteo hit the triumvirate of top British women’s divisions this year, preserving her place as one of the top grapplers in all of Europe. Matteo held the Pro Wrestling EVE International title for most of the year, entering the She-1 tournament as champion. She challenged for the PROGRESS Women’s title in a series of matches with Kanji and faced off with then-NWA Women’s Tag Team champions Allisyn Kay and Marti Belle alongside Hyan in Revolution Pro. She challenged for the PURE-J Openweight championship and entered the Maiden of Chaos Title tournament. The Italian technician added the HWUK title to her collection and appearances in Austria as well.
39. Dillon McQueen
Dillon McQueen is hands down the most inspirational comeback story of the year. After reaching the semifinals of New South Pro Wrestling’s HOSS tournament and gracing the Big Gay Brunch stage again in Dallas, McQueen fell ill with ailments that left him unable to walk. But McQueen pushed himself to an amazingly fast recovery, feeding off his passion for the ring and the love of his fans. He made a surprise return in the Cassandro Cup Rumble just a few months later and never looked back. He and Kenzie Paige, known as Petty In Pink, entered the Enjoy Cup Tag Team tournament and formed the villainous Last Laugh stable that wreaked havoc in Uncharted Territory. He made appearances with GCW, Freelance Wrestling and Black Label Pro, and turned heads with fellow McQueen, Eddy McQueen, winning the Gayest Tag Gayntlet at Big Gay Brunch 5. The McQueens nearly walked out of Uncanny Attractions with the Mission Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles and a rivalry between McQueen and Paige continues to brew in New South. If that isn’t enough, McQueen also claimed the New Level Pro Tag Team titles with Nick Iggy.
38. Ziggy Haim
The “Final Girl” and the best purveyor of Midsommer cosplay in pro wrestling showed that doing things her way continues to pay off. Officially recognized as “The Queen of Pittsburgh Pro Wrestling,” Haim put gold to that name, winning the Enjoy Cup Tag Team tournament with The Production co-star Derek Dillinger and becoming the inaugural Enjoy Wrestling Tag Team champions. Haim and Dillinger were staples of Absolute Intense Wrestling, while Haim shined in RYSE Wrestling and Wrestlers’ Lab on her own, scoring wins over AEW star Willow Nightingale and Brooke Valentine. She also continued her trend of winning titles in the rain, claiming the WNRN Internet championship amid the elements.
37. Brittany Wonder
The “Ultragirl” was at it again in 2022. Brittany Wonder put herself in championship gear in California, collecting two reigns as Action Coast Wrestling Tag Team champion alongside Joey Smoak and Abigail Warren respectively. She clocked victories in Full Queer and Total Wrestling Federation, but she caused the most destruction in Oakland. The Hoodslam staple helped the Creep Squad wrangle the Best Athlete in the Bay Title from the Wholesome Gang, defeated former GCW Tag Team champion Allie Katch and battled Nicole Savoy. Wonder also captured the GLAMpionship in Hoodlsam’s sibling promotion GLAM, awarding her one of the sickest looking belts in wrestling.
An emotional victory— JAIDEN EX (@ThisIsJAIDEN) June 20, 2022
: Lady Bell Wrestling Photography pic.twitter.com/z6jXutQUgL
Portland’s own caped crusader kept the entire Pacific Northwest under his watchful eye for another year—and his heroic deeds produced dividends. Jaiden knocked off Kidd Bandit and Robert Martyr on his way to a second DOA Pro Wrestling Pure championship reign and finally nabbed his first win in the historic Roseland Theater against Jack Evans for Prestige Wrestling. Jaiden finally closed the book on his issue with Alex Zayne while making multiple appearances for Washington promotions Without A Cause and 5CC Wrestling. He also challenged for the SOS Pro Wrestling title and teamed with Max Burnside as The Weed & Seed Connection as his alter ego, The Bird, in Tacoma-based SOS Pro Wrestling. Ever vigilant, Jaiden also made appearances in POW! Pro Wrestling and turned in a banger with Nic Zander at CasGAYdia.
MSP is the vibe, and DangerKid is an integral part as to why. “The Shapeshifter” and MSP tag partner Aggro ruled the Northeast U.S. as one of the most dominant and consistent tag teams of the year. DK and Aggro won the Blitzkrieg Pro Tag Team titles in February and never let go. The duo returned to the Big Gay Brunch, entering the Gayest Tag Gayntlet at BGB 5 in Chicago, and popped up again in the no ring deathmatch world at No Peace Underground, sparking a brawl with fellow LGBTQ stars Keita and Jai Vidal. DK and Aggro also staked a claim to the throne of Pro Wrestling VIBE’s burgeoning tag team division, qualifying for the PWV Tag Team Title tournament.
Let’s keep the vibe going. Aggro lent his acrobatic ways to MSP’s wide success in 2022. With the Blitzkrieg Pro Tag Team titles in tow, Aggro and DangerKid challenged for the Iron Heart Pro Wrestling, Northeast Championship Wrestling, Empire State Wrestling and C4 Tag Team titles. The duo shined at Pro Wrestling GRIND, Let’s Wrestle and Limitless Wrestling as well. MSP kept their streak of Big Gay Brunch appearances intact, popping up at both EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch events in 2022. While they weren’t able to capture the C4 Tag titles, MSP did win the Canadian promotion’s TAG Memorial tournament.
33. Charli Evans
Charli Evans brought her distinct style of violent artistry to three different continents, leaving beautiful disasters along her path. In the U.S., Evans and partner Everett Connors enamored GCW audiences. The two teamed together against top GCW names BUSSY, Second Gear Crew and Los Mazisos, but Evans wowed on her own as well. She challenged for the GCW Extreme championship and turned in battles with Sawyer Wreck and Charles Mason. In the U.K., Evans returned to Pro Wrestling EVE, reuniting with her Medusa Complex partners and challenging Emersyn Jayne for the EVE title in a deathmatch. She also fought Alex Windsor for the RevPro Undisputed British Women’s title. In her home of Australia, Evans appeared for PWA Black Label and challenged for the Newy Pro Women’s title, but nothing topped her deathmatch showdown with Aussie deathmatch icon Joel Bateman in Deathmatch Down Under. Turns out she pays homage to Joshi legend Manami Toyota in more ways than one.
32. Funny Bone
Your “Demi-God of Death” demands your attention. Funny Bone brought havoc to promotions nationwide this year, capturing the Assault Wrestling Alliance Merciless title inside a steel cage in Maryland and the POW! Pro Wrestling title after a grueling Three Stages of Hell match in Oregon. He took part in weapons-laden brawls in Prestige Wrestling, DOA Pro Wrestling, UGWA and No Peace Underground and wrestled at The Gathering of the Juggalos. Titles in Minnesota’s Midwest All-Star Wrestling and California’s FIST Combat were in his sights, and his return to Hoodslam fit his moniker. Las Vegas wasn’t spared, though, as he had notable battles in FSW and Dark Arts Entertainment, including a challenge for the FSW No Limits title.
31. Mercedes Martinez
The Pride of Brass City finally reached the mountaintop she rightfully deserved to reach years ago. After ending her IMPACT Wrestling run against Deonna Purrazzo, Mercedes Martinez came to AEW and defeated Willow Nightingale to become the interim Ring of Honor Women’s World champion. She soon claimed the title outright, defeating Purrazzo on AEW Dynamite and claiming her first title for a major televised promotion. Martinez notched defenses against the likes of Serena Deeb, Trish Adora and Hyan before heading over to New Zealand and Australia for matches with New Horizons Pro Wrestling. The 20-plus year vet rounded out her year with appearances in Northeast Wrestling and House of Glory.
The man who bled to earn the right to be pro wrestling’s top Daddy kept his hold as the final test at the top of the battle tower. Parrow defended his No Peace Underground championship in light tube-drenched fights with Taya Valkyrie, Hoodfoot and Atticus Cogar, maintaining his spot as a force in the deathmatch world. He showcased his power in bouts with Dark Sheik and Kidd Bandit at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch and appearances with Full Queer and GCW. He and tag partner Odinson, Known together as The End, challenged for the NWA World and FIP Tag Team titles and entered the NWA Crockett Cup tournament. They even got the chance to wrestle overseas again, appearing for All Caribbean Wrestling in Trinidad & Tobago, making him a worldwide Daddy once again.
29. Kidd Bandit
The rise of Kidd Bandit has been astonishing. “The Protagonist of Pro Wrestling” built herself into a fixture in DEADLOCK Pro and Prestige Wrestling with high velocity battles against Drexl, Funny Bone, AEW star Malakai Black and a DPW Worlds title match against Bojack and Lucky Ali. She captured the Pandemonium.TV and Metroplex Wrestling Prospects titles, made her Big Gay Brunch debut in Dallas and survived a clash with Parrow at Big Gay Brunch 5. Bandit’s match with AEW star Sonny Kiss at Garden State Pro was a seminal moment for her, and her series of matches against “Girl Raven” Dark Sheik in Las Vegas were brutal. She made her debut in Canada and the U.K., returned to AEW Dark, turned in a Pacific Northwest match of the year contender against Jaiden in DOA Pro Wrestling and entered the Cassandro Cup Rumble. Most of all, she spread a message of positivity and inclusivity, whether battling Devon Monroe in Timebomb Pro, NJPW star Yuya Uemura in Pandemonium Pro or Don’t Die Miles at Wrestle Queerdom.
With chain in tow, “Mad Dog” Connelly brought new levels of intensity and straightforward violence across the American Midwest. Connelly dominated Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFI Rules division en route to winning the PPW Heavy Hitters title from Alex Kane. He logged title defenses in brutal affairs against Max The Impaler in Terminal Combat and a Dog Collar match against Jordan Blade. He followed up that title win by unifying New Wave Pro’s Higher Ground and Crossroads titles and winning the NWP Heavyweight title. His battle with Jake Lander will go down as the bloodiest match in Zero1 USA history, and he added appearances in Unsanctioned Pro, St. Louis Anarchy and Flophouse Wrestling. He shed his Midwest secret state this year, waring with former ACTION Wrestling champion Adam Priest at Uncharted Territory and having multiple matches highlighted by The Ringer. God is dead, but Connelly can’t be killed.
27. Nyla Rose
It was a year of chicanery and breaking bitches for the former AEW Women’s World champion. Nyla Rose formed alliances with Emi Sakura and Marina Shafir, battling top AEW names across the company’s array of programming. She challenged Thunder Rosa for the title she once held early in the year, was one-half of a historic matchup with Max The Impaler on AEW Dark: Elevation and nearly became AEW TBS champion after stealing the belt from champion Jade Cargill. Outside of AEW, Rose challenged for the Warriors of Wrestling Women’s title and brought the Beast Bomb to Kaci Dillon’s BellaDonnas Division.
26. Jai Vidal
When Jai Vidal steps into the ring, he gets things done with style. That’s why IMPACT Wrestling signed him to be Gisele Shaw’s executive stylist and content creator. IMPACT’s first contracted out gay star got plenty done on his own in the ring, though. Vidal held the PCW UltraLight, FSW No Limits and Coastal Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight titles over the course of the year. His feud with Matt Vandagriff over the FSW No Limits title ended with Vidal putting his FSW career on the line. Vidal shined against Carlos Romo and Devon Monroe at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch and snatched Adriel Noctis’ key in UGWA. But his battle with Keita and Da Shade over the Princex of Pride title stands out. The trio wrestled to a no contest for the belt, culminating in a triple threat cage match for the title at Full Queer’s anniversary show.
25. Fred Rosser
Fred Rosser made history in 2013 when he came out as gay while under WWE contract, and he made history yet again in an internationally-revered pro wrestling promotion. After a nearly year-long quest to defeat Tom Lawlor for the NJPW Strong Openweight title, Rosser finally toppled the head of Team Filthy in a blood-soaked main event. The win made Rosser the first out LGBTQ champion ever in the 50-year history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The reigning champion logged title defense against former Ring of Honor World champion Jonathan Gresham, Fred Yehi and JR Kratos. His performance brought him to face IWGP World Heavyweight champion Jay White. Outside of NJPW, Rosser also challenged for the All Pro Wrestling Universal Heavyweight title. And he did it all while maintaining his #BlockTheHate campaign.
24. Alex Kane
It’s suplex season year-round when Alex Kane is in action. “The Suplex Assassin” brought all of this work to opponents across the Southeast U.S. and beyond this year. Kane entered the year as Major League Wrestling National Openweight champion, defending the title against Calvin Tankman, Davey Richards and ACH. The head of the Bomaye Fight Club went to war with former tag team partner Damyan Tangra in ACTION Wrestling, challenged for the Southern Underground Pro Tag Team and MLW Tag Team titles and nearly walked away with the ACTION title. He made multiple appearances at Uncharted Territory and challenged Joe Black for the IWE heavyweight title, and expanded to leave his mark in more places. He won Paradigm Pro’s Fighting Spirit Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, claiming the PPW Heavy Hitters title in the process, debuted for New York’s Invictus Pro Wrestling and traveled to Germany for his first shot in the famed wXw promotion.
23. Gisele Shaw
It didn’t take long for “The Quintessential Diva” Gisele Shaw to make a name for herself in IMPACT after signing with the company early in the year. Shaw was a stalwart of the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team title picture, challenging for the belts with multiple partners including Lady Frost and Madison Rayne. After partnering with Jai Vidal, she traded stiff shots with Jordynne Grace over the IMPACT Knockouts championship. Where the Filipino striker did hold gold was U.K.-based PROGRESS Wrestling, entering the year as the company’s Women’s champion. After her nearly year-long reign ended, Shaw challenged for the Paris Is Bumping Grand Prize trophy at Wrestle Queerdom, battled Jody Threat and AEW star Sonny Kiss in Toronto’s Greektown Pro and captured the Chem Valley Wrestling Women’s title. But her most inspirational moment came during Pride month when she came out publicly as trans, becoming the first trans wrestler ever to sign with IMPACT.
British pro wrestling has a number of aces, but only one “Princess Diana.” Jetta turned in a banner year, winning the Pro Wrestling EVE title for a second time and teaming with real-life partner Charlie Morgan as The Royal Aces in multiple attempts to dethrone EVE Tag Team champions The Uprising. She added more gold at Wrestle Carnival, capturing the Queen of the Carnival and defending it against Morgan, Lizzy Evo and Emersyn Jayne. Jetta reached the semifinals of the Pro Wrestling EAST Women’s Title tournament, nearly won her block in EVE’s She-1 tournament and notched appearances in PROGRESS Wrestling, OTT Wrestling and Wrestling Resurgence. That is a year worthy of the crown which rests atop Jetta’s head.
21. Devon Monroe
Not everyone can garner a “This is Awesome” chant with a simple kiss—but “Black Sexcellence” isn’t just anyone. F1RST Wrestling Uptown VFW champion Devon Monroe is a pinnacle of Midwest pro wrestling. Their reign with that title surpassed a year in 2022, turning back challenges from Dark Sheik, EFFY, Bryan Keith, Lince Dorado and AEW star Sonny Kiss. His battle with Kiss stands out as a match of the year contender. Monroe also featured in Freelance Wrestling and Black Label Pro, where he challenged Ace Austin for the IMPACT X-Division title. Monroe shined at Black Wrestlers Matter, Timebomb Pro and both EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch events, including a victory over Jai Vidal. They entered the Cassandro Cup Rumble and delivered another match of the year contender against Trish Adora at Paris Is Bumping during Pro Wrestling VIBE’s Pride & VIBE Weekend, marking a new level of intensity and prowess that points Monroe toward even taller heights.
Come back tomorrow for the top 20 2022 QWI 200 honorees.