Derek Brightwell/@workxshoot

Nothing can stop this momentum. We are everywhere and we don’t give up ground easily.

The same tenacity buried within us that fuels our continued fight against cultural and political attack is what makes all of what we are seeing in the pro wrestling space possible. The art of queer pro wrestling is crafted by the hundreds of in-ring artists using their bodies to move us. That is why this task gets more difficult every year, and why I welcome it.

It means we’re winning. Welcome to the 2023 QWI 200.

Previous Entries:

Day One: 200-171

Day Two: 170-141

140. JJ Blake

A key piece of the heart of Houston’s independent scene enjoyed year-long success yet again. After opening the year as the New Texas Pro Wrestling Lonestar champion, Blake secured the New Texas Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles with Terrale Tempo, holding the belts for nearly 150 days. He outsmarted the competition to win the Premier Wrestling Federation Ascension title and cashed in to close the year as the PWF Heavyweight champion. He added battles against former IMPACT Wrestling star Hernandez, Raychell Rose and Mysterious Q to round out another stellar year for one of the only wrestlers who can pull off a bolo tie while dropping opponents on the mat.

139. Noah Anderson
*QWI Debut*

Las Vegas’ “Bastard Son” rose to his potential this year after tapping into a deeper sense of self and a little bit of darkness. Anderson built himself into a mainstay in PrideStyle Pro, forming the stable Makeshift Chemistry with AJ Aven and Fox Valentine and leading them to the PrideStyle Pro Tag Team championships. He added more gold in singles action, claiming the Versus Pro LVLUP Expo and EWI Initiative titles. The writer of his own story, Anderson closed a major chapter in a dog collar match against Kid Issac before making multiple appearances with Millenium Pro Wrestling, Big Valley Wrestling, Valor Pro Wrestling and Versus Pro. And, of course, he’s still Milhouse’s favorite wrestler.

138. Barbie Boi

2023 wasn’t the year of Barbie simply because of the Greta Gerwig half of Barbenheimer. Barbie Boi added plenty to the mix as well. He proved most successful in tag team competition, holding the Full Queer Harvey Milk & Sylvester Tag Team titles with Myloboo Barbie teammate Mylo and the Millenium Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles with former PrideStyle Pro champion Johnnie Robbie. He made his Hoodslam debut early in the year, challenged for multiple MPW singles titles against Danny Devine and J2 Mattioli and nearly left San Diego Pro Wrestling with the Ground Zero championship. Barbie Boi truly understands that life is your creation.

137. Darwin Finch

Darwin Finch connected embracing himself with in-ring success on an elemental level. They opened the year as Wrestling Pro Wrestling Tag Team champion and found more gold with Lara Frazier as Adventures In Science, winning the Lucha Patron Tag Team titles. They added the Amped Up Wrestling championship later in the year. The Santino Bros. staple tried for more gold in multiple states, challenging for the 5CC Wrestling North Star Nebula title in Washington and the Pandemonium Pro title during WrestleMania weekend in Los Angeles. Finch became a fixture at Full Queer, entering the Sylvia Rivera Rainbow Royal Rumble for the Princex of Pride championship, and made their return to Hoodslam for the first time in three years with fellow non-binary wrestler Richie Coy.

136. Commander Sterling
*QWI Debut*

British pro wrestling received a major infusion of starlight thanks to the Commander’s presence. Sterling picked up career-defining wins early in the year, defeating PCW Heavyweight champion Priscilla in True Grit Wrestling and dispatching Harley Hudson to win the PCW Women’s championship. They entered the Rainbow Rumble at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K., turned in a QWI Match of the Year contender against Kidd Bandit in the first all-trans deathmatch on British soil and entered the Sovereign Pro Crown Cup for the second consecutive year. The future continues to brighten for Sterling, whether on their own or paired up with fellow Queen of the Space Age Priscilla.

135. AC Mack

AC Mack shocked the independent wrestling world when he announced his retirement this summer, but he gave fans a final seven months that lived up to the legacy he leaves behind. The pride of Atlanta opened the year challenging for the IWTV Independent Wrestling World title (or Iris), the same belt that he made history with last year. He held onto the Ohio Wrestling Alliance and Intense Wrestling Entertainment Mayhem titles through early 2023 before turning in a memorable WrestleMania weekend at GCW For The Culture and EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch LA, even when his mouth got him in hot water with hall of fame out wrestler Susan Green. But the exclamation point of his career came in two matches against his fiance Rico Gonzalez, one in long time home promotion ACTION Wrestling and his final match ever at Naptown All-Pro with the WWA4 title, the first singles title he ever won, on the line. Truly a Mack of all trades. Thank you, AC Mack.

134. Carlos Romo

It’s always a fun time when Spanish technical dynamo Carlos Romo comes stateside, but he did even more in his home country. Romo entered the year as Lucha Libre Barcelona Tag Team champion with OBT partner Javier Vives, made his return to the U.K. and reignited his rivalry with the Los AMIGOS stable against Cesar Bravo for the RAGE Absolute title. When he did come to the U.S., Romo starred at promotions across the country, hitting the mat for top indie promotions Game Changer Wrestling, Black Label Pro, Warrior Wrestling and ACTION Wrestling. He added fun bouts with Pedro Dones and Darian Bangston in Wrestling Open and Naptown All-Pro respectively.

133. Lindsay Snow

Lindsay Snow is a woman of many talents: deathmatch aficionado, Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor, tattoo artist — and all came into play during her in-ring adventures this year. She continued her record-long Intense Wrestling Entertainment Women’s championship reign past 600 days, including a hardcore match title defense against Kelsey Reagan where more than one tattoo needle ended up in Reagan’s head. She brought the pain in Florida-based Coastal Championship Wrestling, Circle 6 and BloodStorm Pro and challenged for SHINE and No Peace Underground championships. Plenty of fodder for a Kaiju.

132. Shea McCoy

The gothy and sometimes mischievous half of The Outfielders brought plenty of chaos whether on her own or alongside Weber Hatfield. The duo performed well in tag action, winning the Wrestlers’ Lab Collaborative championships, extending their lengthy reign as Camp Leapfrog Campeonodos de Ranas champions to 794 days and reaching the finals of the Flying V Fights Double Dash tournament. On her own, McCoy stepped to hardcore icon Terra Calaway in H2O, made the semifinals of the Labor of Love Citywide title tournament and challenged for the Superstars of Women’s Wrestling title. She even found success in trios action, joining Hatfield and Edith Surreal to keep the Pop Art Flyers winning streak alive.

131. Don’t Die Miles

Some things take priority over pro wrestling, like starting a family and taking care of a newborn. Don’t Die Miles’ personal journey took that parental turn this year, but they still turned in a great year while taking a step back to be a family person. They displayed their trademark athleticism at Naptown All-Pro, where they funnily enough lost a ladder match for the right to name their child, and Summit Pro, notably reaching the finals of the promotion’s High Elevation tournament and challenging for the title of the same name. Miles popped up in Wrestle Arts, Flophouse Wrestling and Hybrid Championship Wrestling, battled for the Unsanctioned Pro Hardcore title and made their EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut in their hometown of Chicago in Parrow’s Twink Gauntlet.

130. Kikyo

Kikyo remains a veteran presence within the Pacific Northwest, and her 2023 showed why. She developed into a menacing force in POW! Pro Wrestling, battled at 5CC Wrestling and made her return to DEFY Wrestling. Challenges for the DOA Grand championship and SOS Wrestling title fell short, but she struck gold in Canada, winning the All-Star Wrestling Women’s title and holding it for the majority of the year. Her adventures outside of the PNW brought Princex of Pride championship matches at Full Queer, a Crimson Crown Wrestling Supreme Violence title challenge and a tag match at Brooklyn-based Battle Club Pro with fellow out wrestlers Edith Surreal and Sammi Chaos.

129. Jaques Kennedy

The mission for Kennedy is purification regardless of who opposes them between the ropes, and there were plenty who felt the power of “The Luminary” in 2023. Kennedy shined in home promotion ZERO1 USA, defeating Max The Impaler for the ZERO1 USA Women’s championship and redubbing it the Shining Light championship. Kennedy turned away challenges from Mad Dog Connelly, High Voltage Kat and Cameron Saturn while reigniting their rivalry with Anakin Murphy. Outside of ZERO1 USA, Kennedy made their TWE Chattanooga debut, appeared for Envision Wrestling and New Version Wrestling and used their platform to empower non-binary individuals.

128. Gypsy Mac
*QWI Debut*

She may bring misfortune to her opponents, but the year proved rather fortunate for Gypsy Mac. Her reign as the inaugural Squared Circle Pro West Texas Women’s champion carried over from last year, reaching more than 200 days. The “Bruja Baddie” performed well in tournaments as well, reaching the finals of both the Primos Omega 9 and Pride of the Desert tournaments. Where she really rose to prominence was in the Southwest U.S., debuting for Las Vegas promotions PrideStyle Pro and Big Valley Wrestling, stepping into the ring for Arizona’s Wrestle Drag and marking personal heights in Future Stars of Wrestling. Mac challenged Viva Van multiple times for the FSW Women’s championship before returning to Texas for her Mission Pro Wrestling return against Morgan Mercy.

127. Lara Frazier

There are always new peaks to climb and treasures to find for an adventuress, which explains why Lara Frazier took the Bay Area by storm this year. Frazier entered the year holding the South Bay Championship Wrestling Women’s and Lucha Patron Light Heavyweight championships, and would add the Lucha Patron Tag Team titles to their shoulder with Adventures In Science partner Darwin Finch. The all non-binary tag team would make waves in Full Queer, gaining victories and challenging for the Princex of Pride title. They would add appearances in NTLL and Phoenix Pro Wrestling, but they put in the most work at Hoodslam and its sibling promotion GLAM, winning the Intergalactic Tag Team titles as part of the Lost Treasures stable. New adventures are sure to come in 2024 for the outspoken kick thrower.

126. Cassius

Another of Britain’s cheekiest wrestlers (in a different way than Tony Wright), Cassius continued lighting up crowds across the pond. He brought all facets of the “Neon Explosion” to Riot Cabaret and FIST Club, drawing cheers for standing up to Nina Samuels before drawing boos for aligning with her and delivering a gag of a Harley Hudson impersonation. Cassius also built Hustle Wrestling into a new home, climbing the ranks throughout the year to earn a Hustle Wrestling championship match. When it comes to being the star of the show, no one can deny Cassius.

125. Alexis Lee

Alexis Lee chased her dreams and became the queen of Southeast Asian pro wrestling, literally. Lee carried over her Singapore Pro Wrestling Queen of Asia championship reign from 2022, holding the title for nearly a year with defenses against DDT icon Saki Akai, former AEW Women’s World champion Riho, Tokyo Joshi Pro favorite Yuki Kamifuku and historic out trans Filipino wrestler Chelsea Marie. She challenged for the APAC Women’s title in Shanghai, debuted for Vietnam Pro Wrestling and battled Mei Suruga in Gatoh Move, all while carrying her CWE Vixen’s title reign to the precipice of 2000 days.

124. Brick Savage

Clean, simple violence defines Brick Savage when they step into the ring — just ask any of their opponents. Their ACW Televised title was rechristened the Heart of Texas Network championship and they held it the majority of the year, adding the HOT Anarchy title beside it. They logged successful defenses against former MLW World Heavyweight champion Jacob Fatu and Sam Stackhouse and challenged for additional gold in Mat War Pro Wrestling before making their Wrestling Revolver debut. Savage’s battles with Sky de Lacrimosa and Exodus Prime brought new levels of brutality out of them and they are currently the number one contender to Billy Dixon’s Uncanny Attractions Unchampionship. The pro wrestling gif machine doesn’t miss.

123. Angelo Carter

Keeping up with Angelo Carter can be hard when he keeps climbing to new heights in his young pro wrestling career. The “Money Dragon” debuted for Enjoy Wrestling early in the year while continuing to hold down a dominant spot among T2T Brooklyn’s Queer Punk Outlaws. Carter entered his Renaissance Era, starring in action at Limitless Wrestling and Tetsu Pro Wrestling before reaching the finals of Create-A-Pro’s Earn It tournament. Their year was defined by a Blitzkrieg Pro Tag Team title reign with 35MM Magic partner J George and making his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut at BGB 7 alongside his fellow T2T siblings.

122. Angel Metro
*QWI Debut*

Angel Metro’s battles with LGBTQ pro wrestling trailblazer Broken Doll Roxy last year prepared her for a breakout rookie campaign up and down the East Coast. The first femme BWC Cruiserweight champion ever became the inaugural Shore Star Wrestling Women’s champion and held both belts close during the year. Metro cut her teeth at RCW, International Combat Sports and WDWA in between clashes with Ring of Honor star Billie Starkz and deathmatch legend Mad Man Pondo. Things came full circle for Metro at Pro Wrestling After Dark’s Pride show, stepping into the ring once again with Roxy, one of the women that trained them, in an emotional clash between student and teacher. Hail the Riot Act and the revolution it brings.

121. Karam
*QWI Debut*

Karam showed the power that coming out and living truthfully and openly as your full self provides within the world of pro wrestling. A firmly established name in multiple regions of the U.S., Karam manifested golden opportunities at every turn. After winning the Glory Pro United Glory Tag Team titles early in the year, he aimed for titles in Ruthless Pro Wrestling, AAW, Freelance Wrestling and Kaos Wrestling Organization. Karam held singles gold in Sanctuary Fight Club and Full Impact Pro and almost added the Glory Pro Crown of Glory title to his collection. His in-ring power was only outdone by his personal strength when he came out publicly and made his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut in Los Angeles against former NJPW Strong Openweight champion Fred Rosser.

120. Tommy Prince
*QWI Debut*

The title “Mr. MPX” is a great descriptor for the year Tommy Prince put together in Texas. Prince and Children of the Scorned teammates Gabe Wilder and Hilda were a dominant force in Metroplex Wrestling, with Prince and Wilder holding the MPX Tag Team titles twice in 2023. They added the Heart of Texas Tag Team titles and Prince became the inaugural Texoma Pro Dynasty champion, holding all three titles simultaneously late in the year. The Mad Prince added appearances with Wrestling Revolver, including a tag team bout against IMPACT Wrestling Tag Team champions Ace Austin and Chris Bey. They have a bright future ahead as more eyes turn to the Texas indie scene.

119. Helen Charlotte Campbell
*QWI Debut*

Helen Charlotte Campbell’s return to the ring after coming out as trans brought more success and historic moments than anyone may have expected. HCC delivered her powerhouse brand of wrestling to a number of U.K. independent promotions, including PCW, Futureshock Wrestling, True Grit Wrestling and Atomic Pro Wrestling. Her rivalries with Harley Hudson and Leah Raven generated intense battles and the first match in British pro wrestling history to feature two trans women with Aria Check. She made more history in TNT Extreme, entering the Rainbow Rumble at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K. and facing Dark Sheik in the first singles match between two trans women on British soil at GCW vs. TNT. HCC returned to TNT Extreme, wrestling Hudson on its Siren’s Fury brand. Campbell etched her name into wrestling’s record books and proved that expectations are meant to be exceeded.

118. Honest John

There was plenty of magic about Honest John this year, with him maintaining his place as one of Southern California’s most engaging talents. After entering the year as Arizona Wrestling Federation Unleashed champion, John railed off appearances with Impact Zone Wrestling, Desert Pro Wrestling, United Wrestling Network and Best of the West Wrestling. He neared additional championship gold in Versus Pro, Pandemonium Pro and Venue Wrestling Entertainment. He debuted for multiple queer-focused brands, including EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch during WrestleMania weekend in Los Angeles and Arizona’s Wrestle Drag, and secured a spot on New Japan Pro Wrestling’s academy showcase.

117. Zeb Saint One

Ring Vandal. Queer Criminal. There are plenty of monikers applied to Zeb Saint One, but the one that fits most recently is one of the best kept secrets of the Pacific Northwest. Zeb turned over a new leaf, splitting with Wrongside tag partner Kris Brady and joining Def Threat partner Nathan Foxx in a war against his former friend, culminating in a street fight at DOA Pro Wrestling. He captured the 5CC Wrestling championship, pulled up to Peak Sports Entertainment, Relentless Wrestling and POW! Pro Wrestling and put his artistic violence on display. The PNW couldn’t hold Zeb, making appearances with Comptonmania and 2econd Wrestling in Los Angeles and PrideStyle Pro in Las Vegas.

116. Rosie Fingers

Fingers plays dual roles in the pro wrestling world as both an in-ring competitor and a key member of leadership at Bay Area promotion Full Queer. She helped cultivate a relationship between the region’s queer community and pro wrestling through both, holding events at queer-catering events, including the Folsom Street Fair, and wrestling on those shows as well, winning the Full Queer Lonestar championship. Fingers logged additional appearances at Underground Wrestling Alliance, Versus Pro, Wrestle Drag and Stoner U, continuing her mission of queer empowerment through pro wrestling.

115. Sky de Lacrimosa

Sky de Lacrimosa is usually a horrific force driven by a hunger for violence when he steps between the ropes, but his 2023 felt powered by emotion and catharsis more than anything. He opened the year as Metroplex Wrestling Tag Team champions with Lost Boys compatriot Jason Silver, but Silver’s sudden death shortly after their reign ended in February gave Sky more reason to fight. He captured the Metroplex Wrestling Addicts championship, becoming a grand slam champion at the Dallas-Fort Worth area promotion, and then won the Immortal Invitational tournament in honor of his close friend. Sky added multiple Metroplex Wrestling Heavyweight title matches, debuted for Uncanny Attractions and secured wins over Dimitri Alexandrov and Brick Savage to round out the year, but nothing resonated more than the deathmatch monster fighting in honor of Silver.

114. Sid Von Engeland

Sid Von Engeland made noise on either side of the Atlantic en route to building himself into the mouthpiece of Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s favorite evil faction: Death Clutch. After bolstering its ranks, he aided them in becoming the Paradigm Pro Tag Team champions. Von Engeland also starred at Absolute Intense Wrestling in bouts against tag team belt collector Dominic Garrini and Wes Barkley in addition to multiple appearances with 880 Wrestling and TWE Chattanooga against fellow out wrestler Josh Locke. In his native England, he popped up at FUTR Wrestling, entering its annual Battle Brawl match. It wasn’t all meanness for Von Engeland though. He reunited his tag team with husband Aiden Von Engeland at Joan Jetson’s Big Queer Launch 2 to deliver a big queer beatdown.

113. CPA
*QWI Debut*

If there is an independent promotion in the Northeast U.S., CPA more than likely graced its presence, tie and all. The perennial fan favorite drew cheers at Wrestling Open, Blitzkrieg Pro, Jersey Championship Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Grind. Create-A-Pro is where he saw the most success, holding the CAP Tag Team titles with Midlife Express partner Kevin Gibbs for over 200 days. CPA challenged for singles gold in Wrestle Pro, popped up at Black Label Pro and found success alongside Billy Dixon in JCW’s Battlebowl. Tack on shots with GCW, C4 and a dumpster match in Absolute Intense Wrestling and you have a pretty great ledger.

112. Zeke Mercer

Zeke Mercer is arguably one of the MVPs of 880 Wrestling, injecting plenty of petulance and aggression into feuds with Nix Wilde and Tatiana while challenging heavy hitters MV Young and Brohemoth. They kicked off the year with their Enjoy Wrestling debut and continued their 500-plus day reign as Real Shoot Wrestling Heavyweight champion ahead of a double title bout with Remy Lavey. Mercer added appearances with Wrestlers’ Lab, Prospect Pro Wrestling and Victory Championship Wrestling, earning a shot at the VCW Heavyweight championship. The “No Mercy” moniker fits them very well.

111. Irving West
*QWI Debut*

Irving West’s high-energy impishness makes for a perfect complimentary half to C.R.E.E.P.S. partner Andey Ripley, crafting one of the most unique tag teams going right now. And this year, C.R.E.E.P.S. got around. While popular close to home at Southeast U.S. promotions Platinum Championship Wrestling, Retinal Wrestling and Classic City Wrestling, the duo criss-crossed the nation, appearing for Versus Pro, Wrestle Drag, Enjoy Wrestling and 880 Wrestling. West helped the team extend their lengthy Southern Violence & Wrestling Tag Team title reign into 2023 and isn’t afraid to speak out on his desire to decolonize pro wrestling. Oh, and C.R.E.E.P.S. loves you.

Come back tomorrow for the next 30 2023 QWI 200 honorees.