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Queer Wrestling Index 200: The best LGBTQ pro wrestlers of 2023, #50-21

The 2023 QWI 200 reaches the top 50 on day six of our celebration of LGBTQ pro wrestling.

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Che Monet
Che Monet
Tony Knox/@tonyknox99

Nothing can stop this momentum. LGBTQ people are everywhere in wrestling, 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 Queer Wrestling Index 200.

Previous Entries:

Day One: 200-171

Day Two: 170-141

Day Three: 140-111

Day Four: 110-81

Day Five: 80-51

50. Diamante

Diamante found her most consistent success since becoming an AEW regular in 2020. After multiple AEW Dark: Elevation appearances early in the year, Diamante was thrust into the Ring of Honor Women’s World title picture, challenging Athena for the belt and forming a union with fellow out wrestler Mercedes Martinez to battle the champ and her “Minion In Training” Billie Starkz. The rivalry earned Diamante two appearances on AEW pay-per-view events, All Out and WrestleDream. Diamante also challenged for titles outside of AEW including the Warriors of Wrestling Women’s championship and had the chance once again to step into the ring against her partner, Kiera Hogan.

49. Brad Cashew

Brad Cashew finally reached the top of Chaotic Wrestling this year, the same promotion where his influence and in-ring consistency made him a cornerstone. Cashew defeated The Mecca for the CW Heavyweight championship in March, ending a five-year journey that saw him hold and help evolve titles in the Boston-based promotion. He notched defenses against Pro Wrestling NOAH star Anthony Greene, IMPACT Wrestling star Frankie Kazarian and fellow CW staple Aaron Rourke during his reign. In addition to Chaotic, Cashew graced rings in Limitless Wrestling, Fight Life and Focus Pro Wrestling, reaching the semifinals of the Focus Pro championship tournament.

48. Skye Smitson

Smitson completed the trinity of U.K. pro wrestling, making stops in PROGRESS Wrestling, Revolution Pro and TNT Extreme during 2023. And she made those appearances meaningful. Smitson defended her Southside Women’s championship while challenging for the PROGRESS and RevPro Undisputed British Women’s championships. She added a TNT Extreme Women’s Tag Team title match with Lana Austin at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K., but she delivered powerful messages in Pro Wrestling EVE as well. Smitson and Rhia O’Reilly reigned as Pro Wrestling EVE Tag Team champions early in the year and she remained a key part of The Uprising, battling Laura Di Matteo and Rayne Leverkusen in a tag team Three Stages of Hell match. Her soft side came out a bit after main eventing Purpose Wrestling’s Rainbows & Hand Grenades Pride event and showed much more of her fun side without losing the menace that made her famous.

47. Rico Gonzalez

Rico Gonzalez is the future. The 2022 QWI Rookie of the Year one-upped an explosive campaign by landing on eyes and ears nationally after developing in the Southeast. The WWA4 double champion continued making his name close to home in ACTION Wrestling, Classic City Wrestling and the Scenic City Invitational tournament. At the same time, he rose across the country, making Naptown All-Pro his second home and logging multiple stops in GCW and Freelance Wrestling. ACTION and Naptown provided two personally emotional moments for Gonzalez when he wrestled his fiance AC Mack in his final matches in both promotions. He added the MidwestTerritory.com Championship Chain to his trophy case and challenged for the Black Label Pro Heavyweight title. His tag team with Brogan Finlay and Hunter Drake, The Heartbreakers, wreaked havoc in New South Pro Wrestling and he returned to EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch in Los Angeles. Just two years into his career, Gonzalez’s star is growing at an unbelievable rate and it isn’t fading anytime soon.

46. Charlie Morgan

“The Ace of EVE” gave herself the same title, albeit unofficially, in multiple British promotions this year through her in-ring success, even if nefarious at times. Morgan teamed with her wife Jetta to capture the Pro Wrestling EVE Tag Team titles at Wrestle Queendom 6, but that was the cherry on top of the championship sundae for her. The ace’s Pro Wrestling East Women’s title reign hit one year in November and Morgan added the South West Wrestling Women’s title in February. All three belts remain around her waist as of publishing. Morgan made history in Wrestle Carnival, participating in the promotion’s first No Disqualification match against Chantal Jordan. Despite success elsewhere, EVE remains her home base, both for wrestling and continuing to lead the ever-growing presence of women and queer individuals in the British pro wrestling space.

45. Nyla Rose

AEW’s historic former Women’s World champion remained one of the most entertaining individuals within the whole of pro wrestling. “The Native Beast” spent most of the year teaming with Marina Shafir in AEW yet found time to chase solo goals. Rose challenged for the AEW Women’s World and TBS titles and entered the 2023 Owen Hart Foundation Women’s tournament. Outside of AEW, Rose stepped into Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, instantly becoming the second trans powerhouse to shake its ground in less than a year. She secured wins over Miu Watanabe and Maki Itoh and took some extra time stateside to top Vert Vixen in an Extreme Rules match at Texas-based Metroplex Wrestling.

44. Safire Reed

*QWI Debut*

Safire Reed embodies the rising presence of LGBTQ pro wrestlers in the U.K. both at Pro Wrestling EVE and beyond. Reed rose to the top of Pro Wrestling EVE after not winning a single match in the company for over a year. She defeated Laura Di Matteo, Jetta, Emersyn Jayne and Alex Windsor to win the company’s She-1 tournament before ending Miyu Yamashita’s year-plus reign as EVE champion at Wrestle Queendom 6. It was a huge accomplishment, but it wasn’t all Reed did in 2023. She made multiple appearances with Revolution Pro, challenged for the BLW Women’s title and wrestled for companies in Denmark, Germany and Spain. “The Radioactive One’s” journey within EVE ranks as one of the best pieces of long-term storytelling to occur this year, and sets Reed up for much more in the future, perhaps even becoming the company’s next ace.

43. O’Shay Edwards

The Mid-Atlantic was missing a chunk after “The Big, Bad Kaiju” got done with it this year. Edwards won the Catalyst Wrestling and Ohio Wrestling Alliance championships, reached the semifinals of Combat Zone Wrestling’s Best of the Best tournament and pulled off multiple feats of strength to gain an emotional win at Pro Wrestling VIBE. He returned to the Southeast, wrestling for ACTION Wrestling and Intense Wrestling Entertainment, and challenged for additional gold in Pro Wrestling Grind. Where Edwards found the most success was the Rust Belt, debuting for Major League Wrestling as part of the Bomaye Fight Club, making his House of Glory debut and delivering one of the better hoss fights of the year against Mr. Grim at Enjoy Wrestling. With the Kaiju returning to televised pro wrestling, there will certainly be more fake heavyweights to condemn to death.

42. Priscilla

Priscilla celebrated 20 years as “Queen of the Ring” in 2023, which is an accomplishment in its own right. During that time, she broke barriers for LGBTQ pro wrestlers in the U.K. and paved the way for emerging queer talents all over England. But that doesn’t mean that they let the conversation end at what she did. Priscilla’s reign as PCW Heavyweight champion continued in 2023, extending to 15 months and another appearance at Pride In The Ring, the same event where they won the belt last year. He clashed with Commander Sterling before aligning with them, forming the Queens of the Space Age. They notched title defenses against Sam Gradwell and Boom Harden before putting the title on the line at WAW’s Norwich Pride show in a Bondage Rope match against Adam Envy. And, of course, Priscilla entered the Rainbow Rumble at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K., because you can’t have brunch without the Queen. Just don’t break her nail.

41. Jaiden

Jaiden is the hero any city would want. The dynamic Pacific Northwest fan favorite dropped his superhero pose in promotions throughout the region, most notably DOA Pro Wrestling and Prestige Wrestling. His rivalry with Nick Radford and The Academy brought Jaiden and Kidd Bandit together as allies, a pairing that would take the superhero element of their personas to titanic levels in Prestige Wrestling later in the year. “The Savior of Rose City” reached the semifinals of Prestige’s Cascadia Wrestling Cup tournament, got hardcore with Zaye Perez and Spencer Scott as the Super Aces in POW! Pro Wrestling and challenged for the 5CC championship. Jaiden’s brightest moments came when he debuted for AEW against Powerhouse Hobbs and announced he would be part owner of a new promotion in the PNW, All Star Action Pro Wrestling, adding another LGBTQ-led promotion in the land of peaks and evergreens. All of that is enough make us forgive him for tapping into his darker side against Amira up in Relentless Wrestling.

40. Killian McMurphy

Killian McMurphy has one of the brightest minds in pro wrestling today, and he uses it to produce some of the most brilliantly dumb things that subtly ring poignant notes through the humor. This was most evident in his feud with Edith Surreal that culminated in McMurphy getting his comeuppance at Pro Wrestling VIBE. His “Shooter” nickname is no lie, however. McMurphy’s in-ring skills earned him title matches in Invictus Pro Wrestling, Pennsylvania Premiere Wrestling and ECWA, winning the ECWA Legacy championship. He expanded his role in Enjoy Wrestling, challenging Edith Surreal for the Enjoy Wrestling championship at a Labor of Love event and facing Dark Sheik and Paris Sahara in superb contests. Like other Goons, McMurphy returned to the no ring deathmatch world against The Bundertaker and maintained a presence in Flying V Fights. Not bad for a wrestling TikTok Live NPC. Gang, gang.

39. Harley Hudson

2023 may prove to be a life-changing year for “Hudzilla.” Her success across the British independent scene caught the eye of IMPACT Wrestling during its late-year U.K. tour. Hudson impressed so much that she won the company’s Gut Check competition, an honor that comes with paid training in North America and perhaps a track into the company in the future. It should come as no surprise when you look at the rest of her year. Hudson won the Rainbow Rumble at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K. by last eliminating Parrow, won the TNT Extreme Women’s Tag Team titles with Lizzy Evo, held Women’s championships in Wrestle Island, Futureshock Wrestling and LWF and defeated Emersyn Jayne on her IMPACT debut. Add matches against BUSSY, Charlie Morgan and Commander Sterling in major promotions across Europe and Hudson’s resume more than constitutes someone on the cusp of something huge.

38. Ziggy Haim

“The Mother of Mess” and Queen of the Pittsburgh Wrestling scene added new, bloody gems to her crown in 2023. The long-reigning Enjoy Wrestling Tag Team champion turned to the world of deathmatch, quickly showing a love for it after battling Sawyer Wreck in Matt Tremont’s Angels of Death tournament. She would return to H2O multiple times, challenging for the H2O Hybrid title and earning the respect of Tremont and Brandon Kirk in the ring. She entered multiple tournaments at Absolute Intense Wrestling, challenged Sandra Moone for the PrideStyle Pro championship and made regular appearances at 880 Wrestling. Despite everything, Enjoy Wrestling remained their home, teaming with The Production partner Derek Dillinger to grow the length of their title reign to over 500 days.

37. Anton Voorhees

The rise in profile garnered in 2022 paid off for the man lovingly known as the second-best ass in Hoodslam. Voorhees literally saved the universe inside of the Hoodslam ring, defeating The Fallen after they committed so many murders. His trademark weaponized flatscreen TV accented stellar bouts with Brooke Havok and Richard Shhhnary and he implemented plenty of subterfuge after being forced to leave The CAUTION (caution) and join The Boom Gang. Outside of Hoodslam, Voorhees won the Full Queer Lonestar and Best of the West West Coast championships and turned in fun matches against Ashton Starr and Keita. “The Link to the Future” made his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut during WrestleMania weekend, which definitely enticed Dillon McQueen, and wowed audiences in a supremely athletic bout against Jaiden at DOA Pro Wrestling. Voorhees rounded out the year with appearances in Phoenix Pro Wrestling, Underground Wrestling Alliance and Versus Pro.

36. Dillon McQueen

Zaddy finally got his Humongold. McQueen’s year felt defined by his journey to the New South Pro Wrestling championship, reaching the finals of the HOSS tournament and challenging Kenzie Paige before finally winning the title in a triple threat cage match in August. The moment was short-lived, but it kickstarted a violent rivalry with Hunter Drake that built McQueen into more of a star deserving of that belt. McQueen carried that momentum outside of the Southeast U.S. as well, challenging for titles in Freelance Wrestling and FEST Wrestling. He again teamed with Eddy McQueen in Uncanny Attractions, returned to EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch, reigned as one half of the New Level Pro Tag Team champions and stood toe-to-toe with Parrow in the deathmatch confines of No Peace Underground, earning praise from WWE star Cody Rhodes along the way. But the most beautiful event of McQueen’s year was his marriage, putting the love within him on display.

35. B3CCA

*QWI Debut*

International pop stars have it so hard these days. Good thing B3CCA knows how to handle anyone who gets in her way. The Major League Wrestling star played the hits across the U.S. and Europe, winning championships in Immortal Championship Wrestling and Maryland Championship Wrestling. She earned additional title shots up and down the East Coast, including an IWTV Independent Wrestling World title match against Matt Tremont and multiple wXw Women’s title bouts. She shined at Beyond Wrestling, Limitless Wrestling and Fight Life both on her own and with tag partner Aaron Rourke, known collectively as Best Hoes/Gay Best Friends, while reaching the finals of the Vacationland Cup. Across the pond, B3CCA graced the rings of Germany’s wXw and Britain’s Revolution Pro and Pro Wrestling EVE. And, of course, you can’t have a Big Gay Brunch in Los Angeles without someone as “it” as B3CCA.

34. Heidi Howitzer

Heidi Howitzer scored some of the biggest wins in her career during 2023, both stateside and in Japan. She opened the year by winning the Tokyo Joshi Pro Princess Tag Team titles with Max The Impaler, becoming the first all-LGBTQ team to hold gold in TJPW history. They defended the titles in Enjoy Wrestling, Glory Pro and Deadlock Pro Wrestling, but Howitzer went on one hell of a solo run afterward. The reigning Lucha Libre & Laughs Women’s champion defended her title against top talents Maki Itoh, Masha Slamovich and Miyu Yamashita before beating Warhorse to add the LLL Heavyweight title. She made her Ring of Honor debut later in the year and challenged for the WOW Tag Team titles under her Wrecking Ball persona. She found a new spot that caters to her personality in Hoodslam, debuting alongside Daddi Doom, before closing the year by defeating EFFY, proving exactly where she sits in the pecking order of independent pro wrestling.

33. Shayna Baszler

WWE’s “Queen of Spades” experienced her best year to date since joining the main roster in 2020. Baszler's union with Ronda Rousey culminated in the duo winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles one month after getting a victory at WrestleMania 39. The win made Baszler a three-time WWE Women’s Tag Team champ. But the real moment of catharsis came when Baszler turned on Rousey, setting off a feud that brought out the Shayna Baszler so many remember fondly from NXT. She defeated Rousey at SummerSlam, sending the former UFC champ out of WWE and elevating Baszler to WWE Women’s World title contender. That run led to her challenging for that championship later in the year and setting up for hopefully more success and ruthlessness in the new year.

32. Fred Rosser

Fred Rosser has been an inspiration for many in the LGBTQ pro wrestling community since his historic coming out back in 2013. Ten years later, that population got the chance to give Rosser his flowers in person for the first time in a proper setting. Rosser made his EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch debut against Karam during WrestleMania weekend, wrestling his first match in front of queer pro wrestling’s most raucous crowd in a moment that felt long overdue. The New Japan Pro Wrestling star kept that feeling cycling, entering the year as NJPW Strong Openweight champion and closing his years-long rivalry with Tom Lawlor after battles in Prestige and NJPW. Rosser added a House of Glory championship match against Jacob Fatu, multiple matches on Ring of Honor and an appearance with Wrestle Drag before the year closed out, but he thrived in a training role as well, helping develop new talents at the NJPW LA Dojo.

31. Indi Hartwell

*QWI Debut*

The Australian WWE star secured the biggest win of her career in 2023, surviving a six-women ladder match to win the NXT Women’s championship during WrestleMania weekend. The win made Hartwell only the second out LGBTQ wrestler to hold that title, joining Shayna Baszler. Hartwell recorded title defenses against several rising NXT stars, including Roxanne Perez, Tiffany Stratton, Zoey Stark and Cora Jade before vacating the title and being called up to the main roster. She again challenged for the NXT Women’s title against Becky Lynch on Raw and reunited with Candice LeRae to go after the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles.

30. Connelly

When you’re nickname is “King of the Dog Collar,” you know you aren’t someone anybody wants to cross. The problem is Connelly treats any opponent like they’ve wronged him. One of the most intense and bone-shattering stars on the independent scene today, Connelly kept fear on his name throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States. He entered the year holding the Paradigm Pro Wrestling Heavy Hitters and New Wave Pro Heavyweight championships and added more prizes soon thereafter. He and EMS teammates Big Beef and Lobo Okami won PPW’s Cyclone Classic trios tournament and Connelly secured a win over Jaden Newman in his signature Dog Collar match. After appearances in Naptown All-Pro and Timebomb Pro, Connelly ran headlong into the feud that would define his year against Manders. The two traded wins in some of the most belligerent matches in St. Louis Anarchy history without the heavy use of weapons. Connelly recorded additional matches in Black Label Pro, TWE Chattanooga and ZERO1 USA, including a challenge for the ZERO1 USA Heavyweight title. Live your truth means something different in the hands of Connelly, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

29. Funny Bone

Funny Bone remains one of the most intimidating figures in independent pro wrestling — and that doesn’t even take into account when he rips off his face paint. The “Demi-God of Death” brought his mix of hardcore action and hard-hitting prowess to promotions across the West Coast this year. He entered the year as POW! Pro Wrestling champion battling Caden Cassidy, Drexl and Zicky Dice in everything from No Disqualification matches to Barbed Wire brutalism. He additionally held the Assault Wrestling Alliance Merciless title. He made appearances with Circle 6, Pandemonium Pro, Crimson Crown Wrestling, Relentless Wrestling, Dark Arts Entertainment and No Peace Underground during WrestleMania weekend alone. Funny Bone challenged for titles in WrestleCore and WrestleRave, returned to his Hoodslam stomping grounds and wrought violence upon enemies in DOA Pro Wrestling, Future Stars of Wrestling and Prestige Wrestling. His Most Violent pairing with Drexl added a third in the form of Su Yung, creating quite the family of death.

28. Jai Vidal

Vidal is developing into one of the more entertaining figures on IMPACT Wrestling’s weekly TV show as part of The Shawntourage. His pairing with Gisele Shaw and Savannah Evans is divine and pushed him into action against major stars like IMPACT Knockouts World champion Trinity and “Speedball” Mike Bailey. Vidal accomplished plenty outside of IMPACT as well. He held the PCW Ultra Light Heavyweight title early in the year, challenged for the PrideStyle Pro championship after scoring wins over Dark Sheik and EFFY in Las Vegas, nearly claimed gold in Florida’s Coastal Championship Wrestling and made returns at DOA Pro Wrestling, Future Stars of Wrestling and GCW. EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch LA was reminded that the “i” stands for IMPACT and Vidal kept the vibe alive at GrapHouse. His dream of winning the IMPACT X-Division title definitely seems within reach.

27. Aaron Rourke

“Evil Gay” became internationally known in 2023, debuting for German promotion wXw and Dutch promotion Pro Wrestling Holland, but his biggest accomplishments came at home. Rourke completed his quest to the top of Chaotic Wrestling, defeating The Mecca in a welt-worn strap match to win the CW Heavyweight championship in a moment of extreme catharsis. The win made him a double champion, adding to his Create-A-Pro championship. His tag team with B3CCA, known as both Best Hoes and Gay Best Friends, challenged for the IWTV Independent Wrestling Tag Team titles and H2O Tag Team titles and traveled across the country to represent the East Coast at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch LA. Rourke added title matches at Wrestling Open, LIVE Pro Wrestling and FWF while terrorizing Maine-based promotions Limitless Wrestling and Let’s Wrestle with his ARTE stablemates. And we haven’t even mentioned his multiple matches in AEW yet. With that much success, there is no denying “Evil Gay” any longer.

26. Che Monet

Che Monet made pro wrestling history in the U.K., winning the TNT Extreme World championship to become the first out LGBTQ male world champion in British pro wrestling history, the third in all of pro wrestling and joined Priscilla as the only LGBTQ wrestlers to hold a major British promotion’s top championship since Kendo Nagasaki in 1988. But his path to that moment represented something truly extraordinary. His United Queendom pairing with Visage provided opportunities for multiple queer wrestlers at TNT Extreme while setting up a classic brawl with BUSSY and Session Moth Martina in the EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K. main event. That led directly to his world title challenge against Charles Crowley, but it wasn’t the only company where Monet left an impact. He was instrumental in bringing Scotland its first Pride show with Iron Girders Pro Wrestling, earned an Insane Championship Wrestling Zero-G Title shot and kicked off a feud with Visage while keeping his desire to wrestle internationally alive. His title reign may have been short, but Monet’s name is forever etched into the history of pro wrestling and nothing can erase that.

25. Kidd Bandit

Kidd Bandit’s meteoric rise in the pro wrestling world was something to behold last year, and it didn’t slow down in 2023. She earned title matches in Underground Wrestling Alliance, PCW, Inspire A.D., Santino Bros., Big Valley Wrestling, Timber Pro Wrestling, What A Drag Wrestling and Venue Wrestling Entertainment. Bandit paired up with Commander Sterling to turn in a QWI Match of the Year contender and one of the first all-trans deathmatches in pro wrestling history at True Grit Wrestling. She logged appearances with Prestige Wrestling, 2econd Wrestling, New Texas Pro Wrestling and SPARK Joshi while garnering cheers at Hoodslam and DOA Pro Wrestling. Bandit created more memories at both U.S. EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch events against Dark Sheik, Sawyer Wreck and LuFisto, entered the CZW Best of the Best tournament and battled Rider Furlong in one of the very few all-trans singles matches ever to occur on Canadian soil. Behind the scenes, she assumed a producer role at Pandemonium Pro, expanding the amount of queer leadership in pro wrestling. It’s no wonder Bandit is getting her flowers.

24. Mercedes Martinez

Mercedes Martinez is already a legend for what she has accomplished in her 20-plus years in the ring, but her 2023 in Ring of Honor felt right in line with some of her best years on indies. Martinez found herself involved in a nearly year-long frenemy relationship with ROH Women’s World champion Athena that saw them team as allies and fight over Athena’s championship throughout the year with Diamante and Billie Starkz thrown in as well. Martinez also made multiple appearances on AEW television, including an AEW TBS title match against Kris Statlander in August. She got business done outside of the U.S. too, defeating She-1 tournament winner Safire Reed in Pro Wrestling EVE and taking on Vert Vixen for the DEFY Women’s championship in Toronto. All of that amounts to Martinez again proving she has staying power in the mainstream eye and is full of just as much malice as ever.

23. Parrow

“Murder Daddy” got that name for a reason, and Parrow channeled that villainous energy into another awesome year. His boss-level demeanor in GCW alongside Charles Mason formed the most devilish tandem in the promotion. His forever rivalry with EFFY fueled the QWI Match of the Year contender to close EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch LA while clashes with BUSSY, Sawyer Wreck and Rina Yamashita continued. His Double Dog Collar match against Joey Janela and Sawyer Wreck was a bloody spectacle while his Twink Gauntlet at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch 7 provided a different kind of spectacle thanks to Baby Bop. Parrow returned to the U.K., defeating Big Damo at EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch U.K. and interjecting himself in the Rainbow Rumble. Outside of GCW, Parrow ventured back to Full Queer, No Peace Underground and Mayhem On Mills, making sure everyone remembers his murderous spirit is still vibrant and looking for more victims.

22. MV Young

Arguably no one has done more to develop and invest in a single region than “The King of the Motherfucking Polyam Cult” in Pittsburgh in recent years. Young cultivated a culturally diverse array of wrestlers and trainees at his school, T2T Pittsburgh, and the connected promotion 880 Wrestling where he also regularly wrestles. Emerging names like Juni Underwood, Vi Daniel, Nix Wilde, Zeke Mercer and Saul Esparza stepped to the King within the company, producing knockout affairs. Young entered the year as Enjoy Wrestling champion, holding it until falling to Edith Surreal, capping his reign at nearly 600 days. Outside of his city, Young returned to Pro Wrestling VIBE, challenged for titles in Invictus Pro, Victory Championship Wrestling and Real Shoot Wrestling and blared “Renegade” at Uncanny Attractions, FEST Wrestling and Naptown All-Pro. Between all the deathmatches, forearm battles and blown kisses, Young brought his students along for the ride, lifting up the entire Pittsburgh area and cultivating the very sexuality-diverse future of pro wrestling.

21. Sonny Kiss

Sonny Kiss is a superstar. It’s been said many times before and it is sure to be repeated years into the future, but Kiss proved why in the present. While logging multiple appearances with AEW and Ring of Honor, Kiss went on another successful indie run similar to last year. She challenged for the Greektown Wrestling title and participated in War Games in Canada, shared the ring with fellow out wrestlers Sebastian LeShawn and Timid Tamir Gibbs, built a strong feud with Kimberly Spirit at SWO, battled Cole Radrick over the Black Label Pro title and recorded her second EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch main event in a QWI Match of the Year contender. Her departure from AEW quickly gave way to her surprise debut in IMPACT Wrestling at Bound For Glory, leading to a dream match against IMPACT Knockouts World champion Trinity shortly after. Kiss added appearances with House of Glory, Blitzkrieg Pro and Smash Wrestling to end the year, showing that the “Beautiful Badass” is truly one of a kind.

Come back tomorrow for the Top 20 of the 2023 QWI 200 honorees.

Also check out regular conversations with LGBTQ wrestlers on the LGBT In The Ring podcast.