Independent (Indie) wrestlers are in high demand these days due to the emergence of AEW and NXT.
WWE will also keep their eyes on indie wrestlers that have a good following and has an established fan base. WWE was known for raiding the indie circuit to make their roster stronger. In the past, they have signed Kevin Steen (Owens), Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Now that AEW as emerged WWE has competition when it comes to signing free agent wrestlers.
The wrestlers that I am going to list have contracts that will expire in 2019 or 2020.
The top 5 indie wrestlers that WWE and AEW should keep an eye out for are as follows:
Kazuchika Okada currently wrestles in New Japan and he isn’t due to be a free agent anytime soon. This is a guy I want to see wrestle some of the top guys in AEW and WWE. His trilogy with Kenny Omega may go down as the best three matches with the same opponent in wrestling history. Okada has done it all in New Japan, time to see how he stacks up against some of the biggest stars in America.
#5. Dalton Castle
Castle is a former ROH champion that has went toe to toe with some of the best wrestlers in the world today. Castle is one of the few indie wrestlers known for his character work and his personality skills put him above most others. I don’t think he will reach his full potential until he is wrestling on the biggest stages in wrestling.
Prediction: Castle signs with WWE/NXT
#4. Jeff Cobb
Cobb also was known as Matanzo Cueto when he performed under a masked in Lucha Underground, but since he has ditched the mask he has become one of the hottest wrestlers in the game. He has wrestled in New Japan and ROH, where he won the TV championship. He has revealed in interviews that he does like the idea of joining WWE one day but I think AEW will have a shot at him too.
Prediction: Cobb signs with NXT
Moose is a former pro football player turn wrestler who is actually pretty good. He started in ROH and is now one of the top stars in IMPACT. There were rumors of Moose almost joining NXT during his prior free agency but WWE didn’t sign him at that time. He is an important asset to, I think he would jump ship if the offer and opportunities are to his liking.
Prediction: Vince loves athletes, Moose signs with WWE
#2. Tessa Blanchard
Tessa, in my opinion, is the second best female wrestler in the world today behind Charlotte Flair. She previously competed in the first Mae Young Classic and followed by a few NXT matches, but she was never signed by NXT or WWE. She decided to bet on herself when she signed a one-year contract with IMPACT. She will be most sought after free agent as I think IMPACT, All Elite Wrestling, ROH and WWE will all be fighting for her services.
Prediction: Tessa signs with NXT and eventually moves on the WWE main roster
#1. Marty Scurll
Marty Scurll, the former member of the bullet club with Cody, Young Bucks and Hangman Page is the lone member of the group that couldn’t sign with AEW due to his Ring of Honor contract extending for the rest of the year. Scurll could exit to join the others when his contract ends. Some in the business think this is a no-brainer. His girlfriend Deonna Purrazzo competes on NXT so this could possibly tempt him to listen to an offer from WWE.
Prediction: Scurll signs with AEW
With the Wednesday night war underway and SmackDown moving to FOX, there could be some big names on the move within the year. Free agents now have options and we will see how they go about making their decision.
Will it be money, will it be creative control, will be wrestling on the biggest stages or will it come down to building their brand?
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The Scrap’s Lee Brown is a 22-year Air Force Vet, fan of all sports – especially UFC, NFL & NBA, and cohost of Lee N Keys Real Talk Podcast. You can follow Lee on Twitter (@Levanstian757) and Instagram (@Va121Lee).