At this point I’ve done a few of these lists, these are never an exact science, and it’s always fun to see who breaks out, and who doesn’t. This time I’m digging deep into the smallest shows in Northern California. Most of these people have little to no footage, so I’ll be linking their social media.

Brooke Havok

If I told you I was confident that Brooke Havok was going to be the next big thing on the indies I’d be lying to you. The reality is at this point there are way more questions than answers. According to Cagematch, Brooke has just five matches in her career, two of which ending prematurely with her suffering horrific leg injuries. The question isn’t what type of wrestler she is, or what kind of potential she has, but can her body withstand the physicality of professional wrestling. What we do know is that Brooke is one of the easiest people to root for, and has garnered a cult following because of her injuries.

@BrookeHavok

“Punjabi Lion” Cheema

If there was some kind of NorCal prospect draft, Cheema would be my number one pick, and I’m not the only one who feels that way. I’ve asked several people in the NorCal scene who they are excited about—including other wrestlers, trainers, and promoters—the answer is always the same. Cheema is a monster of a man, standing 6’4” and weighing over 300 pounds. He is built like Gary Albright, and wrestles like him too, with an offense built around suplex variations, Cheema easily overpowers his opponents. What really makes him stand out is a natural babyface charisma and fire. Cheema is still very green, but at 19 years old and switching from the East Bay Pro academy to the West Coast Pro, Cheema is on the rise, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes his West Coast Pro debut in the coming months.

@CheemaDaLion

“Atomic” Christopher Torres

For this list, I’ve decided to include wrestlers from Reno since it literally borders Northern California, and is basically an appendage of the NorCal scene. Northern Nevada isn’t exactly a wrestling hotbed, forcing talent to work in the Bay Area and Sacramento on a regular basis. Reno wrestlers have most likely made a bigger impact in California over the past decade than in their home state, as guys like Reno Scum and Karl Fredericks have been staples in APW for years. The one promotion with potential in Reno is Legacy Pro, which ironically has the same problem that has plagued NorCal for as long as the indies have been a thing, they have virtually no social media presence and their shows don’t make tape. Even with the lack of promotions, there is some pretty solid talent.

Last November at Young Lions Cup there were two Nevada wrestlers who stood above the rest, Nic Zander from Las Vegas(who I won’t be talking about, but is someone you should keep an eye on), and Christopher Torres from Reno. Of everybody on this list, Torres is the most polished, the most crisp, and the most dynamic. They remind me of a young Trey Miguel, both look wise and with their high flying offense, they also do the Jungle Kyona dead-lift powerbomb, which pops me every time.

@ChrisTorresPro

Jordan Blu

Jordan Blu is very much cut from the WWE cloth. What she has going for her is a really good look—if you told me she’s related to Carmella, I might believe you—charisma, and a bubbly personality. Despite being very new to the scene, Jordan has already had some big bookings, including West Coast Pro and an appearance on AEW Dark.

@Iamjordanblu

Viento and El Cucuy

At first glance, Pro Wrestling Revolution is your typical lucha promotion that draws a shocking amount of fans despite never having any real buzz. The thing that separates PWR from the other family-friendly lucha promotions, is they weirdly have a lot of puro connections, including working with All Japan, hosting Jun Akiyama’s only US match. One of the more underreported stories this year that could potentially have a huge impact is PWR securing 37 work visas for wrestlers from Dragongate and Pro Wrestling NOAH.

PWR is a promotion I’ve never been able to invest in, the top of the cards always has a lot of great talent, but the bottom has historically been PWR students on the hamster wheel wrestling each other and never moving up. Over the past year or so a couple of students, Viento and El Cucuy, have really separated themselves from the pack and have started wrestling in other promotions including West Coast Pro—where they, unfortunately, spent the entire match selling for Mr. Iguana’s stuffed animal. To PWR’s credit, both Viento and El Cucuy have been moved up the card and have gotten the opportunity to wrestle big-name luchadors like Rey Horus, Lince Dorado, and Dragon Lee. Viento and El Cucuy will likely be career rivals, with Viento as the flyer, and Cucuy as the base, and with the possibility of getting to wrestle Dragongate and NOAH wrestlers I expect them to improve exponentially in the coming months.

@elvientopwr

@elcucuy_pwr

Mighty Mayra

“Tiny but mighty” as her ring introduction goes, Mayra is the smallest wrestler on my list, making her a natural underdog babyface. She doesn’t have the charisma of a Jordan Blu, but is a more natural in-ring worker in my opinion. Mayra is the protégé of the recently retired Nicole Savoy, and has been booked in Texas for Thunder Rosa’s Mission Pro. In March, Mayra wrestled the best match of her career so far, getting absolutely pummeled by Masha Slamovich at SPW in Sacramento.

@Mighty1Mayra

Dom Cirrus

In May, Takedown Pro ran their debut show at a brewery in Berkeley, even with several people in the crowd properly wasted, it was still a family-friendly show with simple wrestling, the kind of show I actively avoid. One of the bright spots was a kid—literally, this was days before his high school graduation—named Dom Cirrus who stole the show. Dom is still very young, very short(can’t be more than 5’5”), and very green. After talking to him after show he told me it was only his fifth career match, which was shocking given how polished he was and how he had the crowd the palm of his hand with his flying and natural babyface charisma.

@CirrusDom

Big Fonz/EOC

In some promotions he’s known as Big Fonz, in others he goes by The EOC(Epitome Of Cool), either way, he’s got the attention of a lot of promoters in the area. Fonz is only a few matches into his career, but he’s already picked up bookings all over lower-level Bay Area indies including Takedown Pro in Berkeley, Southbay Championship Wrestling in San Jose, and Stars Of Wrestling in Alameda. Fonz is a huge guy who has tons of charisma and presence, and a good look. What does worry me is he wrestles like a 2000’s WWF midcarder, and I understand he’s still new to wrestling, but if he’s going to develop into a good worker he really needs to start working more wrestlers with a contemporary indie style, and less kid-friendly shows and ex-WWE guys. Even if he never becomes a great worker, he has all the other tools to have a very successful wrestling career.

@BigFonzTheEOC

Must See ET

ET (Evan Thomas) is another wrestler from the Reno scene, trained by Reno Scum’s Luster The Legend. ET is a guy I used to see working ring crew at APW shows in 2019, and was set to debut right before the COVID shutdown as the emo “King Nothing.” During the time off Thomas ditched the idea of becoming King Nothing, put on some weight, and went in a completely different direction both character and style-wise.

ET is very much inspired by Fit Finlay, and works in a methodical style based on grounding his opponents and making his matches feel like a struggle. It’s no secret that the working standard in NorCal had been significantly raised over the past few years, and with a lot of the local wrestlers having offenses built around highspots, someone like ET is a valuable asset.

If he can deal with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial jokes, and more importantly, can become even more violent and aggressive with his holds, ET can be a big part of this scene’s future.

@mustseeET