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Highest 2026 Debut


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#1 Phil Schneider

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 07:12 PM

Let's put on our prediction hats and guess who the highest ranking guy on the 2026 list, not to make say the top 200 of this years. I could see one of your EVOLVE grappling dudes getting a big run in Japan or WWE and getting pretty high. Matt Riddle or Fred Yehi are both so good early in their careers give them 10 years they could be great. I could also see wider Houston footage getting Gino or Jose Lothario higher on the list, although I think they have a ceiling 



#2 soup23

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:02 PM

Person that didn't get any votes that will be highest in 2026: Matt Riddle

 

Highest person this time that will be in top 100 in 2026: Rush 



#3 Dylan Waco

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:13 PM

Yehi is four years in and was good from day one.  There are random Southern indie matches I was watching from him v. Jimmy Rave and Kyle Matthews that few other people paid attention to that were very good to great years ago.  He's probably my pick for best in the World right now.  If he stays at this level for another couple of years he'll make my ballot in 2026 easily.

 

Riddle is also a good call and so is Rush.  



#4 Matt D

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:14 PM

For people who did get votes, Thatcher seems like a guy that could end up in the top 100. He has good stuff from when, 09? It's the sort of thing that'll add up.

 

I could see Kamaitachi ending relatively high depending on where he goes next. He didn't get any votes at all, right?



#5 Parties

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 11:12 PM

For context, back in 2006:

Cena (#30) would not have been top 200. Nor would Styles (#39). Or Punk (#46). Maybe not even Bryan (#5) or Samoa Joe: #59.

 

Certainly not Cesaro (#87), Zayn (#88), Low Ki (#107), KENTA (#119), Necro Butcher (#159), Austin Aries (#176), Edge (#182), or Jay Briscoe (#196). (Also, how did Aries get this high? I get that KENTA has massive modern puro backers, but who are the major Aries fans?)

 

Probably not Triple H (#120). Okada at #137 might have had the fastest recent route to top 150 status.

Mark Henry (#156)? '06 is considered the start of his renaissance, so probably not.

 

So that's 16 modern top 200 guys who wouldn't have made it ten years ago. Within that mix you have American indie darlings, WWE main eventers, the most popular Japanese junior for a span of at least 5-7 years, and the ace of New Japan for the last 4+ years.

 

Point being: you likely have to be pretty huge and pretty not-Mexican to make a jump like this. In some ways it becomes harder given that we haven't really had any major new American companies emerge since 2002 or so? Unless you could count something like Lucha Underground, which ten years from now might feel like a Wrestling Society X? I do think enhancements to the web will help greatly, in that I think in 10 years we'll all have exponentially more access to everything past and present. Yehi, Riddle, and Thatcher are all sound ideas. But I'll be even more curious to see if anyone can make a dramatic shift a la Edge or Okada from where they are now. It'd be pretty fun/wild if someone surprising like Bushi kicks off the next big Japanese boom, or if one of the Panther kids becomes a long-term ace of CMLL. What would be truly great is if someone totally dismissed like Titus or an Uso goes on to have a Henry or Edge-type run.

 

For some reason I feel like we'll be talking about Bray Wyatt in that capacity. Weather permitting, he's gonna have enough of a run, push, and character legacy that he could achieve a Taker-like status ten years from now.



#6 fxnj

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 11:49 PM

I think Roman Reigns would be the obvious answer. If he keeps delivering in the ring I could see him as the next list's equivalent to Cena.

#7 NotJayTabb

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 08:50 AM

Zack Sabre Jr placed at #327 this time around, and he's only really been getting US bookings for a year or two, so I can see him placing higher in 10 years. As a wildcard, Mark Andrews wasn't nominated this time, but he's been at worst "good" for 4 years now, crops up a lot in places with good online presence like Progress and Attack!, plus is primarily based in the US so has the scope to get more eyes on him than other BritWres guys. Plus he's only 24, so time is on his side.



#8 WingedEagle

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 08:53 AM

Reigns definitely feels like the odds-on favorite as of today.



#9 RIPPA

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 05:58 PM

I think Rush would have been my default answer but just to say someone not named already - Manny Andrade (La Sombra)

 

Sleeper choice - Big E



#10 joeg

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 06:48 PM

Rush, Riddle, Dragon Lee, Okada, Kamaitachi, Thatcher, Reigns, and Tomoyuki Oka are the guys I'm predicting crack the top 100. Yeah thats right I threw out a guy still in the NJPW dojo. 



#11 Mr. Lacelle

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:08 PM

Dalton Castle, bank on it

#12 joeg

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:18 PM

Also I see guys like Gino Hernandez or Jose Lothario who are missed the cut because of lack of footage not because they aren't awesome making the cut in 2026



#13 Bierschwale

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:20 PM

Drew Galloway didn't even get nominated and I am 100% certain that he makes the top 100 in 2026 if he doesn't get severely hurt. That's the house money "biggest leap" pick.



#14 InYourCase

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 07:36 PM

I would be shocked if El Lindaman of DG isn't on my ballot in 10 years. Just about two years in the business and he gets it. Size is the only thing possibly holding him back from being a huge star, because he's pretty small for DG standards. Charisma, promo skills, and in-ring ability through the roof. 



#15 JRGoldman

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 02:11 PM

I think Sami Callihan could have a Chris Hero type run where he stays on the indies for the next 10 years, but as people start to make their ballots, they realize that he's been a top 5-10 guy every year since 2015. 

 

Depending on how popular NJPW stays, I think Ospreay could see a huge increase in votes.

 

Roman Reigns is probably the best bet. I think the key to something like this is picking someone who is going to stay in one place for an extended period, because leaving a federation and starting over somewhere else creates a necessary loss of momentum. It's really hard to go from one place to another and not stumble a little while they figure out how best to use the performer. 



#16 InYourCase

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:34 AM

I wish I could see Roman Reigns in the same light that some people on here do. To me, he's just the next Randy Orton. He's a guy. He's fine, but I don't ever have the urge to watch him. He'll never go out there and kill it, but rarely will he have a truly terrible match. I thought Reigns getting votes this time around was asinine, and while in 10 years his case may have more bulk, I can't imagine voting for him. 



#17 funkdoc

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 05:47 PM

I wish I could see Roman Reigns in the same light that some people on here do. To me, he's just the next Randy Orton. He's a guy. He's fine, but I don't ever have the urge to watch him. He'll never go out there and kill it, but rarely will he have a truly terrible match. I thought Reigns getting votes this time around was asinine, and while in 10 years his case may have more bulk, I can't imagine voting for him. 

 

i feel like where you stand on the Brock match says a lot here.  many felt like it was a contender for best WM main event ever, and hardly anyone on that roster besides Reigns could've had that match - it was so dependent on violence and physical credibility, and those are the areas that separate Reigns from an Orton or what have you.



#18 fxnj

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:34 PM

Orton brought the violence just fine when he wrestled Foley in 2004. I think he was really good 04-07 and then had a nice resurgence with the Christian feud in 2011. What killed him was the wacky viper gimmick and WWE constantly rematching him with Cena and Triple H, selling them as all-time feuds when his chemistry with either guy wasn't that great.

#19 Matt D

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:48 PM

The cool thing about ten years from now is that there'll be a backlash against "storytelling" and towards action in three years or so and then there'll be another backlash against that backlash and things'll come full circle by the end of it and everyone will appreciate Jerry Lawler again.



#20 InYourCase

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:56 PM

Both Reigns and Orton are subpar at best. That's the point I was making. 






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