The list (like similar ones here, here, and here) is based on an assumption that tastes in wrestlers, movies, music, clothing labels, magazines, and so forth say as much about who a person is as his politics, religion, education, race, net income, and other factors common to surveys. Don't see a favorite on this list? I won't be offended if you complain, and I welcome your insights and recommendations. (All photos by Mary Diaz)
Scotty Mac, 5'9", 201#, is familiar to me mainly through Cyberfights (which is where I first came to love Tyler Black too, years ago). Back then he was a technical wrestler paid to mop the mat up with mouthy assholes and cowardly cheats. He was well built then. Now he's huge ... and mean as a sidewinder.
Aaron Bolo, 6'1", 225#, caught my eye in photos of West Coast wrestling (California and Oregon). The Korean-born bodybuilder, one half (with Azul Angel) of the team International Bloodlines, is a genial giant who plays rough in the ring, yet something about him suggests "great big lovable pussycat," too.
Artemis Spencer, 6'0", 189#, looks his best on the mat holding some dude in a side headlock and looking blankly into space. Tied for second best is knocked out cold and arms raised high in victory. Bonus points are earned the more sweat he accumulates on his slim though stronger-than-it-looks physique.
Alex Plexis, 6'1", 184#, is fast shedding his skinny-kid-wrestler image and becoming a walking talking stud. Not a new shot of this guy comes out that I don't start hyperventilating. My favorite of his fights have pit him against Spencer in both singles and mixed tag competition.
Stallyn Smith is one of those pale, pasty wrestlers who attract me in no small part due to looking unmarked. Skin this milky needs a few bruises. His tough attitude and hard build put to rest any thought of his being a pushover, though. I like the picture (above) where he and El Phantasmo look like the Pieta, only ELP's BVM is about to smash this Christ figure's face in!
El Phantasmo, 6'0", 185#. Reportedly ELP's matches are both riotously funny and bloody as hell. Ordinarily I'm not a fan of either funny wrestling or bloody wrestling, though I make exceptions, and Phantasmo's combination of the two could possibly convert me to the faith. I like the skullface mask he wears to the ring; he takes it off before wrestling.
Tony Baroni, 6'1", 214#, the current NWA Canadian heavyweight champion, is one of those guys who look better in their videos than they do in the still shots, which is not to say that he doesn't look plenty hot in the stills, but only that he looks even hotter in motion. His attitude in the ring straddles the line between local hero and neighborhood bully.
Billy Suede, 5'7", 167#, is one of the busiest wrestlers at ECCW. The wiry grappler fights anybody--big, small, male, female, heel, face, masked or unmasked. His earnestness, sportsmanship, and determination win the crowd's approval every time. All that may sound like the faint praise often awarded to jobbers, but Suede has held NWA/ECCW's light heavyweight and heavyweight titles, as well as the Pacific Cup, in his four years as a pro.
Jordie Taylor's trademark was his long greasy blond hair as recently as two months ago. Now he looks white-trashy and punk. I, for one, love the new look, but pine for the days when Mac and Spencer could grab fistfuls of hair in the heat of a fight. This guy needs to fight Stallyn Smith in a singles match... NOW!
Nick Price, 6'1", 190#, recently added an electric blue streak to his dark blond hair for a sort of skunk-hawk effect. It's done the trick as far as helping him to stand out as a badass wrestler dude, but I just don't know. Every promotion needs a narcissistic heel to draw the fans' scorn every time he approaches the ring--Price sure enough fits the bill.