wrestling / Columns

A Bucket List Of Wrestlers To See

July 28, 2019 | Posted by Dino Zee
Kris Statlander

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Far too long, frankly. ZWI took a brief hiatus as this columnist got married. Then what was supposed to be a small respite turned into two months, as the day job got a little crazier. Trust that I’m apologetic for the absence, and that I truly hope you’ve all been enjoying your favorite professional wrestling action, whether it’s from WWE/NXT, Impact, AEW, MLW, New Japan, AAA, CMLL, BAR Wrestling, Hoodslam, or anywhere else!

Since it’s been a minute, and since my personal coverage of Impact Wrestling has been a little spotty (though I did catch the incredible Slammiversary show – loved it!), I figured I’d ease us all back into this by discussing a simple concept: Bucket List Wrestlers.

In 2017, I got to catch Pentagon as he wrestled Cody at an APW show. Last year, I was lucky enough to cross off quite a few wrestlers that I’d always wanted to see live, starting with Jushin Liger at an indy show in San Francisco. The G1 Special in San Francisco allowed me to cross off Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, Tama Tonga, and Kenny Omega.

This past June, my beloved Hoodslam put on their Fearless show, which was dedicated to Pride month. Booked to be on this show was Effy, a wrestler I had started to see and hear a lot about, though he never seemed to be on my coast.

I was excited for this Hoodslam show in particular anyways, because I figured it was going to be the partiest Hoodslam ever (it was), and it was also featuring guys like Jake Atlas, and Still Life with Apricots and Pears, and I was excited to also get to see them wrestle! But being honest, I was there to see Effy, and he absolutely delivered a hard-hitting and supremely entertaining match.

Then just last week in South San Francisco, while attending a West Coast Pro card, I was lucky enough to catch THE FREAKING RASCALZ as they tangled with local heroes The Stoner Brothers, and the very-talented One Percent (Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson) in a match that completely tore the house down. The Rascalz were another group I’d wanted to see live, because watching them on TV, you just know it’s always an insane atmosphere. I was also fortunate enough to get to see Jonathan Gresham on the same card! Again, just like Effy the month before, I gladly checked them off the list, and they more than delivered.

That covered, I figured I’d provide you with my personal Bucket List Top 3. Singles or Tag Teams are allowed, but that’s about it. You may know all of them, some of them, or none of them… and that’s totally okay. Hopefully you’ll try to catch them live after reading this, too!

Kris Statlander

Her hype is real. She’s tearing it up on the East Coast, which means for now, I have to wait. But this extra-terrestrial competitor has been earning raves with every match she wrestles. Still young and new, her potential seems unlimited. She wrestles men and women alike, and is never an easy opponent.

She will trade hard strikes with any opponent, often getting the better of them with her freakish strength and agility.

Clearly leaning on a gymnast past, her body control is always top-notch, and she can unleash crazy moves like a 450, or a one-legged moonsault off the apron if you’re not paying attention. In my wandering around on Twitter, I’ve come across many clips and links to matches that have really impressed me, but I’d hardly call myself an expert on what she does. That’s why she’s on the list, though. I feel like there’s a good chance she’s among the best not-so-hidden secrets in wrestling, and I’d love to see her come out west and test her skills against someone like a Thunder Rosa, or a Brittany Wonder.

Hell, a match with her and Tessa Blanchard sounds freaking fantastic!

It might take a while to get to watch her wrestle live, but I do hope our performer/fan paths do cross one day. If you have the chance to catch her, I’d highly recommend giving The Alien a look – she truly is (pardon me for this) out of this world!

Rey Wagner / Dr. Wagner Jr

Bien. ¡Bien bien bien bien bien bien!

I remember when he had to unmask at TripleMania XXV after losing to Psycho Clown. I remember shedding all of my smart-mark skin and immediately going full-blown mark, the sadness growing inside of me. It was a real moment, amplified by the crying fans that night. I still think it’s an abomination of a result.

Dr. Wagner Jr. (now Rey Wagner) is a legend. When he growls that en mi casa, con mi gente, se me respeta, it doesn’t matter if you speak Spanish or not – it’s clear that this is a man that deserves your attention, and also one who will command it.

I’ve seen Hogan, Andre, Savage, Hart, Michaels, Austin, Flair, and Rock all live. I’ve seen Cena, Batista, HHH, AJ Styles, and Brock Lesnar. I’ve seen LA Park. I’ve seen Jushin Liger. I’d give anything for the opportunity to see Wagner live. To see an all-time great doing what he does best.

I wouldn’t care if it was at a giant event, or if he was coming in to wrestle in front of 50 of us – if the opportunity presents itself, I would jump in an instant at the chance to see a man I’ve been a fan of for so long, always assuming it’d never be.

King Serpentico

Serpentico is someone that, much like Effy, I’ve tracked via Twitter posts for a long time, now. I think he might be one of my favorite wrestlers, and I’ve literally never seen him wrestle live. That seems like a travesty to me.

From what I’ve pieced together on this mysterious competitor, Serpentico is the nastiest son of a bitch on the planet. He’ll gladly swing a chair at your nether regions. He’ll suicide dive into a chair if there’s any chance it’ll hurt you (we saw Shotzi Blackheart show us this move at the recent Evolve show, too!). He’ll travel through multiple dimensions all in the name of dishing out pain.

In fact, I’ll just come out and say it: King Serpentico rules.

Serpentico has also wrestled Effy countless times, which meant that as I learned more about Effy, I’d get to see him in even more clips, continuing to bring his brand of professional wrestling to the forefront in Florida and the greater East Coast area as well.

This man, though devious and cruel, has a soft side. I’ve seen a match where he lost his balloon – it slowly floated just out of his grasp, and up to the ceiling above him. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen heartbreak like what Serpentico showed in this moment. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose when Seth turned? Hulk Hogan when Randy Savage attacked him? Please. Serpentico losing his balloon was the ultimate story of heartbreak, tragedy, self-preservation, and overcoming incredible odds.

If you’ve not seen Serpentico, do yourself a favor and watch some videos. Catch him live if you can. The man is an incredible professional. I sure hope I get the opportunity to see him live some day.

Honorable Mention to Dalton Castle, a guy I’ve been huge on since the first time I saw him wrestle Jushin Liger four years ago. He’s entertaining every time out, and I can only hope that I’ll find myself in the same space as he at some point in time.

Kris Statlander. Rey Wagner. King Serpentico. You’re all on notice. ZWI is coming to see you – eventually – LIVE!

You got a bucket list? Go ahead and share it below in the comments! It can definitely be longer than three, ha.

Good to back. ZWI resumes for real next week!

article topics :

Kris Statlander, Dino Zee