#1 Ariya Daivari (@AriyaDaivari411)-It was a pretty close vote this week, but in the end, it was the two victories by Ariya Daivari over the weekend that really had a big impact on the official voters. The Wrestlepalooza Champion had a HUGE weekend as he defeated Johnny Gargano at F1rst Wrestling on 1/8 to retain the title and then beat Colt Cabana on 1/9 to retain the title again. Given his strength of competition, his undefeated record, and the size of the crowd there, it was really impossible to ignore just how good of a weekend Ariya Daivari had. This is his first official ranking and with a weekend like this, it likely won’t be his last.
#2 Matt Cage (@proudcaucasian)-There were two viable contenders for the top spot this week who grabbed almost all of the #1 and #2 votes from the official voters. One was Ariya Daivari…and the other was “Money” Matt Cage. The ZERO1 USA World Junior Heavyweight Champion’s weekend started strong as he avenged his TPI loss to Shane Mercer at IWA Mid-South on 1/8. From there it was a trip to Funky Munky on 1/9 where he beat Brock Hall and then won a Battle Royal the same night to run his overall weekend record to 3-0. Matt Cage has been ranked in the IPR 100 in both 2014 and 2015 and we expect that run to continue in 2016.
#3 Heidi Lovelace (@HeidiLovelace)-Much like Ariya Daivari, Heidi Lovelace’s success came at Wrestlepalooza over the weekend. The “Punk Rock Ragdoll” defeated Arik Cannon on 1/8 and then beat Melanie Cruise on 1/9 to go 2-0 for the week. The CHIKARA Young Lions and AIW Women’s Champion continues to prove that she can overcome anyone of any size and any gender as she continues her awesome run on the indies. She JUST missed out on the IPR 100 in 2015 after being sidelined briefly by injury, but we have a feeling that won’t be the case in 2016 as a healthy Heidi is a dangerous Heidi.
#4 John Skyler (@TheJohnSkyler)-The PWX Heavyweight and WrestleForce Champion returns to the Top 10 this week after he defeated Ray Ray at GPW on 1/9 and then beat Ethan Case in a No DQ Match on 1/10 to retain the PWX Title to go 2-0 on the week. The #24 ranked talent in the 2015 IPR 100 had a fantastic year in 2015 from his run as champion (still going) and his trip to China to his showcase on NXT and TNA. It will be difficult to top his 2015 and try to get a higher spot in the 2016 IPR 100, but if one person is up for the challenge, it’s “The Southern Savior” John Skyler.
#5 People’s Champ. Reed Bentley (@TheReedBentley)-Occasionally the fans band together and vote for a villain to win the online voting competition. Over the last several months, that’s exactly what Reed “By God” Bentley is as he has stabbed friends in the back and bled buckets to win the IWA Mid-South World Title on two occasions. He’s currently on the outside of the title picture looking in, BUT he had a fantastic weekend at IWA as he teamed with Bucky Collins and Nick Depp to defeat Trik Davis, Jack Thriller, and Christian Abel on 1/8 and then scored one of the biggest wins of his career when he beat Billy Gunn on 1/9. The fans were so impressed with his 2-0 weekend that they voted IWA’s “Franchise” into the #1 spot in the online voting competition with 132 votes. That was more than 100 votes over the second leading vote getter.
#6 Nick Depp (@GoingBallsDepp)-Nick Depp has been flirting with really breaking out over the last few months and really had one of his bigger weekends at IWA Mid-South this past weekend when he teamed with Reed Bentley (the #5 this week) and Bucky Collins to beat Trik Davis, Jack Thriller, and Christian Abel and then upset John Wayne Murdoch on 1/9 to go 2-0 for the week. His second win was particularly impressive as JWM was heading for a solid shot at the #1 spot this week after his big win vs. Sami Callihan. Depp halted that momentum by faking an injury and getting the win by hook or by crook. 2016 may be the year that everyone gets “sports entertained.”
#7 Kenzo Richards (@Kenzorichards)-This former Judo Champion (and 1st ever Dutch Champion) gets his first ranking this weeke after a big tournament win in France. At APC Catch on 1/10, he defeated Carlos Roberto in the first round, then defeated Jimmy Gavroche in the semifinals, and then defeated Hellmer Lo Guennec in the final to win the Tournoi Des Poids-Lourds to go 3-0 for the week. While American audiences probably aren’t very familiar with him yet, this just goes to show how important international talent is to what we do in the Indy Power Rankings.
#8 Doc Gallows (@ImpactDOC)-If his run in New Japan and on the indies is coming to an end, what a way to end it as he gets his first official ranking in singles this week. As we don’t rank talent based on New Japan shows, it was rare that we had the opportunity to rank Doc Gallows, but this week for him was solid. He defeated Sal Rinauro at WrestleMerica on 1/8 by DQ, then teamed with AJ Styles the same night to beat Sal Rinauro and Jimmy Rave. He then beat Pain in a Falls Count Anywhere Match on 1/9 to go 3-0 for the week. If he truly is headed to WWE as reported, congrats to Doc on his great run over the last few years.
#9 Chris CJ Johnson-We get more international influence in the #9 spot this week as Chris CJ Johnson won the Hawks Trophy of Distinction in Australia over the weekend. IPW Australia hosted the tournament where he beat Rob Daniels in the first round on 1/9, then beat Youngblood Jesse Love in the semifinals, and then beat Luxford in the finals to win the tournament to go 3-0 for the week. This is yet another talent who is in the Top 10 for the very first time. Tournament wins were clearly a major reasoning for rankings this week.
#10 Ryan Eagles (@KingKong_Eagles)-Australia gets two in this week as Ryan Eagles (the joint IWA Heavyweight Champion) defeated Alex Titan on 1/8 in Australia to retain the title. He then beat Mikey Lord on 1/9 to retain the title. He polished off the week when he and Alex Titan got a double pin on Tyson Gibbs in a three-way on 1/10 and were jointly named champions to go 3-0 for the week. Most American fans are familiar with Madison Eagles. This is your introduction to her husband. Will we see him venture to the U.S. soon as well?
Honorable Mention. Maxwell Chicago-The FIP Florida Heritage Champion JUST misses out on the Top 10 this week after he beat Kobe Durst, Brent Banks, Ethan Case, Harvey Bower, and Brad Kevins at Freelance on 1/8 to retain the FIP title, then defeated Markus Crane, Gunner Franks, and Adam Grace at Funky Munky on 1/9, but was then eliminated from a battle royal the same day to go 2-1 for the week.
Others missing out/receiving votes:
Big Damo O’Connor
Gary Yap’s Man in Black
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Check out the Indy Power Rankings Reveal here as we have a big New Ohio Wrestling Hype Central: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/elitepodcastnetwork/2016/01/13/indy-power-rankings-reveal-newohiowrestlin-hype-central
Check out the Tag Team Top 5 Reveal as we’ve got Danny Adams on this week: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/elitepodcastnetwork/2016/01/14/indy-power-rankings-tag-team-top-5-reveal-ft-danny-adams-dannyadams93
Check out our chronicle of the IWA Mid-South blood feud from 2001 with Corporal Robinson & “Mean” Mitch Page to hear the competitors sit down and talk about the historic battles: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/elitepodcastnetwork/2015/06/05/mitch-page-v-corporal-robinson-the-feud–revisited-hosted-by-phenomenaltld
Listen to Night 1 of the 2015 IPR 100 Reveal here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/elitepodcastnetwork/2015/12/30/ipr100-2015–night-1-ft-ricochet-ethan-page-dave-mastiff-more
Listen to Night 2 of the 2015 IPR 100 Reveal here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/elitepodcastnetwork/2015/12/31/ipr100-2015–night-2-ft-santana-garrett-roderick-strong-matt-tremont-more
Listen to the 2015 Tag Team Top 50 Reveal here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/elitepodcastnetwork/2016/01/01/indy-power-rankings-2015-tagteamtop50-reveal