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The 2017 UKFF50 - Results!


Linus
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Here it is - for the thirteenth consecutive year nominations have been made, votes have been cast and we now have a fully ranked and ordered list of wrestlers to comprise the finalised 2017 UKFF UK50.

Before I get to the results, just a reminder of how we got there. In Stafe One, I invited UKFF members to submit their unranked nominations for 15 wrestlers that they felt deserved a place somewhere in this year's UKFF UK50.  That first stage produced a clear 50 names without any ties, so there was no need for the second round vote-off as has taken place previously.  Once we had our 50 names, the final stage saw UKFF members this time submit their own top 15 from those 50, ranked in order of preference.  I collated and counted the votes (using a simple mathematical scoring system of 15 points for a first place, 14 for a second etc. all the way through to 1 point for 15th) and totaled the scores.

As always, the rankings are based on the following criteria:

Quote

 

Upon what criteria are the rankings based?
All the way through the process, nominations and votes should be made based on British wrestlers' in-ring performances you have seen on shows that took place between 1 January 2017 and 17 December 2017. The key points around which the rankings, nominations and votes are based include:

- whose in-ring performances are the most gripping, convincing and enthralling?

- who is consistently involved in great matches?

- who is able to tell the best "story" through their performance?

- whose performance is able to capture the crowd's interest and make them emotionally invested in the match?

- who actually makes pro wrestling enjoyable to watch with their performances? 

 

All that remains is for me to thank each and every person who took the time to put together a list of nominations or votes, especially those who clearly put a lot of thought into their lists and the supporting comments.  This project has seen varying levels of interest over the years, but it really wouldn't be anything if people weren't interested.  Yes, thank you very much.

So, ladies and gentlemen, for the THIRTEENTH STRAIGHT YEAR, I now present your UKFF UK50:

*****************************************************

No. 50 - Grado

Twitter: @GradoWrestling

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: 30th in 2016... top 40 in 2015... 9th in 2014... 24th in 2013

Regular promotions during period: ICW in Glasgow (and nationwide)

Following a 2016 when he seldomly worked outside Scotland, Grado has continued that pattern in 2017. Still a fixture at Impact Wrestling, fans of ICW, PBW, WrestleZone & Discovery can still see him a few times a year, although he lost a Loser Leaves ICW match in mid-summer. The World Of Sport revival's collapse and Defiant Wrestling's refocus have left him on the outside looking in.

UKFF says: "The reason BritWres is as popular as ever."

Linus says: Grado's a massive conundrum to me, because he should be everywhere and he is (virtually) nowhere. This is reflected in him sneaking onto the list this year, and coming rock bottom. He's still a major player, but the game seems to be moving on without him. Sad.

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Edited by Linus
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I think it was a combination of personal and professional reasons that Grado was quieter this year. Professionally he has the tv and panto work restricting his schedule for chunks of the year. His mum passed away shortly before Christmas and had been ill for a while so there's been that going on in his personal life.

For me, he's still the main UK talent that would make me buy a ticket to a show so I hope we see a bit more of him this year.

Edited by MungoChutney
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Yeah it’s more he’s moved on more from the game than being left behind. That he did his summer panto over Icw shugs night one in July shows where his priorities are. Fair play to him for making longer lasting better paying work from his wrestling fame. Still done a number of shows for pbw, bcw pwe, reckless intent and Target. One shots seem to suit his schedule better

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No. 49 - Kasey Owens

Twitter: @KaseyOwens5

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: First year on the list!

Regular promotions during period: ICW in Glasgow (and nationwide)... Pro-Wrestling EVE in London... Southside in the East of England... BEW in London

After being a big part of TNA's British Boot Camp series 2, the Owens twins faded from the spotlight a little but came back with a bang this year. From Belfast but based out of Scotland, Kasey has been a regular in ICW - where she is Women's champion (a title she also holds in BEW) - and been a big part of the resurgence of Pro-Wrestling EVE.

UKFF says: Nada

Linus says: "Kasey seems to have improved this year without actually improving - that's because she was always good but lacked focus, which she now has in spades. The rise of women's wrestling in the UK - and over in WWE - has come at the right time for someone really hitting her stride."

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No. 48 - Shay Purser

(aka Karambe Jr)

Twitter: @SPPurser

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: First year on the list!

Regular promotions during period: ATTACK! in the South West... Dragon-Pro in Newport

What does it mean when a referee makes a list of the top 50 UK wrestlers? That he's BRILLIANT. Shay is more than a referee, of course, trained to wrestle under Mike Bird and Wild Boar at Dragon-Pro, and has regular non-Shay outings in the South West. Lost a Loser Leaves ATTACK! match to fellow ref Chris Roberts at the culmination of an amazing storyline, and has been part of a fun double-act in Fight Club: PRO with Martina.

UKFF says: "A non-wrestler, granted, but his in-ring contributions this year can’t be overlooked, with his big feuds with referee Chris Roberts and fan Warren Owen being the highlight of the ATTACK! calendar as a heel and his never ending dispute with Dan Maloney in Fight Club: PRO where he is both one of the most sympathetic baby faces going and one of wrestling's funniest characters, dressing up as Brock Lesnar and Kane along the way. BritWres in 2017 would have been a far poorer place without Shay Purser."

Linus says: "The man you LOVE to hate had another amazing year in 2016, ending with a genuine Moment Of The Year occasion at ATTACK!'s Under The Mistletour. I'm excited to see where he goes in 2018, and if he develops further as a wrestler he's certainly got everything he needs to break out - wherever that may be."

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Edited by Linus
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No. 47 - Cara Noir

(aka Pavo Real, "Blackbelt" Tom Dawkins, Thomas Dawkins)

Twitter: @Cara_Noir

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: 47th in 2016

Regular promotions during period: HOP:E in the East Midlands... IPW in the South East... Lucha Forever nationwide... XWA in the South East... Lucha Britannia in London

London School of Lucha Libre graduate, and IPW:UK mainstay, finally broke out in 2017 with a change of gimmick, based (kinda, sorta) on the movie Black Swan. Earned nationwide exposure with the short-lived Lucha Forever, and knocking on the door of the big boys.

UKFF says: "Boring man decided to get a gimmick. Not sure he knows what it is. Comes across as boring man trying to have a gimmick."

Linus says: "I've always liked Tom, ever since I first saw him at Lucha Britannia as Pure Britannico, but he lacked that little something, and with the cara Noir character he's well on the way to finding it. A work in progress, but a promising one."

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=No. 45 - Drew Parker

Twitter: @DrewParker_97

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: First year on the list!

Regular promotions during period: ATTACK! in the South West... HOP:E in the East Midlands... Lucha Forever nationwide... Shropshire Wrestling Alliance in Telford

Switched from the popular - but limited - ECDrew gimmick mid-way through the year, turning heel in ATTACK! as the Urchin Prince. Became a deathmatch specialist almost by accident, and made his PROGRESS debut in that role last month.

UKFF says: "Looking forward to somewhere bringing him in as an evil Raven 96 type character at some point."

Linus says: "It's been almost three years since I first saw Drew as a clean-cut teenage babyface and the change is massive. Though he's not where he needs to be, gimmick-wise, he's earning his stripes and gaining fans - the reaction for him at PROGRESS was amazing!"

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For me, my wife and kids are the best barometer of whether a wrestler is properly over or not as they're fairly casual fans and only really watch Britwres. We saw Drew Parker wrestle for the first time late last year for HO:PE and they went absolutely mental for him. Eldest daughter and the wife were fawning over him like the goth birds used to when Jeff Hardy used to take his top off and me and the boys were won over by the fact that he's nuts. He could do really well for himself.

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=No. 45 - "Flash" Morgan Webster

Twitter: @Flash_Morgan

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: NR in 2016... top 40 in 2015... 26th in 2014

Regular promotions during period: ATTACK! in the South West... PROGRESS in London (and nationwide)... Southside in the East Of England... Chaos in Bristol... HOP:E in the East Midlands... RevPro in London (and the South East)

Recovering from a very serious injury - which kept him out for over half of 2016 and off this list - Flash has held titles in both his regular South West haunts and made his debut for Pro-Wrestling Guerilla at BOLA. Has one of the more fascinating wrestler podcasts.

UKFF says: "Facilitator. Seems to be working everywhere since his return. Nearly man in Progress went nowhere strangely. Great match with Keith Lee and in PWG against Brian Cage showed diversity to his work."

"Above and beyond his in ring skills it's been a testament to the Modfather that he's managed to turn a potentially awful times of his life into something so positive. Injuries that put him on the shelf instead brought him out of himself via his wonderful podcast. It can't be coincidence that he's shown more depth and maturity this past few months because of it. Dynamic, exciting, memorable."

Linus says: "A much better heel than face, Flash has spent the year rebuilding himself after a terrible injury. Technically-sound, definitely charismatic, and always dependable."

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Edited by Linus
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No. 44 - Ryan Smile

Twitter: @ADSRyanSmile

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: First year on the list!

Regular promotions during period: RevPro in London (and the South East)... ATTACK! in the South West... HOP:E in he East Midlands... OTT in Dublin... Kamikaze-Pro in Birmingham... Fight!Nation on the south coast

An up and down year for the Birmingham native, with headline spots for RevPro and OTT against the Young Bucks & Omega countered with the rise and fall of his (and Will Ospreay's) Lucha Forever promotion. Injury concerns have kept his schedule light, and can't seem to stay away from controversy on social media.

UKFF says: "Had his usual issues with missed/double bookings, stupid twittering, and an ultimately failed promotion. In ring though he was involved in some of the best matches that took place in the UK this year."

Linus says: "I love Ryan Smile. When he's running his mouth there's no-one better at shit-talking, and he is in the top class of UK flyers. I sometimes wish he'd just concentrate on his wrestling, and get booked more places, but he's a schemer and a dreamer and you are what you are."

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=No. 42 - TK Cooper

Twitter: @PureTKC

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: First year on the list!

Regular promotions during period: PROGRESS in London (and nationwide)

An injury sustained in New York for PROGRESS blighted a solid year for the New Zealand native, who made strides as part of the South Pacific Power Trip with Travis Banks in the promotion. Also got some outings for RevPro after returning from a visa-enforced hiatus back home, where he busied himself in Australia, too.

UKFF says: Zip!

Linus says: "TK Cooper is one of the great What Ifs of 2017, because I can't imagine that Travis Banks wouldn't have broken out on his own even if Cooper were around, so just what would Cooper have become? Luckily, a clean bill of health looks like giving us that opportunity in 2018, and I'm excited to see it."

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=No. 42 - Soner Dursun

Twitter: @SonDursun

Total 1st place votes in 2017: 0

UKFF 50 History: First year on the list!

Regular promotions during period: FutureShock in Manchester... PCW in the North of England... BWP in the North West

Seemingly coming out of nowhere with some of the year's top matches and a long run with the FutureShock Adrenaline title, Dursun has made himself a hot pick for breakout star of 2018.

UKFF says: "'Where the hell did you come from?' That's a question on a lot of folks lips this year. It's been a joy and an honour to be there watching a promising young wrestler mature over the course of the last twelve months. Anyone can have good matches with the likes of Travis Banks, Flash Morgan Webster, Bubblegum, Pete Dunne, Spud et al... It takes a real talent to visibly rise to the occasion every single time and leave the ring a better wrestler every time. Can only continue to grow in confidence and get better. Looming blood feud with Sam Bailey could well be the making of him, already showing promising mic skills."

Linus says: "I'm still yet to see Dursun but I'm hoping to put that right early this year. The buzz around his performances is very loud, so I'm excited!"

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Edited by Linus
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Can only echo the appraisal for Soner. If his matches were performed on a bigger platform, he'd be getting booked everywhere. Seemingly over a matter of time before one of the bigger British wrestling companies decide to showcase his skills on a broader scale.

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