I am feeling buoyant. Not literally, although I’m currently having swimming lessons and my front crawl is progressing quite nicely, thanks for asking. No, the reason I am feeling so upbeat is that across four shows in the past seven days I have commentated on a wave of awesome talent that I have never seen live before. It’s always cool when you discover a wrestler for the first time and become a fan, so it’s downright magnificent when that happens ten times in a single week and I wanted to share my discoveries on here. Some of these are people just starting their careers, while others have been around for a while and I’m just late to the party. Regardless, and in no particular order, here is my scouting report on all of the athletes whose matches I called for the first time at shows in Nottingham, Berlin and Budapest this week…
The Turkish Wolf has been dominating in Futureshock Wrestling where he recently beat Joey Hayes to unify the promotion's two top men's titles. His Open Gate tournament match vs Jake McCluskey at Wrestle Gate Pro this week was a belter and showed Dursun is an exciting high-flyer with enormous potential. He won too, so we'll see him again soon!
Photo: Tony Knox
Charlie Carter and Oisín Delaney have been terrorising other UK promotions, and now I know why. Fiercely intense, physically intimidating and with an intuitive understanding of the psychology of tag team wrestling, these two are well on their way to the top of the UK scene. I tried to find out what N.I.C. stands for, by the way, but they snarled "Don't ask", and then I ran away.
Photo: Beyond Gorilla
The ineffable kilt-wearing Phillips tagged with Malik against the N.I.C. on Saturday at Wrestle Gate Pro, and the development of their partnership as the match progressed was textbook in-ring storytelling. Phillips was very good indeed here - as you'll soon see, because the match is to be featured on a future episode of WrestleTalk Showcase.
Faced with a last-minute change of opponent in Nottingham on Saturday, young Welshman Jones nonetheless had a very solid Wrestle Gate Pro debut against ROH star Joe Hendry. Dubbed as being "Made of Stone" because of how he fended for himself during a tough council estate upbringing, Jones has a very compelling backstory and all the tools to be a superstar.
Photo: Blue Radical
First of all, look at that shirt! Brown had an equally amazing light-up jacket at Frontline which I absolutely want for Christmas. But that aside, the Mayor of Funky Town was one of the main characters that the audience will have been talking about after that show. He's brimming with charisma, very crisp in-ring, and did himself proud in one of his highest profile matches to date.
Photo: Ringside Perspective
Facing the always-excellent Kanji in both women's Frontline main show debuts, Blaze announced her arrival with the swagger of someone who had been doing this for years. Gloriously obnoxious and with a viciousness to her offence, it was easy to tell why she has graduated from the promotion's Young Lions programme. She will be a big player in the UK soon, trust me.
Photo: A. Olmos / Observer
A product of EWP in Hannover who has been making his mark in WXW of late, Al-Ani arguably stole the show against Senza Volto in his GWF debut this week. He looks like an absolute beast and wrestles like one too, making him a candidate to be one of Europe's next breakout stars. If I was talent scouting for the world's biggest companies, he would 100% be on my radar.
Photo: Janice Mersiovsky
As I've said here several times before, the HCW training school in Budapest is producing a steady stream of great new talent, of which Emese is the latest example. Her victorious appearance at Revolution on Saturday in a mixed tag match alongside Dan Main proved she is ready to be on those main shows and in time she could be one of Hungary's top female wrestlers.
If ever you needed proof that Frontline's Young Lions programme, started by Will Ospreay last year, is bearing fruit for those involved in it, watch Saturday's show. Nedeem and Kam Lucia (who I would have included on this list but I've seen him before) were both among the first to be enrolled, and their well-executed opener set the tone for a very strong show.
Photo: Frontline Wrestling
The Golden Pony (what a nickname, by the way) primped and preened his way through a highly entertaining bout with Chuck Cyrus at Frontline that was very well received by the Nottingham crowd. He's a fun, colourful character and - according to my sources - may be a distant cousin of Lucha Britannia's mutant fish El Piraña. You heard it here first.
Photo: Monkey Flip Photography