The Best-Kept Secrets on the WWE and AEW RostersMay 6, 2022
The Best-Kept Secrets on the WWE and AEW Rosters
Professional wrestling fans are truly spoiled at the moment. We have access to more matches and shows than ever before, but there's also an overabundance of talented wrestlers.
WWE has released enough notable names over the last two years to start a new promotion, but the company still has so many amazing stars at its disposal. All Elite Wrestling emerged in 2019 as an alternative, but its roster is already jam-packed, and there is such a wealth of indie wrestlers and established acts available.
To that end, it's easy for newcomers and lesser-known wrestlers to get lost when so many performers are trying to get noticed. So, let's take a look at five potential stars you may have missed. These are the best-kept secrets from WWE and AEW.
Xia Li has been worth keeping an eye on since her appearance in the inaugural Mae Young Classic.
The Chinese NXT signee is an incredible striker thanks to her background in martial arts. Her devastating kicks always look convincing, but she also has a unique look. It makes her stand out in a crowded women's division.
WWE clearly sees Li as an asset because the company has repackaged and highlighted her twice. Still, it seems like we haven't seen the best of the wushu practitioner because she hasn't taken part in a major storyline or high-profile match yet on SmackDown.
Hopefully, there are plans for Li this year because she has looked impressive when given opportunities.
Kip Sabian made a name for himself when he competed in the first AEW's first singles match at Double or Nothing 2019 and secured a victory over Sammy Guevara.
Ever since, the English wrestler seemed poised to be one of the new company's budding stars. Although he took part in some quality matches, Sabian didn't transition as well as some of his contemporaries.
His pairing with Miro didn't have a strong payoff, and their feud with Best Friends lasted a little bit longer than it should've. Even worse, the 29-year-old sustained a shoulder injury, which forced him to undergo surgery and take substantial time off.
Last year, the self-proclaimed "Forgotten Pillar" reemerged in the crowd at AEW shows wearing a box over his head with "Underrated. Over It" scrolled across the front. Now, you can see him in the background of several TV shots.
What started as a bizarre game of Wrestling Where's Waldo has turned into a fun recurring gag.
In fact, it's a brilliant way for him to reconnect with AEW's core audience by sitting among them and interacting with fans. It will help to raise the anticipation for him to step in the ring again.
Millie McKenzie has been a rising star on the British wrestling scene for the past four years.
The former Defiant women's champion has had notable stints with Sendai Girls, PROGRESS, Pro Wrestling: EVE, and Pro Wrestling Revolver. The 2019 SHE-1 tournament winner also enjoyed success with Charli Evans as a tag team called The Medusa Complex.
Last February, the 21-year-old signed with WWE and changed her name to Emilia McKenzie. The fiery babyface is a great addition to NXT UK. She has an excellent array of suplexes and a clear understanding of match psychology.
Nevertheless, the average WWE fan doesn't watch the UK-based developmental series. McKenzie also hasn't done much of note with the company yet, so mainstream fans may not recognize her.
Remember this name (unless they make her change it again), because this young woman has a bright future ahead.
Sonny Kiss is another day-one AEW signee who has gotten lost in the shuffle, and that's a shame because there is no one else in the industry who looks or wrestles like her.
The Concrete Rose gives the company a chance to showcase positive representation for LGBTQ+ fans, but she's also just so fun to watch. Her unorthodox offense and athleticism are exciting, and it seems tailor-made for AEW's brand of wrestling.
Her criminally underrated pairing and rivalry with Joey Janela was one of the highlights of AEW Dark last year. It's hard to understand why Kiss hasn't worked a program on Dynamite or Rampage yet, but it's a major missed opportunity.
This up-and-comer started making waves in 2020 as Ben Carter. His work on the indies started a groundswell of support, but his appearances with AEW put him on the map.
During that brief period, Carter had exceptional matches with Ricky Starks and Lee Johnson. However, his encounter with Scorpio Sky on the late-night edition of Dynamite on Sept. 22, 2020, saw him give a standout performance.
This student of Seth Rollins' Black And Brave Wrestling Academy is quick and crisp in-ring. He also has smooth transitions and an impressive array of high-flying moves.
The 23-year-old joined NXT UK in December 2020 and debuted as Nathan Frazer the following year. He recently returned to the U.S. to take on Grayson Waller in his NXT 2.0 debut at Spring Breakin'.
The two delivered a great match, but Frazer defeated the Aussie with a beautiful Phoenix Splash. It was a great showing and a big win, but it certainly won't be the last we see of The Prodigy of Pro Wrestling.