While WWE have experienced a typically up-and-down year at the top of the wrestling pile, those beneath them are thriving.
They'll never compete with Vince McMahon financially, but the business' smaller promotions are currently delivering remarkable feats of artistry, creativity, and athleticism that the restrictive 'sports entertainment' format just can't match. Groups like PROGRESS and NJPW are succeeding where the industry leaders are failing. Their platform is smaller, but there has never been a more rewarding time to follow them, particularly for those sick of WWE's mainstream trappings.
It's a talent-rich scene, with dozens of genuinely world-class performers delivering outstanding matches on a weekly basis, and while standing out can be tricky, the true elite will always find ways of doing so, no matter how crowded it gets.
Things have changed considerably since we last ranked the world's top non-WWE performers. Several names have shot up the rankings, while others have fallen off the list completely, replaced by surging peers. Whatever the case, the names within have stood head and shoulders above the competition in 2017, reducing the likes of Ricochet, The Young Bucks, and Matt Riddle to honourable mentions...