It'd be a stretch to say that wrestling is in the midst of another golden era, particularly from a business standpoint, but there has rarely been a better time to be a fan. WWE may lack serious competition, but video streaming services and social media have made the alternatives more accessible than ever, and promotions like NJPW, PROGRESS, and EVOLVE are on fire in 2017.
Wrestling's smaller companies are stacked with awesome performers these days, and as we close in on the year's halfway point, it's time to look at those who've stood out from the pack, and made 2017 their own.
Sifting through such a huge, diverse group of wrestlers is a daunting task. There's so much great wrestling going on at the moment that notable omissions are inevitable, meaning there's no place for the likes of Ricochet, The Young Bucks, and Marty Scurll, or Japanese standounts like Shuji Ishikawa and Kento Miyahara - all of whom sit as honourable mentions.
These wrestlers may not find themselves on wrestling's grandest stage, but they're just as worthy of recognition as WWE's biggest stars, and if you're sick of Raw and SmackDown's weekly grind, you owe it to yourself to check them out...
WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A fan since 1992, still geeking out for everything from WeeLC to mid '80s Jim Crockett Promotions. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.