10 Wrestlers Who Will Change The Business Over The Next 10 Years

Jungle Boy will become a man in All Elite Wrestling. The Man...

Santana Jungle Boy
AEW/Scott Lesh

In 2010, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented the fourth January 4 show held under the Wrestle Kingdom banner. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura won and impressed in key matches. They spent much of the ensuing decade drawing families to the resurgent company and illuminating it with their captivating presence.

In 2010, TNA finally forced its once relatively healthy audience to tap out through the installation of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in executive roles. There were always two TNAs: the good TNA that struggled to overcome the bad TNA. The infusion of nepotism compounded the hysterical Russo badness, and the promotion devolved into a zombie league a decade later.

In 2010, WWE...

...promoted Randy Orton as WWE Champion and awarded the Money In The Bank briefcase to The Miz. There's an obvious and direct 2020 symmetry to that development worthy of a punchline, yes, but it's also illustrative of so many putrid loops the promotion has found itself in to the point that, a decade after TNA's hilarious folly, WWE created its own competition, in effect, in the form of AEW.

All of which is to state that, in wrestling, the fate of a decade's end is rooted in the beginning...

10. Ben Carter

Santana Jungle Boy
AEW

Ben Carter is a special professional wrestler. A prodigy.

The latest of the United Kingdom's aerial revolutionaries, Carter has the potential to better the incredible evolution mapped by PAC and Will Ospreay. Those two men are phenomenal. They fuse a level of preternatural ability with refined craft; PAC in particular is exceptional at adding almost imperceptible nuance to his work to get it over as a real, fatiguing battle. But pro wrestling constantly evolves.

What is next-level now can often feel of its time, viewed years and years later. Even the best of the WCW cruiserweight division, as an example, feels loose now by modern standards. Some of the best matches in that canon were plagued by botches. The execution did not always meet the futuristic genius of the ambition.

Jim Ross re-lit the most tedious form of pro wrestling discourse late last year when he had a controversial and not totally unmerited moan about the stand-still-and-wait-to-catch spot. This sometimes, but not always, breaks the spell of immersion to justify a pop.

Carter, already, grasps how to maintain the magic. He jitters with indecision when faced with the nanosecond between the launch and the impact, putting over the idea that he's either stricken by panic, or scrambling for a last-ditch counter. He sells the move before he takes it. He doesn't stand there, gormless, telegraphing it.

Carter is going to set the standard one day by using the space between moves to put the moves over irrespective of how convoluted they are.

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Contributor

Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!