God damn. This is going to be depressing to write.
I was reading The Wrestling Blog a week ago and one of the questions was asking to compile a list of the best wrestlers younger than you. An idea was fully formulated to write this because as I grow older, I continue to find myself getting quite depressed for a good few minutes when realizing a great athlete is younger than me. I’m still relatively young with my birth date being in February of 1989, making me a healthy 25 year old.
Luckily in wrestling, there are very few wrestlers younger than me and the ones that are, happen to just be a couple of months younger typically. I’ll delve deeper into my insecurities and self doubt as a human looking at the wrestlers younger than me who have accomplished far more than I have in less time.
Disclaimer: This list is based on how much a wrestler depresses me with their age more so than who is the best. Only the most scientific ranking systems here at Wrestling On Earth.
7. Bo Dallas (24 years old)
Before I researched this, I never would have guessed Bo Dallas was younger than me. In fact, I’d have assumed he was nearing 30 rather than barely being 25. Maybe it’s due to the nature of Dallas being an odd looking individual. I recently watched an interview of Bo that made me appreciate just how awkward of a human being he truly is and I now like him a little more than I used to.
6. Rich Swann (23 years old)
One of my favorite independent wrestlers also happens to be one of the youngest. Swann is an inspiration in overcoming difficult obstacles in his young life and has become one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch. Highly charismatic and athletically gifted provides a great talent in Rich Swann who has a very bright career ahead of him.
5. Bayley (25 years old)
I personally don’t watch much of NXT but when I do, one of the standout performers is Bayley. Like I said, my lack of NXT viewing means I’m not invested in the program so getting me emotionally interested into a NXT storyline is a rare thing. Yet at NXT Takeover II, I found myself completely sold on the Bayley story rooting for her to win the NXT Women’s Championship from Charlotte. Seeing such a completely loveable wrestling character in 2014 is a rare thing and Bayley excels at the role. Just witnessing how much the live fans were behind her during her big entrance at Takeover II was a wonderful moment.
4. Cedric Alexander (25 years old)
A standout star in Ring of Honor and PWG, it blows my mind to realize how young Cedric actually is. Here’s a sad fact – When ROH would talk about the tag team of Caprice Coleman and Alexander with one being the youngest member on the roster and one the oldest, I assumed Caprice was the young one. Cedric’s beard threw me off and absolutely stunned me when I realized how young he was (and how old Coleman was). It’s clear to everyone on the roster and in the audience that Alexander is the future of ROH.
3. Nick Jackson (25 years old)
Another age that surprised me as I always assumed The Young Bucks were each a year or two older than they actually are because of how much they’ve accomplished in the wrestling world. It feels like they’ve been in PWG forever while having a TNA run, multiple ROH stints and of course, the current Bullet Club shenanigans in NJPW. For my money, the Bucks are currently the best thing in all of pro wrestling right now, not just tag team wrestling or on the indies.
What also makes Nick especially special is his nickname of The Indytaker as he is known to be a little rambunctious and not afraid to speak up on behalf of the other wrestlers. I still get timid about correcting Subway sandwich artists when they put lettuce on my sandwich against my wishes. Spinach > lettuce.
2. Paige (22 years old)
Definitely the youngest and most accomplished of the group, Paige has already become a fixture on WWE TV. The biggest structured goal a female wrestler could possibly have is to become the female champion in WWE and Paige conquered that feat before her 22nd birthday. Think about what you were doing at 22 – probably attempting to stomach cheap liquor to impress friends you’d lose contact with a year later and trying to find your first job to help fight student debt.
Years of wrestling from an usually young age and growing up in a family of wrestlers helped Paige mature early and get to where she is today. Looked up to by hundreds to thousands of young girls, a not so much older Paige finds herself a role model and I have to say I admire the job she does in accepting that role and appreciating her position of inspiring. I like to make jokes about some of Paige’s significantly older male fan base at times (because they’re nuts) but there’s no doubt she should be in WWE for a long time and will continue to get better.
1. Adam Cole (25 years old)
The most frequent wrestling cause of the realization I’m getting older is Adam Cole. I’m obviously a huge independent wrestling fan and you can’t pay attention to the indies without seeing Adam Cole at the top of the mountain following lengthy runs as World Champion in ROH and PWG. Especially in Ring of Honor where his age is thrown around to remind the world just how accomplished he is and just how old you are!
More impressive than his star power and in ring talent is his maturity. In the last year or two, Cole has been put in a position to be the spokesperson and basically an ambassador for ROH. I find that most successful considering the current state of independent wrestling consisting of many wrestlers making a fool of themselves in the public eye and dismantling their stock or the company they work for. Adam Cole is cleverly putting together a great resume for a WWE future and for that, he is the best wrestler in the world at making me feel unaccomplished and old. ADAM COLE BAYBAY, indeed.
Honorable mentions: Adam Page, Andrew Everett, Emma, JT Dunn and Trevor Lee.
You can follow me on Twitter: @JoeySplashwater