Five Indie Pro Wrestlers on the Cusp of Stardom

By Jerry Del Priore

I saw plenty of quality independent professional wrestlers in action in 2017. Some of them, in my opinion, are headed for a bright feature.

Here is a list of wrestlers who I saw, and believe, will hit the next level some time in the future.

Mike Verna (Taverna)

Verna 1
Brooklyn’s Mike Taverna (Verna) Flashes Championship hardware.

A native of Brooklyn, Verna, 26, has the strength, looks, physique, and charm to make it far in the business.

Verna performs regularly for New York Wrestling Connection and Five Borough Wrestling, and has won the heavyweight and tag team tiles multiple times in his career. He has also won championships for Tier 1 Wrestling and Fighting Spirit Wrestling.

“The Man of Steel” has already embarked on an acting career, so the sky’s the limit for the five-ten-inch powerhouse.

Talon (Chris Velletri)

Talon, 31, works his gimmick of a long, black coat-wearing, unlit-cigarette-dangling-from-the-mouth wrestling lone wolf vigilante to a tee.

Athletic and fit, Talon’s quiet confidence has helped him build a solid fan base, and he has been progressing every year since entering a ring seven years ago. It doesn’t hurt his chances of success that he’s from Brooklyn as well.

Chris Velletri, A.K.A, Talon, at a FBW show in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn.

Keith Lee

For a big guy billed at six-three and around 300 pounds, Lee, 29, is very agile. He moves around the ring like a cruiserweight and executes power moves such as powerbombs, suplexes and body slams with the greatest of ease.

Already with a stint with Ring of Honor under his belt, there’s no limit for the “Limitless” wonder.

Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle is an ex-UFC fighter whose professional wrestling star is quickly on the rise. The former Ultimate Fighter 7 contestant has all the athletic skills to make it in the squared circle, with the chill attitude to match, bro.

It has been reported that WWE has showed interest in him, and visa versa. But Riddle isn’t jumping just yet, as he’s earning a solid living on the independent circuit. I guess it will take a decent, real offer from WWE for him to join the ranks of NXT.

Matt Riddle sports his Championship hardware in the ring.

David Starr (Max Barsky)

Starr, 26, is a more-than-capable pro grappler. His amateur wrestling background, coupled with acting chops (he starred in the 2014 movie called Noah with Russel Crowe and directed by Darren Aronofsky) has made “The Product” an indie mainstay.

Starr has wrestled all over the East coast— from West Virginia to New York, and everywhere in between. With the right push and exposer, the Philadelphia native could be hitting the big time sooner rather than never.

3 thoughts on “Five Indie Pro Wrestlers on the Cusp of Stardom

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