Nestled somewhere between the bombastic nature of American sports entertainment and the pure wrestling influence of Japan sits British Wrestling, a highly technical and quite acclaimed part of the business. Over the years there have been many performers who have hailed from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, or Wales that have impacted the wrestling industry to a great extent.
Whether it is within the United Kingdom or abroad as part of the largest wrestling promotions that have ever existed, British performers have always been among the best in the business. Even now there is a huge selection of talented performers from the isles that are among the most prevalent in WWE, AEW, New Japan, and beyond.
10 Fit Finlay
The Northern Irishman is best known for his work in WCW during the 90s and his twilight run as part of WWE in the 00s, where he was among the most accomplished in-ring performers on the roster. Finlay always brought a hard-hitting style to the mid-card, becoming a WCW Television and a WWE United States Champion.
He was never really given a chance to ascend into the main event in either company, but he is undoubtedly an influential figure beyond the ring as one of the most highly regarded backstage figures in all of wrestling.
9 Pete Dunne
The British independent wrestling boom of the mid to late 2010s was amazing for fans within the United Kingdom, as they got to watch a plethora of exciting young talents mix it up with imported superstars from across the world. Out of the crop of talent that sprung from this period, Pete Dunne stands out as the best as at such a young age his in-ring ability was incredible.
Even now in his Butch guise, he has proven to be a performer worth investing in, as his matches are great every time. Hopefully, he will be given the chance one day to be a more serious concern in a major company, but he has already achieved so much.
The multi-time world champion has been an extremely influential figure within the Western women’s wrestling scene over the past decade or so and is one of the most successful British performers of her generation. As Paige, she took WWE by storm, with her journey and life within the company even being subject to a movie.
Now, as AEW Women’s Champion Saraya remains one of the biggest stars in the company and can hopefully begin to turn around the division which has struggled to get the spotlight at times.
7 Nigel McGuinness
Throughout the 00s there were very few wrestlers in the business that were as good as McGuinness as he became one of the most well-rounded performers of his era. His series of matches against Bryan Danielson put both men on the map, but unlike his counterpart, he never made it to the big-time before an early retirement came upon him in 2011.
He has begun teasing a return to the ring, particularly to face off against his former nemesis Danielson which would be awesome for him to get another chance on a big stage. Fans who missed him during his prime will be excited to watch him too, if he does indeed return to the ring.
There are very few wrestlers from any period that can wrestle with the speed and precision that PAC does, making him a must-watch every single time. His work in AEW has proven that he deserves to be regarded as one of the top wrestlers on the planet today, having great matches against the likes of Kenny Omega, Orange Cassidy, and Andrade.
In WWE he managed to become a great wrestler within its limiting system too, which is a credit to his quality and versatility. His run as NXT Champion was great whilst his ‘King of the Cruiserweights’ was vastly underappreciated whilst he was there.
5 William Regal
Always so highly regarded for his work both inside and outside the ring, William Regal was among the most technically accomplished wrestlers of the 90s and 00s. Very much a throwback wrestler of sorts, Regal managed to modernize the British style to become a huge success in both WCW and WWE.
He was also a tremendous comedic performer, easily being one of the most entertaining acts throughout this period purely due to his personality. He could have even been a main event-level talent had personal issues not hindered him, but his influence lived on through the many wrestlers he has helped excel in the industry.
4 Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre Jr. is quite easily one of the most technically gifted professional wrestlers of all time, having gained huge acclaim for his work in New Japan. His recent appearances in AEW have only shown a new audience how talented he is, particularly in his match against Bryan Danielson at WrestleDream.
It would be interesting to see if he ever joins AEW or even WWE at some point, as his promo ability has only gotten better over time too. Even if he doesn’t his legacy speaks for itself as one of the best in-ring technicians ever.
3 The British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith)
Before the turn of the century, Davey Boy Smith easily pipped any of his compatriots in being the most successful British wrestler to that point. His work in WWE during its ‘Golden Era’ particularly made him a huge star, where his immense physique was only made better by his adept in-ring ability.
As a tag team wrestler, he was one of the best too, whether it be a part of the British Bulldogs or The Hart Foundation. His Intercontinental Championship win at SummerSlam 1992 at Wembley Stadium will forever be remembered as one of the greatest WWE moments.
2 Drew McIntyre
If the British Bulldog was the most successful Brit of the 80s and 90s, Drew has matched him in the 21st century and then some. The first and only ever British WWE Champion, he is also a great all-round performer who has only improved over time.
McIntyre still deserves to be a world champion in front of fans at some points as he has been one of the industry’s most consistent performers over the last few years.
1 Will Ospreay
As his performances have proven in this year alone, Will Ospreay is not only the greatest British Wrestler of all time, but quite possibly one of the best, period. His matches, particularly his singles bouts, have become such events unto themselves as he continues to defy expectations as an all-round sensation.
Whether it continues to be in New Japan, or as part of AEW as a full-time addition to the roster, Ospreay will likely be in the conversation as being the best wrestler on the planet. The scary thing is that he is still only 30 years old, meaning his best years may be ahead of him.
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