top of page

iNDIES, iNTERNATIONAL & THE uNDERGROUND: A Look at 5 Rising Stars who will soar in 2023

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

I.I.U. returns again this week with a look at five prospects who show a lot of promise and will be worth keeping an eye on in the months ahead

Youth is the lifeblood of professional wrestling. Every few years, a new generation of stars assumes the spotlight of the squared circle. And their climb to the top of the mountain is often as much fun to watch as their time on top of it.

As we dive fully into 2023, there are several young stars on the horizon who are worth keeping an eye on. Whether they are flashy females, aerial acrobats, or brawling bruisers, they all bring traits that could find them main-eventing for WWE or AEW someday. All it takes is a big break.

Here's a look at five pro wrestling prospects who are just waiting for that type of break, and their skills are definitely worth seeing. There are plenty of tomorrow's stars out there, and here are a few that will shine soon:

#1 - KiLynn King

At 5' 11" and 165 lbs, KiLynn King has great size to go along with an abundance of skill. She was trained by WWE Hall of Famers Billy Gunn and D-Von Dudley and has been a contender for the NWA World Women's Championship. She's also been featured in a tag team with current AEW star Red Velvet.

King has shared the ring with such notable names as Chelsea Green, Thunder Rosa, Kamille, and Skye Blue, among others. She's been featured in the NWA and with All Elite Wrestling but is still currently a free agent. The powerful prospect would be a great addition to any roster right now. She would be a wonderful fit for NXT's burgeoning women's division.

King will most likely join a major federation soon. She has a great look and plenty of toughness. With her size, she's definitely a commodity. It would be interesting to see her matched up against someone like Raquel Rodriguez in WWE or Athena in Ring of Honor.

#2 - Dante Leon

The former GHC Light Heavyweight Champion has found a lot of success internationally, and he's on deck for even greater success here in the States. Despite losing his belt to Amakusa on December 22nd, the future is bright for this up-and-coming star.

While not a total powerhouse, he can certainly hold his own in the strength category. But that's not really his greatest calling card.

Leon has an outstanding persona and certainly knows how to draw attention to himself. If given time on television, he is visually someone who grabs you right away. Perhaps it's the crazy colors or the wild hair, but he's got a definite appeal that a major company can package and sell. In the right situation, he seems like the type of character that would be a big merchandise mover.

Inside the ring, Dante Leon has mat skills mixed with a daredevil attitude. Even though he may not look like a traditional luchador, he is never afraid to take to the sky. Between his flashy looks and flashy moves, there's good reason to keep a close eye on his immediate future.

#3 - Shelly 'Bombshell' Benson

Shelly Benson may make all the men's hearts race, but she drops bombs on her opponents. This blonde star-in-the-making is more than just a pretty face. Benson might be drenched in ink, but her fortitude has been forged in blood, sweat, and tears.

Benson has the type of character that can be incredibly versatile. While she's very down-to-earth and relatable, she also has enough sass to play the role of a heel. She's definitely not camera-shy and seems to have great awareness of how the audience reacts to her antics. For a young wrestler, that's an invaluable asset to have in your back pocket.

Outside of the ring, Benson is a dancer, model, and stylist. She has been featured prominently by promotions in the Midwest and Southeast and seems like she would be a perfect fit for the IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts division.

#4 - Mario Pardua

'The Polish Powerhouse' is not only a great tremendous physical specimen, he's also got a lot of natural appeal. His background makes him a hero in the city of Chicago, which has a large Polish community, and he hasn't let down the local faithful yet.

However, Mario Pardua's fame is already extending far beyond the Windy City. His ring style and demeanor have been drawing attention all around the country. It doesn't seem like it will be long before a major company takes notice of him.

Even though his chosen profession is now in the ring, Pardua says he has always been a bit of a performer.

"I used to DJ in Poland for five years," he recalled. "I also did Moutain Bike competitions and so on. At the age of 14, I used to break dance in front of random people on the streets. That was a lot of fun back in the day!"

He's often compared to The Rock, due to his muscular build and similar move set. And it's a comparison that he doesn't mind, as he looks at The Great One as one of the figures that he idolized.

Having said that, Pardua is his own man. He's had success in several organizations outside of the Second City and looks to have more in 2023.

#5 - Michelle Green

Trained by legends like Dr. Tom Prichard and Jazz, the lovely Michelle Green is originally from Switzerland and has wrestled all over Europe, Mexico, and the United States. The indy star has actually cut promos in five different languages.

Green has also competed for legendary developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, where she was a prominently featured character.

The International Swiss Superstar may be multi-faceted outside of the squared circle, but she's also no slouch in it either. She's got an aggressive style and isn't afraid to mix it up in the ring. Green isn't big, but she wrestles like it, due to her full-force style.

Green could be a good fit in NXT, AEW, or possibly NXT. But with her international roots, she may be eyeing Japan or a return to Europe.

bottom of page