2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with major players such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For his part, Mike D'Antonio played on Killswitch Engage's seriously crushing new album Atonement, one of 2019's best. Aside from his obvious love of music, the bassist has a serious passion for professional wrestling. We asked D'Antonio to spotlight some of his favorite wrestlers from the last year — read on to find out who he picked.
After many years of sludging through mid-card hell, Bray Wyatt was able to talk "the powers that be" into listening to him. Sometimes that's all it takes for a wrestler to reinvent himself into a "must-watch" character. Split personality, firefly fun house, face lantern — what respectable horror fan wouldn't love this guy? And did I mention his Fiend mask was made by horror makeup master Tom Savini? Bray is a true testament to the statement, "betting on yourself and winning." As long as WWE doesn't overproduce or oversaturate The Fiend, we are all in for a wild and fun ride. Pure character gold.
Will Ospreay has had another incredible year. Winner of the New Japan's Best of the Super Juniors and, pound for pound, Ospreay the most exciting wrestler to watch in the business. All the acrobatics of a world-class Olympian and skill set of a ring veteran, this young gun has a blindingly bright future. Above all else he reminds me, so much, of my favorite high-flying wrestler, Rob Van Dam — and that's the highest praise I can give.
The transition from MMA fighter to pro wrestler is not always easy. Only a handful of fighters have done it the right way, and Matt Riddle is one of them. All the action of an MMA star and the skill set of a seasoned pro wrestler, Matt will be a huge presence in wrestling for years to come. His current run in NXT is next-level stuff, and the story of an authentic champ. Although, I do wish he would use footwear in the ring — bare feet gross me out. [Laughs]
For the last few years Kenny Omega has showed that he is a master of all wrestling styles. Whether it's in New Japan, Ring of Honor or AEW, Kenny's talent speaks for itself. Every match he is in commands you to watch intently, and tells a truly compelling story. An absolute superstar from top to bottom and one hell of a wrestler. Now that Kenny has hit mainstream U.S. TVs, the sky is the limit. Amazing.
Chris Jericho has been a great wrestler for decades, but the last few years, he has been on fire. Not only wrestling like a hungry kid again, but coming up with some of the funniest and most memorable catchphrases in the biz. This year Chris became the youngest AEW heavyweight champ. Also the first ... so, yeah, youngest. His mic skills far exceed any other wrestler in the biz today, and everything he touches or says, turns to solid gold. It is very reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Stone Cold Steve Austin — captivating beyond words. Jericho has proved time and time again that he is must-see TV.