By Jared "JJF" Jackson-Ferrans
For the majority of both his indy and WWE runs, Bryan Danielson, perhaps better known as Daniel Bryan, was arguably one of the best wrestlers in the world. His efforts were validated by the Wrestling Observer, whose fans consistantly voted him into a stranglehold over the Best Technical Wrestler award, from 2005 until 2013, and in all likelyhood, this would have continued. However, with career threatening injuries limiting him to only a handful of matches in both 2014 and 2015, the reign of the "American Dragon" was coming to an end, and technical wrestling was in desperate need of someone to step up to fill the void. Thankfully, 2014 began the emergence of one of the indy's best and brightest, whose rise only continued in 2015 and earned the votes for Best Technical Wrestler in both years.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Zack Sabre Jr.
Trained at the NWA Hammerlock wrestling school that has produced the likes of Becky Lynch, Douglas Williams and Finn Bálor, and counting one of the indy's best in Chris Hero among his mentors, it's easy to believe that Sabre's rise to the top was instant, but it wasn't until 2008 when he started to break through to the mainstream. His match with Bryan Danielson for Triple X Wrestling was a match of the year candidate, and his work in Pro Wrestling Noah and his home country of Britain with tag team partner Marty Scuril solidified him on a national stage.
He's gone on to compete in major indies in both the United States and Europe, including Evolve, PWG, ICW, Revolution Pro Wrestling, where he most recently won the promotion's British Heavyweight Championship. In 2015, he became the 11th winner of PWG's Battle of Los Angeles tournament, solidifying his place in American indy wrestling
Given the chance to show a non-wrestling fan that, at its best, professional wrestling is truly an art form, I'd show them Zack Sabre's highlight reel. He uses holds and transitions in much the same way a writer uses the English language, adding a poetic flow to his work and turning his matches into a sort of performance art, effortlessly blending a realistic style with the typical entertainment and suspension of disbelief that goes along with pro wrestling.
The strength of his style relies on his submissions, which seemingly come out of nowhere and can end the match at nearly any moment, but his strikes and chain wrestling are equally proficient. In an era where indy stars rely on high spots all too often to stand out among the crowd, Sabre remains true to a pure style that allows him to stand out.
Getting into Sabre's body of work is relatively easy for an indy guy, as the majority of his notable matches have come with competitors who have been in major promotions. His matches with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura for RevPro have shown the growth he's experienced over the years, and the 2014 and 2015 Battle of Los Angeles tournaments are worth checking out for matches against Pentagon Jr, Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, and of course the 2015 tournament final against Mike Bailey and his trainer Chris Hero.
To get a good sense of his earlier work, check out the match with Danielson from 2008, or his match against Claudio Castagnoli, currently known as Cesaro, from Western Xtreme Wrestling in Germany. Also of note is his contest with Prince Devitt in Britain shortly prior to him becoming Finn Bálor, where Devitt competed as his interpretation of Heath Ledger's Joker.
With the RevPro title around his waist and, Sabre Jr looks to be an integral part of the future of indy wrestling both in the United States and his home country of Britain, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him compete in one of the major promotions sooner rather than later. The loss of Styles and Nakamura may cause an opening in New Japan, where he'd more than likely fit in perfectly, and allow him to build his character in much the same way Devitt did.
I wouldn't count out a WWE run either, as he's been hyped as a potential star by both their Twitter feed and official website due to their deal with Evolve, and was even rumoured to appear at Takeover: London. Whether in Britain, the United States, or a return to Japan, big things will happen for Zack Sabre Jr, and this is the time to get on the bandwagon.