It’s a bold prediction to make claims about someone going to have a break out year in 2019 this early in the season. There’s a lot of road left to travel and a lot unpredictable circumstances involved in pro wrestling, from injuries to capturing the right lightning in a bottle, to uncovering chemistry in rivalries promoters never realized existed. But we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that everyone keep their eyes on a 30-year-old wrestler from Bucksnort, Tennessee named Mance Warner. For those who know of his work, no introduction is necessary. For those that don’t, get ready. The year 2019 is going to be the Year of the Mancer.
Mance Warner entered the world of professional wrestling in 2015, at the age of 25. Under the training of Billy Roc, a former pupil of Dory Funk Jr., he learned the ropes and late that year he made his debut with the likes of Georgia’s Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment (AWE, now Combat Entertainment) and Indiana’s SmashMouth Pro Wrestling (SPW).
In 2016, he began to expand his travel itinerary, hitting other Midwest indies like Rockstar Pro in Ohio, Indiana’s Pro Wrestling King (PWK) and EMERGE Wrestling, and West Virginia’s Vicious Outcast Wrestling (VOW). But he would begin to get his national notoriety as part of IWA Mid South‘s roster.
In 2017, he finally tasted his first major indie gold, capturing the IWA Mid South Tag Team titles with indie veteran Zodiak, and he dug further into the Midwest, Mid Atlantic and Southern indies with the likes of Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), Black Label Pro and NOVA Pro. His intensity was infectious and charismatic – in a way, he was like a better spoken Spike Dudley to Ring of Honor‘s Briscoe Brothers’ Bubba Ray and D’Von. While he was willing to put his body on the line for fun, frolic, and fortune, he was more than just another “deathmatch guy”. He had a heart for the business, a mind for great storytelling, and a wit that made his promos riveting. As often as he was facing heavy hitters like Eddie Kingston, Shigehiro Irie, and John Wayne Murdoch, he was also facing off against the likes of Zachary Wentz, Jake Crist or Trey Miguel.
In 2018, he added All American Wrestling (AAW), Freelance Wrestling, and Glory Pro to his circuit, and strengthened his position with CZW and AIW, as well as becoming a 2x IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion in the same year. He faced top stars like Matt Riddle, Jimmy Jacobs, Michael Elgin, Jimmy Lloyd, and others, and started the team Duke Money in AIW with Midwest indie veteran Jock Samson. In only three years, Mance Warner had become the buzz of the US indie scene. And while his name wasn’t on a lot of fans lips, he was getting impressive lip service from his peers.
He closed out 2018 with the biggest win of his career – in one of the most compelling deathmatches of all time storywise in the ring, he defeated Rickey Shane Page for the CZW World Heavyweight Championship at CZW Cage of Death XX. Despite the horrors of the match, the story overshadowed the violence and both men gave arguably the performances of their career in a tale of desperation, passion, and respect.
As 2019 gets underway, Mance Warner is finally about to hit national television. He was recently announced as debuting with Major League Wrestling (MLW), debuting in a match against another star in for a big year in Johnny Yuta. And on Thursday, it was announced he’d be having a high profile match at MLW Intimidation Games, the next live special from MLW, in a deathmatch against Mexican legend LA Park.
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) February 14, 2019
As MLW increases its presence in the world of pro wrestling, Mance Warner will be one of its next big stars, alongside the likes of Low Ki, Teddy Hart, “Filthy” Tom Lawler and the Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. & Fenix). Combining a willingness to sacrifice with a constant mastery of the story being told, Mance Warner is like this generation’s Terry Funk. Technical when he has to be, engaging at all times, and willing to bleed to make sure the fight is won. Take note if you see Mance Warner on a card near you in 2019 – because it’s only bigger and better things for Ol’ Mancer this season.
My Tag Partner @ManceWarner is the future of rasslin!
— Jock Samson (@jocksamson) February 14, 2019
People always bitch when their favorite indy talent gets signed, & say the indies are going to die.
This happens every few years, and only benefits wrestling as a whole. It’s a cycle that gives new talent a chance to step up. @ManceWarner will be one of those talents in 2019.
— The DRAW (@TheSamiCallihan) December 9, 2018