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The world needs more cowboys. That's the rallying cry of The One Called Manders, and if those cowboys are like him, then I'm all for it. Manders is a an absolute fan favorite on the indie scene, and when he's not decimating people with cowbells and trash cans, is a very wholesome guy. Manders is the definition of Southern wrestling, the definition of a Hoss, and the definition of a tough guy. He's starting to get more notice nationwide thanks to some wonderful showings for places like GCW and BLP, and today we're going to give the cowboy his due. 

Like many wrestlers such as Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, Manders played football. Between playing in high school and at University of Iowa, he put several years into the sport. It was his senior year when he fellow Iowa alumnus Ettore Ewen, who you probably know as Big E. Big E suggested that he go to Black and Brace Academy, run by Mark Brave and Seth Rollins, and man I'm glad he did that. It's now number four on things I'm glad BIG E has done, behind being a wrestler, creating the upcoming Hip-Hop Scifi Black History show Our Heroes Rock, and voicing Cannon Wulf on Lazer Wulf. 2017 saw Manders begin wrestling, and frankly, he took to it quick. Manders became a regular in Iowa, between SCW 3XW, and IPW he was constantly having matches. His first step outside Iowa was to IWA Mid-South, where if you keep up with this column, you know is much more than just deathmatches(but oh ya there's a lot of deathmatches.) His first match there saw him beat another recent standout, Dante Leon. By the end of 2017, Manders made his debut in what was then Prodigy Pro Wrestling, but which you all know as Paradigm Pro Wrestling. While Manders would continue having matches in places like Paradigm and Rockstar Pro, in 2018 Mid-South became his home. He stepped into the ring with names like Chase Holiday, MJF, the Glitch Kai Fayden, Adam Slade, and the wrestler who I consider Manders's first rival, Calvin Tankman. Between may and August they had five matches together, including a Sumo match, and an Old School IWA Rules match. If 2018 saw Manders come into his own in IWA Mid-South, then 2019 saw Manders come into his own nationally. Pick an independent wrestling company that I've ever talked about, and Manders probably wrestled there in 2019. Beyond Wrestling saw him fight Warhorse for the IWTV Championship. GCW saw him fight hardcore legends like Matt Tremont and Homicide. He faced names like Big Twan Tucker and Nick Gage in AIW. He went to Glory Pro, Journey Pro, Freelance, Southern Underground Pro, Action, Limitless, Black Label Pro, and more all in that year. He's one of those wrestlers who you truly think that if the pandemic didn't happen would have had a massive 2020. He still put on quite a few fantastic matches last year, but with how travel he did in 2019, a fully realized 2020 could have seen the Cornbelt Cowboy everywhere. 

manders 2

2020 would still see Manders make a few different debuts in places like Warrior Wrestling, OWA, and No Peace Underground. I think I've mentioned No Peace before, but they are a no-ring deathmatch company. That's not exactly Manders's normal style, but the last couple years we've had the pleasure of seeing that hardcore to deathmatch side of Manders. A couple of hardcore matches of his made the top ten today, and he also fought Atticus Cogar in the opening round of GCW's Tournament of Survival 666. Manders has actually formed two groups as of late. We have the tag team with Big Beef Gnarls Garvin, Corn Beef, and then we have the Second Grew Crew. Second Gear Crew is just some great dudes who like to wrestle. Mance Warner, Matthew Justice, Effy, AJ Gray, Levi Everett, and of course, Manders. I may have even missed one because it's just a big ol group of good ol boys. What's surprising about SGC though, is that half the time it seems Manders's hardest hitting fights are against his own stable mates. We'll see more than one of those fights on this list, and it's always great to see friends beating the crap out of each other. So without further ado, let's get to some matches.

day of the dragon

#10:One Called Manders VS Billy Brash vs Josh Bishop vs Kody Lane vs Mike Outlaw vs Mark Wheeler

  You know I love a good scramble match. Not only is it a scramble, it's also a tournament match! So basically this match was made for me. Literally ten seconds into the match all hell has already broken loose. Mike Outlaw, Mark Wheeler, and Manders all come out strong quick but Brash, Bishop, and Lane all get their time to shine shortly after they take the opening barrage. Everyone looks fantastic in this match, like a good scramble should. The end of the match comes down to Josh Bishop and Manders trading blows before Manders hits a big power bomb. Everyone reaches at the last second but can't break up the pinfall as Manders gets the big win to start the show. A fun time, a good showcase, and a big win for Manders.

#9:One Called Manders VS Warhorse

One of over forty title defenses Warhorse made of the Independent Wrestling Championship, this match had quite a bit of hype behind it. Manders's leg was injured coming into this match from a fight with Tony Deppen(more on that later) and Warhorse was having the run of his career. This is fantastic match despite being pretty short, and Warhorse absolutely proved why he deserved to be champion. A big part of the match was Manders locking in a submission hold that took Warhorse minutes to escape from, and that was clever on Manders's part. His leg was injured: anything that lets his leg rest in this match is good offense, but after that hold he begins to let Warhorse set the pace again. The match has quite a few big moments worked in without feeling like a spot fest. It never feels like there are big moves for the sake of big moves: they all come from a place of desperation. Manders and Warhorse are both phenomenal hybrid wrestlers, combining elements of the old school and new school, making them work very well together. When Manders hits his powerbomb on Warhorse, I genuinely thought the match would be over, but Warhorse gives one of the most desperate kick outs of this career. Warhorse ultimately does retain his title, but the journey to get there is amazing.

sgc vs bussy

#8:Second Gear Crew VS Bussy and Everett Connors

 This match has a lot of big hats that's for sure. Levi Everett is a fan favorite everywhere he goes and he doesn't get mentioned in this column enough. Highlight of the entrances though goes to Allie Katch(formerly Kat) riding out with a scooter that apparently she spent the entire night riding around the hotel. This match is just fun okay! Can't you all just have fun for awhile! This is the fourth show in three days for these wrestlers and this crowd, two of them had been in deathmatches the day before, but from the opening bell this match just has an incredible amount of energy. Manders and Effy have a great sequence that ends with Effy getting driven right through a door, and man you just love to see it. Warner then hands Manders another door, because he just needs another door. That's the kind of frenetic energy this match is filled with. At one point all three members of Second Gear Crew are in submission holds, before Warner and Manders use each other to get free. You'd think the six person tag of all friends would be less bloody, but no, Manders still ends up with the crimson mask. Levi Everett picks up the big win here, and fun was had all around.

#7:One Called Manders VS Matthew Justice

 Here we have another great Second Gear Crew clash as Manders steps into the ring with Matthew Justice. They don't go easy on each other just because they're friends, and Manders beating a deathmatch staple like Justice definitely is part of his stepping into that world. This match isn't a deathmatch, but it's definitely hardcore. Before the weapons and such get introduced though, we have just a good old fashioned wrestling match with powerful chops and kicks from both wrestlers. When the weapons finally do get brought in the entire match just enters another level. Manders hit a running powerslam through a door, and it's been said before, but if that's what he does to his friends, imagine what he does to his enemies. That being said, Manders is very eco-friendly: he uses the broken door pieces for more damage, and the lack of waste should truly be applauded. Too many wrestlers hit the door once and that's it: Manders used the whole door for all it's worth. The match then becomes the ring crew's worst nightmare, as Justice removes the bottom rope for some reason, and hits Manders with the tool he used for it. I've seen people get hit into the turnbuckle, but I've never seen someone hit someone with the turnbuckle. You often hear people talk about using the ring as a weapon, and Justice takes that literally here. Despite all that, Manders is able to hit a gutwrench powerbomb and finally, mercifully, end a fanatastic match.

#6:One Called Manders VS Mance Warner

 Like I said, Manders fighting other members of Second Gear Crew gets rough. Taking place at Hybrid Wrestling's Roll of the Dice(I linked the whole show here its definitely worth it especially Masha Slamovich vs Holidead) these two went out and just beat the holy hell out of each other. It's a solid twenty minutes of two cowboys deciminating each other, and is a solid example of Manders never backing down. Frankly, Manders shouldn't have been in this match. He had to fight a deathmatch Tournament the next day, he shouldn't have been in a no DQ match, but that's who he is. At GCW's Fight Forever he had three matches, and fighting as many people as he can all the time is just his style. This match itself personally I think is better than his Tournament of Survival match. He and Warner know each other so well that they could have probably wrestled this with their eyes closed. It's a hard hitting match with chairs, trash cans and more, and if you know anything about me, you know I loved this match. That being said, this match very much spits in the face of the old school philosophy that no DQ matches are for big blowoffs or at least between enemies. Two friends having a weapon filled fight with no title or tournament on the line might still seem like bad psychology to some, but what Manders and Warner do so well is convince you that they're having a great time. Even as they're wincing in pain, you know that beating the crap out of their best friend is the highlight of their day, and you're happy to be along for the ride.

#5:One Called Manders VS Conan Lycan

 This was the first time I saw Conan Lycan, and boy is he good. I am hoping beyond hope that we get to see a rematch between these two once Lycan has been wrestling a little longer, as this was already fantastic. Lycan is able to just slam Manders down, and that's no small feat. That was the moment I knew we were in for something special as these two beat the crap out of each other. For a good chunk of this match I thought Lycan would get the upset win, and Manders does a great job at putting Lycan over. He looks absolutely dominant in this fight, and you just know he's going places. Manders doesn't go down easy though, and is able to stave off the attack ultimately. The fact that Manders win here should have been expected going into the match, but by the end it's surprising, and that's how you build a new star. Manders finally gets some momentum towards the end, but I'd say 80% of this match is all Lycan, and next time I don't know if Manders will able to get the win.

#4:One Called Manders VS Tony Deppen

Deppen is becoming well known to the wrestling world fast as the ROH TV Champion, and he absolutely deserves it. He strikes such a great heel balance between cheating to win and actually being an amazing wrestler. He doesn't cheat because he needs to, he resorts to dirty tactics cause it saves him time, and that's enough for him. Coming into this match, Manders had already lost once to Deppen, and he wasn't about to let that happen again. What we got was an absolute war as Deppen showcased just how good he is in the ring. Deppen and Manders are both strong hitters, good grapplers, and they know how to pace a match. This makes the match just stand out as a showcase of what independent wrestling can be. Deppen can hold his own in any Hoss fight despite being a smaller guy. Deppen hangs out in ICW No Holds Barred's chain ring, so he's not going to back down from trading big elbow shots with Manders. Deppen takes the lead for much of this match, but he just can't put Manders away, even with a double stomp off the top rope. Finally, Manders hits a massive pop up power slam to get the win, redeeming his loss to Deppen from Uncharted Territory.

corn beef

#3:Corn Beef vs Violence is Forever

 Big Beef Gnarls Garvin and Manders have only had a few matches together but they make a great heel team. This match came from Corn Beef jumping Violence is Forever after the last show, and Violence is Forever wanted revenge. As always, I feel the need to point out that BLP commentary is amazing and Sarah Shockey is the best commentator on the indies, full stop. The match begins with a big brawl outside of the ring, and that's how you know you're in for a treat. It's been a few weeks since we had a Violence is Forever match on Indie Talent Showcase, but as always they are great in this match. Garrini is able to just grab Manders as he is walking over for a tag and turn it into a submission hold. It's rare to see Violence is Forever as the underdog babyfaces looking for the hot tag, but it works here really well. Ku is a strong striker and facing off with Manders shows that better than words ever could. My favorite spot in the entire match is when Garvin leaps off the top and is caught in a submission hold immediately by Garrini, and when Ku goes to keep Manders from breaking up the pin, Manders scoops him up and slams him onto Garrini and Garvin. This match is just stunning as Violence is Forever show just how good tag team wrestling is. They pull together an amazing win here in a must see match.

kerry awful

#2:One Called Manders vs Kerry Awful

 First of all, the version of this show on IWTV is remastered beautifully. Second, Kerry Awful doesn't get enough credit but God I love that carnie. He's become a staple of Paradigm lately, but he's been doing this for years. Beating Kerry Awful is quite the feat, so Manders getting this match in SUP was huge, and really helped boost his career. Manders is basically being recruited here for the carnies. You can see Awful testing Manders, pushing him, wanting his best. Awful's head isn't in the match, it's in the long game of what role Manders will play in his future. That's the kind of attitude and mind games you see from Awful and it makes this match so much better. Manders is used to fighting wrestlers at this point in his wrestling career, but he's not used to fighting monsters. This match is Manders being exposed to the twisted wrestlers. Without a match like this, we don't see Manders stepping into deathmatches. Awful opened the gates for Manders to step into the world of the bizarre. The match itself is hardhitting and brutal from bell to bell. The best move to me of the match is Manders's shoulder tackle through the ropes, which is the kind of speed and agility that Manders isn't known for, but should be. Manders winning here is considered an upset even by the commentators, and like I said, it gave us a new Manders.

#1:One Called Manders VS Benjamin Carter

 Taking place in SCW for the championship, Benjamin Carter shows why everyone is talking about him, but Manders shows why he's become so beloved so fast. The opening sequence of irish whips really establishes what the match is about. Carter keeps dodging big strikes, until Manders does the same with a cartwheel. In this match you would expect Carter to be the fast one and Manders more slow and strong, but this opening sequence shows that Manders can keep up with the speed of Carter, and that cartwheel changes the entire match. Carter is soon after able to show he can keep up with the power of Manders by throwing his entire body at the cowboy. With both men able to play each other's game, it becomes a battle of finding just the right combination to put your opponent away. Manders is able to power Cart up and out of a submission hold, and that's when the match begins to turn. If Carter can't wear down Manders, how is he supposed to beat him. Carter manages to actually pull out some bigger moves later in the match, and it's such a strong babyface comeback that I thought Carter would pull out the win. That finish is very strong to a wonderful match.

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