Last Sunday, May 26, history was made in Chicago, Illinois at IWTV's Midwest Mixtape when Kris Statlander defeated Orange Cassidy to become the new Independent Wrestling Champion. Statlander's victory makes her the first woman (and alien) to ever hold the title and caps off the most rapid ascent to independent wrestling stardom in recent memory.
One year ago the thought of Kris Statlander becoming the Independent Wrestling Champion would have been absurd. A relative newcomer to wrestling, Statlander had wrestled for Women's Wrestling Revolution and Limitless Wrestling among other promotions, and was unquestionably a uniquely gifted athlete. But there was little reason to believe she would become the top wrestler on the indie scene last Summer.
The turning point for Statlander was Beyond Wrestling's Please Come Back event in September of 2018. The show saw a variety of wrestlers make their Beyond debuts competing in matches against staples of the promotion. "The Alien" drew John Silver, a veteran who has beaten a who's who of wrestling talent in Beyond Wrestling over the years. In a show stealing performance, Statlander defeated Silver, becoming an overnight sensation for fans watching at home on IWTV, while also solidifying her as a major player in Beyond Wrestling.
From there the marquee victories began to pile up for Statlander in short order. By the end of the year she held pinfall victories over Matt Cross, Kylie Rae and MJF, three very different wrestlers, but all among the best in independent wrestling. This in ring success was coupled with a surge in fan support that saw Statlander become one of the most popular wrestlers on the independents.
If Please Come Back put Statlander on the map as a player, the last weekend in February elevated her to top contender status. At Women's Wrestling Revolution's Widowmaker event, she defeated Lisa Marie Varon. The following day she competed in Beyond Wrestling's Treasure Hunt Tournament. At that show she bested Jordynne Grace (First Round), David Starr (Semi Final) and Chris Dickinson (Finals), winning a medallion in the process that earned her an Independent Wrestling Championship match at the time and place of her choosing.
On the first episode of Uncharted Territory, she scored another huge victory when she defeated AR Fox, only to be attacked by Kimber Lee after the match. The two women would meet to resolve their differences in the ring at The Lethal Lottery, but before then Statlander would add victories over Davienne and The Whisper to her resume.
By the time The Lethal Lottery came around, Statlander had appeared at or near the top of the Independent Wrestling Championship rankings compiled by IWTV officials for three straight months (first, second and first again). After pinning Kimber Lee, she publicly declared that she would be turning her Treasure Hunt Medallion in and claiming her IWTV Title shot at the Midwest Mixtape.
Statlander's victory last Sunday could be seen as an upset, particularly given the fact that Cassidy was the most fighting champion in the titles history with fifteen successful championship defenses in under five months. But in truth Statlander has been nearly unbeatable in high level matches since September of last year, and the list of victories documented above illustrates the strength of opposition she has faced during her climb to the top.
"The Alien" Kris Statlander is both a historic champion and in some respects an unlikely one. But it is beyond dispute that she has earned her place at the top of the independent wrestling world, or as she might put it, at the center of the independent wrestling galaxy.