7 Greatest South Africa Wrestlers | Famous Wrestlers From South Africa

Liam Rooney

South Africa is home to some of the best wrestlers in the world. From Olympic champions to world-renowned athletes, South African wrestlers have made a name for themselves in the global wrestling arena.

From Greco-Roman to freestyle wrestling, South African wrestlers have excelled in all disciplines and have gained international recognition for their accomplishments. In this article, we will be looking at some of the best wrestlers in South Africa and their accomplishments.

We will be exploring their backgrounds, their successes and their impact on the sport of wrestling. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the best wrestlers in South Africa.

1. Justin Gabriel


Phillip Paul Lloyd is a unique individual in the world of professional wrestling. He is a South African-American, having grown up in both countries. He is widely known for his time in the WWE, where he used the ring name Justin Gabriel.

At the moment, he is currently wrestling under a different name, P.J. Black. Lloyd has the distinction of being a second-generation wrestler, as he was trained by his father.

This is a rare phenomenon in the realm of professional wrestling, as it is not often passed down from parent to child.

Lloyd’s father has obviously had a major influence on his professional wrestling career, which has enabled him to become the successful wrestler he is today. Lloyd’s time in the WWE has been a major success, with him being a former WWE Tag Team Champion and Intercontinental Champion.

He has also received numerous accolades for his work, including being a two-time Slammy Award winner and a recipient of the WWE’s Future Star Award. Phillip Paul Lloyd is a unique wrestler who has achieved success in the world of professional wrestling.

His father has played a major role in his success, having passed down his knowledge and skill to his son. His time in the WWE has been a major success, and his accomplishments speak for themselves.

2. Adam Rose


Raymond John Leppan is a retired professional wrestler from South Africa. He had a long career in the wrestling industry, with his most famous role being as the character Adam Rose in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

He was known for his flamboyant and entertaining wrestling style and was a fan favorite among the WWE crowd. Adam Rose was known for his zany antics and catchphrase ‘Let’s party!’, which made him instantly recognizable.

He was also part of the faction the Exotic Express, which was a group of characters that were known for their party-based antics.

Leppan retired from professional wrestling in 2018, but he left a lasting impression on the world of wrestling with his unique and outlandish character.

3. Johnny Palazzio

Jean Paul Whittacker is a professional wrestler better known by his ring name Johnny Palazzio. Born and raised in South Africa, he currently performs for the Africa Wrestling Alliance (AWA).

He has become one of the most recognizable wrestlers in the country, thanks to his unique style and high-flying moves. Johnny Palazzio’s career began in the AWA in the early 2000’s.

He quickly made a name for himself, due to his willingness to perform any move, no matter how dangerous. His daredevil stunts have made him a fan favorite, and his popularity has spread to other countries.

He is often seen as the face of the AWA and is seen by many as the standard bearer for South African wrestling. In recent years, Johnny Palazzio has become a regular on the international wrestling scene.

He has competed in some of the biggest events, including the WWE and Impact Wrestling. He has also had many successful singles and tag team matches, earning him multiple titles.

He has also been featured in a number of documentaries, highlighting his career and the culture of professional wrestling in South Africa. Johnny Palazzio is a living legend in the world of professional wrestling.

His matches are always exciting, and he never fails to entertain the crowd. He continues to be a positive influence in the wrestling industry, and his legacy will no doubt live on for many years to come.

4. Steve Simpson

Stephan Simpson, better known by his ring name Steve Simpson, is a former professional wrestler from South Africa. Simpson is best known for his time wrestling in the South African Championship Wrestling (SACW) and the World Wrestling Professionals (WWP) federations.

He competed in various single and tag team matches and was a two-time SACW Heavyweight Champion. Simpson debuted in the South African wrestling scene in 2001 and quickly established himself as one of the top competitors.

He won his first SACW championship in 2005 and held it for seven months, during which time he was a dominant competitor. In 2007, he moved to the WWP and won the WWP Heavyweight Championship.

He would go on to win the title two more times, making him the most successful competitor in the promotion’s history. Simpson’s time in the South African wrestling scene was not without controversy.

He was often criticized for his in-ring style, which some felt was too aggressive and even dangerous.

Simpson also had a reputation for being a difficult opponent to work with, and his career was often overshadowed by his in-ring antics. Despite the controversies, Simpson was an extremely popular wrestler in South Africa. He was a fan favorite and had a large following.

He was also respected for his technical skill and ring presence. After retiring in 2012, Simpson moved on to pursue a career in acting. He has since appeared in several South African films and television programs.

5. Angélico

Adam Bridle is an internationally acclaimed professional wrestler.

Better known by his ring name Angélico, he is currently signed to All Elite Wrestling and is also highly regarded for his work in Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, Lucha Underground and World Wrestling Professionals. He is a South African native and has been wrestling since a young age.

In that time, he has gained a worldwide reputation and has worked with some of the top promotions in the industry.

He is highly skilled in the art of lucha libre and is known for his high-flying moves and gravity-defying stunts. Adam Bridle is also a two-time AAA World Tag Team Champion, as well as a former AAA World Cruiserweight Champion and AAA World Tag Team Champion.

He is also the winner of the 2017 AAA Worldwide Rey de Reyes tournament. His work in Lucha Underground earned him a spot on the 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s list of the top 50 wrestlers in the world. Adam Bridle is a highly talented and experienced wrestler.

He has achieved success in many different promotions and has become a household name in the wrestling world. With his skill and charisma, he is sure to make an impact in the years to come.

6. Jan Wilkens

Jan Wilkens is an impressive name in the professional wrestling world. He is a retired South African wrestler who had a successful career in the sport.

He is most notably known for being a former South African Heavyweight Champion and a six-time EWU World Super Heavyweight Champion. Jan Wilkens’ career in professional wrestling spanned over two decades.

He entered the sport in the mid-1990s and quickly rose to fame due to his impressive in-ring performances. He became a popular figure in the South African wrestling scene and won the South African Heavyweight Championship in 1998.

This was the first of many titles he would win during his career. In addition to winning the South African Heavyweight Championship, Jan Wilkens went on to become a six-time EWU World Super Heavyweight Champion.

He also held several other titles, including the EWU Intercontinental Championship, the EWU Television Championship, and the EWU Tag Team Championship with his partner, Marko Stryker. Jan Wilkens was also known for his charity work.

He was an advocate for children’s charities, and he founded the Jan Wilkens Foundation, which provides educational and recreational opportunities to children in need. Jan Wilkens retired from professional wrestling in 2015 after a long and successful career.

He is widely considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time and his influence is still felt in the wrestling world today.

7. Shaun Koen

Shaun Koen is a South African professional wrestler and the owner and promoter of the Africa Wrestling Alliance (AWA).

He is currently the African Heavyweight Champion of the AWA, and is a second-generation professional wrestler, following in the footsteps of his father Jackie Koen.

Jackie was also a professional wrestler, and his success and influence likely helped pave the way for Shaun’s own success in the sport. Shaun’s success is a testament to the hard work and dedication that he has put into his career, and to the legacy of his father.

He has become a champion in his own right and established himself as a major player in the world of professional wrestling.


There is no doubt that South Africa boasts some of the best wrestling players in the world. The likes of Tendai Chisoro, Mpho Madi, and Jacobus Swart have all established themselves as some of the best wrestlers in the country.

They have won multiple medals at both the national and international levels setting a high standard for all aspiring wrestlers in South Africa.

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Liam Rooney

Recent Florida International University graduate with a passion for journalism and a focus on sports, especially in wrestling. Recognized with a 3rd place award in the Society of Professional Journalist's Green Eyeshade awards for outstanding coverage of FIU men's soccer. Experienced in local news, breaking stories, and community reporting from an internship at the Palm Beach Post. Hosted and produced a radio show, adept at creating video packages. Eager to embrace diverse journalistic opportunities beyond sports, bringing a versatile skill set and a relentless drive for excellence to the field.