“Speedball” Mike Bailey making an early case for Wrestler of the Year


“Speedball” Mike Bailey has been on an absolute tear since returning to the US to wrestle in 2022. It seems he’s making up for lost time.

Bailey was banned from wrestling in the US for five years in 2016. He was arrested trying to come into the US from Canada to wrestle for EVOLVE. He had been working with CZW to get his work visa, but it was taking a very long time. Since he was banned from the US, they couldn’t even take connecting flights to other countries that they were booked in.

During their five-year ban from the States, they continued wrestling in their home country of Canada. He also wrestled in Japan, Europe, and the U.K. In late 2021, Speedball signed with IMPACT Wrestling and made his debut in January 2022.

While in IMPACT, he has been the X Division champion. Fans voted him as X Division Star of the Year for 2022 and voted his match with Josh Alexander as IMPACT Match of the Year.

Mike Bailey on the indie scene

In addition to IMPACT, Bailey has brought his talents to PWG, GCW, Prestige Wrestling, NJPW STRONG, and Pro Wrestling Revolver, just to name a few. They competed in PWG’s prestigious Battle of Los Angeles (BOLA) tournament last year, where they made it to the finals. This year, they defeated Konosuke Takeshita to win the tournament.

During this year’s WrestleMania weekend shows, Bailey competed in ten matches in three days. On the first day of shows, Bailey faced Kota Ibushi at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 9. That was Ibushi’s first match since being injured in 2021. Following that match, Bailey wrestled Shigehiro Irie at WrestleCon’s Mark Hitchcock Memorial Show. Hours later, he wrestled Hiroshi Tanahashi at IMPACT x NJPW Multiverse United.

His feet should be registered as a weapon. With a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, Bailey brings a mixture of high-flying abilities along with technical wrestling. His versatility serves him well as he can wrestle a variety of matches. In IMPACT, he is in the midst of a series of matches against one of the best technical wrestlers in the world, Jonathan Gresham.

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NJPW has invited Bailey to their Best of Super Juniors (BOSJ) tournament. BOSJ features some of the best junior heavyweights from around the world. This year’s field includes talent like Lio Rush, KUSHIDA, Clark Connors, Titan, and Kevin Knight.

His first match of the tournament is against the IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, Hirmou Takahashi. Bailey could be the first wrestler since Will Ospreay to win the tournament on his first try.

Bailey can’t be contained and luckily for us, he gets invited to wrestle in many promotions against incredible opponents. It seems like he is constantly wrestling a dream match or stealing the show. They rack up Match of the Year contenders regularly. We’re just a few months into the year and “Speedball” Mike Bailey is making the case for Wrestler of the Year for 2023.