Photo Credit: http://www.pauljspetrini.com/
Now I absolutely love independent wrestling, but there is something about it. From the sleaze to the top, I just can not get enough, and I especially love the US scene. So many great talents and promotions out there that some get overshadowed while some shine bright like a diamond. This is mainly talking about recent happenings on the scene and what promotions you should be watching! Technically ROH is not an indie any more due to the Sinclair deal, but they were my entry into this crazy world.
One promotion that is at the forefront is PWG. If you like spotfests, brawls and even technical wrestling from the wizard Zack Sabre Jr., you are at the right place. One down side is that if you do not like comedy you will not like any of this but I love all of it and they are easily my favorite promotion. Based out of SoCal, Reseda to be exact, the crowd is always hot and the talent is always star studded. Trevor Lee, Chuck Taylor, Roderick Strong, Chris Hero and The Big Dog Andrew Everett and many others all appear very regularly and create a promotion that is a go to for sweet wrestling. They usually run a show a month but their DVD production is painfully slow. A super indy.
Another super indie is EVOLVE, part of the WWN family (which contains FIP and SHINE, both pretty bad if you ask me), and ran by ex ROH booker, Gabe Sapolsky. They have a star studded cast which is headlined by one of my favorite stables in pro wrestling. Drew Gulak, TJP, Tracy Williams, Matt Riddle and Fred Yehi make up Catch Point, a group of elite grapplers. Besides some gripes with booking that has left champ Timothy Thatcher looking like a geek, the promotion over all always delivers if the stream works!
Next up we have is CZW which just reeks of meh. I am not a fan of the death matches and they usually have one of them on each show which usually means a bad match on every show for me. The mid card is very odd, with some of it being awesome like the Gulaks, David Starr, Joey Janela, Lio Rush, and Jon Gresham. But then people like Sozio and Rickey Shane Page are unbearable to watch for me. The booking is ually horrible too, for example, I love Tim Donst but the way they are managing him with the feuds with Joe Gacy and Danny Havoc. Then the Triple Threat this year at Best of the Best with Rush/Janela/Gresham was my most anticipated match and they ruined it by booking it to be a 1-minute match with Rush doing nothing.
Then there is the Midwest scene filled with a ton of promotions, ranging in quality. My favorite one in the Midwest is AAW from Chicago. They constantly have awesome shows, especially their last one, EPIC, that had an epic encounter with Trevor Lee and Chris Hero and another sick match with ZSJ and Tommaso Ciampa. Very similar to PWG. Then we have Freelance which can be hit or miss for me. They try to be too edgy for my liking but they have cool matches with good talent including Suge D, Sally Stiches and Mustafa Ali. DreamWave is similar, in that it is hit or miss. AIW is like a M Rated Chikara which can be pretty cringey like the current story with Dick Justice, Jock Samson and Missy Hyatt. That feud had my least favorite match of the year so far in Jock Samson, Tracy Smothers & Kaplan vs. Colt Cabana, Dick Justice & Marion Fontaine. What a dreadful match. But they have had some pretty sick matches recently, Tim Donst vs. Homicide, Joey Janela vs. Façade, Ethan Page vs. ZSJ and Pentagon Jr. vs. Ray Rowe.
Speaking of an M rated version of this promotion, let’s talk about Chikara. Ever since the shutdown angle they have lost their momentum but the product is still fun. Ultra PG but Ultra fun. It is the complete opposite of a company like CZW.
The southern scene is on fire too. AWE is, from what I have heard as only 2 shows have been on tape, is awesome. Their last show had Sami Callihan vs. Chip Day which sounds awesome. PWX is my favorite from this area. Besides the Revolt vs. Xperience story that is happening and I usually do not like the matches, especially the War Games match, they have very good singles matches on every card. NWA Smoky Mountain also runs here and is usually solid and they have a good YouTube show.
Another promotion that I really dig is Beyond Wrestling. While not every match is off the walls, the atmosphere that comes across on tape is awesome. The roster is filled to the brim with awesome talent, a lot of cool dudes from the North East scene! Hero, Dunn, Gresham, Dickinson, Dijak and many more make a stacked line up! Although a few things I don’t like is the constant Intergender matches that are not that good, to me at least, and booking Veda Scott a ton (but she has been improving). Their show on the 2nd of April had a sick main event of Chris Dickinson vs. Brian Fury.
There is also a pretty active women’s scene. Shimmer is awesome, and their live show on WWN this WrestleMania weekend was awesome. Nicole Savoy looked amazing in that. SHINE is so meh and the booking is horrible, not worth watching. Same with WSU, who is affiliated with CZW. Another affiliated company is WWR with Beyond, who had their first show 2 weeks ago as I write this. The Show was pretty solid!
I am sure I am missing some but these are some of the bigger and best names on the scene. There are a lot of smaller companies that are worth your time if you are willing to put in the investment. Thanks a ton for reading and if you want to, follow me on twitter @a7xweeman