Happy New Year! The beginning of 2016 featured a crazy period of wrestling rumors and news. At this rate 2016 will shape up to be another crazy year for indy wrestling, and more importantly one where the environment is ripe for new stars to rise up. The holiday break period has concluded and promotions have begun announcing their cards for their inaugural shows for the New Year.
ROH is in the midst of its Winter Warriors tour where all events and tapings are building towards their February PPV, the 14th Anniversary Show. At this time the status of Shinsuke Nakamura is unknown for the event, but ROH has begun setting up matches for the event. As of right now the two matches signed are IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. Moose and ROH World Champion Jay Lethal defending his title in a Triple Threat Match against Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole.
Currently, the Winter Warriors tour is playing host to the annual Top Prospect Tournament. The tournament is a new staple for ROH, where they bring in rising indy talent from around the country to compete in a single elimination tournament. The winner is given an ROH contract, with standouts also offered work with ROH. Notable past competitors have been Adam Cole, Michael Elgin, Kyle O’Reilly, Matt Taven, ACH, Hanson, Raymond Rowe, Donovan Dijak, and Dalton Castle. The competitors for this year’s tournament are listed below.
• Brian Fury
• Shaheem Ali
• Punisher Martinez
• Colby Corino
• Action Ortiz
• Leo St. Giovanni
• Lio Rush
• Jason Kincaid
As should be well known by now, a number of ROH wrestlers competed for NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom 10 & New Years Dash. The Briscoes captured the Never Openweight Trios championship along with Tori Yano, while Jay Lethal successfully defended the ROH World Title against Michael Elgin. The Young Bucks won a 4-way Tag Match to win their 4thIWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship and Cheeseburger made his NJPW debut at WK10, getting over in a big way with the crowd.
Smash Wrestling and CZW will be holding a joint show this weekend in Toronto with both rosters competing against one another in a series of fantasy matches. The full card is listed below:
• Tyson Dux vs. Jonathan Gresham
• The Overdogs vs. Dub Boys
• Super Smash Bros. & Brent Banks vs. TV Ready Machines w/ Cherry Bomb
• Scotty O’Shea vs. DJ Hyde
• Tarik vs. Drew Gulak
• Courtney Rush vs. Kimber Lee w/ Cherry Bomb
• Smash Wrestling World Title Match: Johnny Gargano © vs. Sami Callihan
CZW has already begun announcing matches for their next event following the joint show with Smash Wrestling, Seventeen (their 17th Anniversary show taking place on February 13th). The matches signed for the event are listed below:
• Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Sami Callihan
• CZW Tag Team Championship Match: TV Ready © vs. Team Tremendous
• Wired Championship Match: Lio Rush © vs. Joey Janela
• CZW World Championship Match: Matt Tremont © vs. Devon Moore
Chikara Pro announced much of its dates for its season 16 events. The closest of the events will be a double header on January 30th, as the promotion will hold The Days of the Phoenix at 2pm & 5 Senses at 7pm at the Wrestle Factory in Philadelphia, PA. A very bold move, but the promotion enjoyed a great deal of success last year and feels as though they have the fan base to pull off the double header. The cards for the events have been shaping up as follows:
• The Days of the Phoenix
o Jaka vs. Amasis
o Dasher Hatfield & Heidi Lovelace vs. The United Nations
o Soldier Ant vs. Jakob Hammermeier
o Campeonatos de Parejas: NRG Tag Team vs. The Nightmare Warriors
• 5 Senses
o Icarus vs. Pinkie Sanchez
o The Snake Pit vs. The Colony
o Chikara Grand Championship Match: Princess Kimber Lee vs. Oleg The Usurper
Continually, Chikara has also begun its build for the 12th annual Young Lions Cup to be held this February (their version of the Top Prospect Tournament). Hermit Crab & Ludus have been the first two announced participants for the cup. Also coming in 2016 is a Chikara tour of the UK, with shows to be held in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Glasgow at the end of May.
PWG was one of the few promotions to hold a show during the holiday break period. The January 2nd was entitled Lemmy, an impromptu tribute to the Motorhead lead man who past away recently. As always, the show was said to be great with the standout match being Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Akira Tozawa. The promotion is building towards an eventual Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Roderick Strong title match, with Strong refusing to face the BOLA 2015 winner, instead opting to take on other challengers as they surface. No new show has been announced at this time.
AAW is set to host The Chaos Theory this Friday January 15th at 8pm in Chicago, IL. The full card for the show is listed below:
• Abyss vs. Ryan Boz
• Louis Lyndon vs. Drew Gulak
• Chris Hero vs. Sami Callihan
• AAW Heritage Championship Match: Davey Vega vs. AR Fox
• AAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Hooligans © vs. Zero Gravity
• AAW Heavyweight Championship Match: Eddie Kingston © vs. Trevor Lee
AIW will hold its next show in Cleveland, OH on February 12th, which will be followed by shows on March 5th and March 18th. The February 12th show, Don’t Feed Us After Midnight, has so far announced a match between Alex Shelly & Candice LaRaeand apparences by Missy Hyatt, Bunkhouse Brock, and Col. Robert Parker.
EVOLVE has added the return of the Style Battle to its trio of shows taking place from January 22 – 24. The Style Battle is a tournament where each competitor represents a different style of wrestling, with the winning wrestler representing the best style of wrestling. Matt Riddle, Fred Yehi, Peter Kaasa, and Tracy Williams have been signed for the Style Battle. The only announced match for the Tag Team Championship tournament has been Timothy Thatcher & Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Hero & Tommy End.
SHINE Wrestling will be returning to ippv on January 29th with SHINE 32 taking place at The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL. No matches have been announced