This review was originally published elsewhere in 2008.
WWE and TNA may be battling for UK wrestling supremacy at the likes of Wembley Arena and the O2 Dome, but it was the less glamorous Wolverhampton Civic Hall that played host to two of the best shows of the year.
The cream of the American independent grappling scene – including Bryan Danielson and the Briscoes – came together with some of this country’s brightest talents for the Indypendance Day 2008 events.
The first night, Eve of Indypendence, opened with “Olés” all round as Ring of Honor tag champion El Generico defeated the impressive heat-magnet Kenny Omega, you can see this match HERE
Juggernaut and Johnny Moss then provided some powerful big man action before we got a fun six-man tag involving preening heels The Models and their partner Spud facing Hubba Bubba Lucha (El Ligero and Bubblegum) and big Dave Moralez.
Much stalling and staccato action was forgiven with the pay off of Dave hitting Spud with a phenomenal lariat that would have done Stan Hansen proud.
Delirious continued the comedy in a match against Roderick Strong, with the masked man playing the heel and beseeching to Strong “no chops”.
Of course, he got reverse-knife edged all over the building in losing effort. Despite the light-heartedness, this was a great match.
Match of the night went to the Briscoes defeating Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards in a belter, punctuated by Davey Richards telling the crowd what he thought of them in a statement which we can’t repeat on a family friendly site such as this.
To complete the ROH-powered second half was Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries taking on current Ring on Honor champ Nigel McGuiness.
Proud Brit Nigel got the win to send the hometown crowd happy.
Then, after catching up on some sleep, football and a short show from English group IPW:UK, it was time for the Indypendence Day event itself.
Masks abounded as El Generico and Delirious teamed up to face Hubba Bubba Lucha in the opener.
The action was fast, furious and humorous, and it was great to see the duo based in England hold their own with the North American stars they were facing.
Next up Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong put on a clinic of smooth, technical wrestling eerily reminiscent of a Benoit v Malenko match. Very, very impressive stuff from these two polished performers. Edwards got the nod here.
Before the interval, England’s two biggest indy stars teamed up to face probably the most over tag team in the world.
Doug Williams and Nigel McGuiness went over the Briscoes in the match which got the best of the crowd, who were much louder on this second night.
After the break, a four way match saw the UK’s Zack Sabre Jnr and Joel Redman in the same ring Davey Richards and Kenny Omega from across the pond, and the match was largely built around showing off the skills of 21-year-old Sabre, who was pinned by the pitbull-like Richards.
Far from his derogatory comments of the evening before, Richards grabbed a mic and told Sabre: “You got heart, kid”. Expect big things.
Attention switched to more hardcore action in the penultimate bout featuring three stars from the German promotion wXw battling all over the building before our final contest saw more star power from ROH.
Danielson and Aries teamed up against Age of the Fall’s Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black, who played the heel role to the hilt.
This included referring to the UK as “America’s bitch, just like Tony Blair is George W’s bitch” and elicited wrestling’s first, and hopefully last, ever “Gordon Brown” chant.
The match was solid as you would expect, with Aries and The American Dragon forcing the double tap out for the win, watch this match HERE
With six “Indy” awards punctuating the weekend, rewarding the best in independent wrestling both here and aboard, the weekend had a great feel to it.
Omega and Hubba Bubba Lucha stood out as lesser known lights who shone as bright as the main stars, with young Zack Sabre sure to be a major player on the UK scene for some time.
Some may say there was a little too much emphasis on comedy at times, but then sometimes we all forget that wrestling is supposed to fun.
And if there was one word to describe Indypendence Day, it was fun.
Editors note: The DVD’s of this event are not easy to get hold of but if you ever do get the chance, you should take it.