Google the word joy, the results yield the following “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. Does that sound like the professional wrestling fandom as of late? I don’t know about your answer but mine is a definite no.

One should look no further than a few weeks ago when Daniel Bryan did not win nor did he appear in the Royal Rumble. Twenty four hours later the news broke that CM Punk had taken his bottle of Pepsi and gone home. As the news broke the fandom descended into historic levels of negativity, one Reddit poster dubbed it “the week wrestling died”.  In retrospect that proclamation seems a little extreme don’t you think?

The negativity surrounding the current mood of many hardcore fans extends back several years. I am not even sure where the genesis occurred but it hardly matters. The fact is internet wrestling fans can be incredibly sour and often are the most vocal in the fandom. Raw is considered garbage if the fantasy booking ideas of a message board crowd are not followed down to the minutest detail. Most sour fans won’t even give TNA a second glance except to lampoon it week after week from the safety of their keyboards. Perhaps most frustratingly of all is if you mention a true alternative, independent wrestling, to this particular group. To the jaded eye Indy wrestling is the home of “vanilla midgets” who can do thirty variations of a suplex but can’t string together two ounces of charisma. Trust me, those guys and gals are grossly misinformed!

I will never understand the section of the fan base that I described above. I don’t want to spend all my time complaining about wrestling. If I am dissatisfied with a product I want to know what else is out there in the wrestling universe. Why? That answer is very simple, I love wrestling. It brings me feelings of great pleasure and happiness. Most of those feelings can be attributed to Indy wrestling.

I am guessing by this point you are wondering what the point of this column will be — it is quite simple really.

I want to extend an invitation to the intelligent wrestling fan and the snark alike. Let’s take a journey together, a journey into the joyous world of independent wrestling. It is a place where the wrestlers leave their blood, sweat and tears on the matt almost every night. Those same men and women depend on their fans to make a living. When you buy Indy wrestlers t-shirt or DVD you are making sure that their kids have food to eat. Even better a lot of the same wrestlers will take the time to interact with their fans at shows or on social media. It is a very intimate world that differs greatly from Orlando or Connecticut. So, if you are willing to take this journey with me I will see fit each week to introduce you some of the most talented wrestlers on the planet. I’ll profile fantastic matches and will also highlight some of the best promotions you may not have heard of. - CHIKARAI don’t want to leave you with only a tease of what is to come. So this week I want to highlight something a little unusual, an AMA. For those that don’t know an AMA is a thread commonly found on the website Reddit. A celebrity usually posts the initial message and invites fans to well ask them anything. Recently, several wrestlers have taken the time to answer many fans questions of the r/squared circle forum. This week’s AMA centered on Mike Quackenbush, the owner of legendary Indy company CHIKARA.

Over the past year, CHIKARA has been involved in a bizarre storyline that saw the company shut down for several months. Fans have been anxious to know what exactly was going on. Mr. Quackenbush takes the time to answer several of those questions but that is not what impressed me the most. A good deal of his answers are lengthy and above all else passionate.

By reading the thread you can deal that this man loves interacting with his fan base and loves wrestling as much as we the fans. There is an authenticity to the thread that one does not always find. I applaud that and am looking forward to getting my first dose of Chikara when the company returns in May. Here is a link to the thread if you want to check it out for yourself. Until next week, keep your minds open and joyful wrestling fans!

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