Three times a charm. Here’s another look at some of the best independent shows taking place over the next week. Nothing too big happening in terms of big shows. However, Pac is back and Tracy Smothers is wrestling MJF. Plus, I take my first look at wrestling in Denmark and Thailand.
What more do you want in life?
Absolute Intense Wrestling – Hell on Earth 14 – Friday – Cleveland, Ohio
The perfect pro wrestling heel is few and far between these days. With fans deciding they would rather cheer the bad guys instead of booing them, many have given up on even trying and live permanently in the grey zone of a weird half face/half heel purgatory. One guy who has both feet firmly in the, ‘you absolute bastard’ territory is Maxwell Jacob Friedman. MJF is as hated and despicable a heel as you’ll find in wrestling these days. The cocky rich kid who proclaims that ‘he is better than you and you know it’, can elicit boos from every crowd he appears in front off all around the world. Rarely breaking character, he really is a little shit. On Friday, he appears at AIW’s Hell on Earth show in Cleveland. There he faces a man who I didn’t even realize was still wrestling, Tracy Smothers. Is there an award for weirdest match of the year, because I think we have a winner? It’s like AIW saw what GCW were doing and said, ‘hold my beer’. It’s not the only crazy match on the card. As the legend of Mexico, L.A. Park takes on Nick Gage. Oh, sweet lord, shit’s about to go down. If you are like me and this both intrigues and scares the crap out of you, then visit their website to find out how to watch.
Nova Pro – Stay Gold, Pony Boy – Friday – Fairfax, Virginia
Earlier this year, in search of new adventures and a new promotion to follow, I stumbled upon Nova Pro Wrestling’s Commonwealth Cup tournament in May. With some of the most underrated talents on the Indie scene on show over the weekend, talents such as Arik Cannon, Jordynne Grace, The Carnies, Alexander James, Allie Cat and bigger names like PCO and Homicide. I was instantly hooked, and I’ve been an avid watcher ever since. Their shows do have a tendency to be a little long though, with some having upwards of 12 matches and lasting well over three hours. I’m not the biggest fan of overly long shows but there is always something worth watching and digging out. One thing they do better than many others is their women’s roster. There are often multiple women’s matches on every show, something that is rarely seen in Independent wrestling. This Friday, they are back at their regular venue in Fairfax, Virginia for the weirdly named, Stay Gold, Pony Boy. The aforementioned women’s division will be on full show, with Brittany Blake captaining a team of Penelope Ford & Allie Kat against Terra Callaway, Shotzi Blackheart & Rain. The show will be streaming live over on Powerbomb TV.
AAW – Unstoppable 2018 – Saturday – Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago
Another show from Chicago’s number one promotion next Saturday. AAW host Unstoppable 2018 at their regular Logan Square venue. The most exciting match must be the tag team title match, as Myron Reed and AR Fox put their titles on the line against the masked duo of Laredo Kid & Rey Horus. Expect plenty of high spots, flips out the wazoo and moves that’ll make you go ‘holy shit, I think he just died’. Two of my favourite women on the Independent scene will also be facing each other, with Kimber Lee defending her AAW Women’s title against the always awesome and adorable, Kylie Rae. There’s also a bit of extra flippy shit with Matt Sydal vs Rey Fenix, and ACH vs Trevor Lee. Man, that’s a bloody line-up. Fancy watching? Visit their website and sign up to their on-demand.
Beyond– TFT – The Wrestle Factory, Philadelphia & Electric Haze, Worcester
Now this one is going to be weird. I’ll be completely honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Chikara. While they may have a very loyal fanbase, the sight of two wrestlers dressed as ants wrestling each other or watching The Proletariat Boar of Moldova, does nothing for me. On Saturday, they team with another promotion who occasionally venture into the absurd, Beyond Wrestling, as part of Beyond’s TFT Tag Team Tournament weekend. The Saturday show will see the start of the tournament, as well as a 7 on 7 Cibernetico match (whatever that means) between the two promotions. The following night Beyond will be back in Worcester for the conclusion of the tournament, as well Nick Gage vs Josh Briggs, and a Powerbomb Title number one contender match between David Starr and Orange Cassidy. Gage and Briggs should be an absolute treat. Both shows will be available to watch live on Powerbomb TV
Defy Wrestling – PDX III – Saturday – Hawthorne Theatre, Portland
The Independent scene in the US had been absolutely battered by the big boys over the past couple of years. A lot of the bigger names have gone to Florida and some of the bigger name promotions, such as PWG and Evolve have struggled due to the depletion of their roster. For many this may seem like a bad thing, but it also creates a lot of opportunities for others to grow and move up the Independent rankings. Defy Wrestling are one of those promotions. Based in the northwest of the country, they present about a show a month in both Seattle and Portland. Their current champion is a man who has found himself among the bigger names on the Indie scene since guys like Matt Riddle and Keith Lee left, that being Shane Strickland. The ‘King of Swerve’ is rumoured to be on his way to Florida sometime soon, but in the meantime, he defends the Defy title on Saturday against the veteran, Randy Myers. Impact boys and tag team of the year contenders, LAX will also be in Portland to challenge the Amerikan Guns for the tag titles. Enjoy Shane Strickland you can before he’s working the Lago loop. Visit their website for information on how to watch.
Rev Pro – Thursday – Pac is Back – Portsmouth
As it says on the tin, PAC is back baby. The ‘man that gravity forgot’, ‘the king of the cruiserweights’ or that mean looking Geordie bastard. Whatever you call him, after a year on the sidelines waiting for his WWE contract to end he is finally back on the independent scene. After going back to Dragon Gate just over a month ago to join the R.E.D stable, he has finally started his move into the Euro indies. With appearances for Big League Wrestling and Courage Wrestling this weekend, he is slowly easing his way back onto the scene. On Thursday, he makes his first appearance for one of the big boys of the Euro scene, Rev Pro for their next live show in Portsmouth. No word on his opponent yet, but who cares. It’s Pac, he could wrestle Andy Quildan himself and it would still be great. Visit their website to find out how to watch.
Preston City Wrestling – Live Show – Saturday – Halifax, West Yorkshire
A constant on the UK scene since 2011, PCW host shows all over northern England. Some of the best UK and International talent have walked through their doors over that time, and with their recent movement onto The Fight Network, the promotion is ever growing. Next Saturday, they will be leaving their home-town for a live show in nearby Halifax. NXT UK guys, Tyson T-Bone and Ashton Smith will be both appearing. Along with Sugar Dunkerton, Nightshade, Matthew Brooks and their current Cruiserweight champion, Tel Banham. More information about the show, and the company in general, can be found here.
Scottish Wrestling Alliance – SWA Rumble – Saturday – Motherwell
Moving a little further up north to Scotland. The next promotion on our list, the Scottish Wrestling Alliance host their SWA Rumble next Saturday at the Motherwell Concert Hall. The show features the SWA Battlezone Rumble, with the winner earning a shot at the SWA Heavyweight Championship, which is currently held by the awesomely named TANGO Timm Wylie. Many of the top names in the country and beyond will be taking part; with Red Lightning, The Purge, Jack Jester, Sha Samuels and Lionheart all scheduled for the match. The show will also see Gangrel continue his UK tour, and Scottish women’s stand-out, Viper. Anybody who doesn’t like Viper has an enemy for life in me, such is the brilliance of the Ayrshire powerhouse. I’m not too sure if the show is available to stream but check out their Facebook page to find out a bit more.
ICW – Granite City Fight Club – Sunday – The Assembly, Aberdeen
Remember ICW? The promotion who regularly sell around 6,000 tickets to their Fear and Loathing shows have slipped out of the UK limelight this year. One of the WWE’s UK associates, they have found themselves sliding down the totem pole behind the likes of Rev Pro, Progress and OTT. A somewhat stale roster and with constant title changes harming the credibility of their main title, things are not what they once were for the guys who sparked so much life into the UK scene just a few short years ago. One part of their product that continues to be top notch though is their women’s roster, and one of biggest names in the country and a woman who I express my love for above, Viper defends the ICW Women’s world title against another of the bigger names in the UK, Sammi Jayne next Sunday at Granite City Fight Club. Attitude Era guy, Gangrel will be hanging around the country for a match against the experienced Scotsman, Jack Jester. I’d expect there to be a touch of crimson in this match. If you don’t fancy waiting for WWE to bite the bullet and begin showing ICW on the network, then their shows can be watched here.
Championship of Wrestling – Final Battle – Saturday – Saarbrucken
I mentioned him earlier in-regards to his Rev Pro booking, but man I’ve missed Pac. I have so many memories of seeing him all over the UK, hitting 450s with incredible ease and finesse, he truly was one of the best wrestlers I think I’ve ever seen live. After his little experiment in Connecticut, he is finally free from the dark side and back in Europe. He has quite the busy week coming up, he will also be making his first appearance in Germany since his return, this time for Championship of Wrestling. There he will compete in a three-way against two of the better young talents on the continent, Oliver Carter and Cash Money Erkan. Carter is a guy who really should be seen more and him sharing a ring with Pac makes me determined to seek out this match if it ever becomes available. Championship of Wrestling aren’t a promotion I know an awful lot about, but booking this match is a sure-fire way to get me interested. If you want to join me, visit their website.
Dansk Pro Wrestling – Stolthed & Aere – Saturday – Randers, Denmark
One of my favourite things as a wrestling fan is discovering new wrestling scenes all over the world and learning about the different promotions and talent in that region. Everybody knows about wrestling in the States, Japan and the UK, but how about the stuff happening in the other parts of the world? Places we probably wouldn’t have imagined there would be wrestling. Over the past three weeks, I have looked at promotions in Chile, Finland and Australia, all of them exciting and different. This week I add Denmark to that list. Dansk Pro Wrestling are one of the bigger companies in the country and their next show, Stolthed & Aere, takes place next Saturday in the city of Randers. Former wXw champion, ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger will be challenging local high flyer, Nito Green for the Danish Pro Wrestling title. Klinger is always great, so this is sure to be a fun match. The show will also see a Money in Bank match, with Carlos Zamora, Michael Schenkenberg, Lou King Sharp and Johnny Casanova all competing. Our Danish wrestling adventure starts here. So, visit their website to learn a bit more.
International Catch Wrestling Alliance – Saturday – Henin Beaumont
Now to France for the ICWA, a promotion that has been around since 2003. A look at some of the talents who have wrestled for them over the years is a who’s who of European wrestling. Guys like Doug Williams, Johnny Storm, Aleister Black, Chris The BambiKiller and Sylvester LeFort, as well as more international talent like Bryan Danielson and Joe E Legend have all appeared for them over the past 15 years and they continue to pull in some of the best wrestlers in and around the country. Next Saturday, CWC competitor Tristan Archer will be facing ‘The Belgian War Machine’ Mike D Vecchio. The big Belgian is a guy who looks like he would make Vinny Mac salivate, so don’t be too surprised if his name pops up in the much rumoured NXT Europe brand. There will also be a big tag match with Senza Volto & Brad Alexxis vs Ultima Sombra & Cormac Hamilton. Info on how to watch can be found here.
White Wolf Wrestling – Cuenta Atras – Saturday – La Tabacalera de Lavapies, Madrid
There aren’t many promotions right now with as much buzz as White Wolf Wrestling. The Spanish promotion have slowly been building their profile over the past year. Started as place for younger talent to get more experience, guys like A-Kid and Carlos Roma are the guys who have really broken out and given the promotion a lot more publicity. As a tag team under the name of Team White-Wolf, Roma and A-Kid have represented the promotion in OTT, Rev Pro, wXw, Attack and many of the other bigger name companies in Europe. It was only recently that they really came to the attention of many though, when our very own Mr Lanza and Mr Kretsch tweeted their admiration for the match between Zack Sabre Jr and A-Kid at the promotions Total Rumble show in April. Through a series of retweets, the match found its way to Dave Meltzer. He called it possibly the best match in European wrestling this year and awarded it the highly coveted 5 stars. Since then the profile of the promotion and A-Kid has gone through the roof. Comments such as ‘Why have I never heard of this promotion’ and ‘He should be in PWG’ soon came flooding in from the Twitter masses, and it’s fair to say that the next few months could be very interesting for La Triple W. Next Saturday, they host their next show at their beautiful La Tabacalera da Lavapies venue in Madrid. Not much of a card announced yet but Aussie Open powerhouse Mark Davis is scheduled to appear, as well as regulars A-Kid, Carlos Roma and the current tag champions, The Radical Bikers. This promotion is about to blow up, so get in there while you can. Their streaming service is only $2.99 right now, so there really is no excuse to check out Europe’s hottest promotion.
Rest of the World
Lucha Memes/Lucha Libre Boom/Generacion XXI – Monday – Arena Lopes, Estadio de Mexico
A big old show from Mexico this week, as a collaboration between Lucha Memes, Generacion XXI and Lucha Libre Boom takes place at the Arena Lopes on Monday. Some huge names from the world of Lucha Libre will be ascending upon the city of Tlanlnepantla. One of the biggest names in the country right now, L.A. Park will be teaming with El Hijo de la Park to face recent PWG debutant, Hechicero & Masada and the duo of Caifan I & Caifan II in a three-way tag match. I’m not really too much of a Lucha guy, but if you are then more info is available here.
Gatoh Pro Wrestling – Gatoh Move Festival – Saturday – Bangkok
Japan are the unrivalled kings of wrestling in Asia. Since the days of Rikidozan and Sorakichi Matsuda, the country has become synonymous with professional wrestling in that region and through the exploits of All Japan and now New Japan, the scene in the country is as popular as it’s been in many a year. One thing that always surprised me though was how the success in Japan never really rippled out into the rest of Asia. WWE recently tried to tap into the Chinese market things, but they are a long way away from the level of Puroresu in Japan. Smaller promotions are popping up elsewhere on the continent in countries such as Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. Another is the popular tourist destination of Thailand. A promotion which advertises itself as the only wrestling promotion in the country is Gatoh Pro. Started by Joshi legend Emi Sakura in 2012, the promotion operates in the capital city Bangkok. Their next big show will be the sold out Gatoh Move Festival next Saturday. The main event will see EK Bakai defend the Gatoh Move One and Only Championship against Paksa. There will also be the annual Fantasy Battle Royal, as well as appearances from Jonathan Johnson, Blue Lotus, Jibzy & Moth. Not sure who any of those people are, but their Twitter page has a bit more information.
Federacion Nacional de Lucha – ZDC: La Ultima Batalla!!! – Saturday – Ladas Magna Arena, Santiago
Another visit to Chile this week, this time for the Federacion Nacional de Lucha promotion in the capital city of Santiago. The promotions current tag team champions are called The Lil Dicks, which even though I am well into my 30s I will never not find funny. The guys with the best name in wrestling will be defending their titles, hopefully against another equally hilariously names team. More information regarding The Dicks can be found here.
Southern Pro Wrestling NZ – Fight Nights 10 – Saturday – West Invercargill, New Zealand
Much like their Australian neighbours down under, New Zealand have also had a breakthrough recently. Guys like Bad Luck Fale, Jay White, Travis Banks and TK Cooper have all come out of the country and given the scene some much needed publicity. Fale even has his own Dojo there, working closely with New Japan to develop talent. A lot of the success however could really be attributed to Southern Pro Wrestling. The promotion which was founded in 2015 by local wrestler Powerhouse T-Rex and UK work horse, Markus Kool, run regular shows as well as running a pretty successful training school. The roster is filled with great young guys who you may be seeing a lot more of over the next few years. Next Saturday, they host their final show of the year, Fight Nights 10 with their current tag champs, The Detention defending their titles against The CruiserMates. Their on-demand and other information can be found on their website.