This week in Independent Wrestling (December 28)
After taking last week off to traipse around Belgian trying to overdose on chocolates, I’m back to take a look at the week ahead in indie wrestling. A lot of the bigger promotions have closed up shop for the year but there is still some pretty good stuff happening over Christmas week. AAW give us a cage match, Masato Tanaka is on tour in the states, Jay Lethal takes a UK holiday and Korakuen Hall provides a little Xmas violence.
It’s Christmas. Get the mince pies out, pour yourself some eggnog and enjoy some bloody good wrestling. Ya filthy animals.
Absolute Intense Wrestling – Welcome to the party pal – Friday – Parma, Ohio.
May as well begin this week with a little madness. I mentioned a few weeks ago that AIW were taking a leaf out of Game Changers book by booking the bizarre dream matches we didn’t know we wanted. Their last show, Hell on Earth, had the crazy battle between Nick Gage and LA Park for example. It’s a genius way to get new fans interested in your product, while also building around the lesser known, home-grown talent. Next Friday, at their last show of the year they bring in another big name, with Masato Tanaka making his debut for the promotion. His opponent has yet to be announced but whoever it is, I’m expecting it to be a bit wild. For the in-ring purists out there, Tracy Williams will be defending the Absolute title against Matt Cross. Interesting class of styles with the grapple fuck guy going against the high-flying Indie legend. A local guy to keep an eye on is Matthew Justice. The Ohio native has had a good year in AIW and he will be defending the Intense Championship against KTB. Visit their website.
AAW – Windy City Classic XIV – Saturday – Merrionette Park, Illinois.
I’ve been on a bit of an AAW kick of late to get me over my post WWE trying to crush the indies slump. From the opening match to the main event, they offer one of the best products on the Indie scene right now and have aided me tremendously in my rehabilitation. Exciting spotfests, a deep tag division, Kylie Rae, plenty of brawling and an always red-hot crowd. They are quickly becoming one of my go to promotions when I want to get away from the corporate takeovers and see some great wrestling. Their current champion, Brody King, looks to be on his way out of the promotion after signing and debuting with Ring of Honor recently, and at their final show of the year he defends his Heavyweight title in a steel cage match against Sami Callihan. These two have been trying to kill each other in AAW for a while, so it’s sure to be a good old slugfest and a great way to end 2018. Elsewhere on the card, DJZ will be defending his recently won AAW Heritage title against another new ROH signing, Bandido. That bugger is going to be flips aplenty. Visit their website, sign up to their on-demand and watch some awesome wrestling.
CWF Mid-Atlantic – Battlecade XIX – Saturday – Gibsonville, North Carolina.
Another big name in AAW is the former Impact star, Trevor Lee. The Carolina Caveman looks to be on his way to the WWE pretty soon but before he does so, he will be closing out the year for the promotion where he really made his name, CWF Mid-Atlantic. Lee made his debut for the promotion 9 years ago; and through his awesome main events over the past few years he has really helped put them on the map. He also happens to be their current Heavyweight Champion – having held the title since 2016 – and at their Anniversary show in Gibsonville next Saturday, he will be defending his title against Arik Royale. Royale is another name I’d add to my ‘most underrated guys on the Indie scene’ list, so this should be pretty good. While Lee’s situation regarding WWE is unknown right now, if he does have to leave CWF, this will be a perfect way for him to go and pass the torch. Go visit their website for more information.
Game Changer Wrestling – The Dynasty – Saturday – Ashbury Park, New Jersey.
Not many wrestlers had as good a 2018 as the veteran Canadian and former WWE guy, PCO. Pierre Carl Oullet came out of retirement just a couple of years ago and began to work mostly low-level Indie show in and around Canada. That was until Joey Janela saw him at a Black Label Pro show and decided to book him for GCW’s Spring Break 2 show over WrestleMania weekend. His match with WALTER was the most talked about match from the entire weekend, and PCO soon began to pick up bookings all over the world, quickly becoming one of the biggest names on the indies. His comeback story had a happy ending recently, when he was signed to a contract with Ring of Honor. He declared the contract the best of his career. While his signing shocked a lot of people, it’s amazing to think that this guy in his 50’s is now working in the second biggest promotion in the states. Next Saturday, he makes his final appearance for the promotion that helped make him a star again. At GCW’s The Dynasty show in Ashbury Park, he faces another legend who’s having a bit of a resurgence, Masato Tanaka. If you had told me a year ago that this match would be happening, I’d have thought you were crazy. Now we get to see it happen in a promotion that has made a name out of providing the insane. The undead Frankenstein has had an incredible year, and it’s about to end in an amazing way. Check them out here.
Women’s Wrestling Revolution – Tournament for tomorrow tag team tournament – Sunday – Electric Haze, Worcester.
It seems like every week I’m talking about another all-female promotion on the rise on the indies. Something that has trickled down from the very top of the business, it’s looking more likely every day that the women could be about to headline Wrestle Mania for the first time, something which looked impossible just a few short years ago. With regards to women’s wrestling on the indies, Women’s Wrestling Revolution are my personal favourite promotion right now. The promotion which began as the female brand for Beyond, finish 2018 with their TFT Tag Team Tournament next Sunday in Worcester. Teams so far include Kimber Lee & Skylar, ‘The Bad Girl’ Penelope Ford & Maria Manic and a team I’ll be keeping my eye on, Thunder Rosa & Holidead. The winners of the tournament will earn a shot at the Beyond tag team titles and the show will be streaming live on Powerbomb TV.
Futureshock – Live Pro Wrestling in Prestwich – Thursday – Manchester.
When it recently came out that the WWE were restricting their NXT:UK talent to affiliated promotions only, a list of these promotions began to surface online. Including the obvious bunch like Progress, ICW and wXw, one promotion really stuck out. That being the small Manchester based company, Futureshock. Not really considered a big name on the UK scene, their inclusion surprised many. Whatever the reason for their inclusion, it’s a big deal for them. Being able to use some of the NXT:UK talent will give them an edge over others in the area and I expect their business to grow next year. On Thursday, they will hold the semi-final matches of the 2018 Legacy Tournament. The final four will see David Starr vs John McGregor, and Wolfgang vs Kev Lloyd. The Futureshock tag titles will also be on the line as current champions Chris Ridgeway and Tyson T-Bone defend against Danny Hope and Chris Egan in a No Disqualification match. All information can be found on their website.
Southside Wrestling Entertainment – Lethal London & Lethal Day of Reckoning & Happy Robbie X-Mas & Seasons Beatings – Friday/Saturday/Sunday – Resistance Gallery, Sheffield, St Neots.
Southside Wrestling are about to have a very busy few days, with four shows in just three days next weekend. Starting on Friday and running through to Sunday, all the shows seem to be based around the inclusion of the current ROH Champion, Jay Lethal. The American star will be appearing on every show, with two of them even named after him. His itinerary for the weekend includes matches against Chris Brookes, Kip Sabian, Ricky Knight Jr and Sean Kustom. The latter of which is a guy who could be about to break out, so that could be a hell of a match. Old Black Machismo is going to be bloody sore come Monday. The Japanese powerhouse, Shigehiro Irie will be continuing his UK tour as he faces ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger on the first night. There will also be a match between a the present and the future of the UK women’s division, as Kay Lee Ray faces Millie McKenzie. That match alone should be great, so visit their website to find out how to watch.
Dragon Pro – Finale 2018 – Sunday – Neon, Newport.
As a not so proud Welshman, the Wrestling scene in my home country has never exactly been anything to write home about. We’ve always had a few promotions dotted around but nothing that really moved the needle. The legendary Adrian Street and Orig Williams are two of the biggest names, with Williams even running his own promotion for a number of years. In the last 10 years business has grown slowly and the talent on our shores is as good as it’s ever been. Attack Pro regularly host shows in Cardiff; and with Welsh talent such as Tegan Nox, Mark Andrews, Flash Morgan Webster, Eddie Dennis and Wild Boar all in WWE, the country is getting more exposure in the business than ever before. One promotion who I consider responsible for the growth is Dragon Pro. The Newport based promotion and training school was started by Mike Bird and is responsible for the development of the majority of wrestlers in the country right now. Andrews, Webster and Boar (who is currently the head trainer at the school) all came out of the training school and they continue to develop talent at a very high rate. Next Sunday is their 2018 Finale, where Mike Bird defends the All Wales championship against a future star of the Welsh scene, Beano. The young man had a great Iron man match with Mark Haskins in Pro Wrestling Chaos recently and he could be on the verge of breaking out. Mark Andrews will also be in his hometown, were he teams with promising young talent Danny Jones and Nico Angelo (remember that name) to face No Fun Dunne, Fletcher Law and Elliot Hightower. It’s Christmas, so go get some beer, eat some welsh cakes, get you Welsh shirt on and support some wrestling in our beautiful country.
Rest of the World
Freedoms – Jun Kasai Produce Blood X’Mas 2018 – Tuesday – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
Nothing like a little Death match action on Christmas Day. Celebrate old jolly Saint Nick with some light tubes and thumbtacks. I don’t cover too much from the Japanese indies, as their websites can be an absolute sod to decipher and I quickly lose my patience trying to figure out the translations. This is something I am hoping to rectify moving into the new year and this show seemed the perfect one to start with. The Jun Kasai Produce Blood X’Mas show at Korakuen Hall, sees the current king of the Japanese death match, Masashi Takeda defend the Freedom World Title against Jun Kasai. There will also be a dangerous weapons match (how dangerous are we talking here?) between Kenji Fukimoto and Toshiyuki Sakuda. I’m not much a death match guy, but if you are, check out their website. Oh, and please let me know what a dangerous weapons match is
Wrestle-1 – Shining Winter – Wednesday – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
May as well hang around Japan, this time for Wrestle-1. On Boxing Day, they are also at Korakuen Hall for Shining Winter. My Knowledge of Japanese wrestling outside of the bigger promotions like New Japan and NOAH isn’t great, but earlier this year through the recommendation from the VOW Flagship show, I decided to check out the Love in Yokohama show from September. The stand-out match for me was the Strongheart team of T-Hawk and El Lindaman against Shuji Kondo & Koji Doi. I instantly fell in love with Stronghearts and ever since then I have continued to check out any match that included any of those guys. Cima and his boys will be appearing again as they face off against Enfants Terrible. Kondo is another guy I’ve become a fan since breaking my Wrestle-1 virginity, and he’ll be teaming with Takao Omari against Kaz Hayashi & Pegaso. One of my wrestling resolutions for 2019 is to extend my knowledge of the Japanese scene. Starting with Wrestle-1.
White Wolf Wrestling – Cuento de Navidad – Saturday – C.S.A La Tabacalera, Madrid.
Christmas in Madrid. Is there anything better? I mean, I’ve never actually spent Christmas there. In fact, I’ve never been to Madrid, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s probably better than Christmas in Wales. The biggest promotion in the city and the continents favourite new promotion will be celebrating the Christmas festivities, with Cuento de Navidad next Saturday. No matches have been announced yet but all of La Triple W regulars will be in Madrid for a special Lucha Libre show. It’s Christmas, what better way than to celebrate it than in with a room of drunken Spaniards. Check out their website for more information.