Editors Note: There was a delay getting this post up on the site so some of these events have already occurred.
Happy New Year to all the grap loving geeks out there. It’s been a strange old year for our beloved sport and things looks a lot different at the end of 2018 than they did at the start of it. Let’s forget about the nonsense though and look forward to a 2019 of what is sure be another intriguing chapter in the book of pro wrestling.
The eyes of the wrestling world will be on Japan this week, but there’s also a lot of great action all over the world. Beyond wrestling will again provide the first match of the year and PAC kicks things off on the UK scene with a pair of dream matches. Indie wrestling is bloody awesome. It was awesome last year, it’s been awesome this year and I’m pretty sure it’ll be damn awesome in 2019.
Go watch some wrestling, get drunk and have a great new year.
Zero-1 – Happy New Year – Tuesday – Korakuen Hall.
Since it’s the biggest week of the year in Japanese wrestling, it seems only fitting to begin the year in that country. Wrestle Kingdom is fast approaching and much like Mania weekend in the States, a lot of the smaller Indies take advantage of the thousands of fans descending upon Tokyo. Zero-1 is one of those promotions. They begin their 2019 at Korakuen Hall on New Year’s Day with a Happy New Year. I must admit, I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to the promotion, having only seen a few bits and pieces over the years. One man I am very familiar with though is Daisuke Sekimoto. The big hard-hitting bastard has long been one of my favourites non-New Japan guys in the country, and he will be defending his Zero-1 World Heavyweight Championship against Kohei Sato. Former ECW star, Masato Tanaka is fresh from his US tour and will be teaming with Takuya Sugawara to wrestling against Chris Vice & TARU for the NWA Intercontinental tag team titles. I’ve heard these shows are always very good, so if you’re like me and you fancy checking out some Zero-1, then visit their website.
DDT – DDT Live – Thursday – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
I have a slight confession to make. I am not a fan of DDT. I have tried on several occasions to get into their product, but I’m a grumpy old git who hates 95% of comedy in wrestling. I’m well aware that they also have some of the best wrestlers in the world, but the nonsense far outweighs the good stuff for me. For the people who do love the madness that is the heavy metal title and blow up dolls, then the promotion will be hosting a show at Korakuen Hall the day before Wrestle Kingdom. A group I am very much a fan, that being Cima and his Strongheart gang will be appearing, along with ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey, Sammy Guevara, Jun Kasai, Daisuke Sasaki and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of. I certainly won’t be watching this show myself, but I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun. So, check it out here.
Stardom – New Year’s Stars – Thursday – Shin-Kaba, Tokyo.
The constant annoyance of the ‘Women in New Japan’ discussion just doesn’t seem to go away. Every few months some Internet reporter will bring up the argument and throw the IWC into a meltdown of people both for and against New Japan having a women’s division. For those in the for column, I’m assuming they will already know about Stardoms ‘New Year’s Stars’ show next Thursday. The day before Wrestle Kingdom, the women will prove that they are doing perfectly fine as they are at the Shin-Kaba 1st Ring venue in Tokyo. The Future of Stardom title will be on the line, as Starlight Kidd defends a definite contender for rookie of the year, Utami Hayashista. The future of Joshi is certainly in good hands with those two. The Queens Quest group will also be represented by Momo Watanabe, AZM, Viper & Bae Priestley. More International talent on the card includes Bobbi Tyler, Mary Apache and Jamie Hayter. Stardom is another promotion that I don’t watch enough of. Which, considering I’ve loved pretty much every show of theirs I have seen, is something I really do need to work on in 2019. Come join me and start supporting Joshi by visiting their website and signing up for their streaming service.
Big Japan Wrestling – Saturday – Shin-kaba 1st Ring, Tokyo.
I feel we’ve delved into every aspect of the Japanese Indies this week, so it feels only right that we venture into a little hardcore action with Big Japan. The deathmatch promotion will be breaking out the light tubes the day after Wrestle Kingdom with a host of western talents appearing for some blood thirsty shenanigans. Jimmy Havoc, Rickey Shane Page, Drew Parker will be providing the hardcore action, while Chris Brookes and The Hunter Brothers will also be wrestling along with the Japanese guys, Daichi Hashimoto, Hiroki Ishikawa and Sakuda Toshiyuki. Information is available here.
Bar Wrestling – Bar Wrestling 27: In the Midnight Hour – Monday – American Legion Post, California.
For those in California who fancy ringing in the New Years with a little wrestling action, look no further than Bar Wrestling’s, In the Midnight Hour. Taking place at the American Legion Post, the show is advertised as the final Indie show for ROH bound, Brody King. I’m going to miss seeing that big tattooed bastard popping up all over the place, and I’m guessing the Bar wrestling faithful are going to give him a hell of a drunken send off. Other wrestlers ending their year in California include Brian Cage, Darby Allin and Willie Mack. Three guys who could in for a cracking 2019. Also, if you’ve ever fancied spending New Year’s with Session Moth Martina, then this will be your chance, Ireland favourite diva will also be in California. Visit their on-demand to watch.
Beyond – Heavy lies the crown – Monday – White Eagle, Worcester.
Another New Year’s Eve show for Beyond Wrestling. The promotion that presented the first match of 2018 when David Starr and Joey Janela battled it out at the stroke of midnight, they will probably be providing more of the same end of year festivities they gave us just a year ago. Obviously due to his injury, Joey Janela can’t be on the show this year, but David Starr will be there facing Chris Dickinson. There will also be a ‘fans bring the weapons match’ between Nick Gage and Josh Briggs, and The Beaver Boys will defend the tag titles against the winners of the WWR TFT tag tournament from the night before. For the grapple fuck purist out there, Timothy Thatcher will be wrestling Simon Grimm in a match that is right up my alley. No word yet on which match will be the first of 2019, but any of those would be the perfect way to start the year. The show will be streaming live on Powerbomb TV. So, sign up and start the year right with a little Beyond wrestling.
Chaotic Wrestling – Pandemonium 2019 – Friday – Woburn, Massachusetts.
Also, in the state that I can’t spell without spellcheck, Chaotic Wrestling will be hosting their first show of the year next Friday in Woburn. A guy I recently included in my 2019 Indie Stars list, Josh Briggs will be appearing for the promotion for which he began his career. Briggs, along with MJF, Christian Casanova, Chase del Monte, Robo and a mystery participant will all be taking part in the 6-man Pandemonium match to crown a new No.1 contender for the heavyweight championship, which is currently held by JT Dunn. Fancy seeing Joh Briggs kick the shit out of MJF? Visit their website to find out how.
Warrior Wrestling – WW 3 – Saturday – Chicago Heights, Illinois.
A promotion who only debuted in May, Warrior Wrestling have quickly built a reputation for booking some of the biggest names on the Independent scene. Their first show of 2019 will be no different, with big name galore appearing in Illinois next Saturday. Maybe the Indie break-out of 2018, Tessa Blanchard will be wrestling Britt Baker, The Lucha Bros take on the rather random yet somewhat awesome team of Matt Sydal & A-Kid, and two of my favourite wrestlers will go at it, as Jordynne Grace takes on Kylie Rae. There’ll also be appearances from Austin Aries, Ultimo Dragon, Moose, Eddie Edwards and Ethan Page. Oh, and there’s also a little match between Brian Cage and Bandido to finish things off too. Man, that’s a stacked card. Go visit their website to find out more.
Attack Pro – The New Year Attack 24/7 Title tournament – Friday – Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham.
Attack Pro begin their year in Cheltenham with their New Year Attack 24/7 Title Tournament. I have no idea what that means exactly, but I’m guessing it’ll be a bit weird and a ton of fun. With the NXT:UK guys recently saying goodbye to the promotion during the Under the Mistletoe tour, it’s going to be an interesting few months for Attack as they built new stars to take them through 2019. As per usual with them, not much of a card announced of yet, but expect to see Chuck Mambo, El Phantasmo, Lucky Kid and Kyle Fletcher among others at the Frog & Fiddle in Cheltenham. Visit their website to find out how you can start your Attack wrestling adventure
Defiant – Loaded – Saturday – 02 Academy, Newcastle.
That horrible little Georgie bastard is back home for his first match in Newcastle since re-joining the Indies. Pac is back in Newcastle babay, and he’s working for the biggest promotion in the area. Defiant are a promotion who still suffer somewhat from the debacle that was What Culture, but they are slowly plodding along and bringing us some big name matches. They were the first promotion to give us WALTER vs Ospreay for example, so I’m expecting 2019 to be a pretty good year for the promotion. PAC is making his debut for their first show of the year, Loaded, next Saturday at the O2 Academy. His opponent on the show will be ‘The cream in your coffee’ and one of the most underrated wrestlers on the planet, David Starr. This will be a tremendous mixture of in-ring greatness and flawless character work and I’m very much looking forward to it. That isn’t the only thing on Loaded though, as wXw standout Lucky Kid, Rampage Brown, ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger and Martin Kirby will all be at the O2. All information on how you can watch this show can found here.
Rev Pro – Queen of the Ring & Live at the Cockpit – Saturday & Sunday – The Cockpit, London.
Pac is sticking around the UK for the start of the year, also appearing for Rev Pro on Sunday for somewhat of a dream match against Zack Sabre Jr. I have no idea how this match is going to work. The clash of styles and great heel work will be incredibly intriguing, and this could certainly be an early contender for MOTY. Coming so soon after Wrestle Kingdom may mean Zack could be a little jet-lagged but I’m sure it’s still be bloody great. That match takes place on day two of a two show weekend for Rev Pro. Starting with Queen of the Ring on Saturday. An all-female tournament that will include Kay Lee Ray, Kellyanne, Laura Di Matteo, Zan Phoenix, Chardonnay, Yuu and Sammi Jayne. The finals of the tournament will take place at the Live at the Cockpit show the following day. Pac vs Zack like, who wouldn’t want to watch that? Sign up for their on-demand and watch the best heels in the country beat the shite out of each other.
Rest of the World
GBG – GBG Unleased – Friday – Goteburg, Sweden.
I think this may be the first time I haven’t begun my European coverage with a German promotion, I must be coming down with something. Instead I start the year in Sweden. GBG Wrestling presents Unleased next Friday in front of a packed out Pustervig nightclub in Gothenburg. A little intergender action will be kicking things off, with Betty Rose facing Cliff Peterson. Also, ‘Mr Massive’ Chuck Cyrus is taking on Valentine. I know very little about any of these people. Although from my extensive research, I have discovered that Chuck Cyrus is massive, and Betty Rose is a bit of pin-up. Visit their website to find out more.
Hungarian Championship Wrestling – Underground Live Show – Saturday – Faklya Klub, Budapest.
Now to a scene I know even less about, with the exception of The Arrows of Hungary that is. I have a friend in Hungary, who after enquiring about the wrestling scene there, looked at me like I had two heads. So, I’m guessing the graps aren’t a bit deal in Budapest. Whether they are or not, Hungarian Championship Wrestling will be hoping to change that, when they host their first show of the year, Underground Live at the Fakyla Klub in the capital city. The main event of the show sees Justin Wylde defend the Revolution Title against Makai Renato. The challenger is a right hard looking bastard who also happens to be an MMA fighter, so the champ could be in for a tough old night. More titles will be on the line elsewhere on the car, as M.A.D challenged The Budapest Bastards for the tag team titles. The Budapest Bastards sound like my sort of team, so I may have to check them out. Go visit their website for more info.
King of Pro Wrestling – KOPW III – Saturday – Guangzhou, China.
Chinese promotion, King of Pro Wrestling (Nope, not Claudio and Hero) kick off their 2019 with a bang next Saturday. Chinese wrestling could be about to blow up, and the greatest Asian wrestler of all time will be leading the charge in Guangzhou. Yep, you guessed it, Ho Ho Lun. The star of the first Cruiserweight Classic and the skinniest man I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring, will be competing with other names like AJPW’s Jason Lee, as well as Black Dragon, Big Sam and others to become the KOPW champion. With the winner of four qualifying matches going on to compete in a four-way for the title in the main event. Emi Sakura will also be in Guangzhou, facing off against Mei Suruga. Visit their Facebook page to find out more, even if it’s just to see the wonder that is, Ho Ho Lun.