wXw – 16 Carat Gold – Friday, Saturday, Sunday – Oberhausen
The best tournament outside of Japan is finally upon us. 16 Carat Gold is a highlight on my calendar every year, and this year’s line-up includes some of the best wrestlers from around the world, with the WWE even allowing their new buddies in Germany to use Axel Dieter Jr, Ilja Dragunov and WALTER; the latter of which will be facing long-time rival David Starr in the first round. Could this finally be the night that Starr gets that long alluded victory of the ring general? Imagine the roars from the Oberhausen crowd if that happened. Some of the other stand-out first round matches include Mark Davis vs Pentagon, Ilja Dragunov vs Daisuke Sekimoto, Rey Fenix vs Rey Hours and a repeat of last year’s awesome quarterfinal match between Timothy Thatcher and Lucky Kid. The three-day festival of awesomeness will also have Absolute Andy defending the wXw Unified Championship against Bobby Gunns, Killer Kelly challenges Toni Storm for the women’s title and the always great Inner Circle and Ambition events. If you’ve never seen a 16 Carat Gold before, then I highly recommend you go sign up to wXwnow and get in on the action.
WrestlingDeutschland II – Saturday – Oberhausen.
Much like WrestleMania weekend, many independent promotions take advantage of the 16 Carat Gold weekend and the many drunken UK fans who descend upon Oberhausen every year. Last year, the debuting Wrestling Deutschland event brought a lot of new eyes to these promotions, and this year it is back for another outing on Saturday, in the same Turbinhalle venue as 16 Carat. A joint even between various German promotions, this year’s show will include performers from Championship of Wrestling, German Hurricane Wrestling, Mad Wrestling Association, Next Step Wrestling, WrestlingKult and the wXw Academy. Last year’s show was apparently a lot of fun, so go check the out here.
WrestlingKULT – WrestlingKULT #11: Früh Choppen – Saturday – Oberhausen.
As well as being involved in the WrestlingDeutchland event, WrestlingKult will also be hosting their own show on Saturday morning. While the scores of wXw fans nurse their hangovers, Fruh Choppen, will see both former and current wXw talents compete, as matches include Carnage vs Demolition Davies, an intriguing looking three-way between Sean Kustom, Robbie-X and RKJ, and appearances from ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger and Melanie Gray. Visit their website for more info.
Defy – Dragon Spirit – Friday – Seattle, Washington.
Defy are breaking out the big guns next Friday for Dragon Spirit, their second show of the year at the Washington Hall in Seattle. Three of the biggest mid ’90s, cruiserweight legends will be appearing in the form of Ultimo Dragon, Super Crazy and Tajiri. The latter two facing each other for the millionth time in their careers. From ECW, through WWE and even All Japan, it seems Super Crazy and Tajiri are destined to wrestle each other for all eternity, or until Tajiri runs out of green mist. Another match with a combined in-ring total of 50 years, is Ultimo Dragon vs. Matt Cross. It’s been 10 years since these two locked horns, and even with Dragons best days behind him, Cross is still more than capable of knocking out a bloody good match. Outside of the legends action, some of the new blood will be showing what they can do, with Jaxon Stone facing Schaff, and Shane Strickland wrestles Darby Allin in a definite match of the night contender. For more information, visit their website.
Freelance Wrestling – Thrill Your Idols – Friday – Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago.
At my old and disgruntled age, there aren’t many moments in wrestling anymore that really get me jumping off my seat in total jubilation, so completely ecstatic at the result of a match that it has me screaming in joy and waking up the neighbors. Maybe I’ve just been too battered by the effects of being a fan for so long, but whenever that moment comes, it reminds me of why I became a fan of this business in this first place. That moment recently arose when Kylie Rae answered Isaias Velazquez’ open challenge to become the Freelance World champion. As over as anybody could be on the Indie scene, Kylie is seen as somewhat of a deity to the Freelance crowd, so after a bloody year-long battle with GPA, seeing her become the champion brought rapturous applause from the Freelance faithful. Next Friday at Thrill Your Idols, the champ makes her first defense of the title against the debuting Priscilla Kelly. The former favorite harlot of the devil has recently ventured more down the disgusting, tampon and vomit path of late, so I’m guessing Kylie will end up covered in some sort of excrement. Also, on the card Isaias Velazquez has his first match since losing the title, taking on Ethan Page, while the Work Horsemen wrestle The Hooligans. The show will be streaming live over on IW.TV
Black Label Pro – Whoomp! There it is – Saturday – Crown Point, Indiana.
While he may not be my cup of tea, it’s impossible to ignore the ride that Orange Cassidy that been on over the past few months. He’s gone from solid comedy guy to Indie headliner seemingly overnight. Next Saturday in Crown Point Indiana, he will be defending his Independent Wrestling championship against one of my favorite guys, ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor. I’m guessing Cassidy will successfully retain, but as someone who dislikes his brand of comedy wrestling and loves Filthy Tom, I would love it if Lawlor took the title at Whoomp! There Its Is. I’m probably in the minority there though. One of the best rivalries on the Indies will be making its way to Black Label also, as Gary Jay and Jake Parnell fight it out in an I Quit match for the Indiana State Championship. These two have wrestled each other in close to 10 different promotions over the last year, and I can only imagine how good it will be under the I Quit stipulation. Ethan Page, Kobe Durst, Swoggle and SadKampf will also be in Indiana, along with an appearance from Conrad Thompson and Bruce Prichard. This show will also be streaming live on IW.TV
Battle Pro Wrestling – Them’s The Breaks – Friday – Sydenham, Greater London.
One of the smaller promotions in the London area, Battle Pro host their next show, Them’s The Breaks next Friday, with the main event of The O.J.M.O defending the Battle Pro championship against the man he defeated for the title, Jordan Breaks. Two of the better young prospects in the UK right now, this could be a match that will be headlining shows for many years to come. They certainly aren’t the only one’s ‘to watch out for’ on the show, with sometime Progress prospect Connor Mills, facing one of the best wrestlers to ever grace our fair shores, Jody Fleisch. Sadie Gibbs will also be hoping to build on the buzz she made for herself in Stardom, as she takes on one of the biggest names on the women’s scene in the UK right now, Zoe Lucas. Battle Pro really are the place to see the best of the future stars of the UK, so visit their website for more information.
Pro Wrestling Eve – She Fights on Fridays & She Slams on Saturdays – Friday & Saturday – Resistance Gallery, London.
Another busy weekend for Pro Wrestling Eve is coming up, with She Fights on Fridays followed by She Slams on Saturdays, both at their regular home of the Resistance Gallery in London. The Doctor will be the house for shows, as Britt Baker spends some time in the UK before she starts knocking teeth out in AEW. She will be facing Charli Evans on Friday, and there will also be matches from Pure-J star, Leon, as well as Nina Samuels and Joshi legend, Emi Sakura over the course of the weekend. All information is available here.
Target Wrestling – Live in Carlisle – Saturday – The Venue, Carlisle.
I’m gonna end my UK coverage this week looking at two smaller promotions I haven’t covered before. Glancing my eye over some new talent I may not be too familiar with. The first being Target wrestling, who like it says on the tin, are Live in Carlisle next Saturday at The Venue. The family-friendly promotion is bringing in Scottish stars Grado and Jackie Polo for the show, as well a main event for the Target Championship, where Martin Kirby will defend his title against the masked monster, Medallion. He’s a big lad, so good luck Mr Kirby. If you are in the area and fancy cheering on Grado, then visit their Twitter page.
Wulfrun Pro Wrestling – Let the Rumble Begin – Saturday – Penn Road, Wolverhampton.
The second of our newbies this week is Wulfrun Pro Wrestling, the Wolverhampton based promotion who host the 2nd ever Wulfrun Rumble nest Saturday, with the winner getting a shot at the WPW Championship, currently held by The Judge. Participants in this year’s rumble include; The Elliot Jordan Experience, Chase Alexander, Dino Babic, and one half of one the best tag teams in the country, Jim Hunter. The women’s title will also be defended, as Nightshade makes her first defence of the title after winning the belt at Novembers, ‘All Hail The Queen’, her challenger will be one of the women she defeated in that match, Mia Cortez. Another show for the families, get the kids over to Wulfrun for some wrestling.
Dragon Gate – Thursday – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
Dragon Gate have booked a tag match to end all tag matches next Thursday, where four teams will battle it out in the main event, with four guys on each team. All of the stables will be taking part, with Tribe Vanguard, Natural Vibes, Moon Dojo and the R.E.D. I’m all over this one and getting to see PAC and KZY share a ring again will be an absolute pleasure. Check out their website for more information.
NOAH – Great Voyage in Yokohama – Sunday – Yokohama.
Really big test for Kaito Kiyomiya here. I haven’t been as down on his title run as some (looking at you Lanza), and while his two defenses haven’t been great, I actually really enjoyed his most recent one against Masa Kitamiya. If anyone in that promotion can get a great match out of him though, then it’s definitely Naomichi Marifuji. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this will be the match that we all come around to the reign of Kiyomiya and fully get behind the young lad. Eddie Edwards has been back for the promotion lately, and he will be teaming up with Kitamiya to challenge Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki for the tag titles. I’m going full ‘shut up and take my money’ meme on that one. The Jr title will be also getting another defense, as Daisuke Harada puts it on the line against Minoru Tanaka. This looks like a pretty good card so far, and you can check out the rest of it here.
Rest of the World
World Series of Wrestling – International Assault – Thursday, Friday, Saturday – Adelaide & Melbourne.
World Series of Wrestling are one the bigger touring companies in wrestling right now, regularly bringing in some very big names. Next week they host three shows, touring both Adelaide and Melbourne with some absolutely cracking talent on hand. Back from another great tour with New Japan, Robbie Eagles defends his WSW World Title against Christopher Daniels in a match I would love to see. Bandido and Flamita will be taking on Daniels LA buddies, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky. Oh and Austin Aries will be wrestling one of next big stars in the country, Slex. There will also be appearances from PCO & Brody King, as well as Jordynne Grace, Brian Cage, Gino Gambino, Adam Brooks and many more. Visit their website for more.
Smash – The Spirit Within –Saturday – Kitchener, Ontario.
The last time I covered a Smash show, I spoke at length about my love for Tarik and how the guy really should be getting used by some of the bigger Indie promotions around the world. Well, I guess I was right, as he’s still holding the Smash Championship six months after winning it. At The Spirit Within next Saturday, he makes his 6th defense against Super K. I know very little about the challenger, but since he’s in there with Tarik, I’m sure it’ll be pretty good. Another match that catches my eye is Kevin Bennett taking on Mike Rollins. Seeing Bennett back regularly after the awful car crash just a few months ago is marvelous, and him and Rollins are two of the most entertaining guys in the company, so there is no way this won’t be a lot of fun. Halal Beefcake will also be putting their tag titles on the line against the young team of Alec Realm and Jordan James. The rest of the card and info on how you can watch can be found on their website.
Alpha-1 – Watch the Throne VI – Sunday – Hamilton, Ontario.
We finish this glorious week in Independent wrestling in Canada, for another show that has booked a flurry of my favourites from that scene and beyond, that being ‘Watch The Throne VI’ from Alpha-1. Any show that has Scott Steiner challenging for a title is okay in my book. Big Poppa Bump is one of four-guys battling it out for the Alpha Male title, alongside Josh Briggs, Chris Dickinson and current champ Kobe Durst. I’m all for a battle of the fathers between Dickinson and Steiner, so if someone could please book that singles match then they’d making this weird little Welshman very happy.
Fresh from signing with Impact, something I am going to take full credit for due to me banging on about how bloody good he is every week, Josh Alexander will be challenging Willie Mack for the NWA National Championship. I’m guessing that’ll be a bit good. MJF will also be pissing off everybody in Hamilton, as he faces one of the best young talents in wrestling right now, Trey Miguel. That’s another one to add to the ‘I can’t wait to see’ pile. Damn good card from Alpha-1 here, bravo chaps.