Here we are. The show of shows, the weekend of weekends. The biggest money drainer since Christmas. That wonderful time of the year when wrestling fans from all around the world spend the entire weekend hopping from venue to venue, watching the wacky and the bizarre. What a time to be alive.
But while many Indie promotions see this as the perfect time to make some money, and hopefully some new fans, there are many who don’t partake in the Mania weekend nonsense. For as hard as it may be to believe, there is actually wrestling going on next week that isn’t in New York.
So, since VOW has already done such a great job at looking at the countless shows taking place over WrestleMania weekend, I thought I’d take a look at some of the shows taking place elsewhere. Because after all, there is more than MoreThanMania.
Beyond – Uncharted Territory – Thursday – Electric Haze, Worcester.
I start with probably the most interesting show this week. Beyond Wrestling have always done things their own way, and to great success too. The promotion who really helped popularize intergender wrestling has also led the way when it comes to YouTube views, with their channel currently having well one million subscribers. So, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when they recently announced that they would be starting a weekly live show. The first of these shows will take place on Wednesday at the Electric Hazer club in Worcester. I love this venue. So intimate and enchanting, it’s one of my goals to one day partake in a rum & coke there. The first show will see the best wrestler in the world not currently signed to a major contract take on a Japanese legend, as David Star wrestles Masato Tanaka. I was going to watch this show anyway, but that match alone has made this event unmissable. The SCU boys will be in town complaining about Worcester while getting the shit kicked out them by the Team Pazauzu trio of LAX and Chris Dickinson. Beyond have also secured the services of the always wonderful Jordynne Grace, as well as Orange Cassidy, MJF, AR Fox, Kris Statlander and Kimber Lee. This really is a big deal for independent wrestling, so I urge you all to check out this show and support Beyond. It will be available to watch on both IW.TV and Fite TV.
Lucha Libre and Laughs – In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night – Friday – Denver Colorado.
I’m gonna be completely honest here. The main reason I’ve included this show, is because while skimming through the line-ups, I saw the name Sydal and thought it was Matt Sydal. It was only while doing some proper research that I noticed it was, in fact, Mike Sydal who was appearing at the Lucha Libre and Laughs show. I thought it was a bit weird that the former Evan Bourne was appearing at a small Lucha show in Colorado over Mania weekend. Although in my defense, I am a bit of an idiot and I had no idea there was more than one Sydal lurking amongst the world of Independent Wrestling. I decided to cover the show anyway, even though I know very little about the promotion or the wrestlers appearing. One name I do recognize is Freelance Wrestling regular, Darin Corbin, who will be facing Dak Draper. Corbin is a decent talent who had some cracking matches with Isaias Velazquez last year, so as long as Dak Draper knows his business then this could be pretty good. Visit their website for more information.
Frontline Pro – #10 – Saturday – Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Man, just imagine what might have been for the career of Ken Anderson if certain people didn’t hate him and decided to derail his push when he looked ready to take over the world. He seemed destined for the stars, instead, it all fell apart. He’s not had a bad career though. Spending a few years in TNA, the former Mr. Kennedy opened his own training school with Shawn Daivari and takes the occasional indie booking for promotions that very few of us have ever heard of. Next Saturday, he appears for Frontline Pro in his home state of Wisconsin. Another promotion I know very little about, Mr. Anderson will be facing the awesomely named Backwoods Brown. A quick google search tells me that old Mr. Brown is a big old boy who dresses in dungarees and looks like he’d be at home drinking moonshine with Hillbilly Jim. So, he instantly becomes my new favorite wrestler. Other matches announced include Ben McCoy vs Nick Brubaker, and The Dojo of Pain taking on The Players Club. All information is available on their Facebook page.
Texas Wrestling Entertainment – Home Sweet Home – Saturday – Levelland, Texas.
I have a pal from Texas, one who has tried many times to get me into the wrestling scene in his state, promising me that it was one of the undiscovered gems of the Indie scene. Because of this said friend, I have a pretty decent knowledge of some of the better talents in the ridiculously large state. Many of which will be appearing at Texas Wrestling Entertainment’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ show on Saturday. They include Max Castellanos, who will be defending the Texas Championship against Reality of Wrestling regular Terrale Tempo in the main event. Tempo was always a stand-out from the ROW TV shows, and him and Castellanos should be a damn fine match. Other names I’m quite familiar with include the La Familia team of Ayden Christiano and Gino, taking on Cameron Cole and Kiefer Bartek. To find out more, visit their website.
Futureshock – Tapped IV: Live Free or Tap Hard – Wednesday – Fairfield Social Club, Manchester.
Futureshock Wrestling will be holding a little mid-week tournament action on Wednesday, with their Lotto Thunder tournament at Live Free or Tap Hard. A bit of a different concept from your usual wrestling tourneys, with all the matches being decided by the fans on the night. Joe Lanza will be happy, as his boy T-Bone will be one of the competitors, along with fellow NXT UK guy Amir Jordan, and Futureshock regulars Soner Dursan, Big Joe, Chris Egan and Damon Leigh, with the winner getting a future title shot at the Futureshock championship. If you fancy a bit of wrestling to get you warmed up for Mania weekend, then go check out their website.
Attack Pro – My Sacrifice III – Sunday – Walkabout, Cardiff.
It’s a bit of a tradition for many promotions in the UK to run a show on WrestleMania night before breaking out the big screens and watching the show of shows live. Attack Pro are certainly one of these promotions, and thus will be holding their 3rd Mania night show, My Sacrifice at Walkabout nightclub in my home city of Cardiff. I’m half tempted to go and get pissed up while screaming abuse at Baron Corbin, but that would mean I would have to actually watch WrestleMania, and I certainly don’t hate myself enough to do that. Attack, as usual, release about much information about their cards as a magician does about their tricks, with the title vs title match of Chief Deputy Dunne vs Cara Noir the only match announced so far. I would imagine that many of the regular Attack guys will be on show, the ones who won’t be in New York signing belts at Axxess that is. More information is available here.
Breed Wrestling – The Colossal Tussle – Sunday – Walkabout, Sheffield.
Breed Wrestling will be following up their recent Never Fight a Man with a Perm show – which included an excellent match between Chris Ridgeway and Ilja Dragunov – with their 3rd show, The Colossal Tussle, on Sunday at Walkabout in Sheffield. It seems that Walkabouts around the country are the places to be on Mania night. Ridgeway will be involved in another absolute beauty of a match when he faces the Irish prodigy, Scotty Davis. If that match is only half as good as the Ridgeway/Dragunov match, then I am in. There aren’t many talents at the level of Davis at such a young age, and Ridgeway is always awesome. There will also be appearances from Martin Kirby, Brady Phillips, Fraser Thomas, Gene Munny and Sugar Dunkerton. Much like the Attack show, the show will be followed by a live screening of WrestleMania. For more info, check out their website.
German Wrestling Federation – Blockbuster – Saturday – Berlin.
German wrestling is still on a bit of comedown from the always eventful 16 Carat weekend in Oberhausen. The weekend is rarely rivaled in wrestling, and it’s probably only Mania weekend itself that rises above it. One of the top promotions in the country will be hoping to build on the interest built from 16 Carat, as GWF host Blockbuster on Saturday night. The man behind the recent New Japan hype videos and new BULLET CLUB member, El Phantasmo, will be in Berlin challenging Angelico for the GWF Berlin championship. Angelico can be a little hit and miss these days, but this match should still be pretty good. Tarkan Aslan will also be defending his GWF world title in a no holds barred match against Pascal Spalter, and recent NXT:UK signee Oliver Carter will be putting his tag titles on the line with partner Senzo Volto against Die Muskel-Kater. To find out more, visit their website.
New European Championship Wrestling – No Regrets – Saturday – Hessdorf.
GWF won’t be the only German promotion holding a show over the weekend, with NECW hosting No Regrets on Saturday in Hessdorf. Their line-up isn’t quite as studded as the GWF show, but it’s still a pretty decent line-up for the promotion. The NECW World Heavyweight title will be on the line, with Tommy Blue Eyes and Mexx battling it out in the main event. The rest of the card includes Scott Iron vs Danny Orlow, and Wolf & Bull challenging Team Turbulence for the tag titles. Visit their website for more.
Wrestle-1 – Cherry Blossom – Wednesday – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.
Wrestle-1, much like Zero 1, is one of those promotions I check into every so often with the guarantee that I’ll enjoy pretty much everything I see. This has been especially true since Cima and his Strong Heart gang have become regular fixtures there. They shall be at Korakuen Hall on Wednesday for the promotions next show, Cherry Blossom, where T-Hawk & Takehiro Yamamura will try to add the Wrestle-1 tag titles to their ranks by challenging current champions Masayuki Kono & Alejandro in their first defense of the titles. Cima and El Lindaman will also be there to add support to their teammates, and Jiro will be having his send-off match before going to the states for Mania weekend. For the rest of the card, visit their website.
NOAH – Global Tag League – Saturday – Osaka.
NOAH has been going through a lot of changes of late. New owners, new logo, no more green mats and a young champion who continues to find his feet. I haven’t had much chance to check them out this year but from what I’ve heard, the new regime has gotten off to a decent start so far. On Saturday, they continue with this years Global Tag League in Osaka. Current GHC Heavyweight champion Kaito Kiyomiya and his partner for the tournament, Kenoh, will face Atsushi Kotoge & Mitsuya Nagi, and the man who brought so much prestige to the title last year, Takashi Sugiura, will team with Kazma Sakamoto against Maybach and one of my wrestlers of the year so far, Yuji Hino. More info can be found here.
Rest of the World
Lutte NSPW – The Last Stand – Saturday – Centre Horizon, Quebec.
Due to the fact is unable to work in the US, Mike Bailey is a name that is often forgotten in the Indie world, even though he’s probably one of the best wrestlers in the world right now. Working mostly in his native Canada, with regular tripe to Japan and Europe, it isn’t too much of a push to imagine that if he were allowed to work in America then he would probably be one of the biggest names on the Independent scene. Speedball will be appearing in Quebec on Saturday for Lutte NSPW, at their Last Stand even at Centre Horizon. There, he will be challenging Marko Estrada for the NSPW Championship in the main event and I would be surprised if it is anything less than great. There will also be some deathmatch shenanigans, as Stephen Sullivan and Martin Girard try to kill each other in a 4th Street Deathmatch. Another match that catches my eye is the four-way battle between The Beast King, Jim Harrison, Matt Falco and Markus Burke. Gotta love me some Beast King. Visit their Twitter page.
Mexa Wrestling – MextlerCon – Saturday – Arena San Juan Pantitlan.
Just a couple of years ago it looked like Flamita was going to become the next big Lucha star in the west and would follow in the footsteps of Rey Fenix and Pentagon. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen, and with Bandido coming along and stealing his thunder, Flamita has gone more down the pudgy Lucha path, adding a few more pounds and a rather unflattering singlet to his look. Next Saturday, he will be appearing at Mexa Wrestling’s MextlerCon, where he will be facing another future prospect of the Lucha game, Sanson. I like Flamita, but it does seem like any chance of him becoming the star we all wanted him to be is long gone. Also on the show, Bestia 666 will wrestle Fly Star, and there will be appearances from Dragon Bane, Arkangel Divino and Spetimo Dragon. More info is available on their Facebook page.