2001 seems like forever doesn?t it? It was in 2001 that Vince McMahon made his power play so to speak and became lord of everything that is professional wrestling and the business just hasn?t been the same ever since. Sure in 2003 we had TNA and ROH set up shop but they have been a pale number 2 to the big monster WWE. Well what most mainstream fans don?t think about and I do is that when mainstream wrestling lags the independent scene stalls also. After all independent wrestling companies take their cue from what’s hot in the mainstream. Don?t believe me? Well how many companies had their own version of ?Stone Cold? Steve Austin in 1998 or their own ?World Order?? Fact is many independent companies dried up and died after the McMahon Monopoly took hold. Even the number of developmental territories dwindled from two to one after Vince McMahon took over and with this lack of strong business there has been a lack of talent growth from which to maintain any future business. It’s been 8 years, but the time for change could quite possibly be now, because independent wrestling just may very well be back in full effect?you?re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
With the chinks in the armor of Ring of Honor other companies are starting to take influence and spread their wings and test the market and the business could be better off for it. One of those companies is of course Dragongate USA. I will be the first to admit that Dragongate USA in my opinion will never be as big or as popular as Ring of Honor is/was, with that being said they have ran some very successful shows the past few months and have continued to draw praise from wrestling fans of all walks. The fact that they are running head to head with Ring of Honor on Wrestlemania Friday shows that their braintrust feels they are ready for that push and I believe in the months ahead they will make that push. No they will not wind up on a major TV Station (The Fight Network in Canada does not count after all ROH has been on there for years and hasn?t even made a dent in the Canadian market) but they don?t have to. All they have to do is continue to grow their niche audience and maybe alter their business plan and they could do great business for a long, long time. I really expect at some point to see ROH officially ban there wrestlers from appearing on DGUSA shows and once they do get ready for some great wrestling because that’s when things are really going to kick in high gear for this company.
It wasn?t that long ago when there was a big Philadelphia independent scene war between ROH, the now defunct 3PW and CZW. CZW took a lot of lumps during that time that forced then booker Mike Burns to make a deal to work with ROH in a year long feud between companies in which some of CZW’s top stars such as Chris Hero and Necro Butcher would go on to compete regularly as part of the ROH roster. It took them quite a while to rebound from that feud but now with a deal on ION Television they are the only independent group with any kind of national TV deal to speak of and yes that included ROH. I will be the first to admit I am not exactly a fan of the CZW style of wrestling but I can?t deny its appeal to hardcore fans with wrestlers such as Drake Younger, Thumbtack Jack, DJ Hyde, B Boy and others CZW just might make enough of an indy splash to be strong in the scene again.
What about the resurgent TWA promotion that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes? For those of you who don?t know the TWA was basically the company that would later spawn Eastern Championship Wrestling later on to be known as Extreme Championship Wrestling. I will be the first to admit I have not really paid too much attention to this promotion other than the fact that indy stalwart Glen Osbourne is there champion as of press time however I can say that just the fact that this company re opened is a sign in my eyes that good times are coming. Sure there are plenty of former ECW and TWA stars in its ranks at the moment but it should do well enough to keep fans coming back after all most independent wrestling fans are very nostalgic at heart after all.
Of course the long term strength and appeal of any independent wrestling company usually depends on its strength to draw a niche audience to it and what bigger niche audience do we have in 2009 that is somewhat hip and fresh like women’s wrestling? I will admit I am not the biggest fan of women’s wrestling and I was the first one to question my friend Sean ?The Mic? McCaffrey when he debuted Women’s Superstars Unleashed (WSU) a couple of years ago but it has done quite well for itself. Sure the gates are not going to be what they are for the mens promotions but you would be amazed the demand for WSU DVD’s amongst independent wrestling fans. For those of you who are fans of the Knockout division or for that matter another female independent group SHIMMER I strongly recommend you check out WSU if you get the chance to. I promise you will not be disappointed with the in ring product at all.
Who can forget what I would consider my ?home? promotion Jersey All Pro Wrestling? I have been the biggest critic of JAPW in the past because I do consider it ?my indy? and in my opinion and in the opinion of many they were suffering a while but as of late they appear ready to bust out again and one thing they have going for them that no other company in the northeast has going is the strength of longevity. They have been through there bad times and they have been through there good times and through it all they have survived. There is a lot to be said for that. JAPW was the breeding ground for many top stars in mainstream wrestling such as Homicide, Charlie Haas, and ?Black Machismo? Jay Lethal. They?ve been tops in the past and I have the utmost faith that with the right pieces in place they can be tops again in the future.
This week the announcement became official that Gabe Sapolsky, Sal Hamoui, and Davey Richards have partnered together to form EVOLVE Wrestling. While I have been sworn to secrecy that those that are somewhat in the know we have seen some of the ideas that this promotion has promised the past week such as actual rankings in divisions and such. Some of the names that I have heard linked to the company as far as talent is concerned are top notch and if you haven?t heard of them yet I predict that will change in the months ahead as this promotion will be the talk of independent wrestling in 2010.
So there you have it for fans of independent wrestling in the northeast there is a whole lot to look forward to in the coming months ahead. I don?t mean to slight the Midwest which is a good independent hotbed or for that matter the west coast but it has been pretty much established that when the northeast gets going again as far as independent wrestling goes it is usually a sign that the rest of the country is about to rebound as well. So I expect many more companies to start and strengthen throughout the country in the months ahead and that can only be considered a great thing as the McMahon Monopoly has really killed the business in a sense and the MMA craze appeared poised at one moment to finish it off. Wrestling is alive and well my friends.
On that note I am going to wrap up this week’s column. Of course you guys know the drill; you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and well that’s it, next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.