The past few months/year I have grown increasingly tired of the shows that World Wrestling Entertainment and TNA Impact Wrestling have been putting out each week and the PPV’s that have been on offer, so I decided to look further afield for some alternatives both on home soil and across the world. With both companies product growing stale as of late I have constantly found myself hitting the fast forward button on my remote control and I did not want to fall out of love with wrestling as a whole due to this. Below I give a brief account and insight to the promotions I have come across and have been watching, some you may have already seen yourself and others may be new to you too.
ICW is based in Glasgow Scotland and is aimed at an over 18 fan base, I have been to a lot of their shows across Scotland and also watch all the shows I don’t attend on their on demand service. The following that the company has amassed is phenomenal and creates a great atmosphere at live shows, you feel like you’re a part of something special and the buzz in the crowd is great. The company last year sold out 4,000 tickets for Fear & Loathing VIII at the SECC in Glasgow and also put on their biggest tour of the UK. The current champions in ICW are World Heavyweight Champion Grado, Zero G Champion Davey Boy, Women’s Champion Viper and Tag Team Champions The 55 -Sha Samuels and Kid Fite. The on demand service is full of their monthly shows and also a weekly series called Friday Night Fight Club along with several sit down interviews. The in ring action has a hint of the hard-core style of wrestling including weapons, plenty of blood, no count outs and the odd interference from other wrestlers. Don’t be surprised to see the ladies taking on the men in ICW as the women put up a great fight with Kay Lee Ray and Carmel taking on Mikey Whiplash and Liam Thomson. So if you like swearing, violence, wrestling and a laugh then Insane Championship Wrestling might just be for you, check them out at http://www.InsaneWrestling.co.uk
Progress Wrestling the company defying what has been said for years, that you can’t run a Wrestling promotion out of London is ran by owners Jim Smallman, Jon Briley and Glen Joseph and has a punk rock wrestling kind of vibe. Over the last few months Progress has become my favourite promotion, each month their Chapter shows have blown me away with the amazing matches they put on featuring UK talent such as El Ligero, Jimmy Havoc, Eddie Dennis, Will Ospreay, Dave Mastiff, Zack Sabre Jr and Mark Haskins to name a few. I think the main thing is that the focus is mainly on what goes on inside the ring and does away with promos that are far too long, also the way they push young home-grown talent with their Natural Progression series. The current champions in Progress Wrestling are Progress Champion Will Ospreay and Tag Team Champions The Origin – El Ligero & Nathan Cruz, with all 3 that hold the titles being British. Progress also run shows for their home-grown talent called ENDVR and PTNTL. Their on demand service is full of amazing matches and has every Chapter through to 24 along with all ENDVR and PTNTL shows, this is ideal as I now live in Scotland and struggle to get down to London to make the shows it means I don’t miss out. With the popularity of Progress growing the company have started running shows in Manchester which in turn will get new fans on board and make the company grow even bigger. I have only attended one Progress show and this was at Donnington Park during Download Festival, during which Every Time I Die guitarist Andy Williams powerbombed Jimmy Havoc through a table, the heavy metal fans really took to Progress with thousands showing up at midnight on all of the five nights. The company’s really got the making and designing of t-shirts on point, I myself must own over 10 of their shirts and if you go to any wrestling show in the UK I bet you will see at least one person in a Progress shirt. If you fancy checking out some Progress Wrestling their website is http://www.PROGRESSWrestling.com
I have only just started watching IPW:UK as I subscribed to their on demand service for a month, from the few shows I have seen it seems a bit more aimed at a family friendly audience than what I am used to watching. I liked the fact they use some of the wrestlers that I have seen elsewhere and is good to see them change from performing in front of an over 18 crowd to adapting to be more family friendly and to their credit they do it really well. I have noticed they have at least one big name from the wrestling world at each show that will attract the crowds for example people like Eugene, Uhaa Nation, Vince Russo, Paul London, Chris Masters and El Generico. I have never attended a show as it is too far to travel but from what I have seen the shows look really fun and the wrestlers seem to get the crowd involved a lot which is always good as makes the show memorable. The current champions in IPW:UK are World Champion Jimmy Havoc, Tag Team Champions D&D (Danny Duggan and Cieran Donnelly) and All England Champion Sammy Smooth. All you need to know about IPW:UK is available at http://www.IPWUK.com
Where has CHIKARA been all my life!!! That is not me overreacting, I had heard lots of good things about CHIKARA and recently watched a few matches on YouTube which really impressed me enough so to subscribe to their on demand service CHIKARAtopia which has every show they have ever put on. I started on the 2015 shows so that I could get up to speed pretty sharpish and have so far watched 3 of their shows in full, their shows are all really fun and kind of like a cartoon character dream world that you really want to be real where ants fight against ice creams!! With a roster that includes the likes of Dasher Hatfield, Jervis Cottonbelly, Ice Cream Jr, Estonian Farmer Frog and Max Smashmaster to name a few you just know that CHIKARA shows are going to be a lot of fun and make you realise why you love the crazy world of professional wrestling. I can’t wait until May when CHIKARA comes to UK for 7 shows, I will be attending The Lost World in Glasgow on May 30th. With the great annual tournament King Of Trios which has 16 teams of 3 competing in a knockout competition and the winning team being crowned King Of Trios, Torneo Cibernetico which is an annual 8 on 8 tag team match and The Young Lions Cup a tournament for wrestlers under the age of 25. The current champions in CHIKARA are Grand Champion Princess KimberLee, Campeonatos de Parejas N_R_G and Young Lions Cup holder Heidi Lovelace, the fact that two of the three champions are female is amazing. Get involved with CHIKARA at http://www.chikarapro.com
New Japan might not be new to many of you but I have recently started watching more regularly, with the added bonus that the last two shows Wrestle Kingdom 10 and New Years Dash being provided with English commentary. I don’t really need to go into much detail but it is home to some of the best wrestlers on the planet and putting on some of the best matches in the last year, highlights being AJ Styles v Okada, Tanahashi v Nakamura, Shibata v Ishii, AJ Styles v Nakamura, Kenny Omega v Matt Sydal and Kushida v Kyle O’Reilly. It is also home to the great faction Bullet Club who have ran rough shot over New Japan in recent times and are know world wide, ex leader of the group was now NXT champion Fergal Devitt (Finn Balor). The current champions in New Japan Pro Wrestling are Heavyweight Champion Okada, Tag Team Champions GBH (Makabe & Honma), Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida, Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Young Bucks, Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, NEVER Openweight Champion Shibata and NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag Team Champions Briscoes & Yano. Find out about New Japan at http://www.njpw.co.jp
Lucha Underground is the edgier side of Lucha Libre but still sticks to some of the traditions. The first season was full of over the top storylines and moves to match, from gangsters stubbing out cigars in people’s eyes, a casket match, a best of five series between a dragon and spaceman to someone being thrown through a window it had it all. It has a roster with real depth, many mixtures of styles and experience. On screen owner Dario Cueto is a great heel character and adds to the storylines on the shows. I really like the way the backstage segments are shot, they look like they have been dragged from a gritty Tarantino movie and are totally different from any other wrestling show I’ve seen. The current champions in Lucha Underground are Lucha Underground Champion Mil Muertes, Gift Of The Gods Champion Fenix and Trios Champions The Disciples Of Death. Find out more about Lucha Underground at http://www.elreynetwork.com/originals/lucha
ROH has long been viewed as the biggest of the independents but nowadays it’s bigger than TNA in my opinion, it has been consistently been producing big stars and big matches for some time now. Wrestlers that came through ROH have gone into dominate in WWE and some even been World Champions Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins and CM Punk. Their weekly TV shows are all about the wrestling and accompanied by the voice and opinion of Kevin Kelly, was always a fan of him when he was a part of the Attitude Era. The tag team division has long been dominated by mainstays The Briscoes, brothers Mark & Jay, the latter also holding the ROH World Championship on two occasions are my favourite ROH wrestlers. The current champions in Ring Of Honor are ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, Television Champion Roderick Strong and Tag Team Champions War Machine (Hanson & Rowe). Ring Of Honor has a working relationship with NJPW which sees them holding several cross promotional IPPV’s with their Japanese partners, as well as working with NJPW they also hold an annual show with British promotion Preston City Wrestling. See more about Ring Of Honor at http://www.rohwrestling.com
PRO WRESTLING GUERRILLA
Now I’ve only seen a handful of PWG shows but the few that I have seen have been so full of energy and the crowd are red hot. This year I saw the three nights of the Battle Of Los Angeles and was instantly a fan, some of the action of those three shows was unreal with British wrestler Zack Sabre Jr winning the tournament. There was a very British feel to the tournament with Sabre Jr joined by Drew Galloway, Marty Scurll, Will Ospreay, Mark Andrews and Tommy End all of which did the British wrestling scene very proud putting on some of the best performances of the weekend. The current championships in PWG are dominated by Mount Rushmore with the World Champion Roderick Strong and Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks. You can find out all about PWG at http://www.prowrestlingguerrilla.com
SOMEONE STOP THE DAMN MATCH!!
Let us know if you are a fan of any of these promotions or if you can suggest anymore for me to check out over on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SomeoneStopTheDamnMatch