I want to start this post by mentioning that I am a fan of Ring Of Honor and I have been for many years. The company is a good promotion and has good talent but with more independents comping up and getting recognition the competition grows stronger.
Anyone who grew up in the 1990’s remembers having at least two major wrestling companies and for a few years even three. WCW and WWF battled head-to-head every Monday in a ratings war that came to be known as “The Monday Night Wars”. Around 1997-1998, many began to watch ECW, although its success was never equal to that of WCW/WWF.
Over the years, and even since the 1990’s the WWE has obviously had many ‘face lifts’. One of the complaints you will hear most frequently is people complaining about the WWE “PG” era. Listen, the attitude era was entertaining but it was a different time. The “PG era” is just fine for what it is. The attitude era was a product of the 90s.
A debate I often hear is whether or not a wrestling company will ever grow big enough to complete with WWE and recreate the Monday Night Wars and the simple answer, as of now, is no. Several reasons for this.
The main reason for this is WWE has simply grown too big and powerful. Vince McMahon, for all intense and purposes, is a genius in the business and this has allowed him to demolish his competition. This doesn’t mean, however, that WWE is the ONLY promotion out there.
If you are looking to watch as much wrestling as you possibly and just have a nice selection to choose from then I would like to cover a few independents that I believe are worth watching.
Please keep in mind that if you are only a fan of WWE then you may not enjoy independent companies as WWE is in a league of it’s own and completely different then any other promotion out there, which I am not saying is a bad thing.
One of the most popular independent promotions in the country today is Ring Of Honor. ROH has a nice roster of talent, some even recognizable as they were former WWE or TNA wrestlers.
ROH has really started to grow some momentum over the years and has birthed some of the industries top names such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan
Ring of Honor has a weekly TV show in most ares and host regular live iPPVs. More info can be found at http://www.rohwrestling.com
A newer independent company that has gotten notice recently is Tommy Dreamer’s House Of Hardcore. Although it has only run one show it really got some attention over the last couple of months.
It features mostly former ECW and WWE stars which is the main reason for the “main stream media” attention. Tommy Dreamer is a well respected individual and that helped the advertising.
As of this moment there is no way, other than live, to watch House Of Hardcore but a video-on-demand download and DVD is in the works. For more on HOH visit http://www.houseofhardcore.net
Extreme Rising is yet another new independent company that was in the spotlight more than any other indy company for the first half of the year.
Extreme Rising features ECW stars with a mix of young talent. Its primary goal is to deliver the same kind if wrestling and storytelling as ECW did which is what put it in the spotlight as 2,000 fans showed for the first show.
Extreme Rising is co-owned by former ECW star Shane Douglas. It can currently be viewed by ordering the VOD or DVD. For more on this visit http://www.extremerising.com
There are many lesser talked sbout independent wrestling companies that I will also go over.
Resistance Pro is a company that has really built momentum since the launch of the company in late 2011. Resistance Pro is a company that would appeal to fans that just like old school mat wrestling.
Resistance Pro was launched by Smashing Punmpkin frontman, Billy Corgan. Resistance Pro can be watched on YouTube. More can be found at http://www.resistancepro.com
Wildkat Sports, is a small New Orleans based promotion that is very entertaining. This is probably the company that the fewest of my readers have heard about but I highly recommend you check it out.
Wildkat Sports is co-owned by former XPW star and current Extreme Rising star Luke Hawx and former WWE/TNA star Orlando Jordan.
Wildkat can currently be seen on YouTube and more info can be found at http://www.wildkatsports.com
Dragon Gate USA is a promotion that is branched from a Japanese promotion (Dragon Gate) and features a type of wrestling most frequently found in Japan.
Dragon Gate USA can currently be seen on iPPV and DVD. More info can be found at http://www.dgusa.tv
Evolve Wrestling, which was named by WWE star Daniel Bryan (then known as Bryan Danielson), is a promotion that has entertaining basic wrestling but stress the use of sportsmanship.
If you attack a wrestler before the bell, use an un-sanctioned weapon, or attack a referee you can be fined or suspended. Evolve can be watched on iPPV and DVD. More info can be found at http://www.dgusa.tv
Note: Evolve and Dragon Gate USA unified the two promotions in late 2011. They share a roster but since they promote different events, I did include both.
There are many more indy promotions out there, I am in no way saying that these are the only ones worth checking out. However, this list would be never ending if I went into detail about every indy in the country.
As several different kinds of wrestling can be showcased in the world, from high-flying lucha libre, hardcore, technical mat, or companies that show-case mic skills more than wrestling. You may like one promotion and not another.
My suggestion to you would be to check out the promotions listed above and any local promotions your city may have near by and find what type of promotions appeals to you.
I have tried to include promotions that showcase different strengths so that everyone could find something they may like.
If you have a local company or know of a company you want mentioned please comment below. Leave your opinions of the companies I listed in the comments section as well. Follow me on twitter twitter.com/exodusoPWM