Indies on the Rise
by, 09-27-2011 at 10:50 PM (2201 Views)
I know we all remember the day with a bittersweet taste in our mouth. We remember flipping back and forth between channels until both shows became one. We remember seeing wrestling change forever. We remember the death of WCW. After nearly a decade and a half of this Turner juggernaut being on top of the wrestling world, we were left to question "what's next?" when it came to wrestling and have an alternative. ECW was dead and gone. WWF was desecrating what dignity WCW had left in it's dying days. All we had were a few shimmers of hope here and there. I remember NWA Anarchy coming in on my radar screens, and Maffew of Botchamania reminded me of the short-lived island of misfit toys that was WWA just last friday. Eventually that would all culminate to make up NWATNA. Then, small promotions began to pop up like ROH, Chikara, XPW, CZW, and before I know it, it's 2011 and there are more options to watch in wrestling than ever. While some have risen and fizzled, quite a few stalwart promotions stuck around and grew in reputation. But something has happened that I find quite odd, something very familiar and interesting, and that's the fact that a lot of the independents have gravitated toward the upper East Coast, and a lot of those East Coast promotions rely on the same pool of talents, and while the shows are booked different enough to make things interesting, it's left a few diehard wrestling fans disenfranchised I can't say I'm one of them, not totally anyway, but I am ready for another big change in the indie landscape, and I think we're starting to see it pop up already. Just this past few weeks alone three very interesting indie prospects have been brought to my attention, and I plan on following them all in some capacity. So, without further ado, here's what they are and what I know about them so far.
The first thing to catch my eye in this new indie uprising has been Wrestling Revolution Project, slated to start production this October and debut sometime at the beginning of next year. This place is a whose-who of who you want to see get a fair shake in professional wrestling. So far, producer Jeff Katz has signed MVP, Daivari, Colt Cabana, Ken Doane, Kenny Omega, Luke Gallows/Festus, Sami Calihan, Prince Devitt, Amazing Red, and Lance Storm and Tommy Dreamer are going to be a part of this project. I don't know about you, but there aren't too many guys on that list of talents that I don't want to see showcased.
The roster's being slowly dripped to the public on a day-to-day basis, which means there will probably be more talents signed, but the general vibe that this promotion's putting out right now feels very intimate. Whether it's for legal purposes or whatever, a lot of the talents on the roster are going by their real names, and WRP has stated that they plan on reinventing nearly every person on the roster for their company, which means MVP wont be MVP, Daivari wont be some Iraqi sympathizer, Sami Calihan may not be the psychotic individual we all know and love, and Luke Gallows wont be saddled with some career cancer of a gimmick. While some may find it odd that these familiar faces are taking on new roles, I find it kind of refreshing to know that I wont be getting SSDP (same shit, different promotion) from WRP.
All that's really known right now about this promotion is that Jeff Katz keeps pushing the term "Three part story arch" which means that he plans on building in-depth storylines with conflict resolution at the end, something you don't get out of very many companies these days. I get the vibe that this promotion's going to have a lot of down time between seasons/tapings. So far it's only rumored to be launced on Justin TV and they plan on going into production at the first of October. I'm really curious to see what pans out.
The next promotion that's caught my eye on this trifecta of upstart indies is Resistance Pro Wrestling. Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame has set out to start his own promotion in Chicago that he plans on being creatively and financially attached to. Corgan made the announcement of this promotion's existence at San Diego Comic Con this year, along with his first signing; Harry Smith. Apparently Corgan's also sought out Raven to help with the booking, which I think is a fantastic idea considering Raven's got a great mind for the business. Raven's also listed on the active roster on the promotion's webpage, but i don't know what capacity he'll be working under considering the roster's composed of quite a few young indie talents including the ever controversial Teddy Hart, indie darling Kevin Steen, Oscar snubbed Necro Butcher, Gran Akuma, Tony Kozina, Hallowicked and Frightmare. Joel Gertner's also listed on the roster page. I'm wondering if he's doing ring announcing or commentary or managing or what. Either way, the names listed consist of a lot of indie stand outs that really haven't had the forum to shine. Sure, Akuma's came into his own a bit in DGUSA, but the rest are either indy blackballed, underrated or criminally underutilized for the heat they have. I can't wait to see what a fanboy like Corgan and a genius like Raven can produce for these guys. It's almost like fanfic if you think about it. This is definitely an EWR roster I'd love to have.
Not much else is known about the companies direction other than a few vague bread crumbs that Corgan's dropped, like the fact that he plans to do a bit more old school styled booking than "sports entertainment" and he also plans to make it fairly Chicago based in hopes to bring back some love to the Chi Town indie scene.
The final promotion on my list of eye catchers is one that caught my attention more than any other promotion has on this list, and it's not because of it's roster, it's location, or it's owner. Oh no, it's because of it's concept. Why? Because it's a concept I've been preaching and begging for in wrestling for a long time. I'm talking about territories, and that's exactly what Territory League Wrestling gives us. What I can tell of the promotion so far is that it's presumably based out of Nevada and that the roster consists of 6 (maybe soon to be seven) league teams derived from the member's hometown zip codes. Each team has it's own unique nama, all encompassing gimmick, and even colors. There are no titles, only points for winning teams. I've yet to watch any of the shows yet, but apparently there are around 5 up on the website, but from what I gather from the rules they even all wrestle together in some sort of elimination styled team match similar to war games or survivor series rules. I find that interesting considering I love both gimmicks.
I think what impresses me most about this promotion is the fact that there aren't very many well known independents on the roster. There are a few older names like Vampire Warrior (former Gangrel), Sin Bodhi (Kizarney), Junior Fatu (Rikishi), Scotty (2 Hotty), and Black Pearl, but the rest of the roster is new to me, and that excites me. While it is more of a gang banger gimmick in the promotion, I do still dig the concept of franchised teams with their own identities, and I plan on checking out their first few shows sometime soon. Have had a busy work schedule lately and with football taken up my Sundays I haven't had the time to watch yet.
As a matter of fact, I plan on keeping an eye on all of these promotions to see where they all end up going. For those interested, I'll link whatever available homepages below for people to check out. Tell me what you think of these feds so far, give feedback on what you like, don't like, and plan on catching when it comes around. Also, drop any links to other upcoming feds below if interested.
Wrestling Revolution Project: http://www.wrestlingrevolutionproject.com/
Resistance Pro: http://resistancepro.com/
Territory League: http://www.territoryleague.com/