Your favorite semi-regular column on the world of independent wrestling is back, gentlemen. Inside I have news for you on CZW's return to iPPV, ROH's plans for the next TV taping schedule and their involvement in the forthcoming CM Punk DVD, news about the misfortunes of the National Wrestling Alliance with companies bailing from the organization, the line up for Tommy Dreamer's first House of Hardcore event, and more. Join me, won't you, as we go Inside the Indies.....
--I'd be remiss to not apologize for my absence with recapping ROH. I'm having issues with my service provider again, and right now all my gadgets are running slow and having a hard time with video. We're going into a cycle of Road Rage episodes anyway, as right as I type this ROH is running another taping at the DuBurns arena. And in fact, they are starting their annual Survival of the Fittest tournament. The matches booked:
- Mike Mondo vs. Kyle O'Reilly
- Roderick Strong vs. Homicide
- Adam Cole vs. Tadarius Thomas
- Jay Lethal vs. QT Marshall
- Michael Elgin vs. Rhino
- Davey Richards vs. Mike Bennett
Kind of a mixed bag there. I'm always glad to see Homicide in action and he & Roderick have a good track record. Elgin vs. Rhino is one that will probably be inconclusive, as those two seem to be building to something bigger and they're running that match in other indies around the horn. Also glad to see Davey Richards back in action after a little break for some rejuvenation. However, the inclusion of the useless QT Marshall and the one-note Tadarius Thomas is something I question. I'd assume they're just there to job but I'd rather see someone who can hold up their own end of the match in there than either of those two. I put money on either Lethal or Mondo as the front runners.
--In other interesting ROH news, footage from CM Punk's time there will be shown on his DVD, set to hit the shelves next month. A whole chapter will be dedicated to his time in ROH, including his return to the ROH Academy (which, sidenote, will be relaunching on Oct. 22nd with head trainer Hunter "Delirious" Johnston), and his series of matches with Samoa Joe. Yup, Joe on a WWE release. Won't be the full matches I'm sure but I'm glad Punk used his leverage to get that part of his life included there, and I'm glad he's helping keep the door open for friendly ROH/WWE relations.
--Speaking of companies that run iPPVs, CZW has their next iPPV event tonight as they present Redemption from Delaware. Details on ordering are available at CZWrestling.com. The matches are:
-DJ Hyde vs. Matt Tremont - Squared Circle of Fear: No Ropes, No Canvas, Everything in Barbed Wire.
-CZW champion Masada vs. Joe Gacy,
-CZW Tag Tean champions The Nation of INtoxication vs. Rory Mondo & Ron Mathis - Light Tube Madness.
-Devon Moore vs. Alex Colon - Street Fight.
-Rich Swann vs. Dustin Rayz.
-Dave and Jake Crist vs. Greg Excellent and Shane Strickland.
-Latin Dragon vs. Mr. Tofiga.
More of the slash and burn hardcore that CZW is known for, basically. I don't fault anyone for not being interested in that style of wrestling, but thankfully CZW has leavened it with a handful of decent wrestlers throughout their time as a stalwart of the indie scene. Still, one would think for any of these guys that may have a future, they need to find a middle ground where they can do hardcore and still work on their ring skills and character. I'm sure that the dream of every hardcore wrestler is to be Mick Foley, but most of them aren't even guaranteed the same success as Necro Butcher. CZW likely realizes that, as they are soon to be bringing in Bob Holly to help coach some of the workers, a role that the likes of Tommy Dreamer and Kevin Nash have filled before.
--From the "How the Mighty Have Fallen" department, promotions are leaving what remains of the National Wrestling Alliance left and right. There was some sort of lawsuit from NWA board members that accused the former NWA president Bob Trobich of insurance fraud, and that basically forced NWA's hand in selling ownership to International Wrestling Corp., LLC. As a result of that, a number of the promotions who were affiliated with NWA are leaving the alliance. Chief among these is Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, usually called NWA Hollywood in shorthand. This is one of the higher profile indies on the West Coast, sharing a lot of their roster with PWG and others. Also bolting from the NWA are the former NWA Wisconsin, now called Wisconsin Pro Wrestling, and the Mach-One Pro Wrestling organization. Pro Wrestling Revolution is severing their ties with NWA and joining up with Masked Republic, working mostly Southern California. The NWA as a name has no draw value anymore, and there isn't much of a reason to be affiliated with them in today's non-territory system where most indie guys won't be traveling between companies anyway, so I'd say it's a good move for these companies. These are bleak times for what's left of the old NWA, but this isn't the 70s and it makes no sense for a young indie to join up with the NWA just to say they were a part of it.
--Tommy Dreamer has opened up a new wrestling school and promotion, called House of Hardcore in tribute to his ECW past. This is not to be mistaken with Shane Douglas' Extreme Rising events. Despite the name, Dreamer's company seems to be more about featuring current wrestlers and wrestlers from the past and nothing really specific to trying to get the old ECW band back together. Their first event is October 6th and is said to be a tribute to wrestling's glory days, with a red carpet tour of wrestling memorabilia and photos being offered in addition to a full card of matches and appearances by the Steiner Brothers and Edge. A few of the matches include:
-Rhino vs. Sami Callihan
-Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs. The Young Bucks
-Jazz vs. Winter
-The former Chris Masters in a $500 Open Master Lock Challenge
Also appearing are Mike Knoxx, Tony Nese, Mikey Whipwreck, Big Daddy V, Tommy Dreamer, Carlos Colon Jr., Eddie Kingston, Hale Collins, Shawn Daivari, Luke Gallows, and The Sandman, in addition to the aforementioned Steiners and Edge. Offhand I'd definitely be willing to see Rhino & Sami Calliahan tear it up, and I'd bet London and Kendrick vs. The Young Bucks would push the higher star limits. Dreamer is one of the more beloved guys in wrestling and with his experience in
WWE developmental as well as helping run ECW, I'd bet he can make a successful promotion with the tools he has at his disposal.
As a side note, thinking about all the success Dreamer has had in his career made me think back to 1993, when I went to my first pro wrestling show and a young, unknown, blonde and suspender-clad Tommy Dreamer was the first wrestler that walked to the ring, to take on Surfer Ray Odyssey. Odds are for a lot of people the first wrestler they ever saw make an entrance live was someone who maybe never became a success in wrestling, or probably someone most of you don't even remember now. I saw Dreamer at one of his last TNA house shows last year (which I recapped for the blog, if you'll remember) and mentioned having seen him wrestle near here nearly 20 years prior, when I was just a 7 year old kid and he was just a rookie with his whole career ahead of him. He later mentioned having come through this area in his promo that night, which I thought was pretty cool. So I thought it would be an interesting subject of discussion around here: Does anyone remember the first wrestler they ever saw come through the curtain at their first live wrestling show, and was it anyone notable? Leave your comments below.
--That's it for this edition. I gotta give myself a cheap plug and tell you to keep your eyes peeled on our sister site Inside Pulse, specifically in the Music zone, where I will be putting up a new Chart Transplant column shortly and hope to continue to add music news, columns, and reviews more and more. Hopefully I'll be back with an ROH recap soon, and if not keep your eyes peeled for something special I might be working on. Until next time: be it wrestling, music, theater, or upside down juggling, whatever, get out there and support your local scene.