We want to thank Steve of SoCalUncensored.com for writing this look at some of the great wrestling promotions in the San Diego region.
Southern California has long been a hotbed for independent professional wrestling, but until the last few years the San Diego area was nothing more than an afterthought in the region. Not so anymore as the independent wrestling scene in San Diego has exploded in the last two years.
Unlike the greater Los Angeles area independent promotions running out of San Diego have been few and far between until recently. While occasionally some companies based outside of the area would run in San Diego, California Championship Wrestling, which ran from 1998 to 2001, was the first promotion to call San Diego home. While CCW was somewhat successful after its demise a string of promotions such as WCWA, New Wave, and SAW would come and go with limited success. Occasionally a lucha libre show would run as well, but San Diego’s proximity to the Mexican border and Tijuana, and the ease to see much bigger lucha shows, limited those as well.
Now there are five independent promotions that call San Diego home, with a sixth having announced that they will be starting up in June. There is an independent pro-wrestling show available almost every weekend in the area, often more than one. In fact coming up on May 20th three different promotions will all be running in San Diego County. Let’s take a look at the promotions.
SoCal Pro Wrestling
SoCal Pro Wrestling is the longest running independent promotion in San Diego’s history. They held their first show on April 14, 2007 and last weekend held their tenth anniversary show drawing over 600 people. SoCal Pro Wrestling is somewhat of a spiritual successor to CCW, as the promoter Jeff Dino was a fan of the promotion as a teenager and would bring signs to taunt the wrestlers. The run primarily in North County San Diego, usually at the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club, though they have held smaller shows at their school as well. Their shows are usually made up of wrestlers who trained with their school and other local independent wrestlers. Some of their regulars include Anthony Idol, Mike Camden, SoCal Crazy, Ryan Kidd, and Ricky Mandel. In the past year they have been bringing in more former WWE and WCW stars to their shows, such as Psicosis, Paul London, D-Lo Brown, and most recently Rey Mysterio Jr.
Finest City Wrestling
FCW is run by Gus Parsons and held their first show in 2009. From 2009 until late 2014 the promotion only ran sporadically and wasn’t held in high regard. With the addition of B-Boy there was a shift to bringing in better wrestlers and improving the quality of shows that slowly started paying off. They started using Young Bucks regularly and became the biggest drawing promotion in San Diego on average. In 2016 they really broke out and became one of the more popular promotions in Southern California, and finished second to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in the Southern California promotion of the year award voting. Their regular roster includes wrestlers such as B-Boy, Lil’ Cholo (Mr. Cisco on Lucha Underground), Douglas James, Tyler Bateman, and SoCal Crazy. They regularly use Jeff Cobb, Thunder Rosa, Rey Fenix, and Bestia 666 as well. They also opened a school, Battle U, last year with B-Boy as the head trainer. The first couple of students from the school made their debuts earlier this month. Their June 3, 2017 will have Rey Mysterio Jr. and Rey Horus (Dragon Azteca Jr. on Lucha Underground) versus Jeff Cobb and Bestia 666 in the main event. Their shows are normally held in Imperial Beach, with occasional shows elsewhere.
Oddity Wrestling Alliance
OWA started in 2011 and is a hybrid of lucha and American styles, which leans a little more towards lucha. They tend to use a lot of local luchadors mixed with bigger lucha names. On recent shows they’ve used Rey Fenix, Puma King, and Flamita to name a few. Some regular wrestlers on their shows includes Tyler Bateman, Brody King, Black Boy, Inframundo, and Ryan Kidd. One of the top women’s wrestlers in Southern California, Ruby Raze, is their women’s champion. Recently they have been using a bar, Border X Brewing, as their main venue. The shows have been taking place on the patio area outdoors, and the lighting has been an issue once it gets dark.
Baja Stars USA
Baja Stars USA is San Diego’s only pure lucha promotion currently. They held their first show in early 2016 and have run pretty much monthly since then. Their events normally consist of an undercard filled with local Southern California and Tijuana luchadors and an upper card filled with Tijuana mid-carders and a big name or two that they bring in. In their first year they’ve used Rush, Pentagon Jr., Fenix, Dragon Lee, and Nicho el Millonario. Their lineup is almost completely different every show, but TJ Boy, Star Boy, and Kid Tornado are about the closest things to regulars they have. They normally run at the Montgomery Waller Rec. Center in South San Diego.
The newest addition to the San Diego wrestling scene has actually been around awhile. FIST Combat ran regularly in Northern California for years, but with the promoter, Mikey Gordon, moving to San Diego he brought the promotion with him. FIST runs at an American Legion in Barrio Logan and their shows are for ages 21 and up. The venue has really low ceilings which limits a lot of the wrestling and leads to a lot more crowd brawling to compensate. All of the matches are no DQ as well. While they use a lot of local wrestlers such as B-Boy, Eli Everfly, Ryan Kidd, and Jacob Diez, they also have characters such as Dirty Ronald McDonald. It is something else to see someone dressed as Ronald McDonald holding a Happy Meal while cutting an x-rated promo. FIST has ended up being a fun addition to the scene as there is nothing else like it out there. They also have a TV show that airs on public access in Northern California and gets posted on YouTube.
Brave Immortal Combat
Brave Immortal Combat is scheduled to debut on June 4th. Announced for their debut show are Lio Rush, Keith Lee, Dezmond Xavier, Shane Strickland, Eli Everfly, Dax Jayne, Scorpio Sky, Chris Strong, and more. Their show will be taking place at the Jacobs Center in San Diego.
Along with all the independent wrestling the WWE usually makes at least two stops in San Diego a year. This year NXT will be making their San Diego debut on May 6th. Also not included in this is Super Awesome Showdown, which is more like Kaiju Big Battel than an average independent show. Tijuana is also a short trip away and there are lucha libre shows their pretty much several times a week (for more info on going to Tijuana check out SCU’s handy Tijuana lucha libre travel guide).
To find out more information on any of the promotions listed here search their names in Facebook, as most (aside from SoCal Pro) don’t really have their own website. Without trying to be too spammy, you can also check out SoCalUncensored.com for up-to-date information on all of these promotions and every promotion in Southern California. Our events page is updated regularly and can be searched by zip code.