In my long life experience nothing compares to live professional wrestling. It provides the purest most complete connection to the drama played out in the ring. While I always enjoy watching a great match or show on the tube or computer, it is the live experience that I truly crave. Fortunately, since my retirement, I have been able to travel to shows at independent promotions throughout the country pursuing my passion. There are many outstanding companies in the landscape and I have been to dozens in the last three years. I thought it might be time to shed some light on some of my favorites and talk about five promotions that I love.
I think it is appropriate to begin this discussion in my own home town with the Scenic City brand in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Scenic City Invitational held its third annual 16 man tournament in August and was a wonderful success. In addition, the brand has added a Rumble and Trios competition at separate events this year. I have attended all of the shows and will continue to do so in the future. Several things set them apart. Scenic City shows are always so fan friendly and great family affairs. They book with a cool formula that features local, regional, and national talent. SCI has been a springboard for young talent and helped give several guys a well deserved push. It has really become a destination event and fans flock from all over the country and even abroad to attend.
My favorite old school promotion is CWF Mid Atlantic which runs out of Gibsonville, NC. This company attracts fans from the local area as well as travelers with compelling stories and matches. Beautifully booked with a big following on You Tube, CWF understands that great wrestling is performance art. The commentary, ring announcing, and production are so good. Coupled with great story telling and a fine venue, fans always get an excellent experience. Many top stars in independent wrestling have sprung out of Gibsonville.
Another indie promotion has popped up just a few hours down the road from me and really caught my attention. Southern Underground Pro in Nashville is punk rock themed and takes place in some great little venues where fans can grab a cold one and enjoy great matches. These folks have a sweet little product that attracts adults to an edgy show with some interesting story lines. Some of the best rising stars in indie wrestling like Curt Stallion and Joey Janela have performed here. Local and regional talent are integrated with visiting wrestlers to produce some fine opportunities for booking.
NOVA Pro Wrestling in northern Virginia is one of the very best products in the business for my money. These folks just seem to get it right time after time. They have developed a loyal local following and are attracting many fans from far away to see their shows. I can attest from my own experience that the fans are always treated well here. Wonderful matches and excellent story telling characterize this promotion. Great talent seems to love working here and they deliver in the ring. The venues are always first rate and shows are so professionally run. In addition, NOVA Pro has developed quite the reputation for hosting important women’s matches featuring some of the top performers in the industry.
The last promotion that has seized my attention in the past year is Glory Pro which runs out of the St. Louis area. A perfect blend of fine wrestling, story telling, and great talent produce a wonderful experience for fans. Owner Mike Elgin uses well trained local prospects to challenge some of the top stars in wrestling. This promotion focuses on all the important details to produce a compelling product that keeps fans coming back. Mike is very responsive to fan concerns and he runs a tight ship. He provides a wonderful family experience that welcomes everyone and I have only missed one Glory Pro show since its inception.
Now this short venture into the indies is not intended to be a thorough assessment of all the promotions that I love. That project would be enormous in scope and not likely read by most people. Rather my intention was to identify 5 promotions that I have found especially enjoyable in the past several months and whet your appetite for the experience that they provide. That said, it is apparent to me that all five share some common features. They are all responsive to fan issues. They all use excellent local and national talent. The shows start and end on time and run smoothly. The experience is enhanced by the selection of fine venues. All five promotions have an excellent social media presence. And, most importantly, they all provide great wrestling and wonderful story telling. It’s not rocket science people. It’s what I like. And they get it right.