This weekend may be the hottest weekend of the summer in the Philadelphia/New York area. I’m not talking temperatures, although it is predicted that Philly is going to hit 100 degrees on the mercury on Saturday. I’m talking about indie wrestling. There are going to be three epic shows this weekend, and the already-spoiled Philly/NY crowd is going to be at the epicenter.
The first show, EVOLVE 4: Danielson vs. Fish, will take place Friday night at the Ace Center in Union City, NJ, the same site of Chikara’s Aniversario Elf. As the title of the show points out, the main event will pit Bryan Danielson in the middle of his whirlwind, post-WWE firing tour of the indies taking on Bobby Fish. If you don’t know who Fish is, that’s alright, because he’s still working his way up the indie ladder, but he’s been a stalwart for EVOLVE since the first show in January. He doesn’t have any wins yet, but he’s been impressing with his in-ring talents, highlighted by a nice match against Claudio Castagnoli a few months back. He’s also got a rep in Japan for good in-ring.
However, the biggest reason why you should be excited to see this match is because Danielson hand-picked Fish as an opponent. He gave his reasoning on his official blog, saying that Fish was a guy that would push him to his limits. That’s high praise from a guy regarded as the best wrestler in the world by more than a few. Danielson has been on fire since returning to the indies, having classic matches against Eddie Kingston, Tim Donst and Johnny Gargano to name a few. I think Bobby Fish will keep that pattern going strongly.
The next day, the action moves to The ECW Arena, where it will remain for the remainder of the weekend. Saturday’s action will be presented by Dragon Gate USA, although both shows are technically a joint DGUSA/Chikara affair. This will be the anniversary show of their first show in the US, also at The Arena. Danielson will be headlining this card as well, this time with DG ace wrestler Shingo Takagi. Danielson had a gangbusters match against Naruki Doi in his last DGUSA appearance last September, and it was very well-received. Shingo might even be a better fit for Danielson given that he’s bigger and works a stiffer style.
Co-headlining the card will be two big matches. BxB Hulk defends his Open the Freedom Gate Championship, the fed’s top title, against Masaaki Mochizuki. Both guys are among the best Dragon Gate has to offer, and Hulk is one of the most over import guys on the roster. In the other of the triple main events, there will be a four-man elimination match between the team from the stable Kamikaze USA (Jon Moxley, YAMATO, Akira Tozawa and Gran Akuma) will challenge Mike Quackenbush and his backup of Jigsaw, Hallowicked and in a pleasant surprise, Masato Yoshino, who just won the Open the Dream Gate Championship back in Japan (that being the Japanese arm’s biggest title).
Also on the card will be a women’s tag team match pitting the ladies of the BDK, Sara del Rey and Daizee Haze, against Awesome Kong and Raisha Saeed. I like this match because all four women are outstanding workers, especially Kong and del Rey. My only regret is that Raisha Saeed isn’t appearing as Cheerleader Melissa, which is her classic indie permutation. Such is life. There will be an abundance of trios and even atomicos (eight-man tags) matches on the card as well. No singles matches are scheduled, although there are only six matches booked. Usually, Chikara has eight matches per card, but if they don’t add anything, it means that they’re going to give these multi-man matches the time they deserve to unfold. Finally, Chikara is advertising a big surprise (Danielson?), and Tommy Dreamer will be inducted into The Arena’s Hardcore Hall of Fame, joining Public Enemy, Chris Candido, Terry Funk, Sandman and a few others.
All in all, this is shaping up to be a very stacked weekend for indie wrestling. Yeah, I know, we get all the great shows out here, but like I said last week, the DVDs will most likely be available within two weeks. Or hey, maybe if you’re game for a last-minute road trip, I can guarantee that it’ll be worth the miles, the gas and the time spent to get out here.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.