In indie wrestling, much like in professional sports, there tends to be an East Coast bias. A lot of the major indie feds run primarily on this side of the country, namely ROH, Chikara, EVOLVE, Dragon Gate USA and CZW. However, much like there’s always an outcry to notice teams from west of the Mississippi, there is a lot of chatter to pay attention to the burgeoning independent wrestling scene in Southern California, namely the pride of Reseda, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
PWG is my second favorite wrestling promotion going right now after the aforementioned Chikara, and for good reason. Nearly everything I’ve ever seen produced from them has been aces. However, while teams such as the Lakers and conferences in college such as the Pac-10 have gotten their respect over the years, I think that PWG is unfairly a bit behind. Nowhere is this lack of exposure more galling than it is with their household names not being household names across the indie spectrum nationwide.
Of all the originals that have passed through Reseda over the years, only a few have risen to the ranks of indie elite. I’d say Davey Richards is a guy right now who commands attention of wrestling fans all over the world, and he got his start in PWG. Super Dragon is another, although right now, he’s hurt and may not ever come back to the ring. The Young Bucks are a tag team that has taken off and made huge impacts in ROH and the Sapolsky feds, but you may know them even better as TNA’s Generation Me. Other guys are notable, but their names aren’t as big as the talent behind them is, and that’s a shame. Guys like Human Tornado, Joey Ryan, Scott Lost, Chris Bosh and Scorpio Sky all have the total package to have their names rightfully go aside those of CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, Homicide, Necro Butcher and Austin Aries as the indie elite from the last ten years or so. But why aren’t they?
[adinserter block=”2″]The truth is, PWG isn’t as big as ROH or even CZW or other East Coast indie feds, and that’s a huge reason why Ryan may not get the star treatment he deserves when appearing in ROH, or why ROH might not want to pay for a guy like Lost to come out when East Coast fans don’t know anything about him. It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that needs to be rectified. PWG’s critical acclaim is no joke. I’m not the only one who loves their product.
While they have a rabid fanbase that crowds into various arenas in SoCal to see them produce cards, that fanaticism isn’t contained to Reseda and other Los Angeles area venues. Fans like me who can only follow them through Youtube and DVD salivate at the chance to buy up their product when it gets released. Even though they may not have as many eyes on the product as ROH does, the people they get to watch love it more than the most rabid ROH fans love their product in my humble opinion.
PWG is so beloved because they provide a great mix of homegrown talent, guest stars, indie mainstays, an always-awesome crowd, ridiculously entertaining commentary and a fun atmosphere that provides fantastic matches and solid events. The list of guest stars and indie stalwarts who have appeared or who do appear for them regularly is extensive. Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Chuck Taylor, Kevin Steen, El Generico, Austin Aries, Necro Butcher and the Briscoe Brothers have all made appearances for the fed, and in terms of guest stars, they’ve gotten CIMA, the Motor City Machine Guns, Brian Kendrick, Rob Van Dam, Jushin Thunder Liger and The Great Muta to appear on their cards. However, the strongest part of the roster has to be their homegrown talent.
Yes, Lost, Bosh, Dragon and Tornado are all inactive for the fed right now. It sucks, but the PWG in-ring style is among the most intense that I’ve seen outside of Japan that it’s not surprising these guys burn the candle at both ends. It’s a huge reason why they’re so very well-received. However, they have a crop of guys ready to take their places, starting with Brandon Gatson.
[adinserter block=”1″]Gatson’s star has shot up substantially in the last year with him gaining big wins over big opponents leading up to a well-earned but somewhat surprising semifinal appearance in their annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament. He has big-league size and the working ability you’d expect to see from a guy with a PWG pedigree. He’s definitely a star to watch. There are a plethora of other guys you need to keep your eyes on as well, including the Cutler Brothers, Christina von Eerie, Candace LaRae, Brandon Bonham, Johnny Goodtime and Malachi Jackson (the youngest brother of the Young Bucks). Gatson, to me though, is the brightest star of the bunch. If anyone deserves to be a nationwide star like Davey Richards is, it’s Gatson.
Will he though? That all depends. For that to happen, people outside of SoCal need to support PWG. They are accessible. Not only do they sell DVDs from their site (http://www.prowrestlingguerrilla.com), ROH sells their merchandise on their site. Plus, if Highspots video has a table at an indie event you go to, they’ll have PWG DVDs for purchase. The more exposure they get, the more people will want to see these stars coming to their local feds, and the more praise these guys will deservedly get.
Still, there’s something to be said for being in on a secret. I like having an in, looking at guys who could be the best in the world producing some of the best wrestling in the world. But then again, I’m not a selfish guy by nature. I like to share, and PWG is a promotion that deserves to be shared.
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.
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