When you think independent wrestling, the first things that probably come to mind are the major promotions, oxymoronic as that phrasing sounds. Ring of Honor, Chikara Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, SHIMMER Women’s Athletes Dragon Gate USA and Combat Zone Wrestling comprise the select few super-indies who have come along and laid down roots across the country as stalwarts in the wrestling world.
Granted, as independent wrestling has become bigger business, these promotions offer a viable alternative to WWE and TNA in today’s marketplace. However, for those who don’t get to see companies such as these come to their town and who would rather not pay shipping prices to bring the DVDs to their houses (although with streaming, mp4 availability and On Demand iPPV, accessibility to major promotions is getting easier by the day), supporting independent wrestling might seem like a daunting task.
[adinserter block=”2″]However, in most places where there is a fair concentration of people, there is probably a wrestling promotion. Just because the local company doesn’t have name recognition doesn’t mean it’s not purveying good wrestling. Some companies and cities have more viable scenes than others. Cleveland has at least two great independent promotions in Pro Wrestling Ohio and Absolute Intense Wrestling.
Austin has one of the most critically acclaimed companies in America in Anarchy Championship Wrestling. Even if there isn’t a company in your town that has gotten national play, odds are, there’s a company in your town putting on shows as long as you don’t live in a remote area like, say, a ranch in Wyoming or in a small mining town in South Dakota.
If there is pro wrestling in your town, it’s important that if you love wrestling, you support it. Why? There are plenty of reasons. One is that wrestlers don’t grow on trees. As much as WWE likes to pretend that a bodybuilder can be molded into a wrestler with a year or so of light training in Tampa, that’s just not the case.
Many times, the future of the industry starts out in dingy VFW buildings, bingo halls and high school gymnasia across the country. Everyone has to start somewhere. If local companies don’t get support, they don’t stay open. If they don’t stay open, then it’s harder for younger guys to get started in the business.
Secondly, it helps diversify the scene. No two promotions are the same, or at least they shouldn’t be the same. How boring would wrestling be if Chikara and ACW operated in the same spirit as each other, let alone tried to ape ROH or even WWE? Every locality has its own flavor, and what better way to express that flavor than through wrestling? Wrestling’s always better when you have choices in front of you. Even in places where ROH and Chikara visit, having other local promotions run shows gives a diversity of performance that is going to have something for everyone who likes wrestling.
Third, it’s usually an inexpensive night out for the family. Obviously, promotions that deal with mature subjects and have ultraviolence won’t be the ideal place to bring children, but as long as the local promotion is family friendly (I’d venture to say most are), it’s a great place to give the kids a night out at the matches without spending an arm and a leg.
Tickets for the larger promotions in bigger markets, like ECWA in South Jersey and Delaware, run about $15, which provides a great seat at a fraction of ticket costs even for WWE nosebleeds. In more rural/suburban areas, tickets can run as low as $5. NWA Pro South Wrestling in Piedmont, AL, has $6 tickets for their monthly shows. Even if you go to shows by yourself, it’s still a cheap night out, and hey, you get to meet other wrestling fans who have a like mind to yourself. That’s a bonus.
[adinserter block=”1″]Much in the same way wrestling isn’t just what you find on the Universal family of networks and Spike TV, it’s also not just confined to the major independent companies. Do a little bit of research and find out where the local promotions are in your area. Wrestling is an art that needs to grow locally before it grows nationally. If you’re a wrestling fan, do your part to help continue the industry’s survival not only on a financial level, but on an artistic one as well.
The hipster meme is that buying local is always better than going for national brands. I’m not saying not to support WWE, but there’s plenty of wrestling in your backyard that deserves to be supported in addition to the big dogs as well.
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.