So, I like professional wrestling. You may already know this. Here’s the thing about pro graps, or rasslin’, or whatever you call it: there is something for everyone. If you don’t like the cookie-cutter match-type, or drama-laden story-lines of the WWE, there is something for you. There is character-driven WWE, masked two-out-three-falls lucha libre, hard-hitting puroresu, the technical wizardry of catch wrestling, and many more. There are family-friendly independents, and bloody and violent independents. There is something for your particular tastes.
I normally talk about WWE, and they have a lot of new story-lines and a lot of set-up this week. We’ll get to that Friday, but today we have a little something different. I’m going to start shining a little light on the little guys. Every Wednesday, I’ll give you a brief rundown of some of the other promotions.
EVOLVE was founded by Ring of Honor founder Gabe Sapolsky, and have featured some of the most prominent names in independent wrestling over the years. After three years of events, EVOLVE introduced a championship via a tournament. Rich Swann, Samuray de Sol (WWE’s Kalisto), and Richocet were some of the names involved, with AR Fox picking up the win. Some of the Indies best grapplers have held the EVOLVE Championship at some point: Chris Hero (WWE’s Kassius Ohno), Drew Galloway (McIntyre), Timothy Thatcher, and now ZSJ. Sabre ended Thatcher’s reign six days shy of his 600th day.
EVOLVE partnered with Dragon Gate USA before that promotion folded a few years back. They are also under the WWNLive banner, which also carries American Combat Wrestling, Full Impact Pro, SHINE Wrestling, and Style Battle.
Evolve Championship: Zack Sabre, Jr.
Evolve Tag Team Championship: Catch Point (Chris Dickinson and Jaka)
They don’t have a premier yearly event, but they run about five or six a year.
WWNLive in conjunction with FloSlam
WHATCULTURE PRO WRESTLING
What started with a YouTube channel riffing on wrestling, turned into a full-on promotion. WCPW Fully Loaded aired in June of 2014, and they have quickly ramped their way up the charts. Some of wrestling’s biggest independent names have taken part in WCPW shows. They have a lot iPPV shows, but they also have a huge YouTube presence. If you don’t want to shell out a few bucks a month for streaming services, WCPW’s YouTube page is enough to satisfy your thirst.
Their World Championship just changed on back-to-back days because their reigning champ (Drew Galloway McIntyre) was signed to WWE and pulled out of his bookings due to that contract. Otherwise, top-five independent wrestler Will Ospreay is one of their five belt holders.
WCPW World Champion: Joe Hendry
WCPW Internet Champion: Gabriel Kidd
WCPW Tag Team Champions: Swords of Essex (Will Ospreay and Scott Wainwright)
WCPW Women’s Champion: Bea Priestly
They also don’t have a premier yearly event, but they’ve run 40 events (between YouTube shows and iPPVs) in three years. They also have a WCPW World Cup, which is shaping up very well.
www.wc.pw has their shows and catalog.