In this modern world we live in, despite what conspiracy theorists might say, we live in a world full of freedom. As a consumer, we have freedom of choice. As long as we have the money then we can buy whatever we want. We are adults. Ice cream for breakfast? Done. Bacon on that burger? Done. Of course, this freedom of choice can sometimes come with what I call “the paralysis of choice”. “How can I choose between one hundred different shampoos?” This can be tough and requires shopping around. The upside? If you don’t like something there’s a lot of competition out there to check out.
I have definitely sampled a lot of wrestling and I’m always interested to check out companies that are new to me. These are the companies that I have seen and I continue to search out more and more. I have not watched really any of the Japanese or Mexican promotions. I want to though.
The state of Maryland is near and dear to my heart. It makes sense that I should throw some love to MCW, a local treasure. The company has been around in some form or another for a long time and a lot great performers have passed through there. They continue to have great independent wrestlers while playing host to big stars to draw crowds. It does not hurt that I am a huge fan of Justin Shlegel, 98 Rock personnel and royal adviser of Ryan McBride.
I have seen exactly one episode of Covey Pro Wrestling but it felt pretty fun. As I said on twitter, this one is country as hell. The episode I saw was staged in a high school gym but the performers looked dedicated and hard working. There were no real high spots or anything flashy. It was old school, hoss wrestling but sometimes that can be nice. This promotion serves West Virgina, Maryland, Pennsylvania and I think Virginia.
The biggest independent promotion in the country. They are funded by Sinclair broadcasting and they hire only the best talent from around the country and internationally. They have a weekly show and regular internet payperviews. They are the most polished of all of the organizations below TNA and WWE. In fact, both companies regularly raid ROH for talent.
The second biggest promotion in the United States (and maybe the world?) behind WWE. They seem to hire a lot of ex-WWE wrestlers but they have done a pretty good job over the years of generating their own talent or hiring from ROH. They were revolutionary back in the day but when they sold the company to Dixie Carter the company started to go downhill. The booking often doesn’t make sense and some of the gimmicks are really stupid. Still, the perfomers have heart and I still find myself floating back to it after quitting it in disgust.
CHIKARA is silly as hell. It has goofy over-the-top performances and cartoon characters as performers. I have not seen a whole lot of their product but the matches are often dynamite. The comedy is often mixed into a highly technical match with amazing athleticism. Besides, there are few other American promotions that I know of that can stop a match in the middle for a dance off between the competitors. There is no other promotion who has hired both Bob Saget and Dave Coullier to be in story authority figures.
Or you could dig up some archives of other defunct promotions some of which are on the WWE Network. (Only $9.99/month!) These would include WCCW, WCW, ECW and Smokey Mountain Wrestling.
Bonus Honorable Mention:
Wrestling Society X
I actually really liked MTV’s wrestling show back in the day. The production values were amazing (including special effects which were so bad they were good) and the wrestling was pretty top notch. Unfortunately they made Vampiro their champ but nobody’s perfect. You can still find all of it on Youtube. Check it out.
Double Bonus Mention:
NXT is unfortunately only available on the WWE network but it is the one show that I definitely do not miss each week. It’s WWE’s farm league basically but they push the boundaries and try a lot of wacky and fun stuff on there. The women’s division on NXT is the best I have seen. There is a lot more comedy that is a lot less forced. Besides, it’s got Enzo Amore who is quickly becoming one of my favorites.