The volume of sports entertainment out there is daunting these days. In my last post, I spoke of a time where there were two choices. If you did not like vanilla than there was always chocolate and if you did not like chocolate then screw you. However, there were always companies “independent” of the big two that you could watch. These independents are generally where the big two get their talent. Now we are down to the “Big One” but it feels like there are at least three levels now in our country. There is the WWE/NXT which is generally regarded as the top of the heap. Under that, there are companies like Lucha Underground, Ring of Honor and TNA. They are well-funded and have television but they still feed talent to the WWE. Below that are all the smaller companies that are largely regional and often feed NXT, LU, TNA and ROH. Of course, then there’s the AAA and NJPW and any other foreign markets which are kind of in a class of their own.
So anyway, it has been a long while since I enjoyed some independent action. I made time over the last two weeks to surf YouTube and check out some great matches. However, instead of praising companies, I thought I would take the opportunity to praise some of the performers. At present, these people do not have exclusive contracts anywhere. In lieu of clips, I decided to put up whole matches to show these people in action.
“King of Dong Style” Joey Ryan
Anybody who follows my twitter would know how much a fan I am of Joey Ryan. Joey is currently working on television for Lucha Underground but that is just one of his gigs. I have known of Joey Ryan since first seeing him in Wrestling Society X when he was one half of That 70’s Team with The Disco Machine. He got a try out on TNA Impact but they do not deserve him. His mission statement (according to various announcers) is to bring sleazy back to pro-wrestling. He has certainly accomplished this as he portrays a character you would not want to touch with a ten-foot pole and mostly because he might like that. His character thinks highly of himself but there is a good reason for that as he is a competent fighter in all of his incarnations. He is also the King of Dong Style which parodies Nakamura being the King of Strong Style. Sometimes, King of Dong Style means that Joey is immune to low blows and in Japan it means he literally fights people with his privates. As a guy who regularly takes part in intergender matches, he is the master of the Boobplex and the YouPorn Plex. Currently, he is touring with his long time tag partner Candace LeRae as The World’s Cutest Tag Team. He seems to thrive best in situations where he is not held back from being his pervy self but he has fit in anywhere I have seen him.
The Young Bucks
Matt and Nick Jackson are real life brothers who have been high up in the business for quite a while now. With all the talk lately about The Bullet Club and its partial absorption by the WWE, it’s cool to look at these guys too. These guys have become synonymous with the word independent in the past few years. They have thrived on the independent scene and worked for what seems like every small company in the country. They briefly worked in TNA as Generation Me but wisely got out while the getting was good. They are also regular special guests with ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling but neither are lucky enough to make it exclusive. As I insinuated earlier, these two are still members of the Bullet Club which had to expand to make up for the loss of AJ Styles, Prince Devitt, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Before AJ left, he used to do trios matches alongside the Bucks and it is clear they were on his level. Their work is incredibly smooth and they transition from move to move very quickly and they do the right moves at the right time. A lot of tag teams that engage in a lot of high spots pause a lot and look like they are just going down a list of moves they want to do. The Bucks are great about building the excitement of the match and playing to the crowd. They are like a faster, better version of the Hardys who did not go insane.
“The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay
The world of pro-wrestling recently exploded due to the online release of a New Japan Pro Wrestling match between Ricochet and Will Ospreay. I have not gotten to see that match as of the time of this writing but I have seen highlights. Some say it is amazing and others say it is destroying the business but it looked like a professional Lucha/Indy/Japanese hybrid match that had a lot of heart and athleticism. I decided to look into Will Ospreay because I already knew Ricochet as Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. After watching a few matches, I can tell that Ospreay deserves all of the hype and praise that he’s getting. He is definitely an amazing high flyer but I can see that he also has a technical side to him as well and I bet he can brawl if he wanted to. He is extremely athletic and is able to adapt to different styles. If you watch Ospreay/Richochet they are working a very light Lucha-esque style but if you watch the video above there is more weight to everything. England has a more hard hitting style with a history of both technical skill and causing pain. He (and many in the new generation) have been accused of just being spot monkeys but I can see good selling and plenty of psychology. His matches build and come to an explosive end and bring you on the emotional journey that they are supposed to. I can see where the criticism comes from but I do not agree with it. Ospreay is a hard worker and knows what he is doing and can only get better as his career continues.
So that’s it for this time around. I will have more next time when I have time to do this again. I enjoy watching stuff I am unfamiliar with to get an idea of what is out there. Sometimes the independent wrestlers get hired by the bigger companies and it is great to “know them when”. Time for me to go watch Ultima Lucha Dos!
But wait! BONUS MATCH!!! Because it includes two out of three entries here and I loved the match.