After a wonderful return to wrestling super fandom in the past year and a half, the Intercontinental Belt and I have seen 12 different independent wrestling events along with a whole bunch of NXT house shows. It’s been a great year for independent wrestlers and promotions and likely the talent level and passion for the product hasn’t been this high in a long time. So without further adieu, here are my top 3 for the best independent wrestling shows I’ve seen over the year that was 2015.
1. Full Impact Pro Fall Out Night One wins hands down with a bullet as far and away the best show I saw all year. This night was non-stop fun from start to finish showcasing the best talent in tag teams and stables from across the country. From the Hooligans to the Viking War Party there was never a dull moment. I had an endless array of wrestlers crashing at my feet, stealing my chair, making me run outside and watch them battle in the street, and hope they weren’t dead after executing a flip or moonsault off a bar, bar stool or ring apron (or all the above). It was really wonderful to see some of the incredible talent outside Florida, like the former champs, the Submission Squad of St Louis Anarchy, or Chris Castro from Chicago’s Freelance Wrestling. If you weren’t aware there are incredible wrestling promotions likely down the street from where you live, and I got to see them all together and battling it out for one magical night. If you haven’t seen FIP’s Fall Out, it’s a rare treat of the best and brightest from across the United States. It’s sure to introduce you to wrestlers you will most certainly see on TV in the near future and maybe who live down the street from you!
2. Shine 29: The making and breaking of Allysin Kay! Shine has always been a great promotion for showcasing the wrestling acumen of women from around the globe. But a legitimate criticism of Shine had always been its lack of storytelling. Smarks abound with exaggerated statements that Shimmer is the A squad while Shine was the B squad. Well that criticism, while definitely already inaccurate, has been smashed to dust this year. 2015 was the year Shine’s storytelling truly shined and Shine 29 was the final bit of wax on that highly polished Cadillac. This was a great event done pitch perfect from start to finish with the last temptation of Allysin Kay. Kay was truly masterful as the hard working heel who finally gets her title shot against the altruistic Santana, only to be betrayed by her stable mates. In addition to the title match, there were so many highlight moments in this show that it’s impossible to pick one. From Jessicka Havok and LuFisto’s all out war to Su Yung dripping blood into Luscious Latasha’s mouth, you will find something that will shock and amaze you. All I can say, is get this one of Blue Ray DVD and watch it in the dark. You will find yourself transformed and different by the end of it, much like AK-47’s infamous face turn.
3. Evolve 45: Can Roderick Strong and Zack Sabre Jr. Just Wrestle each other forever? Certainly every Evolve show is well worth the money, however, this one rises above the rest in terms of quality and the match referenced above. While many were raving about Zac Sabre Jr. and Pentagon Jr. (the battle of the second named) on PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles, in my humble opinion, this one beats it out. Honestly, this meet-up will likely go down as the greatest wrestling match I’ve ever seen and ever will see. I literally can’t explain what occurred when these two wizards met up, it was so fluid that you’d swear you were watching some kind of masterful Kata and not a wrestling show in a bar in Florida. All I can say, is watch it and stare in astonishment! You will find yourself no longer embarrassed to tell your friends and family that you are wrestling fan and will instead declare yourself a genius among humans for loving this bizarre but beautiful art form. Thank you Roddy and Zack for elevating fake fighting into artistry.
Well that is my indie top 3! As you can tell I’ve had a great year and haven’t even needed to leave Tampa to see some of the best wrestlers the world over. I’m guessing 2016 will be even better. So tell me what were your favorites from your home town or travels? I’d love to know!