This past weekend I had the opportunity to take in an indie wrestling show for the first time ever. Indie wrestling is at an all time high right now, and for all intents and purposes has replaced the old territory system as a place for guys and gals to come and go from place to place without being tied in to any long term exclusive deals. I think a big thing that’s making it work now is that these companies are accepting a position as a feeder to the WWE and not a competitor, and that with streaming video they don’t have to worry about getting squeezed off local TV by Vince any more. The selling point as a fan is that you may just get to see a future star in his or her infancy stage, or catch someone who used to work in the big time but can still go and put on some really good wrestling for a much cheaper price (I got a second row seat here for $25). This event in particular was focused on newer people who out to prove themselves (hence the name for the event, MCW Breakthrough: Proving Ground); with the exception of former WWE wrestler Joey Mercury the only one on the card I’d heard of before was Big Sean Studd, some of former WWE wrestler Big John Studd. That made it a bit awkward not knowing what anyone’s moves or finishers were but it also meant I could just sit and watch without any biases or pretenses.
MCW has a regular streaming program, so this live event was both a standalone event of sorts while advancing ongoing storylines. And once again coming in completely cold was to my disadvantage. While they did have their own version of the Titantron there weren’t any setup vignettes for any of the matches that were parts of ongoing angles. Obviously that kind of stuff costs a lot of money to do so I understand them not having it, but at the same time I was pretty lost as to what was going on. To everyone’s credit though, all the wrestlers on the show were able to convey pretty easily who the faces and heels were. Communicating with the crowd is a crucial part of any wrestling event and these guys and gals handled that piece very well. The atmosphere was another plus. Several of the guys were out talking to fans before the show and taking pictures with them. I saw lots of fans talking to each other as well like regulars at the local bar; in a time where communal activities aren’t happening as much it’s good to see camaraderie amongst patrons.
So how was the actual wrestling? Not bad at all. Counting preliminary matches there were 11 bouts on this show, way too many to recap one at a time here. While several people on the show are purely local guys who are doing it for the love of performing there were some guys who stood out. Mercury was far and away the best one on the show, as one would expect. He controlled the main event he was in and worked the crowd like a true master heel; I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he one day showed up back in WWE if not ROH or TNA. You can get full results of the card here. MCW shows have featured lots of wrestlers who used to work for or were in between stints in WWE like Mickie James, The Hardys, and Ryback to name a few, in addition to current NXT guys Lio Rush and Velveteen Dream, so while it’s not as hyped up as outlets like PWG and Evolve you have a chance to get some good action at their shows. They also feature appearances by lots of legends of the business, everyone from Ric Flair to Shawn Michaels to Booker T.
The main event, a cage match where Mercury challenged for the MCW title agsinst champion Bruiser, was a good brawl with a surprising finish for anyone who’s a regular MCW viewer. I got a few pictures of it here:
All in all, not a bad night of wrestling at all. I can’t end without mentioning the other thing that I really enjoyed about the show: MANAGERS!
Managers are a dying breed in the WWE and even other companies now, so it was good to see some here. I counted four altogether with different looks and styles; managers really need to make a comeback as the good ones are heat magnets for their charges and lots of guys and gals would be really helped by having someone to talk for them and help get them over. Please Vince if you or someone who talks to you is reading this, get some more managers in there. But anyhow pretty good show overall and I’m definitely going to give them another shot when I can squeeze in the time to make it there.
You can see all the pictures I took from the event here.