As a lifelong wrestling enthusiast, I had the pleasure of growing up watching 80’s wrestling as a child and the Attitude Era during the heart of my college years (you know, back when everybody watched wrestling). I even served as an early contributor to the internet wrestling community as a lead writer for ProWrestle.com in the late 90’s. But it wasn’t until about 2004 or 2005 that I discovered the growing east coast independent wrestling scene. The alternatives provided by Ring of Honor and TNA were openly welcomed as the Attitude Era slowly morphed into the Ruthless Aggression/PG era. Let me tell you something: what a time to follow the independent wrestling scene! Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson (amongst others) were doing things that blew me away. As time passed, the indy scene got even hotter. EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA began running shows in the NYC area by 2010 introducing even more new talent to local fans. These new companies presented themselves in a credible format with great in-ring action and storytelling. Tier 1 Wrestling has followed suit with their new company that strives (and succeeds) to do the same.
Tier 1 Wrestling is a young independent wrestling promotion that runs in the metro NYC area and brought their third show to the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park on Friday, December 4th. This was the first opportunity that I had to attend and enjoy their product. I am happy to report that it is top notch.
When I attend a show for the first time, I enjoy analyzing the wrestling talent and the company. There is a certain “it factor” that can be determined the first time you see a wrestler and it speaks greater than any specific move or mannerism. The top tier of the independent scene is now so strong that companies like EVOLVE and now Tier 1 are able to present workers that are relatively unknown on a national level but have already developed a high level of overall talent. These are the guys that are close to reaching the “next level” but have been held back for whatever limitations they possess. I often compare this analysis to scouting minor leaguers in baseball. You analyze the tools and project the level that these athletes will rise to. The owner of Tier 1 Wrestling, Dennis Long, has shown with his roster and booking that he also has a keen eye for talent.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the Tier 1 Wrestling product because the talent level, in-ring action and booking were all delivered in a format resembling the ‘top tier’ of the national independent scene. It felt like much more than the stereotypical “local indy show” that runs all over the country. The wrestlers worked hard and were hungry. There was a perfect balance of wrestling, comedy, storyline and sensible booking. The match order kept the pace strong and continued to peak my interest level. I also sensed a strong unity among the wrestlers which made me feel enthusiasm for the guys and what they were trying to do.
I did however come away with one ugly truth from my live experience. While the show was indeed top notch and the fans in attendance and watching on internet PPV came away with a thoroughly enjoyable experience, the show could have had better fan attendance. I know that the guys behind this company have promoted heavily in the region and have worked very hard to bring a quality product that fans want to see. But if more people don’t attend shows like these, it will be a lose-lose for both the promotion and fans. I have seen too many events canceled over the years due to lack of awareness and I make this plea to wrestling fans: come see this promotion! If you are already a fan and you attended the past few shows, bring some family members next time. If you are a worker on the roster, sell sell sell those tickets to as many family members as you can. It’s not expensive and the low ticket fee is more than worth the price of admission. If we do not support the things that we like, they will go away. Plus, they also need to profit. All businesses need to do so to survive.
So to the average wrestling fan reading this story: I plea that you order the next IPPV. To the local wrestling mark that loves indy shows: I plea that you buy a ticket to the upcoming show on March 20, 2015 (location TBA). You will not be disappointed and you will appreciate the bargain.