The Wrestling Alternative: Why Settle"
June 20, 2006 by Will Gregory

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I'm about as indifferent right now to the whole idea of bringing back ECW as any human being could be. I don't sit on message boards whining and jumping the gun about how the WWE is going to screw it up. On the other hand, I'm not going to pay 40 bucks to see the PPV, nor will I even care to watch the special on free TV. My only real feeling about the whole situation is that I'm glad some guys, regardless of how I personally feel about them, are finally getting a good payday, whereas they should be have made millions because of their innovation and how much, for better or worse, they have influenced aspiring wrestlers during the past decade.

No, my thoughts are not on the creative aspect of ECW, instead looking the fact that an increasing number of casual and, judging from editorials on some of the more major websites aimed at them, "hardcore" fans are under the impression that, like magic, ECW will or even just POSSIBLY provide them with everything that they have wished from the WWE or TNA for that matter and the idea that this is the end-all be-all alternative, counter-culture wrestling choice.

The simple statement goes like this: If you are fed up with what wrestling is like on your TV or just looking for more wrestling outside of it, there's a world out there waiting for you which has rarely been more accessible. It's a complete waste to sit around and wait for Vince to throw you a bone.

This statement really should have been shouted from rooftops all over the course of the past five years, which has produced an enlarging number of jaded, bored, unfilled wrestling fans who stuck with the WWF/E product as much as out of habit as anything.

Want hardcore" Skip a PPV one month and use that cash to pick up one of IWA-MS annual King of the Death Matches shows, or pick up a couple of Combat Zone Wrestling shows. You may even have older CZW releases in major outlets like Media Play. While not very familiar with the product myself, I'm hearing a lot about the International Wrestling Syndicate these days as well.

Straight, scientific wrestling" Ring Of Honor may be the obvious choice especially with it's ever-growing coverage in Pro Wrestling Illustrated and their sister publications, but you've got the aforementioned IWA-MS and even companies that may be known for being wacky or hardcore, like Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and CZW respectively, have some incredible workers despite what the major focus from the wrestling world is on.

Highflying" Just close your eyes and throw a dart, the wrestling scene is almost oversaturated with it.

Another added plus is that a lot of these companies have many different styles on just one show, therefore increasing the chance that, even if you are taking a total risk on a show, chances are good you will find something you like. If you think TNA is varied in terms of running from ex-WCW guys in their mid-40s to crazy young talent like Jay Lethal and Alex Shelley, just look at the average IWA-MS show. I recently just finished their 4/1/06 "We're No Joke" show. Within the context of a three-hour show I saw traditional style of work with clearly defined heels/faces, a couple of insanely innovative high-flying matches with a bit of "hardcore" mixed in one of them as well, a couple of brutal hard-hitting matches, women actually wrestling, and comedy. For 20 bucks.

I hate to sound like an advertisement, but what's the worst that could happen" You spend half of what you do on a WWE PPV and just see a couple of matches you are interested in. Chances are, if you're really searching for an alternative to Vince, that's not much unlike your views on the E's PPVs except you spent about $15 less on the indy show. Try something else. Search around, including your own area. This column is missing just as many major indy promotions as it has already mentioned.

Not to mention, and this may be advice that may or may not be agreed on by some companies, the resource sites such as Don't rely on it alone to get your fill, but use it as a tool to look around. Many indy companies are already realizing the potential for this and setting up their own accounts on YouTube to provide a mass number of people to chance to have a sample of their product either using YouTube itself or their own sites.

And this is just looking at America. Not to mention the fact that it's so much easier and cheaper now to see wrestling from all over the world than at any other point in history.

I promised myself I wouldn't name particular guys in this rant, but, speaking for myself, names like Raven, Taz, Stevie Richards, and Sabu meant everything to me in 1996, not only because they were entertaining but, quite frankly, because, at least in those days, they weren't people that everyone was very familiar with. A reshaped, evolving wrestling world produces an entirely different class of guys, yet who have provided me with as much, if not more so given our point in history, than those in '96. Obvious TNA names like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Low-Ki/Senshi, and Alex Shelley aside, you have guys out there on the indies like American Dragon, Matt Sydal, Claudio Castagnoli, Delirious, and B-Boy plus women like Lacey, Sara Del Rey, and Mickie Knuckles. And these names are not necessarily the guys who I would immediately direct people to, instead just being my personal favorites. Don't follow what I give you. Search things out for yourself.

Seeing the past revisited and having hope for the future is great but you don't have to be content with what mainstream wrestling serves up. You may miss an entire world out there that could end up meaning as much to you and wrestling experience as those in the past did.


by Will Gregory ..
Lance Crucifix wrote: HYPE CENTRAL, that was Lance Wright's line.

Dylan L. wrote:
You know, I'm usually tough on people on columns, but I thought this one was GREAT! You brought up a point not many people would ever think of bringing up because they had not thought of it. You are completely right. There are different federations, different styles of wrestling, FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE! I think this column was great. you just really got this point out there. Maybe now, some of those people complaining will find a fed that fits their style, and stick to it. And really be happy.


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