Support NXT, and your local Indies!

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AS I SEE IT: Support NXT, and your local Indies!
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Ring of Honor ran two sold-out shows at the 2300 (ECW) Arena this past week with New Japan Pro Wrestling talent. This all started with the surprise announcement that ROH would run a mid-week show with New Japan talent in Philadelphia, along with its Toronto shows…then added a second Philadelphia show after it quickly sold out.

Then, piggybacking on those shows, WWE…which previously indicated it was taking NXT on the road, leaking online that they’d be going to the Arena later that week, then later denying the report.

It turned out NXT indeed came to Philadelphia…but they went instead to Philadelphia suburban concert venue the Tower Theatre. The Tower Theatre is a an excellent concert venue…but not so much for wrestling; which the fans let WWE know. While NXT sold out the first night, they had to paper the house the second night, and bring in Tommy Dreamer and Joey Styles.

Although I think WWE should have gone to the Arena, largely because people are used to the Arena… there are other venues in Philadelphia with seating capacities comparable to the Tower that are set up far better for wrestling. There were the Liacouras Center and McGonigle Hall, right on the Temple University campus, which has been used by TNA and independent wrestling promotions. There was the Northeast Armory, which ROH has used.

But venues aren’t so much the point, as why people got so excited to see NXT, given one very important fact brought up in a social media post by a Michael Kingston, who said what I’ve thought for years…long before there was an NXT:

NXT is pretty great, right? But the indies have been doing this for YEARS. If you went to NXT this weekend but haven’t spent a dime over the years at ROH, PWS, …2CW, Chikara, Beyond Wrestling…you’re part of the problem.

Kevin Owens has been awesome for years (as Kevin Steen). Sami Zayn has been awesome for years (as El Generico). Why weren’t they worth your money then? Great wrestling can happen other places than WWE.

I’m not saying don’t support NXT…I’m saying support your local independent promotion as well. Those boys need it more than Vince does.

Just speaking from my own perspective, Philadelphia’s been blessed over the years with some of the greatest independent talent in the world walking through the doors of the ECW Arena…and other venues.

Here’s just a short list of the talent that’s walked through Philadelphia area venues, ranging from the ECW/2300 Arena to the Murphy Recreation Center in Philladelphia to The Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, to ECWA’s Super Eight shows in suburban Wilmington. Mind you…this is just from recent years:

* Tyler Black (Seth Rollins, WWE World Heavyweight Champion)
* Jon Moxley (NXT/WWE’s Dean Ambrose)
* “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (aka Daniel Bryan) (WWE)
* Jeff and Matt Hardy (WWE, TNA)
* Matt Cross (Lucha Underground’s Son of Havok)
* Claudio Castagnoli (WWE’s Cesaro)
* Brodie Lee (WWE’s Luke Harper)
* El Generico (WWE/NXT’s Sami Zayn)
* Kevin Steen (NXT’s Kevin Owens)
* Jamie Noble (WWE)
* Joey Matthews (WWE)
* Sami Callihan (NXT’s Solomon Crowe)
* CM Punk (WWE/UFC)
* Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson (Young Bucks)
* Christopher Daniels (TNA)
* Low Ki (TNA)
* Bobby Roode (TNA)
* Samoa Joe (WWE)
* AJ Styles (prior to TNA and New Japan)
* Frankie Kazarian (TNA)
* Chris Sabin (TNA)
* Austin Aries (TNA)
* Alex Shelley (TNA)
* Charlie Haas (TNA)
* Rob Eckos (Robbie E) (TNA)
* Jerry Lynn (pre- ECW and TNA)
* Shiima Xion (Zema Ion and DJ Z, TNA)

So this talent and more is out there…waiting to be seen by you in venues close to your house…almost every weekend. I’ve pushed and pushed and pushed independent wrestling on my website for 14 years now. Lots of other people push independent wrestling online, on social media. The information is out there. But too many people turn up their noses at it. It’s not WWE. I hear “who are these guys?”

Indies allow for more variety in match styles, more freedom…and you’ll tend to see more exciting matches overall, IMO.

Give an independent show a try. Check out sites like mine. Check Facebook. Look for a show in your area. If you see a poster at a local restaurant or bar with a wrestling show (yes, smart promoters do that too), give it a shot. They need the money and the exposure far more than WWE does. Odds are on one of those shows you’ll see a star of the future.

Until next time…
Bob Magee