PINFALL Magazine » CHIKARA , , EXW , Indy Wrestling , NWA Hollywood , PINFALL Magazine , PWG , Ring of Honor , The 10 Count » The 10 Count: American Wrestling Promotions You Should Be Following

The 10 Count: American Wrestling Promotions You Should Be Following

On the heels of National Geographic’s “Slammed”, the interest in independent wrestling is a bit higher than usual. If you’re a wrestling fan, you know about the WWE, or what we used to call WWF. There’s also the lesser known (for good reason) TNA/Impact Wrestling, but it’s still relatively well known in comparison to what we call independent wrestling. For the third iteration of The 10 Count, PINFALL Magazine brings you 10 Independent Wrestling Promotions that every wrestling fan should be following. Some of these promotions have local television shows running in specific markets, and one (ROH) even has a national deal that will go into effect in September. The best part is, you can watch some of these promotions for free on the internet using their official websites. If you enjoy wrestling, and want to see where the future prospects come from, look at the following promotions.

1. CHIKARA : There’s no company I enjoy more than CHIKARA. For a relatively small promotion, they know how to do it big. There’s always something special to behold at one of their shows. Professional Wrestling has always felt right when it’s closest to a comic book, and CHIKARA recreates that feeling better than anyone in the business. They blend comedy with technical ability like no other, and all the while keeping it family friendly. They infuse plenty of great, well-known,guest talent as well. They have an impressive online presence, their own card game (reviewed here), and are continually growing. CHIKARA are in the midst of their 10th season, have their first IPPV coming up, and are worth a look no matter where you start. Another bonus for CHIKARA is their commentary, which is the most outstanding in the business. The only company that even comes close on commentary is PWG.

2. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla : PWG are basically the adult themed version of CHIKARA. PWG are also seemingly scaling back a bit, running out of one venue and cutting portions of their BOLA tourney, but less is more in their case. They don’t run IPPVs currently, and their DVD turnaround time isn’t nearly as impressive as CHIKARA (it’s not even close), but their in-ring product never fails. They have a dedicated following, so their fans are always into the shows. Their DVDs always feature the highest production values. Like the rest of the top 3 on this list, they also do Tag Team Wrestling proud with the quality and respect shown.

3. Ring of Honor : No one takes wrestling more seriously than Ring of Honor. If you’re not into a 50/50 comedy to serious ratio, Ring of Honor is for you. They’re basically what NWA used to be to the WWF. They look at wrestling as the sport it is, and they allow their wrestlers to tell stories in the ring. Their TV deal kicks in September, so be on the look out for the rise of Ring of Honor!

4. SHIMMER : The top of the female wrestling mountain. They’re basically an All-Female version of Ring of Honor. Their match quality is as consistent as any other independent promotion, and they feature some of the most talented women I’ve ever seen. They’re certainly a niche promotion, as most wrestling fans don’t respect women in the ring, but give SHIMMER a shot and you will.

5. Dragon Gate USA : Dragon Gate is probably the most enjoyable promotion working out of Japan, and their USA Crossover shows are on the same level. Every show features at least one spot you’ve never seen, as these guys are heavy on the innovation. DGUSA is one of those companies you can pick up and watch at any time. They’re far from convoluted in their execution.

6. NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood : NWA Hollywood is one of those sleeper companies that have become a mainstay on PINFALL Magazine. They feature some of the best talent in the business (mostly American West Coast), and have had interesting booking to back it all up. You’re always guaranteed at least one 10+ minute match on their hour long episodes, and usually multiple. My favorite part of NWA Hollywood is that you can stream any of their episodes from the NWA Hollywood Official website. Do yourself a favor, and give them a look.

7. Evolve : They don’t run as many shows as some promotions, but their also brand new (founded 2010). They know which talent is hot, and they get them on their shows. I haven’t seen as much Evolve as I’d like, but what I’ve seen is a top shelf product with a lot of upside. Evolve should be rising up this list by next year.

8. Elite Xtreme Wrestling : One of those indy promotions that you enjoy despite the booking (and commentary). It’s interesting to see another look at the Western American prospects, but sometimes their shows (also free on their website) are hard to watch. They seem to resemble the TNA/Impact product more than anyone else in wrestling, so if that’s your thing EXW is for you. They feature up-and-comers like Willie Mack, Rexx Reed and The Freak Squad, while also mixing in former WWE talent. They know they should have a strong internet presence (proven with their show being released on the internet), but they’re still learning the ropes on that end.

9. Anarchy Championship Wrestling : The only company on this list that rivals CHIKARA when it comes to treating female/male talent evenly at a high level. They book a lot of the top indy talent, and their shows feature strong continuity. Few promotions have more character than ACW, and at the very least wrestling fans should be following them on Twitter.

10. : IWA Unlimited is the answer to the loss of IWA Mid-South. They seem to be working out all the kinks at the moment (no official website seemingly), but they’re putting on shows and making their mark. Speaking of Mark, their DVDs are available on Smart Mark Video.

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Don’t think these are the only 10 wrestling promotions worth checking out. There are plenty of other great companies all across the world. If you want wrestling, you can certainly find it. I’d love to include a world wide list, but I don’t feel like I follow enough of them closely enough to properly list them. Now if any promoter out there wants to be followed more by PINFALL Magazine, contact [email protected] … We’re an equal opportunity wrestling website.

JPLS

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