RADICAN’S BLACK FRIDAY/HOLIDAY BUYING GUIDE (Part 3) – Top picks from Smart Mark Video, Highspots, CHIKARA, Beyond Wrestling, PWG, and more

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


Chikara King of Trios 2016 - (ChikaraTix.com)

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This is part 3 of my annual Black Friday/Holiday buying guide. In this installment, I will take a look at my top picks for independent promotions and shoot interviews. RadicanSean_profile

Indie DVD/Blu-Ray/VOD/MP4/Streaming Service Recommendations

Beyond Wrestling

Beyond Wrestling is one of my favorite promotions to watch. The shows usually have a great atmosphere, especially when they take place at Fete Music in Providence, RI, although they’ve branched out to other venues in Massachusetts in 2016. Beyond uses a nice mix of indie talent on the rise and established talent.

If I were going to recommend a few shows to purchase this year, I’d start with “Americanrana 2016,” which is Beyond Wrestling’s version of WrestleMania. The show features some fantastic matches including Chris Dickinson vs. Donovan Dijak vs. J.T. Dunn, John Silver vs. Matthew Riddle, David Starr vs. Johnny Gargano, and a 2/3 Falls main event with Jonathan Gresham taking on Zack Sabre Jr.

Another show worth checking out include “Battle of Who Could Care Less.” This show is highlighted by fun matches like David Starr vs. Eddie Edwards and A.R. Fox vs. Keith Lee. The card rounds out with several strong matches including Johnathan Gresham vs. Tracy Williams, Chris Dickinson vs. Matthew Riddle, and a main event featuring Donovan Dijak, who has been on a tear in Beyond Wrestling this year against Tommy End.

Finally, I would suggest checking out “Midas Touch” if you want another show to purchase during Smart Mark Video’s sale. The show features Chris Dickinson vs. Tracy Williams, Ricochet vs. Tessa Blanchard, and John Silver vs. Michael Elgin.

Note: You can purchase Beyond Wrestling events on DVD/Blu-Ray/MP4 at SmartMarkvideo.com. You can purchase them on VOD on SMVOD.com. Right now, Smart Mark Video is having a sale where if you spend $50 or more, you get 25% off DVD/MP4 orders.

Also, you can watch all of Beyond Wrestling’s event’s for $9.99 per month at YouTube.com/BeyonDemand.

CHIKARA

CHIKARA “2016 King of Trios: Nights 1, 2, and 3,” Sept. 2-Sept.4, 2016

King of Trios is one of my favorite annual events. This year was another satisfying installment in CHIKARA’s yearly trios tournament. The three shows put together create a good overall narrative that’s fun to follow from start to finish. This was a fun show. Parts of the card dragged during the first half of the show after a fun opener, but ultimately the show managed to wind down with three fun matches. The main event was excellent between Team #CWC and Warriors Three.Chikaralogo

I felt that the tournament got stronger as it went on this year. The strength of night 2 was that it peaked at the end. The last two matches were both fantastic. I also enjoyed the start of the Rey de Voladores tournament as well. To avoid spoilers, I won’t talk about the rest of the tournament, but these shows collectively are always a highlight each year when they are released by CHIKARA

You can purchase 2016 King of Trios: Nights 1, 2, and 3 for 50% off at CHIKARAPro.com on VOD/MP4 download as part of CHIKARA’s Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale. CHIKARA also sells these shows on Blu-Ray and DVD, but they are not currently on sale.

Progress Wrestling

“Chapter 30: SSS 16: Night 1 & Night 2,” May 29 & May 30, 2016

Warning: “Chapter 30: SSS 16 Night 1& Night 2 partial spoilers ahead.

Progress Wrestling has become known as the place where top independent from the UK and Europe make a name for themselves. Several wrestlers that have come through Progress Wrestling in recent years like Tommy End, Zack Sabre Jr., Marty Scurll, and Will Ospreay have become house hold names worldwide thanks to their exposure in Progress Wrestling, which is a mix of intelligent storylines, great wrestling, rock & roll and hot crowds. Progress doesn’t use many big outside names for their shows, but they do bring in big names from time to time. Their reliance on talent mostly from the U.K. and Europe is a testament to the strength of the scene in the U.K.logo_progresspro_3x2_600

If you’re going to start watching Progress Wrestling, I suggest starting with their annual Super Strong Style 16 Tournament from May 29 and May 30, 2016. I’m not quite sure where to begin describing how much I enjoyed watching this tournament. Hero was incredible in his three matches in the tournament. They made the best of Haskins being unable to wrestle and told a nice story with Andrews surviving three matches before getting to the finals of the tournament. Tommy End, one of the top wrestlers on the UK scene, made it to the finals and won the whole darn thing much to the delight of the crowd.

Progress only makes a limited run of their DVD releases. They do a have a streaming channel at Demand-Progress.com and with a monthly subscription that is compatible with newer Roku devices. The service only costs Progress doesn’t have any remaining stock of SSS 16: Night 1 and Night 2, but the good news is you can purchase them now via Highspots.com.

You can watch all Progress Wrestling events with a subscription at Demand-Progress.com. You can also buy the entire Chapter 30: SSS 16 (Night 1 & Night 2) on DVD at Highspots.com. Right now Highspots is holding a 33% off sale on almost everything on their site with some exclusions.

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla

Lemmy “Jan. 2, 2016 (8.5)

There were a couple of matches that stood out in the three-star range on the undercard. I really enjoyed Galloway beating the hell out of Jack Evans after Evans talked some trash before the match began. I could have watched another five to ten minutes of Galloway just beating the crap out of Evans and Evans mounting his high-flying comebacks. Bailey-Cole was also really good. Cole is such a great heel and sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s not pushed better than he is in ROH the way he carries himself in the ring. Cole does a lot of the little things right to suck the fans into the story of wanting to see him get his ass handed to him.

Later in the show, Sabre-Tozawa had my expectations sky high. Tozawa has had some great matches in PWG in the past and just seeing him in PWG is a rare occurrence. The match actually seemed to be just really getting going when it ended. I really hope to see these two go at it again one day.

The main event took a bit to get going, but Strong-Hero really turned things up several notches during the second half of the match. Strong used just about every cheap tactic he could to retain the PWG Championship, as there were a couple of ref bumps. Hero seemed to be on the verge of victory several times, but Strong ultimately got the win thanks in part to him shoving the ref’s in Hero’s path .Overall, given the quality of action up and down the card, this show gets a high recommendation.

“All Star Weekend 12: Night 1,” March 4, 2016 (9.5)

This was a tremendous show that set up PWG Champion Roderick Strong being challenged by Zack Sabre Jr. on the following night. Strong won in dominant fashion to set up his match against Sabre. Later in the night, Sabre beat Cole in a spectacular match using Strong’s submission. The main event was spectacular, but the post-match beating from Mt. Rushmore on Sabre only added more fuel to the fire. I can’t wait to see Strong vs. Sabre for the PWG Championship now.

PWG All-Star Weekend Night 1 - 2016 (c) ProWrestlingGuerrilla.com
PWG All-Star Weekend Night 1 – 2016 (c) ProWrestlingGuerrilla.com

The rest of the card delivered some great action. Chris Hero vs. Evil Uno, Kyle O’Reilly vs. Marty Scurll, and The Young Bucks vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet were all incredible match worth going out of your way to see. If you want to see a great night of wrestling, you can’t go wrong with this show. Highly recommended.

You can purchase all PWG right now at Highspots.com for 33% off through Monday. For more information on PWG, visit ProWrestlingGuerrilla.com.

Interviews

Future of Flight: The Ricochet Interview

This is a tremendous long-form shoot interview with one of the best all-around wrestlers in the world. I put Ricochet right up there with A.J. Styles and Kenny Omega as the best in-ring performers in wrestling in 2015. Ricochet is open and honest during this interview and gives tons of insight into his entire wrestling career.ricochet_interview

It was interesting to hear him talk about how he has more goals that he wants to accomplish before signing with WWE. One thing I’d like to see is Ricochet go into the heavyweight in NJPW and go through a G1. I think he’d really increase his value having a really good run as a top singles guy in NJPW, but no matter what happens, the odds are that he will be a big star in WWE before his careers is over.

You can purchase this release at Highspots.com right now for 33% off the regular price. The Highspots sale runs through Monday. You can also watch this show with a subscription to Highspots streaming service at HighspotsWrestlingNetwork.com.

Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution with Johnny Gargano

It didn’t seem as if Kayfabe Commentaries would be spotlighting indie talent and giving someone like Gabe Sapolsky his own series, but with the budding relationship between WWE and EVOLVE, Sapolsky has really raised his profile booking EVOLVE the last couple of years. The debut edition of this series with Johnny Gargano is a total home run.

Kayfabe Commentaries filmed this release before Gargano signed full-time with WWE. They also have several other episodes filmed, but this is the only release in the series that is available. The series features EVOLVE booker Gabe Sapolsky and a talent taking a look back at their career in DGUSA and EVOLVE using picture-in-picture to capture Sapolsky and his guest talking about their career through specific matches. The show starts out with a bang as Gargano looks at his debut on the first DGUSA event in the pre-show Fray match. It’s really funny to listen to Sapolsky and Gargano talk about each participant in the match and whether or not they are still wrestling. The show picks up covering Gargano taking on Rich Swann, YAMATO, CIMA, and Ricochet. If you’re a fan of Gargano or indie wrestling, this release is a must.

To purchase this release this release, visit KayfabeCommentaries.com. They are not currently holding a Black Friday sale.

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You can contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/SeanRadican. Click “like” at Facebook.com/SeanRadicanRWC to join his fan page on Facebook.

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