KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (11/28)
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app)
Wrestlemania weekend cards draw not only some of the best independent talent from all over the world, but they also form once-in-a-lifetime match-ups. And the winner? The customer. Fans are able to take in almost as many shows as they’d like if they stay in town for the entire weekend. And they get to me fans who are as passionate about the business and specifically, indie wrestling, as they are. With the independents flourishing over the past few years, these Wrestlemania weekend cards have been a veritable buffet of dream matches. As I did last year, I thought I’d take a look at some of the more distinctive bouts:
Matt Riddle vs. Low Ki, April 5, GCW Presents Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport: This entire event in itself is unique: Every match on the show must end in knockout or submission. Riddle’s star has continued to rise over the last year, and if this show is successful, he could continue that upward trajectory. Low Ki hasn’t always been easy to work with, so it’ll be interesting to see how this match develops. If any match was to stir behind-the-scenes drama this weekend, this might be the one to do it.
Austin Aries vs. Penta El Zero M, April 6, The Crash: This would almost certainly best any match scheduled for the Lucha Underground vs. Impact Wrestling show, yet it’s happening for Mexico’s The Crash promotion. After a sitting out for a little while following his WWE release, Aries has returned to take the indies by storm. A match against Penta could tear the house down.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Jeff Cobb, April 6, Rev Pro: Suzuki has somewhat of a cult following based on his work in New Japan as a hard hitter. Cobb continues to pile up positive press with his technical wrestling style. These two, built like brick you-know-what-houses, should put on as physical an affair as we’ll see all weekend.
LAX vs. Killshot & The Mack, April 6, Lucha Underground vs. Impact Wrestling: LAX is by far Impact’s most-pushed tag team, and they’ve had some of the most brutal and bloody matches the company has seen this side of Abyss. Their style will fit right in with what we’ve seen in Lucha Underground. Killshot will bring the flying, while Mack, with his deceptive aerial ability, will bring the power for that team.
WALTER vs. Pierre Carl Ouellet, April 6, GCW Presents Joey Janela’s Spring Break II: PCO has been one of the big stories of the past few months in independent wrestling. He came out of retirement in 2016 and has gotten some buzz on Twitter as of late. WALTER is becoming more of a household name for American fans. Expect both of these men to pull out all the stops here.
Joey Janela vs. The Great Sasuke, April 6, GCW Presents Joey Janela’s Spring Break II: Janela has done it again, putting on a show full of oddities, misfits, and legends. Last year’s Spring Break show stole some of the thunder from bigger shows running in Orlando, and he’s been able to replicate that this year. Sasuke is a big “get” for Janela, as the 48 year-old comes over from Japan’s Michinoku Pro promotion. It’s been some time since he has wrestled on American soil.
Nicole Savoy vs. Mercedes Martinez, April 7, SHIMMER 100: This match is for the SHIMMER title. Both Savoy and Martinez received national attention as both took part in last summer’s Mae Young Classic on the WWE Network. SHIMMER is the only women’s-only promotion running Wrestlemania weekend. With WWE’s Women’s Revolution in full force, a rising tide lifts all boats. Women’s wrestling promotions continue to find success here and abroad.
Keith Lee vs. Nick Gage, April 7, WWN Style Battle: Lee is rumored to be heading to WWE soon. It’ll be interesting to see if he limits himself with that in mind. Gage would be a perfect fit for the original ECW were it still around today. He may best be known for time he has spent in prison for bank robbery. This styles clash certainly fits the Style Battle theme of the show.
Ladder Match for the North American Championship, April 7, NXT Takeover: New Orleans: ECIII and Ricochet both make their NXT TV debuts in this match, while Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain, Adam Cole, and Velveteen Dream provide their competition. The title is almost secondary to the intrigue surrounding how crazy this match may get.
Greg Parks hosts the “Wrestling Night in America” Livecast every Sunday night on PWTorchlivecast.com. Read additional columns from him at PWTorchVIP.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.