Our week of wrestling coverage is finally drawing to an end, and there’s only one more stop off until we stop talking about the graps until… well, next week probably. For our final list of observations, we delve away from the big companies and down into the indies. We’ve got everything from the serious wrestling of Evolve to the insanity of Kaiju Big Battel, and there was plenty for us to pick out.
Kaiju Big Battel Has To Be Seen To Be Believed
I turned on Kaiju Big Battel because the name made me chuckle. I knew fuck all about it and what I ended up getting was a few hours of complete insanity. I’m not sure if I can tell you that this is a good show because it wasn’t. It was a mess from start to finish and if you are looking for good wrestling or subscribe to the Jim Cornette school of thought run far far away. However, I couldn’t help but sit transfixed. Whether it was pizzas or blow-up crocodiles, this was unhinged, and I can safely say you will have never seen anything like it.
A Clusterfuck Of Epic Proportions
The only show that can come close to competing with the insanity of Kaiju Big Battel was Joey Janela’s Spring Break and, in particular, the Spring Break Clusterfuck Match. A Royal Rumble like occasion that tried to provide what it said on the tin. This is another event that can’t really be described, and whether it was a ring full of wrestlers selling for the Invisible Man or Ethan Page and Glacier facing off to the Mortal Kombat music, you are unlikely to forget it. Once again, this wasn’t good wrestling, but it was fun.
Marty Jannetty And Joey Janela Have A Lot Of Fun
In unsurprising news, Marty Jannetty and Joey Janela did not have a wrestling classic at Joey Janela’s Spring Break. What they did have, was a whole load of fun. From a random Virgil run-in to the ever ending line of refs this match was a laugh from start to finish. Plus, Jannetty hit (a massively aided) flip piledriver, and that’s worth the price of admission alone. If you’re unsure whether to spend your time watching Janela’s Spring Break then check this match out and it will instantly let you know whether it’s the show for you.
Keith Lee Steps Out
I’d never seen Keith Lee wrestle before and when he faced off against the always brilliant Ricochet, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The two seemed like an obvious mismatch. By the end of the weekend, I knew what to expect, excellence. Lee is built like a super-heavyweight but moves like a cruiserweight. Not in the way that people claim that Rusev moves like a cruiserweight, but like an actual cruiserweight. His match with Donovan Dijak at Evolve 81 should put the final nail in the coffin of the idea that big men can’t have exciting matches and if there is any justice in the world we are all set to see a lot more of Keith Lee in the next few years.
The Bro Keeps Growing
Matt Riddle has received virtually every plaudit that you can throw at a rookie wrestler since making the step over from MMA. The man has taken to it like a god damn natural and comparisons to Kurt Angle are many. Despite this, I’d somehow failed to see his work. A match with the ever excellent Chris Hero aside, the bro was a bit of a shut book to me. Which made this weekend the perfect opportunity to catch up and despite my general wish to be contrary, I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Riddle is far from perfect, his matches still seem to follow a formula, but for a man two years into his career, he is exceptional. Whether he was selling for Drew Galloway or trading holds with Dan Severn, this was a good weekend for him and this train ain’t coming off the tracks anytime soon.
Galloway Steps Away
It’s easy to undersell Drew Galloway’s importance to independent wrestling over the last few years. While he was perhaps still best known for his work in TNA, he has been important to countless other companies. UK based promotions like ICW and WCPW have put him front and centre of their brand while he’s been a key part of Evolve too. Therefore, the news that he’s heading back to WWE can’t help but be tinged with sadness. I can’t begrudge Galloway a move that is best for his career, but the companies he leaves behind will miss him, and indie wrestling has just lost a big chunk of star power.
Too Much Wrestling
WrestleMania Weekend feels like a bubble that needs to burst. Wrestlers were fighting nine or ten times over the course of the weekend, and there were shows on Saturday night/Sunday where you could see they were exhausted. From a business standpoint, I also saw pictures of relatively well-known companies like CZW wrestling in front of rooms that weren’t even half full. WrestleMania Weekend will remain a big deal, but this felt like the tipping point, and next year I hope they cut back on the number of promotions and focus on the quality instead.
Evolve’s relationship with WWE and their steady stream of great talent has made them a big deal in the world of indie wrestling. And yet, I’ve never sat down and watched a full show. Like many of the things I’ve picked out on this list, WrestleMania weekend felt like the perfect place to start, and I caught Evolve 80 and 81 both of which impressed. When you can call on wrestlers like the already mentioned Keith Lee, Ricochet, Riddle and Zack Sabre Jr to fill your cards you are generally going to be in a safe place and Evolve used them well. They even pulled off some jumping off big shit stuff with Darby Allin and Ethan Page. This was my first taste of Evolve, but I think it’s safe to say I’ll be going back for more.
Ospreay And Richochet Do Ospreay And Ricochet Things
If you haven’t seen Team Ospreay vs. Team Ricochet, then it’s probably time to get on that. In fact, if you go on Twitter you’ll probably get most of it in GIF form. Ospreay and Ricochet are two of the most entertaining wrestlers on the planet right now and this weekend was no exception. Whether it was Ricochet bumping like a motherfucker for Keith Lee or Ospreay wowing crowds in ROH they both came out looking like stars, and you can’t help but think these two will rule the wrestling world for years to come.
Wrestling Is Awesome
Whether it’s men dressed as Kaijus or wild bloodthirsty brawls, there was something for everyone in Orlando last weekend. WrestleMania weekend has become about so much more than WrestleMania, it’s become about every wrestling fan in the world focusing their attention on a city for a weekend. You might watch every show, or you might just check out the big one, but the fact of the matter is, you’re part of it. Wrestling doesn’t get much respect from a lot of places, but fuck me it’s great.