WrestleMania Week Indie Events Taking Shape for 2019

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Photo: WWE

WrestleMania week is not just the biggest weekend of the year for WWE fans around the world – it’s also a mecca for indie and international wrestling, with several days and nights devoted to showcase events from various promotions around the world. From bigger companies like NJPW, Ring of Honor and IMPACT Wrestling to indies like Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), EVOLVE, PROGRESS and more joining in on the action. This year continues that tradition for WrestleMania in the New York City/New Jersey area, as the announcements continue to roll in from these promotions to start the advance ticket sales. For those who have never attended any of these, they’re usually VERY reasonably priced and loaded with the best of the best of the international indie scene. Here’s a look at all the non-WWE events already announced for next year’s WrestleMania week (for the best updates, check out Jacob Cohen on Twitter).

THURSDAY APRIL 4, 2018

WRESTLECON MARK HITCHCOCK MEMORIAL SUPERSHOW, 

WrestleCon‘s annual SuperShow is always a loaded affair and you never know who will stop by. With the WrestleCon itself a mixture of old school legends with emerging indie stars, the match ups can be intriguing – last year saw Joey Ryan face Jerry “The King” Lawler. It also featured such main event caliber matches as Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Rey Fenix & Rey Horus vs. Flamita & Bandido, Pentagon Jr. vs Joey Janela and Will Ospreay vs. Sammy Guevara vs. Shane Strickland vs. Adam Brooks, it’s actual main event was The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) vs. Chuck Taylor & Flip Gordon. And the show also features Hiroshi Tanahashi, Minoru Suzuki, Tessa Blanchard, Brian Cage, Juice Robinson, Tenille Dashwood and lots more. There’s no doubt this year’s will be just as star studded, held at the New York City Hilton Midtown.

MAJOR LEAGUE WRESTLING (MLW), FUSION TV Taping, 7pm, Melrose Ballroom, New York City

Until it’s relaunch last year, Major League Wrestling (MLW) was primarily known as a wrestling podcast hub and every year they’d throw Walemania, a party with rapper Wale that featured lots of appearances from wrestlers. This year, MLW is holding it’s tapings for it’s MLW Fusion television show on the Thursday night.

THE COLLECTIVE: GCW x AIW, 11:59pm

Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) has announced The Collective, which appears to be a hive of indies putting on co-promoted events for the week. The first one, partnered with one of the top Midwest indies in Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), is at the midnight slot on Thursday. It will be interesting to see the line-up these two put up, as both field some amazing regular talents that are bonafide indie stars.

FRIDAY APRIL 5, 2018

REV PRO AT WRESTLECON, 4pm

England’s Revolution Pro (RevPro) Wrestling returns for their showcase at WrestleCon on Friday, as one of the afternoon shows, kicking off at 4pm. Expect them to feature at least a few NJPW stars through their IWGP Conception alliance, as last year saw Tomohiro Ishii defeat Zack Sabre Jr. for the RevPro British Heavyweight title, as well as Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson face RevPro’s Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) and Minoru Suzuki facing Jeff Cobb.

GCW: JOEY JANELA’S SPRING BREAK 3, 8pm

Despite a crushing injury that may prevent him from performing, Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 returns to it’s Friday before WrestleMania, but rather than it’s previous two midnight slots, it’s moving up to 8pm. GCW is producing the event for it’s third straight year and it’s proven to be one of the funnest shows of the week. Last year saw Janela vs. Great Sasuke, David Starr vs. Mike Quackenbush, Matt Riddle vs. James Ellsworth and the historic WALTER vs. PCO first encounter, while the first one in 2017 featured had Matt Riddle vs. Dan “The Beast” Severn, Janela vs. Marty Jannetty, Eddie Kingston vs. Matt Tremont, and the return of Glacier. This year’s will be another fun one.

JOEY RYAN PENIS PARTY, 8:05pm

WrestleCon announced earlier this week that they were hosting the first annual Joey Ryan Penis Party and everyone was excited (or outraged). A 10-match event that will probably have a similar feel to the Joey Janela’s Spring Break events, with fun random match-ups. Sadly, it’s running at the same time as Spring Break 3. Either way, whichever one you don’t see live, you can catch on replay on one of the many streaming networks.

SATURDAY APRIL 6, 2018

THE COLLECTIVE: GCW x IWS, 4pm

The afternoon show on Saturday is another of GCW’s Collective showcases, this time partnering with Montreal’s International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS), a hard hitting Canadian indie that is a spiritual cousin to GCW. IWS is home to the likes of Tabernak de Team (Mathieu St. Jacques & Thomas Dubois), Vanessa Kraven, 2.0 (Big Magic & Scott Parker), and others, as well as the Canadian home of the on-going WALTER vs. PCO saga. This should be another hard hitting spectacle from GCW.

NJPW x ROH: G1 SUPERCARD

It was one of the biggest announcements of 2018, that New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor had booked a show not only in a traditionally WWE territory (New York City) and in a traditionally WWE venue (Madison Square Garden), but running head to head against NXT Takeover: Brooklyn V. Still too early to have any match announcements, but the event has already sold out.

WHO’S LEFT TO ANNOUNCE

Photo: WWN

While that’s already an impressive slate of shows, there’s still some usual WrestleMania week participants yet to announce their events for the carnival. WWN – the parent company of EVOLVE and Shine – has announced their involvement for their annual More Than Mania festivities, and even announced the promotions involved. Apart from their own brands – EVOLVE, Shine, Full Impact Pro, Viva La Lucha and American Combat Wrestling (ACW) – they’re bringing in SHIMMER and Kaiju Big Battel again, as well as hosting the first ever American shows for Japan’s Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) Pro and Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), not to mention their annual WWN Supershow: Mercury Rising 2018, that features stars from all the promotions involved. What they haven’t announced is the dates of each showcase.

IMPACT Wrestling joined in the WrestleMania week festivities in 2018 with their live Twitch special, IMPACT vs. Lucha Underground, that did huge numbers and brought a lot of exposure to the strides IMPACT had made over the previous few months. It’s likely IMPACT will do something else as a Twitch special again in New York – perhaps even IMPACT vs. Lucha Underground 2 – but so far no official announcement has been made.

PROGRESS Wrestling will be involved again, but so far no announcements have been made regarding where it would take place. They’ve also been a part of WWE’s WrestleMania AXXESS the past two years, showcasing many of their stars against NXT competitors. With NXT UK underway, that will most likely continue.

Wrestling Revolver has joined with WrestleCon to present Pancakes & Piledrivers the past two years, their morning event that combines breakfast and wrestling for the perfect way to kick off the Saturday. Last year, the partnered with England’s Fight Club: PRO and Chicago’s All American Wrestling (AAW), which saw joshi legend Meiko Satomura on US soil against Kimber Lee and Jessicka Havoc, The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix) vs. Teddy Hart & Jack Evans, and Jeff Cobb vs. Shane Strickland. No announcement yet about the third edition at next year’s festivities.

Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), House of Hardcore and CHIKARA have run events in the past but so far no announcement, while many East Coast area indies, like House of Glory (HOG), New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), Impact Championship Wrestling (ICW New York), or Wrestling Has A Tomorrow (WHAT) have also not announced anything that weekend, but one would think at least a couple (maybe several together) would be interested in something in their backyard.

One promotion who won’t be in the area next year is Massachusetts’ Beyond Wrestling. Last year they held the stellar co-promotion with Women’s Wrestling Revolution (WWR) Lit Up, which had a fantastic showcase of intergender wrestling, but this year they’ve decided to skip the event all together.

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