Indie Watch is our regular series that looks at all of the amazing talents working the independent circuits around the world. Some are veterans revitalizing their careers, some are indie prospects hitting their peaks, while others are names to be on the watch for! This edition looks at one of The Buffalo Boys, a squad of wrestlers from Buffalo, New York’s Empire State Wrestling (ESW) promotion, named Daniel Garcia, who, at 20 years old, has already appeared on WWE television and is starting to take the Northeast and Ontario indies by storm, bringing his “Red Death” to a ring near you.
From Buffalo, New York, Daniel Garcia is young, hungry and determined to take his spot in pro wrestling history. Confident without being arrogant, hungry without being gluttonous, and innovative without being ignorant of the past, he has emerged as a breakout star in the Northeast, with Canada’s Smash Wrestling, as well as his home promotion, Empire State Wrestling (ESW) in Buffalo and Limitless Wrestling in Maine.
Daniel Garcia has only been wrestling for almost two years. It was in January of 2017 that he joined hometown wrestling school Grapplers Anonymous, where he trained under the tutelage of Brandon Thurston, a 14-year indie veteran of the upstate New York area and former 2x ESW Heavyweight Champion, and Pepper Parks, an 18-year indie legend best known to some as former IMPACT Wrestling star Braxton Sutter, who trained under Les Thatcher with Heartland Wrestling Association in Ohio. In a November interview with Pro Wrestling Post, Thurston stated that if Garcia “continues to work hard, he has the potential to be a major star in wrestling. He learned quickly, and he has the right kind of intelligence and passion to excel as an in-ring performer,” Thurston told Pro Wrestling Post. “He has a worldly view of wrestling, which goes a long way for your quality in-ring, I believe. More importantly, he’s a good, friendly person. He’s more emotionally mature and positive than some people twice his age, and that combined with his talent is why he has so much potential.”
By the fall of 2017, he was in the line-up for ESW, first working tag team matches with Canadian indie wrestler Tarik (now Smash Champion) in North America’s Most Wanted. By early 2018, he was debuting for Smash Wrestling, which shared many of ESW talents, such as Parks himself, as well as Kevin Bennett, Kevin Blackwood, Puf and Andy Williams. Garcia also branched out, working with other promotions like Jamestown, New York’s Southern Tier Wrestling (STW). He had the intensity of a young Kurt Angle with the precision of a young Daniel Bryan, which isn’t surprising since the former “American Dragon” was his primary influence. “I just like that (Bryan)’s an average guy that worked really hard on the indies with no machine behind him,” Garcia told Pro Wrestling Post. “It took a lot of hard work for him to succeed.”
Garcia has continued to become one of the breakout stars with both Smash Wrestling and ESW, and this past summer, he joined many of the other “Buffalo Boys” (the group of young stars including Blackwood, Bennett and Puf) with Maine’s Limitless Wrestling. He’s since formed a tag team with his mentor, Brandon Thurston, called The Shooting Gallery, who beat veterans Jay Freddie & John Silver (The Thick Boys) in their debut at Limitless No Control two weeks ago.
And if his meteoric rise wasn’t happening quick enough, this past June who competed on WWE’s 205 Live program in July, in a match against famed indie technician Drew Gulak. Not bad for someone who was barely two years into the business and only 20 years old. And while he has lofty goals of making the WWE someday, he’s not averse to going through the indies to pay his dues. “If I could skip the indies and get signed, that would be ideal,” Garcia told Pro Wrestling Post. “But I’d like to go to Beyond, EVOLVE and AAW. I would like to wrestle in every major promotion in each region of the country.”
Daniel Garcia continues to find more and more bookings. He’s also worked for New Jersey’s Battle Club Pro, Ottawa’s Capital City Championship Combat (C4) and others. But it’s apparent he’s got the drive, determination and love of the sport – both its current climate and it’s decorated history – to become a major player on the indies in 2019 and beyond. And beyond that, who knows? In a recent edition of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, he was mentioned as one of the candidates for 2018 Rookie of the Year. Out of the six names mentioned, three were WWE recruits – Kacy Catanzano, Taynara Conti and Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey – while another was an NJPW Young Lion in Tomoyuki Oka. The other two were Grapplers Anonymous students (and Smash/ESW regulars) Daniel Garcia and Puf.
My first year as a wrestler. To be considered a top candidate for the Rookie of the year award in @OfficialPWI. But also to share it with my brother @DanielMTGarcia, this is really freakin cool. pic.twitter.com/67veIiv5mN
— puf (@pufisgod) December 9, 2018
Keep an ear to the ground for the coming of the “Red Death” Daniel Garcia. He’s proving himself one match at a time, and he’s winning fans over left and right. By the end of 2019, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t catch on sooner.
Catch Up on Previous Indie Watch Articles!
- Indie Watch: Royce Isaac$ (USA), November 29, 2019
- Indie Watch: A-Kid (Spain), November 16, 2018
- Indie Watch: Rush (Mexico), November 12, 2018
- Indie Watch: Addy Starr (Canada), October 24, 2018
- Indie Watch: Puma King (Mexico), October 14, 2018
- Indie Watch: Kevin Ku (USA), October 11, 2018
- Indie Watch: The Filip Brothers (Australia), October 10, 2018
- Indie Watch: Daga (Mexico), October 9, 2018
- Indie Watch: Salina de la Renta (Puerto Rico), October 5, 2018
- Indie Watch: Sheldon Jean (Canada), September 29, 2018
- Indie Watch: King Khash (USA/Persia), September 25, 2018
- Indie Watch: Martina ‘The Session Moth’ (Ireland), September 18, 2018
- Indie Watch: Zachary Wentz (USA), September 9, 2018
- Indie Watch: Scotty Davis (Ireland), September 4, 2018
- Indie Watch: SCHAFF (USA), August 21, 2018
- Indie Watch: Bandido (Mexico), August 15, 2018
- Indie Watch: Aiden Prince (Canada), August 7, 2018
- Indie Watch: “The Business” Slex (Australia), May 9, 2018
- Indie Watch: Robbie Eagles (Australia), May 1, 2018
- Indie Watch: Jordynne Grace (USA), April 27, 2018
- Indie Watch: D.L. Hurst (USA), April 13, 2018
- Indie Watch: The Maine State Posse (USA), January 24, 2018
- Indie Watch: The Women of PROGRESS (UK), January 20, 2018