The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the sports and sports entertainment realms but fortunately for fans, AEW (Dynamite and Dark) and WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT) have still been able to produce live weekly episodes of their television shows. Sure, they have done so in front of no audience, but the shows have gone on no matter what. Unfortunately for the hundreds of indie promotions and thousands of indie wrestlers, that has not been the case. And unlike those in WWE and AEW, these wrestlers don’t have downside guarantees or contracts to pay them in the case of there not being work. These wrestlers work on a basis of individual dates for the most part and with shows being cancelled left and right, these wrestlers are losing a lot of dates, meaning a lot of money.
With fans at home who deserve fun (and free) wrestling content, we’re streaming a double episode of #AEWDark tomorrow! 6 matches on the card & it will feature top stars from AEW + with many independent wrestlers out of work, we’re giving chances to several of them tomorrow night! https://t.co/XLDPKaVmqh
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) March 23, 2020
To that extent, Tony Khan and AEW recently gave several independent wrestlers an opportunity to wrestle and make some money through the AEW Dark platform. On Tuesday, AEW aired a double dose of Dark, with both episodes combining AEW stars with indie wrestlers both young and old. In all, seven wrestlers received an opportunity and you can learn more about all of them here. Below, check out the full card from Tuesday’s Double Dark:
- Shawn Spears (w/ Tully Blanchard) & Robert Anthony vs. SCU (Christoper Daniels and Frankie Kazarian)
- Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela vs. Corey Hollis and Mike Reed
- QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. Matt Sells and Jon Cruz
- Colt Cabana vs. Brandon Cutler
- Kip Sabian (with Penelope Ford) vs. Suge D
- Jake Hager vs. Joe Alonzo
With Shawn Spears still looking for his ideal partner, 18-year indie veteran, “The Ego” Robert Anthony took his chance on AEW Dark to prove he was worthy of the spot. A former developmental wrestler in Florida Championship Wrestling at the same time as guys like Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Ted DiBiase Jr., Kofi Kingston and more, Anthony is primarily known for his time in AAW, IWA Mid South, Combat Zone Wrestling and most recently, as a regular for Freelance Wrestling. Anthony has also wrestled for Ring of Honor, IMPACT, and WWE, where he took part in the Global Battle Royal on Raw in 2018. In his career, Anthony – who also wrestled as Egotistico Fantastico – is a former 14x champion with reigns as AAW Heavyweight and CZW World Heavyweight Champion under his belt. He is also a former winner of the International Wrestling Cartel’s Super Indy X and CZW’s Best of the Best 9 tournaments.
Holding the distinct honor of being AJ Styles‘ last independent match at a Georgia Premier Wrestling event, the 30-year-old and Alabama native, Corey Hollis began his career in the southern indie scene in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee working primarily for NWA territories. Hollis is also known for his time in Ring of Honor, Premiere Wrestling Xperience and a brief stint in WWE/NXT in 2016. Additionally, Hollis has wrestled for TNA as well as took part in 2018’s Dojo Pro tournament. The current Southern Honor Wrestling Champion in his second reign, Hollis has also won titles in NWA, EVO, PWX and WrestleForce. In PWX, he’s a former 3x tag team champion with Adam Page as Country Jacked. Hollis has taken part in the Scenic City Invitational Tournament several times, reaching the finals twice. He also reached the semifinals in ROH’s Top Prospect Tournament in 2014.
Trained by Larry Sharpe, the 16-year indie veteran high flyer and technician, Mike Reed, has been a part of the East Coast indie scene since 2005. Primarily known as a tag team specialist, five of Reed’s seven career titles have come alongside five different partners and in four different promotions. Reed has spent time with East Coast Wrestling Association, New York Wrestling Connection, Chaotic Wrestling, NWA, I Believe in Wrestling and NXT, where he teamed with Robbie Grand for a match against TM-61 in 2018.
Another 16-year veteran, the 33-year-old Matt Sells, trainee of Dory Funk Jr. and Todd Sexton, began his wrestling career in 2003 with the NWA. Largely wrestling for NWA Anarchy out of Georgia, Sells joined Ring of Honor in 2014, where he wrestled a combination of dark matches and a few televised events until 2017. Sells is also known for his time with Alternative Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Bushido. In his career, Sells has won six titles, including the NWA Atlanta Heavyweight Championship.
Wrestling out of Puerto Rico, the 36-year-old Jon Cruz has been in the industry for 13 years. Originally trained by Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley at Team 3D Academy, Cruz has wrestled for all the U.S. majors taking part in matches for NWA, TNA, ROH, Major League Wrestling and WWE. Cruz is also known for his time in the World Wrestling Network family of promotions, wrestling for Evolve, Full Impact Pro and WWN. Recently, Cruz has primarily been with PWX and Fest Wrestling. Winner of the Florida J-Cup in 2018, Cruz has also claimed nine titles in his career.
The 35-year-old Sugar Dunkerton has been a staple of the indies for 17 years now. Incredibly charismatic and with good in-ring skills to match, Dunkerton began his career like many others of that time did, with their local NWA circuit. Wrestling out of Georgia, Dunkerton spent parts of six years with Anarchy as well as wrestled for APW, IWA MS, and Chikara. A well-traveled performer, Dunkerton has made appearances in CZW, the WNN family, IWC, Freelance, Beyond, Impact and more in his career. One half of the current Preston City Wrestling Tag Team Champions, Dunkerton has won 14 titles total, including as the Freelance World Champion and one half of the IWA MS Tag Team Champions with Myron Reed. He’s taken part in several top indie tourneys, winning IWA MS’ Candido Cup in 2017.
Just 23 years old, Joe Alonzo calls himself “The Chosen One,” and perhaps one day he will be. Wrestling out of Illinois, Alonzo began his career in 2016 and is mostly known for his work in that Mid West indie scene, specifically spending time in IWA MS, Freelance, and Chicago Style Wrestling. He’s still just starting out but with a chance to make an impression on AEW Dark against Jake Hager, Alonzo’s may be a name that fans start to know very soon.
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for our coverage of the ongoing and changing news around the coronavirus and its effect on the wrestling industry as it develops. We are committed to keeping our readers informed and updated. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Catch AEW Dynamite every Wednesday night at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW Dark every Tuesday night at 7 PM ET on YouTube.