Inside Indie Wrestling's Garden of Eden

A little slice of wrestling heaven
Share |
Kevin Steen and El Generico at a PWG event

Photo courtesy of Tumblr.

2012's indie wrestling man of the year is, without any doubt, Kevin Steen, a demented Montreal brawler whose reign of terror in Ring of Honor peaked when he won that company's world championship a few months ago. Ring of Honor is the company's widest-reaching and most-storied indie federation, but its greatest competition might be Dragon Gate USA, a Japanese company's domestic offshoot, currently run by the former Ring of Honor head booker Gabe Sapolsky. And DGUSA has its own rough Steen analogue: Sami Callahan, a foul-mouthed, troll-haired psychopath from rural Ohio. Callahan, who leads a bad-guy stable called Dirty Ugly Fucks, isn't DGUSA's champion, but he might be the company's most popular wrestler. (A fellow commentator recently described him as a gutter-punk version of Stone Cold Steve Austin, which seems about right.) He and Steen apparently like each other about as much as you'd expect, and they spent the early part of the year talking Twitter shit about each other, the way all true warriors do. And in April, the two finally ended up face-to-face while working for the California company Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

It was a predictably savage match, with both guys screaming at each other when they weren't delivering lariats and superkicks (Callahan: "You fat fuck!" Steen: "Flavor of the month!") At one point, Steen knocked the gum out of Callahan's mouth, then picked it up and popped it into his own mouth, one of the more disgusting displays I've ever seen in a pro wrestling match. It ended when Steen dropped Callahan on his face with his ridiculously vicious package piledriver finishing move. And then, after the match, Steen grabbed a microphone and addressed Callahan (I'm paraphrasing here): "After I beat the shit of you and you beat the shit out of me, I like you a little. But I hate you a little, too. So now I'm going back to the East Coast to dominate my company, and you can go back and dominate your company. And in a little while, we'll meet again, back here, in the best wrestling building in the world." The building he was talking about, it bears mentioning, is an American Legion Hall in Reseda, one that seats maybe 500 loud and drunk fans. It also bears mentioning that he might be right about it being the best.

Wrestling has its share of great buildings: Madison Square Garden, Chicago's Allstate Arena, Philadelphia's just-shuttered ECW Arena. And the American Legion Hall where Pro Wrestling Guerrilla holds almost all of its shows belongs on that list. I've never been inside the building, but I've seen enough PWG DVDs to get a decent idea what it's like inside: Wood paneling everywhere, a bar and a merch table tucked away in the corner, enough room on all sides of the ring for four or five rows of chairs, all jammed up against the ring.

If you're ever in the building for a PWG show, it's probably a good idea to stay alert. The entire crowd is in a Sea World-style splash-zone, except instead of getting wet, there's a decent chance that a 200-pound wrestler land in your lap. In PWG, wrestlers launch each other and themselves from the ring constantly, barely giving audience members enough time to scatter out of the way; I'm vaguely amazed that nobody's been decapitated yet. There's an industrial air-duct above the ring, and during a ladder match against Steen for the PWG title last year, the masked wrestler El Generico accidentally ripped a piece of it down when he grabbed the belt. (Steen, after the match: "I always knew we'd tear the fucking roof off this place.")

PWG is one of America's most important wrestling indies, and it might be the most consistently entertaining, but it doesn't act the way other big indies do. It doesn't tour. It doesn't broadcast its big shows on internet pay-per-view. It doesn't lock its stars into exclusive contracts. And it rarely runs more than one show a month. So there are only two ways to experience the insanity: You can buy tickets and show up in person, or you can wait a month for the DVD to come out, then drop $15 to get it directly from the company's website.

As the other big indies lurch awkwardly toward touring-institution status, there's something weirdly commendable about PWG's dedication to staying small.

American Legion Halls are, of course, the best place in the world for teenagers to book punk shows, a nice little symmetry that probably isn't lost on PWG management, which seems to be made up entirely of wrestlers and former wrestlers. The retired masked grappler Excalibur does commentary, unleashing a constant stream of snarked-out asides and pop-culture references. Earlier this year, after guest color commentator Colt Cabana mistakenly referred to the wrestler B-Boy as "Beach Boy," Excalibur kept the theme running: "Peter Avalon will not be attending the Smile Sessions after that dropkick! He probably wishes he was in his room right now!" He also hoots with glee at every big move, which is fun. And its figurehead is Super Dragon, a masked psychopath who recently returned from a career-ending injury only to injure himself again two shows later. These guys make running a wrestling company look like a small family affair, something I'm guessing they learned how to do from punk rock.

And because PWG isn't trying to compete with the big indies, there's nothing to stop it from booking talent from all the other big indies, leading to Marvel-vs.-DC confrontations like that Steen/Callahan match. And that's good for everyone involved. All-business Ring of Honor headliners like Davey Richards and Roderick Strong, relegated to the PWG midcard, appear to be having a lot more fun than they are in their main gig. And cartoonish brutes like Steen, Generico, and the videogame-themed Super Smash Brothers seem to do better in PWG than in bigger companies; Steen was a PWG main-eventer long before he finally managed to conquer ROH. These guys share space with homegrown talent like the Fightin' Taylor Boys, a tag-team of agile muscleheads, and the RockNess Monsters, who stick out their tongues and throw devil-horns a lot. The next PWG champion will likely be Willie Mack, a high-flying heavyweight who used to be in the crowd for every PWG show and who one of the bigger companies would do well to sign.

With its infrequent shows and island-of-misfit-toys roster, PWG isn't really in the business of telling long and intricate stories. Some of the feuds can be fun, like Steen's months-long vendetta against arrogant-shithead tag team the Young Bucks or the endlessly entertaining series of comedy matches between mustachioed dick Joey Ryan and gifted female wrestler Candice LaRae. Mostly, though, PWG matches consist of two or more crowd favorites (almost all the company's wrestlers are crowd favorites) doing huge, dangerous, absurd moves on each other, and seemingly enjoying it, until one of them finally pins the other one. Classic wrestling storylines, where one guy will keep smashing a specifics body party of the other guy's all to hell and use that advantage to win, are mostly absent. Instead, the matches play out like long highlight reels. And when PWG edits those matches down to make five-minute trailers for its DVDs, the results are just awesomely, compulsively rewatchable:

Online, PWG crowds get shit for being hipsters, and it's true that they're marginally less goateed and obese than most indie wrestling crowds. (Gillian Jacobs, who plays Britta on Community, is a regular at PWG shows, a factoid that led me to rethink my whole "Annie > Britta" stance.) But they respond to the company's theatrics with all the exuberant, good-natured bloodlust you'd want from an indie wrestling crowd, making them a nice contrast to the blase, indifferent crowds that the WWE usually draws in L.A. When Generico turns an opponent upside-down and smashes his face into the top of the turnbuckle, they know enough to go appropriately batshit.

It's a wrestling-fan ambition of mine to find my way to Reseda for one of these shows eventually. In the meantime, the relative infrequency and overwhelming awesomeness of the company's shows makes it easy and worthwhile to keep up with its DVD releases. If you've got any interest at all in indie wrestling, a random recent PWG show is a great place to start.

Share |


That i don’t fully understand once you discover any severity for assistance that personal blogs supply. In my opinion, I do know that this it all weren’t in your personal blogs We'd don't have uncovered that will help utilizing my best essays. The provider generates in each a identity together with I’m a sucker for necessary to resist they brandish. Thank you so much!

I want an individual's place. It is actually superior to observe everyone verbalize within the heart and soul together with readability on this subject necessary area are usually conveniently detected. light up sneakers

Swiftly this web site can indisputably become popular between almost all blogging and site-building folks, to its fastidious posts or perhaps critiques. smart iptv Subscription

Swiftly this web site can indisputably become popular between almost all blogging and site-building folks, to its fastidious posts or perhaps critiques. smart iptv Subscription

Your site extremely good, premium job... Read countless could consider my family regardless if it doesn't take the time to inform you of. make a public page

Your own co-workers are usually flaming about the products additionally right now I simply uncover the reason why. Buy weed Online

Prepare even more article content on this subject niche you now have a truly great suggestion that will persuade writters. 먹튀사이트

When i simply want to inform you about i always simply just look into your web site in addition to When i realize its incredibly useful in addition to beneficial..

Trying to find discount furniture stores in St Louis can be a real headache. At Downtown St Louis Furniture Warehouse, we make it easy for you to find something for every room of your home. Used furniture st louis

Prefer experience quickly checking all of the websites. Luxury Yacht Charters by day

I'm keen a put up. It happens to be fantastic to ascertain most people verbalize out of your spirit not to mention ability on that fundamental topic area are generally comfortably found.

Swiftly this web site can unquestionably become popular between almost all blogging and site-building folks, due to its meticulous posts or perhaps critiques. event production companies in dubai

Interior Designers in Kolkata, Interior Decorators in Kolkata , Top Interior Designers in Kolkata - Best Interior Decorators , offering interior designing and decoration services , office architecture design , restaurant design in Kolkata , hotel , guest house , shopping marts , showroom , shops , boutiques , spa , resorts call center architect and furniture in Kolkata interior decorators in Kolkata

Interior Designers in Kolkata, Interior Decorators in Kolkata , Top Interior Designers in Kolkata - Best Interior Decorators , offering interior designing and decoration services , office architecture design , restaurant design in Kolkata , hotel , guest house , shopping marts , showroom , shops , boutiques , spa , resorts call center architect and furniture in Kolkata interior decorators in Kolkata

My spouse and i truly find out your web site pertaining to making exams as well as My spouse and i truly right now visit experience for this reason asked. My spouse and i truly got offered a task to undertake your current for ones particular developing organization as well as Image staying away from these people. Probably right now, along with the state of mind that you proficient men and women, I'm going to test it.

This approach is visually really most suitable. Every single one of microscopic highlights are intended by means of a number of heritage skills. I recommend the software quite a lot.

Acceptance Life 

If you’re worried you’ve waited too long to get life insurance to help protect your family, 
there’s a simple solution. With guaranteed acceptance life insurance, 
you can get coverage to help cover your final expenses easily and affordably, 
without a medical exam, health questions, or any complicated paperwork.

Now a days everybody just want to have the best whatsapp status and most of them want to have some cool status or attitude status in hindi. attitude status in hindi

It is likewise an amazing write-up i always definitely relished examining. It's not necessarily day-to-day i always develop the opportunity to discover anything. overcoming shyness

Here at Gentech we use our industry's Most advanced Truck-mounted Carpet steam cleaning System. Our Truck mounted System provides you with effective Cleaning solutions that give you a deep Clean , removal of dirt, gravel , sand and we use environmentally friendly solutions that are able to Treat minor and Major Stains Cheap Carpet Cleaning Vancouver

This is often moreover a fairly good blog post that we certainly cherished analyzing. Not necessarily every single day which enjoy the chances to find a product. .Net Framework Offline Installer

The Best Mobile diesel mechanic San antonio , New Braunfels, Leon Valley, TX auto car repair service near me Call 210-693-0830 or visit for an affordable pre purchase foreign used vehicle inspection review. We come to you in Texas

I'm keen on ones write-up. It truly is beneficial to discover people verbalize on the cardiovascular system in addition to understanding within this significant theme is usually simply discovered. cccam server

One encourage plenty of online sites onto your web log My group is allowed to remain thinking about how i ever in your life discover groundwork at may. dog+light up collar

A reviewer backside shed within your blogs and forums is rather very clear. film en streaming

VoiceOnyx Business Phone ServiceiP is a premium business phone provider that impresses its customers with exceptional customer service and with value-added perks. Every VoiceOnyx customer is provided with two phone numbers: a local number with their preferred area code and a toll-free phone number.

Search engine marketing is an essential part of a company's marketing and advertising strategy. When looking for a service without a particular company in mind, most people typically use a search engine or social networks.

"I would like to present you Original Antique Engravings, Lithographs and Maps.
I don't sell a reproduction or modern copy. Only originals vintage botanical prints, bird prints, vintage maps, natural history vintage prints, animals engravings,....
You can choose beautiful GIFT WRAPPING and add your personalized message in order cart!
Buy 5 items and get 10% sale!
WHOLESALE - Buy 10 and more items and get 20% sale! " bird prints

That is why it is better that you should relevant research before writing. You will be able to write better post this way. gordijnen kopen

I was considering how to cure skin disturbance regularly. in like manner, discovered your site by google, took in a great measure, now i'm to some degree obvious. I've bookmark your site and in addition join rss. keep us fortified. Movers Winnipeg

It is ideal time to make a few arrangements for the future and the time has come to be upbeat. I've perused this post and on the off chance that I might I be able to want to recommend you few intriguing things or tips. Maybe you could compose next articles alluding to this article.Therapists Toronto

This is obviously one remarkable post. An obligation of appreciation is all together for the essential information and bits of learning you have so given here. Fast Food Winnipeg

I prefer the whole set of items, Thought about really enjoyed, I need more info . on this, considering that it is somewhat decent., Thanks a lot for the purpose of showing.

Exceptional site you've got below, much neat data!.. raspberry pi surveillance camera

Remarkable ınternet site you've gotten right, very much cold knowledge!.. blanket

5 Key Benefits of Hiring a Business Analyst
Course of Study

I have bookmarked it and I am expecting disassembling new articles. Keep up the creature work. Bijou

We proposal you tired drawer allies who have admiration for the enjoyable that the designing scene become the easiness of a genial and considerately originate incall loft. buy sim card online

Why You Need an Accountant for Your Creative Business Course of Study

Mobile Apps for Social Workers Out in the Field Masters Degree

It is a free picture sharing channel to people in general to make them mindful about your items and administrations and making them refreshed about your items. followers instagram gratis | free likes on instagram

You should keep on this kind of fantastic perform and also My partner and i enjoy a lot more of one's great websites. best software reviews

Why not remain this unique amazing give good results not to mention I just await further with the fantastic articles or content. clim portable

Your article is extremely helpful exceptionally fascinating subject i am looking that sort of post thank for imparting to us keep it up. high da backlinks

While i acquired on your web log however adding awareness just a bit touch submits. Nice technique for potential, We are book-marking during a period find versions conclude spgs way up. decorations

Such a strikingly basic article.I basically wish to offer a creature proceed for the standard data you have perfect here on this post. puppies for sale perth

Remember to proceed this specific wonderful operate along with My spouse and i expect additional of your respective wonderful web sites. Mansfield

Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming. Tile cleaning perth

Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming. Tile cleaning perth

Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming. Instagram Photo Post Likes kaufen