I finally just got round to watching last years wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament. I’ve read the reports on these for the last few years, but never actually watched a full show, only clips. I have no reason for why I had never watched one before, just a case of a mixture of laziness and also a little bit due to being worried that watching the actual show could not live up to the hype I had built up inside my head for the biggest tournament in Europe.
Turns out I really should not have been worried and it fully lived up to my expectations and surpassed them as I’m now sure the prior years would have too. In fact I am cursing my laziness because now I have several years of wXw to catch up on. The card featured stars like Karsten Beck, Jonathan Gresham, Ricochet, Ricky Marvin, Zack Sabre Jr., Tommy End, Michael Dante, Eddie Kingston, Chuck Taylor, Bad Bones, Shinobu, Johnny Moss, MASADA, Super Crazy, The Axeman, and many other stars from all across the world.
I won’t go into details about what happens and who wins the tournament just on the off-chance that someone reads this and decides to obtain a copy of the DVD and watch the show. What I will say though, is the whole show has a great feel to it, I hate to compare it to ECW, but that’s the only example some people will know, but that kind of electric, packed in, close to the action vibe. Something else that makes it different is the version I watched had no commentary on it at all. Instead the camera mics were turned on allowing you to listen to the wrestlers verbally interact (in character) with each other and the audience as well as the never ending wide array of chants from the audience.
In fact, now that I’ve mentioned the audience’s chants you have a variety of chanting and song for example at one point a wrestler instigated a, “I’m a Barbie girl, in a barbie world,” sing song. Another favorite was, “There’s only one Zack Sabre, there’s only one Zack Sabre, there’s only one Zack Sabre, walking along singing a song, walking in a Zabre wonderland.” The fans are certainly not scared to show their true feelings against someone showed by the chants of, “Die Tommy die,” and no, they were not chanting in German, ‘The Tommy the,’ the crowd and wrestlers were all very much bi-lingual.
Anyway, there is actually a point to this, not just me professing my newly found refreshed love for German wrestling. Rather I wanted to get across that while some fans say that wrestling is dead and there’s no choice anymore. I say, “HACK PHOOEY.” There’s loads of the stuff out there if you look outside of the 1,000 plus channels on your television. Outside of your own country.
Whether it’s in Japan where NJPW are currently on fire putting on top quality shows seemingly every event or one of the other, who knows, it seems like they have thousands of promotions at the moment. Some of them are going through rough patches like AJPW and in my opinion NOAH also, but, there are so many independent promotions over there it’d be impossible to recap them all and they offer different kinds of wrestling too.
Or may-be, you’re not keen on Japan because you can’t understand the commentary, that’s okay, you could try the above German promotion I mentioned where that problem is solved with no commentary but an electric crowd. Still not good enough? Then may-be you could try one of the Oceanic promotions which are slowly building their names back up after an almost non-existent era of wrestling over there.
Then of course we come to where I live, the United Kingdom, over the last five or so years, the scene here has literally exploded with wrestling. Any fan who is aware of British wrestling will no doubt be able to reel off the minimum of five great companies to go and watch wrestling here be it Rev Pro, Progress, IPW:UK, ICW, or IwW and of course there are many others worth checking out. I was at a Southside Wrestling event the other day and they put on great afternoon and evening shows for only £15.
With prices so cheap to get into wrestling shows, even the more built up shows don’t charge too much more, it’s still reasonable, it’s hard to have an excuse not to go to a show at least once a month, chances are wherever you live in the U.K. there’s at least two promotions with in a decent traveling distance that you can get to and the best part is, most shows have something for everyone on them. Not to forget to mention the awesome talent here right now, and I’m sure I’ll miss some big names, but there’s guys like El Ligero, Kris Travis, Grado, Mark Andrews, Dave Mastiff, Stixx, Jimmy Havoc, Marty Scurll, Mark Haskins, MK McKinnan, and Noam Dar.
And last but not least you get to America, well, if you don’t know about all the little indys dotted around there, then Google wrestling in your local area and you’ll most likely find a small promotion. Same as everywhere else, some are bound not to be so good, but there is definitely enough of them to try and find one local to you. For me, I’m a PWG guy and will openly say, PWG has totally spoiled me as far as the awe inspiring performances and loaded cards that they put on each and show.
Now, not everyone is going to be digging that, but then there’s stuff like World X-treme Wrestling C4 run by the Samoans which is more old school orientated or Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore which tends to have some good wrestling and then some more modern style fast paced action too, the first two shows especially were very entertaining. You’ve also got places like CZW if you like a more adult orientated show, although they have added much more wrestling over the last few years and of course ROH which always seems to be a favorite of the “hardcore wrestling fan.”
Back to the point, once upon a time I used to be very down on wrestling and wrote an article in 2009 for some other website, entitled, “The Final Nail in the Coffin.” Where I was very down on wrestling and how it was going to die a slow and painful death. I’m now 25 and as much in love with wrestling as I was when I was 5. For that I thank Bill Apter, the wrestling journalist. He once said in an interview when asked how he can still watch wrestling (not the exact quote), “I had the choice, I could either hate the very thing that had given me enjoyment for so many years and be so negative I ruined my relationship with it forever, or, I could learn to love it for what it was and grow with it not away from it, and not lose what I love.”
That made me think and it made me want to find something about wrestling I could love. By this point I had already been to and seen a few shows outside of the world of mainstream wrestling and I already loved old school wrestling, but I had never really got the DVD’s and kept up to date with any newer promotions, just watched the odd match here or there. Now, I have more wrestling I would like to keep up with than is humanly possible and yes, that does include WWE and TNA. I plan on writing a separate article on TNA in the near future though, so I won’t go into that here. WWE is more of a nostalgic thing for me these days though, it truly is when I attend a show or I am watching something like PWG that I really become a fan again.
So, don’t give up. Just because WWE doesn’t tickle your fancy or TNA isn’t your to your liking. Don’t let them ruin your love for wrestling. It’s okay to hold on to the past and still evolve with current, because I guarantee if everyone took the time they spent moaning to check out some other companies that eventually they would find something they could get into. There’s just so much choice out there available to download, to get on DVD, to watch online, or to attend in person. Instead of hating what you used to love, find that company that makes you feel like a fan again and support them, spread their name around so like-minded folk can also find out about it. Contrary to what I said five years ago, wrestling is not dead. It’s far from it, there’s actually a load of hidden gems just waiting for you to discover them.
– By Jimmy Wheeler
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