Monday, September 16, 2013

Wrestling Is...Worth Watching

The chaos at the end of the show
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Over the weekend I had a chance to attend my first ever Wrestling Is Intense show.  It was actually the first of the "Wrestling Is" groups I've seen in person.  I've watched Wrestling Is Fun on iPPV and I've attended a few Chikara shows in the past.

I'll be honest, I don't know a whole lot about Wrestling Is Intense or the Wrestling Is movement.  After Sunday's show, I have no idea where the company is headed, if there is a future at all.  I do know it's entertaining and has quality men and women who work hard to keep the crowd happy.  I've got to tell you, I am really disappointed with the turnout in terms of crowd support at Sunday's show.  At one point, I counted 21 fans in the crowd.  I know this show was heavily promoted with posters being plastered in several different communities near the venue in Carbondale, Illinois.  There was a write up in the local newspaper and a one minute news story that ran on the morning news broadcast two days prior to the event.

Pre show Limbo contest was cool
I don't know if it's because the show was on a Sunday afternoon at the same time people are enjoying an afternoon of football, or if it's that people in this neck of the woods just don't get Wrestling Is or independent wrestling in general.  I've seen a sharp decline in fan support over the last year of local independent wrestling.  It makes me sad quite honestly.  While the fans who aren't coming out to these shows disappoint me, I do have positive things to say.

The wrestlers on the card at the Wrestling Is Intense show came out and performed as if the house was packed.  They didn't let the small crowd dampen their spirits.  I was at the MetLife Stadium this year for Wrestlemania 29.  There were more than 80,000 of us there.  Of course it was a good time.  But so was Wrestling Is Intense.  I honestly felt like we, the fans, were able to make connections with the wrestlers as they headed to the ring and during their matches.  The wrestlers all the way from the opening match to what ended up being the main event came out to the ring with enthusiasm and professionalism.  I think some might have been discouraged, but they didn't let that show as they came out and tore the house down.

Cottonbelly vs. Crabtree
My seven year old daughter attended the show with me.  While she's only really seen the likes of John Cena, CM Punk, and AJ Lee (and only on TV), I can honestly tell you she had a great time seeing the Estonian Thunderfrog, "Gentleman" Jervis Cottonbelly, and Darkness Crabtree work their magic in the ring.  Early in the show, she was reluctant to put up her hand and give the wrestlers high fives as they walked by.  But before the day was through, she had her hand in position when a wrestler's music hit.

Meeting the Thunderfrog
There's also that chance at indy shows to get some time to talk with the wrestlers, either during intermission or after the show.  Thunderfrog was kind enough to take a picture with us and give my daughter a tshirt.  These are memories that will last a lifetime for both of us. You can't get that kind of feeling at a big ticket show.  It's impossible.

Daywalkers making a wish
I have worked in other promotions with The Daywalkers (Alexandre Barnabus Castle and Mathis Cage) and Christian Rose.   I know how hard they work training and traveling the country going from show to show.  Their schedule, I would imagine, is similar to that of the others on the show.  They spend a lot of time driving and   while I don't know for sure, I would imagine for very little pay.  But I know they're doing this to earn a big payday.  They wrestle each week, several times a weekend, because they love it too.

Rose kicks Sue Jackson
Independent wrestling is the foundation of wrestling, or dare we say it, sports entertainment.  I know it sounds cliche, but I firmly believe that.  CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Antonio Cesaro are just a few of the guys on the main roster now who spent years trying to make a name for themselves.

I've said it before, I'll say it again.  If you have independent wrestling in your community, support it.  If there's a show within driving distance, attend.  You will not be disappointed.  As fans, we need to be supportive of all levels of wrestling, not just when the flash and glamour makes that once a year (or even less) stop in our hometown.


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