An independent pro wrestling show – even a good one like IWC’s annual Super Indy tournament in Elizabeth, Pa. – provides many contradictions.
The crowd is smart marks. They’re desensitized to actual good pro wrestling. They want spot monkeys. Too often, wrestlers forget to sell. They just pop up in a rush to get to the next spot. The crowd reacts. But the wrestlers aren’t learning to work.
That leads to the wrestlers not engaging the crowd. They’re trying to please the crowd, but not working with the crowd. They’re not letting fan reaction dictate the match’s flow. They go from Point A to Point B in soulless fashion. ROH’s Bobby Fish was an exception at Super Indy, and stood out because of it.
Communication is minimal. No agents. That led, for example, to nearly EVERY SINGLE WRESTLER at Super Indy doing a plethora of Ric Flair-style chops. The crowd whoo’d – for a while. Again: DESENSITIZED.
Nobody works like a heel. Some adopt heel mannerisms. But, in terms of work: Spot monkeys. IWC champ John McChesney worked like a heel, and stood out because of it. McChesney wasn’t in the tournament but was part on a 3-on-2 handicap match. McChesney has as much polish as anyone on the show. He’s legit good. But he’s been on the indy circuit for a decade, so the clock’s ticking.
The wrestlers work for next to nothing. I was told Extreme Tiger came from Mexico for trans, a hotel room and $40. That’s either noble, or INSANE.
All that said, Super Indy was a solid show. Decent crowd, just shy of 200, but responsive. The Super Indy tournament has previously featured C.M. Punk (three times), Antonio Cesaro, Evan Bourne, Kassius Ohno and a few others of note, so it has a breeding ground feel. The tournament could use a token big guy, even a fat jobber, to ditch the cruiserweight feel. But the matches were mostly good or better.
Are any of the participants going anywhere? Not sure. Somebody will. Somebody usually does.
Tournament winner Michael Façade is part of TNA’s Gut Check balloting. Good look. Solid work. Very reminiscent of Shannon Moore (pre-tats) in appearance and performance. His “Neon Ninja” gimmick needs some refining. But, of the performers at Super Indy, Façade seems the best bet to make it.
Indy shows always have some cringe-worthy moments. Part of the fun. I won’t name names, because I won’t blast anybody working for $40 (or whatever).
But one wrestler blew up while doing a promo. YIKES. A match between two black wrestlers featured an uncomfortable level of Bojangling. I thought Rocky King was back in town. More disturbingly, the fans ate it up.
But, overall, it was good stuff. An enjoyable evening. Indy shows often are. IWC runs a very good product with consistency of performance and character. It’s a good place for wanna-bes to get experience. Big ring, too. Room to move.
It’s also fun because I have a degree of fame at events like Super Indy. When introduced, I got a forced, almost obligatory crowd pop. Humility rocks!
Follow Mark Madden on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX