A Night at the Indies

Mark Madden

I made my occasional pilgrimage to an International Wrestling Cartel show this past Saturday. Enjoyable, and a bit profitable, too, thanks to my pre-show Q&A. I never get tired of telling Brian Pillman stories.

I also did color commentary on two matches for a DVD of the show, which was dubbed “Caged Fury.” Great to work with IWC play-by-play man Joe Dombrowski, who does a tremendous job filling in occasionally for ROH.

When I leave an indie show, I feel bad in two ways: For the guys who aren’t good enough, and especially for the guys who are but don’t get a legit chance.

Zema Ion exemplifies the latter.

Zema’s 27. He looks like a rock star. I’ve seen worse than his DJ gimmick. Excellent in the ring. Good body, if a bit small in stature. He’s a cruiserweight with charisma. WCW would have made good use of Zema in the mid/late ‘90s.

But, in TNA, he’s inexplicably in a supporting/minor role. He has zero chance of going to WWE. He’s just not their type.

If Zema had been around in the territorial days, he’d have made a great living. He deserves way better, but he’s likely never going to get it.

Zema and Dalton Castle had a solid match. Zema gets what he needs to do at the indie level: Lots of ga-ga to start, a few high spots, quick work, keep it safe. Castle was a choice opponent. A good one-on-one bout on a card laced with gimmickry.

Remember this name: Sammy Guevara. Twenty-one years old. Good look, good work, good persona. Needs to get bigger. One of the T-shirts he sells says, “Drug Free.” If he wants to go big-time, he might need to stop selling that shirt.

Guevara drove 20 hours to work the show. No doubting his commitment.

Guevara was in one of the show’s main events, a four-way “escape the” cage match also featuring IWC mainstays Façade and Andrew Palace and ROH’s Matt Taven. Façade did a spot where he walked along the top of the cage, then did a flying body press on all three foes.

Yo, guys: DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER.

Odd finish to that match: An interference issue caused the referee to briefly go to the back. Façade escaped the cage first, Guevara second. But the referee’s re-arrival timed with Guevara’s exit, so Guevara was declared the winner. Everybody but the ref saw Façade leave the cage first. That’s the idea, anyway.

The crowd bought it. Indie-show crowds buy anything.

But the finish made me wonder about the credibility of screw-job finishes when legit sports are so dominated by instant replay. The camera is everywhere. IWC was taping the show. When everything in every sport is reviewable, it seems Neanderthal to let a ***k finish stand in wrestling, even at the indie level.

Wrestling needs to embrace the concept of replay. It would push the creativity envelope, but wrestling needs that, even WWE. Especially WWE.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

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