Wrestling has definitely changed forever in regards to this current climate.
However, we shouldn’t have to push away the changes that are already settled in.
Getting used to limited audiences at shows.
Seeing storylines change under uncertainty.
And also make use of local and outsider talent are many ways promotions are using this to their advantage.
There is another article that talks about the pros and cons of the major companies and their approaches to this: The Good and The Bad Wrestling Companies During Coronavirus
Today I’ll be exploring promotions/independents from across the globe that took this unfortunate time into their advantage.
Which in return, created more of a buzz because of it.
Would you be surprised to hear that DDT, especially during this time, has taken it as an opportunity to further their creativity in match styles?
Their venture into ‘no people’ shows created the eight part series of episodes titled ‘DDT TV’.
Which looked into match types inside and outside of the ring with the appropriate restrictions in play.
This can be similarly said for their major events during a ‘no people’ period;
- Peter Pan 2020
- The first ever producer show by Chris Brookes.
There isn’t too much to say about the produced show, due to only two matches being on the card.
However, the two that they presented allowed for a diverse show to air with a match of ‘chin-like’ quality in Miyu Yamashita vs Chris Brookes.
And the quoted ‘Super Hardcore’ Harcore Match with Drew Parker vs Shunma Katsumata.
This was also a first step into introducing DDT to a wider english audience with the show being free to view (please be ensured I don’t know if it still is).
Peter Pan for 2020 was and still is my current number one pay per view of this year.
Being run on a two night schedule each night allowed the opportunity for all members of the roster (and outside of the roster) to truly shine above all odds.
Without giving too much of this show away, because y’know spoilers.
If you ever need something to replace the graveyard match that WWE produced, then Yoshihiko vs Konosuke Takeshita from night one would 100% be it.
There was always a worrying feeling about a new company like AEW being thrown into the deep end with this pandemic.
All of their issues and personal grievance aside, they showed a majority of a western wrestling based audience how to still run storylines and shows under the pressures of real life seeping through.
The best cases in point comes, again, in two cases:
- Their first ever episode of Dynamite during COVID-19
- The Stadium Stampede.
From the beginning promo of the EVPs to settle in the tension of the months to come.
To the unexpected ending of Matt Hardy’s introduction with an echoing ‘Delete’ chant without any crowd reaction to counter it.
That was the episode that made people want to watch again.
To add to this momentum, there was an introduction of the now famous ‘Stadium Stampede’ as a replacement for the cage match with the Inner Circle vs The Elite.
Which in match terms was a world of DDT influence mixed with western wrestling values.
Fumbling in some stages of the match, in others really provided impactful and intense moments.
(Talking to you, Kenny who decided to OWA Sammy off the grandstands like a lunatic).
Gatoh Move is a promotion that was never outwardly heard of until Chocopro was presented and most western fans of wrestling could agree on that.
But as a promotion created by the wonderful leadership of veteran, Emi Sakura their main goal was to provide wrestling to wrestling fans beyond the limitations of a ring.
Regularly hosting shows in their studio/training space in Tokyo, Japan.
Chocopro is within a similar premise to Gatoh Move but by providing no paywall content through their Youtube channel for fans who wish to continue to support them through this time.
Through shows that have now reached into the 40’s in episodes.
To after show watch parties of their shows and other promotions where usually the pairing of Mei and Akki would react alongside fans.
Interacting and generally enjoy the experience without any hassle of negativity.
They do have an option to support them via their Pateron which allows them to continue running throughout this pandemic.
Watch all the action through their Youtube channel.
These are mainly promotions that although haven’t done major events such as weekly shows through the pandemic but major pay per view shows and or tournament like events.
After a brief hiatus away from wrestling due to the pandemic situation, GCW along with various independents around the world had to adjust to the new normal unlike anything any major company with billionaires money/support.
Working from the ground up once again and making sure that fans, staff and wrestlers alike are 100% safe.
GCW’s Homecoming Weekend event was probably the most talked about independent show on my timeline and it showed.
Not only working within their own restrictions but also allowing talents their opportunities to shine from Lio Rush and ACH to DDT’s finest in Yoshihiko.
Although not knowing much about AAA besides their major events (mainly Triplemania) their involvement in presenting the ‘Lucha Fighter’ Tournament for Youtube viewing.
Expanded over a month period in April of this year, they were the early starters of the pandemic tournament craze.
Which showcased all divisions from the mini’s to the males in a fresh look of lucha wrestling during this time.
Watch the entire tournament series on their Youtube channel.
Do you have any promotions that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!