With the indie wrestling boom taking full effect, it was only a matter of time before Michigan’s indie scene began to make moves. The home of such indie promotions as Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (XICW), Detroit Style Wrestling (DSW), and Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW), and just minutes away from Windsor, Ontario, Canada’s Border City Wrestling (BCW), the Michigan indie scene has been on the cusp of a boom for some time. Another promotion joins the area this Friday, when Championship Wrestling League (CWL) debuts in Brighton, Michigan (about 45 minutes north east of Detroit) at the Brighton Legacy Center Sports Dome. CWL will be available to watch weekly on local TV, running every Saturday from midnight to 2am on WADL-Detroit commercial free. Commentary will be handled by Lucha Underground‘s Matt Striker and local radio personality James Campbell from WRIF’s morning show, Dave and Chuck The Freak.
As far as bigger names go, former WWE Superstars MVP, Big Cass, and Michigan’s own Zach Gowen will be appearing on the roster, as well as potentially James Ellsworth – he crashed the press conference on September 4 in Detroit to declare he was fighting for a contract with CWL. In one of his first indie appearances since being released by the WWE, the former Big Cass will be signing a “full time contract with CWL and releases his first public comments since being released,” according to CWL’s website.
While it will have some bigger name stars, the company also looks to be booking emerging stars in the indie scene, as well as promoting local Michigan and Ontario talent as well. One of this year’s top rookies, Brian Pillman Jr., is set to appear, and there’s already been one match announced featuring IMPACT Wrestling‘s Dave Crist of OvE facing off against Rockstar Pro Champion Ace Austin.
Our opening match for our first show has been announced. Teacher vs Student. @TheDaveCrist vs @The_Ace_Austin pic.twitter.com/jmLzfDjCiS
— Championship Wrestling League (@CWrestleLeague) September 25, 2018
Here’s a look at some of the other local wrestlers announced for the CWL roster.
One of the hosses to come out of the Michigan indie scene of the past year, Jake Something is a former Crown of Glory Champion with Glory Pro and has become a regular with Chicago’s All American Wrestling (AAW). He also works with several Canadian indies, including BCW and Toronto’s Superkick’D. He’s also made several appearances for both IMPACT Wrestling and Ring of Honor.
A veteran of the Michigan indie scene, near 10-year veteran Hakim Zane is also known as Rohit Raju with IMPACT Wrestling’s Desi Hit Squad. A regular performer with AAW and Glory Pro, he’s a longtime regular with XICW where he’s a 2x XICW Midwest Heavyweight Champion. He’s also worked for Ring of Honor, BCW and Toronto’s Destiny World Wrestling (DWW).
LOTUS (Gavin Quinn & Junthai)
Detroit’s Gavin Quinn is one of Michigan’s best kept secrets and a 10-year veteran of the Michigan indies. Trained by former ROH star Truth Martini, he’s been a long time staple with Taylor, Michigan’s Collective League Of Adrenaline Strength And Honor (CLASH), where he’s a former 2x CLASH Champion. He’s focused more on XICW the past few years, capturing the XICW Midwest Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. Currently, he’s dominating the Michigan tag team scene with Junthai in LOTUS. Jumai, another Truth Martini pupil, is another CLASH regular who came to XICW, and together with Quinn, the duo are the current reigning CLASH, XICW and Pro Wrestling All-Stars of Detroit (PWASD) Tag Team Champions. Dominating another Michigan promotion’s tag division is most certainly their goal.
“The Samoan Beast” ALOFA
You may not recognize the name Alofa, but if you watched WWF, WCW and ECW in the 1990s, chances are you’ve seen him. The son of WWE Hall of Famer and Wild Samoan Afa, Alofa is the cousin of WWE Superstars like Roman Reigns, Rikishi and Umaga. In the early 90s, he wrestled in ECW as L.A. Smooth, and then went on to form the tag team with his brother Samu in the WWF, where he was known as the Tahitian Warrior. He’s worked close with the family run promotion World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) and recently debuted with Major League Wrestling (MLW) in their Battle Riot. He’s also spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico with World Wrestling Council (WWC), where he’s a 9x WWC Tag Team Champion.
A veteran of the New York City indie scene for over a decade, Alex Reynolds started out with New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC) in 2007, after training with former ECW World Champion Mikey Whipwreck. Over the years he’s worked for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Ring of Honor, and even the WWE on several occasions. Lately, he’s been working a lot with Beyond Wrestling and Tommy Dreamer‘s House of Hardcore. A former 2x NYWC Heavyweight Champion, he also briefly held the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) World Tag Team titles with John Silver in The Beaver Boys.
HALAL BEEFCAKE (Joe Coleman & Idris Abraham)
A veteran tag team of the Michigan and Ontario indies, Joe Coleman and Idris Abraham have been tagging together for the likes of XICW, Smash Wrestling and BCW. You may recognize Idris from his run last year with IMPACT Wrestling as part of the X-Division, when he competed in the 2017 IMPACT Super X Cup.
Another local Detroit wrestler and Truth Martini pupil, Isaiah Broner is becoming one of the area’s resident tough guys, where he’s the current XICW Proving Ground Champion. Still early in his wrestling career, he’ll be looking to make an impact with CWL.
“What Drew Drewdson lacks in size,” CWL says, “he makes up for with heart and passion as one of the hardest fighters in the business today.”
Another Detroit indie staple, CWL says that ‘The Mercenary’ “is one of the most dominant powerhouses in Michigan wrestling today.”
According to CWL, Alex Weir is “a martial arts expert”, and he’s “a young star on the prowl looking to make a name for himself with his unique offense of high risk and hard strikes.”