Indies Not Dead, Part 2: The World

Thanks to reports of the new NXT UK deals that restrict performances in the UK indie scene for many of its top stars and the reports than European megastar WALTER is WWE bound in January, a lot of fans are panicking about the end of the UK indie scene. When NXT UK stars like WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne tried to suppress the mob, he was met with scorn. But like we mentioned in Part 1 of Indies Not Dead, the indies are far deeper than people give it credit for. There are literally over 130 indie promotions in the UK alone right now – each of varying degrees, from developing rookies to nurturing sophomores, to giving platforms for potential global stars. And that’s just the British Isles. So like we did in Part 1, looking at over 140 of the top indie promotions the Americas, now we turn our focus on the rest of the world and it’s established or emerging indie scenes.

DISCLAIMER: For the sake of focusing on the true “independents”, we have not included any of the major/TV promotions: WWE, IMPACT Wrestling, Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, CMLL, AAA, Lucha Underground, or All Japan. There are literally thousands of indies running around the world right now and for space reasons, we simply cannot cover them all. We’ve highlighted the ones that are producing the greatest amount of content, creating the best new stars, and putting on the best production. By all means, link any promotions not mentioned in the comments below! We’ve included links to watch the promotions (if they have a streaming service), but in many cases, we’ve put links to collected streaming networks who house multiple promotions. Many of these promotions have their own On Demand as well, but with the networks, you can preview multiple new promotions at once and then decide who to invest in further! The world is your wrestling oyster!

ASIA (India, China, Japan)

Japan has been a strong market for pro wrestling since the 1950’s, when Rikidozan blew open the market, Mildred Burke found a platform for strong women’s wrestling, and when outsiders Karl Gotch and Billy Robinson found a home for their “strong style” of wrestling in the 1970s. Rikidozan pupils Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba formed New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling respectively, creating Japan’s two most iconic promotions. But there is a lot more wrestling in Japan than just NJPW and AJPW. In Japan, men and women are kept separate, but both have promotions committed to performance excellence. Promotions like Stardom and Sendai Girls are producing wrestling as world class as any promotion in the world.

BRITISH ISLES (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales)

The UK scene, of course, is the current bone of contention. With these new NXT UK contracts, the UK scene is losing roughly 10-15 of the main players. But considering the vast amount of UK promotions, and the fact UK wrestlers start training in the mid-teens, there is a backlog of talent waiting to move up. Part of the panic could be attributed to the fact that the UK’s indie scene is only now getting the global spotlight from major promotions so they aren’t used to seeing them depart, like how PWG and ROH fans felt in 2005 and 2006 when their stars started really leaving. There are well over 130 indies throughout the islands and they are all vital to the UK scene’s position globally – but the work that was done by the likes of PROGRESS, RevPro, ICW, Defiant (WCPW) and OTT, plus the steadfast resolve of IPW, SWE, Preston City and others, have helped craft a scene that is buzzing right now. Pro Wrestling EVE is probably close to Stardom and SHIMMER as one of the most essential women’s platforms in the world.

EUROPA (France, Spain, Netherlands, Hungary, Germany)

Many people are only now discovering that mainland Europe has a vibrant indie scene, due to the exposure of Germany’s wXw and the recent viral videos of A-Kid from Spain’s White Wolf Wrestling. But Europe has had professional wrestling as long as the Americas have, and there’s a strong catch scene in the likes of France and Austria, not to mention a strong scene in the Netherlands, while Germany is also one of the fastest growing scenes in the world.

OCEANIA (Australia, New Zealand)

Perhaps no other region on the planet is on the verge of exploding next like Australia and New Zealand’s. With the influx of stars to the WWE like The Iiconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay), WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy, and NXT UK Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley, to indie stars like Tenille Dashwood (Emma), Shazza McKenzie and Madison Eagles, and UK indie breakouts like Toni Storm, Travis Banks and Aussie Open, the Australian market is ripe to breakout as the next big scene globally. NJPW has begun touring Down Under, and Aussie indie star Robbie Eagles recently joined Bullet Club.

Check out other pieces from the “Indie’s Not Dead” Series for MORE ways to legally watch and support indie wrestling around the world!