Skip to main content

I've done a lot of lists on this website, but this is easily the hardest I've had to come up with. I have watched a lot of independent wrestling, especially this year, and it's easy to think of some of my favorite wrestlers. Thinking bigger picture and looking at promotions however, is much harder. On the independent scene so many wrestlers pop up all over the place, so my favorite matches from them could be from ten different companies.

To make this list I had to look a few things. 1: Unique matches or rules. Do they have something that I can only find there? 2: Champions. Do I get excited about their big matches? 3: How much of their content do I watch? This means both how many shows they have, and what percentage of those shows I watch. Finally, I'm only looking at currently active promotions, but this is not just about matches from this year. The company's entire history comes into account. Before getting into the list proper, let's start with some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions: Limitless, ICW No Holds Barred, Glory Pro, Zelo, Journey Pro, Freelance, No Peace Underground, Enjoy Wrestling, Action Wrestling, Olde Wrestling, SUP

cfu

#10: Combat Fights Unlimited

If I ever revise this list, expect CFU to be higher. It's only number ten right now because they've only had two shows total. It's hard to fall in love with a promotion that quick, but like I said, unique rules count for a lot on this list. This all women's promotion has no ropes and just a cage at the edge of the ring. All matches take place under a rounds system, and the show has already built a following with a great roster. Masha Slamovich is the first ever champion, and with names like Allysin Kay and Edith Surreal gunning for that title, I know with more shows this company will only get better. Standouts: Masha Slamovich, Lady Frost, Jordan Blade, Janai Kai, Edith Surreal

zmak

#9: ZMAK

I talked extensively about ZMAK in my Michelangelo article, but I really have fallen in love with this company. Wrestling is often called a soap opera, and apart from Lucha Underground, I don't think any company comes closer to that than ZMAK. Their long running stories are often told with in ring action and tons of recap video packages so even the language barrier becomes easy to overcome. Watching this tight knit group of wrestlers grow and change both in their character and their style is so enjoyable. ZMAK does have it's own unique matches like prison break, but it really is the wrestlers that keep me coming back. Michelangelo truly is amazing, but others like Achilleas and Patir Loannis make sure the company puts on great shows from top to bottom. I always get excited when new matches drop, and can't wait to see where they go from here. Standouts: Michelangelo, Hermes, Johnny Hashtag, Playboy, Achilleas Sabbath.

blp

#8: Black Label Pro

Black Label Pro started in 2017, and they are on this list mostly because of how they balance comedy and serious wrestling. On one hand, you have a pop up tent in the middle of the ring, on the other hand you have stuff like Turbo Graps 16. It's that good mix that always makes BLP shows a treat. As an example, their last show had both Lee Moriarty vs Laredo Kid and a match with five Danhausens. A lot of BLP matches end up in my lists because of Violence is Forever, and BLP does usually have great tag team matches. Add in fantastic commentary and I just cannot watch a show without a smile. Standouts: Violence is Forever, Jake Something, Warhorse, Danhausen, Allie Katch

warrior wrestling

#7: Warrior Wrestling

The very first match of this company I saw was Lucha Bros vs Team Whitewolf, and I was hooked. The kind of matches that they put together always blow my mind, and in my opinion they're a better Super Indy than PWG. Their unique match is the War of Attrition, and you should absolutely watch all four of them. The match begins as 4 vs 4, and the winning team then splits in half. Whoever got the pinfall picks their partner and the match becomes 2 vs 2. Finally the last two face off in a singles match for whatever title is on the line. They also have a Lucha Championship, which has become one of my favorite belts, and also allow other company belts to be defended on their show. For example, their next show has an ROH Women's Title match. They've come a long way and always put one of a kind shows with memorable matches. Standouts: Trey Miguel, Aramis, Thunder Rosa, Brian Cage, Sam Adonis.

lucha memes

#6: Lucha Memes

Later this week I have my Arez article coming out, and there's a lot of Lucha Memes on that list. I've really liked what I've seen, and they've been my introduction to independent Lucha Libre. Their annual Battle of Coacalco is always a treat, and so far the winners have been Bandido, Arez and Lee Moriarty. It's also been home to Lucha Legends like Black Terry and Ricky Marvin in the last few years. Their shows have really exposed me to talent I would have never seen, and have a great energy. It's very different compared to what I often watch, but it's been a real treat. They have a loyal fanbase because many of their shows are in the same area, and that gives it a great atmosphere. I've seen crazy stuff like people trading slaps with both upside down on their heads. I never know what I'll see when I turn on Lucha Memes, and that's what makes me love it. Standout: Arez, Aramis, Black Terry, Iron Kid, Ricky Marvin.

camp leapfrog

#5: Camp Leapfrog

We're halfway through this list and we come to Camp Leapfrog. Rising from the ashes of Chikara, they've really become their own thing. They have some cinematic shows from the pandemic and that they'll be doing again soon, but they also have shows with happy live crowds. They've brought back a Trios tournament, Cibernetico, and have done stuff like Camper's Choice where everyone online made their own card and the most liked was what they booked. Every show feels fun and unique, and their roster is delightful. With wrestlers like Edith Surreal putting on the best matches in company history with Effy and Masha Slamovich, and people like A Very Good Professional Wrestler and Travis Huckabee always put on must see matches. I've yet to be sad watching Camp Leapfrog, and it's my most reliable feel good show. Standouts: Edith Surreal, A Very Good Professional Wrestler, Abby Jane, Travis Huckabee, Whisper

beyond

#4: Beyond Wrestling

On IWTV currently there are 172 Beyond Wrestling shows. Like I said earlier, sheer amount of content is great, and thankfully I love watching as much of it as I can. They started in 2009 and are still going strong now with their weekly show Uncharted Territory which just started season 3. Not only do I love their backlog, but several of my favorite matches this year have been in Beyond. Wheeler Yuta vs Lee Moriarty, Slade vs Matthew Justice, and Deonna Purrazzo vs Masha Slamovich are just a few. The company made huge strides in intergender wrestling, they brought the no guardrail, fans slapping the mats style to USA wrestling, and they've produced some amazing talents over the years. I always get excited when Beyond is doing a show, and they easily do the most shows on this list at a very high quality. Standouts: Vincent Nothing, Chris Dickinson, Matt Makowski, Masha Slamovich, Megan Bayne

gcw

#3: Game Changer Wrestling

Speaking of companies doing a lot of shows, we have GCW. If this was just GCW proper, they would probably be lower on this list. But when you take into account Effy's Big Gay Brunch, and For the Culture, and Allie Kat's Real Hot Girl S#%t, and Bloodsport, and Jimmy Lloyd's D-Generation F, and, well you get the picture. They cover such a wide gambit and each of those sub-brands have put on spectacular matches. All together you have such a deep roster that presents multiple styles of wrestling and often features big names in addition to their regulars. The last few months especially have seen huge moments that justify the name Game Changer. We're witnessing some of the most iconic wrestling moments of the last decade happening often in the Carousel room of the Showboat. Matches like Gage vs Cardonna and Gage vs Moxley have gotten the entire scene tlaking, and it's exciting. More than anything else, GCW is exciting, and you never know what you're going to miss if you skip a show. Standouts: Nick Gage, Allie Katch, Effy, AJ Gray, Alex Colon

aml wrestling

#2: America's Most Liked Wrestling

This might be influenced by how often I go see them live, but of course I love it. With Caprice Coleman and T.I.M as current champions this company is in great hands. They always produce enjoyable shows and do a good mix of local stars with big national names. I've talked about some of their matches in the Colby Corino and T.I.M articles, and they really do have fantastic fights. I've never had a bad time at an AML show, and it really is my happy place. It's my favorite company to drive out and see, and I always get excited for their next show. Standouts: T.I.M, Caprice Coleman, JB Cole, Brad Attitude, White Mike

paradigm

#1: Paradigm Pro Wrestling

I mean of course it's Paradigm right? I love this company and have covered them more times than I can count. Whether it's No Hook, UWFi Rules, deathmatch, or any of the other many styles of matches they put on, I always enjoy it. They've built up the company to where they now have two brands for the different kinds of fighters. They even created the Terminal Combat match which begins as UWFi Rules and if it hits five minutes anything goes. Paradigm has put on matches like Myron Reed vs Suge D and Hoodfoot vs Matt Makowski that have been fantastic. They feel like an established name despite only now turning four years old. They've done so much in so little time, and really feel like a company that has something for everyone. I tell everyone to check out Paradigm and I probably always will. It got me into shoot style, showed me what a weekly TV show can actually be, and has always surprised me with its matches. Standouts: Matt Makowski, Akira, Hoodfoot, the Von Engelands, Jody Himself

So that's my current list of my favorite independent promotions. What shows do you always find yourself watching? Be sure to let me know, and support indie wrestling!

Related Articles