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Indy Wrestling from the late 90s early 2000s

Bring Back Minipops

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Inspired from reading the last page or so of the question thread, Indy wrestling was massive in all of the mags around this time. so who do you remember?


"Ice Pick" Vic Capri - who I remember watching in a show in a leisure centre in Belfast?

Mike Modest of Beyond The Mat fame?

Wreckless Youth?

Mike Quackenbush (and his partner in the black t-shirt squad whos name escapes me right now)?

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My first look into the world of independent wrestling was a WOW magazine article on XPW in the summer of 2000. Someone made a point here a while ago about deathmatches looking more exciting in photographs than it did on actual video. That is absolutely spot on, as I would find out when I ordered an XPW tape via Strong Style Tapes a couple of years later. You could make an argument that Powerslam's coverage of ECW in the mid 90s made a considerable percentage of that product look better than it actually was too. I could stare at those photo spreads in PS for ages, but anyway . . .


2001 was when I first got into tape trading. The catalyst for this was a four page spread in one of the Apter mags on the ECWA Super 8 tournament that year. Of course I soon learnt about the ways of indy wrestling and tape traders when I stuck the video in and found that the quality was average at best, filmed entirely on a seriously shaky hard cam. But there was something about it that had me watching over and over again. I was only fourteen years old at the time so I was seeing wrestlers (Low Ki blew my mind) and moves that I had never seen before and I was hooked. I haven't seen that show in an absolute age and I don't really want to as I know it wont live up to the way I remember it. For anyone that's interested, the lineup for that show . . .


<-- click on 'spoiler' to show/hide the spoiler

1. Low Ki vs. Billy Fives

2. Jayson Reign vs. Tony Kozina

3. American Dragon vs. Spanky

4. Reckless Youth vs. Mike Sullivan

5. Low Ki vs. Jayson Reign.

6. American Dragon vs. Reckless Youth

7. Low Ki vs. American Dragon



[close spoiler]



Of course, the floodgates soon opened and I was spending my pocket money on every tape and magazine I could get my greedy little hands on. The excitement of waking up for school and seeing one of these in the porch was something else. Don't get that same feeling purchasing an iPPV or using a torrent, do you? :(




So, October 2002. I'm at an IwW show in Dublin and I see in person the match that's getting rave reviews around the IWC - Jonny Storm vs Jodie Fleisch. On the back of this, I went and bought CZW's Best of the Best 2 just to see their match. Unlike the majority of indy stuff I watched then, that's still one I can watch today, but at the time I really, really thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen. I enjoyed the rest of the show which got me more interested in CZW. To this day, I still maintain that they had a better 2002 than ROH did and anyone who says otherwise can come fight me out back.


I always say 2002 to 2006 is when I was at my absolute smarkiest. I kinda cringe looking back at myself as a fan back then, but in my defense, what years they were for independent wrestling! It all came to a head for me in August 2006 when I flew from Ireland with a couple of friends to see ROH in Liverpool and for whatever reasons, my interest definitely waned in the following months and come 2007, I was following practically zilch on the indy scene. This show recently popped up on XWT and it was kinda cool to relive some of that again.


Some of my favourite things from that time period:


- Samoa Joe's ROH title reign. What a badass he was.

- The CZW vs ROH fued. For me, the zenith of the indy scene. Everything just came crashing down afterwards for both companies.

- ROH from 2003 - 2005. All you have to do is look up the card for any show in these years and you'll see how loaded the roster was. Such a shame to see what it's become now.

- CZW in 2002. Definitely debatable, but as I said earlier, better than ROH that year. Loved the year long Zandig and Lobo storyline for ownership of the company, plus it was really great to see wrestling at the ECW Arena again.

- Getting into PWG around this time. Still remember being blown away by the first Battle of Los Angeles show. I honestly thought Chris Bosh was gonna be the next big thing. Oops.

- The Briscoe Brothers! I swear, I'd trawl Powerslam and the Internet looking up these guys. If a show had them on it, the tape would be coming through my door in a matter of days if you ordered with Outcast Video. Probably months with Strong Style Tapes by this stage (and you still owe me tapes dickhead, I never did see Final Battle 2003 :angry: ).


Of course, I was so wrapped up in the indy's back then I completely ignored WWE because y'know, that wasn't real wrestling compared to the stuff I was watching. It was only about two years ago that I went back and rewatched some Raw's and PPV's from this period. I really missed out on a lot of good stuff, didn't I?


These days I'll only really watch something (indy wise) if it's getting good reviews. I'd say the one I watch the most is PWG, but even then I don't watch as much as I'd like to. Unlike as a teen when you have as much free time to do what you like, real life gets in the way now. I'd love to feel as passionate about wrestling now as I did back then, I really would.

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You're right about those ECW spreads in PS. I remember gazing at those for ages and trying to piece together the visuals into something resembling the WWF, but I couldn't do it. The pictures had a phenomenal grit and grime about them. One set I vividly remember was of (I think) a Heat Wave where Stevie Richards gets his bollocks grabbed by Luna in a match. All the pictures looked grim as fuck and had an orange tint to them, it was like they were just fighting in the desert or the jungle in an 80s action film.

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I remember getting my first SOW in 1993 and being amazed to find out that the WWF and WCW weren't the only places that "did the wrestling." Mind you, it was only the second most exciting thing about the mag, the most exciting being that the WWF had started having a tag team called The Boxing Turtles win some squash matches, and that former Global (whatever that was) star The Lightening Kid had agreed terms. Wonder what became of him...


But I digress. Indys. They were great for ages in that they were a place for the big 2 to scout talent that hadn't been showcased on the national stage yet while also providing employment for Marty Jannetty and The Anvil while they recovered from their latest sacking. I think I only really paid attention though when the PWI 500 came out so I could see who was still working when I thought they were retired. One Man Gang shocked me one year, imagine my surprise when he turned up in WCW and won the US title. But still, pictures of stuff like the Raven/Richards v Pit Bulls dog collar matches and write-ups of certain matches made me think "maybe there is some good stuff going on down there" the way fans of Premier League teams patronizingly talk about League 1.


But yeah, specifics. Mike Modest. "Jones needs some work, Modest is ready." Always makes me chuckle to see Vince's reaction to Modest's Air Raid Crash thinking he'd accidentally dropped Jones on his bonce, not realizing that's exactly how the move is performed. Probably be amiss not to mention Modest's partner in bland, Donovan Morgan. Morgan was touted as a big deal by ROH but he was nothing special. I of course loved him at the time purely because his finish looked great. That's all it took for me at the time. Divine Storm, Special K, The Maximos, what garbage they were. But hey, the Spanish Fly looked great. Andy Anderson, Chad Collyer, Matt Stryker, John Walters - yeah, I loved all their wristlocks, despite them each having the personality of a plug socket.


I think the stuff I remember being most impressed by without really knowing why was The Stampede Bulldogs (Harry Smith & TJ "Tyson Kidd" Wilson) against Hart Foundation 2.0 (Teddy Hart & Jack Evans). I think I got swept along with wanting the magic to be recreated for the 21st Century, although I did enjoy their matches until at some point realizing Evans was shit and Teddy was a prick and not being able to stand the sight of either of them. Well, other than a truly mind-boggling Trent Acid/Teddy match in CZW where the crowd was solidly behind Acid in his effort to rid CZW of Teddy. Considering what a shitheel Acid was, I guess it's a testament to the hateability of Teddy that they got behind Trent so much. Though that's probably just him being a prick rather than a good heel.


Trent and Johnny, the Backseat Boys. Everybody remembers them. The "Dream Sequence" being the archetypal over-choreographed team sequence that half the tag teams on the circuit seemed to adopt in the years that followed. I guarantee, no "Dream Sequence," no "More Bang For Your Buck." Looking back, there was so much to loathe about the Backseats - using the entrance theme of one of the best tag teams of all time, having their weight introduced in inches.... actually, they were pretty good heels.


Who else.... TJP calling himself PUMA, I guess pretending he was Japanese, well, when he wasn't pretending to be Cuban as an on-off third Havana Pitbull. Bobby Quance, always thought his Shooting Star was pretty. Oh, and Fat Ruckus. I hated him so much, and was very happy when Super Dragon (!) dropped him on his head. Even though by then he wasn't as fat.



I might have been a bit hard on Andy Anderson actually. At least he does a good impression of Buff.


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Dan Maff! Jesus, I'd completely forgotten all about him. I thought he was alright enough for a man with his limitations. Da Hit Squad were a decent little tag team in ROH's early days. He had a pretty good run in JAPW too.


Did we ever find out why Homicide blackballed him out of the business? I remember hearing rumours about Homicide's daughter being involved but I don't think it was ever made clear what had happened. Dodgy stuff all around it seems.

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Yeah, all I know is those same rumours that were flying about at the time..


What was the name of the really camp / gay tag team that ended up being managed by Rob Feinstein in JAPW? Still can't believe they hired him for some cheap heat after the whole Catch a Predator thing!

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What happened to Xavier from the early ROH days? I always thought he was quite cack and wondered why they had him as champion.


I've said this before on here but one thing I hated about ROH back then was Gabe Sapolsky's commentating. I actually was pretty into ROH for a bit but his screachy voice made the shows hard to sit through for me. Especially when he was trying to coin his utterly awful "DANGEROOOUUUS" as a catchphrase whenever someone got dropped on their head, which was a lot.

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