Wrestlemania is by far the biggest wrestling event in the world. Because of this many other promotions run wrestling events during the weekend near the location of Wrestlemania in order to capitalize on the large concentration of wrestling fans in one place. This year is the debut of WrestleCon which will house vendors, guest stars, and most importantly tons of live events from the major independents DGUSA, EVOLVE, Chikara, CZW, SHIMMER, and more. The biggest independent promotion around, Ring of Honor, also makes a claim annually for this being one of their biggest weekends of the year. With this year’s Wrestlemania taking place in the New Jersey/New York City area a more local promotion gets in on the action with Pro Wrestling Syndicate. Even NJPW with their new found iPPV success is getting in on the action this year delivering a blockbuster. Every promotion is putting their best foot forward hoping to gain a few new fans in the process. The following matches are the cream of the crop. They are the best matches outside Wrestlemania(most are better than those taking place at Mania as well). Every match has a picture that is linked up to where you can purchase the event so if it looks awesome, and each match really does, click and buy the iPPV stream in advance.
HM: Ayako Hamada vs. Athena: SHIMMER 53- One of the top joshi in the world against one of the top prospects without a doubt.
Sami Callihan vs. Brian Kendrick: CZW at WrestleCon-Possibly the best wrestlingon the independents in Sami Callihan going up against a newly motivated Brian Kendrick
10.John Morrison vs. Jushin Liger: PWS’s Supercard 2013 Night 2 (4/5/13)
Jushin “Thunder” Liger is not the wrestler he once was. The man with the iconic mask has put some mileage on his body but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t possess the talent to do the little things to make his matches enjoyable. He’s mostly been wrestling in tag matches over in Japan so he isn’t most likely going to have lengthy match in singles competition given his physical state. Liger coming over to the states would probably be enough to earn a spot on this list to be truthful but it is his opponent that brings the match up a notch or two. John Morrison is one of the best former WWE wrestler acts going on the indy circuit right now. He keeps showing why he could be considered one of the best wrestler’s in America if he was in a promotion with a little more exposure on a consistent basis. Together Liger and Morrison might not go all out in putting on a classic in Pro Wrestling Syndicate but Liger being Liger and Morrison bringing his parkour-ness is enough for this match to be at the very least good.
9. Amazing Kong vs. Mia Yim: SHIMMER 53 (4/6/13)
This match is probably the riskiest of them all. Either this match is going to be off the chain awesome or Kong phones it in and this is an average match. Amazing Kong is phenomenal but there may be times that she doesn’t go full speed at this level but this is WrestleMania weekend and probably SHIMMER’s biggest show to date so that may be enough to motivate her. On the other side of the ring is Mia Yim who has potential to spare. She had a great series of matches with Allysin Kay last year, has toured Japan, and with a good showing against one of the biggest female names of the last five years could put her on a whole other level than she is at right now.
8.Mike Quackenbush/??? vs. Jigsaw/The Shard: Chikara’s The Shoulder of Pallas (4/6/13)
This match is another installment in the Jigsaw and Quackenbush feud. There is a wildcard with Quackenbush’s mystery opponent but NJPW’s website leaked that Jushin “Thunder” Liger is booked for Chikara’s WresteCon card. There is about a 90% chance Liger is Quackenbush’s opponent now and if so expect this match to boggle the mind. Unlike Liger’s match with John Morrison, Liger wouldn’t have to do nearly as much as he would in a singles match and can stick to a tag team setting he is more accustomed to now. There is a slight chance that it isn’t Liger as Quackenbush’s partner and that other option may be former King of Trios winner alongside Quack and Jigsaw, Shane Storm. If that happens to be the case this match will deliver on a storyline level in a big way that only Chikara can pull off. No matter what with Jigsaw and the Shard on the other side, whomever Quack’s partner is expect it to be a nice surprise which will be a part of a very good match.
7. Masada vs. Jun Kasai: CZW at WrestleCon (4/5/13)
This is one of those matches that going in you know if you are going to love it or hate it. Masada and Jun Kasai are deathmatch superstars and are known around the world for their bloody talents. I will always try to give Masada credit on the Indy Project on how he is not strictly a deathmatch wrestler but can also put together a good regular match as well. This is not one of those matches though where I am going to be praising him on his wrestling ability cause this is just going to be insane. These men are no strangers to each other in Japan but in America this match has not taken place nor is Jun Kasai a regular CZW act. He’s not just a Japanese important but an icon in the craft that CZW is probably most known for. Expect the CZW fans to lose it in this match as Masada brings his barbarian like brutality and Kasai looks to leave a legendary impression in one of his not so regular appearances in America.
6.Young Bucks vs. Super Smash Bros.: EVOLVE 19 (4/5/13)
These teams are no strangers to one another. In PWG on the West Coast the Young Bucks and the Super Smash Bros. put on multiple MOTYC in front of the scorching Reseda crowd. This is the first time these two teams have met on the East Coast though and they will be looking at not only putting on the best match of the Evolve show but the entire weekend. Both teams could make a compelling argument for being the best tag team on the independents or possibly the world. This is the top guaranteed match on Evolve’s WresteCon show. All the other big matches are really up in the air with the Evolve tournament but this match will be going on without a doubt and we’ll see if the usually quite Evolve crowd goes nuts for one of the premiere matches taking place during WresteCon weekend.
5.Akira Tozawa vs. Ricochet: DGUSA’s Open the Ultimate Gate 2013(4/6/13)
This is a first time one-on-one match-up which is incredible giving both men are regulars for Dragon Gate and DGUSA. Saying that both men are familiar with each other being part of an incredible tag team match in PWG during All Star Weekend 8 as well as both being a part of the highly regarded four-way elimination, Open the Freedom Gate Championship match in 2012. Tozawa was once the future of Dragon Gate but through working in PWG and DGUSA he quickly became the ‘present’ of Dragon Gate. The man is an absolute beast in the ring. Ricochet has taken the place of PAC as the best high flyer not in a major company. Actually, he may just be the best high flyer on the planet including PAC. This doesn’t mean the man can’t wrestle without soaring through the air because that’s not the case. In recent years he has bulked up and rounded out his gate to become a complete and elite wrestler. This isn’t billed as a main event on the DGUSA card but don’t be at all surprised if it steals the show or even the entire weekend.
4. Hirooki Goto/Yuji Nagata vs. Laughter7(Katsuyori Shibata/Kazushi Sakuraba): NJPW’s Invasion Attack (4/7/13)
Laughter7 may be the best tag team on the planet not named the Young Bucks. Thinking what may have been if Shibata had stayed a professional wrestler and not gone into MMA makes for a very sad time. Both men though with their MMA background do look like legit bad asses. Goto is not a guy I am a fan of and Nagata isn’t my favorite either but Laughter7 makes people look awesome so I have no doubt that this match has the potential to steal the show. Nagata had Nakanishi as his partner against Laughter7 and they put on a great match. Goto can be seen as an improvement on Nakanishi and adds heat to the match with him and Shibata. The booking is also fantastical with NJPW not giving out big matches like Nagata against Sakuraba and Goto versus Shibata on an already stacked card.
3.Eddie Kingston vs. Hallowicked: Chikara’s The Shoulder of Pallas (4/6/13)
Second Chikara match on the list and this one is for Eddie Kingston’s Grand Championship which he has held for over a year. These two men have faced each other before but not for some time since as of late they have both been on the tecnico, aka babyface, side of things. Both men still are tecnicoes but Wink Vavasseur, the Director of Fun, has it out for Kingston and is trying to make his defenses as often and difficult as possible. Hallowicked is clearly a talented wrestler and a man even Hero touted as guy who could have been a real breakout star if it weren’t for the mask he dons. He does have the mask though and with Chikara’s rise he has been able to as well. Hallowicked has had to make a go of it as of late in the singles ranks as both his partners from Spectral Envoy, Frightmare and Ultramantis Black, have been in and out of injuries. This is his shot to make an impact like Green Ant did against Kingston and looked like a title contender. Kingston obviously plays a part in making his opposition look fantastic and has
2.Karl Anderson vs. Roderick Strong: ROH’s Super Card of Honor VII (4/5/13)
I’ve got another rematch for you here with their original match taking place in PWG where both men at the time were still regulars, with Strong still remaining that way. As you probably know Karl Anderson is not the same place as a wrestler that he was when that match took place in 2009. Anderson was known but not as a big star or anything even on the independents. That has changed dramatically where in NJPW he can be considered one of the top wrestlers. In today’s wrestling world if you are a top wrestler in NJPW you are one of the top wrestlers period. Roderick Strong has not been as fortunate but has held the Ring of Honor World Championship as well as the ROH TV Championship. Strong up against Anderson has no story attached to it outside of ROH bringing in another NJPW talent which I think works in favor of the match. Both men are some of the most consistently good wrestlers out there so giving them 15-20 minutes of freedom can only end in something good happening. One of the best match-ups ROH has put out in some time even if it may not be the match that is most indicative of the promotion with Anderson being NJPW talent first and foremost. Though theoretically that thought can go out the window if ROH pushes out awesome special attraction matches like this.
1.Johnny Gargano vs. Shingo: DGUSA’s Open the Ultimate Gate 2013 (4/6/13)
This is the number one match of the entire weekend. We’ve got a big one here. The current and longest reigning Open the Freedom Gate Champion, Johnny Gargano, puts his belt on the line against one of the biggest names in Dragon Gate, Shingo. Shingo was one of the most important pieces of DGUSA in its beginning, putting on some of the best matches in company history, before fading out of the promotion. He is now back in DGUSA for the first time in over two years. The last time Shingo wrestled for the promotion Johnny Gargano was part of Ronin with Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann. How time has changed things. Gargano is at the top of the food chain in DGUSA and essentially the Ace of the promotion with Shingo being the Ace of Dragon Gate. One may have thought that DGUSA could not put a compelling challenger against Gargano given the opposition he has already beat but they put on not just a compelling title match but one of the most best possible matches in its history. That means it could be as good as the other great DGUSA Shingo matches against Davey Richards and Bryan Danielson. If Gargano isn’t considered an independent wrestling star yet then this match will make him just that. This is a can’t miss match if there ever was one.