It takes quite a bit to create a buzz on the independents these days. It seems like we’ve seen everything there is to see and promotions have done all they can to get people to watch. Not to mention there are so many companies out there putting on matches with massive amounts of wrestling with some of it being really good. It isn’t enough these days to just have some good matches or a great match per show. Two promotions have gone two different ways in order to create large amounts of buzz for their companies and they are AIW and 2CW.
Us here at 4CR were sponsors of AIW’s JT Lighting Invitational Tournament but that doesn’t change how much excitement there was around the weekend. They did not simply go the way of putting on good to great matches they put on first time matches that people were wanting to see. It is one thing to deliver quality but to have massive amounts of intrigue around the match adds a whole other level to it. In the first round alone you had Michael Elgin vs. Biff Busick, ACH vs. Josh Alexander, and Adam Cole vs. Tim Donst. Those could main events for lots of shows but here they were highly anticipated matches that delivered.
With all these big matches taking place at JLIT there was a big event feel to the weekend. At least it was a big of an event feel as you can get with a smaller sized crowd versus a WWE or even a ROH. Both nights felt like in the grand scheme of independent wrestling, they were important. IWA-Mid South’s Ted Petty Invitational tournament used to be a staple of the indy wrestling calendar. Over the course of two nights everyone attending the JT Lightning Invitational, and now it’ll be everyone buying the show, knew that this tournament would fill its void.
2CW is a promotion that has gained notoriety in a different way than AIW. I think it is safe to say that their big moment was on April 20th when they held an iFFV, internet free–for-view. Being free is one thing, but would mean nothing if there was no reason to watch. This is why 2CW stacked the card a bit with talents such as Matt Hardy, Colt Cabana, and John Morrison. Hardy and Morrison weren’t just brought in to face random guys but two of the top independent names on the independents in Sami Callihan and Kevin Steen respectfully.
2CW has made buzz off and on before by putting on highly anticipated matches but the company was not known for their DVD distribution. 2CW was the first (and to my knowledge) only promotion to book the American Wolves vs. MCMG. To many indy wrestling fans that was a dream match. Then 2CW went ahead and released it for free. Actually a good deal of their buzz prior to the iFFV was releasing matches the fans were interested in for free such as that match, Nigel McGuiness against Eddie Edwards in the first match of Nigel’s retirement tour, and the first time meeting of John Morrison and Sami Callihan. 2CW has delivered quality wrestling for free and they have a stable market throughout Upstate New York which has helped them get their buzz.
Now this article was started before June 2nd and I had planned on focusing on AIW and 2CW. CHIKARA changed that with their iPPV, Aniversario: Never Compromise. They put on one of the most interesting ends to any PPV in recent memory. In the end they put on an angle that showed the end of CHIKARA it seems. A much loved independent promotion for sure. They not only ran the angle they proceeded to cancel all future shows for 2013. That is going above and beyond any angle. There seems to be real life reasons why this has happened but most people still do not know if or when CHIKARA will be back. This uncertainty set the twitter wrestling community abuzz and even people who have never experienced CHIKARA were wondering what was going on. The promotion is not a small fry in the independent wrestling landscape but they managed to get even more people paying attention with their move. Only time will tell if the risk pays off.
There you have it, three promotions who’ve made buzz and they all did it in their own way. There is no single way to do it. Whether it be appealing to an audience with matches you know they’ll look forward to, appealing to an audience by delivering awesome content for free, or doing something no one would ever think about trying. The independent landscape is not what it used to be and many promoters are trying to take the places of promotions that have a legacy on the indies for something they did. While CHIKARA already has a legacy on the indies, AIW and 2CW are looking to leave theirs.