Here's a list of 17 different promotions, wrestlers, or things going on from around the Atlanta, GA area to Nashville, TN that interest me this year.
Think something should interest me? Let me know or feel free to make your own list. I'd love to see what other people are looking forward to.
In no particular order:
1. Gunner Miller
Miller is a former UTC football standout that has the goal of making it to WWE. Throughout the Southeast he's proven over the last year that he can be "the guy" and alongside manager Jeff G Bailey, he's developing more confidence and personality to match his beastly physique and agile powerhouse ring work. Since Empire Wrestling is no longer active, Miller has primarily split his time between Anarchy Wrestling and Platinum Championship Wrestling, which are both long term story-telling, development promotions where he is surrounded by guys he can learn from - and he certainly has. I'm interested to see where he goes from "here" as he has proven himself in the Georgia landscape.
2. Anarchy Wrestling
The former Why We Wrestle/NWA Anarchy/ NWA Wildside has gone back to the Anarchy name and the fans and excitement have come back as well. Booker Dan Wilson is stirring up magic with promoter Rick Michaels herding fans into the building. They're using some of the top talent from all over the Southeast and even have guys like AJ Gray that are willing to travel in to learn and get opportunities from 6 hours away in West Tennessee. They will be hosting an NWA Wildside reunion show that I'm very much looking forward to on September 9th but they have plenty of current guys and feuds to look forward to as well such as Tank, who has stated he is retiring in August - the newly reformed Hate Junkies, Odinson, Team TAG, hardcore women, Brad Cash, and Jacob Ashworth.
I recently tried my hand at booking a mixed tag tournament with GPW in Canton, GA and really enjoyed the efforts put forth by the women. Party Princess Kayla, Kiera Hogan, and Priscilla Kelly stand out as the young and vibrant stars among a field that includes some more experienced women like Pandora and Dementia D'Rose - who may be the best women workers in the area in my opinion. Tiffany Roxx and Black Widow have continued to work hard, Rock-C and Crystal Rose have recently been getting hardcore at Anarchy while other women like Aja Perera, Merica, Jessica Leigh, Ayzali, and Angel Blackwell are all coming into their own as well and have something unique and fun to offer. Robert Gibson trainee Harlow O’Hara is also off to a good start. I’m interested to see the women develop more and more as they have better and better competition to work with.
4. Southern Fried
Charles has added a partner or two on the business side this year as well as the booking expertise of veteran Todd Sexton to continue to offer a product that has a little bit of everything from cruiserweights to super heavyweights from old school comedy to new school athleticism. They attempted to do some a separate offering that was more work rate based but have focused back in on the buffet for everything. Southern Fried was the first place to feature Odinson in a main event role and has a committed group of guys that primarily call the promotion home such as Tetchi Makuji, Drew Blood, and Damien Bennett – who is branching out. It will be fun to see what new talents and featured match-ups will be brought about in SFCW.
Speaking of a little bit of everything to offer – my buddies Woody Hullender & Darrell Morris are the chefs that are cooking up solid, family friendly wrestling with some talented and committed guys. He has a roster full of veterans that can work with anyone and have a variety of different experiences and styles. Whether it’s a hot feud with their guys, a unique attraction with area guys, or some huge event with international stars – Georgia Premier Wrestling and Deep Southern Championship Wrestling keep my attention and I’ve enjoyed getting to work and partner with them on some things. Their Southern States Champion Torque has had some outstanding matches with Kyle Matthews and Anthony Henry recently and will be featured in the upcoming Scenic City Invitational on August 4th and 5th in Chattanooga (Shameless Self Plug). The whole roster is like a family and I look forward to seeing what they do and what we can do together this year.
6. Scenic City events
If you can’t get excited about your own events then why should anyone else? We’ve got the Invitational coming up at East Hamilton on August 4th and 5th and a Trios tournament on November 18 at Hixson High School. It’s been a lot of fun to see something that started as my friend Josh “Ace Rockwell” Massey and I fantasy booking over text messages to something that is now a reality and features top talent from all over the United States, elevates area guys, encourages local guys, and most importantly makes thousands of dollars for schools. We have fans traveling from other countries again this year for the Invitational tournament and I can’t wait. It will also be Tank’s retirement weekend. He’s in the tournament with an opening match against Matt Riddle on Friday so either Friday or Saturday will be really emotional, as he closes a chapter of his life that I’ve been fortunate enough to be there and get to witness the last half of it since about 2006.
7. Southern Underground Pro
If you know me, you know I’m not a big fan of “bar shows”. I’d rather open it up to a wider audience and present something that everyone can enjoy. I attended the first SUP show in Nashville and it was the first thing in Middle Tennessee that’s interested me in a long time. I’m not trying to take away from some of the shows doing big business in Middle Tennessee(many of them for really good causes) but they just don’t have the appeal that the Georgia stuff has to me personally. SUP is featuring out of town guys that are hungry and talented and willing to work an extremely aggressive style in the vein of Punk Rock and doing it their way. They had a great turn out for their first event and it will be interesting to see how they do at their upcoming event on June 10th . It’s hard to go wrong with a promotion that features the Carnies (Nick Iggy & Kerry Awful).
NCW is the relaunched Friday night show in Cornelia, sharing the building with Anarchy Wrestling. It’s been a lot of fun to see the support and follow the stories of NCW so far. A lot of guys are getting opportunities in that building that they normally wouldn’t have gotten due to a lack of networking or availability but they’ve really been able to create something fresh by opening the door. I’m hoping this will be a place where guys continue to develop and learn to work on feuds, promos, characters or whatever else in and out of the ring. You can tell it’s not a bunch of mercenaries looking for a payday but instead is a bunch of hungry artists looking to hone their craft and help each other.
9. The Power Factory
Veteran QT Marshall has brought his expertise to Georgia with the Power Factory – a place to train and that also features plans for dieting and nutrition. He’s had some some open houses recently and has a Super Camp coming up on June 16 in Buford, GA. Marshall has a great background of learning, teaching, and networking and it will be really cool to see how he and this new venture can impact the already talented Atlanta area.
Independent sensation AR Fox has taken over the reigns from Mr. Hughes and has several really talented students such as Austin Theory and AC Mack. They have a regular free show at their venue every Thursday that almost always features some really fun match ups. These guys are also starting to network and travel so the legacy of WWA4 will most certainly continue on for years to come. I really enjoy checking out their shows and looking for the next wave of stars to come out of there.
11. Bullet Proof Wrestling
Luke Gallows’ former Wrestlemerica in Barnesville has taken on a new identity with Cody Rhodes involved in putting the events together and Joey Mercury involved in the training school aspect. They recently had a supershow that featured UK standout Jimmy Havoc and many guys that have wrestled around the world. It will be a lot of fun to see who gets brought in for these events and to see the talent that is developed in the training school that has the major league connections.
12. Other Training
WWE Hall of Famer Robert Gibson has recently had several trainees hit the roads of the Southeast. AWE has as well. Anarchy Wrestling is helping to develop guys. Mr Hughes also continues to teach and train. GPW also offers training. If you can’t find someone to learn from in Georgia then you’re not looking hard enough or not looking at all. I’m fascinated by the learning trees in the state and it excites me to realize how fortunate wrestlers and fans are to have that kind of experience and teaching going on. If Iron sharpens Iron then Georgia should be considered a knife drawer right now.
When a promotion can consistently tell exciting stories and utilize their talent to the best of their abilities then it’s a really fun thing to watch and follow. Shane Noles and Rick Michaels captain a great ship full of veterans and professionals that also pull in newcomers. They build fantastic faction feuds and feature unique matches that are must see. Peachstate is a promotion that challenges every other promotion to be better. They won a lot of awards last year from Georgia Wrestling History and I’m interested to see how they stack up this year.
14. Mucha Lucha
What promotion in Georgia draws the most money? I’m willing to bet it’s the multi-cultural Mucha Lucha events that feature insane once in a lifetime opportunities to see legends and current stars of Mexican Wrestling as well as some of the best area talents competing with them. It ain’t cheap and the shows ain’t short but one of the benefits of a big city area like Atlanta is that fans of all ethnicities are willing to come out and support these pro grade extravaganzas that happen every couple of months. They have an absolutely stacked tournament coming up on June 25 that features the former Pentagon Jr, Fenix, Mr. 450, Jeff Cobb, Rey Horus, Sammy Guevara, Joey Lynch, Alex Cruz, David Tita and more in Norcross, GA. The events are in Spanish but good wrestling is universal and it’s worth checking out for something really unique.
As mentioned above with SUP, I’m not the biggest advocate of the format and setting but there’s no taking away from the creativity and efforts of the talent and show organizers. AWE has featured some of the best wrestlers in the world and has a strong group of regulars that any show would love to have like Jimmy Rave, Chip Day, Martin Stone(NXT’s Danny Burch from the UK), The Carnies, David Starr, and veterans like Iceberg and Murder One. They’ve scaled back to focus on fewer events but they’re packing just as big if not bigger of a punch with the events that they’re doing. They’ve developed a devoted fanbase in the area that has proven they’re willing to show up on any night of the week. Owner Josh Wheeler has a terrific eye for talent and will feature a lot of exciting guys right before they break out – which is always fun to see. I’m excited for their new strategy and enjoy the pipeline of talent that they bring through this area.
16. Platinum Championship Wrestling
If you want to see a devoted fanbase that can be counted on to pack out a building, an intimate venue, and a talented roster of characters that tell compelling stories then PCW is the place for you in Porterdale, GA. They’ve had a lot of regular guys from years past branch out but many of them can still be found in exciting guest appearances; and PCW has also become a place where a lot of talented competitors from the Southeast travel in to see how they stack up against the guys that people talk so much about like their current champion Gunner Miller who has been in an intense feud with super heavyweight Geter. They’ve got the Dark City Fight Club of Kory Chavis and Jon Davis in town this weekend, as well as Tyson Dean challenging Gunner Miller. PCW gets a TON out of all of their guys and I’m excited to see what will happen with their championship and their continued great crowds this year.
17. The Border guys
Living in Chattanooga, I have to mention the guys around here that I’m excited to see develop and travel. I’m interested to see the TWE guys travel and work against good area talents at their home promotion. Jaden Newman, Chris Crunk, Adrian Ackyl, and Bailey Blake are all guys that could be good contributors for a long time. UEW is in a break period right now but they had some exciting stuff going and Chase Jordan is venturing out to Anarchy and some other places. Brad Cash has had some vicious battles in Cornelia, GA and probably has some to come. He recently competed in the Carnage Cup and is slated for IWA Mid South’s famed King of the Deathmatch. Ryan Vega has also recently ventured down to Anarchy Wrestling in Cornelia, GA where he’s had some out of the box antics.