Overexposure: What’s Killing the SoCal Scene

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Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that SoCal Indies are pretty incestuous. Maybe not as much as the South, or the newest videos available at Extreme Associates, but it’s pretty ridiculous to see so many of the same wrestlers in every single fed. Now first and for most, I am not trying to put down any of the wrestlers for taking the bookings. I can totally understand taking work whenever and wherever it’s available. It puts food on the table, pays the bills, and gives you more avenues to be noticed.

Maybe I’m losing you, but I remember when I first started going to Independent wrestling shows and seeing guys I’d never seen before. I was surprised about how well some of these guys wrestled and some of the stunts they were willing to pull for a handful of people. But over-saturation of the local Indy scene dilutes the so-called “dream matches” when you can see them on a regular basis touring the SoCal Indy circuit. B-Boy and Pinoy Boy continue to have 5 star matches, but it takes away from the action when you’ve seen that match in three different organizations. I think something should be said about exclusiveness. I think I’ve seen Joey Ryan work in every organization outside of XPW. UPW just put a match between B-Boy, Frankie the Future, and Spanky. It was an awesome match that was filled with spots. It told a great story. It incorporated a rich wrestling saga. But for Christ’s sake, I’ve seen these guys wrestle variations of each other so many times, I couldn’t get into it.

OK, I’m about to do something very unpopular right now. I’m about to give XPW some credit. Before you cast your stones, listen. XPW has a variety of characters on its roster. Not all the wrestlers in XPW are exclusively XPW, but the big names on the roster are. You don’t see Kaos anywhere but XPW. You don’t see Mexico’s Most Wanted unless it’s in TJ. And you can only see Shane Douglas if you live on the East Coast. You also won’t see Supreme at the Marketplace. Are these the greatest wrestlers in the world? Probably not. But what they are, are the champions of XPW, and you won’t see them wrestle anywhere else in SoCal.

UPW tries to do this similarly. Not nearly as well, but when was the last show you saw Tom Howard wrestle at, that wasn’t part of a UPW show? Back when Nathan Jones and Jon Heidenrich were still around, they wrestled exclusive for UPW and I believe John Cena (Prototype) did as well. With UPW’s relationship with WWE, UPW was able to keep most of its roster off of other shows. They lost that ability, and I look at that as being a bad thing. Looking at UPW’s event on the 15th of August, Tom Howard faced off against Keiji Sakoda. Now for some of you, you’re thinking whatever. But for the past nine months, Sakoda hasn’t really been in SoCal, with the exception of one match. The only place you can see Howard wrestle is in UPW and Zero-One. So, this match already had some mystic to it, because this match isn’t something you’ll see anywhere else. These two guys put on a hell of a performance and I for one was impressed with the back and forth action. I wasn’t keen on the ending, but that’s why I’m not the booker man!

Certain guys should have to maintain an exclusive status. I like the fact that there are only three places I’m going to be able to see Super Dragon: Rev Pro, EPIC, and EPIC TV. With that being said, it kind of disappoints me that I can see a lot of the top draws of SoCal everywhere else I see wrestling. It takes away from the importance of not just the match they are wrestling, but also all of the matches they are wrestling.

“But wait Jay Cal, I like to see interpromotional matches. I like seeing B-Boy taking on Super Dragon and I like seeing Hardkore Kidd taking on Frankie Kazarian.” That’s the beauty of it. On the rare, and let me repeat that for effect, on the RARE occasion that these talents do fight, there will be a considerable amount of hype. Otherwise, we’re doomed for the same predictable matches with the same predictable endings. Until UPW or EPIC step up and designate wrestlers who are beyond sharing, I guess we’ll see the same matches on the same shows. Don’t get me wrong. I think the lower to mid-card guys should have an opportunity to wrestle wherever. But I feel that promotions should reserve the right to not share their top draws and main event guys.