So you like professional wrestling, maybe you’ve been to a WWE show (which is fun in it’s own way), but you want something different. You find a local independent promotion and decide to give that a shot. This will be a different experience from going to a WWE or AEW show in an arena. Luckily, we’re here to help you along.
Independent promotions make do with the space they have. Many promotions have set places they do shows at. My “home” promotion, Northeast Wrestling, does many of their shows in the Bethany, CT Town Hall/Lions Club Gymnasium aka the NEW Arena. Beyond Wrestling has used a banquet space at the White Eagle Club in Worcester, Mass., These venues typically fit between 200-300 people. House Of Glory Wrestling in NYC uses the NYC Arena in Jamaica – which is a larger venue that fits about 400+. Now some promotions do pre-selected seating, like a WWE show, some have VIP tickets (which are usually front row, maybe an extra meet & greet session or early admission) and then general admission for a bit lower price which is general seating from the 2nd or 3rd row back. Some are just show up at the door and buy a ticket and sit where you want. Check out the promotions social media or website and you can usually locate the information regarding ticketing and seating fairly easily.
Do A Little Research
If you’re going to take the plunge, do a little legwork before the show date. Check where the show is, parking availability, when doors open. Some shows open up 30 minutes before start time, some an hour. If it is a show with general seating, you probably want to show up as early as you can to grab a good seat. This was mentioned above but check that promotion’s social media. If you have any questions, you have a good chance of getting an answer if you message them directly.
Meet & Greet & T-Shirts (bring cash)
When you go to an independent show, there are typically a number of wrestlers out before the event and sometimes after or during an intermission as some shows do an intermission. The wrestlers are typically selling merch, be it t-shirts, pins, pictures, 8 x 10s, and other fun stuff (I got a really nice woolie hat from the Maine State Posse). If it is within your budget…BUY SOMETHING. Wrestlers pay for their own training, transportation, producing their own merch, etc. Money they make from fans buying merch goes right into their pocket and that’s a good thing. As Richard Holliday has said “be A good consumer..buying a ticket is not enough” or something like that.
Be Heard….But Also Own Your Heckles
A small or medium size venue is not an arena. Seth Rollins isn’t going to hear you yelling at him from section 208, but JT Dunn or Tony Deppen will most likely hear you if you yell something at them from the 2nd or 3rd row, and they might even respond. If you’re going to say some ridiculous stuff, be ready for a response and own it.
Embrace The Unknown
If you’ve never been to an independent show, or going to one to see a big name…like a Kurt Angle or Jon Moxley, you are going to see performers whom you’ve never heard of. That is a very good thing…it’s a chance to maybe find someone new you like watching or yell funny things at. I learned about performers like Leyla Hirsch, Brett Ryan Gosselin, and Mark Wheeler by just going to shows in my area. Wrestling is better when there are more people in the pool. While it’s good to follow your favorites, it is even better to find someone new.
If there’s any tips or experiences you may have had, let us know in the comments, on social media, or you can yell at me directly on Twitter @MatPDouglas