3 independent wrestling promotions you’ve gotta keep your eyes on

WWE, Kevin Owens (Photo by Dennis Jerome Acosta/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WWE, Kevin Owens (Photo by Dennis Jerome Acosta/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

The independent scene in the realm of pro wrestling is the lifeblood of the industry. There’s no denying that. So many of today’s top stars cut their teeth in the independents. Even Triple H knows the value of that, as is evident on his roster. Today we’ve decided to take a look at 3 of the top independent promotions you’ve gotta keep your eyes on.

International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS)

The International Wrestling Syndicate out of Montréal, Quebec has shaped some of the greatest stars working in the industry today. Names like Sami Zayn, Stu Grayson, Evil Uno, Kevin Owens, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, “Speedball” Mike Bailey, PCO, and so many others have passed through those doors.

‘Professor H’ Shayne Hawke is the head trainer at the dojo locations spread out over that territory and the caliber of wrestling is above par in terms of what you’re likely to see in the indies.

Their shows are over the top for sure, but in pro wrestling that’s a good thing, as we’ve also learned from GCW over the years. Hardcore matches that are reminiscent of ECW, gimmicks, and a level of dedication that isn’t there in many other companies.

The Green Phantom of IWS lives and breathes his gimmick. Trust me I met the man, or should I say myth, and that really shines through. He gives of himself in ways that only Mick Foley and Terry Funk did in their heyday, as does Crazy Manny, who as of this writing is set to have his retirement match on August 6th at the Olympia in Montreal.

And speaking of that event, Matt Menard, Ruby Soho, Joey Janela, Angelo Parker, and “Speedball” Mike Bailey are all set to be there for quite the event.

See what I mean? This promotion gives and then when you think they’ve given you enough, they give you some more. If you’re in or near Montreal this upcoming weekend, it’s sure worth the trip. And if you can’t make it, plan to make the next one; you won’t be disappointed.


And this promotion too, based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is at the heart of Canadian independent wrestling as well. A familiar name, Stu Grayson has ties to this promotion and from early on as well.

He too will be at their upcoming event held in Ottawa on August 19th of course. The event is a special one because all proceeds will be used to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Eddie Kingston will be there, as Will Grayson, as stated, and Evil Uno.

Josh Alexander, Daniel Garcia, Danhausen, Kevin Owens, Claudio Castagnoli, and many other exceptionally well-known names have also passed through the doors of C*4.

Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW)

And an oldie but a goodie folks. OVW is an integral part of what pro wrestling is today. Some can also argue that the Ruthless Aggression Era would never have happened without this promotion.

Of course, they were the developmental territory for one heck of a pro wrestling class at about the turn of the century that included none other than Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, Batista, and of course a dude named John Cena. You know him I’m sure.

Bobby Lashley and Dolph Ziggler would also be trained here, and of course, the head trainer and owner is none other than Al Snow. He also trained contestants on the first few seasons of Tough Enough, which in the end became an industry game changer in and of itself; especially if you look at the careers of The Miz and John Morison specifically. In later seasons we’d get the likes of Many Rose and Sonya Deville, so that platform worked until its end—that Tough Enough platform.

But really none of that would have existed without OVW, and as we saw a few weeks back on Impact, two of their current female wrestlers (Tiffany Nieves and Jada Stone) made a name for themselves in a segment involving Tasha Steelz, so they’re still out there and yes, Al Snow is still at the helm. OVW has worked closely with Impact over the years.

The promotion (OVW) has new investors, yes, but its roots are deeply planted in the industry, as it was once a member promotion division of the old NWA (the NWA was a governing body of the entire industry; at one time both WCW and WWE—then WWF and earlier forms, were a part of that governing body or rather under its umbrella before they broke away), and still today, its presence is known also, so keeping a close eye on this promotion is certainly a good idea if you’re paying attention to just who is coming up in the business.

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All three of these promotions are worth your time, dear readers.