Ever since I quit watching the mainstream promotions a couple of years ago and discovered the wonderful world of independent wrestling Iâ€™ve watched a lot of different companies, from the smallest local feds to indies on pay-per-view with DVD sales galore. In that time Iâ€™ve seen a lot of incredible matches, and pairings of performers that can never do anything but electrify a crowd. But if I had to book one â€œsupercardâ€ of such pairings, what might it look like?
TODAYâ€™S ISSUE: Booking my fantasy supercard.
Before we get started, let me share one of my ground rules for this little daydream of mine. I didnâ€™t book some guys who I really like (CM Punk, Matt Sydal, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, the Motor City Machine Guns, James Gibson, Jay Lethal, and others) simply because theyâ€™re under contract to the â€œbig twoâ€ and theyâ€™d most likely be unavailable for such an event, were it ever booked. Otherwise, this card could actually happen, given the right set of circumstances. And away we goâ€¦
Dark match – â€œThe Enforcerâ€ Max Bauer versus â€œThe Golden Greekâ€ Alex Arion. New England Championship Wrestling is a small, local fed Iâ€™ve discussed before in this column and Bauer/Arion is their premier feud. It features the best booking theyâ€™ve ever executed, and two guys who can really bring the intensity. In this contest, the Enforcer defends his Triple Crown Championship against his arch nemesis in a 12-minute war that rocks the crowd into a state of readiness for the main card to begin.
Opening contest – Kenny King versus Kenny Omega. While the â€œnewâ€ Ring of Honor hasnâ€™t thrilled many of us, the pairing of these two young lions has money written all over it, and Iâ€™ve enjoyed every opportunity Iâ€™ve had to watch them in the same ring together. Imagine what they could do with 15 minutes and instructions to light up the crowd and get this super-show off and runningâ€¦
Dragon Gate match – Yoshino versus Dragon Kid. Of all the Dragon Gate talent I have come to know since they started co-promoting shows with ROH, Yoshino and Kid have one of the best rivalries. Their speed, agility, and all-out effort in matches against one another earned them consecutive singles battles on the first two Dragon Gate USA shows. Thereâ€™s nothing quite like an intense rivalry between two phenomenal performers, and these two have that magic when they work together which promoters can only dream of harnessing.
Tag team war – Kevin Steen & El Generico versus the Briscoe Brothers. Everyone who knows why I chose this match knows how incredible the Briscoes/Steenerico feud was, and will recall the tremendous series of matches they have produced together. Give them 20-25 minutes and stay the hell out of their way, and thereâ€™s no chance of being disappointed. Even better, give them 30 minutes and a best two-out-of-three falls stipulation, and let them steal the show.
International invitational – Claudio Castagnoli versus Kota Ibushi. Ibushi is one of those hot, young high-flyers who works very well against a proper power wrestler to fly around, and Claudio knows how to serve as that base. I saw these two battle each other live at the only ROH show I was able to attend in person, Injustice, and they tore it up. Iâ€™d certainly be up for a rematch.
Battle Royal – Delirious, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, PAC, Jigsaw, Mike Quackenbush, CIMA, BxB Hulk, Handsome Johnny (NECW), Eddie Edwards, Rhett Titus, Colt Cabana, Petey Williams, Jimmy Rave, Jack Evans. If you havenâ€™t figured it out yet, Iâ€™m using this battle royal much the same way lots of promoters do â€“ getting folks onto the card without being able to dedicate individual matches to them. Frankly, if it were a gauntlet or some other sort of multi-participant match itâ€™d suit my druthers just as well. Bottom line, I dig the above indy folks but ran out of matches on this event in which to book them.
Battle of former NWA world champs – Adam Pearce versus Brent Albright. When the time is right and the situation calls for it, these two bulls can produce a very entertaining contest. I just watched one of the chapters in their saga the other day, from Death Before Dishonor VI, and it was a doozy. Iâ€™m going to track down as many other contests in which these two old-schoolers face off as I can find, and drink them down like a smooth glass of Johnnie Walker Black, served neat.
Blood feud – Jimmy Jacobs versus BJ Whitmer. Youâ€™ve got to have a vicious, nasty brawl in the mix someplace, and who better to face each other in that sort of environment than the former partners who once tore each other apart with rage and venom, each trying to destroy the other, even at the expense of their own physical well-being. Jacobs and Whitmer know how to put together an emotional war, going after each other with hatred and purpose. Stand back when they head into the crowdâ€¦
Mentor against former protege – Davey Richards versus KENTA. Stiff kicks, violent strikes, intensity, aggression, and fury are the hallmarks of matches between these two outstanding performers. Richards has blossomed into one of the best performers in the world, and KENTA doesnâ€™t have to take a back seat to anyone. These two need about 15 minutes to deliver a heart-stopping, breathtaking thrill ride of wrestling, striking, and high-risk excitement.
FIP World Title match – Roderick Strong versus Erick Stevens. I defy anyone who still calls wrestling â€œfakeâ€ to watch these two insane warriors tear each other apart for 20 minutes. Predetermined? Absolutely. Scripted outcomes? You bet. But when you watch Strong and Stevens attack each other with unwavering hostility, even in the face of bloody faces, bright red chests, and nearly broken backs, you will have a new respect for the damage these men can endure, while still moving forward. For me, the best, most unbelievable battle in their war took place at FIP Redefined, and if they were to replicate half the chaos, offense, and guts in my supercard as they did that February night in Crystal River, Florida, their match would be worth the price of admission.
NOAH triple-threat match – Naomichi Marufuji versus Takeshi Morishima versus Go Shiozaki. These three amazing competitors in an elimination match would put on an incredible performance, and I wouldnâ€™t dream of putting together a card like this without the best NOAH has to offer. If you donâ€™t know these men, you should go out of your way to check out their stuff; they wonâ€™t disappoint you.
Old lion against young lion – Nigel McGuinness versus Tyler Black. When I saw their first one-on-one meeting at the Take No Prisoners ppv, I already knew going in that Nigel would retain thanks to Ring of Honorâ€™s unusual taping/airing schedule at the time. However, I still popped for near-falls and was climbing the walls as Black endured the agony of Nigelâ€™s cold, calculating, sinister onslaught to battle onward, and came within an eyelash of winning the gold. This was the sort of match that helped me remember what it is about professional wrestling that really gets me going, and Iâ€™d love to see the rematch.
Battle of the Aces – â€œAmerican Dragonâ€ Bryan Danielson versus Austin Aries. And in our main event of the evening, two incredibly charismatic, highly skilled and amazing wrestlers meet in one of the legendary rivalries of the modern era. Every time Dragon and Aries have locked horns, theyâ€™ve blown the roof off the joint. Their brief stint as tag partners (known in inside circles as â€œTeam Workâ€) was like Rocky and Apollo joining up and training to defeat Clubber Lang, but Aries and Danielson wound up on opposite sides again soon enough which was for the better. Theyâ€™re the perfect example of â€œgood friends, better enemiesâ€. I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ve seen any two competitors who have better chemistry and Iâ€™d always be up for another revival of their legendary feud. I canâ€™t imagine a better match closing out my dream wrestling event.
I know, 12 contests plus a dark match is a little much, but maybe this could be booked over a weekend, with the main event of the first night featuring the Strong/Stevens title match and the second show kicking off with the battle royal. I will share with you the fact that I strongly considered Danielson vs. McGuinness, Danielson vs. Morishima, Aries vs. McGuinness, and the Briscoes vs. the AoTF (Black and Jacobs) for this card, but when I forced myself to make a choice, I went with my gut and thought about those matches that offered a little something extra and helped shape and redefine my fandom as I transitioned from WWE zombie to indy fanatic.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. â€“ â€œDream as if youâ€™ll live forever, live as if youâ€™ll die today.â€ – James Dean
Tags: DGUSA, Dragon Gate, Noah, ROH