The world of independent professional wrestling is jam-packed with matches of all shapes, sizes, and colours. Every night of the week, promotions across the world run shows for audiences of all sizes, and literally, anything can happen. That level of unpredictability is why I love indy wrestling (and Indi Wrestling but that’s another story) and why I want to spotlight some of the matches that I think other fans should check out. Here are some of my favourite independent wrestling matches from the week of January 16-22, 2023.
Athena (c) vs. Miyu Yamashita | ROH Women’s Championship Match | Prestige Wrestling Vendetta
Two of the best and hardest-hitting wrestlers in the world went to war in this ROH Championship bout. Both women have been champions all over the world, and they each showcased why they are so respected and adulated at The Glass House.
Defending a belt against the best challengers is the mark of a true champion, and Athena did so in this title contest. Using her savvy and ring awareness, Athena was able to escape with her beloved belt. Her methods may have been unsavoury, but a win is a win, especially against a competitor at the level of Miyu Yamashita.
The Ace of Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, Yamashita has become a favourite of wrestling fans all over the world. Her impressive kicking ability has won Miyu matches on the biggest of stages, and she looked to capture another major prize in the ROH Women’s Championship. Yamashita looked to deliver her punishing Skull Kick to Athena’s head early and often, which the champion looked to avoid at all costs. Yamashita was able to deliver what looked like a title-winning kick, but the referee resumed the match as Athena’s foot was under the rope.
Yamashita and Athena are known for their striking abilities, especially as of late, but there was plenty of technical wrestling and pro wrestling flair throughout. Athena’s counter strategy to Miyu’s kicks was to repeatedly bash Yamashita’s leg into the ring post, and relentlessly attack the leg throughout the match. Yamashita also delivered a massive Death Valley Driver off the top rope in an exciting highlight.
The heel-leaning Athena was willing to break the rules to their limit in search of victory and nailed Yamashita with her title belt to secure the win. The two women had an excellent match and one that could easily have a rematch on a major ROH card in the future.
Vikingo vs. Demonic Flamita vs. Rey Horus | Warrior Wrestling Lucha Championship & AAA Mega Championship Match | Warrior Wrestling 27
Three of the best luchadores in the world were able to create a special match experience that reminded people why the lucha libre style is so beloved. The pace, the ingenuity, and the connection with the crowd were on another level, and all three athletes gave the crowd a main event to remember.
The sensational Vikingo, who is in the midst of a thrilling American excursion, delighted the crowd to no end. This included the phenom bouncing off the ropes to deliver the most insane arm drag that one could ever hope to see. Vikingo also delivered the highlight of the night, as he soared through the arena hitting a dive that I do not possess the wrestling vocabulary to name, except that it was gobsmacking and sheer wrestling brilliance.
Not to be outdone, Rey Horus and Flamita had a number of freakish levels of lucha power, although Flamita seemed to enjoy tormenting the crowd more than anything else. Horus and Flamita were regular competitors in the pre-Tony Khan era of ROH, even winning the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship with Bandido. Clad in his fiery red mask, the Demonic Flamita was the powerful base of the match, as he used his impressive strength in opposition to the high-flying Horus and Vikingo. The kicks, the dives, and the unbelievable body control displayed during this contest were worthy of the two championship belts that were on the line.
The AAA Mega Championship is one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of lucha libre, and the Warrior Wrestling Lucha Championship is elevated by Vikingo holding it. This was one of the most incredible indie matches I have ever experienced live, a fitting way to end a memorable day spent with Warrior Wrestling (a day that included me eating Cinnabon with Konosuke Takeshita and my girlfriend-brag I know but it was really awesome). If you have the opportunity, watch this match, because you won’t regret it.
If you have an independent wrestling match that you thinks deserves to make this list, comment below or let me know @NoAverageJoel on Twitter.