Props to mountaineers101 for a great idea, which has spurned me to write about my local indy fed. Empire State Wrestling (ESW) will hold its next show on November 12 at the St. Johnsburg Fire Hall in North Tonawanda, New York. This is their usual venue, but over six hundred people attended their most recent card, WrestleBash, which was at a much larger place in Lockport, New York on September 24.
ESW goes back to 2002, but was on hiatus from 2006-2009. My girlfriend and I started attending cards last September and we always have a great time. ESW does a mostly family-friendly show -- though there is blading in some of the bigger matches -- and there are always a bunch of little kids there. Many of the wrestlers come out to sell merchandise and sign autographs after the shows and I don't think the kids could be more in awe if John Cena himself was standing there.
It is a relatively low-tech operation, but they put on an entertaining and well-paced show. Tickets are only $10 for pre-sale, so it would probably be a bargain even if it wasn't as good. Their heavyweight champion is Brandon Thurston, a former heel with a high-flying/MMA sort of style who uses an armbar as his main finisher. He is an interesting character, being probably 5'6" and 160 pounds, and has a cadre of extremely loyal and vocal fans at every show. He does these very low key promos where he kneels in the ring speaking quietly about the angle or his opponent. Thurston beat local icon Jonny Puma in a title vs. career match in September.
ESW also has a secondary singles title, the Interstate Championship, which is held by Gabreal Saint. Saint beat longtime titleholder "Inferno" Johnny Adams for the title in September. The tag champs are Rob Sweet and Hellcat, known collectively as the Rochester Wrecking Crew. Other ESW workers include Will Calrissian, Chris Cooper, Pepper Parks, Ryot, evil manager The Caesar, and Kevin Grace. Grace will challenge Thurston for the title on the upcoming card.
If you're in or near Western New York and want to check out indy wrestling, I really recommend ESW. It is far more entertaining than, say, an episode of Raw. The talk is kept relevant and to a minimum, and the focus is on the matches. They feature many talented regulars as well as an occasional guest star like Sergeant Slaughter, Brodie Lee or Robbie E. And if you attend you are helping to promote quality pro wrestling at the roots.