With World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) NXT Takeover: Phoenix and The 2019 Royal Rumble over, “Wrestlemania Season” has officially kicked off. Ring Of Honor is busy as well, with their 17th Anniversary Show in March and the buzzworthy supershow co-promoted with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, G1 Supercard, coming in April. This time of year is like bowl season for pro-wrestling fans, and both promotions are ramping up their own hype by starting their famous “Midwest Loops”
Pro-wrestling is in the midst of another Golden Age. The difference with this modern age is that independent pro-wrestling has never been hotter. Not since the territory days of the 1970s has independent pro-wrestling been this relevant. So much so, that WWE has founded their own brand, NXT, which serves as a “superindy” that collects fresh wrestling talent in order to complete with local promotions like Rockstar Pro (Dayton, Ohio), Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, Ohio) and All-American Wrestling (Chicago).
NXT is arguably the best brand WWE promotes at this time. Run by Paul “Triple H” Leveque, NXT is filled with the fast-paced, innovative action a fan can witness at any independent show, just under the WWE’s umbrella. Many of the current NXT Superstars hail from the Midwest. The current NXT Champion, Tomasso Ciampa is billed from Milwaukee, WI, and the current North American Champion, Johnny Gargano (Cleveland), is one of eight Ohioans who are currently on the WWE main roster.
NXT starts their Midwest Loop traditionally in Columbus, OH, near the same time The Arnold Classic is in town. (This is not a coincidence since Triple H is good friends with international star and The Arnold namesake, Arnold Schwarzenegger.) This year, they will be at Express Live on February 28. Next, they will travel to Pittsburgh, PA, for bouts at The Stage AE on March 1, travelling back to Ohio to The Agora Theater in Cleveland March 2. Their loop ends in Detroit, MI, at The Royal Oak Music Center on March 3. Despite lineups being unavailable at this time, fans will be sure to see the cards populated by wrestlers from the Midwest
Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) has been booking the Midwest consistently for ten years. The region can definitely boast being an integral part of the promotion’s exponential growth over the past fifteen years. From booking shows in traditional wrestling hot-spots like Dayton; Green Bay, WI; Minneapolis, MN; and East Lansing, MI; to holding multiple Pay-Per-Views in Chicago, to landing a syndication partnership with The Sinclair Broadcast Group which owns television stations in multiple Midwest cities, ROH has proven it loves The Midwest fans as much as they love it.
ROH will host Steel City Excellence April 13, at The Stage AE in Pittsburgh as a TV taping, and an “ROH On Tour” event in Columbus on the 14th at Express Live! Both shows will be dealing with the immediate fallout from the G1 Supercard Show, so expect to see current Women of Honor Champion “The Gatekeeper” Kelly Klein (Cincinnati, OH) as well as The Beer City Bruiser and Silas Young (Milwaukee), Shane Taylor (Cleveland), Juice Robinson (Joliet, IL) and Eli Issom (Rensselaer, IN).