Friday, January 16, 2015

#RAWlternative Airs This Coming Monday

Steen's match against Mike Bailey will be one of the featured bouts presented on Monday
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Monday night, WWE will present another episode of its flagship show RAW. Granted, a bunch of old guys are going to come back for a "reunion" and Daniel Bryan will be wrestling for his chance to be in the Royal Rumble match, but the company has dropped returns and reunions and special matches and the like in the last few months without a blip in the radar. Face it, RAW has been mostly bad rather than good lately, and it has put a damper on Monday nights, making people lament the lack of a suitable alternative. While all signs point to a Monday Night Wars situation never returning, alternatives are out there. While I believe TNA will be an alternative instead of an imitator to WWE when I actually see it, and while Lucha Underground is a great concept that hopefully will get time to grow, the indie scene has always been the best alternative to WWE when treated as a loose confederation or a scene containing many different layers.

This coming Monday, a coalition of independent wrestling promotions will be going head-to-head with RAW showing matches that show best the representation of that scene. The event, known first as Boycott RAW but changed to the less intimidating #RAWlternative, is headed up by Beyond Wrestling. The webcast will be streamed right from Beyond's YouTube page, and will feature free matches from the following promotions:
  • AAW (Eddie Kingston vs. Keith Walker)
  • Absolute Intense Wrestling (Johnny Gargano vs. Ethan Page)
  • Alpha-1 Wrestling (Ricochet vs. Josh Alexander)
  • Beyond Wrestling (duh)
  • C*4 Wrestling (Kevin Steen vs. "Speedball" Mike Bailey)
  • Dreamwave Wrestling
  • Hoodslam
  • Inspire Pro Wrestling (Takaaki Watanabe vs. "Dirty" Andy Dalton)
  • Inter Species Wrestling (Ninjas with Altitude vs. the Food Fighters)
  • Smash Wrestling (Super Smash Bros. vs. the Young Bucks)
  • Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) (Chris Hero vs. Colin Delaney)
  • St. Louis Anarchy
The other four promotions, including Beyond Wrestling, have yet to announce their matches. Beyond's match has been confirmed as being previously unreleased, and one of the remaining matches left to announce will be a women's match. It's unknown whether that women's match will be an offering from one of the four who haven't announced yet, or whether it will be a separate, bonus match. Either way, Monday night is going to be packed with wrestling that you'll be able to stream right on YouTube.

This event is not going to be weekly, because it's not really about boycotting WWE, regardless of what the original name of the whole thing implied. It's to get eyes on some great promotions doing work out there to bring width and breadth to the wrestling scene that WWE just cannot by its design provide. Sure, following up with the whole thing might cost a bit of money, but these companies live on margins and certainly deserve all the money you can give them for shows. Even still, some of them still offer free stuff. AAW has a show on Maddy G TV, which is a free network you can get on your Roku. Beyond's YouTube page is chock with free matches. Inspire Pro's YouTube channel has a bunch of whole shows on it.

IF you choose to watch RAW Monday, that's fine, it's your decision to make. Honestly though, if you're one of the people who toughs through the show for reasons other than enjoyment, you'll be missing out on a chance to expand your horizons. WWE is not the entirety of the wrestling world, it's only a piece. The indies are not only WWE's most important breeding ground, but they are a fully actualized scene full of wrestlers who may not even make it to the WWE (or TNA/Lucha Underground/New Japan Pro Wrestling/major league lucha) stage. Those wrestlers need your love too. Shouldn't you owe it to yourselves to at least see if you want to give it to them?