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Small/Unusual/Grungy Venues you've watched wrestling at

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Sheamus is being discussed in the other thread. I'm fond of him because 1) he's from my hometown, and 2) I was one of 10 people watching him wrestle in a glorified storage locker back in 2005. It's fun to see a guy go from that to then main event the biggest shows in the world.

He started out in IWW in Dublin. They toured the country doing community centre type shows with the occasional bigger show, but they also opened up their training gym to the public to put on shows every month called Gym Wars. My brother and I were at the first few. Attendance gradually grew at them, but the very first one was sparsely attended. That day, I counted the 10 of us standing around the ring backs leaning against the wall (there were no chairs)

Here's a google image of it now - https://goo.gl/maps/Jg4WdkQbFe72

It was in an industrial estate (the building with the big blue door, the wrestlers' changing room was behind the smaller blue door) but the shows were on Sundays so always quiet. Greg Burridge (then Baxter Burridge) gave us an "alright lads!" as he passed us cycling to the show.

Share images of some of the dives you've attended wrestling at. No stadiums or arenas, just the obscure stuff.

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I once watched an NWA Virginia card at a Mexican restaurant in Hopewell, VA that had been rented out for the evening.  The ring was so high off of the floor that no one could jump from the top turnbuckle when doing a highspot.

Otherwise you would've literally gone right through the ceiling.

Damian Wayne had a top rope elbow finisher.  He couldn't go for height, so he went for distance and it looked perfectly fine.

I've been to too many indie cards in National Guard armories or High School gymnasiums to pick one over the other as particularly grungy.

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The last NOVA Pro Wrestling show I went to was in a brewery

 

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Quack helped run a Cinco de Mayo show in Delaware years ago in a Mexican restaurant. IIRC, there were a handful of chikara locals and a few Hispanic folks in the crowd.

i do missing going to some of those old Chikara places, like the Hellertown VFW and the Barnesville fire house. 

When I worked for MCW, they ran an outdoor show at a restaurant where it was so hot the guys didn’t want to bump on the mat. That was the show Bundy admonishes me for giving the shoot time for his sub 5:00 match. 

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I went to a few shows at what was left of Livonia Mall outside of Detroit, not only was it what is now called a Dead Mall they had the matches in a section that was an indoor paint ball range most of the time. 

 

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The old Rev Pro shows in Anaheim were basically held in warehouses with roll up doors where the ring was against one side with barely enough room to walk by the ring on the other side.  

Stupid british Rev Pro making it impossible to find so cal Rev Pro photos online...

I also remember seeing Ultimo Dragon in the parking lot of a shipping district that is now a giant condo complex down the street from where the Rev Pro shows used to run.  

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Rudos Dojo was 3 sided, although 1 side only had 2 rows. Rudos Dojo Dos was one-sided.

 

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Oh wow - I had no clue those places actually had names.  A quick search for that brings up so many wonderful flyers from those shows.  

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First introduction to indie wrestling was in Nanaimo, BC on November 21, 1998 at the Centennial Building. It was a building that perpetually smelled of wet dog and was always cold and miserable. 

The first match I ever worked for Thrash Wrestling when I  moved to Kelowna was in a barn in Armstrong, in part of their Exhibition/Fairgrounds area. We had to change in stalls in the back with just one trouble light hanging from a railing and a drain in the floor to piss in. The show floor was covered in sawdust and had cowshit still in a few spots. WRESTLING!

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11 hours ago, J.T. said:

I once watched an NWA Virginia card at a Mexican restaurant in Hopewell, VA that had been rented out for the evening.  The ring was so high off of the floor that no one could jump from the top turnbuckle when doing a highspot.

I can't remember if it was NWA Virginia, but I remember going to a show in Orange, VA that was underneath a free-standing canopy in the middle of a field.

Other scuzzy places I've been:
- Plenty of shows at county fairs (including one where the ring started to sink into the mud).
- Bingo halls that still allowed smoking and were absolutely gross. I gagged walking into the building from the stale smoke in the air from the late night session the night before. Bars fell into this category as well.
- A small expo center surrounded by horse stables, so everything smelled like shit.
- A roller rink with a hole in the wall. Literally. I saw at least two snakes get in through that hole.
- Of course, plenty of poorly maintained school gyms and armories.

And this wasn't for wrestling, but I once did a roller derby event at the DC Armory the afternoon after the building housed a foam party, and the floor was so slippery that I couldn't walk at full stride or I would take a spill.

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AWS used to run in a parking lot and it kicked ass.  I saw the Young Bucks dive off a steel cage onto the Ballard Bros with nothing but blacktop underneath them.

The original Lucha Underground temple is a legit shit hole venue. It's not just set dressing, it's really an old factory.  The bathroom scene from Saw was shot in it's real bathrooms, which we didn't get to use.  We had to use equally disgusting portapotties.  It leaked when it rained and was hot as fuck in the summer.

 

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The ECW Arena, during pretty much all ECW's existance, was a fucking shithole.  No AC, smoking rules not enforced for most of the time, a layer of muck on the bathroom floors, concessions you barely wanted to touch, and was basically right underneath I-95.

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Well I saw a DGUSA show at the Miramar Theater in Milwaukee in 2010 that had one of Bryan Danielson's last (or last) match before he went back to WWE after getting fired. The ring they were supposed to get didn't work so they had to order a ring from Chicago which delayed the show. I did get the see CIMA ordering around young wrestlers like a boss though. The main event of the match was Bryan vs. Jon Moxley/Dean Ambrose and I remember Bryan diving onto Moxley with so hard it made the theater seats rise from the ground even thought they're all supposed to be bolted.

Other one was a random indy show at the old Horny Goat volleyball tent. This was a really crappy brew pub that had a nice patio space and a makeshift sand volleyball tent, it was basically a big fair tent that had 3 giant heaters that kind of kept it warm in the winter but did nothing for condensation so during the show in January there would be water dripping and shards of ice falling on you. At least they put boards down instead of having the seats and ring in the sand.

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FIP once ran a trios tourney at a Crossfit Gym in Orlando. There were no seats and guys were doing spots off of the CrossFit ropes. During Mania weekend in Orlando, FIP ran the Hardy show at a bar parking lot in Downtown Orlando. That was interesting. Next Tuesday, I'm going to an all women's show that's taking place at a softball practice facility that is in the downstairs section of a bar. Went to a show there last year and people were hitting balls into the crowd over a net they had separating the ring and the ball field.

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10 hours ago, happjack said:

I went to a few shows at what was left of Livonia Mall outside of Detroit, not only was it what is now called a Dead Mall they had the matches in a section that was an indoor paint ball range most of the time. 

 

Haha, I remember the one time I went to one of the Livonia Mall shows. I remember wandering around the mall figuring it was in a closed storefront or in a center atrium and not being able to find it. We track down a security guard, who points us towards a sketchy emergency exit and tells us to walk outside around the back of the mall, where we see a windowless door with a piece of notebook paper taped to it with the word "WRESTLING" scribbled in black sharpie. 

I also went to the one of the XPW reboot shows at a gay nightclub. And not a super high-end hipster West Hollywood gay club, but a grungy spot that seemed like something from a homophobic scare film, like Cruising. The vibe of the club was fucking awesome. The show, not so much. 

I have been to one of the no-ring "bar fight" style shows over the last year, at a Los Angeles rock club whose space is so narrow width-wise that there is no way a ring could fit in there anyway. Getting caught in the crush as guys like Darby Allin and Brody King are brawling through the crowd in a place that small was intense, it felt like being in a mosh pit at times. 

I also got to experience studio wrestling during the early 2000's when Captain Ed George got TV in Michigan on the local ABC affiliate. A hot as fuck Saturday morning, but awesome to see Sabu, Kevin Sullivan, and Jerry Lynn wrestle in that environment as an adult after growing up watching JCP in the Techwood studio. 

I always wished someone could get some sort of wrestling show on TV where every week it takes place from a non-traditional venue. Like if Adult Swim greenlit a wrestling show where one week it took place at a rooftop pool party and the next week it took place at a cracker factory. 

I have become a fan lately of Zona 23 on Highspots. It is some of the sketchfest, scuzziest, barely trained deathmatch wrestling in the entire world. If the shows were in regular armories or VFW halls I would hate it. But because their shows are daytime outdoors in Mexican junkyards and guys are doing moves off the top of broken down trucks and rolling around in dirt, it's a compelling watch for me. 

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13 hours ago, odessasteps said:

When I worked for MCW, they ran an outdoor show at a restaurant where it was so hot the guys didn’t want to bump on the mat. That was the show Bundy admonishes me for giving the shoot time for his sub 5:00 match. 

Jimmy's Famous Seafood?

12 hours ago, happjack said:

I went to a few shows at what was left of Livonia Mall outside of Detroit, not only was it what is now called a Dead Mall they had the matches in a section that was an indoor paint ball range most of the time. 

Holy fuck.  The first match where I saw Shane Strickland work was a card held at that paintball range in Dead Mall.

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10 minutes ago, J.T. said:

Jimmy's Famous Seafood?

No, it was down I think on the Potomac. I remember driving down 301 and then a little while to get there. 

Cagematch tells me it was a place called Pier III (now Gilligan's pier) in Newbury MD. 

(And it was Bundy vs Jimmy Cicero,not Dino Divine as i thought) 

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3 hours ago, Tim Evans said:

Next Tuesday, I'm going to an all women's show that's taking place at a softball practice facility that is in the downstairs section of a bar. Went to a show there last year and people were hitting balls into the crowd over a net they had separating the ring and the ball field.

Is this the RISE with Mick Foley? If not, then which show and where?

I've never been to a Beyond show, but they run some pretty odd venues:

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14 hours ago, CSC said:

Oh wow - I had no clue those places actually had names.  A quick search for that brings up so many wonderful flyers from those shows.  

Yep. IIRC, Rudos Dojo 1 was in Anaheim, Rudos Dojo Dos was in South LA County, Arena Norwalk was Norwalk's Indoor Swap Meet, and the shows eventually moved to Frank & Sons in Commerce.

 

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Not sure what the promotion would have been at the time, but I watched a Wild Samoans run show in the food court of the Fairlane Village Mall in Pottsville, PA. This was maybe early-90s? I remember none of the lineup, but I probably still have an Afa autographed photo kicking around somewhere in my attic.

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10 hours ago, Edwin said:

Is this the RISE with Mick Foley? If not, then which show and where?

I've never been to a Beyond show, but they run some pretty odd venues:

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That top pic is from Electric Haze, a hookah bar where they run out of a lot, but I've never seen them there as I've only been to a couple shows in more proper venues (although the bar under the Polish-American club in Worcester has a skeezy charm).

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Wasn't the David Starr vs Orange Cassidy match a lot of us liked from there? 

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I used to go and watch JAPW in the early 2000s at a Bingo Hall in Bayonne. Couldn't really do much top rope stuff because the ceiling was low and the ring was set up close enough to the wall where wall tosses were common. I also watched Low Ki vs Bryan Danielson here in a Submission Match in 2002. Oh how far they've come.

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9 minutes ago, olythegreat89 said:

I used to go and watch JAPW in the early 2000s at a Bingo Hall in Bayonne. Couldn't really do much top rope stuff because the ceiling was low and the ring was set up close enough to the wall where wall tosses were common. I also watched Low Ki vs Bryan Danielson here in a Submission Match in 2002. Oh how far they've come.

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Even better- the Charity Hall used to be a supermarket. "Cleanup in aisle 5!"

Few years ago I caught one of the Maximo Brothers' shows at their gym in Brooklyn. The joint looked like a beer store garage- I half expected someone to start rolling out cases of Yuengling while the matches were going on.

 

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We in SoCal lucked out with Jewish Community Centers in the early '00s. That's where all the MPW v1 shows were at.

 

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