Even with all its glitz and glamour, WrestleMania simply isn't going to appeal to everyone. And we're not just talking about those who think wrestling is stupid. In fact, it's because of the added spectacle (and subsequently increased ticket prices) that many hardcore wrestling fans have been turned off by this Super Bowl of wrestling.
Whether you prefer the grappling of old or you're more into the Fight Club-like atmosphere of smaller promotions like Ring of Honor, you're going to find plenty of fringe events to cater to wrestling fans of any kind wherever WrestleMania goes. So if you'd rather not spend hundreds of dollars on tickets to the official WrestleMania events (or if you're just a wrestling junkie who has to see it all), here are some lower priced and harder-hitting alternatives.
Battle of the Belts
South Florida-based NWA Ring Warriors is known for putting on quality
wrestling matches that honor the tradition of the National Wrestling
Alliance while also helping establish younger wrestling talents. But
when it kicks off WrestleMania weekend with Battle of the Belts March 29
at the Fort Lauderdale National Guard Armory, it looks to be a
In a card stacked with past legends and current stars including "The
Prince of Darkness" Kevin Sullivan, the vampire Gangrel, NWA World Tag
Team Champions the Dark City Fight Club and Vordell Walker, it will be
hard to pick just one standout match. But in the main event, "Scrap
Iron" Adam Pearce will defend his NWA World Heavyweight Championship
against an unknown challenger from Ring of Honor (see below) hand picked
by ROH executive and legendary NWA manager Jim Cornette. And in the
finals of the Ring Warriors Grand Championship tournament, "The Marquee"
Bruce Santee will square off against the Giant Titan, who at seven feet
and 315 pounds definitely lives up to such a moniker.
Showdown in the Sun
Known for creating a spectacle based more on in-ring one-ups-manship
than on pyro, production value and celebrity appearances, Ring of
Honor's edgier style has become a proving ground for future stars like
WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. But
even as more and more of its top competitors move on to WWE's greener
pastures, the ROH roster is still filled with young talent ready to
prove itself to a different breed of wrestling fan.
Taking place at Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium March 30 and
31, the Showdown in the Sun Internet pay-per-views are headlined by a
triple threat match for the ROH World Championship between defending
champ Davey Richards, "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong. Each
of these competitors is scheduled for singles action the next day,
meaning whoever comes out of the first night with the title has to
defend it just a few hours later at the second event. These events will
also see return of former WWE star Lance Storm, and there will be a fan
fest prior to Friday's matches where all of ROH's stars will be on hand
to meet fans and sign autographs.
Held independently from WWE's WrestleMania festivities, WrestleReunion 7
will be at the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach March 30-April 1.
This convention features vendors selling wrestling memorabilia and
dozens of guests, ranging from Championship Wrestling Florida
legends like "Diamond" Dallas Page, Mike Graham, Carlos Colon, and "Mr.
Florida" Paul Jones to personalities from all walks of wrestling life
such as the Honky Tonk Man, Road Warrior Animal, former Playboy cover
girl Maria Kanellis, and former NBA oddity Dennis Rodman.
WrestleReunion will also feature live wrestling from Dragon Gate USA
(see below) and a Saturday afternoon wrestling show paying tribute to
CWF, featuring the likes of James J. Dillon, Kevin Sullivan, LeiLani Kai,
and Nikita Koloff. Other wrestling-related entertainment includes a
Friday night Q&A with Jake "The Snake" Roberts and former National
Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion Colt Cabana's $5 Wrestling
Live, a Mystery Science Theater 3000-like comedy show where Cabana and
comedian Marty Derosa provide commentary for past wrestling moments.
Following Sunday's autograph sessions, fans can reserve luncheon tables
with wrestling stars like Matt Hardy, Big Van Vader, Tito Santana, and
others before catching a bus to WrestleMania at 4:15.
Dragon Gate USA
This Japanese-influenced promotion offers a more athletic, faster-paced
alternative to what you'll find on most wrestling shows. DGUSA is
running three Internet pay-per-views during WrestleMania weekend,
starting with a March 29 event in Hollywood called Heat. A joint
effort between DGUSA and Combat Zone Wrestling, Heat will feature top
indie talents such as Low Ki, AR Fox, Uhaa Nation, Pinkie Sanchez and
Held in conjunction with WrestleReunion, DGUSA will also hold two
additional shows at the Deauville Beach Resort: Open the Ultimate Gate
2012 on March 30 and Mercury Rising 2012 on March 31. These shows will
see the previously mentioned DGUSA talents being joined by the likes of
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hardcore legend Sabu, Dark City Fight Club's Jon Davis indie standout