Vinny takes a look at Squared Circle Project‘s Square One and the state of the industry on the whole.
Professional Wrestling is booming.
Sure, the WWE is having its share of problems, but they’re still a massive and profitable organization. Add in the fact that promotions like AEW, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Ring of Honor are all running major U.S. arenas, there is opportunity that hasn’t existed in decades. Perhaps the most interesting result of this proliferation is a renewed focus on the characters inhabiting the ring.
Acts like The Young Bucks, Sami Callihan and Kenny Omega have grown massive followings by controlling their own narratives and bringing their signature styles wherever they wish to. This might be television or YouTube, but it also might be your home town.
Let’s take a look at Squared Circle Project:
After launching in May with a Free Admission show, they returned to the Hudson Valley with Square One.
You know, this site offers me the opportunity to drop some of the journalistic pretense, so I’ll take that opportunity now.
I’ve known SCP founder Ari Azteca for over a decade. We first met through mutual friends and ended up at countless wrestling shows during the post-ECW Indy Wrestling boom of the early 2000s. Even then, Ari was working on his craft.
Now, he’s working on filling a void in the Indy wrestling market.
“It’s not a secret, I run this company…I’m doing it for you guys.” – Ari Azteca
Rockland County, New York is a big hub for wrestling fans, it just hasn’t had a promotion that catered to it so directly in a long while. Square One ran in The Nyack Center in Nyack, New York. A building affectionately known by locals of a certain age as The Backdoor and the place that helped give rockers Coheed and Cambria their start. In short, it is place with a real history in the area. Even so, the building hadn’t seen anything like this.
Take Josh Briggs, the Evolve standout who recently opened their Tenth Anniversary special on the WWE Network. Briggs brings a familiar character into a new environment and allows the storytelling to develop organically. He faced the versatile monster KTB in the main event. KTB won that match but the tension throughout was constant. Sure, Briggs isn’t a name like Seth Rollins (yet), but that’s not the point.
Independent wrestling allows stories to grow in this fashion; in a way WWE or AEW simply can’t. It allows each wrestler to play with their persona and adjust over time. It allows for each promotion, each building even, to develop a unique aesthetic and feel. Every new show brings new possibilities. With one show, KTB was put at the top of the Squared Circle Project ladder. A true Square One. While it may lack some of the production value, the indy scene has the advantage of true surprises. These surprises are something that television wrestling sometimes struggles to produce. If you’ve never been to a show, this is a great era to start.
By show’s end, MLW Middleweight “Hot Fire” Myron Reed and even Azteca himself were brought into the mix, creating a title scene going into SCP’s next show, Rubiks Cube. As Raw‘s meandering format is criticized nigh weekly, Squared Circle Project (by Azteca’s design) was tight and to the point. The performers are well aware that they have to get their names in your mind and it allows for a focus on that. Each match is important because it is an opportunity for the performer to make that lasting impression. It’s a different format than television.
This September in Congers, NY, AEW‘s Sonny Kiss and “The Notorious 187” Homicide will be brought into the mix. Who knows where it will go from there.
Squared Circle Project‘s Rubiks Cube emanates from Indoor 365 in Congers, NY on September 21st.
You can also check out some more matches on the promotion’s YouTube page.