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Independent Professional Wrestling

THE DEFIANT ONES

Northwest Guardian

Published: 03:54PM October 5th, 2017
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Northwest Guardian

The Streamer Club, left, welcome Douglas James, Pacific Coast Wrestling Light Heavyweight Champion, during Defy Wrestling’s show at Washington Hall in Seattle Sept. 29.

If you go

3-2-1 Battle — Friday and Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and 17, Dec. 1, 15 and 29 at 9 p.m. Evolv Fitness, 1317 Republican St., Seattle. Ages 21 and older. Tickets start at $15.

Defy Wrestling — Oct. 26 and Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave., Seattle. Ages 21 and older. Tickets start at $20.

Lucha Libre Volcanica — Oct. 28 at 8:30 p.m. Evolv Fitness, $10 suggested donation. Doors open at 7:45 p.m.

Project 42 — Dec. 30 (time to be announced) at El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., Seattle. Ages 21 and older. Free.

Defy Wrestling promoters are welcoming members of the military community to come experience the atmosphere of a unique professional wrestling scene that has grown exponentially — one that Defy has been the highlight of this year.

“We want to get more involved with the local military bases,” said Defy producer Matt Farmer. “Independent wrestling, as a whole, is on a resurgence. It’s been around forever, but it hasn’t been seen like it is now with streaming (on services like) Defy On Demand.”

Independent wrestling is a different culture than what fans see with World Wrestling Entertainment. These wrestlers are not tied down to one promotion and are able to travel all over the world.

More than 500 loud and raucous fans gathered in Seattle’s Washington Hall for “Defy 8: Kings Among Men” Sept. 29. The energy could be felt as fans, known best as “the defyance,” were entertained by the likes of former WWE superstar John Hennigan along with Jeff Cobb and Matt Riddle.

It didn’t take long to develop a cult fan base in Seattle and Tacoma, and Defy founder Jim Perry said he wasn’t surprised.

“There was an untapped market,” Perry said. “If you do it right, it will speak to them and they will come out.”

Former Army Reservist Shane “Swerve” Strickland is the current Defy champion. He also proudly wears the Wrestle-Circus Ringmaster Championship and the Combat Zone Wrestling World Championship wherever he goes.

Strickland said he holds the Defy Championship in high regard, not only because Defy was the first promotion to put all their chips and their trust in him, but because he has roots in the area.

His father, a retired Army master sergeant, was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord when Strickland was born. In his eyes, events like the ones organized by Defy are a good safety net for service members to enjoy themselves outside of the installations.

“It’s a good outlet outside of the military bubble that is a good, positive environment,” Strickland said.

The environment is part of an overall independent scene that hasn’t been seen since Northwest wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s. Steve Migliore, better known as Steve Migs on KISW radio in Seattle, said he is excited to see how local wrestling continues to grow as the host for Defy and also the commissioner for 3-2-1 Battle.

“I think what makes it special is that we’ve been deprived of having some of the biggest independent stars in this area for years now,” Migliore said. “So the fact that they’re now coming to town for different promotions like Defy and 3-2-1 Battle does not go unnoticed by a Seattle wrestling fan.”

Defy offers military discounts for active duty service members — $5 off at the door. The promotion also wants to offer group rates for groups of 10 or more people, such as units that want to come to a shows.

Defy’s next event “Defy 9: Yo! Defy Graps” is set for Nov. 10 from 8 to 11 p.m. at Washington Hall, which will feature indie star Sami Callihan. Tickets are $20 to $100. There will also be a special “Defy Now” show Oct. 26 at Washington Hall, with tickets starting at $20.

Both shows are for ages 21 and older. For more information, visit defywrestling.com.

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon