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With another week of Raw and SmackDown in the books, it’s time to examine the wrestling business beyond WWE.
Some fans only partake in the WWE product, but there is so much more out there to enjoy. Dig a little deeper, and there are several wrestling companies writing better stories and putting on better matches.
For fans of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the Destruction tour is underway. On September 10 at Destruction in Fukushima, the main event saw Minoru Suzuki successfully defended the NEVER Openweight Championship against Michael Elgin in a wild lumberjack death match.
The Destruction tour will roll on with Destruction in Hiroshima on September 16, headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, and Destruction in Kobe on September 24 headlined by Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. The status of this main event is possibly in question, though, as Omega recently revealed he is dealing with an injury.
As for Ring of Honor, the company has entered the home stretch of its build for the Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view on September 22. In the main event, Cody Rhodes will defend the ROH World Championship against Suzuki.
The undercard for the event is stacked with marquee bouts, including Kushida vs. Kenny King for the Television Championship, Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young in a Last Man Standing match and a battle between Marty Scurll and Chuck Taylor. Add in appearances from the Motor City Machine Guns, Dalton Castle and the team of Bully Ray and the Briscoes, and the 15th Death Before Dishonor looks like must-watch TV.
In Global Force Wrestling, Global champion Eli Drake continued his winning ways against No. 1 contender Matt Sydal in a fast-paced Impact Wrestling main event. Next week, Johnny Impact will square off against Low Ki to determine the next man to challenge Drake for the GFW Championship.
The women’s division in GFW is heating up as well, with the debut last week of Taya Valkyrie. The division also recently saw the return of Taryn Terrell, and coupled with existing stars like Gail Kim, Rosemary, Allie and Laurel Van Ness, the women are stealing the show on Impact Wrestling.
Looking a bit deeper at the independent scene, Evolve is coming to Michigan and Illinois on September 22 and 23. The cards feature marquee matches, including Sabre Jr. vs. Davey Richards for the Evolve Championship, Matt Riddle vs. Tracy Williams for the WWN Championship and a dream match between Keith Lee and Davey Richards.
Fans of Progress Wrestling will be happy to hear the big news that the company would be putting on a show from the SSE Arena Wembley next year.
Progress has grown from a small independent brand to one of the most prominent companies in the world.
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player above (some language NSFW).