header photograph copyright Sarah Souders Photography (@stepstoolsarahx)
January 6th was Glory Pro Wrestling’s first event of 2019, the Bandido-titled Above the Law from the new home digs in Collinsville, IL. Since the Mike Elgin scandal and divestment in February 2017, GPW has dealt with several venue issues but despite everything has managed to put on good shows and maintain a solid core roster. They haven’t managed to match a booking at the level of Elgin bringing in Naito, but they have consistently brought in top outside talent including Jeff Cobb, Jordynne Grace, Moose, PCO, Anthony Henry & James Drake, Marko Stunt, Brody King, and the aforementioned Bandido, arguably the top young light heavyweight in the world.
The biggest win of all has perhaps been the move to the new home venue of the Collinsville KC hall. The venue is ideal with at least half the ring under the high ceiling, promotion-controlled concessions for much better and cheaper food ($1 tacos are genius), a better bar, better accessibility, better merch setups, and a subtle feeling of stability and purpose. IndependentWrestling.TV (F.K.A. Powerbomb.tv) has filmed the last two shows and I will guess that it’s been no coincidence that the shows have felt tighter and better than the previous GPW catalog. On this show they managed 9 matches in just over 2 1/2 hours, which is a great pace.
I think one of the reasons that Glory Pro is now consistently doing the best shows in the area is the reach not just into Chicagoland for talent, but also the South. AJ Gray has been a mainstay since his arrival last February but recent months have brought Aaron Solow, Joey Lynch, the Gymnasty Boys, and Kevin Ku into the GPW rotation and all have had impactful appearances. Improving the bottom of the card is actually much better for show quality than improving the top and GPW has knocked that task out of the park. For instance, former dark match participant Aaron Orion was given a chance to work solo against Warhorse Jake Parnell on this show and really delivered a fantastic match. The widening of the talent net is bringing up the average match quality significantly.
It is this average quality that leads me to say without reservation that Above the Law is easily the best show Glory Pro has ever done. 9 matches and not a single one wasn’t good. That’s nearly unheard of for a small indie to pull off. Any promotions with cash can pay the money to bring in a name but to actually bring in names and have over 2 1/2 hours of quality matches? That takes faith and reach. Even the dark match was very over with Brooke Valentine looking like she may make a serious mark in Glory Pro in the future. Not sure a person in the building knew who Mark Wheeler was and he looked like a champion.
The crowd was large and hot, easily the biggest crowd at the new home field. Bandido’s profile brought in a lot of new faces and after seeing the type of show that they saw, many of them will be coming back. I talked to folks after the show and scrolled through the tweets and there were dozens saying they came for Bandido and were blown away by the show. That’s actually the way you grow a promotion, not just bringing in the draw. I think we are now in a position where Glory Pro may be the 2nd best promotion in the Midwest after AAW. Coming months will prove or deny this but in the meantime the future looks extremely bright for this company.
Show rating: B-
Aaron Orion v Warhorse 1+
Mike Outlaw v Aaron Solow 1
Orion Creed v Craig Mitchell v Tootie Lynn Ramsey (Seishin) v Mark Wheeler 1+
Barackus v Kobe Durst 1
AJ Gray v Jake Something 1+
Paco Gonzalez v Eddie Kingston 2
Jake Lander v Joey Lynch v Shane Sabre 1+
Vanessa Azure v Alley Kat 1
TLC match for United Glory Tag Championships: Stephen Wolf & Myron Reed (c) v Besties in the World v No New Friends 1+
Crown of Glory Championship: Curt Stallion v Bandido 1+