We all love wrestling. Without deconstructing it too much, what we’re all watching is pretty absurd. Grown men and women in colorful skivvies pretending to dislike each other and pretending to fight one another, but if you reveal any of the magic during your match, fans will get upset about it. Mind you, similar absurd events happen in all kinds of movies and TV shows. But the wrestlers have always been presented as real and walk around the real world using their wrestler names. You’d be offending a lot of wrestlers if you saw them in the street and referred to them as their real names, even though they’re essentially athletic actors playing a role.
Remember how serious you take your wrestling fandom...now throw your fandom off of a steel cage into a pile of fluffy pillows for this one. The legendary manager, promoter, podcaster, and mouth that roared Jim Cornette is going to detest this article, a lot of us wrestling fans will, too. But these guys have decided to show their love for the sport by performing it in some pretty ridiculous ways. Some of the people involved in these odd promotions are very well known and have even gone onto the WWE, so while it’s all in good fun, some careers have been made, purists be damned. Here are 10 Weirdest Wrestling Promotions That Ever Existed.
10 Dramatic Dream Team
If you ever want a prime example that you can do wrestling parody and still be seen as one of the best in the world, then look no further than AEW’s Kenny Omega. He once wrestled an 8-year old girl for the DDT promotion in Japan. Not that every performer goes on to become one of the most respected in the business. The promotion loves to parody American wrestling with outlandish matches like an Office Deathmatch, where the ring is decorated to look like an office. The promotion has also had “Bread On A Pole” Matches and a Silence Match where the crowd, announcers, and wrestlers do their best to stay quiet.
Much of the silliness of the Chikara Promotion comes from the some of the inventive names for its superstars, like the A Very Mysterious Ice Cream (current fans know him as Cesaro). Founded by former Indy darling Wreckless Youth and Mike Quackenbush.
The Lucha-style promotion’s biggest event is the King Of Trios tournament, featuring a six-man tag team tournament - the current champions are the ResistANTce - a team of masked ants.
8 Incredibly Strange Wrestling
Music personality and fringe wrestling star Johnny Legend has his own promotion in the mid-nineties. The aptly-named Incredibly Strange Wrestling was born. Considering Legend used to pal around with Andy Kaufman, think what zany things Legend might propose for his now-defunct promotion...
Right - take the punk rock bands of the day like NOFX and have them play love against the backdrop of matches such as “Christians To Lions Match.”
Ironfist Wrestling from England takes the idea of a themed event and goes completely banana with it. While most of the matches are solid matches of the independent scene, the eight year old promotion is known for themed shows based on popular games and movies like Game Of Thrones, Star Wars, and Dungeons & Dragons. There most recent anniversary show was set like Masters Of The Universe.
6 Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling
You can admit it right now - once you go out and buy the new WWE 2K20 video game, you’re head to whatever Create-A-Wrestler mode they have and add some of your favorite non-WWE characters to your roster. In real life, the Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling promotion has been setting up shop in and around Comic Conventions.
While that could sound like completely fun wrestle-crap, there have been some serious stars that have shown up in the past - Ruby Riott as Catwoman, Brian Cage as Bane...someone let Xavier Woods about this promotion the next time he attends a Con.
5 Freak Show Wrestling
The sport started out as part of a traveling carnival, every so often promotions like to pay homage to that fact. The WWE once tried to do it with Kizarny, who has wrestled as Sinn Bodhi ever since his release. Bodhi runs Freak Show Wrestling, a promotion that tried to remain true to the industries Carney roots. The promotion is part stunt show, magic show, and of course wrestling matches. Bodhi’s reputation amongst the boys has enabled him to book marquis talent from time to time like John Morrison to work with strange characters like Cereal Man.
What would you do if you ever actually won the Powerball? If you’re Jonathan Vargas, you take your 35 million and you start your own wrestling promotion - Wrestlicious. Vargas was smart enough to know he should find people that know the business and partnered up with Jimmy Hart and Johnny Cafarella (GLOW) to get the promotion off the ground. It barely lasted a season of television in 2009 and took some of the tawdrier elements of GLOW and The Attitude Era to create a unique piece of wrestling history that featured Leva Bates, Daphne, and Serena Deeb.
3 Interspecies Wrestling
Yup, you read the name of that promotion right. Thankfully owner, Mike Rotch (please don’t read that out loud) didn’t hire the sons of Terrible Ted, the wrestling bear. Or any other deranged wrestling animal. What the Canada/Connecticut based promotion does do however is cast several performers as Werewolves, Turtles, Bears, Bugs, you name the type of animal you’d find in a 1980’s WWE locker room, and your bound to find it in ISW.
2 Lucha VaVoom
If Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to start a wrestling promotion - Lucha VaVoom is what you would get. Take parts of old school burlesque shows, characters ripped from the old-school and current worlds of Lucha Libre, mix in guys like Joey Ryan and Matt Classic (yes, Colt Cabana under a hood), park the thing in Los Angeles and you have the promotion known as Lucha VaVoom.
All of this, plus Comics hosting the action and old-school movie inspired posters sounds like a grand ol’ time in the City Of Angels.
1 Party World Rasslin’
On Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, Bruce or Conrad will occasionally sing “R-A-S-S-L-I-N, that’s wrestling,” to refer to something that’s completely bonkers or carney. In Austin, Texas the promotion Party World Rasslin’ is upping that old school style and turning it into complete performance theater. The fed features out of control themes like Dino Slam, where dinosaurs wrestle. If that’s not enough to pique you’re interest than you’re way too much of a purist, which is just as fine too. But for everyone seeking wild alternatives, feds like PWR are out there if you look hard enough.