With WrestleMania in Town, Independent promotions Look to Cash in

TAMPA, Fla. – With WWE’s WrestleMania this weekend, many smaller, independent wrestling promotions have made their way to the Bay area.

What You Need To Know

It’s part of a WrestleMania tradition: When fans come to town for the big show, independent promotions come as well, hoping to take advantage. Florida has many of these groups all over the state.

This year, there are fewer shows in town than usual. The pandemic was very tough on some of these groups, and they couldn’t make the trip. Others closed altogether.

That didn’t stop independent wrestler Colby Corino, 24, from finding a few bookings in Tampa after so many were canceled over the last year.

“It was so hard,” Cornio said. “I have a fiancé and a little two year old child. It was so hard. Wrestling was a big part of our finances.

He’s never been so happy to get slapped around again. He wrestled on Thursday for Game Changer Wrestling. 

The New Jersey-based promotion is taking over the Cuban Club in Ybor City for the weekend. They’re hosting several shows to make up for last year, when they were canceled at the last minute.

“That was heartbreaking last year,” said Kevin Gill, an announcer for GCW. “I can’t begin to explain the amount of work that goes into an event like this.”

That’s why many other promotions didn’t make it to Tampa this year.

But GCW wanted to keep the WrestleMania weekend tradition of the indies going, partnering with other promotions to put on several days of shows.

After all, many of the wrestlers could be part the big leagues someday.

“You’ll be seeing people on these shows that in one year. In two years, you can then see on WrestleMania,” Gill said.

While it doesn’t have the glitz and glamor of WWE, the dedication of independent wrestlers and fans is unmatched.

Like all of us, they’re starting over after a tough year, hoping to make it to the top.

“I’ve been around independent wrestling my whole life,” Corino said. “It’s something that’s very close to me. I love it as an art form and as a sport.”

GCW is requiring masks and limited capacity at their shows. You can find more information about their shows here.

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