Yesterday, I just watched my first professional wrestling show in Denmark, Nordic Elite Wrestling (NEW) based out of Copenhagen. The event was Dreamchasers in the Basement. The short form: it was a lot of fun.
My jumping-off point for indie wrestling is that I’m an American who went pretty often to indie wrestling shows in the United States. I don’t generally like big venues, so even when I was interested in mainstream wrestling, I didn’t like going to WWE shows (though I have been to a couple, albeit it many years ago.) I went to shows in the Dayton, Ohio, area, whose biggest local promotion is Pro Wrestling Revolver… though they don’t do many shows in Dayton. Ohio is one of the great pro wrestling centers in the world.
(I had even started collecting indie wrestlers’ stories for a book. Indie wrestlers have some fascinating stories to tell. But then I moved to Denmark, and that got shelved, unfortunately. But maybe if I meet some Danish professional wrestlers… I digress.)
Overall impressions. For the size of the promotion, NEW has good production values. Two things impressed me from the jump. The first is the quality of the sound at the show. Even in the bigger indie shows in the US, like Pro Wrestling Revolver, the sound quality was often atrocious. But NEW’s sound system, at least as presented in the Basement, was loud and clear.
Second is the extent that the NEW wrestlers will create video packages between shows. I suspect this is because, overall, indie wrestlers in Denmark don’t wrestle as often as wrestlers in America (who can often wrestle two or three times a week if they want) and because the wrestling culture in Denmark derives even more than in the US from the theatrical style of the WWE.
The emphasis on storytelling was also very much part of the show in ways that one doesn’t see in the US for shows of this size. You are expected to understand some characters and their motivations coming into the event. So, in the first match, “Mr. Universe,” Pete Phoenix had a new valet, Frøken Bechs (roughly Miss Bechs), but unless you saw Pete Phoenix’s video package posted online, her motivation would be unclear. (For me, it was still slightly unclear because my Danish still sucks, but I got the gist.)
Likewise, I very much enjoyed Pure Gold’s package building up their feud with Bloodbound. Or, as my friend said upon showing her the package, “Is that man fellating a corndog?” No, Becky, he was fellating a popsicle. Don’t make this weird.
Or Lucius Amaroq’s promo! (And, fortunately, the filthy Swede was sent back to Sweden in abject, total defeat because, man, fuck Sweden, amirite? That’s about right for Denmark? Those BASTARDS over in Sweden! Who do they think they are!)
So, even at the level of NEW, they have good production values and excellent storytelling. But, wait, Kit, you might be telling yourself, what about the WRESTLING!
It was good. It was about what you’d expect from an indie professional wrestling show of this size. I will give the additional caveat that all of the performers seemed young, so I also expect to see a considerable improvement soon.
But there were some differences, too. Here are the weirdest parts from an American attending a Denmark show.
Rosi & Roti. That they’re a mixed-gender, trans tag team couple isn’t that weird in US indie wrestling. What is weird is that they are “communist-style” wrestlers, and they were the faces. Just, like, pow, that was so weird as an American that openly communist wrestlers are the GOOD GUYS. Mind. Blown.
(Though, okay, I am slightly curious how this act plays in places like rural Jutland or rural Austria. Because if you ran the Dreamchasers show in, say, Dayton, everything else would be the same, except it was in Dayton instead of Copenhagen, no big deal. It would go fine. But if you ran the Dreamchasers show, as presented, in, say, Troy, Ohio, well, there would have been a riot. Legitimately a riot. Trans commie wrestlers as the good guys? The horror.)
But this was the other weird moment. Bam Bam Quaade vs. Benny Bacchus. Bam Bam Quaade (and this is a slight interpretation because, again, my Danish sucks) is a fairly stock heel wrestler working for the indulgent, obnoxiously rich asshole manager. Benny Bacchus is, as far as I can tell, a cocaine addict. He came out with a big bag of white powder and white powder on the tip of his nose. And… Benny was the babyface. It was not subtle! After the post-fight beatdown, Benny was revived by sprinkling cocaine on his face, causing Benny to pop up with a lot of energy! Oh, yeah! That was also a little strange to me, but wrestling crowds will be wrestling crowds.
The rest of the action was relatively easy to follow, story-wise, though I don’t know very much about the characters. I suspect it is highly likely that my wife and I will become regulars to the promotion. We like professional wrestling shows! Before covid hit, we were going weekly to live shows… and somewhat less often, but still often, after, mostly due to the number of shows that shut down due to covid and… oh, y’know, #speakingout. That took an ax to more than one promotion, too. Regardless, a good time was had by all! Except now my hands hurt from all the clapping, and my voice is hoarse from all the shouting.
Yeah, if you were there, you probably heard me. 🙂