Independent Circuit - Origins

Origins

The indie scene in the United States dates back to the days of regional territories. When a promoter ran opposition in even one town controlled by a National Wrestling Alliance sanctioned territory, they were often called an outlaw territory. This is considered by some to be a forerunner to indies since some stars of the past got their start in these low quality local rivals to the big regional territories.

The modern definition of the independent circuit came about in the middle to late 1980s and fully formed and flourished after 1990. These promotions initially sought to revive the feel of old school territorial wrestling after former territories either went national, such as WWF and WCW, or went out of business. Several indies did in fact manage to tour different towns within a region and maintain a consistent schedule.

After Vince McMahon gave a 1989 testimony in front of The New Jersey State Athletic Commission where he revealed wrestling was in fact entertainment, many state athletic commission stopped regulating wrestling for promoters and wrestlers. After the business was exposed, just about anyone could be a promoter or a wrestler. Many thought they could save money by holding shows in lesser towns and smaller arenas with little to no televised exposure, leading to many shows being held only once a week or once a month in local towns.

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