Bay Area wrestlers riding WrestleMania wave
Josh Cascio reports
YBOR CITY, Fla. - For independent or "indy" wrestlers like 22-year-old Daniel Garcia, smaller shows like the ones in Ybor City this week are his moment in the sun.
"Stuff like this, it is not about the big arenas, I promise you. The best matches of the weekend are going to be happening at small intimate shows like this," Garcia said. "The excitement level is great. We have a bunch of smaller indy shows going on and it's the biggest wrestling week of the year so there's so many shows in one area."
Unlike this weekend's WrestleMania, where 20,000 fans per night will pack Raymond James Stadium, the indy shows popping up this week will see a few dozen to a few hundred in the crowd. That's just how they like it.
"It is so much fun because they put their heart and soul into this and they really interact with the fans they really care about how we feel about their matches," said fan Hunter Bronkar.
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For most of these fans, the indy shows are the appetizer before the WrestleMania main course.
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"Just seeing all the independent wrestlers then going to see WrestleMania in a bigger venue, you get the best of both worlds," said wrestling fan Jake Collins.
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And for the performers, the smaller stage may one day get a lot bigger.
"We go much harder than everyone else. People like this are ready to prove themselves and earn their spots," Garcia said.
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