Daniel Garcia recently appeared on the One on One with Jon Alba podcast where he reflected back to when independent wrestling returned and he wasn’t booked during the Collective weekend. He admitted that the situation made him feel sick, as he felt he was being overlooked within the industry.
“To be honest, I really feel like things started clicking for me on a performance-based level during the pandemic, right when we started Limitless Wrestling dates back up. I was somebody who felt like I was overlooked when wrestling started coming back right after the pandemic. Obviously, WrestleMania weekend got canceled and then they did that big return for indie wrestling was that Collective weekend. It was kind of like a WrestleMania weekend in the Fall– all the shows that were supposed to run ran in the Fall. I wasn’t booked on any of the shows. This was just last Fall. I felt super slighted. This is going to sound dramatic, but I felt sick when I wasn’t booked on any of those shows. I felt physically sick.”
Garcia then broke down the independent wrestling scene in more detail, stating that he feels like it goes through different eras, and the AEW star feels we are living in an era of violence right now.
“I feel like we go through different eras of wrestling, in independent wrestling anyway. We were in an era for a while of work rate, which was coming off the Ring Of Honor era going into PWG, where it was just having the craziest match you could imagine and that is what would get you over. Then we transitioned into an era of GIFs where if the match was whatever, that was alright. But as long as you could get a good clip out of it and it starts trending on Twitter, you’ll get booked and that would get you over.
“Then we’ve got to an era of micro-content, that I like to call it. Where you’ve got the Danhausen’s and the Warhorse’s and people who are putting out these short little videos, niche stuff. They are getting over a very strong character to a niche audience. Now I feel like we are entering an era of violence where people just want to see somebody get hurt. Deathmatches are super popular right now, and I hate saying it but, ‘shoot-style pro wrestling’ is really popular right now. People just want to see somebody get messed up, and I feel like those are a couple of different eras of independent wrestling over the past couple of years.”
When it comes to the AEW roster, Garcia praised the working environment, naming both Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston as people that he would like to learn from while he works for the company.
“The environment is encouraging. We have people who really excel at that style. We have people like Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston, people who, I don’t want to say are founders of that style, but people who had a really good hand at popularizing that style over the past decade or so. I feel like I can learn a lot from these people, and I feel like I really enjoy sharing a locker room with people who share the same mindset in professional wrestling.”
While Garcia is happy to learn from his fellow AEW stars when it comes to the independent wrestling scene, he felt that there was a lack of leaders throughout his time early on. But that is something he felt changed when specific experienced talents began returning to those shows.
“Independent wrestling was in a weird position for a little bit where we didn’t have a lot of leaders or people to learn from because everybody would just get signed when they got to a level where they could help somebody. In generations prior, people would have veterans and people that they could look up to when they wrestle. I never got the opportunity to wrestle somebody like a Johnny Gargano, or a Tommaso Ciampa, or a Chris Hero, because once somebody gets to the level where they can start helping people, they get taken up.
“That’s not a bad thing, but it just kind of left a generation of indie wrestlers to fend for themselves. Now that we have veterans coming back, people like Davey Richards and Alex Shelley, we are getting opportunities to wrestle with people who have a lot of experience that have wrestled around the world for 20 plus years, almost as long as I’ve been alive. I feel like they’re the best learning experiences that I have been able to have so far.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit One on One with Jon Alba, with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.