A Local’s Guide to Pro Wrestling in Indianapolis

Crowds attending WWE Fastlane in Indianapolis

Photo courtesy of Joe Pellman

Sports entertainment is a spectacle—a modern day theater-in-the-round, showcasing the art of storytelling through the physical medium of pro wrestling! From its humble beginnings in regional events and promotions, professional wrestling has become a true entertainment powerhouse. 

WWE has turned wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, The Rock, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and Stone Cold Steve Austin into household names. And now, WWE is the largest wrestling promotion in the world—with millions of fans across the globe and a social media following greater than the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB combined.

Here in Indianapolis, our city is synonymous with “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” So, it’s no surprise that our love for sports extends to the spectacular world of pro wrestling! With new ownership of WWE under TKO Group Holdings and the recent announcement of WWE Monday Night Raw heading to Netflix in 2025, you can make the case that sports entertainment has never been more popular and accessible.

But professional wrestling is more than just a collection of events and television shows. It’s a community of passionate fans drawn to the flamboyant, chaotic, emotional, and captivating experience of performance art. 

Pro wrestling remains one of the few forms of entertainment that listens to the collective voice of its fans to determine its weekly trajectory. Cheers and boos are more than just reactive gestures; they affect the outcome. This connection between performer and audience builds a sense of ownership that suspends disbelief and lives in the moment—an escape into the world of trial and triumph. 

To make a long story short, there’s no better time to check out our local pro wrestling scene. This is my manifesto on broadening Indy’s community of wrestling fans—and your guide to pro wrestling right here in Indianapolis! 

Match at Wrestling Theology Fellowship

Photo courtesy of Joe Pellman

Wrestling Match at the Indianapolis Public Library

Photo courtesy of Joe Pellman

The Indy region is the place for Indie Wrestling.

Independent wrestling promotions, better known as “Indies,” are a throwback to the regional roots of pro wrestling. Before there was modern-day WWE, people followed local wrestling territories across the country, each with their own loyal fanbase.

Central Indiana holds a rich history of professional wrestling that marries up-and-coming talent with passionate local performers. This territory was once booked by the likes of Dick the Bruiser, and now that tradition lives on through a number of local indie promotions, including:

  • White River Wrestling is known as much for their wrestling academy, as their live pro wrestling events. Led by accomplished pro wrestler and trainer Jake Omen, this Fishers-based pro wrestling school and promotion gives local performers a chance in the ring, while supporting the next generation of superstars.
  • Beginning as an offshoot of the non-traditional religious organization Pub Theology, the Wrestling Theology Fellowship (WTF) combines faith-based messaging with a true indie wrestling experience. WTF hosts promotions on a near-monthly basis at Mercy Road Church locations in Carmel, Anderson, and Fortville. Popular WTF events include their annual Blizzard Brawl in December, as well as regular WWE and AEW watch parties down at Union Jack’s Pub in Broad Ripple. 
  • John Barker started Wrestle Arts as a way to give back to his son’s school. But now, Wrestle Arts has become a full-scale community non-profit that uses pro wrestling to fundraise for underserved local charities. Wrestle Arts primarily hosts shows in the Irving Theater in the historic Irvington neighborhood, including age-appropriate events for schools, churches, and more.
  • WCWO Wrestling is the longest-running pro wrestling promotion in Central Indiana, headquartered right on the White River in downtown Indianapolis. They host shows in the city every Friday night and routinely hold events in other municipalities around the region, including Lebanon and Mooresville.
  • Jordan “J-Rose” Rose created Naptown All Pro Wrestling to make a difference here in Indianapolis, using wrestling as an outlet to help direct neighborhood kids away from violence and crime. He connected with local wrestlers like Maurice Atlas, Shawn Kemp, Chase Holliday, and Calvin Tankman to launch Naptown All Pro. And now, they host regular monthly events right in Indy’s eastside neighborhoods, creating a vibrant hub of community, art, and combat in the communities that need it most. You can learn more about their mission and the why behind their wrestling here
Wrestling Fans

Photo courtesy of @RustyMK2

Wrestling Fans at Royal Rumble

Photo courtesy of Joe Pellman

Indiana’s getting called up to the Main Roster!

Independent wrestling is an important part of the pro wrestling scene, giving local performers a chance to compete while growing the surrounding fanbase. But most wrestling fans are introduced to the sport through television—and the global wrestling leagues that dominate the screen. This includes giants like All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and World Wrestling Entertainment—better known, of course, as WWE. 

Over the years, Indiana has had the honor of hosting the major leagues of wrestling again and again. These wrestling showdowns are broadcast live from these world-class venues, where you can catch some of the best wrestling in the world:

  • Indiana Farmers Coliseum is the crown jewel of the Indiana State Fairgrounds—with a history of hosting ice hockey, basketball, concerts, and even livestock when the fair’s in town. This multi-purpose arena offers several sports entertainment options, including live telecasts for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and some non-televised live events for WWE.
  • In the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Gainbridge Fieldhouse is the home of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever. But it’s also a regular on the annual WWE circuit, welcoming thousands of fans for televised live events like WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE Friday Night Smackdown.

Check out Meet & Greets with pro wrestling legends and WWE Superstars.

While you’re waiting for the next big match, I recommend looking out for Meet & Greet opportunities with your favorite pro wrestlers. After all, it’s one thing to watch these performers in their element. It’s quite another to meet them in person! 

These Meet & Greets usually include a chance to get an autograph and even a photo of yourself with your favorite Superstars. If you’re interested, you can usually find at least a few pro wrestler at these local conventions each year:

  • Squared Circle Expo is one of the largest annual wrestling conventions in the Midwest. Since 2021, their programming has grown alongside the event itself, offering signings, panel discussions, vendor booths, and even their own pro wrestling showcase featuring both local and global talent. Over the years, their Superstar lineup has included Kurt Angle, MJF, Matt Cardona, Britt Baker DMD, Kevin Nash, Lita, Mick Foley, and many more.
  • For decades, the O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels has taken over the Indiana State Fairgrounds for one of the best custom car shows in the country. This event may focus on automobiles—with hundreds of incredible vehicles and performance auto parts to browse. But the World of Wheels also regularly hosts autograph signings with pro wrestling legends like Ric Flair and Bryan Danielson.
  • Indy PopCon is a local pop culture convention that celebrates every genre of fandom—from film to gaming. While their lineup usually focuses on actors and Internet personalities, past iterations of this annual gathering have also included pro wrestling Superstars and live matches. 
WWE Royal Rumble

Photo courtesy of Joe Pellman

Pro wrestling fans travel coast to coast.

Having a passion for sports inevitably means that you’ll want to be there for the big shows, and that means you’ll need to travel—a lot. Pro wrestling events are held in arenas and stadiums all over the world, and it’s not easy to catch them all. In the most extreme cases, you get Pat McAfee jumping straight from ESPN GameDay in Texas to a WWE pay-per-view match in Indy—or Logan Paul leaving Wrestlemania to support his brother’s UFC fight across the country.  

Of course, you don’t have to become a globetrotter to be a wrestling fan. But if you want to catch these events live, getting from Point A to Point B needs to be as hassle-free as possible. 

Luckily, Indiana is known as “The Crossroads of America” for a reason. Not only does Indy host its own world-class events, but it’s also centrally located in the heart of the Midwest, giving you easy access to numerous wrestling markets. Within just a four hour drive, you can travel to Chicago, Louisville, Detroit, St. Louis, Columbus, Nashville, or even Milwaukee!

And if you’d rather hop on a flight, the Indianapolis International Airport has been ranked the #1 Airport in North America by both Airports Council International and J.D. Power—with dozens of nonstop destinations around the world. 

Once a wrestling fan, always a wrestling fan.

I’ve been a wrestling fan since grade school. My brother and I would goad my parents into visiting our grandparents every Monday night, so we could switch back and forth between WCW and WWE on their satellite dish. To this day, I still think about those memories and cherish the bond it created between me, my brother, and our grandparents. 

This is a significant factor in why I remain a loyal fan today. For me, wrestling is more than just a hobby. It represents the joy of sports, the passion of performance, and the memories made over decades of shows.  

In the coming years, I’ll have the opportunity to share this passion of mine with my own son. And as a lifelong member of the WWE Universe, I can’t think of anything more special than that.