As wrestling fan of over 35 years, it’s safe to say I feel like most fans do nowadays, completely buried in mediocre wrestling, to the point where the news is more entertaining than the actual wrestling.

Then I got to the DEFY Wrestling third anniversary show on Friday, January 31, 2020, at Washington Hall in Seattle. Wow!

Just a bit of background first, after spending more than a decade as a photographer for a few wrestling publications and travelling across North America to photograph shows, I’ve been somewhat starved for live wrestling action since moving to Vancouver Island a year ago. I starting jonesing for a gig, another wrestling photo shoot.

Like many fans that regularly read the wrestling news sites, I noticed DEFY Wrestling had been making some waves for quite some time now, including a few profiles of its wrestlers on SLAM! Wrestling.

I began asking myself, What’s the reason The Young Bucks chose to crash a DEFY show in early 2019? Why have national level talent like Lio Rush, Cody Rhodes and the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger made stops in Washington Hall?

Given the opportunity to hit the road on assignment, heading from Victoria to Seattle, I was able to check out DEFY in person.

Seattle’s Washington Hall.

From the moment I walked up to the second floor of Seattle’s Washington Hall, I was quickly impressed by DEFY’s choice of venue. The historical building, which has hosted the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington and Elvis Costello, was a fitting choice as the hall’s proscenium framed the evening’s theatre of sports perfectly.

Words aren’t enough; you just had to be there. Promoter Matt Farmer and his team (including Anthony D’Amico and Annie Tunnicliffe) could not have been more accommodating or nicer. He’s really got something special going on in the Pacific Northwest. The crowd, announced as 803, was super-hot and into the whole show from the first bell to the last bell. They cheered and cheered for opening bout wrestlers that I never heard of like they were WWE main eventers. It was possibly the loudest indy show that I have ever been to.

DEFY promoter Matt Farmer, left, with beard in camouflage hat, talks to his troops.

Enough from me; as a photographer, I will let my photos do the talking — click on them for larger versions as we are handcuffed by the limitations of our publishing system at SLAM! Wrestling, which champions words over art.

Instead of the usual in-ring action photography we’ve been besieged with, I have decided the show you a different side of DEFY — a side that shows all the hard-working people in front and behind the curtain. I hope that my essay and all the buzz DEFY Wrestling has been getting help you add attending a DEFY show to your Wrestling Bucket List — and the next show is February 21st in Seattle with Jeff Cobb and stars from The Crash Lucha Libre.

Anthony D’Amico works on the ring.


Brian Cook works on the ring.


An empty house.

Artemis Spencer and DEFY World Champion SCHAFF talk about their upcoming ladder match.


Marko Stunt sets up his merchandise.


El Lindeman checks out his phone and CIMA gives a thumbs up.


Killer Kross is the centre of attention in the locker room.


Referee Buddy Ruth and Josef Samuel get ready.


Eddie Pearl of 4 Minutes of Heat pre-show.


Fans wait the opening of the doors.


Taking tickets on the way into the venue.


Fans lined up outside Washington Hall.


Considering the merch of Marko Stunt and Luchasaurus.


A packed Washington Hall.


The vantage point of the production crew.


SCHAFF faces off with Fatu in a photo shoot.


WAR BEAST (Fatu & Josef Samael) are interviewed by Danika Della Rouge.


The American Guns (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago) warm up as Danika Della Rouge walks by.


The American Guns (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago) head to the ring.


DEFY action.

SEATTLE WA: January 31, 2020 Washington Hall
SCHAFF defeated Artemis Spencer to retain the DEFY World Championship in a ladder match… Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt) & Super Panda defeated Strong Hearts (CIMA & T-Hawk & El Lindaman)… Killer Kross defeated King Khash… Judas Icarus defeated Jet Knight, Guillermo Rosas, Titus Alexander, Jaiden Morales, Big Ugly, Brian Cook, Kevin Cook, King Marcus Anderson, and Coyote Azteca in a 10 Man DEFY to SURVIVE elimination match… BRODY KING defeated Cody Chhun… Sonico defeated Travis William…4 Minutes of Heat (Billy Pearl & Ricky Gibson) defeated WAR BEAST (Josef Samael & Jacob Fatu) and Amerikan Gunz (Mike Santiago & Ethan HD) to win the DEFY Tag Team Titles in a Triple Threat Match.