Long Road Back: Espinosa Returns to the Top

By Patrick Brandmeyer

For the second time in his career Brandon Espinosa lays claim to the MMWA Heavyweight Championship.
For the second time in his career Brandon Espinosa lays claim to the MMWA Heavyweight Championship.  Photo: Brian Kelley

It was a long and winding road between title reigns for Brandon Espinosa.

He had held the Junior Heavyweight, Television, and Battle Royal Championships in the MMWA, but the “big belt” is the goal of any wrestler in a promotion. Winning the King of St. Louis Cable Tournament in October of 2011 paved the way for him to challenge for the Heavyweight Title…and he definitely helped his cause by defeating then-champion Gary Jackson in the final.

Many people expected him to cash in his opportunity at the earliest possible show…but he bided his time until he was ready. He suffered a disqualification loss to Jackson in December, but was granted a rematch in January 2012 and finally won the belt.

During that time period, Espinosa was branching out in his wrestling career. He had become a consistent competitor on the roster of Ohio Valley Wrestling and also won championships in other Midwest promotions. With his focus divided, one had to wonder if the MMWA Heavyweight Title was foremost on his mind.

After successful defenses against Ace Hawkins and LaMarcus Clinton, he needed help from bodyguard Eric Brewer to hang on against Gary Jackson in April. Espinosa lost the title back to Gary in May and disappeared from the St. Louis wrestling scene for most of the calendar year.

While Espinosa traveled all over the Midwest and made his name on the national scene, he felt like there was unfinished business on the home front. When he made his surprise return to the South Broadway Athletic Club in December, he made his intentions clear: He wanted to regain his championship status.

He wasted no time in defeating Max Archer for the Junior Heavyweight Title, but another man had his eye on the Heavyweight Title: Espinosa’s former trainee Dave Osborne. Osborne had won the second annual King of St. Louis Cable Tournament and wanted the belt for himself.

Espinosa was sidetracked by another name for his past as A.J. Williams returned to the ring after a lengthy absence. The two renewed their rivalry with a thrilling twenty-minute time-limit draw in January, then Espy cost Williams his chance to win the TV Title in February against Jimmy D.

While this was going on, Osborne captured the Heavyweight belt from Jackson…meaning Espinosa had a new target.

Despite his issue with A.J., Espinosa’s primary goal never changed. When Osborne signed an open contract to defend his title at the June show, Espinosa was one of two men(along with Gary Jackson) to step up to the plate. Even after losing the Junior Heavyweight belt to A.J. earlier in the evening, Espy was ready to reclaim South Broadway’s top prize.

The chaotic nature of a triple threat match came into play as Osborne seemed to have the advantage over Jackson with a submission hold. However, Espinosa stunned him with a flying kick off the second rope and scored the pin, winning the Heavyweight Title once again!

You can see the anger in Dave Osborne’s eyes as he recovers from Espinosa’s blow to the back of his head. Can the student become focus enough to overcome the his teacher and new MMWA Champion Brandon Espinosa?  Photo: Brian Kelley
You can see the anger in Dave Osborne’s eyes as he recovers from Espinosa’s blow to the back of his head. Can the student focus enough to overcome his teacher and new MMWA Champion Brandon Espinosa? Photo: Brian Kelley

Espinosa won’t have much time to rest on his laurels as the challengers will be lining up. Former titleholders Osborne and Jackson both want their shots. Old rivals like Ace Hawkins may have their eyes on the top spot. Will A.J. Williams be satisfied with the Junior Heavyweight Title or will he want to dethrone Espy once again? We’ll find out in due time…but for now, Brandon Espinosa is the top guy in the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance!

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