Now, as promised, a special comment about Saturday’s Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling at the Community Center in East Carondelet, Illinois.
DISCLAIMER: I’m biased. Deal with it.
The May event is considered one of the bigger annual events for SICW as it’s the anniversary of Wrestling at the Chase. Special guests included Abdullah The Butcher, Barbara Goodish (wife of the late Bruiser Brody), and Charlie Thesz (wife of the late Lou Thesz). The house was packed and myself and Ben Simon just barely found seats. The concession stand had some new items, including pizza rolls. REPEAT, WE HAVE PIZZA ROLLS.
Your ring announcer was Drew Abbenhaus; your referees were Jay King, Nick Ridenour, & Shaft.
Drew started off the night with promoter Herb Simmons bringing out Barbara Goodish and Larry Matysik (for television commentary). Travis Cook, as is his wont, interrupted to claim credit for the attendance since they were all there to see Chris Hargas win the title. After the verbage escalated, Barbara sent him packing with a slap to the face.
Drew segued into a ten-bell salute for recent wrestlers who have passed away: “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers (who was a bit before my time) and Rosey (of Three-Minute Warning and Super-Hero-In-Training fame in WWE).
Bodily Harm (“The Enforcer” Jimmy D & Bobby D) vs. The Professionals (Shawn Santel & Mauler McDarby): Cool to see Santel & McDarby at SICW; I feel like their style is a good fit for this company and audience. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many active tag team championships in the area right now; Dynamo Pro Wrestling Tag Champ Keon Option seems to be on hiatus and World League Wrestling’s tag belts are in limbo. The Ds held the Tag Title in Wrestling Invades America, but that reign didn’t last long and those tag belts are currently vacant as well. The former Dynamo Pro Tag Champs focused their attack on Jimmy D’s arm and isolated him for a short time, but Bobby D got into the fray and cleaned house. Bobby eventually got the pinfall on Santel in 6:20 after he and Jimmy hit the Hart Attack.
“Big Country” Clint Poe vs. The Big Texan: Last year’s Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal winner has been tangling with Poe in recent tag matches. This was their first one-on-one meeting and it got out of hand in a hurry…the referee attempted to restore order, but both men shoved him away and it ended in a double DQ after about a minute (will get the exact time if the match airs on the TV show). The two big men continued brawling and the fight spilled out of the ring, moving all the way to the backstage area.
Flash Flanagan vs. “Volatile” Curtis Wylde (w/ Wyldefyre) vs. Cowboy Marc Houston, Classic Title Tournament Semifinal: Houston defeated Bobby D and Ax Allwardt to reach the semifinals, then interfered in the Flanagan-Wylde quaterfinal to cause a no-contest. He had hoped to get a bye straight to the final, but promoter Herb Simmons set up the semifinal as a triple threat instead. Flanagan scored a quick win over Johnny Blade to reach the quarterfinals while Curtis edged out a win over recent rival Moondog Rover. While it seemed like the two rule-breakers would work together against Flash, Houston hadn’t forgotten about the Wylde Ride (reverse STO) he had taken in Millstadt and understandably didn’t trust the self-professed “Lion of the Lou”. When Wyldefyre attempted to get involved, Flash picked her up over his head and threw her onto Wylde and Houston at ringside! Wylde and Houston both targeted Flanagan’s arm in the matchup, but he managed to roll up Houston with a handful of tights in 8:48 to get to the final! Wylde was unhappy since he wasn’t the one defeated…I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of that.
Intermission~! Official Ben Simon Concession Count™: Mountain Dew, pizza rolls, Pepsi, and a hamburger (they had run out of cheeseburgers at the end of the night when concessions were half price). I managed to score some leftover pizza rolls and a bag of potato chips at the end of the night as well…yeahhhhh, diet starts tomorrow.
Herb interviewed Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance promoter Tony Casta and Nick Ridenour of the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame…they announced that “The Fabulous Flying Frenchman” Edouard Carpentier would be the next inductee. He was slightly before my time, but the Wrestling Explosion flashback segments have featured him on a few occasions.
Moondog Rover vs. “The Unstable” Dave Vaughn: This was a rematch from Millstadt where Rover won by disqualification due to Wylde’s blatant interference. Vaughn’s always had the talent in the ring, but his recent state of mind has often derailed any strategy. Such was the case here, as he got frustrated quickly and hit Moondog with his own bone for the DQ in 3:31. Wylde hit the ring to add more damage as they laid out Rover with their version of Total Elimination(spinning heel kick/legsweep combo). Wyldefyre made her presence known as she attempted to protect Moondog again…that allowed Moondog to recover and brawl with Wylde. In the meantime, Vaughn got in the face of Abdullah the Butcher at ringside…even in a wheelchair, Abdullah got in a few good shots on Mr. Unstable!
“Night Train/Gorgeous/Great One” Gary Jackson vs. Johnny Blade (w/ Big Daddy): Former champion Jackson had a definite edge in experience. However, he tweaked his knee while leapfrogging over Blade; Blade has been using the figure-four leglock in recent months and he focused his attack on the injury. Jackson did his best to fight back, but the damage was too much for him and Blade caught him in the figure-four. Jackson was saved by the bell as the 10:00 time limit expired before Jackson could potentially surrender. Words were exchanged over whether Jackson could have escaped the hold; a rematch was teased for June as Jackson said that his Texas Cloverleaf was the superior submission hold.
“Ironman” Ken Kasa, Heath Hatton, & “Your Canadian Hero” Sean Vincent vs. Superstar Steve Fender, Ax Allwardt, & Bubba Troll (w/ Travis Cook): The fan favorite trio was loaded up with two former Classic Wrestling Champions as well as the SICW “Ambassador”. Travis Cook’s side featured two veteran competitors and the super heavyweight Troll. The rulebreaking trio attacked before the opening bell and the six men brawled in and around the ring. Once things finally settled down, Vincent was cut off from his corner for several minutes by the opposing team…Hatton finally got the tag and went to war with his long-time rival Ax. As the action broke down between the other combatants, Heath was able to score the flash pin on Ax with a crucifix in 12:20.
Intermission numero dos~! Programming note: SICW events will start earlier at 7:00 PM beginning in June.
Herb interviewed Charlie Thesz after the second intermission, relating stories about her husband’s storied wrestling career.
Flash Flanagan vs. “The Icon” Chris Hargas (w/ Travis Cook), Classic Title Tournament Final, Best-of-3-Falls Match, Special Guest Referee “The King of Chaos” Ricky Cruz: Hargas defeated The Big Texan, Gary Jackson, and Ken Kasa to reach the final; he was the fresh competitor compared to Flash who had already competed and was favoring his arm. Cruz had plenty of history with both Flanagan and Travis Cook, but he had promised to be unbiased. Cook couldn’t resist getting involved and that led to Hargas winning the first fall; Flanagan attempted to suplex Hargas back into the ring, but Cook grabbed Flash’s foot and held it as Hargas fell on top for the pin in 8:12. Travis kept sticking his nose into the matchup until Ricky finally hauled off and belted him off the ring apron. Flanagan fought back to even the score in 11:05 after a Tree of Woe double-stomp off the top rope.
As Flash hoped to maintain his momentum, Cowboy Marc Houston made his presence known; Flash left the ring to confront Houston during the rest period between falls. That didn’t end well as Houston ran Flanagan shoulder-first into the ringpost…Big Daddy seemed to be encouraging Houston’s actions from the sidelines, so perhaps he’s found a new protege. Cook demanded that Flanagan be counted out to give Hargas the final fall, but Cruz allowed Flanagan a longer rest period for the sake of fairness. Unfortunately the damage had already been done; Flash did his best to stay in the fight, but Hargas locked on the Crippler Crossface…Flash never surrendered, but he passed out in the hold and the referee called for the bell in 17:23 after three arm drops! “The Icon” Chris Hargas had become the new SICW Classic Wrestling Champion, much to the delight of his manager who finally had “his” championship back!
Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal: The match featured everyone on the card who hadn’t been involved in the tournament; Gary Jackson was an exception as he wanted to compete, but he was kept out of the match due to his earlier leg injury. The field consisted of fifteen competitors at that point; previous winners of the Brody battle royal were Ron Powers and The Big Texan. (Heath Hatton had won a battle royal in May 2014, but I don’t think it was officially designated as the Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal at that time.) Several wrestlers ganged up on Troll to eliminate him first, taking out the biggest man in the match. The rest of the eliminations: Mauler McDarby, Ax Allwardt, Shawn Santel, “The Unstable” Dave Vaughn, Bobby D, “The Enforcer” Jimmy D, “Big Country” Clint Poe, Moondog Rover, and Johnny Blade. “Ironman” Ken Kasa and Superstar Steve Fender eliminated each other, leaving the final three as Heath Hatton, “Your Canadian Hero” Sean Vincent, and The Big Texan; Hatton and Texan grappled to the ring apron, but Vincent was able to dropkick them both to the floor to win in 8:34! Sean Vincent scored the surprise win and was awarded the Brody Memorial trophy by Barbara Goodish to close out the night!
It was another fine evening of wrestling at the East Carondelet Community Center; they’ll return to the venue on June 17th with the earlier start time of 7:00 P.M. It was just announced that Chris Hargas’s first title defense would be against Sean Vincent, riding the momentum of his battle royal victory.
The weekend wasn’t quite over yet, but that’s another story for another time…tune in next time. Same Pat-Time, Same Pat-Channel.
That’s my special comment for this, the twenty-second wrestling event I’ve attended in the year 2017. Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.
-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991
P.S. We are all marks.