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Patrick’s Special Comment: Abdullah comes to SICW

Abdullah the Butcher & Larry Matysik
Abdullah the Butcher (left) plays around with a fan as Larry Matysik reacts at SICW in East Carondelet, Ill. on May 20, 2017.  Photo: Herb Simmons

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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.

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There’s Nothing like an Outdoor Wrestling Event, for Free!

4 Hands event 2016
Hundreds of fans enjoy delicious craft beer and pro wrestling at 4 Hands in St. Louis, Oct. 22.  Photo: Jim Yount

Now, as promised, a special comment about Saturday’s Dynamo Pro Wrestling show at 4 Hands Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m biased.  Deal with it.

Job update:  I’m learning how to organize my work schedule, so hopefully I’ll be able to get to more local rasslin’ shows in the near future.  I hated to miss last weekend’s Dynamo show, especially Angelina Love vs. Angelus Layne…hopefully I will get to see the video of the event in the near future.  The job is an adventure and rarely boring, but health insurance would be nice.

While I had to work on Saturday evening, Dynamo’s second annual offering from 4 Hands Brewery was an afternoon affair; thus, I was able to attend and go straight to my job from there.  The wrestling festivities were on the opposite side of the building and it wasn’t quite as hot as last September.  The event was divided into two halves and a few people wrestled twice; some wrestlers had evening bookings and had to leave ASAP, so they matched up earlier in the day.  (Ricky Cruz wrestled for New Breed Wrestling in Eldon, MO that night).

The band stage played continuous music throughout the matches; I think this was done at last year’s 4 Hands show as well.  It was a unique environment, but I don’t know if it was the best idea.  The event did draw a good amount of fans (more than last year), so that was a plus.

Your ring announcers were Chris Roedel & Luke Roberts; your referees were Scott Ramsey, Jay King, & Richard White.

Brandon Aarons vs. “The Incredible Primal Prodigy” Matt Kenway (Look At Him): hopefully I’ll get to see these guys face each other in a longer bout in the future.  Kenway had a fine effort in this opener, but Aarons won with the close-range superkick in 3:52.

Mike Outlaw vs. “The King Of Chaos” Ricky Cruz for the Heavyweight Title:  As previously noted, Ricky was wrestling in Eldon that evening so this match was positioned in the first half of the show.  With no matches announced ahead of time, it was a surprise for a major match like this to get very little build; Outlaw won his first Dynamo Championship from Cruz about two years ago.  It was a battle of fan favorites, but Ricky went into rulebreaker mode and the crowd was unified on Outlaw’s side.  It was a condensed version of their previous bouts, ending with Outlaw scoring a rollup pin out of nowhere in 8:57.  After the match, Ricky acknowledged that he plans to retire at the end of the year, but he had a hand in training Outlaw and is proud of what Outlaw has accomplished.

Straps Down University (“The Valedictorian” Keon Option & Justin D’Air) vs. Alpha Class (“The Millenial” Danny Adams & Paco Gonzalez) for the Tag Team Title:  After a long chase for the belts, Option & D’Air defeated The Professionals (Shawn Santel & Mauler McDarby) last week to earn another championship opportunity and then defeated High Level Enterprise (Jack Gamble & Jon Webb) for the title.  Hope to see a longer match between these two teams down the line; the SDU pairing won their first title defense after an Option wheelbarrow drop/D’Air Codebreaker combo allowed Option to pin Adams in 5:28.

Brandon Espinosa vs. Makaze for the MWR Missouri Title:  Three title matches were advertised for the day, though it would turn out to be four (more on that later).  Despite their respective longevities in this wrestling scene, I’m pretty sure this was the first-ever meeting between these two.  Hopefully they’ll cross paths again in the future.  Makaze rallied and Espy bailed out of the ring to catch a breather…and bring his championship belt into play.  As the referee tried to separate the two on the ropes, Espinosa clocked the masked man with the title and the official didn’t see it.  Espy capitalized with the double-underhook brainbuster for the win in 5:38.

The announcers segued into intermission mode, but Jake Dirden made his way to the ring and Luke Roberts headed for the hills.  Dirden was cranky and threw out an open challenge, getting an answer from his former tag team partner…

Jackal vs. “Dirdey” Jake Dirden:  Dirden & Jackal defeated Ricky Cruz & Brandon Espinosa for the Tag Team Title about two years ago, but Dirden turned on Jackal in their title loss to The Black Hand Warriors (Michael Magnuson, Dave DeLorean, & Jayden Fenix).  That led to a pair of matches between the two; Dirden won the first, but Jackal scored an unlikely victory in the “I Quit” Match that followed.  Dirden had a huge edge in size and power, but Jackal held the advantage in speed, agility, and experience.  Dirden brought a chair into play and the ensuing chaos led to the referee being knocked down; Jackal took advantage of the situation to use the chair for an enhanced version of your typical spear.  He took down Dirden with a Diamond Cutter, then added insult to injury with a Five-Knuckle Shuffle-style fistdrop for the shocking pinfall in 7:00!  That result really caught me off guard.

Intermission (for real this time)~!  Official Ben Simon Concession Count™:  One Strange Donut (not sure EXACTLY what kind; it had chocolate creme filling and a pretzel on top), one can of Sprite.

Jackal vs. C.J. Shine:  Despite a pretty lengthy intermission (almost an hour), Shine had the advantage of being fresh by comparison to his opponent.  Jackal had a tough fight with Dirden prior to the intermission, so that may have been a factor in the result of this match.  Jackal’s prior win meant that this was a bigger upset than it had been previously, as Shine defeated his more experienced opponent with a springboard dropkick in 6:40!

Rocket Mapache vs. La Apuesta:  For the uninitiated, “La Apuesta” is Jack Gamble under a mask; he and Jon Webb (“Juan La Telarana”) had used the alter-egos to play mind games with The Professionals in a previous tag match.  It’s a badly-kept secret as Gamble & Webb wear their usual ring attire and have some conspicuous tattoos.  The High Level Enterprise duo have been trending in a rulebreaking direction in recent months and snapped on the referee after their Tag Team Title loss the previous week.  Randomly, this was the longest match of the afternoon; Apuesta brought a chair into the ring, but only to have a seat as he held Rocket in a chinlock.  This tactic backfired as Rocket retaliated with a drop toehold to send Apuesta face-first into the chair.  Apuesta recovered to score the win after a frog splash in 11:40(!), but Rocket got the better of a post-match fight and unmasked “Apuesta” to reveal Gamble’s face to the crowd.

Makaze vs. Tag Team Champion “The Valedictorian” Keon Option:  Both men had wrestled in the first half of the show, but one could argue that Makaze had the rougher outing (taking a title belt to the head from Espinosa as opposed to Option’s tag match).  This was another case where I’d like to see a longer match between the two; Option scored the victory after an axe kick in 5:21 and Makaze raised Option’s arm after the bout.

Brandon Espinosa vs. Brandon Aarons for the MWR Missouri Title:  Babewatch explodes!  The two had teamed up as recently as the previous evening in High Risk Wrestling, but that had been their first match as a team in several years.  I honestly don’t know who will be the one to relieve Espy of the MWR Championship, but he wrestles all over the Midwest so it could go in any number of directions.  As with the previous match, both men had prior bouts in the afternoon (though Aarons had more time to rest).  Aarons gave Espy a run for his money here, scoring a near-fall after the close-range superkick that won him the opener.  The two traded WWE finishers and counters (something which has become a hallmark of recent Espinosa matches)…Aarons went for an advanced curbstomp and Espinosa countered into an RKO (similar to the Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins match from a few WrestleManias ago).  Espy capitalized on his advantage to deliver the double-underhook brainbuster for the win in 7:41 with the best Shiply services, retaining his title for the second time that afternoon!

After saying my goodbyes, I headed off to my pizza delivery job for the evening…it was a rare Saturday night with no wrestling shows in the immediate area.  The tips have been good and I’ve been able to pay my bills, at any rate.

I was able to get off work for this coming weekend; Pro Wrestling Championship Series returns to Granite City, IL on Saturday and Wrestling Over Everything has a tournament to crown its first champion at its Sunday show in Swansea.

A busy November looks like this:
-Friday 11/4:  Pro Wrestling Epic in Brownstown, IL; World Powerhouse Wrestling in Jerseyville, IL
-Saturday 11/5:  World League Wrestling in Troy, MO; Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling in Swansea, IL
-Saturday 11/12:  Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance in St. Louis, MO
-Friday 11/18:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL
-Saturday 11/19:  Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling in East Carondelet, IL
-Sunday 11/20:  Pro Wrestling Resurgence in Swansea, IL
-Saturday 11/26:  Dynamo Pro Wrestling in St. Louis, MO (Ready Room)

That’s my special comment for this, the forty-fourth wrestling show I’ve attended in the year 2016.  Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991

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Pat’s Special Comment: Dynamo Pro’s NatsuCon Event a Success

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Outtkast prepares to slam Jesus Bryce at the Gateway Center, July 22. Photo: Brent Feeney

Now, as promised, a special comment about Friday’s Dynamo Pro Wrestling event at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Illinois as part of NatsuCon.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m biased.  Deal with it.

Ring of Honor events in the venue had given me a brush with the anime conventions that took place at the same time…Dynamo took advantage of the crossover appeal by holding their own event as a direct part of NatsuCon.  I’ve watched enough anime and read enough manga to recognize some but not all of the cosplays…never knew an Ewok could look that attractive.  Ahem.  The event drew a good amount of casual onlookers, so hopefully that’ll bump up attendance at Dynamo’s other events.

I briefly joined the Wrestle Talk podcast for a live segment prior to the event, doing my best to push the St. Louis independent wrestling scene as well as my own comedy exploits (such as they are).  The guys traditionally broadcast out of the Kansas City area and frequent Metro Pro Wrestling…if I can bum a ride from someone, it’d be cool to check out next Saturday’s event.  (Hint hint.)

Your ring announcer was Luke Roberts; your referees were Scott Ramsey and Jay King.

The Bite Club (Rocket Mapache & Jackal) vs. The Midnight Society (Jayson Khaos & Billy McNeil) (w/ C.J. McManus):  Billy was dressed in all black and stalled and complained to the referee a lot.  This match felt like a throwback to Gateway Championship Wrestling as the participants (including manager C.J.) were all a part of that promotion back in the day.  With the Midnight Society finally on the same page (and using the old Midnight Express theme music), it seemed like they were due for a win here.  It should be noted that the referee for this opener was the same one who felt the wrath of the Midnight Society in Glen Carbon last week (Scott Ramsey).  Chaos broke loose at the end and C.J. distracted the ref, allowing Khaos to mule-kick Rocket in the little acorns.  Khaos followed up with a Death Valley Driver onto the knee and Billy added a sliding lariat, allowing Khaos to pin Rocket for the win in 12:32.

Davey Richards & Angelina Love had been scheduled for the card (with Miss Monica set to face Angelina), but travel problems forced them to cancel.  As I’ve noted in the past, it’s unfortunate that fans see Davey as someone who “no-shows” a lot…it seems like it’s out of his control for the most part.  Since Angelina lives in this neck of the woods nowadays, it would be cool to see her in the ring with some of the female wrestlers of the Midwest like Lucy Mendez and Stacey O’Brien.

Makaze vs. Karim Brigante (w/ Miss Monica Passeri): The GCW alumni trend continued with Makaze’s presence here.  Brigante had the advantage in size and power, but Makaze’s experience was the deciding factor as he won with the Blizzard Suplex (Northern Lights/fisherman suplex) in 6:05.

“The Cowboy” Ric Maverick vs. “The Alternative” Ozzie Gallagher:  Maverick was the representative of NatsuCon who set up the wrestling portion of the event.  Gallagher had been on a winning streak in recent months and Maverick picked up his first victory last week in Glen Carbon against The Incredible “Primal Prodigy” Matt Kenway (Look At Him).  Maverick won a solid bout with the cobra clutch in 5:48.

Mason Conrad vs. Brandon Espinosa:  Since the event was in Illinois, Espinosa’s MWR Missouri Title was not on the line.  I had only seen Conrad on a handful of occasions; I believe he’s from the Chicago area and he probably traveled with the other out-of-town guests.  It seems like Espy’s little controversy from a few weeks ago has already blown over…such is the ADD-afflicted age of social media.  At any rate, this was a fine competitive matchup…Espy scored the win after the brainbuster in 8:30.

“The King of Chaos” Ricky Cruz vs. “The Voodoo King” Mojo McQueen:  McQueen is another Chicago guy who came out in a mask with various voodoo-related items, including a smoke-spewing box which may have caused headaches if it had set off any fire alarms.  I can honestly say this was the first time I had ever seen a voodoo doll involved in a match.  Despite the occult shenanigans, Cruz made the comeback only to be cut off by the big man.  McQueen had to walk all the way to the backstage area to get a metal chair (which happened to be the one personalized by Outtkast)…he shoved the referee when he tried to interfere and then bashed Ricky with the weapon.  That drew a disqualification in 7:30, but such is life…McQueen attempted to do more damage, but Ricky delivered a spinning heel kick to knock the chair back into his own face.  The voodoo man retreated, but I suspect this issue is far from over.

Intermission~!  Given my previous experience with the Gateway Center’s refreshment costs, I stuck with the public water fountains…so no Official Ben Simon Concession Count™ on this evening.  Aww.

Outtkast vs. “The Lightbringer” Jesus Bryce for the D-1 Title:  I had heard of Bryce Benjamin, but this was my first time seeing him with this name (I think he had been scheduled for one of Frank Thurman’s cards in the past).  I really like him; hope to see more of him in the near future.  Outtkast retained his title with the Case Study in 8:44; he hasn’t had a real feud over the D-1 Championship since he won it.

High Level Enterprise (Jack Gamble & Jon Webb) vs. “The Valedictorian” Keon Option & Big Jay Knight (w/ Justin D’Air) for the Tag Team Title:  Option & D’Air had earned this opportunity, but D’Air was on crutches due to a recent knee injury.  Gamble & Webb copped an attitude and even tried to swat away the crutches.  D’Air and Option brought out Knight (another Chicago guy) as the replacement…he’s a big dude and HLE had trouble dealing with the size difference.  The referee was knocked down in the closing moments of the match, allowing Gamble to swipe one of D’Air’s crutches and whack Knight with it.  Webb followed up with a moonsault off the second rope to pin Knight in 10:18…SHENANIGANS~!

Delirious vs. Mike Outlaw:  This was a proving ground for the up-and-coming Outlaw against the veteran Delirious, who got his start in the St. Louis area in 2001.  I remember that Hillsboro county fair, the monster truck, and also the debut of some gal named MsChif…good times.  (I tweeted to Delirious about that debut event and he tweeted back a picture of the event program…bwahahaha.)  Outlaw is working his way back up the ladder to a rematch with Heavyweight Champion “Dirdey” Jake Dirden (who was wrestling in Iowa this past weekend).  Delirious made his usual manic entrance…he was happy to see me in my new Delirious T-shirt that I picked up recently at Ring of Honor.  As is tradition, the Wayne’s World cap went flying…it nearly ended up in the ceiling!

Anywho…wrestling match, yay~!  They started with a feeling-out process before turning up the tempo and aggression…lots of Fighting Spirit™ in this one.  Each man survived the other’s best shots, but in the end Outlaw delivered his middle-rope springboard European uppercut and then followed up with the High Noon (top-rope elbowdrop)…that was enough for Outlaw to score a huge win in 15:27!  Afterwards, Delirious shook Outlaw’s hand and raised his arm in victory…nicely done.

I hung around the venue for a little while afterwards, particularly catching up with longtime GCW fan Richard Dix…sometimes life takes people in different directions after they’ve been a consistent presence for a while.  Delirious did some podcast interviews with his head wrapped in a towel or something…I think he said his mask got wet.  The man is dedicated, I will say that much…and he’s also as eloquent a speaker as ever.

It sounded like Pro Wrestling Resurgence had a successful debut at The Ready Room last Saturday night.  My decision for that evening was a tough one, but I hadn’t seen comedian Gabriel Rutledge in a few years (not since the Comedy Etc. days); the last time he was in town, I was in the hospital with bronchitis.  I didn’t want to miss seeing him this time around, but I would have to skip wrestling with events on both Friday and Saturday.  Resurgence has a few more events lined up for August with some big names scheduled to appear…Kevin Lee Davidson vs. Moose and Michael Elgin vs. Brandon Espinosa are just two of the big matches set to take place in PWR.

While there’s nothing local next weekend, August will be VERY busy…here’s what’s on tap for Greater STL:

-Sunday 8/7:  Wrestling Invades  America in Swansea, IL
-Saturday 8/13:  Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance in St. Louis, MO
-Saturday 8/20:  Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Wood River, IL; Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling in East Carondelet, IL; Pro Wrestling Resurgence in Sauget, IL (Pop’s)
-Friday 8/26:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL
-Saturday 8/27:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL; World League Wrestling in St. Peters, MO
-Sunday 8/28:  Pro Wrestling Resurgence in Swansea, IL

That’s my special comment for this, the thirty-first wrestling event I’ve attended in the year 2016.  Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991

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Pat’s Special Comment: Wood River Becoming Second Dynamo Pro Home

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Kevin Lee Davidson (left) stares at his opponent in Wood River, Mike Outlaw, Jan. 23. Photo: Tracey Kwiatkowski

Now, as promised, a special comment about Saturday’s Dynamo Pro Wrestling event at the Douglas Club (fka Knights Of Columbus Hall) in Wood River, IL.
DISCLAIMER:  I’m biased.  Deal with it.

I had a surreal experience last Monday as I was a guest on the Brothers On Whatever radio show on WGNU 920 AM.  If that radio station sounds familiar, it’s because I worked for WGNU from late 2000 to late 2009; returning to that building after six-plus years was a weird experience, to say nothing of being on the other side of the glass.  We mostly talked comedy, but independent wrestling came up as well; you can listen to the audio from the show on the Brothers On Whatever website.  I chatted a bit with employees at the station; a few people still work there from my time there.  Shoutouts to Peyton and Joe:  Sorry about being such a headache back in those days.

The Wood River events have become a showcase for the younger talent in the promotion; as such, the bigger names are usually downplayed.  Neither Heavyweight Champion Ricky Cruz nor Jake Dirden were on the card as both were booked elsewhere; other notable names like Shorty Biggs, Outtkast, and Elvis Aliaga weren’t there either.

A few days before the event, Dynamo Pro announced that Davey Richards would be on the card (facing Mike Outlaw in lieu of the previously-announced Outlaw vs. Kevin Lee Davidson bout).  However, Luke Roberts announced at the top that Richards was called to work an emergency shift at his job as a licensed paramedic.  It’s unfortunate that Davey has gained the unwarranted reputation of canceling on a lot of his local bookings…it’s not always something that he’s able to control, though I can see promotions being wary about booking him as a result.

I didn’t see any fans leave after the announcement of Richards’s absence… and it was the best turnout for Dynamo Pro in Wood River thus far.  It’s great that they’ve built another good audience at a new venue…I honestly thought Dynamo was in real trouble when they only ran in Glen Carbon and attendance at the Sports Academy was on the decline.  They’ve turned things around in the past few years and built fanbases in Fenton and now Wood River.  Will be interesting to see how the second time at The Ready Room goes… Dynamo has a busy February ahead at that venue as well as events in Fenton and Wood River.

Before the official start, Luke Roberts and The Professionals (Shawn Santel & Mauler McDarby) acknowledged a longtime Wood River wrestling fan who passed away in November.  He had supported independent wrestling in the area since the days of Metro East Championship Wrestling and the night was dedicated to his memory.

Your ring announcer was Chris Roedel, your assistant ring announcer was Luke Roberts, and your referees were Eric Allen and Jay King.

“Young & Dangerous” Evan Morris vs. The Snitch (w/ Sophie Darling):  Morris is racking up nicknames these days as I believe he’s also added “Strong Style” to his collection…he needs to talk to Gary Jackson about consolidating those.  Morris got a great reaction in the venue where he got his start as “Evan Money” in MECW.  Sophie provided the public service announcement that The Snitch would prefer not to be photographed and that people not acknowledge his presence at the event… err, oops.  This was a fine opener, though I don’t think it was a competitive matchup; Morris didn’t have much ceiling clearance to go aerial, so he finished with a TKO onto the knee in 7:15.

Cowboy Ric Maverick vs. Brandon Espinosa:  Espy griped about the lack of competition since he is the rightful number-one contender to the Heavyweight Title.  Of course, that whole deal was thrown into turmoil with the impromptu tag match at the previous Fenton event, resulting in a four-way title match being set for February.  Quite a few of the newcomers aren’t well known or established with the fans, so they don’t get much of a reaction at first.  The audience didn’t really buy into Maverick as a legitimate challenge to Espy, but they had a pretty competitive matchup… Espy targeted the arm until he finally put Maverick away with the cross-armbreaker in 9:55.  Post-match, Espinosa went for a cheapshot but was decked by Maverick in response… all righty then.

Alpha Class (“The Millenial” Danny Adams & Paco Gonzalez) vs. The Professionals (Shawn Santel & Mauler McDarby):  Danny and Paco had a rough outing at last week’s Ring of Honor offering against The Pretty Boy Killers (Keith Lee & Shane Taylor).  Santel & McDarby are well-known in the Wood River venue from the MECW days… on top of that, Eric Allen was the referee for this match.  Allen had posted a teaser on Facebook with pics of his referee shirt and his wrestling attire, wondering what to wear… heh.  If he’s physically capable of an in-ring return, more power to him.  I thought this match was really good… as I’ve said in the past, I wonder if Santel and McDarby might do better in a more old-school environment.  Adams and Paco have been a solid team from what I’ve seen so far.  The finish saw Adams small-package Santel with McDarby trying to turn the pinning combination over, but Paco superkicked McDarby to stop him and Adams got the fall in 8:29.

Afterwards, Santel & McDarby confronted their old rival Allen and slapped the glasses off his face; McDarby said on the mic they had history (MECW) and they didn’t want to deal with a “crippled” ex-wrestler like him.  We’ll see if it turns into anything in the long run.  Allen did officiate his later matches without incident.

“The Valedictorian” Keon Option vs. Jayson Khaos (w/ C.J. McManus):  This was Option’s return from a recent injury; he no longer has the dreadlocks, making him look distinctly different.  He gave out graduation caps to a few ringside youngsters; I always appreciate little fan-participation acts like that (My first favorite wrestler was Bret Hart, so the giveaway of the sunglasses was a cool thing at the time).  Option also earned some points with me personally for the fact that he owns an Ash Ketchum-style baseball cap… heh.  Both guys are working off ring rust as Khaos hasn’t wrestled regularly in quite a while; he’s only a few matches into his comeback after a decade-or-so layoff.  I thought the match went well but it had a screwy finish; C.J. distracted the referee after Option hit a Side Effect, then snapped Option’s throat off the top rope as the official turned his attention to Khaos.  Khaos capitalized with a rear naked choke, causing the ref to call for the bell in 10:22 when Option passed out in the hold.

Brandon Aarons & Garrett Shanks vs. The Viking War Party (“American Viking” Alexandre Rudolph & “Littlest Viking” Jake Parnell):  Rudolph and Parnell had wrestled for Dynamo in the past; in fact, both had started their wrestling careers with the promotion before branching out.  The Vikings have been traveling a lot in recent times; they’ve become regulars for IWA Mid-South and worked for Jersey All-Pro Wrestling a few times.  They were also mentioned in the speculation regarding CHIKARA’s King Of Trios(along with “The Gordiest Viking” Frank Wyatt) and are on the radar of Georgia’s Why We Wrestle promotion (which runs in the venue that NWA Wildside/Anarchy once used).

The Vikings threw chairs into the ring before the match.  The tag team experience was in their favor as this was a first-time teamup for Aarons and the rookie Shanks; notably, Shanks had his own cheering section for the matchup.  It was a baptism by fire for Shanks to say the least… he took a beating from both Vikings.  Aarons and Shanks gained some momentum, but Rudolph hit Shanks with his metal spike behind the referee’s back and got the pin in 11:08.

Intermission~!  Your official Ben Simon Concession Count™ for the night:  One can of root beer and peanut butter cups.  I bought frozen vegetables, tomato and broccoli soup, and baby carrots(!) at the grocery store this weekend, so I’m TRYING to eat healthier.  (As usual, your mileage may vary…I accept that I’m gaining weight, but I don’t have enough fat-guy jokes to make that work in a comedic sense.)

Justin D’Air vs. Jayden Fenix:  This promised to be a fun sprint and it was.  When Billy McNeil refers to someone (D’Air) as having a crazy wrestling style, that’s saying something.  Fenix has really upped his game in the personality department.  They did an exchange of spine punts that reminded me of Wrestle Kingdom 10, specifically Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii… someone’s been studying their match videos.  The low ceiling prevented D’Air from doing too many aerial moves.  Fenix raised the knees to block a frog splash, then got the pin with a handful of tights in 5:53.

C.J. Shine vs. Billy McNeil (w/ C.J. McManus & Jayson Khaos):  McNeil has been using the old Midnight Express theme since Fenton recently, seeing as how McManus’s stable is called the Midnight Society; wonder when Shawn Reel will officially return to action?  Shine was the clear fan favorite.  Billy didn’t want the outside interference from his corner that he got.  Shine is making an effort to show more personality, which is good to see; as noted, it takes time to establish a connection to the fans.  Billy is well-liked among area fans; we’ll see if it turns into a full-fledged membership or if he’ll eventually split from McManus to feud with the Society.  Shine rallied but McManus distracted the ref (two C.J.s = MARKET CONFUSION~!), much to Billy’s chagrin.  While both Billy and the ref were occupied, Khaos entered the ring to plant Shine with the Unprettier… McNeil didn’t see the interference, but still went to the top rope to finish with the old-school Pac-Man Attack (half-turn frog splash) in 10:08.  Fan reaction to his win was mixed to say the least.

Mike Outlaw vs. Kevin Lee Davidson: As noted, this match was announced ahead of time (I even made a point to mention it on the radio show); it was changed to Outlaw vs. Davey Richards, but went back to the originally-scheduled matchup with Davey’s cancelation.  Elgin trainee K.L.D. has gained a lot of exposure with his appearances for Ring of Honor; he’s scheduled to wrestle in Europe in the near future, which is a pretty cool opportunity for him.  I was really looking forward to this one, even after Davey’s appearance was announced as I was hoping to see the matchup eventually.  It lived up to my expectations as they had a worthy main-event matchup.  K.L.D. got a good near-fall at one point after delivering the Hellevator (vertical suplex dropped into a uranagi, a la Matt Morgan, Azrael’s Ted Bundy, or Hirooki Goto’s Shouten Kai).  I think that would be a really good finisher for him as he has the size to pull it off.  Outlaw scored a hard-fought win in 12:16 after the Mafia Kick followed by the High Noon (top-rope elbowdrop)… that meant both Outlaw and Espinosa gained momentum heading into the big four-way title match in two weeks.

There’s nothing in the immediate area next weekend… I may see if I can get a ride to Metro Pro Wrestling in Kansas City (or maybe I’ll just drive myself).  It depends on whether I get any comedy bookings for the weekend as those are taking more precedence in recent months.

A very busy February looks like this:
-Saturday 2/6:  Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Fenton, MO
-Saturday 2/13:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL; Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance in St. Louis, MO
-Sunday 2/14:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL
-Saturday 2/20:  Pro Wrestling Championship Series in Granite City, IL; Dynamo Pro Wrestling in St. Louis, MO (Ready Room); Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling in East Carondelet, IL
-Sunday 2/21:  Wrestling Invades America in Swansea, IL
-Saturday 2/27:  Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Wood River, IL; World League Wrestling in Troy, MO; World Powerhouse Wrestling in Collinsville, IL

That’s my special comment for this, the third wrestling event I’ve attended in the year 2016.  Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991

P.S. We are all marks.

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Kevin Lee Davidson Impressively Powers Through Three-Way to Win MMWA Title

Kevin Lee Davidson hoists his newly-won MMWA Heavyweight Championship and Survivor Championship belts over the defeated A.J. Williams and Da'Marius Jones, Sept. 12.  Photo: Timothy Miller
Kevin Lee Davidson hoists his newly-won MMWA Heavyweight Championship and Survivor Championship belts over the defeated A.J. Williams and Da’Marius Jones, Sept. 12. Photo: Timothy Miller

Now, as promised, a special comment about Saturday’s Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance event at the South Broadway Athletic Club in Saint Louis, Missouri.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m biased.  Deal with it.

The King of St. Louis (Cable) Cup Tournament has become an annual tradition in MMWA.  The winner gets “Money in the Bank” privileges for a Heavyweight Title shot at a time of his choice…and the previous four winners (Brandon Espinosa, Dave Osborne, Brian James, & Da’Marius Jones) won said championship within a few months of their tournament victories.  Last year’s tourney changed the format from a straight eight-man tournament to four first-round matches leading into a multi-way final.

The weather has cooled down considerably, meaning it wasn’t nearly as stuffy in the beautiful and/or historic SBAC as it had been in previous months.  I did see a few people leave early, but the matches were running long.

Your ring announcer was Ben Simon; your referees were Brian Stoltz, Nick Ridenour, & Jay King.

Junior Heavyweight Champion J-Mal Swagg vs. “Night Train/Gorgeous/Great One” Gary Jackson, Non-Title, Tournament Round 1:  This was a rematch from last year’s tournament, but Swagg’s stock has risen since his championship victory a few months ago.  Moreover, Gary went into the match with some sort of knee injury; his knee was bandaged under his kneepad and he was visibly limping after this matchup.  Swagg gave him a good fight, but Gary was able to get him in the Texas Cloverleaf for the tapout in 6:58.  My picks to advance to the finals were Gary, Swagg, Brian James, and LaMarcus Clinton, but those guys were all matched up with each other in the first round…

Andrew “The Wolf” Wilder vs. Clownman Jacko vs. Brandon Aarons, Tournament Round 1:  Aarons was a last-minute addition to the show in general and the tournament in particular; it was the first time in several years that I had seen him booed.  Since triple threat matches generally have no countouts, Aarons tried to stall outside the ring in the early going.  Unfortunately, Wilder’s recent issues with “Wild Child” Billy Diamond surfaced as Diamond made his way to ringside for a distraction.  Wilder had hit the Call of the Wild (inverted swinging neckbreaker) on Jacko, but abandoned his pin attempt to go after Diamond.  Aarons was able to capitalize and hit the Go 2 Sleep on Wilder for the win in 6:11.

Barackus vs. “The Enforcer” Jimmy D, Tournament Round 1:  I wasn’t sure which way this one would go…the big man has been a bit more vulnerable in recent months and I could have seen Jimmy D cheating to win.  Barackus won a relatively short match (3:51) with a clawhold into a slam.

“Da Bomb” Brian James vs. LaMarcus Clinton, Tournament Round 1:  I leaned toward LMC on this one.  Wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch in the future, but the match ended right when it was starting to pick up steam.  Attila Khan made a random appearance and snapped James’ throat off the top rope, leading to LMC getting an ultra-cheap rollup pin with feet on the ropes in a mere 4:10.

Intermission~!  Concession count:  Two Mountain Dews.  At different points in the night, I chatted with Drew Abbenhaus, Ben Simon’s friend Matt, and visiting Dynamo Pro wrestlers Mike Outlaw & Justin D’Air.  Outlaw & D’Air are facing A.J. Williams & LMC at High Risk Wrestling in a few weeks, so they got to do some scouting.

The Eternals (Brandon Espinosa & “The” Ace Hawkins) vs. Tommy Dallas & Varik Morgan for the Tag Team Title:  Newcomer Morgan was Dallas’ mystery partner; Dallas upset Espinosa in a singles match in August to set up this bout.  From what I understand, this was Morgan’s second match ever; he made his pro debut in Memphis (as did Austin Blackburn before him).  Given the limited experience of the challenging team, I thought they did well.  The underdogs rallied near the end of the match and Varik set up for a suicide dive onto Hawkins, but Espy blatantly bashed him with a chair for the cheap DQ in 13:21.  BOO~!

Cue the Eternals’ beatdown, but Commissioner Jim Harris was unimpressed by the title retention…he announced a rematch for October, but the belts can change hands on a disqualification.

“Night Train/Gorgeous/Great One” Gary Jackson vs. Barackus vs. Brandon Aarons vs. LaMarcus Clinton, Four-Way Dance Tournament Final:  It was announced that eliminations could occur via pinfall, submission, or disqualification…but nothing was said about countouts, so the match started with all four men brawling outside the ring.  Aarons took a painful-looking Barackus bodyslam on the hardwood floor, but the ref politely explained to the big man that pinfalls had to take place in the ring.  Aarons would get some payback once the match re-entered the ropes…Barackus missed an avalanche and Aarons rolled him up with a handful of tights to eliminate him in 6:02.  (I don’t have times on anything but the ending; it was after Ben Simon’s five-minute announcement, so the falls took place within a few minutes of each other.)  Aaron and Clinton briefly ganged up on Jackson, but the “you-hold-while-I-superkick” setup worked as well for Aarons and LMC as it once did (repeatedly) for Shawn Michaels and Diesel.  Aarons accidentally dropped LMC with the kick and Gary pinned Aarons with a small package in 7:47, then shortly thereafter got the final fall on Clinton with a backslide in 8:27.  WOO~!

Gary pulled no punches after the match:  He wanted the big belt back, the one he had held many previous times but hadn’t held since early 2013.  CUE THE RULES~!

Moondog Rover vs. Attila Khan, no-DQ match for the TV Title:  These two had fought to a no contest in July and then a time limit draw in August, so we were guaranteed a winner in this one.  On top of the no-DQ stip, the time limit was extended to 30 minutes.  Just like their previous bouts, there was very little in the way of technical wrestling; they just brawled in and around the ring and hit each other with whatever weapons were available to them.  Khan’s trademark fork came into play as well as Moondog’s bone and a steel chair.  This match ended with another random interference as Jimmy D made his way out to ringside to distract Moondog, then choked him down with a towel (apparently soaked in ether, going by the accounts of ringsiders).  That left Rover dazed and Khan capitalized with a DDT for the win and the championship in 10:42!  Brian James hit the ring to get some payback for Khan’s earlier interference…Jacko and Andrew Wilder tried to assist as well, but they weren’t in the best of shape from their earlier action and were fended off relatively quickly.  Jim Harris announced that Khan would defend his newly-won title against Brian James in October…I believe LMC has a title shot in the future as well (earned from his triple threat match victory in August).

Survivor Champion Kevin Lee Davidson vs. Da’Marius Jones vs. A.J. Williams for the held-up Heavyweight Title (Survivor Title not on the line):  Then-champion Williams and Jones fought to a double-fall draw in July; Jones had Williams in a triangle hold and A.J. maneuvered Jones’ shoulders to the mat, but he tapped out as the referee counted three on Jones.  They had a one-on-one rematch in August to settle the dispute, but KLD interfered and laid out both men…leading to this matchup.

A.J. had still been carrying the title belt with him, insisting he was never beaten for it.  KLD had an obvious size advantage over both men, but they were able to work together on a few occasions to knock the big guy down and get him out of the ring.  Jones and Williams had some impressive offense as each hit major dives to the floor in the early going.  However, this led to several opportunities for Davidson as he gave both men a released German suplex at the same time.

Later in the bout, he got both men on his shoulders at the same time for a Regal Roll!  My compatriots agreed that the Regal Roll would probably be a good finisher for him as opposed to the frequently-used spinebuster.  I thought this was a really good match and the fans had a lot of energy even at this late stage of the evening.  KLD had been steamrolling the competition lately, including an impressive wrestle-royal victory in which he pinned both Barackus and Gary Jackson to get the win.

The finish saw Davidson Irish-whip Jones into Williams to knock him off the ring apron…one spinebuster later, Davidson pinned Da’Marius to win the championship in 12:43, not that he would know his spinebuster would almost kill his opponent, the laser spine institute doctors had to get into the scene right away after the fight!  KLD has a dedicated cheering section at South Broadway and the finish got a mixed reaction that leaned in the positive direction.  Meanwhile, A.J. was not pinned in this matchup, so I imagine he’ll still think of himself as the titleholder.  Of course, Gary Jackson is waiting in the wings…he nearly beat KLD in a tag match last month, but LaMarcus Clinton broke up the Cloverleaf for the DQ.  I imagine that KLD will forfeit the Survivor Title since you can’t hold two championships at once in the MMWA…but then being a dual titleholder seems to be what all the KEWL KIDZ are doing nowadays (World/U.S. Champion Seth Rollins, ROH/ROH TV Champion Jay Lethal).

Post-show: Denny’s!  It was just myself, Ben, and Matt…I wasn’t overly hungry so I just had the cheese fries…always a great choice when one has to get some shut-eye upon arriving at home.  (Err…)

The rest of September looks like this:
-Sunday 9/20: Wrestling Invades America in Swansea, IL
-Sunday 9/27: High Risk Wrestling in Cahokia, IL

October will be busy as well…for my part, I will apparently be making a road trip to CHIKARA!  More on this as it develops…

Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991

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Loophole Robs Ricky Cruz of his Ring Time with Travis Cook at SICW

Travis Cook (right), seen here with Attila Khan, avoided five minutes in the ring with Ricky Cruz, July 18.  Photo: Doug Byrd
Travis Cook (right), seen here with Attila Khan, avoided five minutes in the ring with Ricky Cruz, July 18. Photo: Doug Byrd

By Patrick Brandmeyer

Now, as promised, a special comment about Saturday’s Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling event at the Community Center in East Carondelet, Illinois.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m biased.  Deal with it.

Attendance was slightly down for this month’s installment of SICW…it was a busy time in the area as there was a summer carnival in Dupo and a baseball game at GCS Ballpark.  I don’t know if the turnout has hinged on the presence of special guests, but there hasn’t been a visiting legend for a few months (other than Cowboy Bob Orton who is now a consistent authority figure for the promotion).  It can also get hot inside a crowded building during the summer months…of course, all of this is mere speculation on my part.

Your ring announcer was Drew Abbenhaus; your referees were Denny Thomas, Terry Riley, & Jay King.

The night started with Drew and promoter Herb Simmons hyping the event…manager Travis Cook interrupted the proceedings (in a warmup suit in case of potential in-ring action).  Travis said there was NO WAY Ricky Cruz would beat Attila Khan and get him in the ring…and he would just knock him out of if he somehow did.  He made some insulting comments about Director of Affairs Cowboy Bob Orton, but was surprised when Orton came out and stood behind him.  Travis made a tactical retreat (or maybe he just ran away), leaving Herb to speak with Cowboy Bob.  Herb made note of the cast on Orton’s left arm…Orton said that he had an accident while doing yard work and he wouldn’t be doing any ladder matches in the near future.  Har har.  (I think it flew under the radar that Cowboy Bob’s injury was very similar to the one Kahagas inflicted on Red River Jack with his kendo stick at the June event…)

Keith Smith Jr. & “Dead Sexy” Daniel Gunner vs. (Bubba) Troll & Purple Passion:  These were some unique tag team combinations…still getting used to Gunner as a fan favorite.  He may or may not have dropped the “Dead Sexy” nickname.  Hadn’t seen Purple Passion in a while…Troll acted like he’d be fine if he never saw him again.  Gunner and Troll have had a recent series of one-on-one matches (Troll won both of those encounters).  Keith Jr. pinned Passion after a discus lariat in 6:57; Troll decked his own partner in his post-match frustration.

Captain Shabam vs. “The Icon” Chris Hargas (w/ Travis Cook):  Apparently the masked Shabam is from the Kansas City area.  He didn’t have much in the way of size, and he got good air when thrown.  Hargas toyed with his overmatched opponent and even pulled him up from a few pin attempts when he could have beaten him.  After three F-5s (which seemed excessive), Hargas got the easy three-count in 4:52…then added another F-5 after the bell as Travis endorsed Hargas as the proverbial roadblock for Heath Hatton.  He specifically referred to Hargas as the “replacement” for “Ironman” Ken Kasa in his organization, saying that Hargas wouldn’t tap out like Kasa did (when Hatton won the Classic Title).

“Your Canadian Hero” Sean Vincent vs. Waco:  This was a rematch from a previous encounter which Vincent won with the Mapleleaf Leglock.  It appeared to be the same story in this one as Vincent targeted the leg to set up his finishing hold…but Wyldefyre made an appearance to distract Vincent and the referee.  That led to Curtis Wylde entering the front door of the building and dropping Vincent with the Wylde Ride (Flatliner)…he got out of dodge and the referee turned around to see Waco making the pin cover.  As a result, the masked man got the tainted victory in 5:37…aww.

Intermission~!  Since I only had a salad(!) before leaving the house, I indulged a bit with a cheeseburger, two cans of soda (Mountain Dew & Pepsi), and a bottle of water.

Keon Option vs. Brandon Espinosa (w/ Travis Cook):  Yes, the Espinosa/Cook alliance from their previous days in the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance has been revived.  Travis was also a bit short on manpower with Bull Bronson absent for the evening.  Option was making his SICW debut in the midst of an impressive rookie year, primarily competing under the Dynamo Pro banner.  These two locked up at a Dynamo event in Wood River with Option scoring the upset, so Espy was looking to even the score.  (Hopefully I’ll get a look at that event via DVD in the near future.)  They had a fine matchup here…Espinosa hit an offensive flurry consisting of a turnbuckle powerbomb and Blue Thunder Bomb, then hooked the cross-armbreaker for the tapout in 8:16.

Heath Hatton vs. Ax (Allwardt):  These two are no strangers to each other, having crossed paths in SICW as well as Pro Wrestling Collision.  Ax’s stock is slowly rising as he got the better of a feud with Big Jim Hoffarth, then held Keith Smith Jr. to a time-limit draw in June.  With Hatton scoring a quick win in his return to action last month, I expected this matchup to be a foregone conclusion; however, it turned out to be far more competitive than that.  Heath got the flash pin with a schoolboy in 11:27 (longest match of the night). (EDIT:  Ax took a swing at Hatton with his chain and missed, leading to the pin.)

Bobby D vs. “Volatile” Curtis Wylde (w/ Wyldefyre):  Wylde had issued an open challenge leading up to this event; his Chauffeur limousine was parked outside the building as a reminder of his “high-roller” status.  Wylde seemed to be the favorite in this one, but after his interference against Vincent earlier in the night, you had to think some retribution was imminent.  Sure enough, Vincent made his way to ringside to argue with Wylde…and Bobby D capitalized with the dreaded DISTRACTION SCHOOLBOY~! for the win in 9:10.  Things are far from settled between Vincent and Wylde…

Cue intermission numero dos…said hi to Malia Hosaka, who had a busy weekend as she wrestled at 3XW in Iowa the previous night against Stacey O’Brien.

Ron Powers & “Night Train/Gorgeous/Great One” Gary Jackson (w/ Big Daddy) vs. Classic Champion Flash Flanagan & “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas (w/ Travis Cook):  This featured tag match had plenty of the proverbial combustible elements:  Powers & Jackson have a lot of water under the bridge between them, particularly in the MMWA where they feuded over the Heavyweight Title.  Meanwhile, Flanagan & Kahagas were brought together against common enemies, but Kahagas may or may not have an eye on the gold.  As it turned out, Ron & Gary were the more cohesive unit of the two…feuds can produce bad blood but also familiarity and mutual respect.  A series of miscues derailed the efforts of the opposing side…things finally broke down completely as Flash and Kahagas had a confrontation on the floor, leading to a countout in 10:24.  The two finally came to blows with the champion getting the better of the exchange, then getting out of dodge as Hargas and Espinosa hit the ring.

“The King Of Chaos” Ricky Cruz vs. Attila Khan (w/ Travis Cook):  If Cruz pinned Khan or forced him to submit, he would get five minutes in the ring with Travis Cook.  The emphasis on the pin-or-sub part of the stipulation should have clued me in as to a potential loophole, but I hadn’t thought about it too much.  It was Travis Cook’s dealings that led to the end of Cruz’s Classic Title reign at the hands of Ken Kasa; after that, Travis did everything in his power to keep Ricky from getting more than one lone rematch for the belt.  When Ricky’s attitude changed for the worse, he formed an alliance of convenience with the Cook Organization as he feuded with Red River Jack…but that seemed destined to fall apart in short order.

These two haven’t had technical classics, but they’ve had plenty of intense brawls…Khan had yet to be pinned or made to submit, so Ricky was hoping to end that particular streak.   It looked like Cruz had the win after landing his signature superkick, but Travis blatantly pulled the referee out of the ring and punched him out…drawing a disqualification in 6:37.  The war continued and the locker room emptied to keep Cruz and KHAAAAAN~! separated…meanwhile, Travis gloated about the loophole he had exploited:  Ricky only got him in the ring if he won by pinfall or submission.  This feud…MUST CONTINUE~!

I scored a leftover soft pretzel and nachos on the way out the door…but a few minutes down the road, I had to hit the brakes when I saw a dog running around on the street.  I had to get out and pick up the dog to get him(?) out of the road…all while he was trying to jump in my car since he smelled food.  Heh.  The nachos went flying and I had liquid cheese to clean off my floormats when I got home…such are the perils of driving to and from independent wrestling.

Next weekend…Saturday has World Powerhouse Wrestling in Collinsville.  High Risk Wrestling has a card on Sunday in Cahokia.

A very busy August looks like this so far:

-Saturday 8/1:  Pro Wrestling Championship Series in Granite City, IL; Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Eureka, MO
-Saturday 8/8:  Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Fenton, MO
-Saturday 8/15:  Pro Wrestling Epic in Pontoon Beach, IL (afternoon); Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance in St. Louis, MO
-Friday 8/21:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL
-Saturday 8/22:  St. Louis Anarchy in Alton, IL; Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling in East Carondelet, IL
-Saturday 8/29:  Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Glen Carbon, IL; World League Wrestling in Troy, MO

Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

P.S. We are all marks.

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2013 King of St. Louis Cable Tournament – Competitor Breakdown

By Patrick Brandmeyer

As a wrestling fan of twenty-two years, I’ve always been a big fan of the one-night tournament. It takes skill, endurance, and the occasional bit of luck to emerge victorious in that format. Careers have been boosted by wins in that situation, especially in WWE’s King of the Ring tournament.

We’re approaching the MMWA’s third annual King of St. Louis Cable Tournament with eight worthy competitors vying for a guaranteed shot at the Heavyweight Title. The winners of both previous tournaments (Brandon Espinosa and Dave Osborne) went on to capture the gold…so it’s a great opportunity for one of these wrestlers to catapult himself to the top of the mountain!

A.J. Williams: The current Wild World of Wrestling Television Champion has also been the Junior Heavyweight Champion, but he has not yet captured the top prize in the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance. His history with current titleholder Brandon Espinosa is well-documented as the two have had classic battles all over the Midwest…but since Espy regained the Heavyweight Championship, he hasn’t received a shot at the gold. The motivation is there and so is the athletic ability…will that be enough to propel him to victory?

Lynn Mephisto: The Battle Royal Champ entered the MMWA with the mindset that he had something to prove. In the past several months, he has proven that he’ll use any tactics necessary to come out on top…and that way of thinking may separate him from the rest of the pack. If he wins the tournament and recent rival Gary Jackson defeats Espinosa for the crown, it’ll make his eventual championship opportunity that much sweeter.

Andrew Wilder: The reigning Junior Heavyweight Champion seems like the dark horse in this year’s field of eight. Will he be focused on the tournament or his upcoming three-way title defense against Ace Hawkins and Da’Marius Jones in December? He has been underestimated in the past and went on to prove the doubters wrong with his Jr. Heavyweight Title win…never overlook “The Wolf”.

Ace Hawkins: The former Junior Heavyweight titleholder has his own history with Espinosa…their careers have been intertwined for the past several years as they’ve been both bitter rivals and tag team partners at different times. His focus has been on the Jr. Heavyweight Title in recent months, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind another shot at Espy.

Brian James: The veteran competitor had a brief run as Television Champion earlier this year but has always had his sights set on the big prize. His pinfall win over Espinosa in last month’s elimination tag match gave him a big boost of momentum. “Da Bomb” will be looking to repeat his recent success en route to a championship opportunity…and if Espinosa is still the champion, he’ll be targeting a man who he knows he can defeat.

Jimmy D: The bat-wielding brawler is another take-no-prisoners competitor…we’ve seen that in his two reigns as Television Champion. Will experience and underhanded tactics make the difference on this night? Don’t count him out…

Da’Marius Jones: On the other side of the experience coin is the rookie of the field. Jones shockingly upset Espinosa in a recent non-title bout so he knows he can beat the current titleholder. While some may overlook him as the “newbie” of the bunch, others will look to the record books and realize that Jones is capable of winning if taken lightly. It’s early in Jones’ career, but he already has a big opportunity to earn his way to the top of the rankings.

Dave Osborne: He’s the former Heavyweight Champ and former Battle Royal Champ…perhaps most importantly, he was last year’s tournament winner. He knows what it takes to come out on top in this competition. He’s the biggest wrestler in the mix…that may be a double-edged sword once you consider the endurance factor, but that didn’t stop him from winning the 2012 tourney. He wouldn’t mind getting his hands on either Espinosa (who ended his previous title reign) or Jackson (who he beat for the belt earlier this year).

A case could be made for just about anyone to come out on top as the 2013 King of St. Louis Cable…but we won’t know until the tournament takes place this Saturday night!