How High Can LMC Fly?

Clinton shows his style at a recent Ohio Valley card.

The ring lights never asked to be destroyed.  Neither did the ceiling tile at a small venue in Illinois.  LaMarcus Clinton can’t be contained.  When he leaps off that top rope, the promoter had better double-check that the ceiling is high enough.

LMC has recently set his sights on the MO/IL Junior Heavyweight Title, currently held by the unsuspecting Max Archer.  Last month, the two met in a thriller that ended with Archer slamming LMC with a heavy Michinoku Driver.

When Clinton debuted in January 2011, his family was there, cheering the unknown competitor.  That support grew and something funny happened.  In one year, LaMarcus Clinton established what many veterans can’t in many years: a strong fan base.

Clinton isn’t done with Archer.  The mission toward the Junior Heavyweight crown continues tonight.

You can see LMC tonight at South Broadway.  The action starts at 8.


Journeyman Max Archer Upsets the Champ

When wrestling returns to South Broadway this Saturday, a new MO/IL Junior Heavyweight Champion will wear the belt.  Courageous?  Vaughn?  Espinosa?  A young Keith Smith?  Absolutely not.  Unbelievably, Max Archer is the man.

Archer has said he doesn’t care who he wrestles tomorrow night.  No matter, they will know why he’s the top dog of all competitors in the area at or under 220 pounds.

On April 14, Archer challenged reigning champ Ace Hawkins in a match that was only made that same day.  Archer dumped Hawkins on his head with a running Michinoku driver for the pin.

One could make excuses for Ace: his pending WWE tryout, his past unblemished record against Max, or a number of different items.  The bottom line is, on this night, Max Archer just wanted it more.

Archer sent a note to after his upset title win.

My win over Ace Hawkins was to prove a point that I am, without a doubt, the most amazing wrestler in St. Louis or anywhere.  I told everyone ‘Max Archer is gonna be champ.’  You can take this to the bank; Max Archer one day be the next world heavyweight champion.

Archer is deserving of his first title win for sure, but he’s also dancing with delusion.

Ace Hawkins on WWE Pay-per-view!

Ace Hawkins tells the crowd in Chicago why he and Hatton will defeat Ryback.

Ace Hawkins surprised St. Louis fans last night when he wrestled a match at Extreme Rules IV in Rosemont, Illinois.  He teamed with Heath Hatton to take on the massive “Ryback” Skip Sheffield.

The PWI Rookie of the Year, Ace took the microphone before his match to convince the crowd that the duo was the real deal.

“For the last several weeks on SmackDown, many men have tried to make a name for themselves in their first-ever WWE matches and they’ve all fallen flat on their faces!  But no one superstar stands a chance against two at the same time, especially us two.”

Hawkins delivers a signature leaping forearm attack on Ryback.

The math still wasn’t in their favor.  Ryback was dominant.

Any time a local competitor makes it to a national or worldwide stage, we salute them.  Congratulations, Ace.

Hail to Chase King, Baby!

The new TV Champion, Chase King, will be in action March 10th. This screenshot is the moment following his title win last month.

St. Louis native Chase King knew he was wrestling Max Archer February 11th when he walked into the locker room at South Broadway.  What he didn’t know was that he would be leaving later on with the TV Championship.

Brandon Espinosa held the MO/IL Heavyweight and TV Titles, which was one too many for Commissioner Keith Smith.

“Here in the MMWA & the SICW, you can’t hold more than one belt at a time.  I decided that King vs. Archer would be for the vacant TV belt,” Smith explained.

While that rule has been waived in the past, it worked in King’s favor last month, after he put the Georgian down with a jumping flatliner.

Will Chase be able to run with this opportunity and campaign for a more prominent status in the region?  We may just see at the “Tim Miller Birthday Bash” this Saturday at SBAC.

Note that no matches have been made official as of this post.

Dave Vaughn: Nice Guys Finish Last

Dave Vaughn is aggressive as of late.  No one ever condemned a pro wrestler for being aggressive, but it appears that “The Wrestling Machine” has gone too far.

Dave Vaughn choked Ricky Cruz unconscious following their match on January 21st.  Today at South Broadway, Cruz seeks his revenge in a no disqualification match.  Ricky Cruz is undefeated in singles matches, but he’s dealing with his most dangerous adversary yet.

Once a fan favorite, Dave Vaughn was heralded as an all-around good guy, as well as a technical master.  Slowly, “The Wrestling Machine” as we knew him, fell apart.

In November 2010, Vaughn lost the MO/IL Heavyweight Title to Donovan Ruddick after an intense match.  He never received his deserved rematch.

In March 2011, Vaughn defeated Gary Jackson, then the heavyweight champ.  Vaughn was awarded the TV Title and a shot at the big one looked promising.  It never came.

“I won every title here.  Ever since Brandon Espinosa won his (MO/IL Heavyweight) Title, I’ve been pushed aside and I don’t like it.  I’ve been the “nice guy” for quite a long time… what has it gotten me?  I never got my rematch for that belt!”

If one inspects the psyche of Vaughn, he will find a jealous and angry man, now willing to do whatever it takes to not just rise above his competition, but to take them out of the competition.

In a no disqualification match, this is the scariest thing for Ricky Cruz.

It Happened!

Brandon Espinosa pins an unconscious Gary Jackson to win the title.

Brandon Espinosa is the MO/IL Heavyweight Champion.

It happened last night at South Broadway in a lumberjack match.  After an argument between Ricky Cruz and Dave Vaughn broke into the ring and the match, Vaughn speared the daylights out of Jackson.

Espinosa landed a thunderous frog splash onto Gary Jackson.  Referee Keith Smith Jr. counted three as “The Great One” lay motionless, unaware of what hit him.

A riot nearly broke out as fans and wrestlers alike were outraged.  However, most of what Espinosa refers to as the “under 30” crowd were on their feet, wildly cheering on their man.

There was no time to celebrate, though.  Espinosa quickly retreated to the locker room to avoid the volatile atmosphere.  Before he walked out of the main room of the SBAC, he made sure to hoist his two belts above his head.

In the battle royal that followed, Big Dave Osborne clinched the Battle Royal Championship.  Osborne and MO/IL Junior Heavyweight Champ Ace Hawkins were both Espinosa’s training students.  In the back, Brandon made a revelation.

“The change is here.  We (Hawkins, Osborne and myself) hold all of the singles titles now.”

It May Be Choppin’ Time for Espinosa!

The Lumberjacks stopped the assault on Gary Jackson on December 3rd. They inspired the match to happen on January 21st.

Saturday night, the South Broadway Athletic Club locker room will be empty because every wrestler will be ringside for the main event.  It’s a lumberjack match.

Gary Jackson will defend his MO/IL Heavyweight Championship for the third time against Brandon Espinosa.  If either Jackson or Espinosa finds themselves outside the ring, the collective roster will throw them back in the ring.

Hopefully, this time we will get to see a conclusion to one of the hottest feuds in MMWA history.  The Big Texan (dressed as Santa Claus!) interrupted the last title match December 3rd and attacked the champion.

The Lumberjacks (Abe & Gabe Hall) stormed the ring to aid Gary and clear Texan and Espinosa from the squared circle.  Inspired by the flanneled tag team, Commissioner Keith Smith declared a third title encounter for January 21st.

So far, Jackson has garnered two disqualification wins against Espy in this series (although the first one should have been a no contest).

Understandably, Brandon was livid when Phil E. Blunt cost him his first title shot.  But even though The Big Texan spoiled Espy’s second shot last month, Espinosa joined the masked man in stomping a grounded Jackson.

It begs the question: Is Brandon Espinosa worried he can’t beat “Gorgeous” Gary Jackson?

(UPDATE: Due to a family issue, Lumberjacks Abe & Gabe will not be appearing.)

Ace Hawkins – PWI’s Rookie of the Year

Ace Hawkins is the 2011 Rookie of the Year.  The news broke today when Pro Wrestling Illustrated released next month’s magazine in its digital format.   The 21 year old had his first full year of wrestling in 2011.

Let’s put this award in perspective.  Prominent winners in the past include: Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Goldberg, The Giant, Steve Austin, Lex Luger, Tommy Rich, Ricky Steamboat, Bob Backlund, Ric Flair and Larry Zbyszko.

Hawkins clinched this honor without WWE, TNA or ROH television exposure.  However, the high flyer is known on the indy scene all over the Midwest.

Earlier this month, he captured the MO/IL Junior Heavyweight Title by defeating Johnny Courageous with a running Ace Crusher (Ace also holds two other titles in Illinois).  Check this and other highlights out in the video above.

The PWI Awards are decided by fan voting.  Hawkins garnered 16% of the votes in a crowded field of nominees.

Pro Wrestling Illustrated is the flagship of wrestling magazines since 1979.  The 2011 PWI Awards issue will be available at newsstands on January 30.  You can purchase the digital version now.

Old School vs. New School (Part II)

Espinosa has won many independent titles, including the TV Championship (center). Is a Heavyweight Title reign inevitable?

Remember that David Bowie song, “Changes?” Perhaps that would be an appropriate theme song for this Saturday’s card at South Broadway. The MMWA’s December 3rd event showcases “old school” against “new school” in two key matches that could directly shape the future of St. Louis Wrestling.

First, we will see Jackson-Espinosa II for the MO/IL Heavyweight Championship. The history between these two has made this the most intriguing feud in MMWA history.

Two months ago, Espinosa was a knockout punch away from winning the big one when Phil E. Blunt ran in and hit Jackson with his “Dope Drop,” prompting a DQ.

Then, the tension exploded last month as the two had a major brawl outside the ring. A rare event, we saw most of the locker room emptied to contain the mess. Espinosa challenged Jackson to a rematch on the premise that “Gorgeous” Gary “doesn’t run from anybody.” Gary accepted, MMWA Executive Director Tony Casta signed it.

Espinosa still has his guaranteed title shot for the championship. Upon posting, it appears that this match will not count as a “cash-in” (since management made the match, not Brandon).

The second feature sees Ace Hawkins challenging Johnny Courageous for the veteran’s MO/IL Junior Heavyweight Championship in a rematch. Last month, both wrestlers were pinned at the same time. Neither man was happy with the draw and both lobbied for a restart. The best they could get was a rematch for this Saturday.

“There were not two, but four shoulders pinned to the mat, meaning Courageous kept the title,” Ace said. “Fortunately, he offered me a rematch. Unfortunately for him, I will fight ‘til the last breath for that Junior Heavyweight Championship. Good luck, Johnny.”

Johnny Courageous will try to ground Ace with his technical prowess. Ace will need to go to his aerial arsenal to win his first title within the MMWA.

The competitors in these matches will all have their fans out Saturday to cheer them on. Be sure to vote for the combination you want to win below.