So I felt there was the need for a little road trip. I braved the long road to Austin with my mother, my grown-up wrestling watching buddy. It was at the Marchesa Theater in Austin. I’m used to a North Texas crowd and type of fans. This was an entirely different environment. What I loved about the venue was that there was a lobby one could wait in and be able to separate oneself from the smokers, which can be a big irritant for those who don’t like being around the smoke. The CEO came out and spoke to the crowd in the lobby waiting. It’s always nice to be welcomed individually.
They began by introducing Gregory Symonds who welcomed everyone and talked about what they were about.
First match: “Cowboy” James Claxton vs. ”Texas Maverick” Jared Wayne vs. “American Viking” Alexander Rudolph vs. the man known only as VOID
Well, this was quite the interesting match. You had the two taller guys in Claxton-Rudolph and the two shorter in Wayne and VOID. So you had the two taller fight each other and the two shorter guys fight each other. It was my first time to see all 4, at least as far as I knew. Claxton is a nice big guy. Rudolph is a big hairy beast. I liked the American Viking gimmick. Wayne looks ripped with a really impressive physique. VOID looked epicly indy craptacular. The crowd was a pretty tough crowd. They pooped on a lot of what they were given.
(When I say “the crowd,” most people were great and enjoyed their wrestling. There were just a few smarks who sat on their hands saying, “Entertain me.” They were so awful, it made my mother and not enjoy parts of it. I know a fan pays his money and has the right to do whatever they’d like. And I understand “demanding.” There just comes a point where the line crosses into “sinister.” If these fans had treated a comedian in a comedy club this way, they’d have been escorted out of the building. Chanting “You f’ed up” is one thing. Yelling out the names of the moves as wrestlers are doing it is a little excessive.)
The match was pretty decent. It was a nice opener. Mother Ruff liked Rudolph. I was about to go nuts of the booking of VOID winning. And then VOID took off his mask. It was “One Man” Mike Dell. What was funny was that a lot of people who pooped all over VOID’s work went nuts when they found out it was Mike Dell. I liked the nice surprise of Dell being there. Apparently Dell and Claxton have a past together. They remind me a lot of Shawn Michaels & Diesel.
Second match: Jeffrey Gant vs. The Great Depression w/ Penny Arcade
I really like Gant’s work. He’s a really despicable heel and the crowd treats him as such. His opponent was a large man with a burlap sack mask over his head named The Great Depression. I cannot make this stuff up. His valet Arcade spoke only French or German or Italian. I really couldn’t tell. Her hair was done all scraggly too. I really had no idea what I was watching. I would put this in the “performance art” category. It was like watching a foreign art house film (which I really have no problem doing). It was a squash. Gant bumped and sold like crazy.
Winner: The Great Depression
I have no idea where they are going with this. I’ll give them time to tell their story.
Third match: Eric Shadows vs. Jodon vs. Downfall (?) vs. Cherry Ramone (?)
This was a feature for the guys of NWA Revolution. The hecklers were especially bad this match. Cherry Ramone deserved to be heckled, but I think his look was kind of the point. Jodon had some tights that were really reminiscent of Rob Van Dam. Downfall looked like the love child of Matt Palmer and Ringo Starr. But Eric Shadows was the one that stood out. He is a star with some nice stage presence. If he’s wearing his jeans and t-shirt, you won’t know he’s a wrestler, which is probably his only downside. But learn the name. The match had some really good action. Keeping track of it was a little bit beyond me.
This match was lost on the crowd as a whole. I think the problem was that they tried to have a NWA Revolution match in front of a non-NWA Revolution crowd. I’m not sure how one learns how to wrestle for different types of crowds. None of the 4 guys looked over 25.
Fourth match: Darren Dean vs. Chris Cross
Dean’s thing is that he’s billed as a student of Davey Richards. This was my first time to see Chris Cross. Cross did pretty well with the hecklers. Dean’s work is really good, and I see something special in him. Only one problem. Whenever I watch him work, I see Davey Richards’ work. If I wanted to watch Davey work, I’d watch Davey. I’d like to see Dean take the good out of Davey and become his own wrestler. What I admire is that Dean came in to make Cross look good and indeed did.
I was a little surprised with this booking but it makes sense if Cross is going to get a push.
Fifth match: Jojo Bravo vs. Alex Reigns
If you have never gotten the chance to see Jojo Bravo, he is in many ways a total package. I think he is where ACH was 5 years ago. Give him the opportunity and he might rise to prominence to the indies scene much as ACH has. I wrote down that this was a really good match. Reigns took backseat and let Bravo use this as a showcase. They set up a really good back and forth match.
After the match through the crowd came Jordan Jensen who attacked Bravo. (Both have been tag partners before. I’m not sure what they currently wrestle in Austin.) There were handcuffs involved. They used this moment to take a well-needed intermission. After the intermission, Biss (the aforementioned CEO) came out to thank the crowd. He was then interrupted by Ricky Starks. I’ve had the chance to see Ricky before. He is sooooo good in everything he does. He’s such a despicable heel. This was my chance to see him really shine.
Sixth match: Ricky Starks vs. Bolt Brady
Bolt has got to be one of the top high flyers in Texas if not THE top. I would love to see him get a chance in a lucha environment where I think he would fit in well. And what is there to say about Ricky Starks? I have been in love with his work since the first time I saw him in NWA Texoma. Whatever that animal pull that a natural babyface has, he has the opposite pull. You hate him with every part of you and want to see him defeated. Plus, you boo him with a smile. I knew how I thought this match was going to end, but I still found myself being caught up in what could happen. Starks, frustrated in being unable to submit Brady, refused to release the hold causing a dq.
Winner by dq: Brady
This was without a doubt the match of the night.
Seventh match: “The Unholy” Gregory James vs. “Dirty” Andy Dalton
These are the two guys I am most familiar with. I have seen these two have an EPIC feud that concluded with a best of 3 falls match that I called a match of the year for the regular promotion I attend (Metroplex Wrestling in Bedford,TX). I would say their “A” game was brought. I’m just not the sure the crowd would have accepted anything these two guys did. The highlight of the match was when Greg left Dalton’s head dangling over the ring and did a double-stomp. I think we ALL knew that hurt. The match was much better than the crowd reaction to it.
Main event: Chuck Taylor vs. Davey Vega vs. ACH
I put my notebook down to stop taking notes and just sat back to relax and enjoy this. I thought it was great how Chuck completely transformed himself from nice guy pushing some merch to evil heel back to selling merch at the end of the night. A fan’s son had made a picture of Davey Vega that Chuck kept on wanting to tear up. He tried to get it at one point and the dad stood up and stopped him. Mission abandoned. This was my first time to see Chuck live (pretty familiar with his work though) and to see Davey & ACH live in about 18 months. My mother had never seen ACH before at all. After his entrance, she turned to me and said, “He has an amazing presence.” I drove 4 hours, booked a hotel room, took off work and braved Austin traffic for this match. And yes, it was worth every cent. I loved evil Chuck Taylor. ACH was his usual excellence. And I believe we are watching Davey come into his own as a singles superstar. I really do think he could go pretty far in the industry if given the chance. ACH was eliminated first. It was between Davey and Chuck with Davey getting the win.
Chuck claimed to have his foot on the rope but the 3-count stood. So now Chuck has a reason to come back.
All in all… There were some very good things that came out of this night. I enjoyed the in-ring action. I drove farther than I have for any other show and may come back (depending on money and all that stuff). The main event and Brady-Starks were excellent. Reigns-Bravo was very good. There were some misses. But I am excited about some of the possibilities that could come here.