Metroplex Wrestling-Grand Theft 3-7-15

Warning: this will have lots of gratuitous stories about my daughter you will not care about.

Pre-show match: Thomas Shire w/ Jamie Oller vs. “The Unholy” Gregory James

So I was in the concession line during the beginning of this match. (Gotta have her chips and water bottle) This was an interesting match. In a state full of flippy-floppy guys (which is not a knock on the style, as I love flippy floppy wrestling), Shire stands out as something different. Shire must have an amateur background or something. It’s like Jack Swagger or an old guy from the 70’s. But he can also go toe to toe with the high fliers. The match was well-paced and well-thought-out. The crowd gave them an “awesome match” chant. And how do you make a crowd hate you? End the awesome match with outside interference.

Winner by dq: Greg

The Trust Fund came out and got the beat-down started on Greg. The babyfaces of Mike Foxx, Steele Money & Matt Palmer came out to the rescue. Do I smell a 10-man tag match? Or perhaps… War Games? Just putting that out there. The show began with Mike Foxx (usually words I do not type as he is known as “The Main Event” for a reason). He wanted Murdoch, and he wanted him now.

First match: Scott Murdoch vs. Mike Foxx

Scott Murdoch. Mike Foxx. What more could you want? There was no collar-elbow tie up. They went right into the violence. This was overall a great night for violence. Into the match I realized how I wasn’t taking notes. I was getting caught up in the match. There was good psychology, and they kept the crowd involved. Mike went for his version of the Diamond Cutter/RKO, Murdoch moved away and speared Foxx into-um-Louisiana, I guess. After a recovery Foxx hit it out of nowhere.

Winner: Foxx

It was a good story.

Second match: The Lost Boys vs. Flying Jackasses

Before you read about this match, you must watch this video. I recognized it immediately. At the beginning of the match the Jackasses called for the music and they danced to the song from the Fresh Prince with the same exact choreography. I popped majorly for that. The Lost Boys tried to interfere and got pushed away for the Jackasses to get started again. The comedy was really fun for this match, and The Lost Boys played good straight men. Of course then they went to the real wrestling. The Jackasses brought out a Twilight book to tease the Lost Boys. Post-ref-bump, Frankie threw the Twilight book and then laid down and pretended the Lost Boys threw it at them.

Winner: Jackasses by dq

I hated the finish. And I hated it (please forgive me for saying this) when Eddy Guerrero did it too. It just makes the referee look like an idiot. After the match came Jamie Oller who tapped out to Livi La Vida Loca last show. He wanted to make it up to her. He had her Robin bear repaired and offered to hug her. She did and he wouldn’t let go. She was attacked by a mysterious woman we now know as Baby Dumplins. I’m not familiar with her so I’m intrigued where this could go.

Third match: Trust Fund (Viktor Tadlock & Joey Garcia) (c) w/Jamie Oller vs. Steele Money (Kenny Steele & Orion Taylor)

This match was divided into two halves. You had the finesse and beauty of Garcia & Taylor. Then you had the smash mouth hoss style of Tadlock & Steele. Both teams counter-balanced each other well. Again I noticed that I wasn’t taking good notes. I was watching the match. Taylor did a standing shooting star press. List of guys who can do that is not very long. Dare I say this guy has to be the potential to be the next ACH? During the big plancha spot, my daughter nudged me and said, “Look, they’re flying.” The finish was a Razor’s Edge (the move that Chris Dickinson did on Kimber Lee but Tadlock did it right) from Tadlock followed by a top rope move by Garcia.

Winner: Trust Fund

Fourth match: Kyle Hawk (c) vs. Randy Wayne w/ James Hawke in a “Chairly” Legal Match

So Hawk is one of the most exciting flippy floppy guys in Texas right now. He is the most natural babyface I’ve seen since Ricky Steamboat. The match began with James Hawke attacking Kyle Hawk from behind a few times with a chair. James Hawke celebrated with his back turned to Kyle and didn’t notice that Kyle had recovered enough to attack. Brutally. This was pretty intense. Wayne bled. Big time. We had the clashing chairs that Balls & Tanaka made famous. We had a suplex onto a bed of chairs. Then we had an “off-the-top-rope” suplex onto a bed chairs again. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they’re setting Wayne up for a face turn. If not, based on the crowd reaction, one would be possible, and he’d make a really nice challenger for Jerome in the future. And the finisher had to have about 5 steps to it, but it’s got to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

Winner: Wayne 

It was a pretty emotional win for a heel beating a very popular babyface.

Fifth match: Athena vs. Delilah Doom

This was the match I brought my daughter for. We were excited to see Athena, who is one of my daughter’s favorites. And Athena is a lot more positive role model than a Katy Perry or whatever Disney starlet is going to be twerking on Alan Thicke’s kid like a wrecking ball next. And I love Delilah. She’s like someone morphed sunshine into human form. The ladies behind me loved Delilah. They said she was so adorable. It was a pretty good match. Delilah has really stepped up her game. I could see her wrestling on a national stage in 2-3 years. And how has somebody NOT put her and Solo Darling together in a tag team? The second half of the night my daughter was not very with it, but this match she was into. Also props to the ladies for getting a “Better than Divas” chant (though I think Athena would pull off a really close resemblance to Naomi if they wanted to bring her “cousin” in).

Winner: Athena

Very nice sportsmanship afterwards. In a world that prizes people (and I use that term loosely) like the Kardashians, it’s nice to have some positive role models for girls.

Sixth match: Moonshine Mantell vs. James “Jiggle-O” Johnson

I have seen Mantell before. He is a total hoss. The guy has a look to where he could sign with any major promotion if all the pieces come together. And Jiggle-O is a total chameleon. I’m not sure if there’s something he could NOT do in the ring. His job was to make Mantell look killer. There was a back-body drop that I’m pretty sure Johnson was up in the air long enough to read War and Peace. The story here was that Mantell wanted Matt Palmer, Johnson’s tag team partner. Palmer kept on not responding. Mantell put Johnson in the Lex Luger Torture Rack.

Winner: Mantell

After the match Palmer came in for the rescue. There was a pull apart. Several times. Poor security took their share of bumps. Matt Palmer was laid out for all intents and purposes. Out came the champ for the easy victory.

Main event:  Jerome Daniels (c) vs. Matt Palmer

So Jerome wanted the match started and the countout victory. Palmer made it in by the 10-count. Palmer just will not die. Jerome did everything he could to put Palmer away, and Palmer kicked out every time. After ref bump #1, Tadlock & Garcia came out with their finisher. Palmer kicked out. It was almost very Sami Zayn-like. Mantell came out during ref bump #2 (next ref bump I was going to look around for a TNA logo). We were out of referees so GM Kyle Valo counted himself.

Winner (?): Daniels

Valo superkicked Palmer in the face to end the show.

All in all… I dislike the Austin-McMahon thing with Valo-Palmer. We’ve seen it plenty of times since 1998, and it’s going to be nowhere as successful as it was with Austin & McMahon. (I think this is a “wrestling in general” problem more than just MPX.) Give me Jack Tunney once a quarter. Just my opinion.

Delilah and Taylor are really upping their game to a next level. Matt Palmer should be wrestling for a major company, and so should Athena. It was a really pleasant night of wrestling. I got to distract myself from what is a very crazy world and have a night with my little girl, which is exactly what we needed.

Posted in Indy Wrestling, Pro Wrestling, Wrestling | Leave a comment

VIP Wrestling-Love Hurts 2-13-2015

Trying to wrap up this wrestling show a few hours after. I’d be lying to not call this night one of the greatest nights of my life. Is it the greatest show I’ve ever seen live based on wrestling alone? I’d say it’s tied my Inspire Pro from last May. But it wasn’t what happened IN the ring that made it so great for me. It was my little girl being with me that made it so great. I’m sure somebody somewhere will do a straight recap. This won’t be one of those. My daughter is my “SHIMMER”-watching buddy, and I’m very proud of her and will talk about her constantly.

We began the night with a meet-n-greet with the performers. I got to meet Raymond Rowe, Shane Taylor, AR Fox & Nicole Savoy. Athena signed the sign we made for her. We walked in and found our seats. I let her choose where she wanted and she went for smack dab middle of the front row where the wrestlers had the most room to dive. We’ll try to remember that for next time.

The show began with Keith Roberts, ring announcer extraordinaire, introducing GM Claudia. Wrestling shows everywhere begin with talking but we’re not about that. Let’s have wrestling.

First match: Lou Sterrett vs. “The Natural” Michael Shafer

So I thought this was going to be a collar-elbow tie-up, confined to the ring wrestling contest. It might have been at first. This was bathroom break #1 for my little girl. Well, when we got back, two guys that I don’t naturally (No pun intended) think of as being high-fliers were like AJ Styles-Low Ki. Well, Lou Sterrett ended up at ringside and fell in my lap. He whispers to me that I might want to move. Being that I’ve never heard a wrestler tell me to move before, I got up stat. I was very glad because about 2 moves later Sterrett’s foot would have gone right through my head. My daughter was fearless and didn’t really move out of the way like she should have. She became the star of the night because Daddy moved out of the way quickly and she was happy in her seat not wanting to move. This was a crazy, insane match I did not expect. Nikki Bella would have called her “Fearless.”

Winner: Sterrett

I didn’t see this from start to finish but because of how this exceeded my expectations, this is my choice for match of the night. There was good sportsmanship between the two afterwards. In honor of Claudia celebrating a birthday, they brought out a cake, which my daughter had her eyes on like a hawk. Of course no birthday celebration is complete without a Dirty Minds interruption. And to counteract the Dirty Minds we got Simply Irresistible. I thought we were going to have the match there. I couldn’t hear everything as there seemed to be audio problems all night. But we did have Jiggle-O introduce us all to… “The Crotch {dramatic pause} of Wrestling” which is a play on JT LaMotta’s “The Mind of Wrestling.” Claudia announced that the winner of their tag match would be in the main event.

Second match: Davey Vega vs. Orion “Payday” Taylor w/Kenny Steele

I’d like to see Taylor get booked a little bit more through Texas. He is a high-flyer that can stand toe to toe with people who are known on a national level. And he proved that tonight with Vega. I have never seen him look crisper and more complete. I wrote down that this match was exactly what I thought it was going to be. You had two high-flyers going out and doing their thing. And again they ended up in front of us. It was a struggle to get both guys into the ring. Taylor was the only one who made it by the 10-count.

Winner: Orion Taylor by countout

After the match Taylor and Vega shook hands and then… Vega turned on him. Out came Kenny Steele to his rescue. Then they were attacked by the Bad Boyz (Lil Tony & Seph Annunaki). Seph and Taylor came up together so I hope they play on their history. Claudia announced the next show would feature tag teams. Kimber Bombs, Made in Syn, please?

Third match: Dirty Minds (Andy Dalton & JT LaMotta) vs. Simply Irresistible (Matt Palmer & “Jiggle-O” James Johnson)

You remember the Smackdown 6? It was Kurt Angle, Edge, Rey Misterio, Jr., Eddy Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and He Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned. Well, I am coining a new term. The Arlington 4. And that is these 4 guys in this match. All 4 of these guys have fought in all different kinds of matches. This was old hat for them.

So how over are these guys? One of the fans stocked up on pink loofah sponges to throw at Andy Dalton as he is #dirty. And of course Dalton sold everything like crazy. One of the sponges hit him, and he sold like it was a clothesline. The same fan also stocks up on streamers for Palmer & Johnson. She gave one to my daughter so she got to throw it in the ring. The hardest part was telling a 5 year old to wait on throwing streamers.

Of course they made it ringside and LaMotta barked at the front row to move. And once again, we found out seats the epicenter of the action. Thankfully we moved so we were not in them. These 4 guys knew how to put on a great tag match and did exactly that.

Winner: Dirty Minds

Fourth match: “Notorious” Shane Taylor (c) vs. Charlie Haas

For anybody unfamiliar with Shane Taylor, he is the champion of a promotion in the New Orleans area called WildKat, which is run by Luke Hawx. Dude is a total hoss, not to be confused with his opponent, who is an actual Haas. Somebody made a joke about him being overweight. And then since one person said it, the whole audience took on the fat jokes. The man was very thick, not fat. He reminded me a lot of Bam Bam Bigelow. He came out in this hoodie, most intimidating ring presence since Lance Hoyt. I said to my daughter, “Ooh, he’s scary isn’t he?” Totally unfazed, “No.” This was originally supposed to be Taylor vs. Gregory James but he did the job to an abscess tooth. So not only did they provide a replacement for Greg, they provided a former WWE champ. Now I have to apologize for this match was my daughter’s bathroom break #2. When we came back the two hosses were slugging the spit out of each other. What happened during the match from my perspective was one of the highlights of my life.

Of course they ended up in the crowd with my little girl who I had to call away from our seats. The crowd loved her all night for her fearlessness. Some of the chants for her included “Little Girl,” “She is awesome,” “Sign her up,” “She’s hardcore” and once Keith asked her name to assist in the drawing, they chanted it too. Well, during this match, after I escaped with her, I got the chants. “Father of the Year.” Charlie Haas, whose career I’ve followed since he was in WWE developmental, watched him debut in Team Angle, morph into The World’s Greatest Tag Team, become one of my three favorite tag teams of all time (LOD & the Dudleys are the other two), be part of a legendary tag division in ROH, THAT Charlie Haas, took a second out of the match to walk over to me, shake my hand and raise my arm. I died. That moment meant so much to me. Then the crowd chanted, “Don’t tell Mom.” (Sorry, Beautiful.)

This was a very nice hoss match or Haas match as the case may be.

Winner: Taylor

Fifth match: Athena (c) vs. Nicole Savoy

This was (I believe) Nicole’s first match in Texas. So it was my first chance to see her except for the Youtube matches we pre-watched. She is very similar to Athena so I was really looking forward to this match. This match was contested for the AIW Women’s (@aiwrestling) & ACW Joshi Championships (@ACWWrestling). So we all knew who was going to win, right? A Cleveland & Austin promotions are going to let their title change hands before a different crowd than their home crowd? This is how good the match was. I found myself thinking that Athena was going to tap out. They kicked the stuffing out of each other several times. And then we got to see Nicole shine. She put hold after hold on Athena. I went through scenarios. Maybe Nicole beats her tonight and then Athena beats her Sunday at Inspire Pro in Austin. That’s how good the match was. I knew how it was going to end but I doubted it.

Winner: Athena

Main event: ACH (c) vs. AR Fox vs. Raymond Rowe vs. Andy Dalton

I know what you’re thinking. One of these things is not like the other when it comes to Andy Dalton. For a long time I’ve been saying he’s Texas’ biggest kept secret. This match really didn’t have a clear-cut heel. Fans are going to boo ACH or AR Fox? And they’re going to boo Ray Rowe? Out of fear, only if he gives me permission. So they needed a heel, which is Andy Dalton to a tee. As the match began, AR Fox left the ring apron to tell me I was probably going to want to move. So I was over the side and not taking notes. And sometimes when you’re watching guys with so much talent, you just put the notebook down and be a fan. Highlights I remember: AR Fox did a killer moonsault onto where I would have been sitting. This was Ray Rowe’s first match since his motorcycle accident. I can tell you there was no ring rust at all. AR Fox did a running leap onto Ray Rowe who was head off the ring apron. Andy Dalton proved he could hang with national ROH and DGUSA talent. And ACH was ACH. He shone like the star he always is.

Winner: ACH

After the match Andy Dalton was about to shake ACH’s hand. Then JT LaMotta came in for the attack. They announced AR Fox & ACH vs. LaMotta & Dalton for the next show.

All in all… Sorry for not much of a recap. My little girl was kind of the center of my universe, and it’s hard to experience all of the wrestling when you’re being dad too. What I will say that I usually never say is that you need this DVD. That can be found here. As a wrestling fan I was very happy with the night. I got to see nationally recognized wrestlers I don’t usually get to see. My inner survivalist loved the thrill and exhilaration of never knowing what wrestler was going to attack me or my seat next. And as a father, I was very proud of the night I had with my little girl.

Posted in Indy Wrestling, Pro Wrestling, Uncategorized, Women's Wrestling, Wrestling | Leave a comment

Metroplex Wrestling-Do or Die 1-24-2015

This story will be told through a lot of different perspectives. I will have the wrestling fan. I will have the wrestling reviewer. And for the first time, I will have the father. This was my daughter’s first wrestling event. So if all you’re wanting is a straight recap, this is not it. This is my reflection of the night as a whole, which will include details of her night as a wrestling connoisseur for the first time. For reference, she refers to all of wrestling as “SHIMMER,” which is probably the top women’s promotion in North America. More information can be found here.

Exclusive dark match: Asian Nation w/Matt Andrews vs. Rabid Empire (Kevin Cross & Steven Kirby) w/Nigel Rabid

So we had the Asian Nation come out first. It was Jiggle-O James Johnson & Li Fang who introduced their special guest former champion “Secret Asian Man” Matt Andrews. My daughter loved the Asian Nation. She got to hold up her “RANCID EMPIRE” sign, and any time action happened, she held it up. We started the night off with a plancha from Johnson. One of the coolest spots of the night was when Kevin Cross was dazed in a corner, Li & Johnson both did a double-kick to Cross’ head. Ouch. The Empire also wrestled a strong heel tag match. The highlight for me was when Nigel and Andrews got into it in the ring. Nigel did a suplex or something. He just had this really satisfied look on his face. Then Andrews did a low-blow. I wrote that this seemed like a main event as a pre-show match.

Winner: Rabid Empire

When I went to my first wrestling show in 1997, I’m pretty sure Howard Finkel didn’t single me out, ask my age and who my favorite wrestler was. (17 and Arn Anderson) Keith Roberts, ring announcer extraordinaire, knew it was my daughter’s first show and went over and asked her if she was excited, how old she was and who her favorite wrestler was. The only catch is that my daughter is incredibly shy and made Roman Reigns look like Ric Flair on the mic. After we sat down, I asked her who her favorite wrestler was and we decided on Sasha Banks on NXT. But thank you Keith for making my daughter’s first wrestling show better.

“The Unholy” Gregory James came out first and wanted Mace Malone NOW.

First match: Gregory James vs. Mace Malone

I wrote down that this match was a battle of the men with intense ring presence. For chapter one, in what should be a very long feud, they really brought it. I know I said this already, but I felt this watching this match too. It felt like a main event match. I wrote down, “Looks like they fought their main event tonight.” Where do they go from here? I always find myself asking that with Greg, and somehow he always proves me wrong. Every near-fall looked like, “Ok, this is the one.” Nobody could put the other away. Finally Mace did.

Winner: Mace

I think the people of MPX are in for a really big treat with this feud. Kyle Valo came out and introduced local MMA/wrestling promoter/reality star Thomas Bussey. I’m not really sure what everybody said but Bussey did a lot of push-ups.

Second match: Scott Murdoch w/Jamie Oller vs. Kenny Steele

This is the match where my daughter had to go to the bathroom. So I didn’t have the chance to take very good notes here. I liked Murdoch as a smug sell-out. I’ve seen him be a heel where he destroys you, well, because Murdoch smash. Here it was an entirely different situation. Kenny went out with a lot of fire. I wanna say this is probably the best I’ve ever seen Kenny. And I remember his in-ring debut. There was no surprise here. Murdoch put him through a very painful powerbomb for the win.

Winner: Murdoch

It seems the “Hoss” world is becoming more popular in the North American wrestling scene. If that happens, I see Murdoch becoming very successful (along with Tadlock and Randy Wayne).

Third match: Kyle Hawk (c) vs. Jason Silver vs. Andy Dalton

Of course my daughter waited for the most exciting match on the card to want to play with my phone (which would later reveal some adorable results but we’ll get to that). Andy Dalton  was greeted as everybody threw pink loofas at him. I think that’s how you know you’re over as a heel. I’m sure there are some old veterans who would have just dismissed this as a spot monket fest. It very well might have been. But one thing is for sure. This match was non-stop action. All I could write was “Wow.” My words could not do this justice. They received a well-deserved “This is awesome” chant from the crowd.

Winner: Hawk

I wrote that this was a nice decisive win to make Hawk look like a credible champion and maybe a possible contender for the big championship later on?

Fourth match: Trust Fund (Viktor Tadlock & Joey Garcia) w/Jamie Oller vs. The Flying Jackasses (BC & Frankie Fisher)

This was another multi-layered, multi-dimensional match. Frankie & BC really surprised me on how well they work together as a team. Frankie was firing on all cylinders when it comes to comedy. I do say he is one of the best in Texas when it comes to comedy style. It also transitioned from comedy to heel beatdown really well. Tadlock would also fit very well in somebody’s Hoss division. What I liked about Garcia here is that he wrestles a completely different style as a heel than he will at other promotions as a face. Jamie Oller used a chairshot to steal one for the Trust Fund.

Winner: Trust Fund

After the intermission we introduced Jerome Daniels who said he was going to see if Mike Foxx showed up. Foxx’ music hit once. No appearance. Well, let’s try it one more time. No appearance. Well, since Mike Foxx wasn’t there, he was going to offer a title shot to anybody in the back. And the person who took him up on that was Zero the Antihero.

Fifth match: Jerome Daniels (c) w/Trust Fund vs. Zero the Antihero

So there isn’t a person who thought for a second Zero was winning this. Like most Zero matches. The crowd still loves every single thing about him though. We got to hold up our “If Zero loses, we riot” sign, which looks a lot cuter when my daughter holds it than me. The crowd started doing the Baron Corbin NXT thing by counting until the match was over. They stopped after about 22. Maybe they got bored or didn’t know what came next. Either or. This turned out to be a really competitive match. But Jerome walked away still champ.

Winner: Daniels

After the match, the Trust Fund beat down poor Zero in a 5-on-1 mugging. Out came the babyfaces for a rescue. They set up a 10-person elimination match later on that night.

Sixth match: “Outlaw” Randy Wayne w/James Hawke vs. Matt Palmer with Thomas Bussey as ringside enforcer

Well, Hawke had the crowd against him. The fellows next to me were convinced he had bought his shirt at Goodwill. He also received a “Bald Spot” chant. Since I’ve been gone a few months, best I can figure out GM Valo has a vendetta against Matt Palmer and it trying to screw him over (because I guess we haven’t seen heel authority figure go after high-level babyface since 1997 enough). Palmer got a streamer, which is a big deal for our crowd. Wayne would also make somebody’s Hoss division a nice fit. He’s just so country tough. Palmer injured his knee in the match, and Wayne turned into the shark that smelled blood. There was a ref bump, and Bussey, who had been seeming to favor Wayne went into the ring and with the staredown, Bussey attacked Hawke and Wayne. Bussey had Hawke in a triangle choke, Palmer put Wayne in his hold and the referee woke up just in time to see Wayne tap out.

Winner: Palmer

Main event: Kyle Hawk, Flying Jackasses, Livi La Vida Loca & Kenny Steele vs. Trust Fund in an Elimination Match

There were so many elements to this match. This is the stuff Teddy Long dreams of. A 10-person tag match? By this time, my daughter was bored with her phone and back into this match. So she kept on wanting to hold up the “RANCID EMPIRE” sign. But at least she was into it. The 5 faces each did huge dives onto the Trust Fund. The crowd went insane over this and rightfully so. Livi came off looking really strong. I got to show my little girl that somebody as small as Livi can stand toe to toe with somebody as big as Scott Murdoch. I forgot exactly who was left last but it was someone from the Trust Fund.

Winner: Trust Fund

We had a run-in from Mike Foxx after the match set up something in the future.

All in all… What a night. I learned that you should never give your daughter your phone while at a wrestling event. You might end up with this:

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I know what you’re all thinking. Delilah Doom’s dream opponent. I also saw my role transition from wrestling fan to wrestling fan’s dad. I would hold the Velvet Sky action figure she brought, the M & M’s, the water bottle, makeshift necklace that didn’t work very well. It was still a very special night I will cherish forever.

So about the wrestling. We had several main-event caliber matches all throughout the night. Asian Nation-Rabid Empire, Mace-Greg and the actual main event could have been main events of any other show. Kyle Hawk. Joey Garcia. Remember those names. Kenny is taking more bookings and it is showing in his work. Also somebody with a “Hoss” division needs Scott Murdoch, or your division is not legitimate. Thank you all for work and giving us all something to bond over.

Posted in Indy Wrestling, Pro Wrestling, Shimmer, Uncategorized, Wrestling | Leave a comment

IHWE Old School Hustle 2014-9/28/2014

I’m trying to put in perspective my night with the IHWE. It was a really long wrestling experience but that’s ok (unless you are my wife). It opened up with a Jim Cornette Q&A. And just wow. Jim Cornette could have held us captivated for hours. After the Q&A session, there was a meet ‘n’ greet. All the wrestlers were great and enthusiastic to be there. Before the actual show began, we had two, I guess, dark matches.

First match: Joey Garcia vs. “Too Much Metal” Gregory James

Imagine Mark Wahlberg wrestling like Chris Benoit. That is Garcia. I don’t use the Benoit name a lot, and he’s not exactly Chris Benoit yet. But he has a lot of the same mannerisms and ring style. I’ve had the chance to see Garcia before but this time it was a lot different. He was looking more ripped and crisper. I’ll make no mystery that I had the chance to see Greg ever since his career began. He has probably come the farthest of anybody I’ve seen. As for the story of the match, they went with the crescendo from the friendly back and forth to the really loud slap from Garcia. It was a very nice opener to get the crowd going.

Winner: Gregory James

Second match: Old School Assassins (“Bad” Brad Michaels & Striker) w/Ken Kelly vs. Ruben Rivera & Tex As Red

I remember watching a Bad Brad match around 10 years ago in an NWA Southwest ring. I honestly had not seen him since. Tex As Red is probably one of the most over wrestlers in the company. I love seeing him because he’s such a good character. These guys knew their role. They weren’t going to be all flippy-floppy and crazy. They let Red do his comedy. He was great. He also bumped and sold like crazy. He took a lot of punishment. The Assassins attacked the official and were disqualified.

Winner: Rivera & Red

After the match, Team Extreme came out to the rescue. Kit Carson was unable to compete tonight but they were going to have a match against the Assassins. So Khris Germany had to pick between Red or Rivera. Since Rivera took a less amount of punishment, Rivera was going to join Team Extreme later on. The real show then began. Jim Cornette came out to introduce this match. He was dressed carrying a racket. 1996 Justin died of excitement. It was billed as a battle of Texas vs. Missouri.

Third match: Submission Squad (Pierre Abernathy, Evan Gelistico & Gary Jay) vs. Team Texas (Thomas Shire, “The Unholy” Gregory James & Ashton Jacobs)

James Beard was the ref. It is so great to see the Submission Squad in person rather than DVD as I’m usually forced to. Pierre looks like he’s lost some weight since I last saw him. And yes, “The Unholy” Gregory James is the same as “Too Much Metal” Gregory James. He is a Dude Love away from being the next Mick Foley. The Submission Squad was everything you’d want from them. They were crisp and stiff (just ask Thomas Shire’s chest) and got the crowd to hate them. They were great at crowd engagement with the people around me. Greg did a lot of the selling and bumping in this match. He was one of the night’s unsung heroes. The finish was incredible. Shire picked up of the SS members in a fireman’s carry takeover and spun him around a few times and then a few times without using his hands.

Winner: Team Texas

It was a huge emotional exclamation point. And as a wrestling fan since 1996, I’ve gotta say it’s something I have not seen before.

Fourth match: Seth Shai vs. Jiggle-O James Johnson

Rick Manning was the referee. (I don’t often list the refs. I do when it’s Manning or James Beard.) So Shai was in total heel mode. That meant that Johnson was going to bump and sell like crazy, which he did. I think he’s one of the best in Texas at bumping and selling and making people look good. There was a crazy dive from Johnson onto Shai. Mike Foxx came out and interfered in the match causing a dq.

Winner: Johnson by dq

Franco d’Angelo came out to his rescue and cleaned house. Next was the ladies match. We were introduced to Karen Merritt who would present the award to the winner.

Fifth match: Delilah Doom & Peyton Gates vs. Miss Diss Lexia & Jessica James

I had the chance to meet both Gates and James earlier in the night. Both ladies were lovely and great. I have previously described Doom as “sunshine in human form.” She reminds me a lot of Leva Bates. I could see those two having a nice tag team. Gates is a gorgeous, stunning blond. I haven’t seen her work much yet, but she has a look that could take her very far. James is a few months removed from her tour of Japan. There is a difference of focus and presence in her work. And Miss Diss Lexia is probably the most improved wrestler in Texas for the past year, male or female. She recently got a chance for WSU/CSZW and hopefully will continue on their level. A name who comes to mind is Melanie Cruise.

Now onto the match. The stipulations were that the winner of the tag match would face their opponent. So you think that Miss Diss Lexia would stand on the apron and make Jessica do all the work. But no. Lexia did all the work. She was showing off and that confident. It was pretty creative. Delilah did a lot of the bumping here. Finally Jessica tagged in while Lexia wasn’t looking. She came in and got the roll-up pin. It was now Miss Diss Lexia vs. Jessica James. And this is where the match got good. Both of these ladies wrestled a match that was as good as anything you’d see on a SHIMMER, Shine or WSU show. These two ladies tore the house down.

Winner: Miss Diss Lexia

Sixth match: Tim Storm w/ Miss Tiffany vs. JT LaMotta

For those counting, this is the second LaMotta match I have seen since his retirement. He was wrestling Tim Storm. Both of these guys have wrestled each other in so many places it was old hat for them. They knew what story to tell and exactly how to tell it. The crowd was really into this match. LaMotta was super-over, lots of “Mind of Wrestling” chants. The highlight for me was the stiff chops. I don’t know whose I’d have rather taken.

Winner: Storm

There was a Hall of Fame Ceremony for “The Grappler” Len Denton (wearing his mask of course) and Jim Cornette who was a surprise inductee. The ring was a who’s who of Texas wrestling history: James Beard, Rick Manning, Team Extreme, Todd Diamond, Barbara Goodish (the widow of the late Bruiser Brody), Stan Hansen, Gorgeous Gary Young, Black Bart, members of the Cauliflower Alley Club. It wasn’t an angle. Everything turned out well and it was an extraordinary moment.

After the intermission, they brought out Lance Hoyt. Hoyt/Vance Archer has wrestled in Texas for the greater part of 10+ years (give or take a few years). He talked about his long, storied career, some of the places he’s been and talked about what a wonderful night of action we were getting. He said he wanted the champ, didn’t matter who it was.

Seventh match: Old School Assassinsw/Ken Kelly vs. Ruben Rivera & Khris Germany w/Kit Carson & Tex As Red

I used to watch Team Extreme back in the old NWA Southwest days. They were one of the top tag teams there. I remember them because they came out with a barb wire baseball bat. My mother used to tell me they shouldn’t carry that around, that it is dangerous. (I’ve always said my mother needs her own blog or podcast about wrestling. It would dwarf everything.) Watching this match I was back in the Texas Indoor Arena in North Richland Hills all over again. If you wanted technical beauty, this was not your match. This was a crowd brawl, plain and simple. I loved Kelly as the manager. He spent a lot of time jawing with the crowd around me. They went out into the crowd and it’s not very often, but I moved. This was my nostalgia. Khris Germany did a huge DDT to walk away with the victory.

Winner: Rivera & Germany

David Fuller came out with The Grappler to honor him. The Empire (Matt Riviera & Tim Storm) came out to interrupt them. “Why are you honoring the old people? Why not honor your present?” After a back and forth, the Empire attacked both of them. James Beard came in for the save but was quickly put away. That brought out Black Bart and then Gorgeous Gary Young for the save. After The Empire came out, Hoyt, Shire, Kyle O’Reilly, Charlie Haas all came out for the save. Fuller announced that champ Matt Riviera would face Thomas Shire that night. Jim Cornette came out and said that since he was guest commissioner for the night, he was going to be in Shire’s corner to counter-balance The Empire’s manager Boyd Bradford. Cornette was given a mic. The Peanut Head and Elmer Fudd chants began.

Eighth match: Franco D’Angelo vs. Mike Foxx

This was the big match. For those who have never followed the story of Franco D’Angelo, he suffered a life-threatening car wreck and was never expected to survive, much less walk, run, competitively body-build or wrestle in the ring. This is my first time to see him wrestle live since the wreck. And Franco looked great. He refers to himself as the Bionic Beast. I call him the Human Cyborg. It was great seeing him back in the ring. And it was great seeing him back in the ring against Mike Foxx. These two guys have faced each other so much it’s old hat. Foxx worked over the shoulder. I wrote down that I felt a lot of emotion here in this match. Franco had him in the Boston Crab and Foxx was one tap away from losing. Then Seth Shai ran in to interfere. Then Jiggle-O came in to even the score.

New Eighth match: Mike Foxx & Seth Shai vs. Franco D’Angelo & Jiggle-O James Johnson

Now referee Rick Manning could have disqualified him, but no. In honor of the great Theodore Long, he made a tag match. So the four of them beat the stuffing out of each other. Foxx and Franco went to the back. Johnson climbed up the top rope and was about to hit the O-Face on Shai. Shai pushed Rick Manning into the ropes and Johnson lost his balance. Shai did a Northern Lights Suplex off the top rope to get the win.

Winner: Foxx & Shai

Ninth match: Mat Fitchett vs. Kyle O’Reilly

I have never gotten to see an active Ring of Honor champion in action so I marked out for this a little. Fitchett was the perfect guy for this match. To be honest, I didn’t write down notes on the actual match. Sometimes you get so involved in reviewing that you forget to enjoy the match. And I definitely wanted to enjoy this. I remember that O’Reilly kept going back to the armbreaker. DDP could make the Diamond Cutter come out of nowhere. But that was no submission hold he put on. I counted the chants. We had one “This is wrestling,” one “Awesome match” and THREE “This is awesome” chants.

Winner: O’Reilly

What the fans neglected to do was a “Please come back” chant. Hopefully he will.

Tenth match: Americos (c) vs. Charlie Haas for the DFW Championship

I was really worn out by this time. So forgive me for not taking good notes. You have an established top name talent going up against a kid who is on his way to being one. I also had a hard time rooting for a person. I like Americos and his family. But Haas is one-half of one of my top 3 favorite tag teams of all time. It was hard for the crowd too. There were dueling “Americos” and “Haas” chants. Haas ended up with the win.

Winner and new DFW champion: Haas

I was wanting Americos to have a long reign, but Haas with the belt adds some prestige to it.

Main event: Matt Riviera (c) w/ The Empire vs. Thomas Shire w/Jim Cornette for the IHWE championship

I don’t think there’s a single person in that arena who thought Riviera was walking out the champ. Cornette was out there to equalize the threat of Boyd Bradford. I remember a Survivor Series when CM Punk beat Alberto del Rio for the belt in Madison Square Garden with Howard Finkel as the ring announcer. This was the feeling I got from this. My inner 1996 Justin was totally marking out for Shire getting to have Cornette in his corner. I’m sure there was a match going on inside the ring. I’d be lying if I wasn’t waiting for the Empire’s manager to interfere so I could watch Cornette whoop up on him. As the match reached its climax, Riviera gave him every move and Shire kept kicking out. Every dirty belt shot, every finisher, I said this is it. But Shire was able to pull off the upset win and win the belt.

Winner and new champion: Shire

All in all: 11+ matches. Not bad for what we paid. I’ve seen wrestlers look like there is any other place they want to be. None of those wrestlers were out tonight. Everybody was cordial and appreciative. It’s not every day that you get yesterday’s superstars like Stan Hansen, Gary Young, Black Bart, Len Denton, Karen Merritt & James Beard on the same card as top talent like Kyle O’Reilly, Charlie Haas & Lance Hoyt and wrestlers on the cusp like Mat Fitchett, Miss Diss Lexia, Jessica James, Gregory James & Thomas Shire. And did I mention Jim Cornette with a mic?

If this isn’t one of the best events top to bottom that I’ve seen live, I’d really have to examine myself to see what was better. Thank you to all the wrestlers and talent who contributed to making this an incredible night.

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IHWE Showdown 2014 8-30-2014

These are my thoughts on a recent show I went to in Fort Worth. I’d like to give my thoughts on the pre-show ambiance but due to my mistiming and the wrong address appearing in my phone, that didn’t happen. I came in right as promoter David Fuller was introducing former champ SB1. The two of them put over their past. Then SB1 put over Fuller’s passion.

Fuller announced they were scheduled to have a match between Peyton Gates and Miss Diss Lexia. However Ms. Gates suffered an injury to keep her out of the match. Her opponent Miss Diss Lexia came in to the ring to cut a promo talking about how she wished her to get better and then when the crowd believed her, she attacked Gates. Delilah Doom (who is like sunshine in human form) came out to try to rescue her and got attacked too. Miss Diss Lexia looked imposing, threatening and oh, yes, very stunning. If there is a vote for Most Improved Wrestler of 2014, she has my vote.

First match: Li Fang w/ Nigel Rabid vs. Kyle Hawk

Everybody involved in this match was really firing on all cylinders. While I’ve seen highlights of Hawk, this was my first time to see him do an entire match. And wow. I was really blown away by him. And dare I call Nigel Rabid one of the best things in Texas wrestling? He keeps the crowd engaged the entire time. Li and Kyle’s work was very good. It was a beautiful athletic contest. You had all the flippy-floppy stuff that sparked the crowd. The crowd seemed to be pretty hot and into it most of the night. Li, Nigel, Kyle, legendary referee Rick Manning, all 4 were reading off each other. It was a very good opener.

Winner: Li Fang

After the match they introduced HOFer Black Bart. Wow, this man can cut a promo and keep a crowd’s attention. Sit down at that man’s feet and learn from him.

Second match: Kevin Cross w/Nigel Rabid vs. Crusher Mark

Cross is huge, like legit 7’1″. I think his nickname should be the One Man Tag Team. Crusher Mark was the ultimate babyface. He came out with the American flag, giving it to a kid to hold during the match, gave his dog tags to a kid to hold. He stomped his feet and everybody said, “Hoo-rah.” Everybody knew they were supposed to do this but me. At first I thought the match would remind me of a Giant/Big Show match from ’96. But it was a lot more competitive than I thought it would be. You had the big guy taking on the little guy with lots of fire behind him. I actually thought Mark was going to win at one point. But out of nowhere we got the Kevin Cross chokeslam and he walked away with the pin.

Winner: Cross

Third match: Jiggle-O James Johnson vs. Bryan Ryder

I’m not sure where I heard that this was going to be Ryder’s last match, but I knew it somehow going into this. Johnson has has a really good year this past year. I call it the “Johnsonnaisance.” It was a beautifully laid-out match. Johnson bumped and sold like Dolph Ziggler. There were so many bumps where you were sure he died and so many near-falls where you thought this was it. But Ryder had a really last match to end off his career with. Jiggle-O walked away with an O-face and the victory.

Winner: Johnson

This really could have been a main event anywhere. It was nice to see Ryder go out on a high note. After the match, David Fuller came out with Khris Wolfe and talked about their past together as being founders of IHWE. It was a nice moment.

After the intermission, we had Thomas Shire come out to face an unknown opponent. It was the retired Mind of Wrestling JT LaMotta.

Fourth match: Thomas Shire vs. JT LaMotta

I’m liking what I see from Shire every time I see him. His look is so different. He doesn’t look like he belongs in this decade. He’s what you would see in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s in a territory. Or you could find on a high school wrestling team. The name that comes to mind in Jack Swagger. I was there for JT LaMotta’s last match in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Strange. Here he is wrestling a year later. Needless to say, it was a nice match. LaMotta is such a capable veteran. At one point, Shire extended his hand, and LaMotta told him he’d shake Shire’s hand if Shire could beat him. LaMotta didn’t need the victory. He put over Shire as he should have.

Winner: Shire

Fifth match: Mike Foxx vs. Seth Shai

These two have been around for forever, have wrestled in all parts of the globe. Both of them know what to do so I just sat back and watched the show. Foxx was not happy and was done and began to walk to the back. Rick Manning, the greatest referee of all time, was trying to get Foxx back in the ring. Foxx laid a hand on him and and Manning dq’d him.

Winner via disqualification: Shai

Black Bart came into the ring to threaten Foxx and Jiggle-O James Johnson came out to the rescue when lo and behold, Seth Shai joined forces with Mike Foxx. They introduced Charlie Haas and announced he was going to face the winner of the main event at the next show on 9/28.

Main event: Americos vs. Gregory James vs. Ashton Jacobs in a Best of 3 Falls Match with David Fuller as special guest referee

Jacobs looks a lot like 1996 Chris Jericho. I’ve been watching Greg ever since he first began in the business so I never ceased to be amazed by how far he’s come. And Americos is strangely familiar for some reason, like I’ve been watching him wrestle for forever too. This was a rematch of the opener at the last IHWE show. No surprise. These guys are talented and brought a good main event. I had one problem with the booking. It was very obvious each wrestler was going to win a fall each. Sure enough, Greg got the first, Ashton the second and Americos the third. We were all tied at the top. Fuller announced they were going into Sudden Death. And of course the winner of the 3rd fall got the final pin. It just made good booking sense.

Winner: Americos

After the match the Rabid Empire came to attack the main event competitors. Thomas Shire came to the rescue, Charlie Haas told Americos to hold on to that belt for him, and we ended on a high note.

All in all… It was a pretty decent show. The overwhelming MVP of the night was Rick Manning. He refereed all but one match. The first half of the card was really good and the second half served to further some storylines for the 9/28 IHWE show.

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IHWE Experience

This was my first time to see this company live. I LOVED the venue. It’s difficult to find a wrestling company that runs in an air-conditioned building. I really liked the setup. We were introduced by Travis the ring announcer, one of the best in the business. They introduced Sarah Morgan of a local morning show and David Fuller. She looked nice and professional. I would have liked to see her talk more through the night as she was a host. As they were about to announce the first match, we were interrupted by Matt Riviera and Tim Storm, a faction known as The Empire. I really like the promo that Riviera cut. He started out complimenting the arena and the fans and then as he handed the mic back to Fuller, he paused to say, “Just remember who got you there.” And like that, the crowd turned on him. Perfect.

First match: Ashton Jacobs vs. Gregory James vs. Americos for the DFW Championship

Chico Torres was introduced. He was the last DFW champion and a legend at the time of the 80’s. This was originally supposed to be Barrett Brown but he got injured before the event. This was my first chance to see Ashton Jacobs & Americos. Greg, I’m quite familiar with. Ashton had lots of enthusiasm. I still haven’t figured out who he reminds me of. I hadn’t seen Greg without his face paint for a while. And as soon as Americos walked out, a d-bag not too far from me said, “Now we know you’re going over. Just go ahead with it.” This bothered me as a fan. Yes, I will do a report on it where I may talk about the business but I’m not going to yell out inside terms during a match. (Of course they showed how much they knew when they said later on that Gargano was under the Americos match. Spoiler alert: He’s not.) So, about the match. I could have watched Americos and Greg wrestle all day. They have such amazing chemistry. And Jacobs was fine with his work. I called this work excellent. I would put this up against any other Dragon Gate USA opener.

Winner: Americos

Second match: Li Fang w/ Matt Riviera vs. Seth Shai

I am very familiar with Li’s work. I’ve seen Seth a few times but don’t know him probably like I should. This was not a flashy, flippy-floppy match. This was about the stories. Riviera, who was accompanying Fang to the ring for some reason, cheated like it was going out of style, and Shai had to overcome. I’m not sure why Riviera was down there with Fang. It was nice that Li had somebody down there to help him get heat, but why him? Riviera never appeared with him anywhere else on the show. There were many legendary managers that night that could have helped out Li (cough, cough, Nigel Rabid). We also had Rick Manning as ref. He is just such a legend. I’d probably call him my all-time favorite ref. The finisher was pretty cool. Shai did a Northern Lights Suplex off the top rope.

Winner: Shai

Third match: Prince Al Farat w/ Ken Kelly vs. Apoc

In the movie “The Wrestler,” Randy the Ram played by Mickey Rourke asks The Ayatollah played by Ernest “The Cat” Miller what they’re going to do in their match. Miller’s character says, “You’re the face. I’m the heel. What else?” (This is my Ruff paraphrase.) This reminded me a lot of this match. I didn’t see Kelly do a lot but I think he was on the other side of the ring. Apoc and Farat have done this many times, and you could tell they were doing the dance. There was the story of the spike. Any time the referee was distracted, Farat would use the spike. As they were trying to flip each other over to get the pin, Farat got the most leverage and won.

Winner: Farat

Fourth match: Matt Riviera w/Tim Storm vs. Ashton Jacobs

So after Ashton Jacobs lost in the opener, he is now qualified for a title shot? Not sure I see the logic there. I was expecting a squash match. I got more than that. There wasn’t a person in the crowd who thought Jacobs was going to win, but the crowd was into it. Riviera put Jacobs in a killer submission hold and Jacobs gave up.

Winner: Riviera

Jacobs either got seriously hurt or they seriously sold it. They asked for a doctor in the house. It was a bad night for my wife the nurse to not be there. Of course, being 9 months pregnant, she probably wouldn’t have taken too kindly to waddling up there to take care of an injured wrestler. But I digress. Black Bart came out and spoke briefly. A lot of the wrestlers were out signing autographs. I enjoyed getting to meet all the guys I did, especially Farat, Storm & Gargano.

Fifth match: Terry Gordy Memorial Battle Royal

We were introduced to Craig Johnson, an announcer from the days of the Sportatorium. They brought out Terry Gordy’s widow. That was pretty awesome to see Gordy treated like a legend. Battle Royals are always really hard to cover. I know each wrestler contributed but I’m not entirely sure I saw how they did. I will talk about some of the highlights. Dave Dunnings’ weight was listed as “too damn much.” Tex As Red was over like a bone in a dog pound. I dare call his pop the biggest of the night. I’m pretty sure Randy Wayne destroyed Americos’ chest with a few chops. Here is the order in which they were eliminated: Chris Richter, John Famous, Dragon King, Tex As Red (thought the crowd was going to riot on that one), Gregory James, Randy Wayne (looked like he might be the winner early on), Americos, Dave Dunnings, Kevin Cross (whose size has to be seen to be believed) and then the winner Thomas Shire.

Winner: Shire

It was pretty cool moment watching Mrs. Gordy hand the trophy to Shire. They introduced Kody Kox who had a special interview with Franco D’Angelo. Franco talked about what he’d been through in the last few years, about how he was the last champion and his struggles with the car wreck that should have taken his life. Then Franco announced his retirement. Long-time foe/friend Mike Foxx came out to discuss the situation. He raised Franco’s arms and then, like anybody who’s ever watched Mike Foxx over the past 10 years was expecting, he turned on Franco and did his finisher. Out came Randy Wayne for the rescue and challenged Mike Foxx to a match.

Sixth match: Randy Wayne vs. Mike Foxx w/Katie Foxx

This was a pretty big opportunity for Randy Wayne. Mike Foxx is appropriately nicknamed “The Main Event.” So Randy Wayne essentially got to fight in the main event. And Wayne really brought it. This was the sleeper match of the night. Wayne isn’t a flippy-floppy guy. He’s more like a Texas tough MMA fighter. In a lot of ways, he is the new evolution of the cowboy character- tough, country, pain-giver. Wayne really knew how to shine. Foxx ended up doing his finisher and walking away with the victory.

Winner: Foxx

Wayne may not have won, but he looked like he belonged in the main event.

Seventh match: Tim Storm w/Miss Tiffany vs. Spoiler 2000

Later on in the night, Tim Storm referred to himself as the “Benjamin Button” of wrestling. With respects to Rain & Amber O’Neal, Storm is one of those guys that seems to get younger with time. I had seen Spoiler 2000 wrestle once a long time ago. Somehow these two had never wrestled each other. Miss Tiffany was good, jawing with the fans at ringside. There was two that looked like they were ready to kill her. We had Spoiler get on top of the ring at one point and go all the way across the rope to the other turnbuckle. What I loved most here was the drama of the claw. The claw is perhaps the most sacred move in Texas wrestling history. And here we got to see why it was. Storm would try to put it on Spoiler. Spoiler put him in the claw at one time.

Winner: Storm

No flashiness. Just two classics telling a story.

Eighth match: Johnny Gargano vs. Thomas Shire

Yes, it stills feels great to see myself having written that I got to see this match live. And quick warning. I’m a huge Johnny Gargano mark. Aside from the earlier battle royal, this was my first match of Shire’s. I found him to be a nice throwback to the days of the 60’s and 70’s. He’s like somebody you would find on an amateur wrestling team, much like a Bob Backlund or a Jack Swagger. This was not a very “smart-to-the-business” crowd (aside from the one d-bag near me who thought he was) so I’m not sure anybody was there to see Gargano other than me. I think Gargano might have noticed that too. So he took a crowd that had no idea who he was and gradually began to win them over. By the end of the match, people knew the name of Johnny Gargano. There were quite a few “Holy s***” moments for me. There was a great dive onto Shire that moved the guardrails back a few feet. I wrote down that it was an incredible match. The fans agreed with me, chants of “This is awesome” and “Awesome match” sounding through the match. Reflecting now, I’d call it Top 5 I’ve ever seen live.

Winner: Gargano

Shire hung with Gargano. I’d like to see more of him in the future. The Code came out to introduce JT LaMotta. Code was in total heel mode. Brilliant. LaMotta thanked them all for his time in the ring and like any retirement speech (aside from Edge’s for some reason), it was very quickly interrupted. He was interrupted by Tim Storm and Matt Riviera because I guess we hadn’t seen them enough tonight. They reminded LaMotta that he couldn’t anymore, he was a quitter, etc. LaMotta walked away.

Main event: The Empire (Tim Storm & Matt Riviera) w/ Miss Tiffany vs. Seth Shai & Americos

Not sure why we got to see these wrestlers again after having them wrestle a match earlier each. Tired from the work he’d put in all night, Riviera offered Seth and Americos the chance to forfeit the match so they could go to McDonalds (right, because wrestlers who spend that much time working on their physiques eat at McDonalds). It was a no-go. Poor Americos took a lot of the punishment in this match. He took a killer back body-drop from Tim Storm that made the crowd cringe. And if that wasn’t punishment enough, they gave him a wedgie. Storm just kind of looked like a gorilla man-handling an attacker. Riviera scoop-slammed him onto the floor. Eventually the hot tag was made and Shai came in and cleaned house. They rolled up both and got the pin.

Winner: Shai & Americos

The victory was short-lived as The Empire began to clean house. Gregory James came out and was promptly choke-slammed. LaMotta was attacked by Storm. Promoter David Fuller was attacked and the night ended with the Empire victorious.

All in all… This was a different kind of card for me. I have a tendency to like more of the flippy-floopy guys and girls. But it was interesting to watch story-tellers like Tim Storm, Mike Foxx and Al Farat do what they do. It’s not surprise I’m going to name Shire-Gargano the match of the night. But I have to give Randy Wayne-Mike Foxx a very honorable mention. Randy Wayne is a guy I like more every time I see him wrestle.

Some of the booking was a little off, like Ashton getting a title shot while losing the first match or why more than one of these guys had to pull double-duty. And WAY too much Empire. I’d like to see that dialed back a little.

What I see here is the best mix of the legends with the workers of today. I feel like there is something going on here.

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Inspire Pro Wrestling-In Their Blood

I’m going to be honest here. I got to go to this show as part of my early birthday present. I took a road trip with my mother to see a few of my favorite wrestlers. I’m probably going to “fan-boy” a little so please go easy on me. When we got there, the line was huge. There was barely any standing room left in a standing room only crowd. My seats were so incredible. We were greeted by Brandon Stroud the ring announcer. Brandon has just the right amount of quick wit and dorkiness that go well with the crowd. We were introduced to Matt Palmer. Palmer showed he could cut a promo. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Palmer wanted and deserved a title shot. The authority figure Greg Symonds let him know that he could have a title shot as soon as he defeated Raymond Rowe at the next show.

First match: Matt Palmer w/ Samantha Anne & Franco D’Angelo vs. Jiggle-O James Johnson

This was originally supposed to be Palmer vs. Jake Dirden but Dirden was not able to show up. Amazing. They actually announced this to the crowd unlike other places that advertise wrestlers they have no intention of producing. In the acting world Matthew McConaughey has had a little something they call a “McConaissance.” Well, I think Jiggle-O is experiencing one of those I will term the “Johnsonaissance.” He is a totally different wrestler than the one I see in Dallas. It’s like Austin is rediscovering Johnson for the first time. Palmer and Johnson had a match where they just went in and kicked the snot out of each other. This would have been an acceptable main event in some places. There were so many really cool-looking spots.

Winner: Palmer

The highlight of the match was Palmer going up to Franco’s shoulders for a splash onto Johnson. The beatdown continued, and an American Eagle came out to Johnson’s rescue.

Second match: Paige Turner & Miss Diss Lexia vs. KC Warfield & Kat Green

I was really excited to see this match. I like all 4. Well, it turned out that KC Warfield turned on her partner and it turned in to a 3-on-1 match.

Second match: Paige Turner, Miss Diss Lexia & KC Warfield vs. Kat Green

So it went from a match I really wanted to see into a yawn-fest. I like how Paige has her own faction (called the “Bookends” by the fans). Kat is extremely hot. I think she could go very far. She’s gorgeous, ridiculously athletic and has a great look. This got an ironic “This is awesome” chant from the crowd. (I love you, Austin!) There wasn’t anything wrong with the work. Nobody wants to watch a mugging at a wrestling match. All of a sudden, a lady wrestler came out of the crowd and joined Kat in her corner. She got in there and gave Kat what she needed to get an upset win.

Winner: Kat & mysterious woman

I believe Brandon Stroud announced her as Serena Mercury. This was really bizarre but watchable. They salvaged it.

Third match: Jodan & Eric Shadow vs. Hollywood Knives

Not really sure why Jodan & Shadow were a tag team. Both hate each other. Made no sense for them to be out there wrestling. The Knives are two guys in Rockers tights wearing Egyptian headdresses. The member not named Thomas got hit in the head or something and laid down on the ring apron for most of the match. I really didn’t think the hit was that hard and it was nothing compared to the ladder match later on. Eric Shadow was great. And Thomas pretty much wrestled a handicap match. Towards the end, comatose guy recovered, Shadow got tired of trying to work with Jodan and left him to the match.

Winner: Knives

Honorary member of the Robertson Duck Dynasty clan, Chris Trew.biz came out to the crowd to remind us of his newest charge Cherry Ramone (who needs a manager like I need redder hair). Then he announced a lady member of his stable. It was none other than Delilah Doom. They issued an open challenge to anybody in the back who wanted to answer it. Bad idea. Out came the returning Jessica James, fresh off her tour of Japan.

Fourth match: Delilah Doom vs. Jessica James

I really like Doom. She is like the love child of Leva Bates and Addy Starr. She is little and cute and bubbly. And as I said previously, Jessica was returning from Japan and this was one of her first matches back. She was so focused and so intense. It was kind of like Austin’s present facing Austin’s future. When Trew.biz interfered, James grabbed him by his beard and put him in a killer hold. Her repertoire is filled with killer holds. She put Doom in a hold that hurt me to watch. Doom VERY quickly tapped out.

Winner: James

Fifth match: Jojo Bravo vs. Tadasuke

Jojo is the world’s largest sumo wrestler and one of Texas’ best in-ring workers. Tadasuke was making his last stop on his tour of the US. I’ve never seen a Japanese wrestler on tour in the US so this was pretty awesome. On paper this would have been off-the-charts. This match was even better than it looked on paper. This was the match for smarks for the night. There were some people handing out streamers. They were launched like rockets for Tadasuke. Tadasuke was kind of the heel but kinda wasn’t. If/when this match is put on Youtube, you have to see this. Some of the highlights for me. Tadasuke was wasting time outside the ring and Jojo said, “Tadasuke, it’s 10 here, not 20 like Japan” and then Tadasuke scrambled to get back into the ring. The other highlight was Tadasuke had Jojo and told Side 1 to get up so he could throw them at their seat. Then he swerved and took him to Side 2 making sure all the fans got up and moved away. Then he swerved and took him to Side 3 making sure all the fans got up and moved away. And then to cap it all off, he threw him back into the ring so there was no brawl in the crowd at all.

Winner: Bravo

I don’t think I have ever given a match a standing ovation. This was the first I have ever seen a crowd do so for. During the intermission, I went to support Miss Diss Lexia by getting an 8×10. Me and the guy in front of her both had 20’s and she was short of change for that. He purchased mine for me so Lexia didn’t have to figure out change for both of us. If you are that person reading this, thank you.

Sixth match: Gregory James vs. Carson

I was pretty sure I would call this the sleeper match of the night. What I got from this match is that earlier Carson had urinated in Greg’s coffee. Because Greg put a LOT of punishment on Carson. There was a DDT onto the ring apron that the entire crowd groaned over. I was seriously concerned for Carson. I’ve seen guys get concussions from hitting that part of the ring before. Greg just pretty much killed him for a bit. Then Carson overcame and ended up taking the win.

Win: Carson

On any other card, this would have been match of the night. That is the kind of card these guys put together.

Seventh match: Veda Scott vs. Athena

If anybody’s wondering, this is where I go fan-boy. I love Veda Scott’s work. She is one of my favorites to watch in the ring. Not only is she excellent in the ring, she has an amazing personality, great on the mic, and can sell a story. I put down my notebook because I wanted to enjoy this as a fan. I live in Dallas and don’t get to see top women’s wrestling talents every show like somebody would in the Midwest or Northeast (aside from Athena). Veda has such an amazing arsenal of holds, much like the Woman of 1,004 Holds (Jericho reference for the win). And Athena is just a powerhouse of stiff kicks (where even my mother turned to me and said, “I’ve never seen that before”), athletic moves that humans should not be able to do and LOTS of fire. The finish was a little weird. Amanda Esquivel (my favorite referee) counted to 3 and it just looked like it wasn’t supposed to go down that way.

Winner: Athena

We saw very quickly things didn’t go right. Amanda gave a very visible X sign. People came out to check on Veda and she still took the time to have a stare-off with Athena. She said she didn’t need their help and hobbled off.

Eighth match: Barrett Brown vs. Sammy Guevara vs. Ricky Starks in a ladder match to determine the J-Crown champion

Sammy Guevara came out first. After some “Bieber Fever” chants, he let the crowd have it. Barrett is huge over with the Austin crowd. And I love getting to see Ricky Starks whenever I can. These 3 delivered. A few months ago, I saw a Last Man Standing match between Gregory James and Matt Palmer that I called the greatest match I’ve ever seen live. Well, this might unseat that as the greatest match I’ve ever seen live. I cannot describe this match accurately or mention every spot that stood out to me. Ricky put Sammy in a surfboard with a ladder separating them while Barrett chopped Sammy. This made the Austin crowd pop. Not everything does. There was a moonsault off a ladder from Sammy onto Barrett and Ricky. I can’t describe that moment. What I can do is show a picture Staci Brown took of the moment. It’s not the moonsault that I posted this for. It’s the reaction of the crowd that is the best part.

Sammy Guevara doing a moonsault onto Barrett Brown and Ricky Starks.

Sammy Guevara doing a moonsault onto Barrett Brown and Ricky Starks. (courtesy of Staci Brown)

There was a huge DDT by Barrett onto Sammy. Sammy threw Barrett onto a ladder and broke it. Barrett and Ricky were both climbing up adjacent ladders and did a Side Russian Leg Sweep onto the mat. (Ouch) The finish was incredible. Ricky was climbing up the ladder and Barrett came up behind him and put him in a sleeper. Sammy found another ladder and climbed over them to climb up to the top and grab the belt.

Winner: Sammy

After the match, Sammy shot on River City Wrestling in San Antonio. Well, that bridge was burned… or was it?

Ninth match: Great Depression w/Red Scare vs. Honkey Kong

This was my first time to see Honkey Kong. I loved the tribute to Kamala. And I’m still not sure what to think of the Great Depression. I’m just slightly bothered by the fact that Red Scare manages the Great Depression. Those were two separate eras in history. It was a short match.

Winner: Great Depression

What we needed was a chance to come down from the ladder match for the Barbi Hayden-Portia Perez title match. That’s exactly what they got. They announced Tony Brooklyn and Joshua Montgomery, Justin Bissonnette and Max Meehan went to the ring. Tony Brooklyn introduced himself and talked about the history of the NWA. AND then he announced that Inspire was the newest member of the NWA. Biss cut an amazing promo about how he was going to bring in the best women’s wrestlers in the world to give that belt the prestige it deserves. Brandon Stroud the ring announcer grew up near the Greensboro Coliseum so you could tell what an incredible moment it was for him to be an official NWA ring announcer. I am intrigued to see what the NWA can do for Inspire Pro.

Main event: Barbi Hayden (c) vs. Portia Perez

Barbi Hayden used to be the best-kept secret in women’s wrestling. I have proof that I said so in early 2013. And then Drew Cordeiro gave her a shot on a national stage in WSU. She hasn’t left yet. And now she’s NWA Women’s Champion. Also, being the SHIMMER mark I am, this was a huge moment for me to see Portia Perez live for the first time. And forgive me for swooning. but she’s even prettier in person. Now onto the match. This match had a big-match feel. And it’s not every day a crowd piles into a building so thick, there was barely any standing room to see two ladies main event. I put down my notebook because I just want to enjoy the match as a fan. I was getting to watch Barbi Hayden face Portia Perez. It was time to be a fan.

Winner: Barbi

All in all… What an incredible show from top to bottom. Without a doubt, this is the best show I have ever seen live from top to bottom. Veda-Athena, Barbi-Portia, the ladder match, Carson-Greg, Jojo-Tadusake, could have all been main events. Even a few changes to the Palmer-Johnson could have been a main event. If I were to choose a match of the night, I’d have to go with the ladder match. That picture with everyone’s reactions wins it on everything. There were so many different aspects to point out. Watch Kat Green & Delilah Doom. Give them time and they’ll be main eventing here, maybe a national promotion. If Sammy Guevara or Eric Shadow are not on your show, find a way to book them. With respect to Andy Dalton, I am calling Sammy Guevara the most underlooked talent in Texas.

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