For a long time Austin, Texas has been a hotbed for professional wrestling. A new company has started in Austin within the past year called Inspire Pro. I had the chance to witness their debut show live, but I haven’t been able to return recently. Thankfully they have put entire shows up on Youtube (which can be accessed here).
We open the show with Paige Turner, who is one of my favorite characters in women’s wrestling. She would be a good fit for NCWFF or another character-driven promotion. She is a librarian who plays her part expertly.
First match: Pump Patrol (Jared Wayne & AJ Summers) vs. Reign or Shine (Alex Reigns & Moonshine Mantell)
This is my first time to see Pump Patrol as a team. They are some jacked-up guys. I have seen Jared Wayne before. He is a great story of a wrestler who has really toned up his body. I’ve heard lots about Summers. Wayne opened it up with a nice, quick promo. They antagonized the crowd and had some good zingers. ROS look to be some jacked-up wrestlers doing a kind of redneck trucker thing. I’ve seen Reigns before, and he is a very good technician. This is my first time to see Moonshine. We open it up with some comedy and an arm wrestling contest. ROS is composed of two beasts. The more I see Alex Reigns, the more I see a believability in him. This match was worth a watch. All 4 got a chance to showcase their talents with some good innovation. The win happened when Moonshine did a frogsplash, which that is a big boy to be doing a frogsplash, especially as fluid as it was.
Winner: Reign or Shine
After the match “The Texas Prodigy” Houston Carson comes out to congratulate the winners. If you have not had the chance to see Carson wrestle yet, he exudes such a cocky arrogance yet he makes you want more.
Second match: Carson vs. Scotty Santiago
I thought The Gambler facing the Giant in WCW on Worldwide had a better chance of winning this than Santiago. I thought we were going to have Goldberg-Rick Fuller, and instead Santiago kind of blew me away. I kept watching this thinking, “Okay, when is Carson going to do his finisher and get the pin?” But the match ended with Scotty doing a quick backslide for the pin.
During the match I thought, “For a squash match, they sure aren’t burying this guy.” Turns out it wasn’t a squash match after all. After 18 years of watching wrestling, not a lot surprises me. This did.
Third match: Cherry Ramóns vs. Alexander Rudolph
Cherry is a really good heel, much hated by the fans. Rudolph does a huge Viking thing. He is an enormous hulk of a man. If he works on toning himself, I could see him going very far. During the match a manager came down to ringside to antagonize Rudolph. Apparently facing Cherry wasn’t antagonism enough. While this guy was distracting Rudolph, Cherry attacked from behind with a roll-up pin.
This brought a lot of questions. Who is this man antagonizing Rudolph? Will he be there in the future? Will Rudolph joins this man’s tutelage? A good wrestling company gives you reasons to return.
Fourth match: James Claxton vs. The Great Depression
Words do not describe The Great Depression. It’s a large man in a burlap sack for a mask. I have no idea where this is going. It’s just so bizarre I got to see where it’s going. The Cowboy James Claxton is about 6’6″ of Texas toughness. I would have like to seen more of this match before it disintegrated. Rudolph stayed ringside during this match. Depression went outside to fight Rudolph and then Claxton went to join in on the festivities. This was not a match so much as an angle to set up a future match.
Winner: No contest
Fifth match: Legion (Gregory James, Morbidus and Blasphemer) vs. Downfall/Erick Shadows/Danny Chance w/Kat Green
I’ve had the chance to watch Gregory ever since he broke into this business. Blasphemer was formerly known as Jeff Gant, a very excellent little guy. I remember Downfall standing out to me the first time I saw him. This was your 6-man you’d see on a AAA show or a CHIKARA-type show. This was so well-put together. It was like a smooth, flowing lyrical piece.
After the match, Kat Green was confronted by Jessica James. James on my screen is always a positive thing. Looks like she’s part of the Legion faction? In comes Paige Turner to cut promos on the crowd.
Sixth match: Dagger Brothers vs. Barret Brown w/Bolt Brady & Sammy Guervera
I am not familiar with the Daggers or Sammy. At first impression, what I like most about them is that they look like a tag team. I’ve known Barrett’s work for about 2 years. The kid is nothing but spectacular. For those unfamiliar with his work, I use two names to compare him to in intensity: Davey Richards and Chris Benoit. And those are not names I use very lightly. The story here was Brown dealing with Guervera’s cockiness. Guervera is not going to be in a tag team. He left Barret in the ring to take the Daggers’ finisher.
Winner: Dagger Brothers
Now that is how you begin a feud.
Seventh match: JT Lamotta vs. Andy Dalton in a street fight
Dalton is perhaps the most underrated talent in Texas. The guy can do whatever is asked of him, whether it is heel or face. And the only thing rarer than a unicorn is a bad Andy Dalton match. This was also near the end of Lamotta’s very extensive career. He was saying good-bye as only wrestlers know how to do… tearing the house down with their swan song. The ring announcer began a disclaimer that if these men fought on the floor, get the hell out of the way. Dalton and Lamotta can wrestle beautiful technical matches. This was not one of them. This was an all-out, brutal brawl. I like how they spent some time building toward the table. There was a fork used as plunder. Terry Funk-Abdullah the Butcher would have been proud. There was a spot that BENT the chair and Lamotta kicked out, eliciting a “Holy s***” chant from the crowd, which should count for extra points for drawing that out of the Austin crowd. Out came Jordan Jensen to attack LaMotta with a plastic bag. Dalton hit the 3-count.
That’s the match to beat for match of the night.
Eighth match: Mike Dell vs. Ray Rowe
Dell came out to the Halloween music and Michael Myers mask. Mr. Dell has found a way to make himself appear out of nothing and pop the crowds. I’ve had the chance to see him wrestle a few times. And being the fan of AIW, I know well Mr. Rowe from his time up there. Cleveland’s loss has definitely been Houston’s gain. This was two big powerful guys systematically dismantling each other for fun. Mike Dell has some great facials and charisma. This wasn’t finesse. This was mutilation.
Dell was still very over with the crowd. Post-match, he was antagonized by Ricky Starks. I’d put Ricky as one of the best on the mic in Texas and perhaps one of the top all-around heels.
Ninth match: Robert Evans vs. Jojo Bravo
Robert Evans came out to a huge pop. Before he was RD Evans, Archibald Peck, Mixed Martial Archie and all his many incarnations, he was Robert Evans in Texas, one of the most charismatic heels. Gotta love a crowd that sings along to your theme song. Jojo is a star on the rise. It will just be a matter of time before we see him on an indy national stage. This was an excellent match filled with everything you could want, whether comedy or technical wrestling. This elicited a “That was awesome” chant from the crowd, also no small feat in an Austin crowd. The match was paused when Evans was deemed unfit to continue. The refs came around to help and all checked to make sure Evans was ok. It was all a great moment of sportsmanship and then you know what happened. Robert Evans attacked everybody and threw Bravo outside. The only time I’ve ever seen that done better is Rebecca Knox-Allison Danger at SHIMMER 3. Then the match kept continuing. I found myself asking, “Is this going to be it?” every near-fall.
What a match. Definitely worth a view.
Main event: “Showtime” Scot Summers vs. “Absolute” Ricky Starks vs. Jordan Jensen
Summers is one of the top all-around wrestlers in Texas. I already previewed Starks. Jordan is a really good heel who concentrates on story rather than flashiness. Summers is just so brutal (in a good way). He will kill you with a headlock. He reminds me a lot of Bruiser Brody. Somehow Starks was able to pull off the major upset and pin Summers. Then Jensen, being the weasel-y heel that he is, pulled a surprise pin over Starks.
I wanted to see Starks win, but this was well-done.
All in all… For more information on this company, you can go here. I was completely blown away by what I saw here. In many ways we are witnessing the future of Texas and quite possibly, the US. There’s so many things going right here. There are so many names worth watching: Starks, Summers, Bravo, Dalton, Guervera, Carson and especially Reigns (Spend some time watching that guy). And that’s just a few of them. All of this on Youtube for free.
I was really pleased with the production values. For a dark theater in an obscure corner of Austin that is the place that natural light goes to die, they do a pretty good job of lighting it up. I’d put it up against any other company not under a Smart Mark Video or a Highspots banner. Commentary is Eamon Paton and Rachel Summerlyn who I think do a good job discussing each wrestler and the goings-on in the match.
This company does a lot of right. Bring in big names (Chris Hero appeared in January, I saw Chuck Taylor for their first show), put guys out there who know how to wrestle and leave lots of unanswered questions that need to be answered at future shows to make the people come back. If you are in Austin, they are definitely worth a visit. If your appetite is missing something wrestling-wise, this may fill the void in which you’re missing.