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We opened up with Gary Jay being a big egomaniac. Not a lot of build-up. It’d be nice to a have a promo montage like some companies do. Just an introduction of who these characters are, why we should care about them.
First match: “Untouchable” Alex Reigns w/ Carson vs. Scotty Santiago
Reigns is one of the best wrestlers you’re not watching. I saw the last Santiago match and was really blown away when I didn’t expect much out of him. Reigns is such a technician. I think he’d make a good fit in the Midwest, like a Beyond Wrestling. Santiago is no slouch himself. He needs some experience, but I see a lot of potential in him. What I thought is brilliant is that the booking has given us a reason to care about him. He beat Carson and now has beaten Reigns.
I’m really loving the storyline here. Santiago is someone the fans are getting a reason to get behind him. After the match, there was a beatdown by Reigns, Carson & Moonshine Mantell.
Second match: Pump Patrol w/ Shane Taylor vs. LEGION (Morbidus and Blasphemer)
Pump Patrol looks very cohesive as a tag team. They have a nice look and coordinate well. They were introducing their new member Shane Taylor. Holy crap, Taylor is massive. LEGION is the Satanic element led here by Gregory James. Blasphemer (Jeff Gant) is an amazing bumper. If you want to sell somebody as a beast, the guy you put him up against is Gant. The Pump Patrol remind me of an old school tag team. They’re two guys who fit well together and respect the tradition of tag team wrestling.
Winner: Pump Patrol
Third match: Claudia vs. Paige Turner
These are two ladies out of the Dallas area. Paige is just such a good character and seems to have a lot of fun doing this. Claudia is a very experienced wrestler who has helped to build up some of Dallas’ names. Turner cut a REALLY good promo at the beginning. The more experience she gets in front of a live crowd, the better she will be. Claudia has a really lovely moonsault (that’s even lovelier when she hits it).
This was a nice showcase for Turner. Claudia took on her role of supporting player well. Turner is not a flashy wrestler but she will tell a good story, has great facials and draw reactions from the crowds.
Fourth match: The Great Depression vs. Alexander Rudolph vs. James Claxton
This match is two guys who like to pound the stuffing out of each other and whatever exactly The Great Depression is. Rudolph and Claxton are total hosses. This was going to prove to be a total slugfest. In addition to being a monster, you also don’t see anybody that size do a cross-body block like Rudolph’s. Or a plancha. Or a huracanrana. Now THAT was impressive. The Great Depression won with The Claw.
The star in this match was Rudolph. I know he won me over. A subtle thing I noticed about this match. There were no heels and faces. This was just 2 men and whatever Great Depression is having a contest. This guy who tried to recruit Rudolph came out again with the tall man now wearing a pink shirt. While the pink-shirted man had Rudolph in an arm breaker, the man on the mic introduced Budge (sp?). No idea where this is going.
Fifth match: “The Texas Prodigy” Carson & Moonshine Mantell w/Alex Reigns vs. “Jiggle-O” James Johnson & Frankie Fisher
Carson begins by calling out the Dagger Brothers. But since they weren’t there, he’d take whoever was there. He got two of Dallas’ finest. Johnson is like a little sparkplug, always full of energy and excitement. In the nearly 4 years that I’ve watched Frankie, I’ve seen him transition into one of the most dramatic improvements I’ve ever seen. I liked how Carson & Mantell were nasty heels and Johnson & Fisher were nice faces. They existed to put over Carson & Mantell and did exactly that but not look too out-of-their-league.
Winner: Mantell & Carson
Sixth match: Sammy Guevara & Low Rider vs. Barrett Brown & Bolt Brady
I can’t remember if I’ve seen Rider before. The other three I am familiar with. And the talent in that ring is a sight to behold. Guevara did a tope that you have to see to believe. I almost invoke the name PAC. Almost. Then there was a missed 630 splash that was a thing of beauty. Low Rider has some great hang time too. Barrett did a lot of the bumping with Bolt doing the hot tag. Low Rider stole one for the win.
Winner: Sammy & Low Rider
Sammy took the mic and said he was better than everyone, the boys in the back and even better than you, ACH (who happened to be in the crowd). ACH was given a mic. ACH in front of an Austin crowd is huge, like Stone Cold in Dallas or CM Punk in Chicago. Out came Franco D’Angelo, who has one of the best human interest stories out there, going through a life-threatening car wreck and not only walking, but getting back to a wrestling ring and actively wrestling.
Seventh match: Franco D’Angelo vs. Jojo Bravo vs. VOID vs. Gary Jay in a #1 contender’s match
Bravo is another immense talent on the cusp of something huge. The first show I saw VOID was Mike Dell in disguise. No idea who it was here, but I would find out at the end of the show. I’ve been familiar with Gary Jay’s work for about 4 years now. Jay didn’t show up so Bravo had to go get him. One of the most impressive feats was Franco lifting up Jojo with one arm. There was such a beautiful fluidity when Jojo and Gary were at it. This was an elimination match, and Jojo pinned Gary to eliminate the one. VOID brought in the ring bell to hit Jojo, disqualifying himself. Franco took advantage and went after the pin.
So we have questions that need to be answered. Why did VOID do that?
Eighth match: Takaaki Watanabe vs. “Unholy” Gregory James w/Morbidus
From somebody who first saw Greg in a sweaty, non-air-conditioned gym in August of ’09, this is a huge moment for how far he’s come. I do not follow Japanese wrestling as well as I probably should being the smark that I am, so this is my first time to see Watanabe. If you like the hard-hitting, stiff Japanese style, this is your match. This was just excellent wrestling. Morbidus distracted Watanabe to give Greg the advantage.
Overall, the biggest win of Greg’s career. He was able to hang in there with a New Japan star AND get a win. That’s pretty awesome.
Ninth match: Andy Dalton vs. Ricky Starks
On paper this one should be awesome. Ricky Starks as a face? I guess there’s a first time for everything. ACH did commentary which added a lot. He brings such an energy to the mic. I liked Starks’ show-off style. I love the spot where the face takes a selfie with a fan’s phone. It was a good, multi-layered match that went from the fluid high-flying to street brawl. Two of the most underrated in Texas went all-out. Ricky Starks lost his temper and wouldn’t release the 5-count.
Winner by dq: Dalton
Something tells me these two could have one epic feud. After the match Ricky did what he does even better than wrestle-he took the mic.
Tenth match: Chris Hero vs. Raymond Rowe
Yep. Sometimes you gotta just stop writing and just watch the match. Watch it for yourself here.
The true winner was the fans. What a great match. Hero put Rowe over in a major way. Then he took the mic and put over Rowe, suggested a new team called He-Rowe (Yes, please). He asked what other wrestler’s [expletive deleted] he should kick. There were chants for ACH, Dalton, Starks, Mike Dell. On the mic Hero made the company he was wrestling for seem important. I’ve seen big-name wrestlers phone it in like this was the last place they wanted to be. Hero came off as a class act. Out came Davey Vega for the next match. Yes, please? Davey Vega cut a promo about how Hero wanted Starks and not him.
Main event: Davey Vega vs. Jordan Jensen vs. Mike Dell for the first ever Inspire Championship
So you had the athletic flashiness of Davey Vega. You had the heat-magnet heel in Jensen. And then you had the awesomeness that is Mike Dell. One of the strengths of the night was Eamon Paton’s play-by-play. He did a really great job of giving us reasons to care about the wrestlers and the storylines. Plus he did this with a variety of color commentators. There was an incredible spot with the referee. Before the match, they announced that if Andy Dalton showed up ringside, then not only would Jensen be disqualified, he’d be fired. Ricky Starks carried out Andy Dalton against his will. Therefore Jensen was eliminated. Dell won with an elbow off the top rope.
Winner and first ever champion: Dell
It was a great moment. The crowd popped for it huge and Dell thanked them all. Out came VOID to lay out Dell, and then VOID unmasked himself to be none other than Matt Palmer. Out came Franco D’Angelo and James Claxton to stop Palmer when Franco D’angelo turned on Claxton, one of the people Franco had thanked for supporting him through his life-threatening car wreck. We had the image of D’Angelo over Mike Dell setting the build-up to their next show.
All in all… Wow, what an incredible show. This show is so stacked with talent. Some guys are ready to main event locally. Some are ready to be seen on a national stage. And some are ready to main event on a national stage. I cannot name the talent standing out from this show because there were few who didn’t. This is Texas’ best-kept secret.