Memories of New Wave

So a few weeks ago, at “Totally Smashed,” it was announced that on March 3, 2012, exactly 5 years to the day from the debut show, New Wave Pro Wrestling is closing it’s doors for good.  To say this his having a profound effect on me would be an understatement. I wanted to take the time to look back on my memories of New Wave, and share some of the ones which stand out in my mind. When reading, bear in mind this is not necessarily how things happened in New Wave, but how I remember them. There might be a difference.

The first time I saw New Wave Pro Wrestling was as a fan, when I made the decision to drive out to San Diego to see Tidal Wave, their debut show.  I saw they had booked a three way dance as their main event featuring Frankie Kazarian, B-Boy, and Joey Ryan.  While the entire show wasn’t fantastic(and if you can find my review of the show, you’ll see I really shit on the hardcore match), I saw potential for this group to do something good. They had one of the greatest venues I had ever been to for wrestling, and a lot of fans who wanted to see a good show.  It was at the show I was first introduced to David E Jones and Ryan Stone, and I believe Stone asked if I was going to write them up for SCU. They knew me from seeing me announce shows in Newhall, and little did I know they were looking for a new ring announcer.  Anyway, I had a very good time at the show, and knew I’d be back to see another of their shows.

A few weeks later, on March 17 of 2007, I attended a New Wave show at a high school in the Valley, and remember very little about the show.  Mostly, I remember being excited that Aaron Hassan was refereeing matches, and I remember Kaos and Scorpio Sky busting their asses for a crowd who had lost interest in the show by main event time.

Sometime after the event in the Valley, the Anchor’s Away boys rolled out to an Epic/War show in Newhall, and approached me after the show to invite me to announce their show on November 10 at the Downtown San Diego YMCA.  When I walked into the YMCA locker room for the first time, I was immediately struck by two things. One was how nice the place was. I have never done a show in a nicer place, and don’t think I ever will.  The second thing I noticed was how the locker room seemed to be very harmonious.  Everyone wanted everyone else to get over, and worked hard for the good of the show as a whole.  I loved the crowd inn San Diego, who really got hot for everything and made it a true pleasure to perform in front of.  The show also featured a fantastic match between Ariel Star and “Precious” Ric Ellis, which, I didn’t know at the time, would become the New Wave version of ECW’s RVD vs Jerry Lynn. A match which was not done often, but every time it was done it would top the last match, and set another high water mark for the fed as a whole.

2008 was a fantastic first whole year for New Wave.  Starting with a huge January even which crowned unlikely partners Ellis and Star as tag team champs, Kaos carried the world title for the start of the year, and the undercard guys really started to come into their own.  Guys like Rotten Ronnie Thrash, Locura, Alex Saint, and Johnny Mohalo began to make a name for themselves, and the fed started to pick up steam. Around the time of Tidal Wave 2, KAos had to vacate the title due to injury, and the belt stood vacant for about half the year. Tidal Wave II was a smashing success, and the crowds got bigger and bigger. One massive moment in SoCal pro wrestling history happened in March at the “Three’s Company” show. Johnny Mohalo came out at that show and pulled off his blonde surfer style wig to reveal a red Mohawk, declaring that Surf’s Up was history, and the world was gonna have to deal with the “Rock and Roll Rebel Soul” Johnny Yuma. Also in 2008 stand up comic Bob Hansen began his career as a wrestler.  In July of 2008, SoCal Crazy won a four way ladder match to become the 2nd New Wave Champ.  I’m convinced New Wave helped make him a star, because it seemed right after Crazy won our belt, every fed in SoCal wanted to book SoCal Crazy, and it seemed he won gold almost everywhere he went. Towards the end of the year the team of Jason Watts and Chimaera took the tag team gold, and continued the tradition of the tag title match being one of the better matches on any New Wave card.
One of the shows I really remember is the 2008 Unhappy Holidays show on Thanksgiving weekend.  It featured the second Ellis vs. Star match, and Anchors Away vs. Ballard Brothers in a match that really made people look at Anchors away in a new light.  The main event had Ronnie Thrash challenging champ SoCal Crazy, giving fans a look at the future of New Wave, when Thrash would take over the top spot on the company. What I didn’t know at the time was the end of 2008 would mark the end of the long term relationship between New Wave Pro Wrestling and the YMCA, as we would not be returning there for quite sometime.

2009 started off on a strange note, as we ran a show in the middle of skid row in the parking lot of an MMA gym.  The crowd was strange, and the atmosphere was not in any way what I would expect form a New Wave show.  While Ellis/Star 3 blew the roof off the place, there was a lot missing from this show, and New Wave would be forced to take a few months off before bouncing back with a show at a new venue, the Keanery Mesa VWF hall.  This show, simply called “Live” pushed the reset button on New Wave Pro Wrestling. The venue served alcohol, so it fueled the liveliness of the crowd. The show also featured the return of B-Boy to SoCal, and his match with Johnny Yuma was the point, in my opinion anyway,  where Yuma ceased to be an undercard guy and became a main event caliber wrestler. New Wave had created another star, with a huge helping hand from B-Boy.

In March of 2009 Tidal Wave was held, and Socal Crazy defended the New Wave title against B-Boy in the main event.  In the show’s other main event, Arial Star defeated one of his mentors, Scott Lost. Lost had defeated Star at Tidal Wave 2, so this match was the culmination of the hard work Star had put in that year.  Also on the show Anchor’s Away took the tag belts off of Chimaera and Watts, and Rotten Ronnie Thrash won the Tidal Wave battle royal.  The show opened with Yuma vs Chris Kadillak, a match which would be the first of many intense matchups between the two competitors. It was at Tidal Wave that fans first began to understand the Thrash family were going to be more than guys making goofy internet videos, they were vicious like a pack of wolves.  At Easter Madness, Ronnie Thrash came close to capturing the NWPW title, but was disqualified against SoCal Crazy. Also, Bobby Thrash picked up a massive win over Ariel Star, leaving only Dirty Dustin Thrash unproven in the eyes of the fans.

In May of 2009, Dirty Dustin figured out a way to make a name for himself by doing something no wrestler in New Wave had done before. He decided to attack me, the New Wave ring announcer from behind and leave me bleeding in the center of the ring.  Not my proudest moment, but it proved to the fans that Dirty Dustin had no problem with morality getting in the way of his rise to the top. The show was headlined by all three Thrash Brothers defeating Ariel Star and Champ SoCal Crazy.  This set the stage for Thrash and Ariel Star to wrestle each other in June, with referee SoCal Crazy, as both men were top contenders for the title. June’s show also saw El Cartel, the team of Diamond Azul and Angel Santos, defeat Anchor’s Away to become the tag team champions. In June, Thrash defeated Ariel Star, making him more and more frustrated with his position in New Wave.  In July and August, Ariel Star again found himself on the losing side of the main events, and sinking deeper and deeper into frustration.  This was also the summer when Johnny Yuma started his fantastic best of 5 series against Chris Kadillak, a man who immediately found a strong connection to the fans of New Wave.

In September 2009, at It’s Come to This, Ronnie Thrash had one more shot at SoCal Crazy’s title in a no disqualification match.  The two battled outside the building, where out of nowhere a man wearing a Locura mask ran over the champion with a truck.  The man emerged from the car and removed the mask to reveal Ariel Star. The Thrash family dragged Crazy back into the ring, where Ronnie Thrash pinned him to become the new champion, but the fans were left wondering why Star had committed such a villainous act. Thrash finished out the year as champion, while Ariel Star and SoCal Crazy tried to get at each other every which way.  Around the end of 2009, Dustin Thrash disappeared from New Wave Pro Wrestling.  Going into Tidal Wave, Bobby Thrash had a feud with Locura, and Yuma and Kadillac kept having matches in the best of five series which pretty much stole every show they were on.

Which brings to Tidal Wave 4. This was my favorite show I have ever done, when New Wave made their triumphant return to the Downtown Boys and Girls Club, and packed the biggest crowd to ever see New Wave into the building.  The show crowned new Tag Team champs in De La Wu. Also Brandon Parker was crowned the first Rapid Division Champ, and Ariel Star teamed up with Scot Lost to defeat former New Wave Champions Kaos and SoCal Crazy.  Bobby Thrash won the battle royal to become number one contender, and at the end of the night Bobby Thrash defeated his brother Ronnie Thrash to become New Wave Champion.  When I think of Tidal Wave 4, I do so with mixed feelings.  I remember it being the biggest and most fun ever, but it was that night when New Wave’s luck took a turn for the worse. I should have seen things heading south when, after dropping the title, Ronnie Thrash decided to announce his retirement.

Having parted ways with the VFW hall, New Wave ran a fundraiser show at Perkin’s Elementary, and it was August 2010 before New Wave would find a new home, at the Clairemont Mesa Boys and Girl’s Club.  At that show, Shock and Awe, Locura defeated Bobby Thrash to capture the New Wave title, and that was the last time a wrestler named Thrash appeared on a New Wave show.  This was also the show when Ryan Kidd made a name for himself by winning a student battle royal, last eliminating Ariel Star.  Locura went on to have a very memorable three match series with Tommy Wilson at the end of 2010, and guys like Andre Machievski, Nightmare Azteca, Incendio Calavera, Joey Barone, and C-Love started to make names for themselves in New Wave.  Violence Unlimited began making appearances in New Wave, and Johnny Goodtime started appearing and teaming with Johnny Yuma, like they do everywhere else.  Having regrouped and weathered the small storm, New Wave headed into 2011 ready to prove themselves once more. In January of 2011, Kadillac and Socal Crazy won the tag team titles, however, there was a guy named Mondo Vega who started hanging around the tag team champs. Also, in January of 2011 Ariel Star took everyone by surprise and announced his retirement, seemingly out of nowhere.  It always bothered me for Star to do that, because at the time Ric Ellis was injured, and I didn’t feel it would be right for him to go out without doing so against Ellis. I felt he owed the fans one more match, but more importantly, I felt he owed it to himself.

At Tidal Wave, Locura had the biggest match of his career when he defeated Akira Tozawa.  Also, B-Boy won the Rapid Division title, and Kadillac won the #1 contendership in the annual battle royal. Mondo Vega was also starting to talk about something called the “KOS.”  It looked like once again, New Wave was hitting the reset button, and good things were in store for the near future.

At this point, I feel the need to break away from the main story of my abbreviated history of New Wave to talk about the first inkling I had that New Wave wasn’t going to last forever.  In March of 2011, I shared a car ride with the Anchor’s Away guys up to another wrestling show in the Valley. On the way home, talk turned to how much longer New Wave was gonna be around, and the guys told me they wanted to end the run at a Tidal Wave, whenever the time came to end things. Knowing a lot of the other things going on in their lives at the time, I understood that they meant Tidal Wave 6 was gonna be it, even though they didn’t come right out and say it.  I came home that night and told my wife I thought New Wave had exactly a year left, but I hoped I was wrong.

At Slamalamadingdong, B-Boy defended his Rapid title against Johnny Yuma, and Locura pinned Chris Kadillak.  Also on that show, there was the debut of Terex, and fans had no idea this was the start of some major happenings in New Wave Pro Wrestling.  On June 18, New Wave put on a show called Parental Discretion Advised. This is where a ton of things changed in the world of New Wave.  Ryan Kidd scored a huge win over Joey Barone, but the big story was that due to an injury, Locura was no longer the New Wave Champ. Ryan Kidd was put in a match ton determine the new champ, and was absolutely destroyed by the 400 Pound Monster Terex.

Over the summer, the KOS came to be the dominant force in New Wave. The team of Vega, Kadillac, and Champ Terex was more than a handful for the rest of New Wave. In October, at the Halloween show, the main event was the KOS against B-Boy, SoCal Crazy, and Joey Ryan, who had not apeared in New Wave for quite some time.  Both B-Boy’s Rapid belt and Terex’s belt were on the line, and when all was said and done, Kadillac had won the Rapid title, and Joey Ryan had joined the KOS as the King of Sleaze. Also on the show the Silver Heart Radicals were crowned new tag team champos, going through the three teams of RockNess, Avalon and Paradise, and Ric Ellis, who’s partner Devon Storm didn’t show for the event. It was around this time that Ariel Star came back to New Wave Pro Wrestling, this time as the commissioner, trying to get the KOS under control. It seemed like the entire fed was in a pressure cooker, and something was gonna explode sooner or later.

So here we are, with only a mater of days remaining until the end of New Wave Pro Wrestling.  As everyone knows by now, the Anchor’s Away guys revealed the worst kept secret in local wrestling and admitted they run New Wave.  In January, they told the fans that the end will be on March 3, 2012, exactly five years to the day from the original Tidal Wave.  I found out a few weeks before the announcement was made, and have a lot of mixed feelings about the entire situation.  I have had more fun, and have more great memories of New Wave than I have with any other company I have announced shows for.  Being with the company for almost the entire five year run is something I am very proud of, and I cannot wait for Tidal Wave. The Four way cage match main event is the culmination of this entire year.  Unlike other Tidal Wave shows, which have relied on “names” being brought to New Wave, this year we are giving all our guys their rightful spots on the card.  However, as someone who is not just the announcer, but as a fan of New Wave, it feels like the real main event of Tidal Wave is Ric Ellis vs. Ariel Star with referee Scott Lost. Lost is coming out of retirement for one night to end his career the way he should. It is going to be the marquee matchup between two New Wave originals, and there is no better way, for my money, for New Wave to go out. This is the retirement match the fans, and probably Ellis himself always wanted to see from Ariel Star. It’s also the match the owners of New Wave wanted to se, as they pulled Star out of retirement for this one. Another strong contender for match of the night will be the three way match between the Silver Heart Radicals, Violence Unlimited, and RockNES Monsters. Also, this year’s Tidal Wave battle royal will feature an open invitation to anyone who has ever been a part of New Wave to participate. There is no telling who might show up. That’s on top of matches like Ryan Taylor vs Joey Ryan, and Joey Barone vs Nick Madrid in the “Kiss My Ass” match.

One more thing going on at Tidal Wave, is I am going to be making a very special announcement about my future in the world of professional wrestling.  It’s something I have put a lot of thought into, and since I cut short promo every year at Tidal Wave, there seems like no better place for me to make this announcement.  I hope to see everyone there.