I made the long drive to Port Hueneme this past Sunday to check out the latest Championship Wrestling from Hollywood TV taping. Now, their show doesn’t air where I live, so I’m not 100% up to date on the current goings on with CWFH. I did watch the most recent episode of the TV show on Fite TV, but this column is going to focus mostly on the live taping. As this taping was for shows that have not aired yet, there may be spoilers, so be warned if you watch the show and want to avoid those things.
I have wanted to get up there for some time for a show, but the distance and other commitments has prevented me in the past. CWFH was having a press conference prior to the show for the match between Scorpio Sky and Peter Avalon for Peter’s Hollywood Heritage title, so I figured this would be the perfect time to make the trip. As most readers of this column are no doubt aware, Andrew does reviews of their TV show on SCU and doesn’t hold anything back. Coupled with his writing style, his opinions have rubbed some people the wrong way (though most wrestlers I’ve spoken with enjoy them for what they are, one person’s opinion). However, even though we regularly carry CWFH news, we don’t normally have any other opinion pieces aside from Andrew’s reviews on their product, so I was also eager to see the product first hand and give a somewhat different perspective. As I said though, this is based solely off the live product while Andrew’s reviews are based off the TV show which can give a completely different feel at times. I know there has been times where I saw something live, loved it, and then watched the video and thought “what did I like about this?” and vice-versa.
I got to the venue about an hour before the show was to start, and CWFH was nice enough to give me a tour. They have a really nice setup at the Oceanview Pavilion and everything came across really professional. I thought it looked smaller in person than it does on TV, but I was really impressed with their production and setup.
While I was waiting for the press conference, they were filming backstage promos and Hobo and Jervis Cottonbelly were being interviewed. I admittedly haven’t really seen Jervis Cottonbelly aside from a few clips here and there, but based on what I’d seen and how his gimmick was explained to me, I thought I was going to hate him. As he started to cut his promo I was sitting next to my wife, and she immediately starts laughing and says “who is that, I like this guy.” I admit I smiled as well and was entertained by his promo and like it much more than I thought I would. Wrestling is like any other entertainment medium. There are different styles and genres, and it’s clear Jervis is not going to appeal to everyone. I think for people who are fans of the more comedic or campy aspects of wrestling, they are going to like him. I know my I changed my preconceived opinion of him.
When it was finally time for the press conference the number one thing that struck is how much charisma Scorpio Sky has. On most indy wrestling shows there isn’t a whole lot of promos so you don’t really get to see everyone talk in character much. I was thinking about it and I haven’t seen Sky cut a promo in years I think. I thought peter Avalon did a great job in the press conference as well, but Sky really came across as a star. Nothing against CWFH, but Sky should probably be in NXT at the least with his ability and natural charisma.
I really liked the press conference. I think it did a very good job of hyping the match between Sky and Avalon and really gave it a big match feel. It will be interesting to see how it comes off on TV, but at least live I thought it came across really well and was really well done.
After the press conference all the fans were let into the building and the show began. They announced they would be taping two shows and have a total of eight matches. Their actually ended up being nine matches, but I think the first match may have been a dark match. I’m not 100% sure on that though. As this isn’t meant to be a full review or recap of the show, but of the overall product, I’ll give some basic thoughts on the matches, and keep them as spoiler free as possible.
The first match was between Eric Cross and Evan Daniels. I thought it was OK, but it was pretty short. Evan Daniels looked pretty good in it and I thought Eric Cross looked fine overall.
The second match was a four-way between one member of each of the tag teams that will be wrestling in the four-way for the tag titles at the Red Carpet Rumble. For some reason I thought Los Primos Rivera were heels, but Danny Limelight Rivera was super over with the crowd. I liked the idea of doing this match as part of the build up to Red Carpet Rumble match as well. I thought this was pretty good overall, though there were a couple points in the match where it got a little sloppy. It seemed like the match was given a lot of time to develop too which is good.
I didn’t really care for the DJ Hyde versus Pinky match. The match seemed like it was supposed to be something of a squash match to put over Hyde strong, but Pinky got enough offense in where I wouldn’t call it a squash match. This was honestly my least favorite match on the show. I know they are building a story with DJ Hyde versus Big Duke, but I’m not sure how this match advanced it more than DJ Hyde cutting a promo after. He didn’t come off as some monster that will be a challenge for Duke, he came off as guy who labored somewhat to beat Pinky and then was angry over the use of a lariat.
Eric Watts had a handicap match where he squashed two guys. He could have pinned them on several occasions but he kept going. I had no problem with this match as it was just a match to advance the story and not meant to be a technical masterpiece.
I was really looking forward to Alexander Hammerstone versus Ryan Taylor as it was one of the two matches announced prior to the tapings (the other being Chelsea Green vs. Shotzi Blackheart which didn’t happen). Both are really good wrestlers and I thought they had a really good match here. It seemed like it was actually given a lot of time and they made the most of it. As long as he stays healthy, Alexander Hammerstone is going to be a star, and he was really the star of the tapings with two really good performances. It’s worth checking out the episode this match airs on if nothing more than for this match.
Bad Dude Tito Escondido and Espiritu had a really good match as well. A lot of fun stuff in this. Espiritu has been really impressive lately. Tito is really underrated and a great heel. The end of this match setup the next match.
Hammerstone and Espiritu teamed against Bad Dude Tito and Yuma. Pretty good stuff here too. They are doing Hammerstone vs. Tito at the Red carpet Rumble which has the potential to be really good.
I wanted to mention that Vermin did a promo in here at some point talking about doing a bachelor party for Joey Ryan at the Red Carpet Rumble that will involve “little people, strippers, and video stars.” Of course it’s an angle, and I’m not by any means PC on this stuff, but I did find one thing awkward in the promo. Yuma directly said “YouPorn” in his promo. Normally I wouldn’t think this was a big deal, but the audience at the show was probably one-third children, a lot of them appeared to be under 10. I have a young kid, and I know I’m not ready for them to be asking me what YouPorn is. I want them to wait till their at least 12 like everyone else…
Tyler Bateman and Guy Cool had a fun but short match. I expect Guy Cool to get some rookie of the year consideration at the end of the year and Tyler Bateman is always really good.
The last match was an over the top rope challenge, so basically a six man match with battle royal rules. The winner would get to come out 30th at the Red Carpet Rumble. I thought this match was fine for what it was. I’m usually not a fan of these type of matches, mainly because it’s too hard to do something in them that hasn’t been done to death before. As soon as one of the guys went through the middle and no one but the refs noticed, it was clear who was going to win. Julius Coleman (Ju Dizz) showed a lot of fire though.
It’s clear CWFH is doing something different than anyone else, doing something more campy and character driven. They are a TV show but at the same time they have to deal with the same issues other indies deal with. People not showing up. Wrestlers not being available. Wrestlers signing contracts with bigger companies. I’m sure at times it plays hell with their long and short term plans. I have to give them credit for what they’ve managed to do with those obstacles.
Overall I thought the show was pretty good. There was one match I didn’t care for and another match that was there to advance the story they are telling with Eric Watts, which is fine. Neither took up too much time and the good on the show certainly outweighed the bad. The middle three matches with Hammerstone and Tito were all really good I thought and worth checking out for those alone.
I would certainly recommend anyone interested in going to one of their tapings do so. You might even learn to like Jervis Cottonbelly.
Side note: If you were wondering why Championship Wrestling from Hollywood tapes in Port Hueneme, I was told that Port Hueneme is considered the Hollywood of the sea.