Neither heavy rain, a stiff, cold wind, nor the boo-birds from those that were protesting against the start of the “4-Year National Business Project” for the newly minted President Trump prevented a capacity crowd from filling the ILWU Memorial Hall in Wilmington, right near the Port of Los Angeles. ICYMI, Michael Elgin was unable to make it to the show due to a late notice for an immigration hearing. Joey Ryan was a suitable replacement. Also, it turned out that 1/2 of the Keepers of the Faith, Gabriel Gallo, was M.I.A., so Dom Vitali had to find a substitute.
1 – Timothy Thatcher v. Joe Graves
It came to no surprise that this match became the most technical match of the card. Joe rolled a signature move into a Rear Naked Choke for the tapout submission win.
2 – Triple Threat to determine a contender for the Light Heavyweight title: Joey Janela v. Douglas James v. Lio Rush
An expected spotfest, with all 3 wrestlers taking their share of offense time. Lio was thrown out of the ring by Joey, and was unable to stop D.J. from hitting his finisher on Joey to get the pin.
3 – Singles match to determine a contender for the Light Heavyweight title: Hammerstone v. Oracle
A classic power guy v. a high-flying luchador. Both styles were on full display in this match, but Hammerstone hit his Delayed Rock Bottom finisher last for the pin.
4 – Women of Wrestling title match: Santana Garrett (c) v. Khloe Hurtz (Katie Forbes)
No ring rats (male valets) for Khloe in this match, so this match put both wrestlers’ full talent of display. Santana rolled a Superkick into her Shining Star Press for a successful title defense.
5 – Joey Ryan (subbing for Michael Elgin) v. Jeff Cobb
A very fun gimmick match to watch. Jeff had to recover pretty fast from eating a Sweet Tooth Music from Joey, then power out of a YP Plex, rolling a Military Press hold into the “Tour of the Islands” Spinning Powerbomb for the pin.
6 – Drago v. “Transporter” Low Ki
The “Transporter” Low Ki part is due to Low Ki hitting the ring in a suit-and-tie setup that is most consistent with “The Transporter” movie & TV series character. The match itself was evenly paced, with both wrestlers digging deep into their bag of tricks. Low Ki won the battle on the top ropes, leaving Drago hanging in a Tree of Woe, then did his signature High-Elevation Double Stomp for the pin.
SM – No-DQ Tag Team title match: Dom Vitali & M.V.P. (subbing for Gabriel Gallo) v. Warbeast (Almighty Sheik & Jacob Fatu, w/ Brody King, Caesar Black, et al)
Warbeast took full advantage of the No-DQ stipulation, using weapons to bust open Dom, and distracting Referee Micky Moreno, at every opportunity. Jacob & Brody kept M.V.P. at bay outside the ring, allowing Sheik to lock Gabriel in the Camel Clutch, using a weapon to wrench the submission hold, and make Dom pass out for the title-clinching win.
NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: WARBEAST
M – Heavyweight title match: Rob Van Dam (c) v. Willie Mack
Well-paced match with ECW Extreme Rules elements. Most of it was contested outside the ring, with the action spilling over the barricades, and into the stands. In the ring, RVD didn’t get the luxury of doing his signature chair-assisted corner dropkick, but did roll a chair-assisted jumping roundhouse kick, into the Five Star Frog Splash for the successful title defense.
A very strong card overall. All of the wrestlers on the card helped provide a positive atmosphere in the wave of negativity on Inauguration Night, giving the fans in attendance plenty of positive things to talk about for awhile. In terms of the light heavyweight title picture, it will either be a Triple Threat Match between Mr. 450, Douglas James, & Hammerstone; or a singles match between D.J. & Hammerstone for the title. All of that will depend on the medical condition for Mr. 450 after the injury he suffered at WWE 205 Live. As I mentioned in the live tweets during the show, Khloe showed some strong in-ring abilities. Combine how well she held her ground against Santana Garrett, with her very appealing looks, I think a promotion like Stardom should take a good look at her, and maybe give her a chance to showcase her skills in Japan. We’ll have to wait & see where they go with RVD & Warbeast, but there’s no denying the fact that the heel stable has the in-ring skills to back up their promos, especially when it comes to Jacob Fatu. Finally, I will say this to the fans from the Gold & GA Sections that kept telling the fans in the Platinum Section to sit down after RVD & Willie Mack battled their way back to the ring. There were about 200 Platinum Seats bought for the show. Let it be your motivation to get your Platinum Seats for the next show on 3/24, which further stacks the weekend with some big wrestling shows in So Cal (IIRC, WoW will be at the Belasco Theater on 3/23, & then there’s the AWS Anniversary Show on 3/25).
1 – Joey Janela v. Douglas James v. Lio Rush
2 – RVD v. Willie Mack
3 – Jeff Cobb v. Joey Ryan