The year was 1996. It was the summer before my senior year in high school. In between football practice and summer reading for school, I’d spend as much time as I could watching wrestling. But to be honest, I was becoming more and more disenfranchised with wrestling. I had out grown Hulkamania and his pursuit of greatness in WCW and the WWE had just become more and more silly. Then Eric Bischoff saved wrestling. Okay, maybe that is an overstatement. But WCW’s cruiserweight division (and Lucha Libre invasion) saved wrestling for me. The masks, the high flying, the speed, the death defying high risk maneuvers, I was hooked. In the middle of the most progressive wrestling at the time was Rey Mysterio. Of course I loved watching guys like Super Calo, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko, it was Mysterio’s feud with Psicosis (carried over from ECW, which carried over from AAA) kept me tuning in each week.
So I was thrilled that Misterio would be in my backyard. So imagine my chagrin when it was announced by Rikishi himself that Mysterio was still in Mexico. My stomach sank… And this was my introduction to Knoxk Pro, disappointment. At hour 26 minutes, fans were chanting to “We Want Refunds…” somehow I didn’t think this will be the last time I’d hear that chant. But actually, minus the delay, the show turned out to be better than I expected.
European Cruiserweight Championship Match
Jezette Marie defeated Slick Back Heart Attack Pedro by submission. Crowd was really into this match. Jezette got the Rockstar reaction she was going for. Honestly I could tell if the crowd was just starved for entertainment or if Jezette was just really over, but she had the crowd in the palm of her hands. And this begs the question, Are the Knokx Pro wrestlers exclusive to Knokx Pro. I think Jezette would fit in with AWS, Sabotage, and other Lady Friendly wrestling promotions. I wasn’t really overly impressed with Pedro. He wasn’t bad, but he didn’t feel really crisp either. His manager Tuna, she did a good job working the crowd. You can watch the match here
Eyez Disguise defeats Dragon with a diving headbutt. Fans got behind Eyez quickly. Imagine all the mannerisms of Willow The Wisp, but completely masked. He was completely unique from most of what you see in the local area. He even tossed out his light up gimmicks to the crowd. Great way to get the kids to get behind you. Unfortunately Dragon was very generic. DJ Chopstix would have loved his Raiden-esque gimmick, but it was very vanilla. The match was entertaining.
Misterioso defeated Laredo Kid with a huricanrana off the top rope. Both guys brought it. Hell of a match. Post match Misterioso thanks the Crowds and says they belong in the same ring with Misterioso. They announced him as Misterioso, but I’m thinking that’s Misterioso Jr. This was probably the match of the night. Speaking of the WCW Cruiserweight Division if the mid 90s, this match would have fit right in. And that’s the highest compliment I can give a match.
First off, Syco Stu SA, is the most patriotic name in professional wrestling ever. Forget about Sgt. Slaughter, Cprl Kershner, or even the Patriot, Stu SA takes the cake. Decked out in camo and waving an American Flag, I’m surprised the racially diverse crowd popped as much as they did for him. Bollywood in full affect in a completely respectful way. With that being said, the ring psychology seemed very peculiar in this one. Neither really played a face and honestly nobody was really acting heelish (to start). The match was decent going back and forth before Prince Shergill went for a weapon. The match wasn’t announced as a NO DQ so it was hard to tell if the referee was just awful or if anything goes in Underground Empire Championship Matches. Both teased using a chair. Other weapons came into play, neither connected with the weapons. The fans really grew tire of the teasing of the use of weapons and started a “You-Guys-Suck” chant. This Match would win the award for the most anticlimactic use of a weapon ever. When StuSA put the champion through the table, the two redeemed themselves with the crowd. Prince gets the win with the death drop on to the traffic sign. The Prince’s win was interrupted when Pedro (from earlier) come out to sneak attack and then win the tile. I guess this is a hardcore 24/7 title. Pedro’s celebration was interrupted when Jezette got him with an electric chair drop to bridge to become a double champion. Her celebration was also cut short, when she got knocked out by the Prince to regain the his title.
The Three Man Tag Team Match featuring Samoan Dynasty (Black Pearl, Rikishi & Vincenzo) against “Infamous” Paco Suave, Bison & K Dubb was the match that was exactly what you’d expect. Like a summer action popcorn action movie. You know exactly what is going to happen, but it doesn’t stop you from enjoying it. And Rikishi, dude is over in Perris. His pop might have been louder than Rey’s. The top rope unexpectedly broke during the match. But that’s about the only surprise. And the Lake Perris fans ate this up. They teased the stinkface, but that was saved for later. Big Kishi won with the Bonzai Drop. And Paco Suave’s manager got a stinkface. Kids poured into the ring after the match to dance with the Samoan Dynasty.
Now I admit, I have a love hate relationship with Lucha Libre. I love almost everything about Lucha Libre, except how they score pinfalls. In traditional lucha, you have 2/3 falls. I was always lot at AWS or WPW when these rules were in play. Because I never was really sure which pinfalls or submissions were getting scored. With that being said, Mortiz and Taurus vs. Lestat and Rockero started off good. Then got really bad. Then came back around. This match went way too long, but I also believe they were stalling to give Mysterio time to get to the venue. Lestat got Mortiz to tap. The referee was so awful in this match. And that’s a pet peeve of mine. Like I get it, wrestling isn’t real, blah blah blah, but it’s hard to suspend that belief when the referee isn’t doing his job in the ring. Didn’t try to break up The heel double team. Didn’t inject any authority. Just awful. Like he had never Refereed a lucha match. The Rudos beat the Technicos with a belt repeatedly. Disqualification should have been called. Taurus kicked Lestat in the balls more than once. No fouls called or nothing. That’s what made the match bad. If the referee could have been “distracted” by the man on the outside, or in some other way just been distracted, it would have probably got a ton of heat on the Rudos. But his ineffectiveness as a referee made the match intolerable. Taurus got the second fall with a back flip dive on Rukero
Mortiz for the second fall on Lestat. Apparently that wasn’t the end of the match. And again, my love hate relationship with Lucha Libre. The match just keeps going. I think I’m betting punished for something. They count the final fall when Taurus gores Lestat and hits him with a michinoku driver. I was happy it was over.
The Main Event was scheduled to be El Presidente versus Rey Mysterio. However before Rey could get to the ring, Maverick showed up. Now I’m not familiar with the Knokx Pro roster. I don’t know who El Presidente is. Nor do I know who Maverick is. Or Mavericks tag team partner was [Editors note: Maverick’s partner was Otto Von Clutch]. Or his manager. And honestly after almost five hours, I didn’t really care. Honestly this is the cheapest worst kind of heat. This is the worst. Eventually The goons attack El Presidente leading to Mysterio for the save and this match is almost exactly what you’d expect. Rey cleans house, agrees to the tag match. El Presidente is the baby in peril, El Presidente makes the hot tag to Mysterio and a couple of 619s later, the match over. Mysterio again apologizes for being late but most the fans seem to be pretty thrilled with what they’ve seen.
Ultimately I love the idea of a Wrestle Fair, which is what this was advertised as. There were a few vendors selling masks and Knokx Pro had a booth. I wonder if someone would be willing to take this to the next level. Every week there is some sort of autograph signing at Frank & Son’s. Or the Wrestling Guys Store. My estimates for crowd size were upwards of 500 people. And it was a hot crowd on a hot day. Rikishi has still got it. Mysterio gets all the credit in the world for honoring his appearance, when you know, card is subject to change. Overall, the show was much better than I expected. I give credit to the Knokx Pro group for putting on what seemed like a well received show. Hope they do it again soon.