SoCal Pro held their tenth anniversary show on April 15th; in what was not only the biggest show in the promotion’s history, but the biggest independent wrestling show in the San Diego area in nearly a year. With a really stacked show featuring Rey Mysterio Jr. in the main event they managed to draw over 600 people to the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club. Not only was the crowd large, it was an extremely hot crowd throughout the night that was in to every match.
SoCal Pro debuted almost 10 years to the day, on April 14, 2007 and has run consistently in the North County part of San Diego ever since. Throughout the years they’ve brought in a few big names, but no one on the scale of Rey Mysterio Jr., so I was unsure what type of crowd they’d get. When I arrived at the venue over an hour before the scheduled bell time there was already a fairly large line. Once inside it seemed that the people entering the building were never ending. For this show the promotion moved all of the merchandise tables that are normally against the wall to a separate room and put in bleachers where the tables normally are. The place was packed. I’m sure if more people would have shown up they’d have found a way to get them in, but the building was easily near capacity.
The Ballard Brothers (Shannon & Shane Ballard) over PBR (Ryan Walker & Hunter Freeman) by submission to win the SoCal Pro Tag-Team titles [12’40]
The show started with The Ballards challenging PBR (minus Ashley Grace) for the SoCal Pro tag-team titles. The Ballards have been around forever, and actually defeated The Young Bucks in the first match in SoCal Pro history. It used to be difficult to tell the brothers apart, but not anymore. Ryan Walker got taken out of the match early and went to the back, leaving only Hunter Freeman to take on both Ballards. Eventually Walker came back out with his arm in a sling but the Ballards took advantage of that and used his hurt arm to make him submit. I wasn’t a fan of the match as I thought it was predictable and for the most part boring. Shannon Ballard and Freeman looked fine but Shane Ballard and Ryan Walker didn’t do much in this. Both teams are better than this. This is The Ballards third reign as SoCal Pro tag-team champions, and first since April 2010. After the match The Ballards beat PBR down.
Paul London over Ricky Mandel [8’37]
Paul London came out singing his entrance music and most of the audience joined in. Eventually Mandel got tired of it and tried to attack London but London was able to get the better of him. This was a really fun fast paced match. Mandel plays such a great Rick Rude type heel. Paul London hit two Shooting Star Presses to get the win. This was good.
Anthony Idol won the Cash in the Case battle royal [9’04]
-Participants: Anthony Idol, Snake, Dark Usagi, Ric Dynamic, Vic Dynamic, Kitana Vera, Jason Redondo, Nick Lovin, Incendio Calvera, CE Vanderpyle, Dirty Doug, Joe Gamble, Destro, Hunter Freeman
I apologize if I missed anyone in the battle royal. The winner of the battle royal got SoCal Pro’s “Cash in the Case” which is exactly like the WWE’s “Money in the Bank” where the holder can claim a title shot at any time. It was fun to see Vanderpyle and the Dynamics come out. I looked down at my phone for a second and The Dynamics were already eliminated. The last four in the match were Dirty Doug, Destro, Jason Redondo, and Anthony Idol. Eventually it came down to Idol and Destro, with Idol coming out on top.
Ryan Kidd over Bestia 666 to retain the SoCal Pro Golden State title [9’50]
This was another good match. Kidd worked mainly a lucha style and he and Bestia really matched up well together. Bestia went for his Muscle Buster finisher but Kidd countered it into a backslide to get the pin and retain the title.
After intermission SoCal pro held a ceremony to induct the first two members of their hall of fame, Charles Steele and “Radiant” Jason Redondo. Charles Steele, who was the promoter for CCW that ran from 1998 to 2001 gave a fairly quick speech and talked about Jeff Dino, the SoCal Pro promoter, being a 15 year old fan at CCW shows and bringing signs. Jason Redondo was next, and he gave am emotional and heartfelt speech about what the SoCal Pro fans had meant to him and talked about his family. Jason Redondo rarely gets the credit he deserves coming up in the time period before the internet was big, so it was good to see him honored here.
Ju Dizz over Mike Camden to win the SoCal Pro Heavyweight title [15’28]
Before the match they showed a really well done promotional video to hype the match up. Ju Dizz showed a lot of great intensity here. There was a nice sequence where Camden hit a chain of suplexes on Ju Dizz. They rolled up and kept reversing pinfall attempts until Ju Dizz was able to get a three count and win the title.
Rating: *** 1/4
After the match Camden was holding his title and rather than hand it over to Ju Dizz, he hit him with the belt knocking him out and turning heel. Anthony Idol’s music hit and out he came to use his “Cash in the Case.”
Anthony Idol over Ju Dizz to win the SoCal Pro Heavyweight title [0’05]
Idol hits the Idol Overdrive and immediately gets the pin and wins the SoCal Pro heavyweight title. The whole angle came off really good and Idol as champion and Camden as a heel gives the promotion a lot of interesting options going forward.
Rey Mysterio Jr. & Lil’ Cholo over SoCal Crazy & Rocky Romero [15’55]
The crowd was going nuts for everyone in this match but exploded when Rey Mysterio Jr. came out. Romero was the only one playing a heel in the match but he managed to turn the crowd against him pretty quickly. Rey did all of his signature spots, but he wasn’t just going through the motions, he went all out. Everything in the match worked and everything got a huge reaction to the crowd. There was a lot of build to the 619, and at one point it looked like Rey was going to hit it on Romero but Crazy grabbed his foot from outside the ring and tripped him, which is the only time the crowd turned on Crazy. He eventually managed to hit the 619 on SoCal Crazy and then hit him with a frog splash to get the pin. This was a great match. It is definitely worth checking out when it comes out on DVD.
After the match Rey Mysterio Jr. cut a promo and mentioned how he has wrestled in front of 80,000 people in Wrestlemania and he has wrestled in front of 5 people when he started out and he’d much rather be wrestling “in front of the crowd tonight over 80,000 people at Wrestlemania.”
One mistake SoCal Pro made was having this large crowd with a lot of people who maybe have never been to a SoCal Pro show before in attendance and not announcing their next date at the show, unless I missed the announcement somehow. It is better for momentum to get the date into people’s heads while they are captive than to hope they check out your website later after the date is announced.
Overall this was a really strong show, and maybe the best SoCal Pro show in some time. Like I mentioned, the main event is worth going out of your way to check out. SoCal Pro’s next show is on May 20th at the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club with a lineup to be announced.