This is not Steve’s View #149. In Not Steve View’s #149, I talk about the case for Tito Escondido being SoCal Wrestler of the Year, and give a brief history of the AWS Light Heavyweight title.
The early case for Tito Escondido for SoCal Wrestler of the Year 2017
Lately, Steve and I have been discussing who we think will be good candidates for SoCal Wrestler of the Year for 2017. There were a few solid candidates brought up, but one guy mentioned seems to have been standing out lately.
While Championship Wrestling From Hollywood isn’t good, the one bright spot in the promotion has been the push of Tito Escondido. After spending a months feuding with Peter Avalon for the promotion’s top title, Tito became the Hollywood Heritage Champion in June. Prior to dropping the title, Peter Avalon had been the top champion for the past two years.
Also this year, Tito had been feuding with Tyler Bateman in AWS for the promotion’s heavyweight title. This past Saturday night, Tito ended Bateman’s one year reign to become the new AWS champion. Bateman, who won the 2016 SoCal Wrestler of the Year award, has been considered by many as SoCal’s top star for the past year.
Kayfabe accomplishments aren’t the only thing taken into consideration in the awards voting. Match quality is something that is (for the most part) heavily considered in the voting criteria. Along with being booked in top angles, Tito has had lots of quality matches this past year. In January, his match against J.R. Kratos at AWS was ranked #2 for Match of the Month. He’s also had standout matches that haven’t gotten as much attention. In April he had a really good match with Tyler Bateman for AWS,, and in July had exciting matches with Peter Avalon in CWFH and Brody King at Santino Bros. Wrestling.
There’s still plenty of time left in 2017 for things to change, but as of right now Tito Escondido has had a breakout year and is my top choice for SoCal WOTY.
One of SoCal’s Most Prestigious Titles
Tito wasn’t the only one to win a title at AWS on Saturday night, as his fellow H.A.T.E stablemate Ray Rosas captured the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Championship. While most people don’t realize it, the title has a prestigious history that dates back to 2001, before AWS was even around.
The RevPro. Jr. Heavyweight Title
The history of the championship can be tracked back to September 28th, 2001. On this night, Super Dragon defeated B-Boy to become the first Revolution Pro Jr. Heavyweight Champion in the finals of the promotion’s first Revolution J tournament in Anaheim. The tournament would feature Japanese stars NOSAWA and Tomokazu Morita, as well as future WWE stars Brian “Spanky” Kendrick and T.J. “Pinoy Boy” Perkins. The tournament also featured local wrestlers Lil’ Cholo and Ricky Reyes, plus homegrown RevPro stars like Excalibur, Rising Son, Disco Machine, Mr. Excitement, and the American Wild Child.
The Revolution Pro Jr. Heavyweight title was also held by RevPro stars Scorpio Sky, TARO, and Rising Son, with Quicksilver being the champion before the company closed in 2004. At one point, it was the promotion’s most prestigious title. The title remained active in Kevin Kleinrock’s SCCW for the first few months of 2005. Human Tornado won the title in Quicksilver’s first defense in SCCW during a Fatal Four Way match that also featured Scorpio Sky and Ronin on January 15th, 2005.
The GSCW/APW-LA Lightweight Title
On March 30th, 2002, Golden State Championship Wrestling established the GCSW Lightweight title. Scott Lost defeated “Pinoy Boy” T.J. Perkins to become the first champion in Anaheim. The title would be renamed the APW-LA Lightweight Championship when GSCW became APW-LA, a SoCal affiliate of NorCal’s All Pro Wrestling. The title was held twice by Scott Lost, once by Lil’ Cholo, and once by Scorpio Sky. He could be the final Lightweight champion before the promotion closed in late 2003.
Becoming the AWS Light Heavyweight Title
In May of 2004, Bart Kapitzke revived the APW-LA Lightweight title and renamed it the AWS LA Light Heavyweight Champiosnhip. Scorpio Sky, who was the last to hold the APW-LA title, was recognized as champion. He would hold the title until March 19th, 2005 dropping it to Human Tornado in a Title vs. Title match with Tornado’s RevPro Jr. Heavyweight title also on the line. This would result in Tornado being the first unofficial Double-Crown Jr. Heavyweight Champion in SoCal.
On April 9th, 2005 at SCCW’s SoCalMania, Quicksilver would defeat Tornado, Scorpio Sky, and Ronin to win both titles. Shortly after this, both titles were merged to create the AWS Light Heavyweight Championship.
When it comes to active championships in Southern California, the AWS Light Heavyweight title has a really unique history. While EWF’s titles have been around longer, and PWG’s titles are more prolific, the AWS Light Heavyweight title has a pretty cool legacy of its own.
Match of the Column
On this edition of “Match of the Column” we have the aforementioned Tito Escondido vs. Brody King match from the Santino Bros. “Survive Now, Fear None” event in July. Watch it.