With the hype surrounding the NWA Worlds Heavyweight title being defended in Southern California for the first time in over five years, and for the first time under the new regime period, I decided to make the trip out to November 12th Championship Wrestling from Hollywood tapings. This article will contain thoughts on the TV tapings as well as the NWA title match, so if you don’t want spoilers stop reading now.
The show is filmed in Port Hueneme, which is an hour’s drive) away from Los Angeles (depending on traffic), and somewhat in the middle of nowhere. The population of Ventura County is less than a quarter of the City of Los Angeles’. But hey, I was able to get nine avocados for $5 on the way there.
I ended up getting to the venue about 20 minutes before doors were scheduled to open and there were about 100 people in line or so. There were quite a few people with replica NWA titles scattered throughout the line. In talking with a few people it was pretty clear there was a buzz for the NWA title match with several people remarking they came out just for that. Leading up to the event the buzz online for the NWA match was apparent as well, and if the show was taped closer to Los Angeles there is no doubt there would have been a bigger crowd.
Before the show started, Billy Corgan came out to take a photo with the NWA title, he told the crowd “thank you” but no real speech was given. CWFH promoter David Marquez and commentators Joe Galli and Jonny Loquasto did most of the pre-show hype. When the show began there were about 140 people in the stands.
I won’t go to in detail on the matches themselves, as a lot were basic short matches for television. Seven matches on the show were under five minutes.
Devin Sparks & Royce Issacs over Lucas Riley & Falco [Jake Atlas] to qualify for the PP3 Cup [4’15]
I’m not exactly sure how the PP3 Cup qualifying works as both tag-teams and single wrestlers were qualifying. I’m not sure how many rounds there are either. Right away in this match despite the larger than normal, enthusiastic crowd the fake crowd noise started. The fake crowd noise is awful on TV and awful live. This was a standard short match for TV that no one really had a chance to stand out in.
Rancheros (Rogelio [Che Cabrera] & Raul [Rico Dynamite]) over PAC3 (Dylan Bostic & Dan Joseph) by DQ [1’54]
The Rancheros are managed by Dino Winwood playing a character named Howdy Price. It is terrible. Managers are hard to pull off in this modern era of wrestling, and I know CWFH is trying to be somewhat of a throwback to an earlier era, but Howdy’s promos were brutal. The gimmick really isn’t that far a stretch from Famous B, so Lucha Underground showed that it can work, but Dino doesn’t have Famous B’s talent and charisma. Anyway I believe both teams were heels, and the match ended when Dicky Mayer, who is a face, came out and interfered.
Chris Bey over Mikey O’Shea [4’25]
Chris Bey has really been impressive this year and is due for a breakout in a big way. He looked pretty good in this, as did Mikey O’Shea. This was good for what it was.
Bad Dude Tito Escondido over Ty Matthews in a non-title match [4’34]
Tito is the Hollywood Heritage Heavyweight champion and they have him facing Ty Matthews, who is a manager, to build to Tito versus Watts. This should have been a complete squash to keep Tito strong for the title match, or at the least if Matthews was going to get the upper hand at any point it should have been through underhanded tactics. Neither of those things happened and Matthews matched to get a decent amount of offense on Tito. I’m not sure what purpose this match served.
Suede Thompson over Brody King, Tyler Bateman, and Peter Avalon to qualify for the PP3 Cup [8’24]
This was really good. I wish they would have gotten double the time to really build something. All four wrestlers looked great in this.
Julius Coleman [Ju Dizz] over Ray Rosas to qualify for the PP3 Cup [12’25]
Ray Rosas apparently comes out to the ring to what is seemingly an instrumental version of Blue Monday by New Order. This was pretty good. This was the first match that really had some time to develop. The finish saw Peter Avalon come out and hit both guys in the crotch. Coleman fell on top of Rosas for the pin.
Post match Coleman put over Rosas and said he didn’t want to win that way. Rosas then cut a promo and challenged Peter Avalon to a steel cage match.
Andy Brown over Espiritu, Rogelio, and Raul to qualify for the PP3 Cup [4’17]
Howdy Price came out again said he got his guys a PP3 Cup qualifying match. Apparently the live stream for the NWA title match started during this as well. The promo by Howdy wasn’t good but the match itself was OK.
Tim Storm over Nick Aldis to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight title [14’52]
Billy Corgan and David Lagana (with help from David Marquez and staff) have done a great job building up to this match. This is the first time in a long time there has been any buzz around the NWA title and with the title being seen largely as a joke over the last few years that is quite an accomplishment. Their Ten Pounds of Gold videos have been great. Being in the crowd live there was a real buzz for the match as well. It was clear the fans in attendance weren’t taking it as just another title match. That is rare in independent wrestling.
As for the match itself, I have purposefully not watched the video of it yet, and my observations are solely based on being there live.
The match started out with some chain wrestling then switched gears to some brawling. Aldis goes to the outside, and Storm held the rope like the Southern gentleman he is for Aldis to get back in the ring. Aldis thanks him with a cheap shot. After this there is a lot of back and forth and our first near falls. Storm goes up the ropes, and I’m not sure if he slipped or what but came off the ropes pretty sloppily into a cross body. Storm is absolutely drenched in sweat. It is pouring off him like someone turned a faucet on. Aldis hit a pretty nice Michinoku Driver for a 2 count. Storm is able to lock in a figure four in the center of the ring and the crowd was pretty hot for this. Aldis eventually escapes. There’s some more back and forth and Aldis hits an awkward looking powerbomb and applies a cloverleaf. Storrm escapes. Storm tries for another figure four, but Aldis tries to roll him up. I guess Storm reversed the roll up into one of his own and won. The ending was really sloppy.
The match was nicely put together and paced well, but the execution was pretty sloppy and it seemed to get sloppier as it went on. It looked like Storm was pretty gassed, and as I mentioned he was drenched in sweat by mid-way into the match. Aldis did a nice job covering for Storm at a few points. I’m sure the match told the story that it was supposed to, but the execution just wasn’t there. Ideally the first match under this new NWA could have been much better.
Rating: * 3/4
Classic Connection (Levi Shapiro & Buddy Royal) over Zicky Dice & Alonzo Alvarez [4’23]
Despite pleas made to the crowd prior to the NWA match not to leave after the match, about 30% of the crowd left, so there was some rearranging of seats to make it look good for TV. This was OK, but the crowd wasn’t into it following the main event. It’s OK though, the fake crowd noise was there.
Dicky Mayer over Dan Joseph, Dylan Bostic, and Coach Flexo in a gauntlet match [12’25]
Dicky Mayer had been in Japan so his feud with PAC3 hadn’t been resolved. Here was his chance to get at Coach Flexo. The first two parts were pretty good. I think Dan Joseph is under rated and he matched up with Mayer well. Bostic actually got the lion’s share of the time but did fine as well.
Tomaste over Ryan Taylor [4’52]
This was good for being a short match as well. Taylor is great and I’d like to see Tomaste in Southern California more. He had a pretty good match in FIST earlier this year.
Kevin Kondron & Richie Slade over Astro Viajero [Adrian Quest] & Thomas [4’47]
I guess Thomas works for Kondron. Eventually Astro tagged Thoimas in and he layed down for Kondron allowing him to get the pin.
Watts over Royce Issacs [11’58]
Based on Tito clearly working as a face earlier and facing Watts’ manager Ty Matthews who appeared to be a heel, I figured Watts was a heel. If he was the fake crowd noise didn’t think so as it would boo every time Issacs kicked out. This match was pretty good and both Issacs and Watts put in a good performance, but is a back and forth even match the best way to build Watts to his title match with Tito? The booking in regards to Hollywood Heritage title needs work. Good match though.
With CWFH you have to go in expecting to see a television taping and not expecting a normal independent show filled with 10 minute or longer matches. I’d like to see the promotion move to more of a work rate based program, but they want to do an old-school studio wrestling show, and that is fine. There is room for all types of wrestling in the world. The fake crowd noise remains awful however, and I can’t see how anyone thinks that it is a good idea.
Overall I thought the show was pretty fun experience, though some of the booking was puzzling. Three episodes being filmed at once was a little much, and the crowd was really zapped of energy towards the end. It will be interesting to see the finished product when it airs to see how they put all together.