When I first started to do these recaps for SCU, I did it to share my thoughts & opinions on attended shows. Back then, I was attending alot of shows, ranging from small shows like Battleground Pro, to PWG. As time went on, the number of shows I was attending dwindled, as the scene was changing, and I was attending an increasing number of comic cons. So as I started to attend a smaller number of shows, other fans, including “The Hot Tub Guy” began to do their own recaps & reviews. Those combination of things, along with changes in my schedule meant that I had little or no time to do recaps of every show I was attending. And so, I have come to a decision that this would be my last recap & review writing for SCU, at least for awhile. Fortunately for you fellow wrestling fans, this is not an indication that I am leaving the wrestling scene. I will still continue to provide live, ringside tweets of any wrestling events that I am attending, outside of televised WWE events; as well as post-show photo highlights on Twitter. I will also do the occasional “Chaos Column View” article for SCU, when time permits. Since this is the last recap that I’m doing for this particular run, there’s no better way to end it, than share what I observed & felt, during the 2 nights of top notch wrestling action at the American Legion hall in South Gate. There were plenty of wrestling action going on this weekend, especially on Friday Night, so big commendations to both RISE & PCW Ultra on drawing huge crowds that night. I opted for RISE to see up & coming female talents show what they can do in the ring, as well as to see familar names. Then, of course, there was 2 of the biggest names in STARDOM: Kris Wolf, & Toni Storm. Rare opportunities. Take them, while you can.
RISE 6: “Brutality”
Match 1: Maritza Jannett & Hyan v. Willow Nightengale & Trixie Tash
This was definitely one of the biggest moments for the “School of Hard Knocks” product, Martiza, & any improvements she makes from this weekend could only spell more trouble for Adrian Quest in the EWF. Both the curvy Willow, and the masked Trixie brought plenty of energy to the ring. There were a few rough spots in the match itself, but that’s pretty much par for these young, developing talents. Hyan was able to roll away from Willow’s Moonsault, eventually hitting a Glam Slam/Implant Buster on Trixie for the pin.
2: Kylie Rae v. Deonna Purazzo
I knew little about Kylie, only hearing mentions of her from tweets by Sabotage Wrestling. The match was pretty fun to watch, as both women looked pretty even in both skills, & abilities. Deonna would break the stalemate, rolling Kylie to her back while in a submission hold, & got the cover for the pin.
3: Four-way, 1 fall … Priscilla Kelly v. Chelsea Green v. ACR v. Ayokah
This was a pretty fun match to watch, as all 4 women got a chance to show what they can do. Both ACR & Ayokah looked pretty good, although it was hard to see what they could really do in the four-way. Priscilla took Chelsea out of the fight, while Ayokah hit a big move on ACR. Priscilla then took out Ayokah, & rolled up ACR for the pin.
4: “The Fallen Flower” Kikyo v. “Future Legend” Cheerleader Melissa
It was a very even match at first, as Kikyo held her own against Melissa. Then Kris Wolf & Dynamite Didi ran into the ring, attacking Melissa. Even after the referee called for the bell, the attack on Melissa continued. That was when Bull Nakano came to the ring, and struck Melissa with a pair of nunchucks. Ouch! I did not hear clearly on whether it was a DQ win for Melissa, or if it was ruled a No Contest.
5: Barbed Wire on a Bat Match: “The Wounded Owl Ronin” LuFisto v. Dust (f.k.a. Angel Dust)
This was some really serious stuff that these two did in the ring, & outside. Given that I was on the south end of the hall, I couldn’t see much of the action near the entrance, where 1 of the 4 bats used in the match, was hanging. Dust did grab the bat, but couldn’t get much use out of it. LuFi grabbed the other 3 from the other corner, & used those pretty liberally. There was only a few weapon shots to the head in the match, and no pressing the barb wire against the forehead for a blood spot. There were plenty of strikes to the backside, so any blood that did leak from the wrestlers were essentially hidden by the black colors of their gear, at least from my POV. LuFi ended it with a Burning Hammer, rolled into a bat-assisted choke hold for the tapout submission win.
6: “Survivor Series” Rules: Taya Valkyrie, Andrew Everett, Heather Monroe, & Penelope Ford v. Jimmy Jacobs, Ruby Raze, Sage Sin, & Savannah Evans
This was some great stuff, with gimmicks mixed in with some serious wrestling. Given how high Andrew could fly, I was hoping that he wouldn’t crash into the ceiling; but he did some of his aerial moves from the middle ropes. When it came down to a 3-on1, Taya had to “channel her inner Asuka”, to become the “lone survivor”; a feat that was aided by Jimmy’s arrogance getting the better of him, when he left Raze high-and-dry.
FULL ELIMINATION ORDER
* Taya p. Sage w/ her Facebreaker finisher
* Jimmy p. Penelope w/ an Ace Crusher or Uranage
* Raze p. Heather w/ the Soul Eater
* Raze p. Andrew w/ the Soul Eater
* Taya p. Savannah w/ a rollup
* Taya p. Raze w/ the Spear
* Taya p. Jimmy w/ her Facebreaker finisher
7: Nicole Savoy v. Aerial Monroe
This was a great match coming out of intermission. It couldn’t have been easy for Aerial to go face-to-face w/ the AWS & new SHIMMER Women’s Champion, but she held her own really well. Nicole put Aerial in her finishing submission hold for the tapout win.
* The next segment saw Kevin Harvey enter the ring to make a huge announcement. Aside from Bull Nakano & Madusa being scheduled to appear at a future RISE event in April, in Berwyn, IL, Kevin also brought out STARDOM President Rossy Ogawa & STARDOM USA President Cheerleader Melissa. They then brought Kikyo, Delilah Doom, Dust, Kylie Rae, & Shotzi Blackheart to ringside. That was when they announced the huge “RISE v. STARDOM” event on 7/16/18 in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall. What a huge opportunity for these ladies!
8: Shotzi Blackheart (w/ Madusa) v. Kris Wolf (w/ Bull Nakano)
In what was a potential preview of a future STARDOM Match at Korakuen Hall in July, there was plenty of howling in this match, as I kinda predicted when it was first announced. The match looked even until the referee tried to keep Madusa off the apron. Bull Nakano used it to strike Shotzi w/ her nunchucks, & throw her off the top rope. Kris took advantage by scoring the pinfall after Shotzi was thrown back in. That made Madusa cut a post-match promo, likely setting up a trios match for the upcoming RISE event in April.
SM: The 1st ever World of STARDOM title match in the U.S.: Toni Storm (c) v. Mercedes Martinez
This match didn’t disappoint, from the ceremonial title match photos that the competitors take w/ Rossy Ogawa, to the final bell. This was a very even, high-energy match in my books, although not as long as what one would typically see in a title match at Korakuen Hall. Toni drilled Mercedes w/ a Piledriver for her 2nd successful title defense.
M: Steel Cage for the Phoenix of RISE: Delilah Doom (c) v. Rosemary
This was brutal of a women’s hardcore match, as one would expect from these two. After all, it was at RISE 2 in South Gate, Last January, where Rosemary’s influence saw Delilah on the receiving end of a major beatdown by both Dust & Rosemary. A combination of Dust slamming the door at her face, plus a title belt smash left Delilah w/ a “crimson mask”. However, Delilah fought back hard, rolling her signature move into a Backbreaker to the title belt, for the pin & her 1st successful title defense.
Rise 6.5: “Throttle” (Part of the “Madusa’s Full Throttle” Podcast)
Match 1: Dust v. Willow Nightengale
Willow filled in for Delilah, who probably needed the extra time to recuperate from the steel cage match, & allow the cut on her forehead to heal. The match itself was pretty even, with Dust taking the initiative late. Dust was able to stop Willow from doing her Moonsault, pushing her off the ropes & onto the middle turnbuckle, then hit her Backstabber for the pin.
2: Laurel Van Ness v. Deonna Purazzo
A fun, gimmick match, with LVN doing her thing, & Deonna matching LVN’s little dance move. It was pretty evenly matched from my POV, with Deonna capping it with a sort of Modified O’Connor Roll for the pin.
3: Kris Wolf v. Mercedes Martinez
Mercedes didn’t take the high-energy stuff that Kris was sporting in this match. Other than that, it was a pretty even match, with Mercedes locking in her submission finisher for the tapout win.
M: STARDOM World Alliance Undisputed title match: Toni Storm (c) v. Shotzi Blackheart
Shotzi held her own against Toni in the main event of the card pretty well IMO. She didn’t have enough late to fend off Toni’s signature moves, capped by piledriver for the pin & her 13th successful title defense.
AWS “Again, no Presents for Christmas – Final Battle”
Match 1: Joey Ryan v. White Lion
Short, but very effective gimmick match, that started with “Ben The Hammer Guy” taking Joey Ryan’s lollipop. Speaking of lollipop’s, a whole stack of it was dropped on in the middle of the ring by White Lion. Both men tried to slam each other onto the stack, then Joey’s manhood stepped in. Joey rolled the YP Plex onto the stack of lollipops, into the Sweet Tooth Music for the pin. At least he cleaned up the mess after the match.
2: AWS Tag Team Championship: SoCal Crazy & Mariachi Loco (c) v. “P.P.H.A.T.E.” (Ray Rosas & Peter Avalon)
H.A.T.E. was probably looking for new titles to grab, after Rico & Che dropped the EWF Tag Team titles to Jorel Nelson & Davion Foreman the previous night. This title match didn’t disappoint with the high energy & aerial assault that the wrestlers like to use, mixed in with an exchange of Superkicks. Ray reversed a cover into his own title-clinching pin, with the referee not seeing an alleged pulling of SoCal Crazy’s mask that apparently blinded him.
3: Mercedes Martinez, Cheerleader Melissa, & Priscilla Kelly v. Delilah Doom, Deonna Purazzo, & Laurel Van Ness
This was a great trios match, with a great mix of in-ring gimmicks, and serious wrestling. Delilah hit her signature moves on Priscilla, only to find her isolated after Mercedes took out Deonna, while Melissa took out LVN in the corner. That allowed Melissa to put Delilah in a Surfboard hold, allowing Mercedes to jump from the top rope, to hit a vicious Curb Stomp. Priscilla was put over Delilah for the pin.
4: RISE Women’s Battle Royal, w/ the winner earning a spot on the RISE roster, & a future AWS match
Standard Battle Royal rules format was used, with the last 2 standing then doing battle in a standard singles match. Kikyo cleaned house early, getting 4 of the 1st eliminations, then taking a page out of Saraya Knight‘s book, and did a dropkick onto the groin area of Aerial Monroe. The last four were: Kikyo, Aerial Monroe, Willow Nightengale, & Savannah Evans. Aerial threw Kikyo over the top rope, then knocked her off the apron, right onto the fans! Willow did almost a similar thing with Savannah. In the singles duel, Aerial & Willow traded moves, but it would be Aerial that an Alexa Bliss-style DDT for the pin.
5: Jake Atlas v. B-Boy
This match between the veteran B-Boy, & the up-and-coming Jake Atlas didn’t disappoint. Both men left it all in the ring, mixing in serious wrestling, with fantastic in-ring storytelling. Jake kicked out of the Sit-Down Piledriver, eventually hitting a Handstand Huracanrana hold, rolled into a DDT for the pin, & B-Boy’s hard-earned respect!
6: Team PAWG (LuFisto & Jordynne Grace) v. Fatal Attraction (Ruby Raze & Sage Sin)
Very evenly matched these two teams were, and there was no love lost between the two finalists in the previous women’s tournament (Raze & LuFi), in which Jordynne & Sage got involved. LuFi & Jordynne were able to take Raze out of the fight, long enough for them to roll a double-team Powerslam on Sage, into their Running Team Stinkface–the ATM–for LuFi’s pin.
7: “The Greek God” Papadon v. Brody King
There’s no denying that GGP plays a great, classic heel; whether it’s commanding Ring Announcer Jessica Renee to do as he said, or pleading for a 3-count from Referee Jeremy Marcus. The match was very good, with both men exhibiting some great stuff in the ring. Brody couldn’t put away GGP w/ his 1st Michinoku Driver, but the 2nd one did get the…..3!!!
8: STARDOM World Alliance Undisputed title match: Toni Storm (c) v. Dust
Originally, RISE advertised this added match as a non-title match, but it became a title match. Much like Shotzi, Dust also held her own against Toni pretty well. As it was in the 2 previous matches, Toni hit her Piledriver finisher for the pin, & her 14th successful title defense. That is a remarkable feat for her, with the first 2 successful defense of the SWA Undisputed title in So Cal, since she beat Io Shirai for that title back in July 2016.
9: Shotzi Blackheart v. Rosemary
Another fun gimmick match, where Rosemary didn’t do much at the start of the match, until Shotzi did her trademark howl, where she then grabbed her by the neck. Rosemary then goaded her into chasing her to the backstage area, where she apparently attacked her, and brought the action back into the ring. Rosemary hit a Spear, but pulled Shotzi off the mat at 2. She wanted to hit her F5 finisher (Red Wedding, I think), but Shotzi fought her way out of it, then got a cover, & a seemingly fast 3-count from Referee Rick Knox.
SM: Falls Count Anywhere, South Gate City Street Fight for the AWS Heavyweight title: Bad Dude Tito (c) v. Tyler Bateman
Tito didn’t have the full strength of H.A.T.E., but he did open the match with an ambush from behind, coming from the fans’ entrance, and nailed Tyler with a Singapore Cane. There were plenty of major spots outside the ring, but the apparent attempt for either men to slam or throw the other onto a massive pile of chairs never materialized. Furthermore, none of the members of H.A.T.E. did any outside interference. With that being noted, both men exchanged some big moves in the ring. In the end, it was Tyler who hit 3 rounds of his Death From Above, to regain the title.
M: AWS Women’s title match: Nicole Savoy (c) v. Kris Wolf
Nicole had stated on social media, that she wanted to “catch the wolf, Pokemon style”. Well, she tried to do that, using a classic Poke-Ball, but Kris would have none of it. The match looked quite even for me, complete with some outside brawling. For a moment, it looked like Nicole would counter Kris’s signature Knee Strike/Kick to the Back combo into one of her signature submission holds. Somehow, Kris was able to put Nicole in a tight cover, for the title-clinching pin! For many, including myself, this had to be the biggest shocker of the weekend!
SUMMARY OF THE TITLE CHANGES AT AWS
New, 2-time Heavyweight Champion: Tyler Bateman
New, 2-time Tag Team Champions: H.A.T.E.’s Ray Rosas & Peter Avalon
New Women’s Champion: Kris Wolf
MOTN (ICYM my tweets)
1 – World of STARDOM title match
2 – Phoenix of RISE title match
3 – Nicole Savoy / Aerial Monroe
4 – 8-Wrestler “Survivor Series” style match
1 – SWA Undisputed title match
2 – Laurel Van Ness / Deonna Purazzo
1 – Jake Atlas / B-Boy
2 – Heavyweight title match
3 – Women’s title match
4 – RISE batlte royal
5 – Tag team title match
So when I look back at those 2 nights spent in South Gate, I can only reflect on just how much women’s wrestling has grown in So Cal. I haven’t had this much fun watching women wrestlers throw it down in the ring since the STARDOM USA weekend over 2 years ago. Speaking of STARDOM, it will be very interesting to see how things play out, with Kris holding the AWS Women’s title, & Nicole Savoy going on tour with the promotion starting next month. Furthermore, with RISE heading to Tokyo in July, one could only imagine the matches those women will have there. However, if there’s any woman I like to see Delilah Doom, or whoever the Phoenix of RISE is at that time, do battle with inside Korakuen Hall, it’s either Io Shirai, or Mayu Iwatani. I also look forward to seeing how good Aerial Monroe can really get, and I look forward to seeing her back in South Gate in 2018, preferably in the fall, after the promotion returns from their post-anniversary show hiatus to hold matches during the CA Hot Sauce Expo. Remember, as I pointed out on Twitter, while I will be able to go to next month’s AWS show during the Anime Los Angeles Weekend, I won’t be at the anniversary show in March because of WonderCon. The 3 huge cards didn’t disappoint, and it was great to get insights on things during the podcast.
And so, as I wrap up this run of recaps & reviews for SCU, I do want to remind you wrestling fans that I will continue to provide ringside tweets of most attended shows. In the meantime, if you’re at any of the upcoming comic conventions in the L.A. area between January (Anime Impulse) & July (Anime Expo), chances are you’ll find me walking around, taking photos of the cosplayers. That is all, everyone. Have a safe & happy holiday season.