This past Thursday in La Mesa, FIST Combat began their King of SoCal tournament. The first night saw half of the first round matches taking place, with the second half of the first round taking place in October. Even though it is a King of “SoCal” tournament, Sammy Guevara and Darby Allin, who are not from Southern California, were taking part in the first night in two interesting matchups.
The sixteen wrestler tournament, which will be taking place over several shows and lasting until December, is the most ambitious thing the promotion has tried to pull off, at least since moving to San Diego. Wrestling promotions are known for a lot of hyperbole in the statements they make in order to promote shows, but FIST claiming this tournament is the biggest pro-wrestling event in San Diego history was a bit much. Off the top of my head, that honor would probably go to WCW’s Bash at the Beach in 1998. This is most certainly the biggest pro-wrestling event in the La Mesa Springs Shopping Center’s history though.
Lois Grain over Orion, Dylan Kyle Cox, Couch Potato Carl, and Jordan Cruz. [4’32]
Lois Grain is usually a heel everywhere but Jolt’n Joes, but she is super over. There is an angle going on where Dirty Ron McDonald’s valet, Wendy, has a crush on Lois, and came out to the ring to watch. This match was pretty uneven and rough at times. Dylan Kyle Cox and Jordan Cruz looked to be the most polished, and had a couple nice moments. Lois Grain has shown improvement in her work, and definitely has charisma, but still needs work. Couch Potato Carl and Orion weren’t good. Luckily this was a four and a half minute match. After Grain was knocked out of the ring, Wendy gave her a kiss which gave her the power to recover. She got back in the ring and hit a brainbuster on Dylan Kyle Cox for the pin.
Randy Order over Hunter Freeman. [8’04]
Randy Order offered his spot in the King of SoCal tournament to Hunter Freeman if he could beat him. Hunter Freeman has been quietly having some really good matches in 2018 and is one of the more underrated wrestlers out of SoCal Pro. Randy Order can have some entertaining matches with the right opponents, but unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. The match was kept fairly basic but it still came off sloppy at times. It felt like these two just didn’t click. It wasn’t as bad as parts of the opener, but it wasn’t good either. Randy Order won by pinning Freeman while he had his feet on the ropes for leverage.
Dirty Doug over Dirty Ron McDonald in a King of SoCal Tournament 1st Round Match. [13’50]
This was the first tournament match, and it was the battle of wrestlers with Dirty in their names. Wendy came out with Dirty Ron McDonald, but part way through the match she realized Lois Grain was in the audience and they ran off together. It never appeared that Dirty Ron McDonald noticed she was gone. There was lots of brawling in this with comedy spots by both wrestlers. McDonald did his spot where he farts in his opponent’s face, but it only gave Dirty Doug strength. Dirty Doug won to advance. This was OK.
Peter Avalon over Sammy Guevara by submission in a King of SoCal Tournament 1st Round Match. [9’30]
The show and tournament took a big turn here. I thought this was really good, and maybe the best match in FIST Combat since Douglas James and Andy Brown’s draw. For the most part they traded off offense, taking turns with the advantage. There was some crowd brawling in this, which was mostly controlled by Avalon. Guevara did some really flashy stuff in this. This match is worth tracking down when FIST releases the video.
Danny Limelight over Ryan Kidd in a King of SoCal Tournament 1st Round Match. [8’34]
There was an intermission after the last match, so this was the first match after intermission. I thought they matched up really well and had a nice showcase. I’m not a fan of Ryan Kidd’s mask routine, but other than that he’s consistently good and I don’t think I’ve seen him in a bad match in the last few years. It’s good to see Danny Limelight wrestling regularly after a long break due to Marine Corp. commitments. He has a great enthusiasm for wrestling and does great at projecting that to the audience. Limelight won with the Spanish Fly. This was pretty good.
Matt Vandagriff over Darby Allin in a King of SoCal Tournament 1st Round Match. [9’10]
This was a big match for Matt Vandagriff, who is a rookie out of Santino Bros. Darby Allin has become a star in Evolve, will be in this year’s Battle of Los Angeles, and is wrestling Velveteen Dream this weekend. Vandagriff is super athletic and was pulling out some really flashy stuff. Despite being the bigger star, Allin was really allowing him to shine. Allin was able to get some cool looking offense in too. The finish saw Vandagriff lay Allin out on a couple tables, then go upstairs to the building’s second floor balcony, where he did a senton off the balcony putting Allin through the tables. He recovered enough to roll Allin in the ring for the pin. That was a great spot and the loudest pop I’ve heard at a Jolt’n Joes FIST show.
This ended up being another good show from FIST. I didn’t care for the first two matches, but the last three matches more than made up for it. This was a really good start to the King of SoCal tournament, and presents a couple interesting matchup possibilities for the second round. Peter Avalon versus Sammy Guevara was my match of the night, but Vandagriff was the night’s MVP. His senton off the balcony turned this from a good show to a memorable show.
FIST is back at Jolt’n Joes in La Mesa for Spring Breakout (in September!). That show will feature FIST Champion Douglas James defending against the debuting Joey Janela. The first round of the King of SoCal tournament continues on October 4.