In today’s Southern California pro-wrestling news update we have the latest on a return to the EWF, more additions to the next PCW Ultra event, Ground Zero, Bar Wrestling, Lucha VaVoom, AWS, and more. Click for today’s SoCal News & Notes.
Gary Yap is scheduled to return to Empire Wrestling Federation in February. This will be his first time back in EWF since June 3, 2016, when his Man in Black lost a rematch against Andy Brown for the EWF Heavyweight Championship.
Yap started in wrestling with the failed EPIC promotion in 2002. After a hiatus, he returned in 2004 to promote Pro Wrestling War, which later became EPIC Pro Wrestling War. That promotion would last until 2012 and featured the Southern California debuts of a number of prominent wrestlers such as Austin Aries, Teddy Hart, and even Tyler Bateman.
After another hiatus, Yap and TJ Perkins came up with the idea for the Man in Black (the character was never actually called this, it is just the name they used to promote his matches on flyers) angle. They created a YouTube series called Over to go along with appearances in EWF as well.
Gary Yap and his Man in Black debuted in EWF on December 5, 2014, and proceeded to go undefeated in the promotion (with several no-contests). They would win the EWF Heavyweight Championship on August 7, 2015.
The Man in Black character would also win the 2015 Paul T. Award for Most Outstanding Wrestler in Southern California.
After a 273 day reign and a long build-up to the match, Andy Brown defeated the Man in Black for the EWF Heavyweight Championship on May 6, 2016, at the EWF’s 20th-anniversary show. That event still holds the record for largest crowd to watch an EWF event at the EWF Arena in Covina. Andy Brown ended up being the only wrestler to defeat the Man in Black, outside of a DQ finish.
As of this writing, I don’t know what Gary Yap’s role will be in his EWF return, or if the Man in Black will return along with him. While TJ Perkins is currently signed to WWE, the original incarnation was portrayed by more than one wrestler so it is possible for a return.
The original web series is still available at WatchOverNow.com.
PCW Ultra has added a couple more wrestlers to their third-anniversary show on January 18, 2019. Garza Jr. will be making his return to the promotion while Michael Marshall will be making his debut. I believe this will be Marshall’s California debut, though he actually had a film, The Wrestler: A Q.T. Marshall Story, which won the best documentary award in 2017 at the San Diego Comic-Con Film Festival.
Jake Atlas is currently in Orlando, FL at the WWE Performance Center as part of a WWE Tryout Camp. He will be there from December 13-15.
Ground Zero has True Grit (Jesse James and Hoss Hogg) versus AK Rambe (KC Douglas and Michael Hopkins) in a steel cage match for their January 19 event in Imperial Beach. It was also announced that Andy Brown will defend the Ground Zero Championship against Tyler Bateman at the event. This will be the third time in the promotion’s last five shows Brown and Bateman have faced each other.
Los Luchas (Phoenix Star and Zokre) will also be making their Ground Zero debut and will be facing Eli Everfly and Matt Vandagriff in a tag-team match.
Bar Wrestling will be running in Baldwin Park on January 31, 2019, the night after New Japan Pro Wrestling’s event at the Globe Theater in Los Angeles.
Rey Fenix, Penta El Zero M, and Taya Valkyrie will all be appearing at the February 13 and 14 Lucha VaVoom events at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles. The events will mark Taya Valkyrie’s debut with the promotion.
Devin Sparks announced he will be coming out a retirement to wrestle for Zealot Wrestling in Arizona on January 25, 2019.
AWS announced that Hammerstone will be debuting for the promotion at their 17th-anniversary show on March 23, 2019. Hammerstone had been under contract with PCW Ultra that gave them exclusive rights to his bookings in Southern California but that has ended.
Cen Cal Pro Wrestling’s Planet Lucha brand is building to an event on May 19, 2019, in Santa Maria that will feature Damian 666, Bestia 666, Mil Muertes, and Psicosis.
LA Lucha’s third show is scheduled for January 26, 2019.
This week’s Southern California pro-wrestling events: