Taking a look at Santino Bros. Wrestling‘s Brody King’s Bah Humbug from December 21st, 2018 in Bell Gardens. Featuring Brody King and SLICE BOOGIE!
Alonzo Alvarez vs. Jay Rich vs. Hyde
I swear man, Hyde looks like he could legit be El Hijo De Ray Rosas. His gimmick is he’s some strange, creepy guy who acts weird. This match was okay for a match that featured two rookies in Hyde and Jay Rich. Neither guy really shined here, but they did well for guys on their experience level. Jay Rich seems like he has the tools to be really good someday, so it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses. Alonzo was showcased really well here. He hit a few suplexes and held things together. This match went by quickly and was okay for what it was.
Santino Bros Submission Championship Match: Dom Kubrick (c) w/ Halston Boddy vs. Eli Everfly w/ Delilah Doom
Before the match, Halston Boddy cut a promo about Eli. He called Eli an elf and said he was on Santa’s ass whooping list. You know, I think Dom’s gimmick of being a perverted masochist who sexually assaults people is really gross and stupid, but Halston Boddy is a great promo guy with a character that has so much potential, and I’m not even a fan of secondary characters like managers in wrestling. Halston seems like a modern twist on villain from an Adam West-era Batman show or an old James Bond movie. There’s a lot that could be done with Halston creatively. But this is SoCal, where creativity doesn’t exist in the local wrestling scene and everyone is an overgrown child who would rather do lazy, hacky shit that has been done before instead.
The match itself was very solid for the most part. There was some nifty chain wrestling in the opening moments and fun sequences throughout. My only gripe with this match was the structure. It didn’t feel like a submission match for the most part and came off like a normal match. Halston and Delilah got involved after Halston got in the ring to distract Eli. Then Delilah followed up by hitting a crossbody from the top rope. Dom attempted to sexually harass Delilah, but Eli made the save. Eli tried to spit green mist in the face of Dom but got the referee instead. I honestly could’ve done without getting Delilah and Halston involved. Their involvement in the match wasn’t really needed. Oh well.
As the referee was down, Eli made Dom tap to a triangle armbar. Dom was able to counter a Double Underhook Canadian Destroy from Eli and hit Roderick Strong’s Fireman’s Carry into a double knee Gutbuster. Delilah got on the apron and tried to seduce Dom. At least it was consensual. This backfired as Eli ended up accidentally hitting Delilah. Dom capitalized on this, leading to him applying a Triangle Choke from the back. Referee Izyk Haze ran out, and Eli tapped to give Dom the win.
For the most part, this was a good match, but the final moments were very overbooked and unnecessary. The only flaw in the actual match was it felt like it was worked more like a regular match as opposed to a match where a submission was needed to win. I didn’t really care for the stuff with Delilah and Halston, but that’s cause I don’t care about stuff involving character work. Aside from that, both Dom and Eli had a good showing here.
This was also the best Dom Kubrick match I’ve seen. Everyone keeps praising him as the best rookie in SoCal in 2018 (I think Matt Vandagriff has been vastly superior), but I always found his work to be sorta sloppy. Plus his sexual assaulter gimmick is kind of disgusting. He doesn’t suck inside the ring, but I don’t think he’s as good as people make him seem to be. With that said, if he keeps improving in the ring he’ll eventually be one of the better in-ring workers here in SoCal.
After the match, Kathy From H.R. (Kathy Campanelli) came out and chastised Eli for spitting mist in the referee’s face by accident. She then fired Eli for that, as well as Delilah for getting involved. Kathy then said there would be new rules and regulations implemented. The two she announced were five-minute time limits for matches (not gonna lie, I’d be okay with that since most matches in wrestling have no business going longer than that) and no climbing to or jumping from the top rope.
Before Kathy could continue, Sylvia Munoz (co-owner of Santino Bros and wife of Joey “Kaos” Munoz) came out and interrupted her. Sylvia got on the mic and cut a promo about Kathy abusing her power. She informed Kathy that she had no authority to fire anyone before firing Kathy. The angle ended with Sylvia laying Kathy out with a clothesline. This was one of the best promos I’ve heard in SoCal this year. Sylvia brought fire and energy to this segment and did a better job at getting me to be interested in this segment. She really needs to be teaching every worker out here in SoCal how to cut promos because she showed everyone up.
After Kathy left the ring, Sylvia announced that Douglas James was the new Santino Bros. General Manager. Douglas entered the ring and cut a quick promo.
Darin Finch vs. Slice Boogie
Slice Boogie is a new product of the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy. He’s doing a New Yorker from Queens gimmick. He was also rocking a throwback John Starks Knicks jersey and Mets colored tights. He really should rock Timbs during matches though. Do guys from Queens wear Timbs? Before the match started, Slice looked at a fan and yelled “This guy reminds you of your 9th grade perverted chemistry teacher? That’s why you like him, right? You got molested, huh.”
I honestly howled when I heard this. Slice Boogie is like Eddie Kingston with his trash talk. That is the sort of thing you’d expect a character like his to say. Million billion stars for Slice Boogie.
I really liked the work in this match. Slice Boogie is still noticeably inexperienced, but he also looks like he’s got the tools to be a star. Darwin had a good performance in this and got a good match out of the rookie. There was a spot where Darwin hit a counter lungblower after Slice carried him on his shoulder. After he hit it, I had to take my earbuds off after announcer Adnan Kureishy yelled so loudly that he busted my eardrums. Tim Fairplay isn’t bad, but Adnan did a really good job at making me not want to watch matches with his constant, unnecessary yelling and artificial excitement. SoCal has the worst commentators. Rather than listen to the commentary, I decided to listen to Michael Rapaport trashing Donald Trump and white nationalists for an hour in the background.
Aside from the commentary, I liked this match. Seeing Darwin bust out CIMA’s Venus palm strike was pretty cool. Slice Boogie got the win in a really solid match. Both guys had good performances here and meshed very well. As I said, Slice Boogie has tons of potential. He’s got potential to be a star. Much like Viva Van, I could see him getting signed to a WWE Performance Center deal based on his look, size, and charisma in a few years.
Heather Monroe vs. Viva Van
Before the match, Heather Monroe cut a promo. This meant turning on the sound again and pausing the Michael Rapaport video for me. Heather picked three people to give gifts too. Three Santino Bros. students entered the ring and received gifts from Heather. One got deodorant because they smelled. Another got a mask because they were ugly. The last one got soap cause they needed to take a bath.
After the students left the ring, Heather cut a promo saying Viva Van was trying to steal her spotlight. She was interrupted by Viva Van’s music, who ran out to attack her before the match started. Once the match started, it was time to mute the commentary again.
The match started off hot with Viva Van getting some offense on Heather early on. Heather cut her off and had an extended heat segment. Viva Van mounted a comeback and got a good amount of offense on Heather. The closing moments of the match saw the action go back-and-forth with some near falls thrown in before Heather got the win on a roll up while pulling the tights. After the match, Heather mocked Viva Van, who was visibly upset about the loss.
I thought this was pretty solid in terms of ring work and booking. Having Heather go over with a cheap win was a good booking move. The conflict between them isn’t killed, the issue isn’t resolved, and there is heat thrown into the story. Good stuff here.
RJ Santos vs. Matt Vandagriff
“You love building buildings cause it’s the only thing you can get erect” Michael Rapaport to Donald Trump.
Over on the Santino Bros. YouTube channel, there are videos from training sessions that show what the students are working on. One student that was featured regularly that caught my eye was RJ Santos. Several of his training clips had me really impressed, as he was pulling off stuff more advanced workers can’t do. His first match at the previous Santino Bros. show against Slice Boogie was a good showing for him, so I was excited to see this match.
Aside from a few sloppy moments, this was a really fun match. For someone with not much experience as a worker, RJ Santos was able to do some advanced techniques in the ring that most guys who have been around for years wish they could pull off. His style is very similar to Eli Everfly’s, so if you’re a fan of Eli, you’ll enjoy RJ Santos. Vandagriff had a good performance in this one, but the match felt like it was designed to showcase RJ more. Vandagriff got the win in a back-and-forth match that is worth checking out. Everyone should keep their eye on RJ Santos.
Tyler Bateman w/ Sarah Wolfe vs. Lucas Riley
This was a standard Big Man vs. Little Man match with a simple formula. Bateman slowly worked over Lucas Riley for heat, and Lucas kept trying to make comebacks. Sarah Wolfe also got involved at times. She even stabbed Lucas Riley in the ear with a candy cane. The pacing of the match was pretty slow and got pretty boring at times when it Bateman was getting heat. Bateman got the win after hitting a spinning Tombstone Piledriver.
While the match was technically good based on the in-ring work quality, it didn’t really interest me for the most part. I’m not into slow-paced matches, and that’s what this was. Part of me feels that this would’ve been a better match had it been shorter. It was like a five-minute match stretched into 15. That is a problem that a lot of matches have these days and isn’t just limited to this one. There’s nothing wrong with working slower matches, and often times could improve the quality of the match.
Vinny Wasco vs. Robby Phoenix
Am I the only one who gets a 2001-02 era “Rock Superstar” Kaos vibe from Vinny Wasco? He’s got the bleached blonde hair, nearly identical gear style, and similar mannerisms. The match itself was a standard heel vs. face match. Wasco played the heel while Robby was the babyface. Wasco controlled the action by working over Robby for heat, and Robby did a couple of hope spots throughout the match. Much like the Bateman match, I thought the match went long and dragged at some points. This too could’ve been better had it been shorter. Robby got the win here.
After the match, Robby got on the mic. Now I have to pause the Michael Rapaport video again and unmute this to hear what’s going on. Robby announced that he was retiring from wrestling and thanked everyone for their support. Kaos entered the ring first and gave Robby a hug as the fans chanted Robby’s name. Then the entire locker room came out to show their support for their trainer.
Halston Boddy and Dom Kubrick were last to enter the ring. After giving Dom a hug, Robby shook Halston’s hand. Halston made a joke, saying Robby would never see the Submission title again. This resulted in Robby punching Halston and attacking Dom. Robby handcuffed Halston to the bottom rope and beat up on Dom for a bit. Before Robby could hit Dom with his belt, Douglas James ran in to make the save. Douglas got on the mic and booked Robby in a match against Dom with Douglas James as the referee. If he loses, he leaves Santinos for good as both a wrestler and trainer. I thought this was a good angle.
Santino Bros. Heavyweight Championship Match: Brody King (c) vs. Jake Atlas
Before the match started, Jake apologized for attacking Brody King after his match the last time he was at a Santino Bros show. Brody didn’t accept and slapped him in the nuts instead. Once the match started, it was back to Michael Rapaport. This time he’s in the middle of bashing Trump, the current president of the United States, for not knowing the words to the National Anthem. Our president seriously doesn’t know the words to our nation’s anthem.
Much like Bateman/Riley, this had a basic Big Man vs. Little Man formula to it. Brody used his size and strength advantage to control Jake, and Jake tried to make several comebacks by using his speed advantage. There were so many noticeable leg slaps from Jake when he went for kicks. He’s not the only worker guilty of doing this in wrestling. It’s honestly the worst trend going in wrestling. Especially when workers slap their legs on chops. It looks so dumb when workers do it.
After getting dominated for most of the match, Jake mounted a comeback and hit a few moves on Brody. The finishing moments saw Brody hit Jake with several of his signature moves for some near falls before Jake got the win to become the new champion. After the match, Jake cut a promo to close the show. This was a pretty good match. Brody looked like a killer in this, and Jake had a good performance.
This was another good showing from Santino Bros. While two matches dragged a bit and the commentary was mute-worthy, this was a very entertaining show. The best match of the show was the opener between Eli and Dom. The angle with Sylvia and Kathy From H.R. was also well done. Sylvia outclassed the majority of the scene with her mic work in this segment. I’m not a fan of secondary characters on wrestling shows, but I think she’d make a great authority figure for any promotion.
I also want to note how the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy is producing so many new, promising rookies and prospects right now. Slice Boogie has all the tools to be a star and could be really good someday. RJ Santos seems like he could be the new Eli Everfly (or the first RJ Santos). And Viva Van continues to impress. Then you have workers like Lucas Riley, Dom Kubrick, the Bomb Squad, and Matt Vandagriff (who is my runaway pick for Rookie of the Year in 2018) who are beginning to grow as performers. In the next few years, they’ll be running the scene. But for now, the Santino Bros. are doing a great job at creating tons of prospects with loads of potential. Get some Slice Boogie in your life.
So many people in the scene have a bleak outlook on breaking out. They think that no matter what they’ll be stuck in the scene forever. Some even end up being misgauged and think that if they move to the Midwest or East Coast, they’ll get more exposure. I’m sure the $30 paydays out there are better than the $20 ones here, but in the end, their careers don’t go anywhere. Most of the guys with that mentality don’t work hard enough to get bookings outside of the scene, which is why they are either stuck in SoCal or end up moving to some trashy part of the United States that is full of Trump voters. Plus most of them fucking suck and are delusional enough to think they have some sort of value and future when the truth is they don’t.
But the reality is when a worker busts their ass and puts on great matches, they’re going to get more prolific bookings and exposure. Look at Brody, and look at Eli Everfly as well. They’re two shining examples of how hard work creates success and chances to get booked outside of SoCal. Those two put on great matches and do lots of cool stuff. Now they have promoters putting them on platforms outside of Southern California. They made their own opportunities with their work, and everyone in the SoCal scene needs to take notice of what they’ve done.
Brody King, more specifically, is someone that EVERY WORKER IN SOCAL should look to for inspiration. Last year, he became a star on the independent scene outside of SoCal. He was in AAW, MLW, Defy, and appeared in GCW. Early last year, he became the first local worker to perform in PWG in a long time. Recently, he signed a contract with Ring Of Honor. Oh, and the guy also has his own fucking Wikipedia page now too. 2018 was the year of Brody. At this pace, he’s going be a major star in the next few years.
More importantly, Brody has opened the doors for many workers in SoCal now. He’s proven that this generation of local workers can come from Southern California and actually make it to a level of prominence in independent wrestling where they don’t have to leave their friends and family behind in order to chase the impossible dream of pro wrestling stardom. Brody has shown that guys like the Young Bucks and Joey Ryan aren’t the only ones who can do it. There is a path to success. It’s just up to the workers coming up in the scene whether or not they’re willing to put in the work to go down that path.
The future is very bright for Brody. I can’t wait to see how far he goes in wrestling.