Taking a look at MPW’s California Classic 2019 from April 13th, 2019 in Moorpark, CA. Featuring Ray Rosas vs. Danny Limelight, Douglas James vs. B-Minus, and more.
On April 5th, 2019, MPW held the last of its weekly Friday night shows in Moorpark. After Danny Divine defeated Ray Rosas, the MPW roster and students of the Millennium Wrestling Academy came out to ringside to say goodbye to the venue. During all this, Ray got on the microphone and gave a heartfelt speech about what MPW and the students of the Millennium Wrestling Academy meant to him. Performers stood in the ring out of character, hugging each other as questions filled the air about the promotion’s future. At one point, Daniel Moon loudly wept during Ray’s speech. It was a moment full of genuine emotion.
The feelings of sorrow and sadness quickly faded away though when MPW owner Paul Ventimiglia got on the microphone. He talked about how the emotion he saw at that moment was everything he wanted in pro wrestling before announcing that the promotion and its school would be moving to Simi Valley. After announcing the news, everyone’s heartache turned to joy. It seriously might be the most uplifting moment you’ll ever see take place in SoCal wrestling.
On April 13th, MPW held its final event at their Moorpark location, the California Classic. Every MPW title was on the line. The promotion’s homegrown stars were getting a chance to showcase themselves against more prolific talent. Heading into that day, this was shaping up to be the biggest event of MPW’s current incarnation.
The show started off with MPW owner Paul Ventimiglia coming out to address the crowd. He gave an update about the current status of MPW, saying that it will be moving to a new location in Simi Valley. MPW’s first show back will be in June.
MPW National Championship Match: B-Minus (c) vs. Douglas James
This was a pretty good opener to get the show going. Both guys have a lot of similarities, which made for a bit of a Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero type match. The match itself was a competitive sprint. Each guy had a good showcase here. I’ve seen a few of B-Minus’ matches before and felt that he had a good amount of potential. His performance in this match was the best I’ve seen from him. He and Douglas James really meshed well together. B-Minus got the win with a wheel kick. B-Minus has a lot of strong traits that could make him a star someday. I can see him ending up being a breakout performer in the next year or two here in SoCal.
As I said, this was a really good opening match. It was full of back-and-forth action with both guys getting a fair amount of offense in. This was one of the best matches on the show overall. I highly recommend checking this one out.
MPW Championship Match: Chuck Mercer (c) vs. Dan Joseph
The last time I saw Chuck Mercer, he was in a bad match on an OCCW show. It wasn’t really his fault though. He was working with Frankie Frank, who isn’t very good. Before that, Chuck came off as a guy who had some upsides. He seemed like he had decent fundamentals and a fair amount of charisma. Prior to his injury, Dan Joseph was a guy who I thought could’ve been really good as an in-ring performer. This was my first time seeing him since his injury, so I was looking forward to this.
Before the match, Dan Joseph cut a promo on Chuck Mercer inside the ring. He talked about Chuck beating him the last time they faced each other. Then he started to talk about the school closing down and how it was like a second home to him. After that, he got mad at the fans for not voting for him to be at the previous show. The microphone died, but Dan continued to ramble on. I’ve seen Dan Joseph many times on CWFH and a few of his MPW matches, but I have never seen him with this much charisma. I gotta say, even if Dan Joseph sucked int he ring, the dude still has loads of personality.
As for the match itself, I thought it was solid. It wasn’t as good as the opener, but it was a good change of pace. Dan Joseph really shined here. He doesn’t really do any cutting-edge moves, but he really carried this match. I’m not a fan of character work in pro wrestling, but the guy was really entertaining. Chuck Mercer had a decent showing here. He’s still got things he could improve on, such as his kicks. Aside from that, he’s okay for someone of his level. Chuck Mercer would get the win after a competitive match to retain the MPW title. This wasn’t great, but it was pretty decent overall.
Number 1 Contender Match for the MPW National Championship: Frankie Frank vs. Slice Boogie vs. Luchasaurus vs. Peter Avalon
Originally, this match was supposed to be a triple threat, but Peter Avalon entered the match before it began to make it a fatal four-way. That was probably for the better, as triple threat matches suck.
I had some mixed feelings about this match. It suffered from coming off as too telegraphed and predictable. Some moments didn’t come off as natural and looked pretty bad. Luchasaurus’s wheel kick on the other competitors was an example of that. Frankie Frank had the weakest performance in the match. He always seems like he’s a step behind the guys he’s working with. This match wasn’t very different, as he was noticeably a level or four below everyone else. With that said, he had a decent performance here. There were still a lot of moments where he looked dumb (like when he did strikes), but he wasn’t outright bad here despite being the weakest link in the match.
With that said, this match still had its upsides. Luchasaurus had a good showing here. While he’s another worker who uses the dreaded leg slap of doom for sound, he’s got awesome kicking techniques. Peter Avalon also had a good showing in this. Slice Boogie continues to be awesome. He really stole the show in this one. His trash talking continues to be a highlight of his matches. Slice Boogie got the win after hitting the Statue of Misery on Frankie Frank. Even though this had some rough moments and bad timing, the match was still solid.
Andy Brown vs. Max X
Andy started the match off with some momentum and gained the upper hand on Max X after he tried to utilize some Larry Zbyszko-style stalling tactics. Max mounted a comeback when he threw Andy’s shoulder into a ring post. After that, he began to work it over. As the match progressed, Andy mounted a comeback. Even when he was making his comeback, he continued to sell the damage to his arm. The action would go back-and-forth in the finishing stretch of the match. Andy picked up the win after Max X tried to hit him with a Senton as he was hanging over the top rope. Andy would capitalize on this by hitting a few moves on Max before hitting a Package Piledriver for the win.
While the match wasn’t spectacular, it was still pretty good. It had a good story with Max targeting Andy’s shoulder. The audience was solidly behind Andy as well. The in-ring work was very solid too, and the structure of the match was laid out pretty well. The crowd also seemed pretty into this, which was a huge positive.
California Classic Battle Royal
Participants: Johnell, Ben, Bucio, The Jed, Boom Shasta, Jax Cannon, SaintClair Isuka, Dustin Daniels, Big Red, Dusk, Bryan Carter, The Great Zumba, Caleb Perez, Piranacanrana, Auntie Hydie, Bulletproof, Olijah Friday, Dr. Phil Goode, Mondo Vega
Even though this wasn’t the best match on the show, it was pretty amusing. It was pretty much a basic battle royal featuring the students from the Millennium Wrestling Academy. One thing that really stood out to me the most was how there was a little girl sitting on the floor near the ring. A lot of wrestlers who were eliminated were nearly thrown into her. There was so much potential for a terrible situation. Nothing happened though.
Since this was a match full of students, it was bound to have sloppy action. The only outright bad moment of the match was when Hydie did a sequence with Johnell. The two faced off, and Johnell delivered some nice forearm strikes on Hydie. Hydie countered this with a screech and poorly performed body slam. She tried to do this again, but Johnell fought her off and ended up eliminating her. After being eliminated, Hydie got back into the ring and hit an STO on Johnell before throwing her out of the ring. The two began to brawl to the back. It looked as if the camera guy was filming Johnell’s ass at one point.
This angle was somewhat repeated again later in the match. The last three competitors in the battle royal were Dustin Daniels, Jax Cannon, and Dr. Phil Goode. Jax Cannon was eliminated by Dustin Daniels during the final moments of the match. After being eliminated, Jax ran back in the ring and gave Dustin Daniels an F-5 before leaving. Instead of taking advantage of this, Dr. Phil Goode gave Dustin a chance to fight back. This led to a sequence between them that saw the crowd rally behind Dustin. The action in this portion of the match was also sloppy, but the crowd was into it. Dr. Phil Goode eventually eliminated Dustin for the win.
So yeah. This was what it was. There’s really not much else to say about it since these were mainly inexperienced workers, rookies, and students.
Danny Limelight vs. Ray Rosas
Whenever I see a Danny Limelight match, they tend to follow a pattern. There are many instances where the layout to most of his matches feel exactly the same. Most of the time, they start off with a lot of energy and him hitting several spots and a dive early on. Then things tend to really slow down in the middle before the finishing sequences. Now, Danny Limelight isn’t terrible by any means, but he’s a guy who would benefit so much from working with more experienced workers. This match with Ray Rosas was perfect for him. Ray’s matches are always well structured, and he’s got a good mind for pro wrestling.
Everything in terms of layout and structure in this match was done well. All of the spots were spaced out nicely and built up pretty nicely. The action was pretty good, and the crowd was really into this. My only criticism was that Danny Limelight didn’t act more heelish to get more heat, as the crowd was solidly behind Ray. There was a scary but funny moment in the match where Danny Limelight almost dove into the aforementioned little girl who was sitting on the floor. This led to a hilarious moment where he tried to give her five, but she nodded her head and shut him down. She was clearly not amused over the fact that she was almost crushed by his dive.
The finish saw referee IIzyk Haze get inadvertently hit by Danny Limelight’s feet as Ray was going for Adios Amigos. This led to Dan Joseph coming out to distract Ray. He started arguing with Ray while on the ring apron and got into an altercation with him. Danny Limelight would capitalize on this by hitting Ray with a standing Spanish Fly to get the win. This had a lot of good action in it and was a really fun match. It was also very smartly worked. Both guys performed really well and meshed greatly together. Ray Rosas is the most underrated performer in SoCal right now.
MPW Tag Team Championship Match: The Millennials (Danny Divine & Daniel Moon) (c) vs. Double Platinum (Chris Bey & Suede Thompson)
Any match involving Suede Thompson is a struggle for me to get through. He’s really annoying to watch, and his matches tend to be full of stupid shit. Him being booked on any show gets a hard pass from me. Not to mention that Chris Bey is also sort of overrated by people in the local scene. He’s athletic and all, but he’s pretty average as a performer. Based on the handful of matches I’ve seen them in as a team, they tend to rely on using too many choreographed spots and stupid antics that result in goofy looking matches. I really don’t get why they keep getting so many bookings in SoCal. Maybe promoters are getting better weed than me. But yeah, I wasn’t looking forward to this one.
This match had a standard formula to it. The heels, Double Platinum, worked over Danny Divine to get heat. They kept cutting off the ring and relied on cheap antics to maintain control. Double Platinum also did a lot of character work. Most of it was just them being annoying and unfunny. The only amusing moment involving either of them was when Suede tried to roast Justin Borden for wearing white pants, only to bomb. A fan immediately gave Suede some great advice he should follow by yelling “SHUT UP!”
After playing the face-in-peril role for a bit, Danny Divine was able to get the hot tag to Daniel Moon. Daniel Moon then cleaned house, leading to the finishing stretch of the match. Both teams did some tandem offense, and there was a sequence where they did a bunch of stuff that resembled synchronized swimming. So yeah, more of the same from Double Platinum. The Millennials eventually got the better of Double Platinum and picked up the win in the final match of MPW’s last show in Moorpark.
Even though I didn’t care for Double Platinum’s involvement in the match, The Millennials had a good outing here. The crowd was really behind them considering they’ve been the heart and soul of this current incarnation of MPW. While the match had its faults and was sorta predictable, it was okay for what it was. My hope is that The Millennials will get to work with more established teams from outside MPW when it makes its return. Them vs. DoomFly or The Bomb Squad could be really fun matches.
After the match, Brendan Divine got in the ring and joined his brother Danny and Daniel Moon. Danny and Daniel cut a promo thanking the fans and workers for coming out to close the show.
MPW’s final show at their Moorpark venue was a really nice sendoff. While the battle royal was rough and the main event wasn’t great, the entire show itself was entertaining. The opener and Ray Rosas vs. Danny Limelight were the two best matches on the card. Andy Brown vs. Max X was also another highlight of the show, as well as Dan Joseph’s performance.
I have to give credit to Ray Rosas. As the current booker of MPW, he did a hell of a job at putting this show together. The matches all got a fair amount of time, and everything seemed positioned really well. Nothing dragged and it flowed very nicely. Not only that, but this show also did a good job at showcasing and building MPW’s homegrown talent such as The Millennials, Chuck Mercer, and B-Minus. Along with being a great worker, Ray has also shown that he’s capable of running good shows as well. He’s doing some really good things with MPW.
Again, this was a good show. I recommend checking it out if you have two hours to kill.