This past Saturday, Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy held their latest event, Don’t Get Mad, Get Even, along with an induction ceremony for the Southern California Death Match Hall of Fame. Over the last decade Santino Bros. has set themselves apart as probably the premier pro-wrestling school in the western United States, and this event, featuring almost exclusively wrestlers trained at the school, really drove the point home how good the school is.
Rather than write a full review I was originally just going to do a Twitter thread, but as I realized that was getting a little long I decided to flesh it out into this.
The show was being held at the Puro Lucha Dojo (formerly Inoki Dojo) in Huntington Park. While a little small, this is a really good venue for watching wrestling. The show started at 8:30, so it had cooled off some and they kept the large bay doors open allowing for good airflow.
Vinny Wasco over RJ Santos, Hyde, and Darwin Finch [7’06]
This was a pre-show match. This was a pretty good, short match. Darwin Finch was the veteran in this, with three of this year’s rookie class. I think Darwin Finch is really underrated, probably because he was kind of put in a gimmick tag-team early on, and I wish some other promotions would take a chance on him.
Eli Everfly over Lucas Riley [11’49]
This was the show’s true opener. This was great. Both wrestlers went all out. Lucas Riley is starting to get some bigger bookings recently, but he’s a wrestler who I expect to really start breaking out soon. I think this match as the opener, and the energy it brought to the crowd set the tone for the night. The crowd was hot for the entire show. Eli Everfly won this with a destroyer onto chairs off the ropes.
Rating: *** 3/4
The Bomb Squad (Dylan Kyle Cox and Cameron Gates) and Slice Boogie came out. They cut a promo where they said they bought a stripper, which lead Santino Bros. honcho Sylvia to come out to say she sent the stripper home… with their pay. Sylvia slapped Slice Boogie, they were going to beat up Sylvia which brought out Robby Phoenix for the save. The heels beat Robby Phoenix down and eventually it lead into the next match.
Dylan Kyle Cox over Gaius Tantalus [10’28]
This would have been better if it was shorter. Gaius Tantalus is the Drunken Master and he has a gimmick where he is drunk but that is his fighting style. Once you see it in a match it loses its humor as the match goes on. There was nothing bad in this, and Dylan Kyle Cox gets better every time I see him, but the pacing just wasn’t great. It just started to feel a little repetitive.
Rating: * 1/2
True Grit (Jesse James & Hoss Hogg) over Hawx Aerie (Luke Hawx & PJ Hawx) [8’46]
Hawx Aerie were the only two wrestlers not trained at Santino Bros. on the show. It was great that Luke Hawx, who was Altar Boy Luke in XPW, could be on the show that was honoring Supreme and Messiah. I thought PJ Hawx was really impressive in this. He did a lot of amateur wrestling style offense, and on a show featuring so many high flyers it really came off as unique. True Grit hit a variation on their tag-team finisher for the win.
Delilah Doom over Dom Kubrick [14’43]
This was the 2018 Southern California Women’s Wrestler of the Year versus the 2018 Southern California Rookie of the Year. This was a lot of fun even though Doom no longer uses Warrior as her entrance song. Doom has so much charisma and her energy is infectious. Dom Kubrick looked good too. There was a ref bump and Kubrick’s manager Halston Boddy tried to get him to hit Doom with a foreign object, but he refused. This lead to Doom rolling him up for the win.
Post-match Halston Boddy turns on Dom Kubrick and The Bomb Squad and Slice Boogie are back out. Some shenanigans and a beat down leads into the next match.
Cameron Gates over Robby Phoenix via submission to win the Santino Bros. Submission Championship [13’43]
Cameron Gates reminds me a lot of Chris Bosh, the wrestler not the basketball player. This match had a ton of interference. Phoenix got Gates to tap while the ref wasn’t looking. Then after an attack on Phoenix’s arm by his friends, Gates got the submission. I felt like this match just had too much going on.
Douglas James over Slice Boogie [11’49]
I thought this was really good. Slice Boogie is still fairly new but he is improving rapidly and Douglas James is the best I’ve ever seen him right now. This had a lot of back and forth action, with James using quickness to counter Boogie’s size advantage. Boogie is probably the front runner for this year’s SoCal rookie of the year award. James won with his variation of the frog splash.
Rating: *** 1/4
After the match, Douglas James said he wanted to challenge Cameron Gates for the submission title.
Next, they had a ceremony to induct Messiah and Supreme into the Southern California Death Match Hall of Fame. These were the perfect picks for the inaugural inductees. Joey “Kaos” Munoz inducted Messiah and Sage Sin and Supreme’s son inducted Supreme. This was really well done.
Jake Atlas over Ruby Raze to retain the Santino Bros. Heavyweight Championship [19’12]
Seemingly to pay tribute to the Death Match Hall of Fame, this was made a no-DQ, falls count anywhere match. It devolved into a brawl with weapons after starting as a wrestling match, but it was well-paced and they did a good job transitioning between the big spots they were hitting. Atlas got powerbomed through some plywood to the floor. Raze was bleeding like crazy. Her face covered in blood and the blood staining her white gear made for an intense visual. Raze was awesome in this. This wasn’t anything like a normal Jake Atlas match, but he was still great in it. He is not long for this independent wrestling world. Atlas won with LGB-DDT in a great match. This was the best match I’ve seen this month so far.
Rating: **** 1/4
After the match, four guys with their faces covered came in the ring and attacked Jake Atlas. After beating down Atlas and tying him to the ropes, they revealed themselves to be Ray Rosas, Tito Escondido, Che Cabrera, and Rico Dynamite. They cut a promo how they were once the chosen ones but then were banned from Santinos Bros. and tossed aside. Through the promo they did a good job painting the story for those who don’t know the backstory about Rosas and Dynamite having a legitimate falling out with Santino Bros. in the past. This was a good setup for the next show and probably the next few shows.
As far as shows go that pretty much featured exclusively locals, it was the best in quite some time. They could have probably cut at least one of promos, but other than that it was paced well and didn’t feel long. The matches were good. The storytelling was good. The atmosphere was good. The main event is worth going out of your way to watch, but the whole show is worth a watch when they release it on YouTube.