It’s 12:30 AM on Saturday morning, and I just returned from the Grove Theater, where the antics of one Adam Pearce left the building looking more like a crime scene than a place where they had wrestling. Sitting front row for the main event, I am still covered in water, beer, and everything the crowd could hurl towards the ring to express their hatred for the new UPW champion. The show was a bit uneven, but I left the show happy and feeling I got my money’s worth and more. Due to the hour and length of the show, some matches will be reviewed, and others will just be some notes I took. I want to get on to detailing the two main events.It started out conventionally enough with Commissioner Pete Doyle explaining why he stripped Tom Howard of the title, and Bassman agreeing it was the right decision. Bassman gave Doyle total control of the company’s big decisions, and Doyle stated that the tournament to crown the new champ would feature Skulu, Keiji Sakoda, Chris Mordetzsky, and Adam Pearce. Tom Howard would challenge the new champ at the next show. Mordetzsky and Sakoda came to the ring. Keiji backed up, apparently scared of Chris’ size, and preceded to lose a test of strength. After the test, Sakoda took another powder, and took his time getting back in the ring. Chris grabbed Keiji’s head and slammed it into all four turnbuckles, but soon Keiji figured out he needed to use speed to his advantage, and took over the match. He got in a back body drop, and hit a pretty knee to Chris’ stomach. Mordetzsky rolled him up from out of nowhere for 3.
Schwag introduced the Schwag army: Ruckus, Apocalypse, and Erica Porter. He felt the need to throw a drink all over Rikki Rachtman. Rachtman was all upset, but luckily for Schwag, Rachtman’s bodyguard held the DJ back. Schwag then introduced the newest member of the Schwag army, Adam Pearce. He bragged that Pearce would win the title tonight. Pearce came out eating a banana, which he spit all over the crowd. He placed his other banana at ringside, and prepared for his match with Skulu in between arguments with fans. Skulu came out to wrestle Pearce, and it was on like Donkey Kong. Skulu dominated the early going, using kicks, punches, and chops. Pearce started to turn it around with some chops, and then head butted Skulu. I have no idea how a veteran like Pearce didn’t know that Samoans couldn’t be hurt by a headbutt, and inadvertently knocked him self silly. How could an old school guy not know this? Skulu did a stink face, and then Pearce tried to return the favor, ending up with a banana up his ass. As Pearce pulled out the banana, Schwag distracted the referee, so a handful of powder gave Pearce the duke. Doyle announced that because of Pearce’s antics, he’s referee the main event himself. Supposedly this would ensure a fair and impartial referee.
Steve Masters defended the EWF belt against Sabbath. While the UPW fans hadn’t seen Masters before, it only took a minute or two for them to hate his guts. After Sabbath made his entrance, Masters demanded that the powder and pieces of banana be cleaned up, and the first time he hit the canvas, a cloud of white powder rose from it. Had this been Juventude Guerrera in the match, there would have been no problem. However, this infuriated Masters, and he started to get irritated by fans chants of “masturbator” and “hillbilly.” He began working rest holds, trying to slow down the match. He used a plethora of illegal chokes and shortcuts, all the time keeping the referee distracted. By the time Sabbath got his act together, Master had decided it was time for a low blow, and then slipped on his reverse pedigree to retain his belt. I’d like to see more of Masters in UPW; he’s a good worker and brings something different to the table. It was also nice being able to see the EWF belt defended in the 714 for a change.
The Miz and Lil’ Nate wrestled Kid Viscous and Tony Stradlin. I missed most of this one using the restroom and getting cornered by someone who wanted to chat, but I did see Miz take a sick knee to the face. Nate did so many Three Stooges spots that it begs the question, “ Who uses their favorite thing more? Nate using Stooges spots, or Rick Bassman using a step stool?” Nate pinned Stradlin with a massive splash off his partner’s shoulders. I heard this one was pretty good, though.
B-Boy, Samoa Joe, and Frankie Kazarian had a three-way dance to a one-fall finish. My notes are horrible; as there was so much action I never had the chance to write anything down, as writing means taking my eyes off the action. They battled all over the building, and got the crowd really into the match. Everyone hit their signature moves in, like B-Boy’s dropkick in the corner and Frankie’s off the ropes back elbow. They did dives into the crowd, fought through the dinner area, and basically worked the room. At the end there were a ton of false finishes, and there was even a fan that suffered an accidental boot to the face, resulting in missing teeth. This was a great brawl that brought the first half of the show to a close. Joe took home the victory. It was nice to see the ROH champ back at home.
After intermission, the Urban Outlaws wrestled Native Blood in a cage. Ghost Walker got busted open wide. In the middle of the match, Navajo Warrior turned on Ghost, and the cowboys beat the hell out of him. Given the history of the feud, this was a weird development, but time will tell. It turned into a sick beat down, with Hawaiian Warrior doing what he could to help, but Ghost Walker dot hurt bad by the cowboys. Skulu came out and did the Superfly splash off the top of the cage, making the crowd go nuts. I, for one, thought the cage was going to break, but it held and Skulu was able to emulate his Pacific Island hero. Nice ending to hook in the fans coming in after the Angel game. The time it took to tear down the cage kinda killed the crowd, but there was good stuff to come so it was worth waiting for. Those who hung in there were rewarded in spades.
Erica Porter, UPW women’s champ, wrestled Sara Del Rey. For some reason, Sara looked very familiar to me. There were a lot of classic women’s matches spots here, like hair pulling and slaps. After the usual hair pulling, the match became very interesting, with the women wrestling a solid match. Porter took control early with a bunch of chops, high knees, and a brutal suplex. Sara was able to turn it around with a lot of the same, but she was answered with a lot of stiff blows and got beaten down until she avoided a moonsault by Porter. Sara thought she could capitalize with a fisherman’s suplex, but got 2. Porter retained her title with a Jungle driver.
The semi main event gave us a triple threat match for the UPW tag team title featuring Hardkore Inc. vs. Ballard Brothers vs. Funky Billy Kim and Scott Lost. The members of HK Inc. were both suplexed into the ring and beaten down by the other two teams. Al Katrazz was kicked to the outside and the other four wrestlers beat the shit out of Hardkore Kidd. Shannon and Shane double-teamed Kidd until Al made a tag to Shannon coming off the ropes to help his partner. His hot tag lasted a few seconds until he got double teamed by the brothers Ballard. There was so much action it was like the previous 3 way, it was hard to write down all the stuff that went down. Lost hit a Macho Man like top rope elbow that looked like it broke Shane’s neck, while Shane was laid across FBK’s knee. Later Shane Ballard hit a killer swinging neck breaker that looked like it tore HKK in half. At this point, Shane cleaned house on every one in the ring. As he cleared the ring, everyone ended up on the outside. Shane dove right into the fray. With everyone on the outside, FBK did a sweet dive that lit the crowd up. Everyone went to the floor, and there was much fighting to see who’d make it to their feet first. After a cluster bang with everyone hitting their finishers to get 2, Al was able to pin FBK, with the benefit of having his feet on the ropes. Hardkore Inc. retains, much to the crowd’s ire.
Main event time!! Adam Pearce wrestled Big Chris. A few weeks ago, a WPW guy told me Mordetzsky reminded him of the Incredible Hulk. Good call, bro. Chris took control in the early going, but Schwag and the rest of the Schwag army kept getting involved. Ref Doyle banned all of them from ringside. Pearce took advantage of his opponent’s distraction to hit a sweet top rope elbow drop. He followed this up with a figure four. Mordetzsky endured this for a bit of time, eventually making it to the ropes. At this point, Pearce took advantage of his opponents weakened state, locking on a deep headlock. As he cinched up the lock, Adam talked mad shit to Rikki Rachtman. Somehow, Big Chris got out of the lock and got in a massive boot to the stomach. This boot was so massive that the one move was enough to set up Pearce for a Razor’s Edge. Pearce kicked out, only to get a big boot and a scoop power slam for his effort. Pearce kicked out and threw the ref to the ropes, and as Mordetzsky went for a top rope splash he ended up on the wrong end of a superplex. Pearce followed this up with a killer Memphis pile driver. Only getting a 2 count, Pearce got frustrated. He grabbed a chair from the kid named Jorel at ringside. Doyle took the chair from Pearce and hit Mordetzsky in the head. Pearce did another Memphis pile driver onto the chair for 3 and the title. Schwag army came to ring side to beat the hell out of Mordetzsky, and Bassman as well. The entire crowd was so upset they threw sodas, beers, nachos, and anything they could find into the ring. Doyle was the traitor, and he beat up Bassman pretty good. Todd Knealy came to ringside, only to be beaten up like Aaron Proctor at a Slayer concert. No one was safe from the onslaught, as the heels encouraged it. The Schwag army reveled in the hatred, and enjoyed the beer bath.
I cannot wait for the next UPW show, as it will be interesting to see where this goes. The Howard/ Pearce should be good, and if they find good opponents for Hardkore Inc. and Frankie, the show should rock. Three title matches of top caliber should sell like crazy. I had a good time tonight, and even though things got out of hand, it’s all good. With Adam Pearce in the main, I expected no less. I’m still in shock he is the UPW champ.
I’ll review Best of the West next week, and perhaps PCW, if I have the time. Both shows should be killer.
Thanks for reading,
The Worlds Biggest Mark