SoCal Youtube Match Reviews

By Andrew

After my last article on how to make SoCal great again, I figured I’d take time to write an article reviewing matches I found on Youtube from local events. The main purpose of this article is to not just spotlight names people already know, but to also showcase upcoming talent coming up in the scene. I decided to start off with one match between two wrestlers in one promotion, then would seek out to watch another match involving both workers with different workers in a different promotion if they interested me.

Blake Grayson vs. Brian KendrickAOW

Grayson did a good job here going up against former WWE star Brian Kendrick in this match from AOW in Palm Desert, CA in May. While there was one point where he threw some petty awful looking strikes, he held his own working with Kendrick. There wasn’t much of a crowd in attendance, it was more like a group of people so the match wasn’t going to be all-out. I didn’t expect much from this match but I really enjoyed it overall and came away impressed by Grayson. He seems like he’s got tons of potential and it’d be interesting to see where he’s at in a year or two.

Really, the only downer was the small audience. Had this match taken place in front of more people I could see it getting a really good reaction.

Douglas James vs. Danny LimelightFCW

Danny Limelight seems like your usual small indy guy who does high flying stuff. Nothing stood out about him until the action started. This match is actually in front of a crowd of people and starts off with tons of action in the first few minutes as we see about four dives, a spot involving a basketball hoop, and a running powerbomb into a wall. So far this has been a fun start, even if old school fans would complain about the overkill in the first few minutes. Fuck it. This is just some random indy wrestling show. They tried to go balls out, and some things didn’t work, but it was way more exciting than a lot of shit I would see on NWA Championship Wrestling From Hollywood.

For a match between two rookies, they put on a good showing. It made me want to seek out another Limelight match, and I was impressed with Douglas James. Again, not a perfect or the smoothest match ever, but this is something that would’ve gotten a fair amount of praise about a decade ago.

Danny Limelight vs. Dirty DougSoCal Pro

This match was shot and uploaded in 4:3 format. It’s 2015 and SoCal Pro is using 1995 technology. People produce better looking videos using iPads and Windows Movie Maker than this. The commentary was also so bad that I just threw down my earbuds.

So Limelight had me interested in seeing more of his work after watching his match with Douglas James. While that match was a solid performance from both guys, this one wasn’t as good. Limelight was decent. He took risks, had some decent offense, and sold well. Dirty Doug though wasn’t as impressive. He played a dirty, 1990’s grungy Seattle scene stereotype. His offense was limited and basic, and he’s got a pretty shitty look. He’s a balding, middle aged white dude with an airbrushed singlet and doesn’t seem to look like he works out at all. The guy also seemed gassed a few minutes into the match.

Limelight’s biggest problem is he seems way over-his-head when it comes to trying to pull things off he shouldn’t be trying. Like the spots off the fat guy or attempted rana/powerbomb/whatever attempt off the basketball court during his match with Douglas James. In this match, which took place months before the Douglas James match, Limelight tried to do some running spot off the ring apron, possibly a hurricanrana or powerbomb counter, but Dirty Doug dropped Limelight on his head. Straight up Botchamania moment there that could’ve injured or killed Limelight. Then the match ended in a count out. Limelight’s got potential and seems decent, but damn this kid os mot ready to be taking risks yet. Dirty Doug shouldn’t be working with guys like Limelight either since he seems like he could hurt somebody. Can’t say I want to see more of Dirty Doug, but Limelight is someone that could be good if he tightened up his game.

Adrian Quest vs. Andy BrownEWF

I saw a thread about rookies in SoCal for potential nominees in the 2015 SCU awards, and looked up several rookies that were listed and came across this match after looking up Adrian Quest. Matt Sinister is on commentary with some guy, and I gotta say the quality of commentators in SoCal is really lacking. I mean, it was never great, but yeesh.

So this match. It was a good showing for Quest. I liked some of the things he was able to pull off in the ring. Quest was more agile and athletic, while Andy Brown seemed decent but couldn’t really keep up with Quest at some points. Brown seemed like he could be a decent base for high flying wrestlers, and he does a decent job at using Quest’s style to do some decent looking offense. However, there are times where he just doesn’t seem like he was on the same page or was a step behind Quest.

In my article here on SCU about making SoCal great (part 2 to be specific) I suggested wrestlers take gymnastics classes so they can learn how to flip properly and develop the right muscles to pull off certain flippy spots. Andy Brown’s moonsault in this match, a basic backflip, is the perfect reason why. It was sloppy and could’ve hurt himself or his opponent. Not only that, it just looked so bad.

But besides that, the match is a solid but has some sloppy moments and botched spots. Brown has potential, but he didn’t seem ready to put on a match with a high flyer. Adrian Quest though impressed me a lot and seems like he’d have a really good match with a more experienced wrestler. It’d be interesting to see what he could do in the future.

Post match shenanigans now after Brown won with a Package Piledriver. He checks on Quest, and then music plays. It’s Gary Yap who is now a manager in EWF and doing some angle with their champion. He has a Youtube channel with all their videos and promos that I really haven’t looked at, so this is my first taste of Gary as a manager in 2015. Gary cuts a promo, says something about his wrestler not being at the show, did a possible worked shoot on Brandon Gatson, puts over Andy Brown to win over the crowd, and then proceeds to shit all over Andy Brown while pissing off the crowd. It was a really well done segment. I didn’t know anything about this storyline, but Gary’s words told the story well enough for you to understand what he was implying by the end of the promo and generated lots of heat with the crowd.

Blake Grayson vs. Douglas JamesIWL

I wanted to end this with an interesting match review. If you know the history of SCU and IWL, you’ll know that there’s some hard feelings between IWL owner Vic Luna along with myself and some people here at SCU. Basically, IWL was a backyard promotion that became a promotion that used untrained wrestlers that became a small independent wrestling promotion in SoCal. I have to give credit where credit is due, Vic has done a good job turning his promotion around. Outside of some of the corniness of his presentation (generic metal intro, lame masked ring announcer, corny sounding commentators, and bad lighting) he’s got more going for him than most promotions in the area.

Now with that said, let’s talk about this match.

When I first saw him inside the ring, Douglas James instantly reminded me of a young Davey Richards circa 2004/2005 when he began wrestling for Pro Wrestling War and later Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He’s got the look of a wrestler and comes off as a well conditioned athlete. His opponent, Blake Grayson reminds me of Willie Mack, not because they’re both black guys, but because Grayson, like Mack, is a larger wrestler with athleticism that you rarely see come from guys like him. He looks like the kind of guy who could do damage to someone in a fight. Right off the bat, I’m interested in this match because these guys look like pro wrestlers, and I’m interested in seeing what they bring to the table.

While this match was not without its faults, I genuinely enjoyed the action between these two. There were moments were the match sorta got lost a bit when they brawled on the outside and went back inside, but they recovered nicely enough to put on a good match. Nothing very innovative, but nothing ordinary. Not the most exciting match in the world, but the action is enjoyable enough to make me want to see what more these two have to offer. These guys show tons of potential and this was good stuff.

Final Thoughts

Guys like Adrian Quest, Douglas James, Blake Grayson, and Danny Limelight all seem to be promising prospects. Gary Yap’s promo was also a surprise highlight These matches and Gary’s promo show that there’s potential in SoCal in the ring and on the mic.

I started writing this article days before news broke of the passing of Rising Son and was planning on briefly mentioning this match as an example of how guys looking to breakout can do so with one match in front of the right audience. I wasn’t going to end it like this, but I figured I might as well share it in case someone had never seen this match sees and enjoys it. This match from XPW’s event “Scene Of The Crime” from 2001 was a match that I recently described as one of the most important matches in modern Southern California independent wrestling history. That’s not hyperbole, that’s pure truth. It got people interested in guys they hadn’t seen before and got people to check out other promotions in Southern California such as Revolution Pro, MPW, and helped showcase a new style of wrestling to a wider audience. A lot of people in SoCal wouldn’t be around had it not been for this match.

About the Author
The authority on wrestling and MMA in Southern California since 2001.