A couple months ago Bar Wrestling grabbed the attention of the wrestling world by kind of hijacking the official PWG Facebook page. I am not sure if that was an honest mistake on someone’s part, or an ingenious marketing scheme to generate immediate buzz for a new promotion, but either way it got people interested. I heard some concern about the legitimacy of the show because of the way it was initially presented, but with a price point of $10 it seemed worth the risk. The concept of the show was pretty simple: standing room only, cheap tickets, and insane talent and Bar Wrestling executed it perfectly. The wrestling was fantastic, the announcing was on point and the crowd was insane from start to finish. Bar Wrestling has the potential to become a top player in SoCal and I am excited to see where it goes. Without further adieu here is my (somewhat late) review for Bar Wrestling 1:
Show starts and it’s Christian Cole on announcing duty. Christian recently started announcing for PWG and has been fantastic since well before then. The crowd was hot from the start and we got right into the opening match.
Match 1: Penta El 0 M vs. Brian Cage
Penta and Brian Cage could easily main event any show in any city across the country, and sell out the venue. I think it was smart to kick off the show with such a high caliber match, because it set the tone for the rest of the show and really gave it a “big fight feel” kind of vibe. Brian Cage really impresses me whenever I see him, and “the machine” might be the most fitting nickname in pro wrestling. The guy doesn’t even seem human. Penta El 0 M is one of the most over people on the scene, every time I have seen him live he has gotten some of the craziest reactions from the crowds, and bar was no different. They wrestled a good fast paced match, which is what you want to see in an opener. Both guys “got their shit in” (as Brian Cage would say) and the match was pretty evenly contested. Penta teased the package piledriver a couple of times and got everyone wanting it, and then Cage used it to pick up the win, which I thought was brilliant. After the match a sea of money rained down upon the ring from the audience (which would be a common theme throughout the night)
Match 2: Scorpio Sky vs. Eli Drake
The first indy show I ever attended was Championship Wrestling From Hollywood’s inaugural Red Carpet Rumble (which will be coming up again here soon). On that night Shaun Ricker entered the rumble at number one, and outlasted every other competitor to win the match. In the tapings after that Shaun Ricker lost the title to Scorpio Sky. It was pretty interesting to fast forward 4 years and watch these guys wrestle again, as my fandom has changed and both of these guys have changed and grown quite a bit. Ricker is now known as Eli Drake and has found a ton of success with TNA and Scorpio has easily been one of the most consistently best wrestlers in SoCal. Before the match started Eli Drake got on the mic and cut a very attitude era Stone Cold/The Rock esque promo that had the fans eating out of his hand. The match itself was fantastic. Scorpio is great at making every small thing count and his work is always very smooth and flows perfectly. It doesn’t hurt that he is crazy athletic and charismatic either. Eli Drake has a huge presence and his character is on point, he really reminds me of the big attitude era guys, and he absolutely kills it in the ring. Sky took a pretty sick looking bump outside the ring off of a tope con hilo but he appeared to be fine and finished the match no problem. Eli Drake ended up picking up the win with an Air Raid Siren
Match 3: Shayna Baszler vs. Taya Valkyrie
I am going to start off by saying this was the worst match of the night. That is in no way a knock on the match, it’s a testament to how great the rest of the card was. I have seen Shayna Baszler a couple of times now and I am not quite sure how I feel about her yet. She has a great presence and does a good job presenting herself as a legit badass (because she is), but she is still pretty new to wrestling and it shows in the ring. Taya looked really good in this match, and I have been told by a couple people that she has improved quite a bit since they first saw her wrestle. They did an exchange of chops and Shayna’s came across a little weak, and I noticed it looked like she was holding back on some of her submission attempts which also made them appear weak. I think when she finds the balance between shoot and showman she will really hit her stride and move to the upper echelon. Taya seemed to be the one to control the pace of the match and come off as a real vet because of it. I am a sucker for a good northern lights suplex, which Taya used (followed up by a double stomp) to get the win.
Match 4: Hot Young Briley vs. EC3
Before the start of the match it was announced as the first ever Bar Wrestling Barroom Brawl. The match started with a promo from Briley. It was pretty obvious that he was going to play the heel, as he started talking about how all of the fans came to get drunk, but they were all dumb because he always “comes drunk.” Honestly the segment was a little cringe worthy, he was hoping to get a “cum drunk” chant going, but it didn’t work. After a couple attempts he literally just said “hey don’t chant cum drunk at me” and finally got the reaction he was looking for. EC3 came out to interrupt and got a huge pop from the crowd. Despite the rocky start Briley quickly started to impress me. The match was very comedic and a little wild at times. They brawled around the barroom (see what I did there?) and there was a lot of focus on the groin region throughout the match. The crowd was pretty into the whole time, with a ton of “dick” and “cum drunk” chants, as well a lot of Dolph Ziggler chants directed at Briley. Toward the end Briley started doing Dolph’s moves, which I thought was fantastic and really got the crowd going. EC3 ended up getting the win via the One Percenter. After the match he took the mic and said he was there to “kick ass, get drunk and fuck.” I am not sure if he accomplished his goal, but I hope for the best. This match lead into a 15 minute intermission.
Match 5: Peter Avalon vs. Pinky Sanchez
This match seemed to initially take most of the audience off guard. I don’t think very many people in the audience were familiar with Pinky Sanchez, me included. Despite neither guy looking inherently intimidating, I am very familiar with Peter’s work and know what he is capable of. Also, I gave Pinky the benefit of the doubt, as I was certain Bar wasn’t going to bring in someone who sucked. The audience was tentative as the match began, but it didn’t take long for these guys to prove the belonged, and by the end of the match the crowd was going nuts. Peter’s over the top selling and Pinky’s sound effects blended perfectly with really solid in ring work and created a match that was a perfect blend of clean wrestling and some laughs. The match was very back and forth throughout, and ended with Peter taking the win with a roll up. In my opinion this one ended up being one of the top matches of the night despite not being the “biggest names” on the show.
Match 6: “The Worlds Cutest Tag Team” Candice Lerae and Joey Ryan vs. Ivelisse and Matt Cross
I am admittedly going to be a little bit biased here, as Matt Cross is one of my favorite wrestlers on the planet and this was my first time seeing him live, but this is definitely my pick for match of the night. Both teams received huge reactions just for coming out to the ring. Cross and Ivelisse got “You are cuter chants” and all four people got their names chanted before the match even started. At one point Joey looked at Matt and said “Man I don’t even think we have to wrestle” and quite honestly he was probably right. The match started with the normal Joey shenanigans, giving a girl in the audience his lollipop, and then telling Matt Cross to touch his penis. Cross respectfully declined, so he asked Ivelisse instead, Matt tagged her in and she proceeded to smack Joey in the face, which really set off the match. The match was faced paced and had a lot of good action with all 4 competitors. I know intergender wrestling is a bit of a controversial topic, but when done right I think it can be fantastic and that is what I saw here. Candice and Matt had a lot of really good moments, including Candice hitting Cross with a suicide dive DDT in the middle of the crowd that got a great pop. Ivelisse looked awesome in this match and I honestly think she is one of the best female wrestlers out there, and the crowd seemed to agree based on the reaction she got. The finish of the match saw Joey tapping out Ivelisse’s guillotine choke.
Next up was the main event
Match 7: Jeff Cobb vs. Willie Mack
Jeff Cobb and Willie Mack are two of the best wrestlers on the scene right now. They are big, strong, fast and freakishly athletic. I have seen both of these guys more times than I can count, but I think this may have been the first time I have seen them one on one live, and I had high hopes for the match. They started the match off hot right away and never let the momentum die. They did some brawling outside the ring, and inside the ring they both really shined. Cobb impressed by tossing Willie around like he doesn’t weigh 275 pounds and Willie impressed with his insane speed and athleticism. Cobb did have one small snafu when he missed his standing shooting star, but he got back up and hit it again and they moved on. Willie ended up getting the win with a chocolate thunder driver. One of my favorite things about seeing these guys wrestle is seeing how casual fans react to the things they do, but it was awesome to see that more “hardcore” fans appreciate them in the same way.
After the match Luchasaurus (who had been creeping in the audience most of the show) came in and attacked Willie. Then he turned his attention to Cobb and went for a chokeslam. Cobb was able to fight him off and him and Willie worked together to take Luchasaurus out and make the crowd happy.
Bar Wrestling has officially announced its second show, which will take place on the 4th of July. Tickets are $20 for VIP and $10 for General Admission. Nothing as far as talent or matches have been announced so far (that I have seen) but I am willing to bet it’s going to be a heck of a show