Bar Wrestling “In The Midnight Hour” – review

2018 was another eventful year in wrestling so what better way to end it than with a New Years Eve show put on by Bar Wrestling? In The Midnight Hour featured a lot of first time appearances. And after their performances this past Monday night I hope they are all invited back.

Bar Wrestling
In The Midnight Hour
December 31, 2018
American Legion Post #241
Baldwin Park, CA

I arrived at the venue shortly after 8:30pm and was surprised to see that there was still plenty of room in the hall. Joined by fellow SCU staff member Joshua Shibata aka the Shibata aka Can’t Eat At Dennys, we talked about the expectations for crowd size at this event. We both agreed a NYE event is an easier sell then people might think. And it turns out it was because by bell time the hall was pretty full. I have not been to every Bar Wrestling show but I would say this crowd size has only been topped by Candice LaRae’s farewell show.

The night’s ring announcer, who’s name I did not catch my apologies, began the night by introducing Melissa Santos to the ring. She was sporting a knee brace and a limp. She apologized and said she was originally booked to wrestle tonight but obviously she cannot due to injury. This brings out one half of Violence Unlimited, Brody King. After a brief stare down with Melissa he takes the mic and informs the crowd that he too will be unable to compete due to injury. This was definitely a downer as it would have been Brody’s final match before beginning his full time run with Ring of Honor.

However, Brody said he does want one more match in Bar Wrestling before he leaves. With Brian Cage and baby Skylar Cage ringside, Brody laid down the challenge…to baby Skylar aka the mini-Machine! Melissa, on behalf of her daughter, accepted the challenge. Skylar, in Melissa’s arms, came face to face with Brody. A referee came to the ring to make this official.

Skylar Cage over Brody King via one handed Greco Roman Knuckle Lock.

That’s right, the baby only needed one hand to make Brody tap. Move over Lou Thesz, there’s a new grappler in town. Brody made the mistake of immediately going for the test of strength and this one was over before you could say Slobber Knocker!

Luchasaurus, Watts, & Tyler Bateman over Brandon Cutler, Dave Dutra, & Uptown Andy Brown via Death From Above by Bateman on Dutra.

Three new faces to Bar Wrestling but most of these are familiar faces to SoCal fans. Dave Dutra was someone I had never heard of or seen; Josh informed me he is from NorCal. Luchasaurus was in a festive mood as he ordered a vodka soda on the way to the ring. This match set the tone for the night; multi-person fast paced matches to keep the crowd captivated. Lots of strikes from all six competitors in this one. A series of dives to the left of the hard cam got the first big pops of the night, especially Watts’ dive to the outside. Andy Brown stuck out in this match, his high energy and good looking offense is a great fit for Bar Wrestling. Honestly, I cannot recall the finish but I want to say it was Luchasaurus kicking someone’s head off. Life found a way.

After the match Brody waved goodbye crowd as chants of “Thank You Brody” rang out.

RockNES Monsters (Yuma & Kevin Martenson) over Kikutaro & Takeshi Minamino.

This was my first time seeing Takeshi Minamino. Me and my friend were very entertained by Takeshi’s ring gear for the night; he looked straight out the bar fight scene in Kickboxer. And if that’s what he was going for then props to him because it was identical. This match was what you’d expect with Kikutaro and the RockNES Monsters, some silliness and wrestling 101. Kiku’s innovative offense had him trying to apply the shocker to Kevin Martenson at one point. But his buns of steel would not allow the penetration to take place. Instead, Martenson was able to secure a buttlock, for the lack of better words, on his hand and dragged him around the ring a few times. When Kiku tried to tag out Takeshi wanted no part of that tag. A few moments later Kiku got the last laugh when he shoved his hand into Yuma’s face. RockNES got the win here. Their reunion in 2018 has been a lot of fun and this kind of match showed off their versatility again; I’ve seen them have some great straight forward matches at Bar but they can easily go in there and just have some fun.

Brian Cage over Dan Barry, Ryan Taylor, and Jake Atlas via Screwdriver on Barry by Cage.

This is the point in the show where the match quality got turned up a few notches; no offense to any of the participants in the two previous matches. But these four came to get their stuff in and that they did. Dan Barry was not someone I was familiar with but he definitely impressed me. If I saw him on the street I would not think of him as a guy who could pull off a springboard moonsault but he can and he did. This was booked as a Four Corners match with people tagging in and out; but that lasted for less than 10 minutes when it broke down into a fatal four way. Jake looked great, as usual, and I thought he had the best chance of winning this…until Brian Cage was introduced. But by the end of it I was rooting for Dan Barry. Everybody looked great here and I hope both Ryan Taylor and Dan Barry come back for other shows.

DoomFly (Delilah Doom & Eli Everfly) over Darby Allin & Priscilla Kelly via Spanish Fly/powerbomb combo on Allin.

Two more new faces here with Allin and Kelly. They probably impressed me the most out of all the new faces at this show. Their tag team moves were very crisp and moved with purpose. When I asked Josh what he knew about them I was very surprised to learn they only recently had begun teaming together. So two teams with great chemistry and great looking offense, this was pretty good. DoomFly delivers every time and Allin/Kelly were able to match them pretty much move for move here. Priscilla Kelly suffered a cut somewhere on her face towards the end of the match, which seemed to cause some tension post-match. But both teams walked away without further incident.

Intermission was at this point and lasted maybe 30 minutes instead of the usual 15-20 minutes. We wondered what, if anything, was planned for the countdown to midnight.

Heather Monroe over Katarina Leigh, Nicole Savoy, and Ruby Raze via Michinoku Driver by Monroe on Leigh.

Great way to get back into the show after intermission here with four SoCal favorites. Solid match here with the workrate you would expect out of these four women. A fun couple moments in the match where each participant hit the finisher/signature move of a WWE Attitude era wrestler. If I remember correctly we saw a Pedrigree, Stunner, Rock Bottom and then a spinebuster into the People’s Elbow to by Heather Monroe. Monroe’s Michinoku Driver for the win looked nasty too. Fun match.

Willie Mack over Tommy Dreamer via stunner to retain the House of Hardcore TV Title.

I was surprised to see that Tommy Dreamer was not in the main event but he and Mack still put on a good match. Before the match started Tommy got on the mic and challenged Mack to put the title on the line so they could give the crowd a great match. Mack agreed and this was announced as a match for the House of Hardcore TV Title. Good old school match where they built up to the finish. Tommy hit his DDT and teased the Spicolli Driver but was unable to hit it. Mack hit not one, not two, but three stunners to finally put Dreamer down. The third one was successful with the aid of a folded steel chair that Mack put under Tommy’s chin before hitting the stunner.

PPRay (Ray Rosas & Peter Avalon) over Colt Cabana & Joey Ryan and Session Moth Martina & Gentleman Jervis.

Our main event for the evening saw solid in ring action with a healthy dose of comedy. After all participants were introduced and the bell rang it was announced that there was 5 minutes until midnight. Joey, who I was surprised to see in the match at all, began the match as always by asking who wanted to touch his dick. All competitors shyed away, except for Session Moth Martina. She had a crazed look in her and went straight for Joey’s dick. Fortunately for Joey, the other four competitors were able to restrain her long enough to keep Joey safe. This was a running theme for the rest of the match; Martina was anxious to get her hands on Joey and Joey was not having it. After some light ring work and more goofing around the countdown to the New Year began. The wrestlers stopped and joined in on the countdown. Everyone hugged as the New Year began and the crowd popped.  High fives, hugs and kisses throughout the hall. After all that the match got going again. Another entertaining spot was Peter and Joey threatening to punch and chop each other but both cowering due to their respective injuries. Jervis Cottonbelly, being the gentleman that he is, volunteered to tag in for Joey and take the chop to the chest. And take the chop he did. PPRay showed us yet again why they are one of, if not the, most popular tag team in SoCal today. Dancing up a storm before and after the match does not take away from what they can do in the ring. They definitely got my vote for Tag Team of the year.

If you’re on the fence about coming to Bar Wrestling take the plunge and come out to one of their next shows. I have not been to one of their shows in the central LA area yet but every show at the Baldwin Park Legion Hall is great. Cheap drinks, plenty of space and interested crowds. If they run again on NYE 2019 its definitely something you should consider spending your money on.

Just before writing this the news broke about the passing of “Mean” Gene Okerlund. Mean Gene is a big part of why we all love wrestling and the wrestlers we are fond of. He helped make them all those legends we look back fondly upon as great as they were. So thank you Gene for entertaining us and for what you did to make wrestling great.

Until next time, keep it snug.