RD : Pete shows up at my house at about 3pm where we hang out for a while watching tapes (but not the EMLL Sports Entertainment skits which I need to see because Pete forgot to bring them) and matches I downloaded off the web.
PS : Oh, like the 1980 Mid-Atlantic tape I got from Cel didn't bring the SE in spades. The angle where Flair gets stripped by Steamboat and cuts a promo afterwards in just his tie and his briefs is classic SE... and we were both digging how the M-A heels would go out of their way to *not* bury the babyfaces and put them over as respectable opposition.
RD : There was originally a fan fest set up for the show which was going to be outdoors, due to rain, it was moved indoors, but by the time we showed up, they were closing down. Instead, we waited on the stairs as Pete tried to count all the various independent group shirts people were wearing as I tried to fantasy book the mystery team for the return of Rik Ratchett who was teaming with Felipe the Pool Boy. I thought it would have been good if they flew in Sid, who'd be doing the Ron Wright gimmick while in a wheel chair managing his cronies Johnny Rotten and Spellbinder.
PS : Let's see. JAPW, WXW, JCW, CZW, ECPW, Bonebreakers, and even a "Boogie Woogie's Wrestling Camp" shirt. You have to love the myriad promotions in the NYC area... I figure there has to be a company somewhere that makes indy wrestling entrance kits consisting of a black curtain and giant interchangable red letters to stick on it.
RD : By the time we get let in, most of the wrestlers are in the ring testing it out. It turns out the ring was build in the last 2 days prior to the show and has not be wrestled in yet. This was a sign of things to come. There's also two buckets at ringside catching water leaking from the roof or the airconditioner right next to the ring.
PS : Man, did this show have "disaster" written all over it at the beginning. All the signs are there: Brand-new, untested ring (built with the apron about 2 feet shorter than normal to compensate for the low ceiling at the Lodi Boys & Girls Club), leaky ceiling, and what we assumed were super-green indy scum all too willing to die, circumstances be damned.
RD : We hit the merch stands, I end up getting an autographed Shark Boy mask to add to my collection of goofy masks. There were 3 people on the show who didn't make it. Homicide, who they explained had a family emergency. Reckless Youth was supposed to defend his title against Dinero but apparently hurt and Billy Riel was unaccounted for.
PS : None of whom would be missed, much to our pleasant surprise. As an aside, the locker room was one floor up with large windows for the workers to watch the matches from... this would lead to all sorts of kayfabe-killing visuals as the night progressed.
First Round :
MATCH 1: Judas Young vs. "Sure Thing" Ryan Wing
RD : Judas Young does a punk rock gimmick. Wing apparently worked in a local Applebee's at one point and a bunch of people ride him about it. When he yells "I haven't worked there in 8 months", the chants turn to things about his acne, one of which I believe was "Oxy-cute 'em". In this match, if becomes clear that the ring ropes are not in good shape. We end up with 4 people holding the posts. This was sort of the end of the rope running. Judas ends up winning with an "Angel's Wings" underhook facebuster on Wing.
PS : The ring immediately started to collapse here, sagging in the middle and at the posts... the old announcer cliche about "THE RING JUST MOVED SIX INCHES!" was quickly becoming a scary reality. It was at this point that I decided someone was going to literally die in that ring... probably Red.
MATCH 2: ``Superstar`` Dave Greco
vs. Supreme Lee Great
RD : Supreme Lee was one of the guys who made the Tough Enough casting special but didn't get picked. Lee throws out a bunch of big suplexes in this. Greco ends up catching him in a flapjack move out of a Rock Bottom set. I think this was pretty short, but they had a lot of matches on the show.
PS : All of the matches were short since it was a 16-man tourney in one night, so they had to cram at least 15 matches into the affair. If they're going to do something that big, maybe next time they should either run it over two days or make it a day-night doubleheader. Still, it was quality over quantity here in terms of match lengths.
MATCH 3 : Low Ki vs. Xavier
RD : Your main event at next weekend's UCW. Low Ki delievers with the kicks on Xavier. The thing I remember most about this was the fact they were doing the corner whips as we watched the ring move. Ki won with a Handspring jumping roundhouse kick (Tidal Crush) into his backmounted dragon sleeper (Dragon Panzer - Rumi Kazama finisher)
PS : Fun match while it lasted. Xavier has a cool look (Rock Light, or "The Pebble" as Ray calls him), is a good worker and will make the next 500 without a problem. The strange NYC indy hierarchy has one promotion's main event working third from the bottom across the river... only thing stranger than that would've been the two shows Ray and I went to in Secaucus a couple of years ago where Ace Darling was the main event heel in one part of town (ISPW at the high school), then the opening match babyface a few blocks away (JAPW at the Sheraton).
MATCH 4 : Little Dixie over Filipe
the Pool Boy (with nise Mr Fuji) via roll up. Filipe hit his manager with
his cane by mistake and got rolled up.
RD : OK, it's at this point that I sent this to Pete to work on and I never got around to finishing the rest of this, so aside from minor updates in the headers, I didn't get around to writing the rest of this.
PS : Felipe toned down the gimmick as a concession to the more politically-correct fans in this part of the northeast... I also have some lovely oceanfront property in Kansas for sale. ;) Ray and I immediately hit the old "Watch your ass, Dixie" chant which got over great in the room. Felipe's manager was a white boy doing the old Fuji gimmick in the suit, leading to someone (the promoter?) chasing him out at the end.
MATCH 5 : Joel Maximo over Jose Maximo with a back piledriver (Sonoko Kato`s Crown`s Gate/Genki Horiguchi`s Beach Break, Yun Yang move)
PS : PEORIA THUNDAH~! Good match, just way choreographed in some spots as the sangre were taking it easy on each other... thankfully the crowd doesn't do the dreaded "YFU" chant for these guys. It should be interesting to compare/contrast this to the Briscoes' match at the CZW tourney... the Maximos working a low-impact lucha match here while the Briscoe went take-no-prisoners head-dropping Japan style.
MATCH 6 : Queenan Creed over
White Lotus with a roll up
PS : Qeenan has become quite the worker now... not the flashiest guy in the world, but way solid on everything. Lotus also looked good here.
MATCH 7 : Shark Boy over unknown
(was supposed to be Tommy Suede but I don`t think it was him) with the
Dead Sea Drop (Masato Tanaka`s Diamond Dust)
PS : Shark Boy is about as over as you'd expect with all the kids in the crowd, as is the "bite the butt" spot. He's also upgraded his outfit somewhat, going to a full bodysuit featuring a cool logo on his trunks. The other guy seemed competent enough, but he had a real "gimp from Pulp Fiction" vibe and the crowd got on his looks in a hurry.
MATCH 8 : Lightning Mike Quackenbush
over Red with the Quackendriver (Similiar to the Iconoclasm only he did
it from a standing position in the middle of the ring)
PS : This was my MOTN... I was fearing for Red's life with the ring in that condition, but he wins Ray's heart and mine as he tones the aerials down and works a super match without going up top ONCE. Quack has some fun at the expense of the hideously loose ring ropes, testing them out and then doing the Andre/Nash/Sid "I have to step over the ropes because I'm SO FREAKISHLY HUGE!" bit. Later Quack channels Dr. Cerebro(!!!) and pops the whole crowd by whipping out that upside-down Banana Split hold on the diminutive Mikey trainee. Red comes back as best he can given the state of the ring, eventually hitting the Standing Star Press (an unreal move even if the ring wasn't in that condition) on Quack towards the end before Quack finally nukes him with the Quackendriver for the pin. This was great... they need at least 15 more minutes for the rematch, and Mikey must be one HELL of a trainer based on the SATs alone.
Round 2 :
MATCH 9 : Low Ki over Joel Maximo. Ki and Maximo fought back and forth over the Ki Crusher and Crown`s Gate, Ki flipped out of Maximo`s last attempt and locked him into the Dragon Panzer for the tap out.
PS : Fun match. Maximo cheap-shots him early and
starts to celebrate only for Ki to recover too fast and just *waste* him
with a kick to the face. Later Maximo tosses Ki out and hits a huge tope
con hilo to the floor, and you can feel the impact on the floor 20 feet
away on the other side of the ring. It was strangely funny seeing Ki and
Joel congratulate each other in the locker room through those windows seconds
after they left ringside.
MATCH 10 : Mike Quackenbush over
Dave Greco with a cradle.
PS : Greco comes out with a valet he didn't have with him in the first match, a zaftig blonde who looks like a cuter, blonde Tigresa from Puerto Rico. This would be the Liger shotay of backhanded compliments. ;) Greco's working heel here compared to the first round, where he worked babyface against Supreme... the fans get on the size of his ears, which leads to this hysterical bit where Quack gets on offense and starts parading Greco around by his ears. "Lookit the SIZE of these things! They're HUGE!"
MATCH 11 : Shark Boy over Judas Young with the Dead Sea Drop
MATCH 12 : Queenan Creed over
Dixie when he kicked out of a Dixie crucifix attmempt and turned it into
a pinning position on Dixie.
PS : By this point we were 12 matches into the show without a break, so I was wandering around getting food and checking out the merch tables while the last two bouts were taking place. At one point someone behind me notices my Santo shirt and says "EL SANTO!" I turn around... it's Quack. I mention how I was one of the 25 people at that show last year and he laughs at the memory of it.
PS : Finally... mercifully... intermission. The ring gets a desperately-needed adjustment and I get some wonderful news from Jose Maximo: Minoru Fujita will be bringing TOKYO GURENTAI T-SHIRTS (he was wearing one) to the UCW show this Saturday. Salami, salami, baloney. =D I also take note of all the kid-sized masks Mike sells during the break... yeah, too bad Americans don't give a shit about those masked Mexican guys. *grrrrrrrrrr*
Round 3 :
MATCH 13 : Low Ki over Shark Boy when Ki reversed the Dead Sea Drop into the Dragon Panzer
PS : Needless to say, Ki was not about to take the "bite the butt" spot. This match was pretty funny as Xavier (Ki's UCW archenemy) was hanging out on a ladder by the main entrance while the match was going on... he was just watching the match, but it was funny thinking he might run in and cost Ki the JJC to heat up the UCW feud. ;) You could also look through the locker room window and see Quack and Queenan practicing sequences for their match... yes, kayfabe is truly dead. The Panzer was way over as a finisher by this point and we were openly salivating at the thought of a Ki-Quack final.
MATCH 14 : Queenan Creed over
Lightning Mike Quackenbush via a La Majistral
PS : Oops. Now that the ropes have been fixed, Quack makes a show of not doing the Andre spot and jumping through the ropes instead. Finish has Quack telegraph the shotay finisher ("PALM STRIKE!") only for Qeenan to block it and injure Quack's arm in the process. This leads former ECW Fan of the Month Brett Schwan (sitting behind us) to suggest that next time you yell one move, you cross the opponent up by doing something else. That's why he's a former ECW Fan of The Month, folks! (Ray said three people will get that joke, which has never stopped me before. Quack does the Hansen-style sell of his injured arm, although it doesn't go over so well with most of the crowd since a) they aren't familiar enough to know that's one of his big moves, and b) everyone is really on fumes at this point. Dueling rollups end with Qeenan scoring the upset with the Dandina. Good match despite mitigating circumstances with the crowd and the ring which is now dying its 14th death of the night.
Non-Tornament Match :
MATCH 15 : Julio Dinero over the returning Ric Ratchet w/ Andrew Anderson (yes a Flair and Arn gimmick) when he gave him a pumphandle fallaway slam onto a chair in the ring.
PS : Julio comes out to "Land of 1000 Dances," leading to a cascade of 80s WWF impressions in the crowd. "Camera vun, zoom on da Sheik!" Julio has reverted back to a good worker again now that he's forced to work for a check again, and he essentially beats a good match out of Ratchet as they chop each other silly. They eventually brawl into the crowd, leading to the usual "ECW" chants. Your guess is as good as ours WRT why Ratchet came out of retirement for this...
MATCH 16 : Low Ki over Queenan Creed. Low Ki hits the Ki Krusher and then locks on the Dragon Panzer for the tap out.
PS : Same finish as the Super 8 final, although this was the only time all night that Ki even attempted the Krusher, much less hit it. By this point I think I'd had my fill of wrestling for the night.
RD : A good show. Everyone worked smart and hard and made up for the fact they couldn`t really do any top rope moves. There were only two quasi screwy finishes (The Ratchet and Pool Boy matches) and everything else was a clean finish. A good good show. Best matches would probably be Maximo v. Maximo and Red v. Quackenbush, but all the tournament stuff was solid.
PS : Before the JJC I would've laughed in your face if you'd told me that a broken ring would IMPROVE the quality of a show... but damned if that wasn't the case here. The lack of fiery death was a big plus as the young workers we thought might be too stupid to adapt to the conditions proved us gratefully wrong. All in all it bodes well for the future of northeast indy wrestling. The good news for us continues even after the show ends as we learn that Ray's aunt Linda can get us UFC tickets for the princely sum of $5 since she works security at the Meadowlands. So this coming weekend shapes up as UFC on Friday, indy wrestling on Saturday and minor league baseball (CYCLONES~!) on Sunday... friends, it just don't get any better than this.