(Sorry this is two days late. Monday is wacky and today was spent reading everything on the internet about the beloved yet controversial DVDVR 500 and a young Lance Storm. Anyhoos, here ya go.)
I went to Chesapeake from Richmond, a two hour trip through the tunnel, to see my sainted mother on Mother's Day and to hang out with my brothers and sister- huddled in Suburban splendor in South Norfolk, a working class suburb of Norfolk, situated over the Elizabeth River on the cusp of the barren wasteland called Chesapeake. I went alone because my wife didn't really feel like going after a day at the Strawberry festival with two kids and then watching them by herself while I went to the fabulous Mid-Atlantic Beer Festival. Anyway, I also didn't want to have my kids on the highway at one in the morning so we were all happy with a solo venture. I ate some chicken, hung around, talked to my aunt about the old days, the usual family visit. My cousin Jay called and asked if we were still on for the wrestling- AND IT WAS ON! I was torqued.
Jay, who is the soundguy at Blakely's some nights during the week or something, said he was going to be there round 6:00, so I drive across the Chesapeake prairie to the vast rural backwoods of Great Bridge and head to the elaborate jukejoint- a blocky 70s building that was once a movie theater in my youth, now a Shitkicker bar. Blakely's has that basic nouvelle honkytonk thing going for it on the inside now- as the inside has been converted to a big square room in the middle where the theaters were, offset by a front room for dining and wraparound balcony. It looks EXACTLY like Little Texas in Richmond (where KYDA ran a couple times) when the ring is in the middle of the pit. It's a great place for wrestling, with enough room for the flying and beating and the hitting and rest of the reasons you go to the Professional Wrestling. Jay had overslept so I kinda mill around waiting for him. I talk a while with Jimmy Maxim (who is young young YOUNG!) and Rob Hoffman- who was filled with tales of woe and great gnashing of teeth, all delivered in that intense way that he talks. Rob leaves us and goes over to the Great Bridge Pizza where rich Great Bridge high school girls have been ignoring poor Oscar Smith high school boys for over a QUARTER DECADE now! But I kid my high school years and lost school spirit (the women we REALLY wanted went to Bayside and Princess Anne and First Colonial anyway. They were all from the Beach and were into the Ramones and stuff and were cooler than the Chesapeake girls. Or so it seemed when we were all 16.) Anyway, Jay finally shows up and he has his son with him, whom I had never really spent anytime with other than this night of wrestling, so wrestling is STILL a strong thread running through my family that keeps getting passed down from generation to generation. (Hell, me and Jay have hardly seen each other in the last 15 years just because of the grinding daily grinding grind of our respective lives. But we we're really close in high school because he was pretty weird and I was pretty weird and we were cousins so we understood each other's weirdness, so we could put up with each other. I was pretty happy when he called me in Richmond last week and said, "C'mon to Blakely's, I work there. It'll be great.") Jimmy and I are talking to Idol X about what he plans on doing in the match tonight and they talk about some inside Virginia/North Carolina indie stuff where they throw around names of promoters and shootnames of wrestlers and I recognize the names from hanging around indie boyz deluxe- Tim and Fat Ass Dave- but don't actually know who they are talking about. This is when Jay shows up.
Jay goes off to do something with the microphones ("Pad them so they can throw them down" or something to that effect.) since he isn't actually running sound tonight, but was working as a "Sound Consultant"- which I tried not to laugh at because he was serious when he said it. One of the reasons I have always loved Jay was because he can be so full of shit. Jeremy Soria shows up and he doesn't recognize me at first because I've grown my hair to such comical lengths and we mill around a bit. We find Jay again and he is showing his son how to shoot pool in the balcony up by the soundboard and it's a really spacious balcony and I'm starting to really dig this building as a wrestling venue. Jeremy and I go to the front room and opt to eat SOMETHING but the waitress never shows up. Finally, Jay and his son come and join us and the waitress suddenly appears and we order appetizer after appetizer after appetizer. Jay does the great redneck bigshot thing of ordering chicken wings and tells the waitress to "tellem it's for Jay" which is a codeword for "hot" apparently. Jay rules as I notice that some things in him haven't changed in the 35 years I have known him . Jeremy and I fight for french fries with a six year old, as I bust up a basket of Jalapeno Poppers. Since I'm writing this book and part of it is our collective childhood in the Mid-Atlantic territory, I asked Jay what his first wrestling match was. He wasn't sure but he was thinking it was the main event of Black Jack Mulligan strangling Rufus R Freighttrain Jones at the Scope, because he remembers freaking out that night because Rufus was DEAD! But he showed up on TV the next week as if nothing happened. I discussed my first match ever, travelling with a pack of my Hawaiian side cousins in my future cousin-in-law Tommy's BAD ASS Purple Challenger and touching Ricky Steamboat's back and the whole shlemiel. I then told him of my little brother's first match- (Black Jack vs Wahoo- double juice!). Jeremy rolled with the conversation and it didn't dawn on me until NOW that we kept yammering on about minute details about people and things he would know nothing about. Kinda like this whole paragraph. Thank you for putting up with it, Jeremy. Thank you for putting up with it, gentle reader. We finish all the baskets of appetizers and IIII get to play redneck Big Shot by picking up almost all of the tab. I think Jay tried to go get us a deal and it fell through (that's what I want to think, because it would add to the greatness of hanging out with Jay again- as just the ATTEMPT at being a player, his eternal quest was enough to make me remember a thousand and one equal fabulously cockamamie schemes he had concocted from our first moments on earth. ) but I make him take the money (belated birthday money from his mom in actuality, so I guess that would be appropriate) and we head up to the balcony and grab our seats by the edge. We are pretty much right over the ring and if you're gonna show daylight in the ring, this ain't the place to do it.
Cock Diesel vs Gotti:
Cock Diesel is Ray Storm who I had only seen on tapes over at Tim's house and I remember him being a good enough worker. Gotti is gets on the STICK~! and starts talking smack about Chesapeake- which doesn't really draw much heat because people in Chesapeake say far worse things about Chesapeake than what Gotti said. I boo him anyway out of respect for attempt at cheap heel heat. It is the South and Jay's son is 6 years old, so you do it for the kids- the cheering, the booing, the hissing, the outrage. The match was perfectly fine indie wrestling, with Gotti's punches not being helped by the fact everyone was right over top of them. OHYEAH! Diesel is with Persephone and Gotti is with Lilly- Liily who needs a big plate of pork chops before trying to sport those shorts ever again. Lilly cheats to win and Persephone does a Spear of Revenge to set up the GRUDGE MATCH later. They call themselves names and it fun!
Hot Property/Kory James vs Gentleman's Club- "Sexsisto"
Latin Lover/ Lord Everett DeVore:
Last time I saw Latin Lover, he was in that very odd match with Shorty Smalls at the VWF training school- where the ending was screwed up and Shorty Smalls lost his shit and was threatening to beat everybody up. I think it was a SHOOT! Either way, Latin Lover is a good enough worker. Lord Everette DeVore looked mountains better than the last time I ever saw him- I think it was a state fair or Chesterfield county fair or some other random place they have wrestling in the state of Virginia. Hot Property was the one I wanted to see, since I had only seen a couple matches on tape and wanted to gauge him for the next DVDVR 500- the 500 where we supply content for message boards the web over yet again. Kory James looked good, HP looked good. This whole match was pretty good except they THOROUGHLY blow the ending where LL is supposed to accidentally hit DeVore in the back with the belt, so they just kinda stop and do it all over again which made me laugh a whole lot. It was as indie as a Tommy Rich double-booking.
Idol X vs JT Rain:
This was my favorite match of the evening. Idol X isn't on the 500 but he will be on the next one. He put some intensity into the proceedings, guiding young Rain through the paces of your cookie cutter indie hardcore match. To make a hardcore match work at any level, someone' s gotta do something that looks like it really hurts and X achieve's this by smashing a keyboard over Rain's head and then by taking the crutches across the back. The crowd is so close that you can't do anything BUT make it hurt without it looking like crap. I also dug the creative use of golfclubs, as X crushes Rains' testicles- with a driver- that hits a cookie sheet- that is draped over the lil JT and his two lil buddies. X gets the win with a nasty Rolling (or non-Rolling, I'm fuzzy on this at this juncture) Guillotine on something metallic over the face of JT Rain. These guys could get good real quick.
Persephone vs Lilly :
This was short and they only screwed up a Swinging DDT. They were lost at points, but nothing too horrible.
2 Damn Badd vs Steve Perez:
They had this angle earlier in the show. 2 Damn Badd had to prove to Steve Perez that he hadn't turned on his in Wakefield (motto: WE'RE RIGHT NEXT TO IVOR!) last night. To prove it, 2 Damn Badd had to beat up this guy called the Dust-Man something something. The angle didn't go over to well as the audience was pretty jaded, which was psearheaded by the overt annoying smarts in the front row. Plus the whole thing was kinda confusing. Anywhos, Perez is to face Pat Anderson- who is the Skandor Agbar of VCW- but Anderson THROWS HIM A CURVE and says the title match will be against his newest protege- YES! THAT'S RIGHT! IT'S 2 Damn Badd! The HORROR! A dejected Steve Perez is beaten in the middle of the ring and they decide to continue to beat the crap out of Perez until the Barbarian and his manager guy shows up to make the save. Perez was touted highly by Tim but this wasn't a great match by any stretch. I think the angletastic aspect of it and the fact that the crowd was so dead by the failure of the earlier angle kinda deflated the match. It was a no-win situation because the crowd never got behind Perez so the beatdown wasn't the HEAT SEGMENT~! that you would want, but just kinda made Perez look like he couldn't do anything about his partner turning on him and taking his belt. Eh. Tough room Sunday night.
Robert Royal vs Dr. Stud:
I don't know why I always get fooled by these matches. Dr Stud looks like an old Sociology professor I had once- he has that blowdried hair and skinny physique that makes him look like Bill Nye the Science Guy's less cool friend, Billy. He and Royal have a little match- with one spot where Stud lands facefirst on the mat trying to go over on a Sunset Flip, in what was possibly the only thing to ever beat the legendarily sluglike Sunset Flip of Johnny Ringo at the 1995 Chesterfield Fair Wrestling Night. I was fooled because while I thought it was just comical booking to have this match so high in the card, I realize now that it was just to set up the First Family of Pat Anderson to run in and beat everybody up. Barbarain makes the save HERE, not the last match to set up the main event. There! I remember! Sorta.
Pat Cusick vs Beef :
Cusick is a good worker. Works stiff, works smooth, just watcha want. Beef is inconsistent- throws a great lariat but then throws Ed Leslie level horrendous punches- will do one sequence nicely and thoroughly ruin the next one. I remember liking sections of this match and despising other sections and I cannot for the life of me remember how Cusick won.
Preston Quinn vs The Barbarian:
This was a good match considering. Quinn makes it good by bumping like a freak for Barbarian- who stood there looking muscular as Preston Quinn bumped all over the ring. The Barbarian takes this match to a different level by actually selling pretty well when Quinn makes his first comeback- which surprised me. Then I remember that for an 8 month span in 1996, the Barbarian was an inexplicably good worker. Quinn cheats to win by using some brass knuckles, after the Barbarian's manager did the WORST CLOTHESLINE I HAVE EVER SEEN EVER on 2 Damn Badd or Pat Anderson. It was a Budweiser-flying-out-of-your-nose hilariously awful clothesline. Barbarian gets his heat back by hitting a double clothesline and doing very Nash-like Powerbomb. And the evening was over.
I tell Jay and his son goodbye and invite Jeremy to dinner when RAW comes to Richmond next. Two hours later I was back in Richmond, with childhood memories of my Cousin Jay and I growing up together with his two brothers and my two brothers and all the history and ties that bind and Wahoo McDaniel and KISS and burying GI Joes in the backyard and going on the Rebel Yell at King's Dominion for the first time ever and him introducing me to my first love when I was almost 16 and everything else that was our childhood.
It was a good night.