2012 had already started off with a bang for Anarchy Championship Wrestling. January’s Guilty By Association 6 left fans happy, stunned, and in a general state of awe. February’s The Show Goes On live did exactly as its title promised, keeping ACW’s unsurpassed streak of great shows going.
The first pre-show match was a four-way elimination for number one contendership for the U-30 Young Guns championship, featuring “Wild Gun” Aiden Colt, Jordan Jensen, Lillie Mae and Just Willie. Every single one in the ring wanted a shot at the title, currently held by JC Bravo, and the audience could tell by the action. Lillie Mae was the first to be eliminated, thanks to Colt who was eliminated almost immediately after by Jensen. Willie didn’t get to enter the ring until then, and when he did, wow. The boys went at it, but Willie ultimately triumphed over Jordan.
The next pre-show match was one that had been much hyped on Twitter: the yoga pants match! A four-way tag team match, it featured the pairings “Too Much Metal” Gregory James and Rachel Summerlyn (Too Much Bacon?), Darin Childs and Angel Blue, Davey Vega and Athena of the Submission Squad, and ACH and Mia Yim comprising “Team Kick.” Before the match started, the men left the ring in order to better admire their female counterparts displaying their stretching prowess—yoga pants are particularly ideal for stretching.
Finally Athena had enough of watching Angel Blue attempt to stretch, and an all-out brawl started. The guys jumped in to clear it up and finally we were left with Childs vs. Summerlyn to start the wrestling proper.
As the match was progressing, one of my friends pointed out Lady Poison’s presence in the crowd. She slowly stalked around the edge of the room for the duration of the match, just… watching. It was incredibly disconcerting.
Meanwhile, Athena eliminated Summerlyn (and Gregory James). Mia Yim entered the ring and challenged Athena to a booty comparison (via Athena having the audacity call Mia “flat ass” on Twitter). After getting to the wrestling (which still included both shaking their booties in the other’s face), Yim eliminated Athena and Vega.
Childs came into the ring next. Yim had a cover on him, but Angel Blue broke it by kicking Yim and then grabbed up the Joshi title belt and shoved it in her face violently enough to knock Yim to the mat. ACH came in to defend his Team Kick partner but Childs grabbed him and pinned him for the win before he could get there.
We’ve talked about some of our favorite matches from 2011, so here are just a few of our favorite wrestlers. Again we’ve been helped by a few friends. Again, this is just a handful of all the wrestlers we loved and appreciated, so please make sure to tell us who your favorites were either in the comments or on Twitter with #ddslove. Enjoy!
Anarchy Championship Wrestling, St. Louis Anarchy, Beyond Wrestling, AAW, Absolute Intense Wrestling
Amanda: I had no idea who ACH was until Beyond started a campaign to bring him to their company. And even then I was like, eh. Then they showed us AR Fox vs. ACH and I spent a great deal of that match in awe with my jaw agape. Then I had the rare and fortunate joy of seeing him in real life (at AIW, natch) and I’m going to go on record and tell you that this kid is going to set the world on fire in 2012. I can’t wait.
Leslie: ACH is not a human being. Perhaps he’s Super Saiyan or Kryptonian or a Replicant, but it’s just not possible for humans to wall run, Flash Kick, or jump and in the air and hit someone 3 times before landing. But supernatural athletic ability alone doesn’t make for a great wrestler. Fortunately for fans in ACW, St. Louis Anarchy, and a growing list of promotions, ACH is the complete package. He’s as good on the mat as he is on his feet as he is on the top-rope, and possesses one of the most dynamic offensive arsenals in wrestling. If that wasn’t enough, ACH is gifted with a natural charisma that wins over fans before he even makes it to the ring.
ACH began 2011 as a local highlight for Austin’s ACW. With numerous top level matches against the likes of Akira Tozawa, Mia Yim, Davey Richards, Colt Cabana and Chris Hero, his emotional win of the ACW title, and an unprecedented crowd-sourced campaign that brought him to Beyond’s Tournament for Tomorrow, he ended 2011 as one of the most buzzed about wrestlers in the US. He enters 2011 wrestling almost everywhere that matters, including a just announced stint at upstart Resistance Pro.
Dragon Gate, Dragon Gate USA, ACW, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, CHIKARA, AIW
Martin: 2011 was a tale of two halves for Akira Tozawa, and both halves were amazing. January to June was spent on the second half of his year long excursion to the United States, and what was meant to be a learning period became a claim to being one of the best wrestlers in the country. Whether it was fighting alongside the mad man Kevin Steen in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, entertaining the Philly and New York crowds for Dragon Gate USA, having fun with CHKARA at King of Trios (and going to war with Eddie Kingston in the process), or getting up to all sorts of mayhem in Austin with the boys and girls of Anarchy Championship Wrestling, barely a week went by without Tozawa making waves somewhere in America. His farewell from PWG in particular was a sight to behold – no crowd took to a foreign wrestler who could barely speak any English quite like Reseda took to Tozawa.
And then came Tozawa’s return to Dragon Gate, and there was a marked transformation from the fun loving, screaming, cursing Tozawa we thought we knew, into a sadistic, arrogant, conniving Tozawa, the newest member of the Blood Warriors. Tozawa fit back into the Dragon Gate environment perfectly, having great matches nearly every time, including his return at World against Shingo Takagi, and his shot at the Dream Gate Title against Masaaki Mochizuki. Tozawa also formed a great team with BxB Hulk, winning the Summer Adventure Tag Team Tournament, and then eventually winning the Open the Twin Gate Titles in a decision match with Susumu Yokosuka and KAGETORA. The year finished off with an incredible title defence at Final Gate against Shingo and YAMATO. The promises Tozawa showed in late 2010 flourished in 2011, and 2012 has already started even bigger for him..
Brandon: There is no wrestler I enjoyed more in as many places as Akira Tozawa.
I was fortunate enough to see the bulk of his U.S. tour in Austin through ACW, and every time he stepped through the curtain (or walked down the steps) — be it against MASADA, ACH, Gary Jay, whoever — he delivered. I personally watched him tear the roof off of a roofless building on at least four occasions. I sat in the second row at CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament and watched him do it again in both his trios match and in full-on “kicking Eddie Kingston‘s head off” form in singles action. I didn’t get a chance to see him live in PWG, but I’ve seen his matches, and they’re never less than stellar. I don’t know how many episodes of Infinity I’ve downloaded by now.
Tozawa is the man. My 2011 wouldn’t have been 10% as fun without him.
SHIMMER, Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling WAVE, Joshi-4-Hope, SMASH, Oz Academy
Mary: Just when you think Kurihara’s become such an amazing competitor, she’s able to elevate herself even higher. How can such a seemingly sweet girl be such a hard hitting, determined wrestler? She continues to add more and more accolades every month, it seems like. And her wrestling itself continues to astound me. The teaming with Ayako Hamada in SHIMMER makes for a unique pairing, as does her partnership with rival Kana. There’s also the unfinished business with Syuri in a soon-closing SMASH. And more challengers ahead in Mexico, who seek to take her CMLL Women’s Title.
SHIMMER, Resistance Pro, River City Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling
Leslie: Melissa curbstomped her way across the scene with elegant savagery in 2011, but that’s her usual. One of wrestling’s most consistently good performers, Melissa gave us another year of top-tier, most notably in SHIMMER and NCW: Femmes Fatales. She achieved her long-time goal of winning the SHIMMER Title by facing and defeating both Kana and MadisonEagles on the same day. While Melissa found new ways to mangle people with chairs and guardrails, she also opened new avenues to represent women’s wrestling. She appeared on All Japan’s first Taiwan shows across from Makoto. She also starred in a music video for The Smashing Pumpkins.
Repeat: one of my favorite wrestlers starred in a video for my favorite band. 2011 was pretty rad, thanks in large part to Melissa.
First off, can I just say: You have excellent taste in professional wrestling organizations. You’ve made the right call. It’s not often that promotions like this come along. It’s Okay to be smitten.
I was once like you: The new fan in SHIMMER’s life. I’d grown tired of sports entertainment and was looking for wrestling to come in and steal my affections. Our relationship had grown stale, repetitive to the point of being able to finish each other’s sentences. I almost didn’t notice us growing apart until I picked up Volumes 31 and 32 of SHIMMER on a whim for the 2010 ROH Black Friday sale.
Now, a year and a half on, I’ve never been happier. I look forward to many happy years with SHIMMER in my life, and you can too! Here are some basics for how to make this St. Patrick’s Day weekend one you’ll remember for more than just the green beer.
Scope out the merchandise early.
If you’ve already got a few favourites (and considering this is SHIMMER, you will), check their Twitter and Facebook accounts to see if there are mentions of merchandise on sale. A lot will post either preview pictures and some will even allow you to pre-order so it’s as simple as presenting your money and getting the item of your choice. Additionally, don’t be afraid to bring your own reusable bag(s) to pack your purchases into at the Eagles Club. They’re not just for your groceries anymore!
It’s good to have a gameplan because there’s lots of tables, a minimum amount of time, and negative space to maneuver in. Much like you were visiting the soup Nazi or having a match with Brian Cage-Taylor, you want to get your stuff then get out, so that the people behind you have time do the same. Save the chit-chatting for later.
Don’t be afraid of talking to the other people in line outside the venue.
Waiting for the doors to open is a rite of passage. All SHIMMER fans have waited patiently for the doors to open on time and they never do, so it’s the perfect time to get to know the people you’re going to be spending at least the next eight hours with. Fantasy matches, streamer distribution, experiences from shows past and speculation on who — if any — will show up unannounced is all fair game.
If you’re looking for yours truly, I’ll be in the same style CANADA hoodie that Nicole Matthews often wears. Feel free to say, “Hi,” eh? ;)
Don’t be afraid 1 of talking to the competitors at the afterparty.
Not surprisingly, I often get my thoughts out more clearly if I write them down. It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable talking to wrestlers and expressing my gratitude but even if it’s just a ‘Thank you’ ‘Good match!’ or a simple smile, kindness goes a long way. Many of the ladies have travelled a long way to get there and after 10 plus hour flights or a lengthy stretch behind a wheel, I know I’d love to see a smiling face. Or perhaps a refill of my favourite beverage.
But, this is important, allow people to finish eating before asking for an autograph and such. Total party foul, which you don’t want to commit around seasoned wrestling/party referees like Bryce Remsburg and Brian Gorie.
Come prepared for hunkering down for the entire day. Seriously.
The city of Berwyn does NOT allow you to leave and come back in without purchasing another ticket. Since Dave Prazak announced there’s the strong possibility of a sell out, leaving for a smoke or food break may not even be an option in that instance. Some food, notably pizza, is available in the venue, as well as beer!
This one seems pretty simple and with all of the wonderful folks that are involved in the promotion and in the audience, you’re bound to have a good time. After all, love should be celebrated!
You absolutely should be afraid of talking to Portia Perez. You probably shouldn’t even come within her line of sight. – Ed. ↩
Oliver Hurley’s Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches is one of the most interesting books on Professional Wrestling in quite some time. Far from being a simple listing of odd bouts, the book provides in-depth background and context on each of the matches featured, revealing details that are both historically significant and genuinely entertaining. Comments from the wrestlers themselves reveal the little known details behind many of these infamous battles. We spoke to the veteran journalist about the book, his process for developing it, and his undying love for the sport that, admittedly, can be somewhat strange at times. Enjoy!
How long have you been writing about pro wrestling? What is it about the sport that you love?
I first wrote about wrestling in anow long-forgotten UK fanzine called Crunch, which I launched in the summer of 1995 on the back of an independent show in London featuring Sabu – the first UK show explicitly aimed at ‘hardcore’ fans. Crunch only lasted for a few issues but people quite seemed to like it, I think largely because it was a bit irreverent. In a roundabout way, that eventually led on to me writing for Power Slam, the UK’s best-selling wrestling mag, which I’ve been working for on a freelance basis since 2001.
As for what I love about wrestling, can anyone really answer that question? I just started watching it on TV when I was young, somehow got hooked, started going to live shows and that was it. As Thomas Aquinas put it, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Although I’m not sure he was necessarily talking about wrestling at the time, given that he was a 13th-century Italian Dominican priest. But there you go.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I’d been wanting to write a wrestling book for a while – something that covered a wide variety of performers and eras, rather than yet another wrestling biography – but couldn’t quite come up with the right idea. I toyed with the notion of something on wrestling’s greatest matches but that seemed a bit vague. In the end, I came across a book called Boxing’s Strangest Fights and nicked the idea from that. As a concept, it just seemed to lend itself perfectly to wrestling, while allowing me to write about everyone from Strangler Lewis to Stalker Ichikawa.
How did you go about researching and narrowing down what to include?
While I was pitching the book to publishers, I spent quite a long time – probably about a year – working on a long-list of matches. That ended up consisting of just under 200 bouts, each with quite detailed notes on where footage of each match was available (if it even existed), references to the bouts in books or articles, old newsletter stories, interviews and so on. When it came to writing the book, in addition to as much reference material as I could get my hands on, I also conducted my own interviews with some of the wrestlers involved.
Coming up with the final 101 matches was based on having a pretty good idea of which ones would be the most entertaining to write about, while trying to ensure that I had a range of different wrestlers and promotions. It was a bit of a balancing act but I think it works – and I can’t think of any other wrestling book that would include both Lou Thesz and an inflatable sex doll. Continue reading →
“The Lovely” Lylah Lodge is an up-and-coming wrestler from the Pacific Northwest. Known for her imposing presence, but dainty demeanor, the “Powerhouse Princess” recently made waves as a cast member on “World of Hurt,” a show that follows young wrestlers as they look to reach the next level by training with the legendary “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. We are excited to bring you a glimpse at the real person behind the “reality” TV headlines. Enjoy!
How did you get your start in wrestling?
I actually found out about a wrestling school in Portland, Oregon run by “Playboy” Buddy Rose and Colonel DeBeers and I went to check it out with friends of mine. From the first time I stepped into a ring I knew I liked the idea of being a wrestler. I had always looked up to the women I watched wrestle, and I never thought I would become one of them, but here I am doing it!
What is it that you love about wrestling that’s kept you in the sport?
I love entertaining people and going out and playing the crowd and controlling their emotions with what I say and do. It’s a rush to have that kind of power over people.
You’re from a region of the country that doesn’t get a lot of national recognition. Who are some other wrestlers from the Pacific Northwest that people should check out?
There is a lot of great talent in the area. DV Sullivan is my boyfriend, and the nephew of Kevin Sullivan who has moved to the area recently. He and his brother Ron are being mentored by Kevin, as well as setting up several tours and matches while working with Kevin directly. I am sure you will be hearing more about these guys very soon. The PNW is home to top prospects Aaron Bolo, Caden Matthews and Damon James as well as the incredible Azul Angel. All of these guys are worth a look and should help bring respect to the PNW wrestling scene.
You’ve come out to the Xena: Warrior Princess Theme Song. 1. That’s awesome. 2. Are you worried that Cheerleader Melissa, who considers herself the Xena of Pro Wrestling, might take offense?
I am not worried, I only came out to it a few times and I was unaware that Cheerleader Melissa considers herself that, I would say that she might direct her beef to Amazing Kong if anyone! I have drawn inspiration from watching Xena and I believe I look a bit more like her than either Melissa or Kong. It is unfortunate that I am not in as great of shape as her yet, but I have always been The Powerhouse Princess will continue to be so. Continue reading →
Mary: Best Friend vs Best Friend. Tag Partner vs Tag Partner. Both women know each other inside and out. The back history between the two made you realize what a big match this was. Hatred was turning heads, racking up titles and still wanting more and more competition. I think they really tore down the house. The shots by both women were nasty, and I think Hailey was able to take herself to an even higher level than before. The ending sequence was really great, and I loved how the fans were torn between the competitors. The ovation at the end was stellar.
PWO: Matt Cross vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Josh Prohibition
Wrestlelution 4 – August 7th, 2011
Alex: The major players of PWO’s first few years, and three of my favorite wrestlers, all met in one ring. The three guys just knew each other so well, and perhaps that’s why this match just clicked. I really can’t put words to how incredible this match was. I was in that crowd, and we were enthralled in their every motion from the hot start to to the incredible finish. It was Matt Cross’ way of reminding his home crowd that he’s more than the reality TV guy, and anyone who didn’t know before realized it with the beautiful Shooting Star Press at the end.
NJPW: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tetsuya Naito
G1 Climax Final – August 14th, 2011
Pumi: After his momentum got derailed by some stupid Jersey Shore promotion champion at the Dome Show in January, I wanted to see how Naito could bounce back from such a terrible situation. He started the G1 Climax with losses and was stuck at bottom of the table. Then, he did his best to rebound and go through to the Finals, which made me very impressed (similar to Seiya’s trip to the finals of the Champions Carnival). So it was Shinsuke Nakamura, who had yet to win the G1 tournament versus Naito, whom no one expected to make it to the finals! In the end, we not only saw Nakamura win the tournament but we also got Naito as the new beginning and future ace of New Japan!
Hanan: The ‘pro wrestling genius’ finally living up to his name. Bonus: Match ending in tears. Very emotional.
WAVE: Kana vs. Ayumi Kurihara
Like a Virgin 1224 East Japan WAVE 4th Anniversary ~ Sail A Way ~ – August 28th, 2011
Leslie: Kana and Ayumi Kurihara are two of the most talented, beautiful, popular, well-liked, hard-hitting, aggressive, unhinged, psychotic women in Joshi Puroresu. They’ve been friends and rivals, and in 2011 they reformed their KanaAyu tag team to become the first WAVE Champions. Here, though, they just tried to fucking tear each other apart in the finals of the Catch the WAVE tournament. Like all their bouts, it’s a fantastic display of great wrestling, and untreated psychopathy.
PWWA: Madison Eagles (c) vs. Jessie McKay vs. Nicole Matthews – SHIMMER Title
Martin: It says a lot when I sat down and tried to think of a great three way match of this sort of quality in the last five years, and struggled. Three ways by rule are usually bland and formulaic – it’s a singles match, with one other wrestler having a rest, then taking their turn, then all three converge to do the big stuff. Not this one.
Eagles, McKay and Matthews constantly combined with awesome double teams, including an unlikely McKay/Matthews alliance given their history, and peppered the match with fantastic moves and high intensity. There was barely a moment when any of the competitors took a rest. Eagles eventually proved that she was the fighting champion she claimed she was, whilst McKay and Matthews proved themselves again as major players on the world stage.
Anthony:(From our live report) I started to write notes for this match, and then I intentionally threw down my notepad and just watched, and cheered, and jumped out of my seat. All three women showed up in the best shape of their respective careers and each woman fought with more heart and soul than they may have even realized they possessed. This was, for me, the most intense, hard-fought SHIMMER title match I have ever seen (and I’ve seen my fair share). I’m not even a huge fan of multi-person title matches, especially when they are not under “elimination” rules, but none of that even mattered. It was a full on sprint, from start to finish, and it was phenomenal. All three competitors pulled “S-class” moves out of their arsenals, that they normally do not use, for this bout; I’m talking Spider German suplexes, top rope double stomps, and reverse hurricanranas! I would have been satisfied with any one of them walking away with the title, because they all fought as true champions. In the finale however, and in grand fashion, the dark heroine Madison Eagles retained, and extended her glorious title reign. This match proved that Eagles, Matthews, and McKay are true stars, and could be in the main event of any show, in any country. Legit.
A little over a year ago, DDS was started to talk about the Pro Wrestling we love and only the Pro Wrestling we love. Since that time we’ve given live reports from over 20 different promotions (in seven states, five countries, and three continents), interviewed dozens of wrestlers, and posted over 10,000 photos. In celebration of those great moments and the men and women who brought them to us, we’ll be doing a series of articles looking at all the things we loved in 2011.
With so much great wrestling going on all over the world, there’s no way to watch it all (though we wish we could). If there were any matches you saw in 2011 that you loved but we didn’t talk about, be sure to mention them in the comments or send them to us on twitter (#ddslove). Here’s part one covering January to July 2011. Enjoy the videos we’ve posted, and consider purchasing the DVDs we’ve linked: they are worth your time, money, and love!
Leslie: Whether these two women were using the thumbtacks, or the barbwire board, or diving, or just plain wrestling, everything was unutterably intense. You could feel the bad blood between the two, then see it as it dripped out of their wounds. Even the small details like Rachel going back to her old school gear and Athena arrogantly wearing a brand new outfit, as if she wasn’t going to ever touch a thumbtack, were great. Each went into the tacks, full on, multiple times. Each dived at each other to the floor and generally destroyed themselves and the venue in an early effort to show that 2011 would be the Year of the Woman.
ACW: Robert Evans (c) vs. Matthew Palmer – ACW Title I Quit Match
Leslie: I’d never seen a match like this. I’ve never seen a match like this. That’s not a bad reaction to start the year with. Describing it in detail would be like spoiling a great comic or an episode of Dexter. The sidekick surpassing the Superhero story here was told perfectly, from Evans’ early bravado (‘I am Batman, and you are Robin’), to him then begging for mercy, to Palmer then taping Robert’s mouth shut so that he couldn’t give up, even if he wanted to. On a show called the most violent in ACW history, it was the mere threat of violence that proved most shocking. This match should have earned 5-stars in Wizard.
Chris: Murder in the wrestling ring isn’t Okay. Apparently, Matthew Palmer didn’t get that memo. The lengths these wrestlers went to, not only for ACW gold, but out of the pure hatred between the two of them, were astounding. What Palmer did in this match walked the line between insanity and passion (and crossed either side of the line a couple of times as well) which is what it seems like ACW is all about.
IPW: The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. the Irish Airborne (Jake & Dave Crist)
Alex: This is my favorite match from either Wolf. The match that drove me to order my first IPW dvd. It was the kind of athletic match you could expect from either man, of course, but I got more of their personalities from this match than any other. Like the way they would use double team maneuvers on Dave Crist, yet Richards was beyond insulted when Jake tried to help his brother without a tag. They didn’t necessarily break the rules, but they did whatever it took to win, and it works so well for them. It helped that Dave Crist is one of the most magnetic personalities in wrestling, someone you want to see succeed in escaping. And Jake Crist has done everything on his power to become one of my favorites, and this was no exception. His exchanges with either Wolf were feasts for the eyes.
The match ended with the Wolves suggesting maybe we would see a rematch, perhaps in ROH. And I hope so, because the Irish Airborne should be doing their thing in front of the biggest audience possible.
Mary: This An Uncensored Rules match that really made viewers take a closer look at Jessicka Havok, for the first time, as a singles competitor. And what better opponent than Nikki Roxx to really make Havok look like more of a beast than she already is? I think these two have a very natural chemistry and I hope they have a chance to go at one another again and again. Roxx is a much underrated talent, and Havok’s a rising star. The blows they exchanged proved just how much they wanted to put on a great match for all of the fans. The flow of the match was flawless and everything worked. They were able to convey a great story, and it really took Havok to the next level while showing why Nikki Roxx is a former WSU champion.
NOAH: Kotaro Suzuki vs. Eddie Edwards (c) – GHC Junior Heavyweight Title
First Navigation 2011 – January 29th, 2011
Amanda: Excerpted from earlier review ”Oh my goodness…fabulous…craziest-looking submission move I’ve ever seen…Hold on to your butts…I don’t even know what that was but holy crap that’s awesome…both dudes go backflipping over the ropes onto the floor…Suzuki almost breaks his shoulder…huge missile dropkick…suicide dive between the ropes..facebuster on the apron…I-don’t-even-know-what-that-was-but-holy-shit onto the floor…’Holy shit, what did I just see?!’ …glorious…heart-stopping…giant powerbomb…two words…Holy. Shit. I absolutely promise you it’s worth your time.”
NCW: Femmes Fatales: LuFisto (c) vs. Ayako Hamada – NCW: Femmes Fatales International Championship Match
Anthony: A match that everyone, including the wrestlers themselves, had been waiting well over a year for. Both women showed great respect and wrestling skills during the beginning portion of this match, but no ring can contain these two and they brawled all over the building. At one point Ayako violently buried LuFisto under a stack of chairs. When the champion was finally able to emerge, she was covered in blood. It didn’t stop there. Hamada hit one her amazing top rope moonsaults to the floor. LuFisto nailed a sick, high angle side suplex on to a high angle steel ramp. Just as Ayako looked to seal LuFisto’s fate (via moonsault while holding a chair), LuFisto countered, and ended the match with a Burning Hammer. Both challenger and champion showed an unmatched amount of heart, soul, and class that night. Before LuFisto began wrestling she watched Ayako’s matches and dreamed of one day being as good as her. That night she was better, and Ayako wrapped the championship title around LuFisto’s waist.
ROH: Roderick Strong (c) vs. Eddie Edwards – ROH World Title
Steven: This was a terrific match that had tons of drama. You could feel the sense of belief in the crowd building during the match as they started to think that Eddie could become champion and that’s exactly what he did.
Leslie: When he won the match, Eddie Edwards trended on Twitter, without the benefit of live TV or a promotion begging fans to hash tag him. You know, he trended in a way that actually meant something and showed how much ROH and its title means to fans.
AJP: es (Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya) vs. Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi) – All Asia Championship Match
Pro Wrestling Love in Ryogoku Vol.11 – March 21st, 2011
Charles: Probably one of my most favorites tag team bouts in recent memory. The moment I saw this match I knew it was going to be one of the most solid contenders for Match of the Year and it has still stood up to me watching again here recently. Great back and forth action and it was all around a fun match, then you add the fact that they had this match on multiple times this year. All very solid, but their match from 3/21 stands out to me as the one you have to see.
Hanan: WAR! Absolutely one of the best matches that I saw last year. The mere fact that you have four large, powerful individuals looking like a million bucks in that ring is enough to make you want to watch it, and they’re all great individually and when facing each other. This match has been built off a feud between the two teams, they’ve faced before in two 30 min draws with the same result: Team ES not getting pinned and subsequently retaining their titles. You can just feel the tension, and the rage the BJW guys. One of the best matches of this year from these, very talented, beasts. The future of Puroresu is here!
Ice Ribbon: Hikaru Shida vs. Syuri
March Ribbon – March 21st, 2011
Pumi: As Ice Ribbon’s commentator, I’ve seen many of Shida’s matches from her early career. She’s changed so much since then to become one of the Joshi wrestlers today. As for Syuri, I first saw her in a match against Kana for SMASH and was impressed by her kicks. This match is great for fans who want to see a wrestler who has full confidence in her strikes against who marks herself as the best mixed martial arts and most powerful wrestler in the company. This is my favorite Joshi match from 2011.
SHIMMER: Ayako Hamada & Cheerleader Melissa vs. Sara Del Rey & Madison Eagles
Mary: In this follow-up to the greatness that was the Shimvivor Series match, these four really showed how epic a tag team encounter can be, given prior history and build-up. Every match between Cheerleader Melissa and Sara Del Rey, who have been wrestling each other for a decade, oozes intensity and one-upmanship Add in Ayako Hamada and Madison Eagles and you’ve got a surefire hit. Everything about this match clicked. Even the ending was fresh and teased at another possible scenario. There’s a reason why these four women should always be in the main event.
Leslie: Night two of CHIKARA’s massive multi-man tag team tournalment festival started with a fantastic singles match between Mr. Archibald Peck and Colt Cabana. Peck, who may or not have spent 2011 making waves in ROH as Barrister R.D. Evans and terrorizing Portia Perez in ACW as Robert Evans, is the complete pro wrestling star. Much like Cabana, he holds any audience in the palm of his hand as soon as he steps to the ring. Whether he’s making the laugh at his antics, making the cheer for his athleticism, or making them boo his dastardly and diabolical actions, Marchie Archie is embodies everything people love about the sport. This show-stealer of a match forced all the top-tier talent that followed to step their game up, which says a lot when Dick Togo and Manami Toyota faced off on the show.
It speaks to the depth of Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s roster, the complexity of its personalities, and the intricacies of its stories that Athena, rising star and national sensation, being robbed of her hard-earned American Joshi title by Angel Blue is probably only the fifth biggest story to come out of last month’s flagship show, Guilty By Association 6.
There was just so much: Big Willie (name not an exaggeration) hitting a springboard moonsault dive on the outside, Chris Trew getting his beard turned sideways by Scot Summers, Barry Breeze retiring from wrestling then proposing to his girlfriend just before two would-be lovers tried to choke the life from one another, JoJo Bravo trying to convince the crowd he is actually an unmasked Jyushin “Thunder” Lyger before having a small segment of his face detached temporarily (which he was ultimately very chill about thanks to appropriate medication), Darin in leopard print and Khris Wolfe and Khris Wolfe’s beard in a Patriots jersey, Ricky Romida dressed as a villain from an alternate future where Mel Gibson is still cool, Jaykus Plisken’s hilarious pondering about Miss Maulie and the American Joshi Title, Jerry fucking Lynn, Davey Vega winning the Anarchy Televised championship in a match where Jerry fucking Lynn took out at least two fans, writers from Bloody Elbow and Cageside Seats giving themselves a brief respite from the mediocrity they are typically forced to cover, and countless other tales from the sprawling Modern American Tragedy that is Anarchy Championship Wrestling.
The Never-Ending Battle
Pro Wrestling’s superhero savior ACH faced the main villain in his rogues gallery, Submission Squad member Gary Jay. Sporting a large Joker tattoo and a nasty red beard, the “Stiff Robo Ginger” stands at the polar opposite of everything that is ACH. ACH is loved, Gary despised. ACH amazes with uncharted athleticism while Jay, though a fine athlete in his own right, has a gritty style that’s more about chops and cheap shots. The two are destined to be enemies. Last November at the Lone Star Classic, ACH survived three grueling rounds of tournament action to capture the ACW Heavyweight title for the first time. It was the greatest night of his career, and it was ruined by Gary Jay. Jay attacked ACH, then stole the tournament trophy and ACW title before fleeing to St. Louis. He posed with the belt for pictures, taunting fans and ACH with proclamations that he was the real champion.
This was enough to break ACH’s typical cool. He beat and brutalized Gary’s fellow Squad member Pierre Abernathy last December, and promised he’d do the same to Jay for disrespecting the fans and the title. As promised, ACH came in to Guilty By Association with a mean streak he rarely displays. Jay felt every amazing move in ACH’s arsenal, and a few new attacks designed just to punish him. Gary Jay likely regretted bringing ACH’s pisstivity levels to a record high, but perhaps there was some strategy in that. ACH uncharacteristically picked Jay off the mat multiple times, when he clearly had him beat, in order to deliver more pain. Jay briefly was able to use this to his advantage, and overall brought his A-game in a great main event. But in the end the ACW title came back to where it belonged as the sounds of Gary Jay tapping out echoed through the streets of Austin, followed by roaring chants of “A-C-H” from the standing room only crowd.
Predictably, the celebration was short-lived. As it is for super-heroes, so it goes for heavyweight champions: defeat one foe and another rises up. The new look Children of Pain, lead by Shawn Vexx, crashed the celebration. Vexx made it clear he wanted a shot at the young man he once mentored, and attacked ACH, giving him an injury that he limped back to the locker room with.
“Best Friend” Means You’ll Get What You Deserve
2011 was possibly the best year for RAJETT (Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team). Not only did they capture and hold the ACW Tag Team Titles in a historic reign, they also achieved great singles success. Well, at least, Rachel Summerlyn did. While Rachel won the ACW Anarchy Televised title and the Queen of Queens tournament, Jessica James spent most of the year dealing with her personal demon. Yes, Lady Poison began the year by winning the American Joshi title and had several months atop the division, but she was eventually bested by Athena and relegated to the darkest corners of Jessica James’ psyche. After they lost the tag belts at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Jessica wasn’t even a part of the next ACW show, while Rachel competed on it for the ACW Heavyweight Title.
Take that and add in the recent emergence of Machiko, ACW trainee and second for Rachel Summerlyn, and one can only assume that when Jessica James came into Guilty By Association she was not in her normal, care-free state of mind. During the match itself, Jessica yelled at Rachel that she was not her “sidekick” and that she wanted to be wrestled like a “real person.” Rachel bitterly obliged and used her size and strength advantage to overpower her partner. The match was highly competitive, as expected from two of the top women in the sport, but you had a feeling neither had gone completely all-out before the final bell rung. Rachel won after some close calls from Jessica. The two shook hands and embraced, as JJ accepted that Rachel was just the better woman that night. Or so we thought.
As Rachel began to make her way out of the ring, Jessica lay on the mat with her hair covering her face. Rach checked on Jess and tried to help her up, but was pushed off. She tried again, only to be met by the cold, dead eyes of Lady Poison! Poison gave her deadly kiss to both Rachel and Machiko, leaving them spitting up black venom as they were carried backstage. Jessica loved Rachel, but she has chosen darkness. She hasn’t been heard from since January. Which may be for the best, because Rachel wants revenge.
Most fans may not care for Pierre Abernathy’s attitude or methods, but it’s difficult to argue with his accomplishments. He’s made a name for himself as one of the founding members of The Submission Squad. Under the direction of “Big Daddy,” the Squad has won every title in Anarchy Championship Wrestling. More, they’ve expanded their brand to promotions like AIW, IWA Unlimited, and Beyond Wrestling. Pierre’s also succeeded as the head of ACW affiliate St. Louis Anarchy, where international stars like Davey Richards and Delirious have tested themselves against the best of the Anarchy family. Hated by most, beaten by few (because they cheat), the Submission Squad enters 2012 stronger than ever and ready to take over more of the wrestling world. Whether you like it or not, here’s Big Daddy.
I got my start in a weird way. A buddy of mine got a flyer from somewhere that said they were looking for pro wrestlers, so I called the number and got to meet the people and from there networked with Nick Tyson and Adam Raw who eventually started my real training. The whole thing was weird because at first I just wanted to do play by play, but decided to give actually wrestling a shot and just have not looked back.
So, why do they call you “Big Daddy?”
Well here we go. As much as I would like to say I came up with this awesome nick-name, I did not. I saw an old Friends episode where Joey calls himself “Big Daddy” and I thought it was hilarious. So, as a joke, I started doing it in the car load and they just started calling me it which caught on with everyone else.
You are, of course, most known for being part of the Submission Squad. How did the Submission Squad come together?
The Squad started with just three members: Myself, Nick Tyson and Dingo. The name Submission Squad was made up by a retired wrestler named Jay Caster. From there many people have come and gone in and out of the Squad but I am still here trying my best to carry on the name.
How did you guys get involved with ACW? What drives you guys to keep making that very long road trip every month?
We got our start in ACW by e-mailing the office in Texas over and over again and finally getting a response. From there Gary and I debuted, but I think it was the tag match of me and Nick Tyson vs. Dingo and Gary Jay that really earned us a full time job there. As far as why we make the trip, we do it because we love ACW. ACW is our home away from home. It’s somewhere we can go and freely apply our trade in front of a great crowd. Some of the people in ACW have become like family to us so, as tiresome as a 13 hour drive can be, we look forward to making it. Continue reading →
On January 13th, 2012, Resistance Pro held their second show, Rise, at Excalibur in downtown Chicago. The show featured the crowning of the first Heavyweight champion as well as the first defense of the women’s title. There were also a number of fresh-faces, notably the Resistance debut of Ring of Honor Champion Davey Richards and international sensation PAC. Creative director Billy Corgan would also make his first appearance before his unique, standing only, underground fight club/pro wrestling carnival creation.
The show opened with D’arcy Dixon interrupting ring announcer Chet Coppock as he attempted to introduce the opening contest. D’arcy, who was sporting a fitness model bikini, informed the crowd that she had advised the Briscoe Brothers to sit this show out whilst she scouted the other teams involved in a tournament to crown the first Resistance Pro tag team champions. She assured everyone, though, that she would give them something to look at, and proceeded to show off her physique with a series of poses.
It wasn’t long before Resistance Pro Women’s Champion Melanie Cruise approached the ring with her entourage: Taylor Made, going as The Matrix (cue leather), along with her personal assistant Nikki St. John and an adorable little pug. Melanie took the mic from D’arcy, who thought it wise to make her exit. Cruise demanded that she have her title match now as she had things to do, people to see. Her opponent, the tropical Skittles colored Serenity, made her way to the ring.
Resistance Pro Women’s Title – Melanie Cruise (with The Matrix, Personal Assistant Nikki, and Montgomery the Dog) (c) defeated Serenity - Serenity brought a lot of heart to this match, but it just wasn’t enough to get through the powerful Melanie or her devious entourage. Serenity did her best to get Cruise off her feet early, but Melanie was immovable, and quickly used her strength to beat down the challenger. Things didn’t get easier for Serenity when she went to catch her breath on the outside. Cruise brought her pug into the ring and used its cuteness to distract the referee while Taylor Made stomped Serenity on the outside. Not long after, Serenity found herself helpless across Cruise’s shoulders. Melanie dropped her on her face to take the three count. Post match, Taylor Made straddled the dazed Serenity and delivered a kiss.