I’m pretty sure on this show’s date. I can say factually that this is from the dying days period of HWA and their TV show. I’ve followed HWA in some capacity for over a decade now, from their inception, to their glory days when WWE (their former parent company) bought WCW, and as a result, a bunch of WCW workers like Meng, Dave Taylor, Shannon Moore, and Kaz Hayashi started wrestling right down the road from me, and now, their death which happened during the course of this past summer.
Production value on their show was always low, but occasionally, you’d get some really good action. This, warts and all, was my favorite episode of their show in its last days.
1) JT Stahr vs. Dick Rick – 3
Sean Casey came out and declared himself special guest referee. These two worked well together. JT has some very interesting blocks and counters; he’s really developed a fascinating set of them that aren’t like anything else I’ve ever seen. He’ll block punches with his legs, catch strikes with his thighs, etc. Stahr did a pretty cool curb stomp titled “Stepping Stone.” Stahr hit his “Salutations from Saskatchewan” finisher, but Casey did a slow count, shortly after doing the opposite and giving Dick Rick a fast count for a tainted victory. Casey’s involvement hurt this, but it was still decent.
2) Island Boys vs. Sean Casey and Val Venis – (Old Skool Throwback) - 5
They’ve been showing old matches from past shows lately, and this one’s from their old building, circa the aforementioned period where a lot of great talent was coming through. I couldn’t believe it at first, but there we were, fellow writer Jessie and I, in the second row. We had attended this show live, way back when. It was kind of distracting at first, as I was watching us sometimes over the action. It was just surreal, seeing us have a conversation that was now airing on network television years later. But, it was also a good indicator of what was good, as Jessie and I politely clapped (like Japanese fans) for the impressive spots, which included a stiff sidekick by Ekmo (now known as Umaga) and Val hefting up fatty Samoan (formerly WWE’s Rosey) for a back suplex. This wasn’t real long, but impactful and a nice treat.
3) Kimara vs. Big Vu – 3
Vu is gigantic and moves at a languid pace. Kimara’s back senton splash looked real weak. But, this was billed as a battle of two, big bruisers, and delivered in that capacity. There was a good near-fall off a Kimara big boot. For both being semi-immobile, this wasn’t half-bad, until interference ended it, leading us directly to our next match.
4) The GP Code (Andre Hart and Big Vu) vs. Cody Hawk and John Moxley – 6
This started off with the wildest crowd brawl I’ve ever seen in HWA. There was a DDT on a steel chair, a tornado DDT off the apron, backbody drops over guardrails, and Andre leaping off of a seated chair in a decidedly backyard spot. Moxley delivered a flying knee off the apron on Hart on the floor, which catapulted him face-first into the ring post in a spot I loved. Andre busted out a corkscrew off the top onto the floor, making me miss Hector Garza. The handheld camera goes out for a while, leading me to chant “can’t see shit!” at my TV like I was at an ROH show. Finally, the bell rings and the official match started. Hart got whipped into the ropes, and tried to springboard off of them backwards, Moxley ducked his head and Hart drilled him awkwardly ass-first against the skull, compressing his neck for sure. There was a really inventive spot where they did a drop toehold on Hawk where he fell face-first into Moxley’s ample crotch, and then Hart did a curb stomp to Hawk pressing his face against Moxley’s squalid phallus. The finish saw a “piggyback splash,” where Andre held onto the gigantic Vu who did a splash off the second buckle. It’s a very cool team finisher, and a great capper to this most excellent of tag matches. Even though it was a mess at parts, the finale really won me over.