I ventured back to the Sorg Opera House with my good buddy Tim for this show that is hailed as HWA's biggest show of the year. I've been to all of these shows that they've done, let's see how this one matches up.
We arrived early enough to actually have to wait for the doors to open. Once they opened, we grabbed our seats about five rows down from the back and about ten seats in. Why we chose such random seats is beyond me. The ring looked giant in the tiny opera house and they had the movie screen down with the HWA logo projected on it for the duration of the show. There were no warm-up matches and they jumped right into the show. For the record, I'm doing this report solo.
1) Dick Rick vs. "Relentless" Ron Mathis - 4
Rick did some mic work before the match started and is actually quite good. His opponent was just a generic indy dude. I'm guessing he was local. They kept up a good pace with Rick controlling for the most part. Rick's offense is good and looks like he could really go places ... you know, like the next level of indys. The top rope buster was nice to finish. Good opener and it got Rick over as the potential battle royal winner.
2) Ashley Lane & Naveah vs. Sassy Stephie Sinclair & Angel Dust - 3
Oh joy, a ladies tag. Sinclair and Angel are from OCW, I believe, which would make them local, and Sinclair comes complete with a ludicrous tramp stamp. I saw Lane and Naveah teaming up at the last WW3 show back in '06 and they looked awful, Lane especially. They've improved a lot since then, which must by why they're the SHIMMER tag champs. Lane has a look that could definitely take her places. Sinclair sold her back briefly on the apron after making a tag. Angel took a giant beating in the middle of the match. This was just an elongated squash for the SHIMMER champs. The double team move to finish off Sinclair and Angel was nice. I toyed with giving this a "mercy point" but I couldn't do it.
3) 7-Man Cruiserweight Gauntlet Match w/ Dave Crist, Max Fahrenheit, Kaden Hassan, Aaron Williams, Donovan Cain, Jason Lyte, and Dustin Rayz - 5
The competitors are listed here in order of entry into the match. Once a man is eliminated, another comes in to take his place. Crist killed the first half of this match. Two of the three parts of the match he was in, he did fucking comedy spots and stalling. The only one he actually had a satisfying contest with was Hassan. Williams came in and him and Crist began debating the human anatomy during submission holds. Note to Crist, if you're in a submission hold SELL THE FUCKING THING!!! Did I mention the part where Crist blatanly called a move to Williams in the corner? Rayz comes down to throw powder in Crist's eyes to thankfully eliminate him and give the match a more serious direction. Williams had nice exchanges with remaining combatants, including a great series with Rayz. His fatigue selling was also excellent. Rayz' sick spike piledriver was a thing of beauty. By the way, Crist loitered at ringside after being eliminated and worked to get the crowd behind Williams. Afterwards, a post-match brawl and swerve which wasn't much. The part with Crist and Williams really hurt the score but the last bit with Williams against Rayz was good stuff.
Intermission time ... I check out the make-shift merch tables and raid some goodies from the discount bin (a.k.a. a Nike shoebox). Also featured were photos of popular stars like Hogan, Rock, and Austin that were shot by some dude and made up at the local Walgreens photo department, overpriced indy promotion DVDs, and some random loose old-school WWF figurines. I asked the ditzy blondes about if they had any NJPW Super J Cup shows or some recent NOAH. They responded by trying to shill me the "Rey Mysterio: 619" DVD.
4) The GP Code (Deja Vu & Andre Heart) & Kimera vs. V-Radd, "Madness" Chris Hall, & J.T. Stahr - War Games Rules Match - 6
This gets match of the night honors for me. It started off hot and didn't let up one bit. You could feel the intensity and emotion of the match in the tiny arena with the crowd of roughly 80-85 people. They're doing modified rules in this one where every five minutes a new competitor enters. V-Radd took some vicious unprotected shots to the cranium courtesty of Deja Vu in the first period. Time expires and they fuck up the coin toss! Good grief, Charlie Brown!! Kimera runs down as the next man but is followed by Madness, who, as Tim put it, looked like the "bastard son of Bam Bam Bigelow" and the two proceed to bludgeon each other with hard weapon shots. Next out was J.T. Stahr followed by Andre Heart, who dove off the balcony onto everyone. I'm not sure why he would risk his neck by doing something like that in front of a crowd of 80-85 people. Kimera bled after some shots and Heart brawled in the crowd with Stahr. Deja Vu did an ass bump through a table, Heart bumped on some tacks, Madness broke out the barbed wire, and complete mayhem was the theme. Deja Vu ended up getting the pin and winning the tag team titles for his team.
5) Super Indy Battle Royal - 4
Honestly, if you've seen one of these battle royals, you've seen them all. I'd say upwards of at least a quarter of the combatants were actual, legit wrestlers trying to get noticed. The remainder was shitbird grapplers with no talent except for smoking weed and screwing goats. There was one sloppy bastard that just showed up to work in his street clothes and took off his Reebok's just to work the bout. I bet some of these dudes had to check with their parole officers before competiting in the bout. Dave Crist and Dustin Rayz were too obvious in their blue and red power ranger suits, complete with Tiger Mask rip-off mask. The match came down to Dick Rick and Jesse Emerson and they teased a double elimination spot on the apron. They worked well together and Emerson eventually won after knocking Rick off the apron. Afterwards, they shook hands and Rick cut a promo saying that this match was his final HWA match because he's heading back to California.
6) Jake Crist vs. Jon Moxley - Steel Cage I Quit Match - 4
Good Lord, where to begin with this travesty. It started off with intensity but that quickly fizzled out. The crowd was super quiet and at points you could hear a pin drop. Going into this, I was of the opinion that Jake was the better of the two brothers but now I think they may be equally as shitty. Moxley showed that he is one of the best indy wrestlers in Ohio by displaying some intense facials and some good selling. One major, major problem I had with this is that with both men working each others arms, wouldn't it hurt if you went back and chopped your opponent following the submission? Please, some psychology wouldn't hurt. A fork comes into play with them going for something reminiscent of the Tully/Magnum match at Starrcade '85. The match should've ended with a submission in that but unfortunately, the ol' fork in the forehead trick didn't work as went another 15 minutes that seemed to last as long as the Civil War. The finish ended up getting fucked by a totally uncooperative chain and a meaningless referee bump. Crist tied Moxley up on the cage with a second referee having to help find the lock to the chain because it fell off. Finally, they get the chain attached but the damn thing isn't tight enough and Moxley ends up doing a near handstand on the turnbuckle to get the right effect and they do some weak shit to end this unecessarily long snoozefest of a match.
This show definitely had its ups and downs and would've been a pretty terrible show if the War Games tag match hadn't delivered way more than was expected. The HWA runs weekly Wednesday shows at the Sorg and with the new influx of talent they have, there is definitely potential there. I would defintely recommend checking out at least one of their weekly shows if you're in the area. This show, though, I can't really give anything more than a marginal recommendation to since the main event fell flat.