So Heartland Wrestling Association is now running about 10-15 minutes north of where Brian and I live. Unfortunately due to work schedules, previous commitments, and general family business, I was force to go to this bad boy alone.
"The Madness" Chris Hall vs. Mitch Magnus - 4
Magnus plays this cocky wrestling savant and rocks a mustache that looks like it requires a bit of wax to stay in place. Hall is a big guy who makes the entire room shake every time he bumps. This is my first time seeing Magnus, and I've got to say, I was impressed with what I saw. He doesn't look like much as far as build is concerned, but his bumping and cool attitude really comes through when he performs. Speaking of bumping, the kid worked his ass off in the ring by taking an overhead belly-to-belly that looked really dangerous and probably wouldn't have ended well if he wouldn't have tucked his chin. He also took some nasty lariats. The only real offense he got in was working over Hall's leg which sadly went nowhere. Really good dedication shown by Magnus. Look forward to seeing more of him in the future.
Juice Jennings vs. Tim Lutz - 3
Lutz is one of your typical indy guys in that he's high energy and high spotty. Jennings is also your typical indy guy in that he seems to be more focused on portraying his character rather than focusing on his in-ring. He's your run of the mill tanned lunk that sports shades to the ring to keep from blinding himself due to the bronze hue of his own skin. Lutz really gets over with the kids in the crowd in that he comes off as reckless and somewhat incoherent in his offense, but I will hand it to him that he's fun to watch. Jennings heeled it up with the fans, again, not really focusing on his in-ring, which was obvious from the uber-shitty gut buster he attempted to hit. There's ways these two can become better: Lutz needs to slow his role and take his time so that his offense means something, and Jennings needs to focus and develop his ring game a bit better. All in all, an acceptable match at best.
Tag Team Gauntlet - 5
I really dig the defending champs, The Heatseekers, comprised of Jeremy Madrox and Kaden Assad. The gauntlet was comprised of three other teams. The first team went by the name "Aerial Obesity" and were as terrible as their name. I have no idea who they are and they're not even listed on HWA's roster page. Fat guys throwing shitty dropkicks pretty much sums it up. Luckily, they were in and out relatively quickly, and my boys, The Noble Bloods, tore the house down. Matthew Taylor and Chad Cruise comprise the Noble Bloods, and now seem to be less concerned about getting their stuffy heel characters over and are more focused on wrestling as faces. I dig the hell out of them. Cruise brings the "handsome babyface" appeal and the power, while Taylor brings the more rugged cool face and the technical striking ability. This was by far the best match inside the gauntlet as Taylor hit some really nice looking kicks and Cruise got the crowd behind him by heating up the crowd for the hot tag when it seemed that most all hope was lost. The Heatseekers are Grade A heels in that Madrox is an arrogant scrapper from Merry Olde England and Assad is of Middle Eastern descent, so of course, he's a threat to the safety of all of us. Great job by the Seekers of keeping Cruise in their corner all while jawing with the fans, yet staying focused. The match reached a fever pitch when some shenanigans went down and the Bloods were eliminated after Cruise got knocked out. Then two squirts known as DNA came in and magically beat the Seekers. ACHOO! Sorry, I'm allergic to bullshit. Damn, that Bloods vs. Seekers match was great, though. Love those guys.
James Avery vs. Sid Fabulous - 4
Avery looks like Dante from Clerks and he got a few of the chants to go with it. Don't let this guy's looks fool you, though -- he's pretty damn good. His in-ring is polished and executed well. I sensed a strong puroresu influence in his power manuevers. Sid is a stick, but damn, I have got to hand it to this kid: he bumps his ass off. Sid is one of the most dedicated kids on the roster and he definitely gets my respect and admiration for taking some of the offense he takes. Avery is a heel, so he really beat the shit out of Sid, who shocked me by selling everything great. The finish to the match saw Avery throwing Sid into the post shoulder-first (a la Kurt Angle), sending Sid to the floor right in front of me. Sid sat there and sold the shoulder well after Avery had returned behind the curtain. A little kid came over to help Sid get up and I gotta admit, it was pretty cute and funny. Sid gave the kid a hi-five and got over with the crowd. Solid performance by both.
Falls Count Anywhere - Dave Crist vs. Ron Mathis - 7
Easily the best Dave match I have seen ever. He had his game face on tonight and wasn't pulling any bullshit antics. This match was brutal. Some highlights include a brutal chair shot to the back of Crist's head by Mathis (remember the chair shot Jeff Hardy gave Anderson in TNA a while back?) that busted the back of Dave's head open, Mathis getting thrown into the women's restroom sending the skirts flying out of the stalls, some really great armwork by Crist on the outside featuring a cross arm-breaker and arm tweaking, and the icing on the cake: a side walk slam off of the stage onto a pile of upright chairs that had me popping like a collar at a frat party. Damn, this was insane. Mathis' selling of the arm was done to perfection as he held it close the entire match after getting it worked over by Crist. Crist went over Mathis to become the new American Luchacore champ in a match that I would say is probably the best match I've seen in HWA in recent memory (with exception of Mox vs. Danielson from last year).
Nick Cutler vs. Remi Wilkins - 3
Cutler worked the stick pre-match, ragging on Hamilton and saying the only thing close to us that may be considered civilization is Cincinnati, and let's face it, the Bengals and Reds aren't anything to be proud of. He actually got a pop for ragging on the Bengals considering you have to have a criminal record to play on the team. The match itself wasn't anything to write home about, as it was Cutler heeling it up and Wilkins staying on the defensive side of things the majority of the match. Passable.
Jake Crist vs. Gerome Phillips - 6
This was the grudge match between the two, and damn you were sure able to tell it. Both of these guys were really pulling out all the stops in their offense. There was absolutely no need for Crist to take the lariats that Phillips dished out. For those of you who don't know, Jake Crist is a decently built kid about 5'9'', while Phillips is a huge dude probably around 300lbs, probably around 6'4''. Crist stuck in there with Phillips like a champ, taking lariats and punishment like it was nobody's business. The ring was making so much noise as Phillips bounced both of their bodies off the mat, sending sound waves reverberating off the ceiling and walls of the new venue. During the middle of the match, Crist went and asked his young daughter for a kiss on the cheek, giving the crowd one of those "AWWWWW" moments, only to have Phillips mock Crist and ask his daughter for one, too, while grinning like an evil son-of-a-bitch. Such a great little addition to add a personal element to the match. Personal hatred filled the ring, and the story unfolded as Philips dominated Crist, burying him in the mat for the win. I really hope this continues. Good stuff.
Sami Callihan vs. BJ Whitmer - 6
We closed with my favorite dude on the indy circuit and Ohio native, Sami Callihan, taking on the vet and HWA champ BJ Whitmer. Let me paint this picture. Imagine a somewhat run-down building just out of the 'bad neighborhood' filled with about 75 people maximum. Callihan performed here like he was in front of 10,000 people. Loved the omnipresent intensity he brought to the match as he ragged on BJ for being a run-down has-been. Whitmer looked pretty damn good considering how many times he's been around the block. He busted out some nice stiff kicks to the face of Sami, who surely returned the favor. So many stiff kicks to the face and chest, so good. Atta boy, Sami. Dug the hell outta the bout.
Damn, I need to make sure I get up here more often. HWA busted out some stuff that they surely didn't need to for us fans. Love that dedicated indy style. I'd be happy to give them my money in the future. If you live in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, I highly recommend checking them out.