Sunday, October 12, 2014

NHO Road Report: HWA Cyberclash 7.0 - Middletown, OH - 7/5/2014

Over the Independence Day weekend, my friend Tim and I decided to go check out some live HWA wrestling over in Middletown, Ohio. The building isn’t big, as it used to be a Ponderosa restaurant way back when, but there was a good turnout of may 50-60 people. I like the fact that it’s a small, intimate, unique venue where there isn’t a bad seat in the place. The parking, however, left a lot to be desired as there was a line already when we got there about 6:45, which meant the lot was already full and we had to park over at a paint store the next block over. We got some seats in the third row, right in front of the hard camera, sat back, and prepared to enjoy some local indy wrestling.

1. American Kickboxer #2 vs. Devon Nos vs. Sid Fabulous - 3

Kickboxer and Sid Fabulous used to be a tag team a few years ago and had a good run as a mid-card team doing a male dancer gimmick. Eventually, the two went their separate ways with Kid Fabulous morphing into the second coming of the American Kickboxer. I’m not entirely sure how Devon Nos fits into this whole thing but apparently he’s friends with both guys. Kickboxer and Sid, who is still doing the aforementioned male dancer gimmick, had a brawl to start that you could tell was a little heated. Aside from that, this felt pretty much like a standard three way match where two guys would wrestle and the other would wait until it was time to join the fray. Take that, rinse and repeat for about 5-7 minutes and you’ve got the basic idea here. This was short, got the crowd motivated, and was a good choice to open up things with.

2. Kongo Kong vs. Brian Dewey - 3

Dewey is a local who wrestles for a bunch of other companies in the area and was a fill-in here for Mustafa Aziz, who was Kong’s original opponent. Kong came out with a scrawny heel manager with a really growly voice, which doesn’t fit the stereotype at all. If I were him, I’d maybe lay off the Marlboro’s a little bit. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Kong before, he’s a very large human with a fro, tribal face paint, Rikishi-esque gear, and a generally mean attitude. Dewey’s night was absolutely ruined by Kong who just destroyed him with an assortment of hard hitting big man offense, including a giant top rope splash that not only shook the ring but the Richter scale as well.

3. Heidi Lovelace vs. Amber Rodriguez vs. Cherry Bomb - 3

Another three way match, this time with the ladies. Lovelace is the only person in this match I’ve heard of but I’ve never seen her actually wrestle before. Cherry could easily pass for Sara Del Ray from a distance if you weren’t paying close enough attention. Lovelace felt like the glue that held this together. Another basic three way match in the same formula of the opening match. Rodriguez showed a bit of dimension to her characted shaking her “ghetto booty” quite a bit and being a complete ditz and claiming victory after the referee counted three on a rope break. These three stuck to the basics pretty well, things moved at a reasonable pace, and wasn’t entirely inoffensive.

4. Dean Jablonski & Pepper Parks vs. Black Wallstreet - 4

HWA originals Jablonski and Parks, who were accompanied by local indy manager Brock Guffman, took on Chet Lennox and "Human Terminator" Solo who are collectively known as Black Wallstreet. Parks has grown a beard and has bulked up a good bit since I last saw him. Jablonski looks like a marine drill sergeant. I could easily see him shouting at young recruits in boot camp. The opponents I’ve never heard of. Solo comes across and a sort of plain, generic looking dude and I completely forgot his name five minutes in. Lennox did most of the work for his team and Solo came in for a few power spots. Again, nothing too notable but a solid match. It was nice to see Jablonski and Parks coming back home to team together one more time, even if it was for one night only.

5. Dru Skillz vs. Shark Boy - 4

Shark Boy was up next against one-half of the Soul Shooters Dru Skillz. He's still doing the Stone Cold character from about six years ago in TNA when he was teaming with Curry Man. Skillz is a mean looking dude who seemed to enjoy punking out some of the little children in the crowd during the match. I enjoyed the crowd participation as it helped the match a lot. Shark Boy would have an armbar applied, bite the fingers, and the referee would turn to the crowd to ask if Shark Boy really bit the fingers. Skillz would taunt the crowd and everyone shouted back “What?” continuously. That’s probably the only time I can think of recently where that chant wasn’t completely annoying. A fun little match that was enjoyable for Shark Boy’s antics and the participation.

6. 11-Person Battle Royal - 4

Kicking off the second half of the show was an 11-person battle royal. I have no idea who was all in the match but a few of the people I recognized were Necro Butcher, “Hebrew Hammer” Joseph Schwartz, Jerry Andrews, and “Honey Badger” Brendan James. The thing here was that the winner would become the number one contender to the HWA Heritage Title. Necro was in up until the end of the match and spent pretty much the whole match just wearing people out. He destroyed some hapless mystery man in the corner with a steady diet of Kobashi-esque chops. Honey Badger is a local wrestler from Rockstar Pro Wrestling and his contribution to this match was a hard, hellacious bump on the floor. Schwartz is a good comedy wrestler when he’s in singles competition but got lost in the shuffle here. It should be noted as well that he was working on a Saturday, the Sabbath, which is the Jewish day of rest. Necro and Andrews were the last two in and had a good exchange on the apron teasing eliminations. Andrews eventually won and I was not happy.

7. B.J. Whitmer vs. Jeff Holloway - 5

The HWA Heritage Title was on the line next as champion Jeff Holloway defended against B.J. Whitmer. This was probably the most technically sound match of the night. Whitmer always seems to show up on HWA shows, maybe it’s his way of giving back to the place he got his start. Holloway seems to be a good hand in the ring but needs to add a bit of dimension to his persona and he felt a bit plain. Despite the low turnout, Whitmer seemed motivated to put on a good match regardless and as I mentioned, they put on a good, technical match. The work was solid, not outstanding or noteworth, but very solid. I was surprised to see Holloway get the win and this sets up a title match between Holloway and Andrews who I believe are a regular tag team, but I could be wrong on that.

8. Brian Beech vs. Apollo Starr - 3

IThis was set up earlier in the night when Starr and Dru Skillz interrupted Cody Hawk’s return speech to HWA. Beech is one of Cody Hawk’s guys and has been working indy shows in the southwest Ohio area forever. He’s also subbing for Cliff Compton who I was really looking forward to seeing live. Not long ago, I went to a CZW show in Indianapolis and I remember Starr working a pre-show match there. He’s improved a good bit since then I would say. Never was really a big fan of Beech but he put on a good showing. Both guys brawled their way through this and again, nothing special here, but a good effort.

9. Chance Prophet vs. Dustin Rayz - 5

This was the  main event of the evening and was  for the HWA Heavyweight Title. My enjoyability of a Chance Prophet match is mostly dependent on who he is matched up against. The last time I saw him live, he was matched up with a giant, bulky, immobile dude who hasn’t been seen since. This time, he was matched up against Dustin Rayz, a guy who is a pretty decent hand in the ring and wrestles quite often in this area. This was the first shot at the HWA Title I think Rayz has ever had and this turned out to be a nice little match. The crowd brawl at the beginning didn’t seem like a crutch to cover up one or the other being lazy, it felt like it had some meaning to it, which was nice for a change.  The work was mostly solid and both guys put forth a good effort and showed they can go when given the main event spot. Rayz capitalized on his opportunity and won the title with a vicious pedigree style piledriver that looked to have messed up Prophet something awful. This was a better match than I had envisioned but felt a little constrained by time. Rayz winning the title was a shock to me but a surprise title change was a nice way to close out the show.

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