Saturday, April 3, 2021

WLW Special Comment

Now, as promised, a special comment about last Saturday's World League Wrestling show at the Race Wrestling Arena in Troy, Missouri.

DISCLAIMER:  I'm biased.  Deal with it.

It's been a bit.  I hope to do commentaries about past shows at some point, but for now I might as well stick to current events while they're fresh in my mind.  I'd have to go all the way back to the start of 2019 to catch up...oof.  I reserve the right to cautious editing judgment as people have strong opinions about some of the wrestlers and the people behind the characters.

I hadn't been to a live wrestling show since October and I missed a few shows in recent months; due to limited seating for the sake of pandemic safety, the first WrestleMax STL show and the previous World League Wrestling show sold out of tickets before I could get mine.  The same held true for the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance's return show in April so I won't make it to that one either.  Thankfully I have my tickets for WrestleMax next weekend as well as Glory Pro Wrestling two weeks after that.

The drive to Troy was the usual fare other than a pretty strong rainstorm about halfway there; I was able to get a bit of respite while stopping for gas.  Thankfully parking wasn't too bad once I got there.

Attendance was pretty good; I don't know exactly how the capacity is supposed to work in the current environment so I couldn't speak on that.  I did notice that a good majority of the fans weren't wearing masks.  I got my first COVID vaccine yesterday morning so I'm headed in the right direction; just three more weeks before I can get the second one.

Your ring announcer was Ben Simon; your referees were Martin Kattich & Allaney Harley.

Sabotage (Sean) vs. Brandon Espinosa:  Espy's opponent was announced as simply "Sabotage" but his entrance video said "Sabotage Sean".  I'm unfamiliar with Sabotage; he's billed from Chicago and (quick internet research) trained at The Black & The Brave Wrestling Academy (founded by Tyler Black & Marek Brave, whatever happened to those guys?...).  He looked good here in a solid opener; Espy took home the win via brainbuster in 7:45.

Kyle Roberts vs. Derek Stone:  Stone lost the Heavyweight Title to "The Deliver" Moses Powell in November, being on the losing end of a six-man tag where he teamed with Empire stablemates and current Tag Team Champions Jon Webb & Camaro Jackson against Leland Race, Kyle Roberts, and Moses.  Moses scored the winning fall on Webb and captured the title as a result; I'm not terribly fond of champions losing their titles without being pinned or submitted, but I imagine we'll see Moses vs. Stone in a one-on-one title match down the line.  Stone is an interesting case as he's the largest competitor on the roster, but he stalls and trash-talks and cheats like a Memphis rulebreaker.  Unfortunately the shenanigans cost him on this night as Roberts got him in a Bret Hart-style victory roll from the shoulders for the upset pin in 7:53!  Ben caught up to Roberts afterwards for an interview, but Stone blindsided Roberts and beat him down before order was restored.

"The Yoga Monster" Mike Sydal vs. Tag Team Champion "The Hybrid Ace" Jon Webb:  Webb was flying solo as Camaro Jackson was not in attendance.  Sydal has been turning heads with his recent appearances for All Elite Wrestling, primarly teaming with his brother Matt; it's always cool to see a local competitor reach a bigger stage.  Webb's resume speaks for itself, having held all three of WLW's championships at different times.  Sydal won a hard-fought match against the former Heavyweight Champion, getting the pin after the splits Michinoku Driver in 7:37.  (He had used that move on AEW Dark recently.)

Sean Patrick vs. Jayden Dominic Rose for the Jr. Heavyweight Title:  The rookie Patrick upset Da'Marius Jones for the belt in December, but he faced a tough test in the form of a previous holder of that championship.  This was an interesting dynamic as Rose has been changing his ways...this would normally mean a divided crowd in a battle between fan favorites, but a lot of the audience was vocally on the side of Rose.  That put Patrick in an unfamiliar position, but he seemed to go with the flow reasonably well (and it wasnt like the WHOLE crowd was against him).  Patrick has dealt with an experience disadvantage throughout his title reign, but he's been able to overcome it; he nearly scored the win after a Diamond Cutter but Rose got a foot on the bottom rope.  Unfortunately for him, Rose had his number on this night, winning in 13:33 after a Falcon Arrow backbreaker (a la Roderick Strong's End Of Heartache)...this was my personal favorite match of the night.  Rose is the first two-time WLW Jr. Heavyweight Champion!

Intermission~!  Official Ben Simon Concession Count(tm):  Mountain Dew, Ruffles, and a Pepsi.

Rival Riot:  This was a fifteen-man Royal Rumble-style battle royal with the winner earning a shot at new Heavyweight Champion Moses Powell at the next show.  The match kicked off with WLW mainstay Jack Gamble at #1(we were told had requested the first spot) and rookie Chris Hendrix(trainee of Mike Outlaw) at #2.  Hendrix is one of a few Outlaw trainees who have started wrestling in the past year or so and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them.  Next out were Sabotage (Sean) at #3 and Brandon Espinosa at #4...out of that initial foursome, I wouldn't have picked the first elimination.  However, Espy was the first one gone as he took a beating from the other three, then went flying over the top after a triple superkick.

"The Yoga Monster" Mike Sydal entered at #5, just missing his former Babewatch tag team partner, and former Heavyweight Champion Derek Stone was #6.  I was expecting Stone to clear the ring in short order, but his only elimination was Hendrix.  Former Jr. Heavyweight Champion Sean Patrick was #7.  Sabotage was eliminated by Sydal to end his night.  Stephan Newton was #8 and stalled on the floor for as long as humanly possible.  Tag Team Champion "The Hybrid Ace" Jon Webb was #9 and attempted to avenge his earlier defeat, only to be thrown out by Sydal.  "The Heartthrob" Jaden Roller was #10; at this point Stone took the initiative and dumped out Newton and Sydal.  New Jr. Heavyweight Champion Jayden Dominic Rose entered at #11 and "The Connoisseur" Niles Plonk(w/ wine glass but w/o Belvedere) was #12; I don't know if a battle royal was a good place to establish Plonk's character spots.  Rose added insult to injury by eliminating Sean Patrick, ending a rough night for the former titleholder.  Kyle Roberts was #13...I expected him to go right after Stone, but Stone was engaged with someone else at the time.  That someone was Plonk, who attempted to do his Grape Stomp in the corner only for Stone to grab his feet and push him all the way over the top to the floor.  Ouch.

Roberts eliminated Rose, perhaps establishing himself as the next contender to the new Jr. Heavyweight Champ.  Colton Theron Vaught entered at #14 and "The Legacy" Leland Race was the final entrant at #15.  That left us with a field of Race, Vaught, Roberts, Stone, Roller, and Gamble(still in the fight after entering first).  Despite an energetic entry, Vaught was sent to the floor by Stone.  Race eliminated Roberts.  Race had Gamble on the ropes and Stone dumped both men out from behind...but he forgot about Roller who threw HIM out from behind for the win in 30:05!  Jaden will challenge Moses for the Heavyweight Title on May 1st!

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things and am writing the end of this commentary after the WrestleMax STL show...that commentary will be coming soon, hopefully.

That's my special comment for this, the first wrestling show I've attended in the year 2021.  Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991

P.S. We are all marks.

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