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Guest TSMAdmin

OPW 2-16-03

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Guest TSMAdmin

I recently had the pleasure of attending the debut show of local indie fed Ontario Pro Wrestling, right here in my hometown of Tillsonburg, Ontario, and one thing was made very clear to me: if NWA-TNA can get on pay per view television, every local group across the planet should be able to as well, because there was virtually no difference in the quality of show presented here by OPW and the quality of show presented by NWA-TNA. And you can take that as both a positive and a negative.


Commentators Michael Weekes (play-by-play) and OPW Commissioner (and promoter) Mike O'Shea open the show in the ring with a 10-bell salute to both Curt Hennig and The Sheik. After the show I talked to a few people that were watching the show and they thought the Iron Sheik had died. That's pretty sad if you think about it. O'Shea brings out OPW's heel faction of "The Brigade" consisting of CK Sexx, Agent Orange and their valet Kiera. Sexx has the IWA North American title with him, because IWA was the local fed about six months ago before they closed down (he obviously was their champ). O'Shea takes the belt from CK and tosses it into a garbage can, and makes a match between Sexx and Willy Allen for the OPW title (which was pre-advertised, showing that this group has more brains than Jerry Jarrett, and possibly WWE creative, since this an INDIE FED showing CONTUINITY! Weird, isn't it?). Warhed, who is the Hardcore champion and a member of The Brigade, is then called out by O'Shea and The Eradicator (what a name) attacks him from behind with a chair, starting the hardcore title match.


[1] Eradicator pinned Warhed to win the Hardcore title. They went about eight minutes and most of it was spent brawling in the crowd on one side of the arena. They traded garbage can lid shots and Eradicator used a spike on Warhed's forehead. Warhed eventually bled. They brawled to the ring, outside of the ring, into the crowd, to the ring, in the ring, back in the crowd, at ringside, back into the ring. I think you get the point. Warhed bonked Eradicator with a stop sign. The crowd was really into this one because it was the first match of the afternoon, and it was a fairly violent hardcore match. Eradictor finished Warhed with a Kryptonite Krunch on the arena floor for three. After the match they brawl back to the ring where Eradicator shoves the ref and then spanks Warhed with a some sort of cookie sheet. Yes, you did read that right. Match was decent, and was about on the level of any hardcore match WWE has presented on TV but made better by a very hot crowd. (**1/4)


[2] Eddie Osbourne pinned Elian Habanaro. They went maybe ten minutes (I didn't have a watch on me so all of the match times are just an estimation on my part). Habanaro is billed as being from Cuba, and is wearing a life jacket. I saw Osbourne wrestle Shawn Spears on an indie show last summer and it was the best match on the card. They start the match by testing the crowd response by posing on the turnbuckles, which is what a lot of the wrestlers did to open their matches tonight, actually. They started by working the arm, but were on seperate pages and things got a little messed up, and the crowd noticed. This was really fast paced. Habanaro hit Osbourne with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, but got shouldered into the ring post and Osbourne (heel) takes advantage. Osbourne's manager, "The Sport" Jesse James, interferes regularly in the match, as well, and at one point hangs Habanaro's arm over the top rope in what was a rather contrived spot. He then accidently does the same to Osbourne, drawing a two-count for Habanaro. I was actually working the ticket table for the opening three matches and was selling programs when the crowd started chanting "You Fucked Up", so I guess I must've missed something. Habanaro then got a Buff Blockbuster and then fucked up a quebrada by slipping on the ropes. The ref gets bumped at this point and Jesse James accidently hits Osbourne. Habanaro pins him and the ref is revived but James actually comes in the ring and makes the save, which, again, was pretty contrived. Osbourne then drives Habanaro to the canvas for three. On his way back to the dressing room, Habanaro, despite being very green, got a large applause from the crowd for his effort. (1/2*)


[3] Kwan Chang pinned Right On John Hardy. They went maybe twelve minutes or more. Hardy also works under the name Dangerboy and was recently training down in Mexico with AAA. He's awfully short, too. They start the match by doing the power lockup thing ala Hulk Hogan for Chang, and Hardy works the arm. Hardy also went for a lot of lucha stuff in this match, but Kwang wasn't trained to work the style so it didn't mesh. During the match Hardy actually came off the top rope with a flying crossbody to the outside onto Kwang, who smacked pretty hard on the ringside floor (which wasn't padded). Back in the ring Hardy actually messed up running the ropes when going for a dropkick, but he basically shrugged it off and the crowd was into that. Kwang Chang got a Baldo Bomb for two. Hardy pulled off a rana before Chang hit him with a variation of the Michinoku Driver for the three count. Despite the styles and the sizes of the two guys in the ring not meshing well, it turned out to be better than watchable. (**)


"The Sport" Jesse James and Eddie Osbourne come out to the ring again, and James works the stick and draws pretty good heat from the crowd. He says that him and Osbourne are out there to scout talent for the next match.


[4] "Shooter" Sean Brown defeated Jason Phoenix by count-out. Brown has Tazz-like tights. Phoenix actually worked in ECW before it died under the name of Lance Romance (he's from Rochester). They work a more technical match, trading lots of armbar, armlocks, wristlocks, and wristwatches. Well, okay not wristwatches. Brown, when going over Phoenix's shoulder to reverse a pump-handle slam, actually fell down but recovered quick. Pheonix pulled off an enzuigiri. Pheonix was arguably the best worker on the card tonight (John Hardy was good too, but was mismatched), and I can see why he made it to ECW. Phoenix gets dumped and Brown comes off the mid-section with a double-axehandle but gets punched in the mid-section by Phoenix. Brown makes it back into the ring, but Phoenix gets counted out when Jesse James (he was at ringside remember?) held his foot so he couldn't get back on, despite the fact that the referee was standing right there. The match was good, but I hated the finish. Phoenix gets revenge on James after the match. (*3/4)


The Brigade (CK Sexx, Warhed, and Agent Orange, who is not the same Agent Orange that was working indies down south a number of years ago) come out to work the stick. They drop Freakshow's name to the crowd and they erupt into a big pop (Freakshow's local, and I think half the people in the arena came to see him specifically). CK is trying to get out of his match with Willy Allen, but that draws Allen out, who challenges CK to a hardcore match, but from the gist of it CK didn't accept. CK has natural charisma which is something that you can't develop like working skills or your body (althought that point is debatable on both ends), so his mic work his entertaining. He needs to refine it so he has more of a definitive character.


[5] The Texas HellRazors went to a no-contest with Ebony Express. This match was the example of bad indie booking for the night. The HellRazors consist of Eric Dawson and Scott Chase, and they do a Steve Austin-like Texas Hellraiser gimmick (you know, hence the name). Dawson is actually from Texas, and I have no idea about Chase. Express consist of JQ Publik and Reggie Marley. They brawl to start, and the HellRazors end up on the outside trying to throw chairs into the ring. The ref almost counts them out, but they come back to the ring to start the match. Reggie Marley does one spot where he headbutts Dawson in the corner 10 times (crowd chants the numbers along with the headbutts), moves to another corner and does the same, and then does the 10-punch. Dawson and Reggie's timing was off for a bulldog/clothesline/whatever spot, but the crowd didn't notice. Marley plays face in peril as Scott Chase tags in and works him over. Chase gets a fisherman's suplex on Marley. I have no idea if that was a Hennig tribute or just a coincidence (better on the former rather than the latter). The crowd breaks out into 'Reggie' chants. Marley makes a false comeback, but the Texans double-team him back down. Marley eventually makes the comeback with a double-clothesline. He makes the hot tag, but, for reasons not explained, JQ turns on Marley, and one of the Texans pins him. Dawson gives him a Stone Cold Stunner after the match, and then turns on his partner Chase. Crowd didn't care until Dawson stunned the referee, which caused them to pop. After JQ and Dawson leave together Marley does a tilt-a-whirl slam on Chase. None of this made any sense. See, if Marley were to come to the rescue of Chase, they could've done Marley/Chase vs. Publik/Dawson for the next show. Or if just Publik turned they could give him a singles push as a heel, and he could be an opponent for Willy Allen down the line after a feud with Marley. The Hellraisers would pair off with a face tag team and feud with them over the Tag titles. But none of it matters anyways since doing a heel/face turn on the first show of a promotion is just bad, because the fans don't know these guys so they're not going to care if they work heel or face, so they aren't going to care AT ALL if they turn. All of the wrestlers involved in this match were above-average in terms of indie working, but the booking just wasn't there. After all of this the ref throws the match out, making it a no-contest. They went maybe eight minutes. The workrate was technically sound. (*1/4)


[6] Freakshow pinned Agent Orange to win the OPW Northern Lights Cruiserweight title. This was the example of great indie booking for this show. I love the name of that title. Freakshow, who's from Tillsonburg and was the star of the evening, got a huge pop on his entrace. I think the pop for him was louder than any one pop on the 2/17 Raw. Seriously. Willy Allen was in Freakshow's corner. CK Sexx and Warhed come out with Agent Orange, but Willy chases them off. They test the crowd response on the turnbuckles. It's obvious who got the face pop. Freakshow got a back elbow off the second turnbuckle which Orange was nearly out of place for. Freakshow continued to dominate with various moves, including a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, but eventually gets dumped. Orange follows him out with a plancha. Freakshow gets posted, but they head back into the ring and he splashes Orange from off the top. Orange comes back with a dragon screw and then a rana, and then follows it up with a tumbleweed off the top rope. I saw Agent Orange wrestler for another indie group last summer and he's gotten leagues better since then. Last time he was repeating moves and obviously had a limited offensive arsenal, but it's tons better now. Freakshow comes back but misses with a second-rope legdrop. Both guys are down, and huge "Freak" chants start up. The match is getting real good at this point. They both get up and chop the hell outta each other, and then Freakshow hits a Michinoku Driver for two. They head to the top rope and Freakshow gets a Diamond Dust but Agent Orange comes back until he misses a second rope legdrop, and Freakshow finishes him off for the three count. The crowd loved it and they were smart to make the match totally clean, because it ended up being the best match on the card, and totally blew away what I was expecting of it. I honestly didn't think it would be anything better than average. Freakshow was so visibly happy with the crowd response that afterwards he told me if he could he'd still wrestle for OPW five years from now, he would do it, which is crazy if you think about it. He should stay with OPW for as long as possible, though, because he'll never find a crowd this much into him again. He needs to be positioned as the top face if they want to continue to run as often as possible here, because he is who the people came to see. Even if he was a shitty worker (he's not, he's above average for indie) they should still do it, because the crowd loved him and he literally puts the asses in the seats for Tillsonburg. He couldn't draw flies anywhere else at this point in his career, but that's not the point. Anyways, it was the best match of the night. (***1/4)


After this match they announced a return date of April 6th (they plan to run every 6-8 weeks in Tillsonburg, with spots shows elsewhere in between).


[7] "Wild Thing" Willy Allen pinned CK Sexx to win the OPW Independent title. They went about twenty minutes. When CK came out to "Stupify" by Disturbed, someone in the back changed his entrance music to "Barbie Girl", which the crowd dug (CK was making a big deal about his music choice the day before the show). Big "CK Sucks" chants. Allen came out with his bodyguard/associate, named Graveyard (who is actually training with Allen). They stall to start, and then quickly speed the match up when Allen flips through a hip toss attempt and lands on his feet. Agent Orange, who is at ringside with Warhed, tried to interfere but no dice. They exchange armlocks and Allen gets the advantage so CK bails. He gets back in the ring and takes advantage of the match with a low blow. CK gets a sleeper and the crowd starts to chant for Willy. CK frees Willy and they do a double-clothesline. CK kips up, but Allen nails him with a back heel kick. Allen is sent into the corner but when CK charges in Allen brings him out with a flying headscissors. Get this: Allen's built similar to a Scott Norton-like wrestler but not as large (thick body, but not overly muscular) and is in his thirties and he's incredibly agile. I told him this after the show and he just kinda shrugged it off, but it's true. Not many wrestlers his age, with his build, and that smoke (it makes a difference) can move like that. He's definitely no Ultimo Dragon or anything like that, but he was pleasently surprising, so to speak. He was in with a good opponent, too, though, so that helps. Allen chops the hell out of CK, but gets dumped. Warhed attacks Allen at ringside, visibly slapping his leg to make sound when kicking Allen. A chair gets used and some brawling ensues at ringside. CK uses the chair on Willy when the ref is distracted, but Willy blocks it and nails him with an inverted DDT. The ref makes the three count, and Allen wins the title. After the match Agent Orange and Warhed turn on CK Sexx and beat him down while Willy and Graveyard just kinda watch. Jason Phoenix comes out and makes the save for CK. I suppose CK's a face now. Kwan Chang comes out and challenges Allen to a title shot for the next show, and they go nose-to-nose and start brawling. The ring crew and security have to pull them apart, and it came across as a really solid angle, I really liked it (the Kwan/Willy part; I didn't like the angle with CK) and it set-up the next show well, as the brawl was convincingly stiff. (***)


And that was that. This show was a pleasant surprise. It had some pretty large flaws in terms of booking and some of the workers were pretty green, but was above-average for what I was expecting. They packed the house and I had people tell me after the show that they had a great time and would definitely be back. It literally was no better-or-worse than what's presented by NWA-TNA every Wednesday night in terms of booking and workrate (and TNA is on pay per view), and even compared to WWE at times. And that's both a very good thing and a very bad thing. Overall, though, it's certainly worth the price of admission, and in indie wrestling that is all that counts.


If you liked what you read above, I suggest you pick up a copy of Touch Of Evil. Click here for a preview of next week's issue.



(remove the 'ntsendmespam' part of the address above to email me)

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