American States Wrestling Alliance
Malabar School Gymnasium
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Announcer Cody White is in the ring to start the show.
“Beautiful” Benjamin Bartholomew, JJ DeVille, and Ed Deadly are out to hype their match with Robbie Collins and Sless Taylor later in the evening.
Alex Matthews vs. Izzy Lambert
Alex Matthews startles Cody White causing him to fall to the mat and beg Matthews not to hurt him.
Izzy Lambert offers his hand to Matthews, but Matthews swats off the handshake.
The match starts with lots of punching and kicking. The crowd is white hot for all of it.
Lambert executes a nice belly-to-belly .
He then tosses Matthews off the top turnbuckle.
Matthews gets a gourdbuster off the top rope.
Lambert hits a cradle suplex and scores the pin.
Winner: Izzy Lambert
I’ve been watching Alex Matthews wrestle since early in his career. He has made some nice progress. He has a good look and his work is crisp.
“P.S.” Manson Crane v. Kid Collins w/ Barry Hardy
Crane gets on the mic. He says that Collins is the reason that he beat Hardy in their last match. Collins grabs the mic to respond. Collins jacks Crane to start the match
Crane rocks Collins with shoulder tackles in the turnbuckle. Crane then hits a low blow.
The referee muffs a three-count on Collins.
Hardy gets ahold of a chair outside the ring.
Collins accidentally bumps Hardy off the ring apron. He is then belly-to-back suplexed by Crane for the pin.
Winner: Manson Crane
Decent match. A Collins-Hardy split is clearly in the works.
ASWA Tag Team Championship
Paradise’s Picks (Tanu & Random Pain) w/ Johnny Paradise v. The Jimmie-Hendrix Experience (Jimmie Lee & Kenny Hendrix) (c)
Hendrix is now working a boxer gimmick. He comes out wearing boxing gloves and red, white, and blue boxing trunks. He is chanting for Muhammad Ali who passed away the previous evening.
Lee starts a “Random Stain” chant in an attempt to get under his opponent’s skin. The crowd happily plays along.
Lee begins the match against Pain.
Hendrix is soon tagged. He whoops ass on Pain.
Lee back in.
Pain tags the monstrous Tanu.
Tanu bites Lee’s arm.
Lee bites him back.
Tanu responds with a wicked headbutt.
Lee dropkicks a charging Tanu in the face.
Tanu chokes Lee on the second rope by draping a leg over his head.
Hendrix v. Tanu
Leaping clothesline by Hendrix. He attempts a pin but Tanu kicks out.
Hendrix drills Tanu with a vicious elbow in the corner.
Tag to Pain.
He is clotheslined then Irish Whipped into an elbow by Hendrix.
Hendrix attempts to slam the massive Tanu but can’t.
Tanu locks him in a Camel Clutch.
Hendrix with yet another clothesline.
Lee tagged in.
Tanu slaps a Sleeper on Lee. Lee’s hand is dropped twice by the referee. However, he rallies and prevents his hand from dropping a third time.
Hendrix gets the tag.
Lee attempts to chokeslam Tanu, but no dice. He hits a spinning heel kick instead.
Hendrix nails a leg drop off the top rope to score the pinfall.
Winners: The Jimmie-Hendrix Experience
This was a fun match. I wouldn’t expect the pairing of Lee and Hendrix to work, but they do. The crowd is really into them.
And I gotta admit that I’m a sucker for the old school “savage” gimmick. Tanu is well-cast in the role.
Vladik Vornoff w/ Ed Deadly v. “Bad Boy” Barry Hardy
Hardy out waving an American flag. He is dressed from head to toe in red, white, and blue ring gear.
Hardy scores a dropkick on the mad Russian.
Deadly chokes Hardy in the corner while Vornoff distracts the referee.
Outside the ring, Vornoff launches the “Bad Boy” into the ring post
Back in the ring, VV misses a Vader Bomb.
Hardy hits an RKO (outta nowhere) for the pin.
ASWA security in to get the angry Vornoff out of the ring.
One of the security guys DDTs Hardy on a chair. It turns out to be Manson Crane. He covers Hardy with the American flag.
Kid Collins out for the save.
Winner: Barry Hardy
The crowd was hot for this one too. Hardy, who was often featured on WWF syndicated programming during the late-80s and well into the 90s, did a decent job working the crowd while the younger Vornoff carried much of the physicality of the match. The USA-Russia thing is a little dated, but it clearly worked in this case. Can’t argue with success.
KAOS w/ Ed Deadly v. Sherman Tank
Battle of the Big Boys.
They start off exchanging shoulder blocks. Neither man is phased.
KAOS with a HUGE elbow drop on Tank.
KAOS menaced a young boy at ringside.
Tank avoids a monstrous leg drop.
Tank tags KAOS with a running clothesline. He follows up with a splash off the ropes.
KAOS gets to the ropes and prevents a pinfall.
He then drills the referee.
Tank with a clothesline, elbow drop, and pin but only gets a two-count.
Deadly grabs Tank’s ankle. Tank chases him out of the ring.
KAOS mugs him from behind.
The referee tries to get the combatants’ attention but is unable. This leads to both men being counted out.
Fans are booing as the two keep battling outside the ring. The locker room clears as both heels and faces attempt to break up the brawl.
Winner: N/A Double Countout
Deadly worked his ass off during this match. He was all over the place.
KAOS is a big boy. He reminds me of Kevin Nash.
I’ve seen Tank wrestle professionally since he was a student at Ohio State University. For his size, he is deceptively agile.
I’m usually a workrate snob, but sometimes it’s fun to see two big guys slug it out.
Papa Dingo w/ Johnny Paradise & Tanu v. “Wildcat” Chris Harris
Dingo menaces the referee.
Dingo plays to the crowd as he stomps on Harris.
The wild Dingo then shoves the referee to the mat.
Dingo blocks a hip toss. He clubs Harris down. He drops a huge knee across the Wild Cat’s neck.
Paradise clips Harris from behind.
Dingo off the ropes scoring a massive elbow and pin attempt.
He follows with chops and headbutts.
Gutwrench suplex by Dingo.
He gets Harris in a Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
Harris retaliates with a big clothesline.
However, Dingo tosses him off the top turnbuckle.
Tanu and Dingo are in opposite corners. Harris is standing mid-ring between them.
It’s a car crash as Harris is caught between the two charging bulls.
He kicks out of a pin attempt.
Dingo has Harris’ arms pinned behind his back. Harris moves as Tanu attempts to hit him. Dingo takes the full brunt of Tanu’s blow.
Harris hits a chop block and spear for the pinfall.
Winner: “Wildcat” Chris Harris
Papa Dingo is so great. He has a ton of charisma and works the hell out of the “savage” gimmick. He clearly loves wrestling and has fun doing it. This energy is picked up by the crowd every time he wrestles.
I was especially excited to finally see Chris Harris live. I never got to see him when he was in TNA. He and Dingo made for an interesting pairing.
JJ DeVille/”Beautiful” Benjamin Bartholomew w/ Ed Deadly v. Sless Taylor/Robbie Collins
Taylor and DeVille start out in the ring. They trade arm drags.
Taylor nails an over-the-head belly-to-belly suplex.
Collins presses Taylor over his head and launches him onto their opponents who are on the floor.
DeVille with a Suicide Dive on the babyfaces.
BBB scores a double-underhook suplex on Collins.
DeVille chops Collins.
BBB chops Taylor.
BBB then tags him with a double-legged dropkick.
Collins and Taylor then hit a gorgeous DDT/superkick combo.
Taylor and DeVille then leap from OPPOSING CORNERS to CLOTHESLINE each other MID-AIR.
This. Was. Awesome.
It was violent and very cool visual.
Taylor backdrops Collins onto Bartholomew.
Taylor then hits an assisted handspring on BBB.
Taylor crossfaces Bartholomew while Collins has DeVille in a Figure Four.
However, the heels immediately jump Taylor and Collins.
Collins is pinned.
Taylor gets on the mic and says that he wants DeVille in a one-on-one match.
Winners: JJ Deville & “Beautiful” Benjamin Bartholomew
Really, really hot match. Everyone worked their asses off.
I saw Taylor’s NXT tryout at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2015. He was good there but has clearly been honing his craft since then.
Robbie Collins was excellent as well. He has a great look and appears to be hungry. He and Taylor feel relevant as a tag team.
DeVille is another guy who goes out there does solid work in the ring all while clearly having a good time. I love to see that.
Bartholomew was out adding exclamations in the match whenever there was an opening. Touches like that count and elevate the match as a whole.
ASWA Heavyweight Championship
Abyss v. “Mr. Insanity” Toby Klein (c)
Abyss is out carrying one of the Impact Wrestling tag team titles. He along with Crazzy Steve, known as “Decay” are the current champions.
Abyss looks longingly at the ASWA belt.
Klein shoves Abyss hard. He showers Abyss with a litany of punches and chops. He barrels into him with a heel kick.
The crowd is barking for the champion.
Abyss retaliates with chops of his own.
The two go back and forth. This is a war.
Klein rocks Abyss with a headbutt.
Abyss levels Klein with a clothesline.
The two fight around ringside.
Klein locks a hand on Abyss’ trap.
He follows with a futile pin attempt.
Abyss charges into the corner like a freight train demolishing Mr. Insanity.
Klein elbows his way out of the corner.
Klein is heading toward the ref but slams on the brakes before he runs into him.
However, Abyss charges into him.
The ref is down.
Klein gets the ASWA belt. He tries to blast Abyss with it but gets chokeslammed for his effort.
Abyss scores a three-count…but there is no referee.
He looks at the belt and picks it up.
He takes a swipe with it at Klein but misses.
Klein gets the strap and wallops Abyss with it.
The new referee is out and makes the count but Abyss is out at two.
Abyss obliterates Klein with Black Hole Slam.
He scores the pinfall.
New ASWA Heavyweight Champion.
The first referee is back to his feet. He pulls the belt from Abyss.
The ring is then invaded by KAOS, Varnoff, DeVille, and Bartholomew with ravage Abyss and Klein.
However, Abyss manages to get out of the ring where he gets a nail-studded 2×4. This quickly recalibrates the attitudes of the heel squad who scatter from the ring.
Winner: N/A (Klein retains title)
This was two experienced professionals doing their thing. Considering both men established themselves early in their careers by engaging in hyper-violent matches, it was almost refreshing to see them go out there and rely on their skill and knowledge to put together a fun main event.
Things I’d change
- The USA/Russia thing is far past its expiration date. I like traditional wrestling characters like Varnoff, I’d just try to place him in more contemporary scenarios.
- A couple faces felt like they were out for every other match. Sometimes less is more.
- I’d really, really, really recommend staying away from the “Dusty” finish. A couple of those spaced too closely together will kill a town quicker than anything.
Things I like
Promoter Jimmie Lee puts on old-school meat and potatoes wrestling shows. He knows his audience and he knows what they like.
In turn, the audience shows up. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were 300-400 people at Eruption 2. And ASWA draws those numbers CONSISTENTLY. There are independent promoters who would kill to draw half of that.
I follow Lee on Facebook. He often posts updates when he is going out to promote or hang flyers. Yes, the ASWA draws…but it’s not by accident. He puts the work in. I’m sure being centralized in the more-remote Mansfield, OH limits competition, but he and his staff still put the time in to produce a quality product and, in turn, advertise it to the best of their abilities.
- The shows routinely start on time. So many independent promotions can’t seem to get this simple concept down.
- They are in a clean, safe venue.
- They are reasonably priced. A ticket for this event was $10 on the day of the show.
Other promoters should take note of this model. Wrestling isn’t rocket science. A promotion can draw with hard work and consistency.
The event was covered by the Mansfield News Journal. Clips can be found here.
The ASWA can be contacted here.
More wrestling coverage:
-Zep the Bear