(Turner’s Hall – Cleveland, OH. – Sunday, March 10, 2017, – Bell Time: 5:00 PM)
–Jason Kincaid pinned Chris LeRusso to advance in the tournament.
–Gory defeated Rex Brody in near-record time to advance after Brody was sprayed in the face with mist by Atticus Cogar.
–Andrew Palace beat Ganon Jones, Jr. to advance.
–Gory beat Sonny Vice by submission to advance to the tournament final.
–Jason Kincaid and Andrew Palace went to a “no contest” after The Culmination attacked both men and beat them down. Gory got on the house mic and stated that since both men were out, he should be named the PCW champion. The Culmination held ring announcer Pedro DeLuca down and poured gasoline on him, threatening to set him on fire. Booker Joe Dombrowski convinced The Culmination to release DeLuca. He then rebooked the tournament final to be a 3-way elimination match featuring Kincaid v. Palace v. Gory.
–Ghosts of 885 (Shawn Phoenix & Aiden Veil) defeated Black Hand Society (Jack Pollock & Payton Graham).
–Angel Dust defeated Thunderkitty.
–Andrew Palace pins Jason Kincaid (who eliminated Gory earlier in the contest) become the first Premier Championship Wrestling Champion.
Playing with Fire?
This will be a slightly different review than I normally produce. I’m going to focus on two topics.
PCW is an above-board product. The shows are reasonably priced, they start on time and they are consistently entertaining. If talent is unable to perform, Joe Dombrowski is honest with the customers and usually provides replacements as good, if not better, than those originally booked. Point being, in the often corrupt world of professional wrestling, PCW is one of the good guys.
But there is a bubble that comes with the business. Most involved live, breathe and die pro wrestling. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the “real world” operates by a different set of standards.
My good friend Rex recently hit me up out of the blue. His son Malcolm is six-years-old and has been showing interest in wrestling. He watches WWE programming each week and has developed the “bug” with which most of us fans are undoubtedly familiar. Knowing I’m a devotee of independent wrestling, he was curious if there was a reasonably priced local show in which to take his boy to test out how he’d do at a live event. PCW immediately came to mind. The shows are advertised as family-friendly. Language is never an issue. And, most importantly, they are fun.
Scene: Palace and Kincaid are locked in battle when The Culmination hits the ring. Pedro DeLuca soon finds himself at the mercy of the villainous trio. They callously douse the beloved announcer with gasoline and threaten to set him ablaze if Gory isn’t crowned PCW Champion. Pedro is groveling and begging. The bastards! Gory really wants this. Caught up by the scene unfolding in front of me, I look over at my buddy, Malcolm and Malcolm’s sister, Maya, who is nine. Malcolm is clutching his dad with tears in his eyes. He is panicked. Maya isn’t much better. She is focused on the ring and repeatedly asking her father “is this real?” Malcolm is tugging on his dad’s arm.
Malcolm: “Dad, I wanna go. Dad, I wanna GO! DADIWANNAGOOOO!!”
No matter how much consoling my friend tried, his son wasn’t having it. They quietly gathered their things and left. Being a guy with no children, I initially read the situation as the boy was being too sensitive. But then I stopped and thought about it for a second. To Malcolm, wrestling is real. In fact, very real. And this went beyond wrestling. In his young mind, The Culmination was attempting to KILL someone.
Have there been countless angles similar to this across the country? Sure. Does it add a level of tension and excitement to the show? Damn right. But does it belong on an event by a company that labels itself “family friendly?” That’s where things get a little dicey. If this was an AIW event, all bets are off. It’s a company that is geared toward college-age males and, in the past, they have put a premium on the shock created by pushing boundaries. By comparison, PCW is fairly wholesome.
This is in no way an indictment of the company or the product. In fact, I am a vocal and active supporter of PCW. However, as long as the promotion paints itself as “family friendly,” I think the creative staff needs to briefly step out of the “wrestling bubble” and monitor themselves a bit more stringently when scripting more evocative or exotic angles.
(Update: the good news is that I spoke to Rex and the children are fine. And maybe, just maybe, someday soon Malcolm will even feel ready to give live wrestling another shot.)
The Crowning of a Champion
I have really enjoyed the rise of Andrew Palace over the last couple years. Though I’d seen him perform previously, I really took notice of the 25-year old Pittsburgh native when he participated in a match last July against Chris LeRusso and Flip Gordon at a Northeast Wrestling event in Niles, OH. His energy and charisma grabbed the attention of the audience in a noticeable way. After his victory that night, I put him on my list of guys to keep tabs on.
A couple of months later, PCW launched. He quickly became one of the key babyfaces in the promotion. Joe Dombrowski brought him along carefully. He gave the young performer the greatest gift of all…opportunity. Palace rose to the occasion every time it was presented to him.
When the PCW Championship tournament was announced, my friends were split when it came to predicting a winner. I was pretty sure It’d be Palace but there was a credible case to be made for Gory as well.
March 19th arrived and Palace realized his destiny. While this isn’t his first title in the business (he is most notably a two-time former IWC Super Indy champion), this feels different because he has the opportunity to be the face of a company. It’s a fantastic break for a hungry, talented kid. Is he ready for the spotlight and pressure that comes with being “The Man?” Only time will tell.
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