Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

Standard

Most people who know me know that my favorite style of music is heavy metal. Lots of people who listen to metal do so for its therapeutic value; it’s loud, brash, and angry, and listening to it can help you deflate your own similar feelings. For example, who doesn’t feel better after driving around cranking some Testament.

My favorite genres of metal, though are power and progressive metal. Testament is definitely not in those categories. I like them a lot and have a bunch of their CDs, but my overall top preference is for bands that have a significant amount of clear vocals, lots of melodies, and even orchestral components … like Nightwish.

I also love bands that have intricate musical arrangements.

In other words, a lot of the heavy metal I like the most is not made to sound angry – it’s made by people who might have grown up listening to Judas Priest and Journey, and decided to blend the heavy and melodic elements.

So it’s pretty strange that my other favorite type of metal has been “doom metal”. This style is slow and deep, and designed to bring out your feelings of despair.

The progenitors of doom metal are said to be Black Sabbath, who laced most of their music with this (new at the time) style.

Also out there in heavy metal land is “death metal”; this is the style that features what are called cookie monster vocals. I have never become totally accustomed to that style, and I am very hit or miss in terms of which bands in that genre I enjoy. I think that in order for me to like it, the vocals need to still have relatively good enunciation even while being growled … like this:

As that song shows, there is a lot of overlap between the genres of death and doom metal, and there is even a subgenre called (you guessed it) death-doom. If you take the slow and dirgy style of doom metal and lay over it the deep growlies of death metal, you have death-doom. And … odds are I won’t like any one particular offering of it. But here’s where it gets strange: there is yet another subgenre called “funeral doom”, which takes the deep, hellish feel of doom metal and really goes all in. Imagine a slow-paced New Orleans funeral dirge with the band replaced by doom metal, and you have funeral doom. This style is most often accompanied by vocals growled (or better yet, regurgitated) in the deepest death style. You’d think that this is so far away from my usual favorite types of metal that I would abhor it, but the opposite is true! I had dabbled in listening to it in the past, and it never clicked, but recently during a Spotify encounter with a band called Mournful Congregation, something happened and it felt “right” to me. I even found the slowly-brewing growled vocals to be almost comforting.

I think I know why this happened. Outside of metal, I have always loved to use electronic new age music as background ambience while reading or working. Reading a fantasy novel and listening to Tangerine Dream go hand in hand.

The musical components of Tangerine Dream and funeral doom are nothing alike, but I’ve found that the mood I get out of them are very much the same. I’ve discovered another style of ambience that goes well with reading, or even driving, and that makes time go by faster. And since funeral doom mixes slow, tidal music a la Tangerine Dream (especially early spacey / noisey Tangerine Dream like Zeit) with the brutal heaviness of metal – even though the vocals are usually growled – it’s the best of both worlds!

I don’t know what made the original purveyors of funeral doom (supposedly Thergothon and Skepticism) do what they did, maybe they were just have really bad days, but I now have a whole other subgenre to explore that’s at the totally opposite end of the spectrum than what’s been my go-to music for so long.

Along with funeral doom, I’ve found “drone metal” in the band Sunn O))), which is heavy music with no real melodic structure to it, just intense ambient heavy mood – I’d love to go to a Sunn O))) concert and just literally feel the music for two hours.

Now pardon me while I go list more comics to sell on ebay so that I have money to spend on more funeral doom metal like Pantheist and Shape of Despair!

Outside the Ropes: ACW at Rust Belt Rebellion, 2019-08-17

Standard

Well, it’s been almost 4 months since I wrote one of these things. For most of the shows I’ve been to recently, I’ve carted along recording gear to prepare delayed audio coverage for broadcast on WVLP (*). But this ACW show was outdoors, and plus, they have their own commentary crew who don’t need me setting up mics of my own.

(*) For example, also this weekend, I went to the RCW show “Storm Zero” in Mishawaka – that coverage will air Sunday Aug 18 on the Northwest Indiana Wrestling Action Program NWIWRAP at about 9:10pm Central on WVLP, and then will find its way to the NWIWRAP YouTube channel a couple of days later. But back to ACW!

The Rust Belt Rebellion is an annual outdoor car show (and fun family event) that takes place in someone’s LARGE back yard property in Shelby IN. There are a couple of open fields where people bring in their well kept old cars, a small playground for kids, food & craft vendors, and this year a home-made ice cream stand! And then there is a field where ACW sets up their wrestling ring (the curtain and announce table are to my right in this picture).

The first match was Jeremy Hadley vs. Kujo. As usual, Hadley came out with mouth a’firin’, and he must have done his job really well, because after the match, some dude was trying to push his way back through the curtain to (I guess) beat Jeremy up for some mean thing Jeremy said to his wife. This must have been his first wrestling show. Look, if the “bad guy” gets you to have a genuine emotional reaction to something he says (which is his job!), you should go up to him later and congratulate him on a job well done, not try to track him down because your feelings got hurt. While the true outcome was Hadley 1 – Guy In Crowd 0, the match score was Kujo 1 – Hadley 0.

The second match was TK Zero vs. Sabotage, which TK Zero won with a reverse DDT looking thing I don’t know the name of – picture a TK Zero giving Sabotage a DDT, except instead of being face down, Sabotage is face up, and TK has his forehead bent backwards with a forearm squeeze (like the Gu-Lock on 205 Live) … then TK Zero drops Sabotage down on his head. Sabotage was counted out by the ref for being unresponsive after that move. Jeez, I thought he killed the poor guy, it looked really good.

TK Zero must have made a good impression on the crowd at last year’s Rust Belt Rebellion show, because some kids clearly recognized him when he came out, and one of the loud guys near me who had too much beer shouted, “You said that last year!” to one of TK’s barbs at the crowd.

Next, Drex Odell took on Young Money (with Thomas Keith, his partner in High Society, at ringside). One picture below tells the story of the match – Drex clearly has Young Money discombobulated on the ropes behind him, but Thomas Keith is on the ring apron distracting Drex – and this allowed Young Money to gather himself and get the pinfall on Odell. In the other picture, Young Money gets some serious elevation from the corner.

The fourth match was awesome, but I missed the best parts of it because most of the outside-the-ring action took place on the side opposite me, and I was too lazy to get up and walk around. (No, actually, I blame my chair – my folding lawn chair was broken, and so to get up, I had to move very carefully and delicately not to collapse it entirely … it wasn’t my laziness, it was my carefulness!). This fourth match was X Caliber vs Jared Kripke for the ACW Intercontinental Championship, held by Kripke. It was a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match announced with a one hour time limit! It did not go that long, but two tables got destroyed – on the opposite side from me. During one crash through the tables, Jared Kripke gashed open his knee – and being the trooper he is, he went to the sound table to get a roll of duct tape to tape together his leg (see pic) … I imagine taking that tape off later would hurt more than the original injury, which (from info on Facebook later) took 10 stitches to close. Ouch! X Caliber won the match, and so is the new ACW Intercontinental Champ! And so now you can tell that the picture of Kripke on top of the ladder, holding his belt while smiling, was taken before the match started.

There was a short intermission while all the carnage from the IC match was cleaned up, and then the show restarted with Billy the Kid challenging Rick Raid for Raid’s Tough Man Championship. Raid beat Billy recently to gain the Tough Man Title, and here, Billy the Kid regained the title.

I don’t write this often, but Ref Zoran got one wrong! In the sixth match, Arun took on Brentley Alexander Dawson (BAD). At the end of the match, BAD took a foreign object out of his coat that was hanging on a ring post, and tried to hit Arun with it. He missed, and Arun capitalized to get the pin. But during the pin, BAD managed to slip the object into Arun’s waistband. When Arun stood up after the pin, Ref Zoran saw the object and reversed his decision, awarding the match to BAD. Booooo.

I do not have a picture from the final match because I was on my way out, but Crimson Dynamo is your new ACW Heavyweight Champion, having defeated The Flawless One, Dave Allen! Congratulations to Crimson Dynamo!

_________________________

If you’ve read this far, you might like wrestling?  So maybe, check out the Northwest Indiana Wrestling Action Program (NWIWRAP) broadcast Sunday night right after Mostly Metal on WVLP 103.1FM in Valparaiso, IN. The Mostly Metal / NWIWRAP block runs from 8:00 – 10:00pm Central Time, and the time of the switch from music to wrestling depends on how much wrestlnig there is to talk about! If you’re not in Valpo, catch it streaming on http://www.wvlp.org and the Tune In Radio app. Rebroadcasts happen Wednesdays 10pm – midnight, and NWIWRAP is archived on YouTube, just search for NWIWRAP.

Outside the Ropes: Special Fundraiser Show at DeMotte Boxing Club, Apr 28 2019.

Standard

On Sunday April 28, 2019 at 2pm, wrestling fans from the region packed the DeMotte Boxing Club to standing room only as a show of support for the fundraiser put on for the family of Austin Wright (Fury). This was a short five-match card put on in cooperation between ACW and Backbreaker Wrestling. This was not a normal show, wins and losses didn’t matter, and all I’m going to do here is list the matches with a few pics from each; if you were not able to make the show but are interested in the cause and lending some support, there’s a link at the bottom.

Match 1: Drex Odell vs. Young Money (of High Society)

Match 2: The Masters vs. Dick Davis and Jake Rhone. (Man, was Brentley Alexander Dawson pissed when Dick Davis stomped on his $200 sunglasses. Also, that third picture requires some explanation … you see, B.A.D. experienced a BAD wedgie during the match and needed help extracting it. Maybe you didn’t want to know that.)

Match 3: Jared Kripke vs X-Caliber.

Match 4: Billy the Kid vs Thomas Keith (of High Society).

Match 5: Rick Raid vs Austin Fury

The end – when all the workers came out to show support for Austin Fury.

Here’s a link if you want to provide support:

https://www.gofundme.com/baby-primilia

Outside the Ropes: RCW 9th Anniversary Show; Apr 27, 2019

Standard

Revolution Championship Wrestling (RCW) held their 9th Anniversary Show at 7pm Saturday April 27, 2019 at the O’Brien Recreation Center in South Bend, IN.

I still remember going to the 7th Anniversary Show, it’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years since then. The weather today was perfect for a wrestling show – that is, the fact that we actually had %&@!ing snow on April 27 meant there was nothing better to do than stay indoors and watch wrestling!

To open the show, current RCW Tag Team Champions “Biggie Smalls” – Brutus Dylan and Kevin Storm – came out to say thank you to the audience for their continued support. This was interrupted by Jorge Bravo, who says that even though he’s put in time and effort, he’s not yet been offered a full time spot on the RCW roster. Brutus Dylan tells him that since J.C. Bunyan is not going to be there, Jorge can replace him as Shady Chris Xion’s partner later on in a tag team championship match.

The first match features Mitchell Taylor taking on Tank, who is returning to RCW after an extended absence. Tank makes really quick work of Taylor, and I didn’t even get my camera out for a picture until the match was already over.

Tank barely even broke a sweat.

The second match was a Fatal Four Way featuring Unchained Brandon Day, the Lost Cause Anthony Lee, the Self Made Man Douglas Stout, and the Polish Heartthrob Jared Skalka. Wow, that’s a lot of words for 4 people. I think before the match, the four of them got together and said “Kill each other? Yes!” – because this was quite a hard hitting match. The crowd favorite was the Polish Heartthrob, with his signature move the “Pole-Lock”. The match ended when Douglas Stout hit the Polish Heartthrob with a big move, but Brandon Day took advantage by tossing Stout aside and getting the pin himself on Skalka.

The women came out next, as Shawna Reed challenged Melanie Cruise for the RCW Women’s Championship. Reed started the match with some avoidance, and then later revealed some brass knuckles she had hidden in her knee pads. She was able to use them a few times, but regardless, Melanie Cruise eventually put her away with a big boot.

The ref says “Put her down” … and Melanie did.

Next up is the promised Tag Team Championship match between champs Biggie Smalls (Dylan and Storm) vs challengers Shady Chris Xion and Jorge Bravo. Xion and Bravo both played it selfishly for a while, tagging the other in when the going got tough. Eventually they got it together enough to keep Kevin Storm in peril for quite a while. Below you can see Brutus Dylan using his Sorcerer Supreme telekinetic powers to fling Storm out of the ring onto the other two. Storm came up from this with a bloody nose; note that white wrist tape has the advantage that it really shows off the color red quite well! The tag team champs retained.

The last match before intermission got underway when Mojo McQueen came out carrying his box o’ stinky blue doom. Good lord, I hope no one in the crowd had asthma. (Where’s Angel Armani when you need him, we could have used some of his perfume spray!) Anyway, McQueen’s opponent was Cody Hawk, who played a long game of keep-away at first, then got the upper hand a few times by working on one of McQueen’s legs pretty consistently. McQueen later got the pin by using the claw to render Hawk unconscious.

After intermission, Dylan and Storm came back out to induct a second person into the RCW Hall of Fame. A surprise appearance by the first inductee Super Diva helped add some spice to the moment. All three men had very nice things to say about inductee #2 – Ronald Shell, a.k.a. Dusty Bottoms and Ox Baker, Jr. Congratulations, Ronald!

Wrestling got underway again with Dru Skillz vs. The Right Hand of God Sam Knight. As he does, Dru terrorized kids during his entrance. He also may have been hungry, as he bit Knight a lot in the match. The match ended after a low blow from Skillz, in full view of the ref who put up his hands in the “What did I just see and what am I going to do about it? … Nothing!” pose.

“You better not have eaten ALL the Doritos!”

Next, Noah Walker defended his RCW Intercontinental Championship by defeating Stills with a discus punch. The match almost ended in a count out when the two were outside the ring for quite a while, but the ref saved the day by making sure they heard the count at 9 with a very clear tone of “guys I’m serious, I’m about to count 9, so you need to get back in here!” Also, they had matches back to back, and I think a tag team of “Stillz and Skillz” has a nice ring to it.

The main event was RCW Heavyweight Champion Russell Jones taking on visitor from Impact Wrestling, Moose! The two started off outside the ring, going almost all the way around the gym before finally getting into the ring – below you can see Moose about to dunk Jones’ head into a basket. I think Moose picked up some strategy tips from Dru Skillz before the match, because he was biting his opponent a lot, too. The end came when Moose dodged a kick by Jones, causing Jones to kick the ref instead; while the ref was down, Jones grabbed his title belt and whopped Moose in the head. Then Jones revived the ref enough for the three count.

The next RCW show will be Friday May 17 at the Battell Center in Mishawaka, IN, with special guest Madman Fulton.

Outside the Ropes: ARWPRO Live, Sat March 09, 2019

Standard

ARWPRO held a fundraiser event for Edison Jr / Sr High School’s wrestling club, at Edison Jr / Sr High School, Lake Station, IN at 7pm Sat March 09, 2019.

The most important part of attending a wrestling event is knowing where it is. Usually, ARW shows are at the American Legion Post 100 in Lake Station, and that’s where I headed – only to find an empty parking lot … at which time I remembered that the show was somewhere else this time! Fortunately, the actual location is almost literally right down the road from the normal location.

Before the show started, Joey Boom Boom came to the ring with ARW mainstay Nevada Slick. Joey said that there will be some changes, as he needs to step away from in depth involvement to handle other responsibilities – and therefore, he is naming a new ARW Commissioner. That new commissioner is Marcus Portrait – from The Picture Show tag team with Johnny Showtime. Marcus came out in a nice outfit, complete with vest and tie! He cleans up nicely.

Marcus Portrait’s first action as commissioner is, unfortunately, to ask Ratt J Flywheel, representative of The Scumbag Army, to relinquish the tag team belts, as the team who holds them has lost a member and is down to only one – The Machine. In return, Portrait said, Machine will get a non-title match against current ARW PRO Heavyweight Champion Ivan Manson tonight – and if Machine wins, he will then be able to challenge for an actual title match at any time of his choosing. Further, all Family members except for Charlie Jr will be banned from ringside. Ratt, speaking on Machine’s behalf, grudgingly accepted he arrangement.

Above, we see Ring Announcer Greg Hansen honoring his Irish ancestors in this St. Patrick’s Day season. Way to represent, Greg! The first match has Dave Allen defending his ARW PRO Indiana State Championship against Jon Hudson. At some point during the match, Hudson seemed to have injured his left arm or shoulder, which came into play later in the evening. Allen won this match by pinning Hudson with the aid of two feet on the ropes. I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of that as evidence for a dispute, but I did snap a shot right afterwards, where you can see Allen explaining to the crowd that he most certainly did not cheat!

Next, we had a “SCW vs ARW” match to continue the feud between the two
promotions (somewhat) neighboring each other across the IN / IL state line. (Build the wall??!!??) SCW’s representative is Andy Black, who is introduced by SCW’s Doug Keast. Representing ARW is Jake O’Neill, who is introduced by King Bishop. The original ACW ref, who was now nicknamed “Flat Top”, was replaced by an SCW ref at the urging of Doug Keast … for fairness, you know. This is all to say the ringside got very crowded as everyone hung around during the match. The match ended when Andy Black accidentally kicked the SCW ref, who went down – leaving an opening for ARW ref Dave to leap back in the ring and count a pin on Black by O’Neil.

The third match was a chain match, with Max Holiday attached to B.O.W. by a long chain with leather cuffs on each end. Well, that’s how it was supposed to work, but Holiday started off the match by hooking his cuff to the top ring rope rather than his own wrist, leaving B.O.W. with nowhere to hide. The ref eventually took control and the match returned to normal (whatever “normal” is for a chain match!), and B.O.W. got the win after continually working over Max Holiday’s left knee.

The nice thing about having an event at a large high school like this is that they often open their concession stand to make more money, and those concession stands often have a larger variety than the average wrestling venue. In particular, the gold standard of a good concession stand is if they have soft pretzels and cheese for sale. This one did, $2.25. That’s enough about intermission.

After intermission, we started off with a tag team match: Nick Cutler and Angel Armani against the Caribbean Connection. The Connection likes to dance, and Armani is not a big fan of that dancing when he gets involved with a little bump and grind. Come on, Angel, loosen up a bit! Cutler and Armani left the ring for some back and forth with the “special” seats in the crowd held by SCW fans, and they stayed out there so long that they got DQ’d. Well, the Caribbean Connection said they didn’t come to ARW to win by DQ, and they wanted the match restarted. The ref agreed, and the match resumed, and eventually the Caribbean Connection won the right way – by pinning Nick Cutler. (The picture below is from mid-match.) There was a nice spot in the match where one of the CC guys had Cutler in the near corner and Armani in the far corner. He started hauling Cutler away from the near corner in a headlock while Armani started coming out of the far corner, and he gave Cutler a bulldog while simultaneously giving Armani a clothesline with the other arm.

Next it was time for the match advertised at the opening segment: a non-title match between Machine and Ivan Manson. The whole Family gang started coming out to ringside, but Marcus Portrait was quick to assert his new authority by sending them all to the back (except Charlie Jr, who signaled his lack of respect of Portrait’s authority by messing up his tie. Show some respect, man!) Manson bailed from the match after taking a couple of clotheslines, but Machine dragged him back in, and they proceeded to have a quite good big man match for a while … until Ratt J Flywheel got smart while Charlie Jr was yet again trying to distract the ref. Ratt had a bottle of ketchup from the concession stand (did I mention they had soft pretzels?) in one hand, and tossed his ubiquitous baseball bat into Ivan Manson in the ring. While Manson caught the bat, Ratt squirted ketchup onto Machine’s face. When the ref turned around to see the “bloodied” Machine on the mat and Manson holding a baseball bat, there was only one thing he could conclude – and so he called for a DQ on Manson. And now Machine can have a title shot at an upcoming show. I neglected to get a picture of this match, maybe I was finishing my pretzel.

The final match of the night was a 4-way elimination tag team match for the recently vacated ARWPRO tag team championship. The four teams in order of announcement were: (1)Rancid Joey and Brawn the Lumberjack representing the Family; (2) Stacey Shadows and Melanie Cruise, a.k.a. Maidens of Iron (cool name!); (3) Arabian Sheik and Jay Harris, a.k.a. The Unholy Alliance, representing SCW; (4) the irregular pair of Jon Hudson and X-Caliber. Hudson came to the ring favoring his shoulder.

The first team eliminated was The Family. Rancid Joey challenged the women, but didn’t get very far and he was hit with a combo dropkick / suplex by the pair – which led to his pinfall. He was woozy when getting dragged to the back – as shown here:

During a frenzy of action, Arabian Sheik did that thing where one tag team member runs around to another’s corner and yanks the feet of the opponent standing on the apron, causing the other to fall and hit the ring apron. Well, he did that to both X-Caliber and Hudson; when he pulled out Hudson’s feet, Hudson landed on his left side, which had the injured shoulder. Ouch! Next out of the match were the Maidens of Iron when they hit a low blow on Jay Harris, and were DQ’d. Even though they were no longer in the match, they stayed at ringside to support their ARW pals against the SCW team. While the Unholy Alliance was left facing X-Caliber (who was mostly now alone, since Hudson was hurt), Jay Harris threw X-Caliber up and over in a suplex, and X-Caliber landed on his feet! That was a sweet move. At one point, X-Caliber got in too much trouble and he had to tag in Hudson. Hudson tried his best and was helped out a lot by Jay Harris when Harris accidentally hit his own partner – Hudson was able to then roll up Arabian Sheik for a pin. And now your new ARWPRO Tag Team champions are Jon Hudson and X-Caliber!

The next ARWPRO show is Saturday, April 13, back at the normal location – American Legion Post 100 in Lake Station, IN.

Outside the Ropes: ACW Tecumseh Takedown, Fri March 08, 2019

Standard

ACME Championship wrestling held Tecumseh Takedown at Lincoln Elementary School in Roselawn, IN at 7:00pm Friday March 08, 2019; the show was a fundraiser for the school’s annual trip to Camp Tecumseh. There was a lot at stake on this card – Would Dave Allen leave with his ACW World Championship? Would Jared Kripke remain Intercontinental Champion? Would Billy the Kid be out-toughed? And most importantly, would Jimmy Holmes be forced to go to on the school trip to Camp Tecumseh later this Spring with all those misbehaving, annoying, smelly kids?

The show started with Billy the Kidd defending his ACW Tough Man Championship against a new-comer Kota (he has a last name, but I didn’t catch it properly; he was one of a few new faces on the card tonight). Kota started the match off with an immediate attack on the distracted Kidd right at the ring of the bell, but once Billy recovered, Kota didn’t really last all that long afterwards. Below left, Billy is taking a breather after his victory.

The second match featured TK Zero against another newcomer, The Masked Dragon. The Masked Dragon wore a shiny white mask, a nicely laundered white karategi*, and ratty black sneakers. Dragon got in almost no offense and I think TK Zero worked up more of a sweat aggravating the kids at ringside (above, right) than in defeating The Masked Dragon. Hopefully we’ll see more of The White Dragon and he’ll be able to beat someone up soon … I recommend Cliff Caviar. * I have to admit that I googled “What do you call a karate outfit” to find the name of his gear, because I didn’t want to sound like a doofus and just say “karate outfit”. But maybe this was actually a judo outfit, which has a different name, I don’t know the difference. Look, if you’re coming to this page for your martial arts fashion knowledge, you’re severely lost!

Next, ACW Heavyweight (World?) Champion Dave Allen came to the ring, but not in ring gear. He had a mic in one hand and a slice of pizza (which looked pretty good!) in the other. Apparently, his opponent for the night didn’t show up, so he’s decided he has the night off. General Manager Michael Allen has another idea, though: Dave Allen will defend his title against a mystery opponent later in the main event!

Match three was Jeremy Hadley vs. Jon Scrutch. Scrutch is another new face to me, but he got a pretty good response from the crowd, so maybe he’s familiar to them, or he had really good entrance music. Anyway, Hadley really had the kids in the crowd going in favor of Scrutch, but Hadley won with a big frog splash (above, right). After the match, an unseen Drex Odell had a video promo challenging Hadley to a blindfold match at the next ACW event, Hebron Havoc, in April. Odell wants revenge for Hadley spraying something in his eyes during their previous match in February. Even though Odell prepared a video promo. he remained mostly unseen because the video was filmed in very low light and did not show up well on the “screen” in the bright light of the school auditorium.

The last match before intermission was Jared Kripke defending his ACW Intercontinental Championship against Rick Raid. Raid reminded the crowd that (a) the last time he faced Hadley, Hadley left with a concussion, and (b) in his last two matches at Lincoln Elementary, he ended the ACW careers of two different people – most recently, in a ladder match against Macho Del Silver … so Raid thinks the odds are in his favor. The match went back and forth (below left, Raid tries coming off the ropes onto Kripke). But at some point Raid’s knee got injured, and Kripke worked on the knee long enough for a Figure Four Leg Lock to be effective (below, right); Raid tapped out to the move.

After intermission, the show resumed with a triple threat tag team match between High Society, Kenneth James & Arun, and Xavier Black & Sanji. Sanji is the third new face for me tonight. Before the match started, the ref was checking everyone’s gear as usual, but not as usual, he actually found something! Arun was trying to sneak in a chain, and Kenneth James had brass knuckles under a kneepad. Shame on those guys! During the match, we saw a triple suplex involving all six men. Three lined up facing the other three with arms linked like a chorus line,, and one set of three heaved the other up and over all at once. Eventually High Society got the win after Young Money hit a leg drop off the top turnbuckle. After the match, Thomas Keith brought a small cake into the ring to celebrate Young Money’s birthday. Of course, you know the rules about wrestling and cakes! Kenneth James dropkicked Keith into Young Money, and Money ended up wearing the cake.

The cleanup of cake continued as Dave Allen came to the ring for his match against a mystery opponent. Michael Allen, Greg Hansen (ring announcer), and ref Zoran were working hard on getting the frosting mess off the ring canvas while Allen stood around watching. Now, Dave Allen comes to the ring carrying a nice white towel – but did he use the towel to help? Noooooooo (below left) . After the cake was cleaned up, El Muchacho was announced as Allen’s mystery opponent. He put up a good fight (below right), but came up short as Allen retained.

The final “match” of the night was the annual fan service event set up for Jimmy Holmes to try to get out of going to camp with all these noisy, annoying kids! Holmes hates camping, and if he and his team of Brentley Alexander Dawson and one of the school teachers (Mr. Williams?) defeat their opponents, then Holmes will not have to go to on the trip to Camp Tecumseh! The opponents are about half a dozen other teachers. They each come out one or two at a time and are pinned through trickery and treachery by Holmes’ team. But at one point, Holmes accidentally hit his partner B.A.D. with a chair; after he recovers, B.A.D. came back in the ring and clobbered Holmes, allowing the teachers to cover him for a pinfall! And so, Jimmy Holmes now has to go to camp with the kids.

This ending part sounds totally silly, but the kids love it, and it is effective. On my way out of the building, two boys were talking and one said, “I am definitely going to camp now!”

The next ACW event is Hebron Havoc, on Friday April 5 in Hebron, IN.

Outside the Ropes: ACW Shades of War, Fri Feb 08, 2019

Standard

ACME Championship Wrestling opened their 2019 season with “Shades of War” at their home base, the DeMotte Boxing Club, at 7pm Friday February 8.

The show opened with a bang (almost literally), there were lasers! A video screen! FIRE!! A couple of fire pots erected in the center of the ring launched burts of flame synchronized with the house music. Pretty cool! Or rather, pretty hot! But it felt good, since there was cold air coming in from the entryway.

General Manager Michael Allen greeted the crowd as always, then the action got underway.

(M1) ACW’s first match of 2019 was an energetic contest between High Society (Thomas ‘the Benjamins’ Keith and Young Money) vs Arun and Sadon. High Society let everyone know that DeMotte was not on their list of favorite places, or favorite people. They also displayed many tag team shenanigans; Ref Z had his hands full with this one. Each team got control of the match for a while, but it ended when Young Money hit a leg drop from the top turnbuckle onto Arun.

(M2) Match 2 was for the Tough Man Title, with title holder Billy the Kid taking on challenger Kenneth James, who was making his ACW debut. The ref in this match seemed to be trying to enforce a lot of rules for a No DQ match, such as yelling at James when he was gouging Billy the Kid’s eyes. Billy the Kid retained his title, and Kenneth James gave a handshake of respect afterwards. On his way out of the ring, Billy the Kid held up his title and yelled something at me over the ropes … I think I might have been challenged to a match, but I’m not sure. We’ll see at Hebron Havoc, I guess. But if I’m going to come out of retirement for that, first I have to train to learn how to work in the ring, then work in the ring for a few years, and then retire the first time. That seems like too much effort, so I might have to politely decline.

(M3) The third match was another tag team match, this time between Top Gunns and The Main Attraction (whose names are, I think, Cortez Knight and Rodney Jackson). They came to the ring straight from baseball practice, carrying wooden bats, and dressed for the ring in khaki shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers. The Top Gunns controlled a good portion of the match, although The Main Attraction got their licks in. Eventually, though, they got frustrated with not making headway, and one of them grabbed a chain, wrapped it around his wrist, and hit Highball in the back of the head – causing a disqualification. He bled a little through his mask after that …and he was pissed. He challenged The Main Attraction to a No DQ match at the next ACW show, Hebron Havoc, and General Manager Michael Allen set the match. This was Ref Z‘s second tag match, and the second one that was hard to control.

(M4) Match 4 was Theo Storm challenging Jared Kripke for his Intercontinental Championship. This was Kripke’s first match back since getting his bell rung at the last ACW show in 2018. Theo Storm seemed to enjoy a lot of verbal back-and-forth with the crowd. Both guys took a lot of punishment, at at various times, I was convinced that Kripke got, in order, another concussion, a broken neck, and another concussion again. But, he ended up retaining his title. (The third picture below is not sideways, that’s Theo Storm going up to kick Kripke; the fourth picture is how Theo Storm keeps from getting pinned.)

(M5) After intermission, the show got underway with a Fatal Four Way match for a chance to be the next to take on Jared Kripke for his Intercontinental Title. The four in the match were X-Calibur, Xavier Black, Johnny Motley, and the -new- Cliff Caviar, who has exchanged his green blazer for a sparkly black overcoat with gold trim, and a black flat brimmed hat – a cross between a circus ringmaster and a bull fighter. On his way out to the ring, he threw his old green coat on the ground and stomped on it. Although he has new attire, he has his same old attitude, though. As expected, these four took each other all over the ring and out of the ring. Once, I got splattered by water from Xavier Black’s wet hair as he went flying over the top rope to the outside. After the match had been going on for a while, it was interrupted by TK Zero, who came out and attacked all four men in the ring … even Cliff Caviar, who he used to protect. He exclaimed to GM Michael Allen that he did this because HE should be the one getting matches and chances like this. Having caused his destruction, he retreated – and at this point, Xavier Black and Johnny Motley also vanished, leaving X-Caliber and Cliff Caviar to finish the match. X-Caliber ended up with the win, and so he is now the #1 contender for Jared Kripke’s Intercontinental Championship. As X-Caliber soaked up his victory, Kripke came out for a friendly stare down, and it was very sportsmanlike all around.

(M6) Jeremy Hadley took on Drex Odell in the next match; this match was mostly a contest of pride and history, with Hadley being upset that Odell has put his own stamp on ACW more recently, although Hadley was one of the old timers. These two pummeled each other pretty well; I tried to take good notes, but it was hard because I was afraid Hadley would yell at me for being on my phone, as he did to a couple of other folks in the audience. The match ended in a DQ win for Odell when Hadley, having been thrown out of the ring, came back in with a spray can of something smelly – cologne or deodorant? – and sprayed Odell in the eyes with it. The spray messed Odell up badly enough that he couldn’t see and had to be helped to the back. (Note: Odell caused an incident at Backbreaker Wrestling the next night – listen to the audio recap! – wearing an eye-patch. Hmmmm.)

By the way, Drex Odell has a new nameplate for the video screen, but it unfortunately had a typo in it. I’ve fixed it for him at no charge, below is before (left) and after / fixed (right). You’re welcome.

(M7) The main event was a defense of the ACW Heavyweight Championship, with champion Dave Allen and challenger Kujo. Kujo had a chance at the title at the last ACW event of 2018, but that was spoiled when Johnny Motley interfered. This match proceeded cleanly for quite a while, until Ref Z got caught behind Dave Allen in a corner while Kujo was about to splash Allen; Allen got out of the way, and poor Ref Z took the splash. While he was down, Johnny Motley made a return, this time with a chair. He took Kujo out of action with the chair, and when Ref Z recovered, Dave Allen was able to get the pinfall and retain his title.

In summary, let’s appreciate the hard work and punishment that Ref Z went through, with two out of control tag matches and then being on the receiving end of a flying splash from Kujo in the last match. He is the evening’s MVP.

The next show announced for ACW so far is Hebron Havoc, on Friday, April 5. Matches we already know about are a No DQ tag team match between The Main Attraction and Top Gunns, an Intercontinental Championship Match between Jared Kripke (c) and X-Caliber, and I’m guessing we might see Kujo vs Johnny Motley.