WPW Wrestling: Midget Time

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Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Wise Pro Wrestling is a new wrestling promotion started by Vancouver wrestling mainstay Kenny Lush, and video maestro Tom Pavlovic and his brother Franjo (Mark Vellios and Nathan Burke of ASW have been providing their assistance as well).

The shows run out of the Wise Hall in East Van, and it’s a great venue for wrestling. Some wrestling venues have ceiling issues (too short, so top rope moves aren’t easy to pull off), some venues don’t feel very “big time” (you can dress up a gym as much as possible, but end of the day, it still feels like a gym), but the Wise Hall is great. High roofs, great lighting, big entrance stage, and alcohol for sale make for a top notch wrestling environment.

There was a lot of roster cross over due to the fact it’s indie wrestling, so I knew a lot of the guys and gals who normally work the ECCW shows. It was interesting because some of them are faces at ECCW and in WPW they were heels, or vice versa, so it was fun seeing a different side to the wrestlers.

If you were wondering “Who is going to keep the drunken fans in line at WPW??”, don’t worry, head of security Vince was there as always, shutting people down left and right. Sometimes I wish there was just video of him shooting down over zealous fans set to the Guile theme song, but alas.

So how was the show you ask? Well, let me tell you something, Brother…

Collin Cutler vs Air Adonis

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

In the Battle of the Alliterations, the show opened up with a hot match. The first match can sometimes be really easy for wrestling shows, because people are so jacked to finally see the action start that they’d cheer on a chair vs a damp rag, but this match gave the fans a perfect way to start the evening.

Collin Cutler is new to me (He’s an All-Star Wrestling guy, a promotion run by Michelle Starr, try and keep up here), and apparently has a nickname of “Cougar Meat” which if we’re being honest, is pretty god damn amazing.

Collin came out with a lady friend and they proceeded to re-enact many scenes from your local strip club (minus the sadness) as they bumped and grinded their way to the ring.

Air Adonis came next, and it’s not unusual for him to Magic Mike it up with a lady friend (Magic Mike stable between Cutler and Adonis one day?), but alas he was solo on the night. He’s another guy who can hit high spots, and is jacked and has a great look. Hence it made for a great spectacle of a match.

Cutler took the win, after an entertaining spot where Adonis spanked Cougar Meat’s lady friend. Which basically means nobody lost, really.

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

My takeaway from the match was I really really like Collin Cutler. His character isn’t groundbreaking, but he owns it much better than others. He’s like a slightly less greasier Fandango, but with more sexual bravado.

Nick Rogers vs Matt Xstatic

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

I don’t know either of these gentlemen, but Nick Rogers had the world weary look of a wrestler from the late 80’s, someone whose seen it all and just isn’t happy with the state of humanity. Matt Xstatic looked like X-Pac’s cousin, and seemed like he’d be a high flier, with fewer crotch chops and adult videos.

Not having seen either guy before, I really really dug Rogers. He didn’t put on any high spots, he just relentlessly wore down Xstatic and didn’t let Matt get any high flying moves off. Rogers sound technical game eventually got him the win, and afterwards, he signed his own photo and left it on top of Matt. Yes, he Johnny Cage’d the shit out of Matt.

After the win, WPW Commish Sweatervest had an interview with Rogers where it was decided Rogers needed tougher competition. So he got booked into a match against David Hart Smith at the next WPW show in July, which should be a good one.

The Bollywood Boyz vs The Border Patrol

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

The Bollywood Boyz, aka the GFW tag team Champs, former ECCW tag team Champs, and big time Canucks fans, took on The Border Patrol.

The Border Patrol, for astute ECCW fans, will know them by another name, The Good Brothers. Under the Good Brothers name in ECCW I’ve never really caught on with them, due mainly to the fact “being brothers” can only raise ones excitement so far (ok so they shared a room at one point in their fictional lives, huzzah). But as Border Patrol? Holy shit, sign me up for these guys forever.

They came out dressed as border cops, and started yelling at the fans, all while the COPS theme song was blaring in the background. At one point Everest ripped up indie wrestling fan mainstay Ross Renaud’s sign and just tore it to shreds. Ross confirmed with me during intermission that the backing he uses on his signs has never been torn up before, so apparently Everest was really in the anger zone for the match.

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

At one point the Border Patrol started warming up by punching the turnbuckles. Pesky had a glorious Super Troopers mustache. It was basically everything I want out of a heel tag team. Sometimes you need wrestlers who have a day job back story, you know? It just has so much potential for over the top heel shenanigans.

The spot of the match for me was when Harv got whipped into the corner chest first and then the Border Patrol began patting him down for weapons. It was god damn glorious.

As for the match itself, the B-Boyz are the top of the tag team pile for a reason. Just a well oiled machine that will always put out great tag matches. Unfortunately at one point it looked like Harv tweaked his knee, but he fought through it, and the Boyz hit the Naan Bread in the Face to take the win.

Ever the warrior, Harv even managed to dance with a lady fan in the crowd on his bum knee after the match, then mustered up the energy to trash talk a fan who was booing him.

El Phantasmo vs Randy Tyler

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El P, the current reigning, defending, neon ECCW Champion, took on a legend of the Pacific Northwest in Randy “The Rockey” Tyler (accompanied by The Ladies Choice), in what El P called his “dream match” earlier in the week.

El P came out with two ladies dressed up in El P gear (Phantasmites?), but his music was super subdued (you really need to feel the bass in El P’s entrance) and a spotlight was left on (his entrance needs to be in the dark) and the crowd either didn’t really know who El P was, or just wasn’t willing to show their love for him. They wanted to make him work for it.

Ever the professional, Randy took the mic and proceeded to cut a heel promo, and got the crowd riled up, and brought them over to El P’s side. Then El P took over and did the rest.

Fighting through the crowd, beer being chugged, trash cans on heads, flying over the top rop multiple times, all of this is normal for an El P match. By the time it ended, what started off as kind of a cold fish start, ended with all of the fans standing on their feet chanting “This is awesome!!!”

Was there a Scotty Sweatervest stone cold stunner in the match? Do you even need to ask?

As my friend beside me said after the match “Now instead of asking ‘When’s the next WPW event’ some people are just going to ask ‘When is El P wrestling next??'”

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The East Van Warriors (Lush, Suede and King of the Yukon) vs Adam Ryder, Nelson Creed and Cobra Kai

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

East Van hometown hero of the night Kenny Lush finally hit the ring and he was the crowd favorite on this one by far. It was supposed to be Artemis Spencer instead of Cobra Kai, but a foot injury has put Arty on the sidelines for a while. This saddened me because it means I missed Yaletown Arty:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNbl1L337zo

The look of disinterest he gives when sipping that coffee? Sums up Hot Yoga Vancouver types in a second.

The match itself was a huge spot fest, felt kind of “made up on the spot”, and was a bit sloppy. But, it was highly entertaining. It got to the point where none of it really made sense so you just had to let yourself go and enjoy it. The crowd was super into it, and they did a good job of waiting out the hot tag long enough to get the crowd really wanting it.

This was also a match where a ton of spit and sweat went flying, so for those in the front row, you had a high chance of precipitation.

It should be noted that Nelson Creed started up a new streak of throwing purple streamers from his junk, which he recently ruined at an ECCW show by throwing red streamers instead. It begins anew…

It’s hard to describe this match, because it was fast paced and very high octane, but needless to say the crowd enjoyed it, and the East Van Warriors escaped with the win.

Chelsea Green vs Sloan

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Chelsea Green, who is continuing to make a name for herself in wrestling (She was on the latest “Tough Enough” WWE show) was set to take on Sloan (who I assume takes wrestling gear advice from The Cunninghams), WHEN OUTTA NOWHERE, Nicole Matthews showed up and took Sloan out on the stage before the match even started.

I could tell this was an evil version of Nicole due to her wearing a leather vest. When she wears a sweater, it conveys going for coffee with a friend while she listens to your problems. If she’s wearing a leather vest? That means she’s gonna cut you.

Matthews then cut a heel Bret Hart-esque promo about how none of the girls would have been there if it wasn’t for her, and Chelsea Green said “eff that, let’s rumble” because that’s how the Green Brigade rolls, and the match was on.

It was a good physical brawl, and I loved the storyline behind it, but things got a bit ugly when Chelsea did a dive headfirst through the ropes onto Nicole, and they both stumbled back and fell near some wooden stairs. Chelsea essentially “Million Dollar Baby”‘d her head, and cut herself open BAD. There was a pool of blood on the ground, and with her platinum blond hair, she was approaching Ric Flair status rather quickly.

Now, in wrestling, injuries are always ride that thin line of “is that real, or isn’t it?”. When someone has a leg injury, it’s easy to watch and assume all is well, because this is wrestling, usually injuries are part of the storytelling. But when you see a real cut go down, one that looks really bad, it gets kind of uncomfortable.

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Photo Credit: Ross Renaud

On one hand, a crimson mask looks pretty bad ass, and in epic matches, it just adds to the drama. When the cut is really bad, though, the health of the performers weighs heavily on your mind and you just want to make sure they are ok. Stop the match if need be. The bad cut created kind of a weird vibe in the room as people wanted to cheer, but they also wanted to know Chelsea was going to be ok.

Luckily for Green, she’s apparently cousins with Wolverine, because the cut clotted up quickly, and she fought the entire time, not letting up for a second. Leather Vest Matthews used the blood to paint her body in a variety of ways (bloody cleavage is a new thing I experienced) and the two went head to head in trading physical shots after physical shots. At one point Green landed a missile drop kick that I thought was going to take Nicole’s head off.

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Eventually Sloan woke up from her nap and walked to the ring, which caused the fatal “distraction roll up” to occur. There is no stopping a fatal distraction roll up, all you can do is hope it ends quickly. Green captured the win over Matthews and the fans thundered their applause.

Short Sleeve Sampson vs Prince Akeem

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Photo Credit: Bob Hanham

Billed as the main event of the show, Short Sleeve Sampson took on Prince Akeem on the last match of the card.

I won’t lie, this match did nothing for me. It was the end of a long night, and they put on a very well wrestled match, it’s just a 20+ technical, slow paced match to end the night just absolutely killed me. We’d seen high flying El P, so we’d seen big spots. Then we saw Chelsea Green bleed her own blood, and tough it out in a slug fest with Matthews in what felt like the true main event. We had seen so many highs already, so if you’re going to have a long drawn out match to follow that, you are going to need the fans to be emotionally invested in it. And unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to get into it.

I just had no reason to care who won this match, and due to its slow nature, I was just looking at my watch waiting for it to end. And again, the two performers put on a solid match, it was just not for me. I wish I had left the night fueled on adrenaline instead of feeling sleepy.

Awards of the Night:

Match of the Night

El Phantasmo vs Randy Tyler

It was such a fun match to watch. High flying entertainment at its best. El P showed why he is the king, and Randy showed his ability to read the crowd and played the heel perfectly. Always a treat to see El P matches especially when he’s invested in them and not mailing it in.

Personality of the Night

Cobra Kai

He was interacting with the fans all night long. Sure, he was a heel, but the match was such a gong show that normal roles didn’t really matter. He repeatedly did back and forths with audience members and even used my and my buddy to stand up and drum up support for his team. He made it a ton of fun to watch his match and made us big fans of Cobra Kai. Love it when performers get the crowd involved, makes you feel like part of the experience. Two thumbs up to Cobra Kai, I want to see more of him.

Story-line of the Night

A wild Nicole Matthews appears!

Obviously for a show that will only get booked every couple of months, you’re going to have more “spectacle” then “substance”, but Nicole showing up was a nice surprise, and made for one of the few “WTF” storyline moments of the night.

Move of the Night

Border Patrol pat-down

I cannot explain how awesome this move was. I want more of this. Handcuffs, we need handcuffs and confiscation! I hope one day they win the match by finding an illegal substance on the other team and getting them disqualified. Dirty border cops? Yessssss.

Entrance of the Night

El Phantasmo

El P and glowing neon lady friends, how can this award go to anybody else?

Wrestler of the Night

Chelsea Green

I’d like to think if I got cut that badly I’d just plow on through it, but I’d probably start screaming and looking for butterfly bandaids. I would not make a good wrestler.

Chelsea was…”tough enough”…

I’m so sorry.

Seriously, though, she’s one bad ass chick.

Final Thoughts

Again, it’s a different beast from ECCW, because storylines won’t be as prevalent. There will probably be more of the “main event” matches where it’s more of a bigger name being showcased, with storylines being punted to the sidelines. While my preference is always story, you’ll still have a great time going out to any WPW show. The Wise Pro venue really is such a great place to watch wrestling.

WPW apparently smashed the liqor sales record, so hopefully that is a sign that WPW is here to stay and that it’s a viable product. The more places for the wonderful indie workers to do their thing, the better. Kenny Lush and everyone involved putting together should be very proud of their hard work paying off.

If you want to check out WPW, they have a show coming up in July! You can follow them on Twitter at @WiseWPWrestling for future upcoming shows!

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Wyatt Arndt Wyatt Arndt is a freelance writer who currently writes for The Province, Canucks Army, Canucks.com and Vancity Buzz. He's probably written in bathroom stalls near you as well. You can find him on Twitter where he is most likely making fun of Eddie Lack's goalie mask.
@TheStanchion

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