Hello there! If you’re reading this than John Canton has yet to realize that I’m using his world famous website to do write-ups about a local indy wrestling organization that I love. If you’re not reading this than whatever, I bet you’re a jerk anyway.
A brief rundown: this is a review of Black Diamond Wrestling’s latest show Grave Consequences, which occurred on October 6, 2013 in Wheeling, WV. I was in attendance and even managed to get some pictures. The ones that weren’t a total embarrassment will be featured below in the write-up.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the review, I urge you to check out BDW’s webpage, like them on Facebook, and check out my last review (Part 1 and Part 2). You can also watch this entire show on U Stream instead of reading this blog. Or you could do both! Up to you, I’m not your boss.
Alright, let’s get into it. The main event featured the very first Buried Alive Match in BDW history, and the first outside of WWE ever. So you’ve got that to look forward to. But first…
Rick Diamond In-Ring Presentation
Okay, you need to know that before the show even got started, something awesome happened. Get ready for those allergies to flare up, ya’ll.
This is Jacob Bednarski. He is six-years-old and he has survived cancer. He is also the cutest thing imaginable, and he loves wrestling. Because of these reasons, Black Diamond Wrestling owner Rikk Diamond presented Jacob with his very own championship belt for being the most amazing six-year-old ever.
But that’s not all! Because he’s a piece of heel-tastic garbage that probably loves cancer, Industry leader Ronnie Starks interrupted the presentation to talk shit on a six-year-old cancer survivor. There’s heat, and then there’s cheap heat, and then there’s…this. I don’t even know what kind of heat this is. I think it hops temperature metaphors and just dives straight into evil. Luckily BDW’s own Jay Flash came out to wreck the villainous manager for his horribleness, which allowed Jacob to get a pin fall victory on the despicable Starks.
I know blonde lady in the front row. Me too.
Part of the reason I love BDW so much is that it’s got a great family atmosphere. It’s something you can bring your kids to and enjoy as a family, even though some of the fans are yokels that refuse to let anything not be about themselves (more on that later). But, for the most part BDW is a fan-friendly environment, and even though they don’t have WWE money to throw around, they still managed to create a special moment for a six-year-old who has battled and defeated cancer.
Way to go Jacob. You’re only six and you’ve beaten both Ronnie Starks and cancer. One of those is super easy, and the other is extremely hard. Regardless you’ve still accomplished more than I have, and I’m 30.
Gavin Jacobs defeated The Reaper
So here’s Gavin Jacobs again, jerking the curtain at the local indy show looking like the create-a-wrestler everyone made on WWF WarZone. He’s still not bad mind you, but he’s just so inconsequential that I’m starting to resent him. Nothing he does really stands out, and his character development for me at this point is “check out my barbed wire pants.” He’s just a guy, and while that’s fine for dudes that are just card fillers, this guy keeps winning. He’d be like John Cena if John Cena had the career trajectory of Kofi Kingston.
Meanwhile, he took on a guy named the Reaper who looked like Randy Orton if Randy Orton were cosplaying as the Undertaker. But, because Orton doesn’t own pants he instead pulled out a pair of black trunks, looked in the mirror, said “Close enough” and walked out looking as intimidating as you can in briefs. Needless to say, I thought he was awesome.
Despite my generally “meh”-ness toward Gavin Jacobs they had a perfectly cromulent match. Like I said Jacobs isn’t bad, he just does nothing for me. I would have liked to see Reaper actually bring more to the match, but since his job was just to lose gracefully I’ll give him a break.
The good thing is that if things keep going this way, next month Jacobs will defeat something more ridiculous than a bowler and the living embodiment of death. Maybe a really fat turkey? I figure if he’s going to wreck gimmicky dudes, they might as well fit the monthly theme.
The Church of Reznikk defeated Team FroFlex
Hoo boy, things got real awesome real fast.
For those new to this column the Church of Reznikk is a cult led by Sean Reznikk who is a beast on the microphone and pretty decent in the ring. He does way more running sentons than I care for, but so does the majority of the BDW locker room so I can’t really hold that against him. FroFlex are a team that I think in time I could really get into, but unfortunately for them two weeks in a row they’ve competed against teams I’m way more interested in. It’s a shame really, because Chest Flexor and Andrew Palace are probably the better workers (ugh insider terminology, yuck) but the Church has a really good thing going on right now, and unfortunately being good at wrestling isn’t enough to be good at wrestling. You know what I mean. They’re fun, but I need to see them in another context than “funny guys who lose.”
Right out the gate the Church of Reznikk was engrossing as hell. Reznikk himself invited a man who was turned away when he came to the BDW locker room looking for work. He said that he was sneered at because of his facial hair and tattoos which is absurd because 90% of the BDW locker room has both of those things, so it’s established right away that Reznikk is full of shit. That guy could have been turned away because the card was full, or he was the shits when he took a few bumps. But, Reznikk will use things like looks and insecurities to warp people to do his bidding. That’s terrible, but also really brilliant.
So when he clotheslined this cat (I’m calling him Tattoos McBeardy) and told him he would be reborn, I was intrigued. Then the match started and I totally forget he even existed. Then when things were looking bad for the Church (mostly because Pit Vicious is literally the pits) he rolled out of the ring, told Tattoos McBeardy to “RISE” and he got up and caused enough shenanigans by grabbing Chest Flexor’s girlfriend Ginger in an uncouth manner to allow the Church to get the win. It wasn’t the best match, but it was the one that made me go “Oh man, I can’t wait to see what happens next.” So kudos, all around. Especially you, Tattoos McBeardy! Welcome to the Church of Reznikk. Hopefully they’ll give you something else to wear that isn’t the faded “Walking Dead” t-shirt you bought from Spencer’s.
The Jester vs “Wild and Wonderful” Harley T Morris (No Contest)
I’ve mentioned my disdain for Harley T Morris’ West Virginia Avatar gimmick. West Virginia is a beautiful state, but it is filled with some of the worst most backward thinking people on earth, especially the further south you go. Ever heard of the “Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia”? Yeah, West Virginia’s reputation isn’t very good, and it’s perpetuated by a gimmick that embraces coonskin hats and probably owns truck nutz. What made it worse was that this month Morris was followed around by some burnout dressed as the Genius who forgot he was supposed to be a manager when he went into the crowd to hang with his friends. Harley T Morris, when it comes to defining WV pride, you are not helping.
The Jester on the other hand is still this little fireball of chubby energy that I kind of love and Morris is a pretty giving wrestler when it comes to making his opponents look like machines, but the chemistry was lacking and it didn’t really work for me. Part of the problem is that the crowd seemed like it was dying to cheer for Jester. It was muted however, because Harley T Morris is banking on state pride for pops, which is basically a diet version of getting "USA" chants. On the list of chants I hate at wrestling shows, “USA” is firmly in the middle between “What?” (aka the worst chant ever) and “YES” for anyone that isn’t named Daniel Bryan.
Anyway, the end of the match was a no contest because the lights went out, a video that said #REALDEAL lit up the screen, and then this guy showed up:
His name is Rick Rumski, but other than that I have no idea who he is. Because of this, I’m going to pass it off to my Wrestling Bro Michael D. Ondrick to fill you in on what the hell is going on. Take it away, Mike:
Hi all, I'm Mike, Andrew's WrestleBro(TM) and indy wrestling aficionado. I'm probably the biggest BDW fan around, aside from that cadre of girls with the signs and homemade t-shirts. And the chunky kid with the title belt and basketball shorts. And the... you know what, I'm probably in the top twenty, at least. In any case, I've been actively watching Black Diamond for over a year, but I've managed to learn a lot more about its decade-long history through the magic of YouTube. If any of my history is inaccurate, please feel free to correct me.
Ric Rumskey is a local boy done good, not unlike Gavin Jacobs, which means he's generally a good midcard babyface to get murdered by more important heels. I know he used to team with Vinnie Stone as Violence, Inc., because it's always important to incorporate your violence. He went to high school with my ex-girlfriend. Ric, if you see her, tell her I have her copy of Pet Sematery. Anyway, he's been injured several months now and has returned as "The Real Deal" with a series of vignettes containing some pretty frankly disturbing footage of real-life atrocities. I hope his new gimmick is that of a war criminal in hiding, like Orson Welles in "The Stranger".
Thanks Mike. Look for more of Mike’s opinions later in the article when I either A) Don’t know what I’m talking about or B) Get lazy.
BDW Tag Team Championship: The Industry (Champions) defeated The Fantastic Ones
Okay, here are few thoughts on this match:
- I LOVE The Fantastic Ones so goddamn much it hurts, but their pre-match hijinks went on a little long here. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that since the Industry defend the tag belts under Freebird rules, the ring is usually surrounded by the entire group so they have a lot of characters to interact with. This is all well and good, but after 15 minutes of buffoonery I found myself thinking “Stop f**king with Ronnie Starks and just wrestle already.”
- Prior to the match Destin Vaine (an egotist gimmick akin to Rick Martel) placed his mirror in the corner and later it fell and shattered on the ground. This prompted literally everyone around me to make the same joke (“SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK HYUCK”) and kind of threw a wrench in things, because part of the match was dedicated to the Fantastic Ones playing keep away from Vaine. It didn’t make a ton of sense for him to give a flying shit about a broken mirror, but whatever, maybe he has an attachment to cheap plastic and shattered glass.
- Once they got rolling, the match was great. Bulldozer HOSS’d all over the place and Pollock continued to validate my undying loyalty to his bandwagon. I would’ve loved a Fantastic Ones tag title run, but I think the Industry as champions is way more interesting right now. Also, it's important to mention that I prefer the pairing of Vaine and Bulldozer because Dozer is my mother**ker and Vaine has been slowly growing on me with his ridiculous knack for self-parody. Don’t believe me? Look at his Twitter account:
Like him or not, that’s good comedy.
-Last month the Industry was down one dude; Kid Cupid who I was kind of confused by because he’s just this massive dude that was SUPER into what was going on. Once again, take it away Mike:
Kid Cupid, or Cupac, is basically the gigantic enforcer for the Industry. I mean, the one who isn't the Bulldozer. Cupid's got a babyfaced assassin gimmick going for him, where he's basically a nice guy (look how overjoyed he is to be a champion!) He works as a hired gun to back up sociopaths like Ronnie Starks and Corey Futuristic. His big splash is the most indomitable murder/death/kill finisher in BDW. He's kind of great.
After watching him in action, I have to agree with Mike; he is kind of great. He’s like a mascot for pure love of wrestling. I don’t want to go to splash town, but I wouldn’t mind hugging him. Even when he’s shouting at the crowd he seems cuddly.
BDW Over the Edge Championship: Jay Flash defeated Corey Futuristic (Champion)
Last month I criticized this match for two big problems: the wrestling, and too much outside the ring interaction. This month both of those problems were fixed. Jay Flash and Corey both seemed more focused on what they were doing, making the match flow more organically and they were able to hit their spots without making it seem like they were struggling to remember what they were supposed to be doing.
The other problem was solved when the ref ejected the Industry from ringside, and Rikk Diamond himself changed the match from a straight up one-on-one to a strap match to keep Corey Futuristic from bailing and getting a count out title retention. It was a welcomed changed, and even though the strap broke mid-way through the match Jay and Corey didn’t miss a beat. They kept going like they expected it to rip in twain. It also helped that they beat the ever-loving shit out of each other. Seriously, Corey had marks all over his back. It’s like Jay Flash was personally making it his mission to punish Corey for all white people transgressions ever, which if that’s the case I can’t think of anyone better to take the fall for the terrors of white people than Corey Futuristic.
Congratulations new Over the Edge Champion Jay Flash! Also, a congratulations to Jay Flash’s penis which was prevalent throughout the entire match. If I could make one suggestion for your upcoming title reign, it would be maybe you should wear trunks that are any color OTHER than white. Just a thought.
System Elite defeated Jason Gory and Remy Lavey
Before we get into this, you should know that Remy Lavey was not the original partner for Jason Gory. It was supposed to be Façade, a dude who likes to flip and tag stuff. I watched he and Gory have an absolute insane match a few years ago at a BDW show, so I was pretty excited when I heard they were teaming up as Flippin Ain’t Easy but it was not meant to be. At some point prior to the show Façade bailed, and Gory was teamed with this dude who looks like 1990 Billy Ray Cyrus. It was…disappointing.
Gory himself is f**king nuts. He’s one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen on the indy scene with my own eyes, and pretty much everyone that has seen him go agrees that he’s the tits. Gory is a rocket powered by other people’s blood and misery. He’s so grody looking that if he glanced at you, you’d probably get Hep C. For more information, I hand it back over to Mike:
Jason Gory f---ing rules. Seriously. The first time I saw him, I'm like "oh, okay, scary guy with blood coming from his eyes, derp derp". I mean, I try not to be off-handedly dismissive of anybody's talent or character, but let's face it, there are a lot of bad indy gimmicks out there. Some might work on a grander stage with higher production values or better costumes, but some are just derivative and shitty. Gory isn't one of those guys. He's as full-fledged a character as you'll find anywhere in indy wrestling, or even the pros. Yeah, he's got bloody eyes and spits a blood mist at his opponents, but his tights really look like something a bedraggled psycho chained in a basement would cobble together out of fabric scraps. He wears a gas mask with hypodermic needles stuck in the bottom. He rakes his opponent's back and then chews the skin out from under his nails. The ref tells him to stop choking his opponent, so he bites their face instead. Gimmick aside, he's a tremendous cruiserweight wrestler, so much so that his heelish tendencies are balanced by the amazing things he can do in the ring. He's an evil bastard you can cheer for, and oh yeah, his theme song is awesome.
All that being said, System Elite tried their best to hide their united disappointment in wrestling Remy Lavey and made the best of what they had. The best being that they were in the ring with Jason Gory, who spent a good portion of the match manhandling Tyler Cross, who should be rewarded for his selling efforts. Cross is a bigger dude than Gory, but he bumped and sold his offense like he was being murdered by a psychopath. Lavey for his part wasn’t bad, he just had the misfortune of not being Façade, something he can’t really be blamed for. He did his best. That’s all anybody can really ask of him.
It bums me out that System Elite, two competent and capable tag team specialists, didn’t get a chance to mix it up with Flippin’. If Façade sold anything the way Gory sold Edric’s Avada Kedavra, it would have been something special. I really hate being all “this could have been better if X replaced Y” about this, but it’s kind of hard to get over it when THIS could have been happening twenty feet in front of my eyeballs. Goddamn you Façade. I missed out on a "Buddy Moonsault" because you forgot to take a left turn at Albuquerque.
BDW Diamond Division Championship: Nick Mirra (Champion) defeated “The Trendsetter” Chase Aarons
In case you need a refresher, this is what I wrote about Nick Mirra in my last review:
The problem was Nick Mirra, who was easily the most naturally unlikable person on the roster. In wrestling it’s really hard not judge people based on initial assumptions. I’m sure Nick Mirra the guy is lovely, but Nick Mirra the wrestler was the pits. He’s every stock pretty faced good guy character rolled into this hair gelled nightmare of disingenuousness. He was one bad talk show segment away from being The Miz. He even aped an Awesome Clothesline. Jesus Christ.
I then went on to write this:
If Nick Mirra shows up next week with a black handprint on his face where Reznikk touched him to mark his new allegiance and plays the part of evil lackey to his new dark master, I will take back everything I said about him and love Nick Mirra forever. If he shakes it off in a few minutes and starts aping Mike Mizanian again, I will boo him until I’m hoarse. Can’t wait to see if I’ll be drinking honey in my tea after the next show for pleasure or relief.
I am pleased to report that the Nick Mirra who showed up at Grave Consequences was not the dipshit I described in the first paragraph, but instead a captivating character capable of pathos. Admittedly his face paint was a little much (less is more sometimes) but Mirra’s portrayal of a tortured man who was fighting against his brainwashing only to repeatedly fail made me actually give a crap about Nick Mirra and want to see him break free. He was borderline heartbreaking. I never thought I’d say this, but Nick Mirra is better at emoting than literally anyone in BDW, at least at this show. Nick Mirra better give Shawn Reznikk a big goddamn basket of fruit this Christmas, because the Church of Reznikk might be the best thing that's ever happened to him.
The match itself was everything it needed to be. Chase Aarons, who is crazy underrated as an in-ring talent, played the part of concerned opponent very well, even if his motivations were questionable. It’s not like he was holding a gun to his head or anything to keep him from eating a toddler. Aarons was wrestling for a title belt, he shouldn’t feel any sympathy at all for trying to win the match. It ended up not mattering because he got trounced, but I think my point is founded.
The other problem was the BDW crowd. Every indy show has its fair share of mouthbreathers that are more interested in getting themselves over at the expense of the wrestlers, but this show had one of the most obnoxious motherf**kers ever. The guy repeatedly picked fights with heels, made the same jokes over and over again (he called the wheelbarrow a “West Virginia pickup” about a zillion times) interjected himself into the main-event to make a cheap joke about his asshole, and would start chants that made no sense. For some reason, he decided that Nick Mirra being dragged away by a cult leader and reconditioned to serve said cult leader’s desires meant that Mirra had “sold out” and got the entire crowd (minus the few that have eyes and ears and an ability to understand rudimentary storytelling) to chant “YOU SOLD OUT” for 80% of the match. He didn’t sell out, he’s brainwashed you swine. Reznikk himself told you that before Mirra even came out. Pay attention when things happen, and I won’t be forced to write mean things about you on the Internet.
BDW Heavyweight Championship: Chris LeRusso defeated Dan Sandwich (Champion)
Last month I more-or-less mentioned that Chris LeRusso was the uncrowned best wrestler in BDW, and I stand by that. The dude might not look like much, but he is easily the best technician they have, and does a better job of selling via facial expressions than anyone by a mile. Last month he stretched the ever loving shit out of Harley T Morris, and this month he took advantage of a clusterf**k Industry run-in to become the new BDW Heavyweight Champion, something I honestly couldn’t be happier with.
Basically what went down was after several minutes of Sandwich on Psycho action there was a ref bump and the Industry—who have a documented hatred toward Dan Sandwich for at least a month, probably longer—interfered and each took turns taking it to Sandwich. It started with Corey Futuristic getting fed to Sandwich (because if the Industry has a bitch, it’s obviously Corey) then the rest chipping away at him until it ended with Sandwich going to Splash Town courtesy of Kid Cupid. LeRusso— who the whole time was watching in confusion and mouthing to himself “what the f**k”—saw this as a golden opportunity to snatch the title away from Sandwich, which he took without hesitation. It was solid storytelling, only made better by LeRusso’s complete and total commitment to selling the whole thing with the looks on his face.
I like Dan Sandwich, but if I’m being frank, he really doesn’t need the title. Title belts are props and thinking that they are all that matters in wrestling is immature as hell, but they do serve a purpose. In this instance its purpose is story driven, because Dan Sandwich the babyface Heavyweight Champion defending the title against all challengers isn’t nearly as interesting as Dan Sandwich and Industry blood feud. Likewise, Chris LeRusso as heel champion opens the door for a new babyface challenger to be elevated to his level, and even if he doesn’t win the belt, it would still put him in a prime position to be champion someday. To me it’s a win-win.
Just please don’t let his first challenger be Harley T Morris. Hell, just don’t let Harley T Morris do anything but bump for better gimmicks, and we’ll be good forever.
Buried Alive Match: "Iceman" Tony Johnson defeated Vinnie Stone
Okay, the main-event has a lot of back story that I'm not capable of describing properly, so I’m going to let Mike take over one more time and give you all some much needed origins so you know why things are the way that they are. Bake em’ away, Toys:
On BDW's seventh anniversary show in June 2010, a group of young wrestlers showed up uninvited and left a trail of bodies in their wake. Jay Flash, "Iceman" Tony Johnson, Edric Everhart, Tyler Cross, and Keith Haught -- they'd all been trained by "Vicious" Vinnie Stone, they called themselves "The Insurgentz", and their goal was the utter demise of Black Diamond as we knew it. Over the next year, the Insurgentz would clash over and over with those loyal to BDW, including Nikita Allanov, Dan Sandwich, and Dash Bennett, culminating in a Survivor Series-style elimination match at the eighth anniversary show in June 2011. In the course of the feud, Vinnie Stone had been injured at the hands of the Insurgentz and could not take part in the final battle. That's important. Of course, the good guys won in the end, but Stone would never again compete as a full-time wrestler. (The match is here if you're interested.)
Tony Johnson was a heel Over the Edge champion when I first started watching last fall, but he turned face quickly and has remained that way ever since. He's a pretty likable guy with a big smile, honestly. So in May, Iceman had a chance to regain his Over the Edge title from Corey Futuristic and nearly had the match won before the Industry interfered, causing the DQ. Out runs Vinnie Stone with a chair to clear the bad guys from the ring; the Industry scatters, and Stone promptly turns and nails Johnson with the chair. He proceeds to heart punch Johnson, causing kayfabe myocardial damage and putting him on the D.L. for several months.
Later that night, Jay Flash challenges Vinnie to a match at the next show, during which Stone heart punches him as well. Stone explains that fighting the Insurgentz cost him mind, body, and soul, so much so that he couldn't pick up his baby daughter without being in pain, so he was going to make sure each of his former students felt that pain as well. Since Keith Haught already went off the reservation and Digivolved into the Jester, the only ones left were System Elite: Everhart and Cross. Directly after losing their tag titles to the Industry, Stone heart punched them too. Flash made an epic return at the August show and called out Stone, and System Elite too returned in September from the injured reserve. Stone attempted to attack them after their title match but was successfully fended off, first by Flash, and then by a finally returning Tony Johnson. The Insurgentz, reunited as babyfaces, had finally gotten Stone's number. And then Iceman buried him alive. So I guess he's dead now. I admit I was a little weirded out by the idea of cheering for that.
Thanks to Mike we now have a general understanding of why this match is important. The gravitas was definitely there, and Stone was very aggressive in his offense to the point that I actually thought he was trying to hurt Tony Johnson. Of course he lightened up when it came to swinging a shovel at his former protégé, but for a second I was afraid shit was going to get real and I was going to be writing a report for the police instead of all of you. Johnson for his part was equally impressive. He knows how to work, and he’s got a long frame that lets him get serious elevation, and he knows how to use his size. All-in-all, this mostly worked.
Two problems though:
1) I don’t really know what he was going for in the above image, but the figure four is probably the least effective way to get someone into a freshly dug hole. When you slap on that move you’re basically ensuring that they aren’t going anywhere. What was your motivation here, Tony Johnson? Because you pretty much had one hand in the grave before you realized your plan wasn’t going to work.
2) There was some miscommunication at the end of the match. It was clear from the get-go that there was no way Tony Johnson was going to be able to bury Vinnie Stone completely, so after about three shovels of dirt you could hear someone shouting to the ref “RING THE F**KING BELL” before System Elite and Jay Flash came out to help Tony fill in the hole a little more. Then, as if they were being visited by the Ghost of Buried Alive past, the show ended with a barely filled in hole and a bunch of dudes with shovels.
Still, it mostly worked and BDW should be commended for even trying something like this. It’s not easy to take something that barely works in the big leagues and try to make it your own, but for my money they succeeded more than failed. So that should count for something.
Anyway, thanks for reading another review of Black Diamond Wrestling. Special thanks again to Mike D. Ondrick, who's brain I will be utilizing for many reviews to come. Join us next month for “Thanksgiving Throwdown” where I’m sure Gavin Jacobs will pin a giant turkey.
Tumblr: Andrew Johnson Is A Robot