Living in the near vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (by like 40 miles, but whatever, shut up) I've had a lot of opportunities to experience independent wrestling shows. Not as many as I would like, but hey, I'm a dude with a job and a personal life and I can't make a non-sport the center of my world. I'm a guy with things to do, so when I actually go out of my way to watch a wrestling show that isn't WWE or better yet Chikara, it better be damn good.
I was introduced to Black Diamond Wrestling about two years ago when my friend Edric Everhart joined the organization with his tag team partner Tyler Cross. I've been to a few of their shows, but always was there with friends who were supporting Edric (and not really all that interested in wrestling) or with my wife (who HATES wrestling,) so I didn't really get to fully experience it. I tend to be one of those people that worry if my guest is having a good time, and if they aren't it can really damage the scene for me. Luckily I was approached by the organization's owner, Rikk Diamond, at a County Fair where BDW was literally a side-show attraction. Since it's hard to judge a show at a fair where the ring was sandwiched between the Twilt-A-Whirl and garbage carnie games, he offered me a pass to their next show free of charge as long as I reported on it here at TJR.
Never one to turn down a free anything, I took up his offer and even got a pass for my cameraman/friend Josh Jenkins, because A) I'd like the company and B) I rely heavily on images in my articles because I'm not that good of a writer. I have to admit though, the challenge of trying to get the TJR masses-- a group that comes to our site for WWE news and pretty much nothing else-- to embrace a review about a show that very few of them had an opportunity to see and the rest have never heard of was appealing enough to try this experiment out.
The show you're going to read about took place on September 8th in Wheeling, WV, and the event was titled, "No Boundaries." If you're a fan of my work, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this. If you're not and are here just because of a misplaced click, things are about to get real weird in here.
OPENING BOUT: Brian "The Kingpin" McDowell vs Gavin Jacobs (Winner)
Okay, before we get into this match there are few things you should know about me: I love stupid, earnest gimmicks at Indie shows. I don't know if it's because Chikara has had such an effect on my viewing experience, but when a guy named, "The Kingpin" walks down to the ring wearing a bowling shirt, slacks, and bowling shoes and is yelling at the audience while waving his bowling bag at them, you bet your ass I'm going to cheer for that guy. I don't care if he's a heel or not; a guy who's whole gimmick is, "I like bowling" makes a smile creep across my face in the dumbest way possible. The only thing that would have made it better is if it said, "Pin Pals" on the back of his shirt.
Gavin Jacobs was the exact opposite of The Kingpin. Gavin Jacobs looked like the laziest create-a-wrestler of all time. He was bald and wore big baggy orange pants over his tights which had barbwire print on them. To me, his gimmick was, "I want to be able to create myself on WWE '13 without much effort," but to the BDW crowd he was over as hell, and really that's all that mattered. I really wanted McDowell to make a pinhead joke in reference to his bald head and then threaten to, "bowl him over" but alas, it was not meant to be.
The match itself wasn't bad. While Jacobs doesn't have much in regards of gimmick or overall personality (at least to a layman that hasn't watched anything with him in it prior to this) he is pretty solid in the ring. Likewise McDowell can move, and they were able to capture the audience’s imagination without killing each other. To me, that's a solid opening. My only real criticism was the Chekov's Gun that was the bowling ball. I get that it's a prop, but if you're going to get me all excited by introducing a bowling ball in the story you better be ready to throw it at somebody's dick. Also, shout more bowling puns. Also, push out a projector and when you hit a signature move write down points on a score card.
Okay, now I'm just getting ridiculous.
It was a smart move to start off with a fun match, because show's that start with talking are the f**king pits. However, if you can get that initial energy out of the crowd early on, they're more likely to sit down and listen to what you're characters have to say so they can set-up the main event. After the bowling fella scraped himself off the mat in time to get in a quick nine frames on his way home, the BDW Champion Dan Sandwich came out to address the crowd. Yes, you read that right. His name is Dan Sandwich, or if you want to be formal, Mr. Sandwich.
I first saw Dan Sandwich two years ago at a Tri-State Wrestling show, and back then he was a heel who wore a nWo-styled shirt that said, "made To order" and he and his manager handed out subs to people in the crowd. It was odd, but also endearing as hell. That night I got several, "Mis-Ter-Sand-Wich" chants going, and by the end of the night he was a babyface whether he liked it or not. At this show the,” made To order” shirt was gone, he no longer handed out food to the crowd. At first I was kind of bummed to think he had lost those initial things that made me love him, but I quickly learned that he didn't need them. Dan Sandwich to the Black Diamond Wrestling crowd was the motherf**king man. When his music hit I couldn't even hear Jenkins sitting right next to me. It was deafening. Seriously, you'd think CM Punk had poked his head out from behind the curtain and waved. Those people went insane.
As far as the segment goes, it was necessary exposition that is required when you don't have a TV deal. It sucks, but the indie circuit is very much like the territory days when the only time your fans got updated was when the show came back to town. In this case, Dan Sandwich was informing the crowd that he had won the BDW title at some other show (another trick of the territory days when one guy isn't pulling his weight or can't make the show) only to be interrupted by a group called The Industry, who were like the Dangerous Alliance mixed with the Dungeon of Doom, but in a good way.
The Industry was an intriguing group. It consisted of Destine Vaine, a prima-donna who doesn't realize he's a little too big for his britches type character, his tag partner, Chris Marx, who was like Diet Caffeine Free Jack Swagger, Corey Futuristic, who really digs Back to the Future, manager Ronnie Starks, who was basically a tall Hornswoggle in a vest and got the heat Hornswoggle would if he only performed in front of Internet fans, and The Bulldozer, who was the hoss of the group and seemingly the mouthpiece of the night.
Regular readers already know of my fondness of hoss characters. From Big Van Vader all the way to post-2011 Mark Henry, big dudes that know how to wrestle give me a semi. I appreciate big dudes, especially at indie shows, because there is always a place for them in wrestling, but it's easy for people to forget that fat doesn't always equate to bad at wrestling. You can be fat and good at wrestling. They might not be trading wrist locks, but they will sure as hell be dropping bombs with authority on their smaller, more fit opponents who underestimate the chub. So when Bulldozer threw down the challenge to Mr. Sandwich to have a street fight for the title in the main event, I whispered to myself, "Yes. Show me what you've got fat man," and prepared myself to either chant, "THIS IS AWESOME" or, "BRO-DUS-CLAY" depending on what kind of hoss Bulldozer decided to be that night. Only time would tell, or more specifically, two hours later.
Fun anecdote: At the end of the promo the audience started to chant, “Ham and Cheese.” Since I’m not a regular I decided to inquire with the young man sitting behind me proudly shouting while holding a replica WWE spinner title belt:
Me- "What is the significance of 'Ham and Cheese'?"
Fan-"He's the bread man."
"The Trendsetter" Chase Aarons vs Pit Vicious w/ Sean Reznikk (Winner)
Here's what you need to know about the competitors of this match:
1) Chase Aarons legit broke his neck a few years ago, and every time he took a bump I thought he was going to be paralyzed for life. I understand that Chase Aarons is an adult capable of making his own decisions, but watching him take bumps from a guy who is more than double his weight made me cringe more than once.
2) Pit Vicious is the opposite of post-2011 Mark Henry. He's more Great Khali only not on stilts. He was basically a dummy for Chase Aarons to throw himself against and occasionally shove him over before finishing him with a banzai drop. He didn't add anything to the match except to act as a lightning rod for the BDW fans to take their aggression toward fat people out on (which was odd, because one look at the crowd would make you think they'd be more sympathetic to the large brothers). Like I said, I love hosses, but you have to give me something interesting to latch onto. Don't have your whole addition to the experience be, "I'm present." Otherwise you're just the Great Khali, and I f**king hate the Great Khali.
The real star of the match wasn't Chase Aarons, who despite my worry that he was going to be paralyzed this evening, is a legit fantastic light heavyweight wrestler. It was the guy walking around ringside wearing a jacket with the Black Lanterns logo on it and trunks with Bane's comic book appearance emblazoned on his dick. Sean Reznikk came out and talked a lot about the Church of Reznikk and how he and his followers were going to sanctify the BDW locker room, and it ruled.
I've never been a big fan of supernatural wrestling characters. Undertaker is fine, but when he holds his hands up and lighting hits the ring I kind of go, "whatever" and wait for him to just start jabbing people. I'm all for the suspension of disbelief, because you have to suspend disbelief in order to buy professional wrestling at all. But there's a big difference between buying a guy who has a dental practice on the side, and a man who can light things on fire with his mind.
But that's not what Reznikk is. He’s not Undertaker channeling demons from the abyss to do his bidding with lighting equipment. He's Bray Wyatt, he's Paul Heyman, he's the goddamn Taskmaster. He's a cult leader and cult leaders are scary as shit, because those guys are real. You’re not going to get hurt by a guy that raises his arms and goes, “fwoosh” with the hope that the pyro guy did his job right in real life, but you sure as shit could get kidnapped and dragged away to be the brainwashed slave of a sociopath.
Sean Reznikk's Church comes into play later into the show, but what you need to know right now is this: The Church of Reznikk is currently a force in the making, and it's going to be TIGHT.
The Fantastic Ones (Winners) vs Team FroFlex
This match. Oh God, THIS MATCH.
I love tag team wrestling with all my heart, but I love it even more when the teams in the match are legit tag teams. You know, guys that are sharing a gimmick as opposed to just being thrown together. This match had both of those things. The teams consisted of FroFlex as the babyface duo who had a thing for their hair and flexing, and The Fantastic Ones who are now my favorite things ever.
The Fantastic Ones consist of Jack Pollock, Payton Graham, and their manager Marcus Mann. Here, in no particular order, are the best reasons to love the Fantastic Ones:
- Lumberjack beards
- Their entrance music is, “Highway to the Danger Zone”
- Their entrance video had clips from, “Archer” (danger zoooone)
- Jumping high fives
- During their entrance the manager Marcus Mann uses his bullhorn to make siren noises
- This is their team photo (from left to right Graham, Mann, and Pollock)-
So yeah, all due respect to FroFlex, but the Fantastic Ones f**king rule.
The match itself was a wonder. Both teams had Eric Young type buffoons that are choice but silly, and they were able to rally the crowd into a frenzy whenever they did anything. Andrew Palace (the Fro of FroFlex) was a joy in his role, and cost his team the match because of HUBRIS when he took his time to put his goggles on to fly in the air, only for Jack Pollock (who I’ll admit is probably my favorite guy on the card due to the above listed reasons plus the fact that he doesn’t really take himself very seriously) to capitalize and get a fantastic victory. It was the perfect amount of silly mixed with action, despite a slight slip up near the end on Palace’s part. This would have been my match of the night if it wasn’t for that boss main event (more on that later).
In a world where BDW isn’t on a television channel nor is it readily available to most wrestling fans seeking new entertaining stars to cheer for, it pains me to think that most of you won’t get to see the Fantastic Ones live. Seriously, I’m bummed out right now. I think at the next show I’m going to try and get a high five from Jack Pollock. That might lift my spirits.
Over the Edge Championship Match- Champion: Corey Futuristic vs Jay Flash (Winner by DQ)
Look, if you held a gun to my head and told me, “Explain what the Over the Edge Title is or I’m going to blow your head off” I’d say, “Pull that trigger because I don’t know shit.” Seriously, I wish they had given me a pamphlet before I walked in that explained this stuff, because I don’t really know what the hell was happening a lot of the time and I could only ask the Spinner Belt Kid so many questions before he started to look annoyed.
The participants of this match were Jay Flash and Corey Futuristic. I was familiar with Jay Flash from previous shows I’ve seen, and he’s basically a mix between Kofi Kingston and somebody better than Kofi Kingston. Evan Bourne I guess. He’s got the look, he’s charming, he’s got real talent, and he’s over as f**k. Upon first impression of BDW, Jay Flash is the guy you would point at and say, “That’s a big league prospect.”
Corey Futuristic is a guy that weighs himself in gigawatts, has a finisher called the Delorean Driver, and looks like a total dumbass. I’m not trying to hate, he just looks like a guy that got through high school because he was a star kicker for the football team and not because he memorized the periodic table. Despite his goofy demeanor he’s actually pretty good in the ring. He had a great match with Edric Everhart at the aforementioned county fair, so I was pretty excited at the prospect of two guys I know throwing it down.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The timing was off, they were sloppy, there was too much ringside nonsense due to Corey’s Industry cohorts causing shenanigans with that damn numbers game for the focus to actually stay where it’s supposed to. Having the manager down there made sense, but there were three guys walking around and distracting the fans from the match. In a small venue with limited viewing space, it was pretty annoying whenever I was trying to watch Jay Flash drop a knee and got a face full of Chris Marx’s ass.
The match ended with an expected DQ finish, which was whatever because at that point I completely wasn’t invested with what was happening anymore. I like Jay Flash, and I know Corey Futuristic is capable. Tighten it up, and lose the ringside baggage. It doesn’t help, it detracts.
(At this point I’m closing in on 3,000 words and I still have four matches to go, so we’re going to wrap it up for now. Come back tomorrow for “Part 2” or “The One with the Payoff”!)
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