Pro Wrestling Empire continues to grow, so much so that they’ve announced that much of their next show, Clash of the Titans, on Saturday, October 22nd, will be filmed for local television! This past Saturday though, May 2st, it was PWE’s third show, Collateral Damage. Wrestling Done Right was there for our live pre-show (Found on my Facebook page HERE) “Indy Wrestling Saturday,” but now it’s time to bring you our post show review and recap.
The show kicked off with a tag team bout between The Regulators and American Adrenaline. The Regulators, a team of two former police officers, dominated most of the match, and sent AA packing with a big win, moving up the ranks in The PWE tag team scene, ever closer to becoming the first PWE tag team champions.
This match is what you’d expect a preshow match to be, decent, but nothing you’d regret missing if you got to the show late. My issue with the match is that American Adrenaline is a team that works nowhere outside of PWE, and that easily shows. The Regulators have worked a few other places, so they deserved the win, but I still wonder how they stand up to the likes of other teams in the area like The Blood Bound Warriors, and The Wildcardz? It’s never a great thing when a wrestling match makes you think of other wrestlers.
The official show kicked off with “The Untouchable Kevin Murphy appreciation night.” Murphy, the infamous leader of Hollywood’s Finest, has more fans than you might imagine, and they were clearly showing their appreciation of him until Ryan Kolby interrupted for the start of their match. Kolby, once the leader of Hollywood’s Finest, was attacked by Murphy, and kicked out of the faction over a year ago. This was never settled in the ring, and this night both men wrestled one of the best matches I have personally ever seen either wrestle. The crowd was split evenly, as was the match up, until Murphy used the ropes for leverage and pinned one half of The Heroes for Hire. Murphy then proceeded to beat down Kolby until he was rescued by The Mercenary.
This match was solid, you could tell there had been a lot of preparation beforehand, but I much prefer that to sloppy work. Both guys looked good, and Kolby isn’t really hurt by the loss, due to being part of a solid tag team in Heroes for Hire, with Zack Rayne.
As Murphy retreated to the ramp, he announced who Mercenary’s opponent would be this evening. And it was none other than a returning Miss Brianna, BooKoo Bucks! Brianna, having been out for over a year, was happy to be back, taking on Mercenary in a no holds barred match. She used a cane to unmercifully beat on Mercenary, until he refused to take anymore, and delivered a huge Samoan drop for the victory. Mercenary was livid, and said that PWE owner Colin Bright promised him that if he won his match tonight, that he would have a match with Murphy on the October show, with any stipulation he wanted! Colin Bright made his way to ringside, and said this is indeed true. Mercenary then challenged Murphy to a “Hell in a cell” match! Murphy smirked, until Bright said that he had indeed procured a cell, and the match would happen. It would not only happen, but Hollywood’s Finest’s manager, Andy Vineberg, would be locked in that cell as well, with not only Mercenary, and Murphy, but Colin himself!
This match was nothing special obviously, but it was nice to see BooKoo back, and it was a solid set up to a HIAC match up in October. My other thoughts on this situation? Murphy is a fair wrestler, but a top notch entertainer. Vineberg is an excellent manager in every aspect. Bright is a respectable owner, authority figure. Mercenary…while maybe a wonderful man behind the paint, his gimmick is poor, his look is even worse, and he doesn’t come off the least bit “menacing.” Some of you think I’m just a jerk, or too picky. Let’s be fair here…take a look at this picture and decide for yourself.
Am I a jerk, or simply honest? I’ve heard rumor that The Mercenary is working on his image, his gear, etc. I certainly hope that’s the case. If he takes constructive criticism, and improves those things, maybe I can take him serious. As is, I was highly annoyed, and frustrated, that he defeated BooKoo Bucks!
Next up it was a member of the one and only Anoa’I family, in Lance Anoa’I, taking on the very creepy, and strange, Jason Gory. In a very solid clash of styles, these two worked one of the best matches of the night. Just when Lance seemed to have total control, and was preparing to put Gory down, something that’s very difficult to do for anyone, Gory dropped a hypodermic needle that he seemingly was preparing to use on Lance in some way! This distracted, and apparently horrified referee Bruce Delaney, who put on his latex gloves in order to pick it up, and dispose of it. As he was doing so, Gory spit his red blood mist into the face of Lance, and rolled him up just as the referee turned around, and counted the 1-2-3, giving Gory a big win.
This match was very solid, a good indy wrestling match up. Solid work from both guys, and the hypodermic needle was something I’ve never seen before, and made me enjoy the match, and ending all the more.
Local favorite Richie Nightmare then took on Blackwater in a very short match. Much of the start was both guys playing to the crowd, something you never can do against Nightmare on a Harrisburg show. Richie made quick work of Blackwater, hitting his finish about 5 minutes in. Afterwards Nightmare shook his opponent’s hand, and said he hopes to see him back in PWE. Nightmare then demanded to know why he wasn’t placed in the main event, TLC match up, for a shot at becoming the first ever PWE champion. After all, he’s popular, and defeated BJ Walker on the last show in a brutal falls count anywhere match. Colin Bright came to the stage and agreed to put Richie into the match. This brought out Hollywood’s Finest associate, C.M. Serenyi, who snatched a pink folding chair from the founding Nightmare nation fan in attendance, and proceeded to unmercifully beat down Richie with it. Serenyi took out both knees with brutal shots, leaving Nightmare laying. It was obvious to all that this would likely leave Richie out of the TLC main event, and it was announced later, that this was the case.
What do I even say here? Richie is over, he has a ton of fans in Central Pennsylvania, and he tries really hard. He seems to be a great guy, and he has a solid look! He wears good gear, (but don’t ask me why he wears kickpads) and looks like a professional wrestler, though he’s not in ring shape, fixing that alone would help him tremendously. He will work other shows here and there, but overall is just a local guy. I’ve seen worse, but when I am getting messages from fans that have just been exposed to him, asking why he’s so popular, that tells you something is wrong. In my opinion he’s sort of like Roman Reigns, but instead of being pushed by a major company onto the fans, the fans are pushing him onto the companies in this area. It’s great for all those who love him so, but for everyone else, it’s just sort of an annoying mystery.
It was then the women’s turn to shine, as Roxanne Steel, Tess Valentine, Vanity, and Mandy Leon faced off in a fatal four way elimination match. Roxanne grabbed the house mic and said there was no need for this match, as she is the best woman in the area, and she was sick of PWE bringing in others that were no challenge to her. This caused the other three ladies to join forces, beating Roxanne down, and eliminating her immediately from the contest. Vanity seemed hampered in some way, as she was slower than usual, and as such found herself eliminated soon after Steel was, but when she was pinned, her leg was draped across the bottom rope, and Referee Bruce Delany didn’t notice it at all! It was unfortunate to see a referee’s lack of attention costing someone like Vanity her spot in this match up. This bout had quickly turned into a traditional one on one match between Tess Valentine and Mandy Leon. Both women worked solidly, and had a good match. I believe most assumed the Ring of Honor wrestler would prevail, but much like Chuck and I predicted on the pre-show, you cannot under estimate Valentine, and I suspect Leon may have done so just a little, and found herself on the losing end of that mistake. Tess Valentine picked up a big win, moving up the rankings of the PWE women’s division.
While I was disappointed to see Vanity out so early, Valentine and Leon worked well together. While I have nothing against Leon, I was happy to see Tess Valentine get a big win, and I want to see just how far she goes in PWE.
In a match that I don’t want to even give much time to, The Party Nerds took on Horror Core, SwiftSylde, and The Star Lords to see which tag team would advance towards the PWE tag titles. The Star Lords won a pretty dull match that was outshined by the break up, and fight, between Swift Kick Canon and Slyder.
Look, I don’t get any of these teams. Horror Core are okay, but their size keeps me from taking them overly serious as “monsters.” The Party nerds were filler, as this was the last show for Dexter McPoindexter, and I’ll never understand the popularity of The Star Lords, a cheap version of Heroes for Hire, that I think are over because of their entrance theme. Let’s just move along.
In a match to determine a finalist for the push to crown the first ever PWE champion, Laszlo Arpad would take on Kai Katana in a submissions match…or so we thought. After Arpad made his entrance, and awaited Katana, C.M. Serenyi came dragging Katana out, battered and beaten, barely conscience! Arpad and Serenyi celebrated Laszlo’s easy advance, only to be interrupted by Heroes for Hire’s Zack Rayne and Ryan Kolby. Rayne was irate, and told Arpad he was not going to just walk into the finals of the PWE title tournament, and said he would take Katana’s spot. This was agreed upon by PWE management, and the bout was underway. This match was a show stealer, as Rayne and Arpad gave each other everything they had. Rayne fought like a man possessed, and backed the bigger man down numerous times. It was clear Arpad wasn’t expecting this, and fought on his heels most of the bout. In frustration, Arpad nailed his dreaded “Sword of Attila” clothesline finisher, forgetting it was a submissions only match. After arguing with the referee for not counting a pin fall, Arpad locked in a horribly painful looking full nelson camel clutch, that he later informed me, is called “The Heroes Square!” As valiantly as Rayne fought, I don’t see any man not tapping to such a brutal hold, as Rayne did, giving Arpad a path into the finals for the PWE championship. Hollywood’s Finest all came to the ring to celebrate, when Colin Bright interrupted to inform them that the title picture wasn’t just going to be all about them. Bright announced that in October, there would be a Royal Rumble style match to determine another contender to the first ever PWE championship match!
This bout between Arpad and Rayne was top notch, and clearly one of, if not the show stealer. Both men gave it their all, and showed that central Pennsylvania has many top notch talents in the world of pro wrestling. This is the kind of match I like to see on wrestling cards, and something I could see making both men a bigger deal.
BJ Walker would then introduce his “Icon Hour” segment to much applause. Walker is very over with the local wrestling fans, and they have been wanting him to have bigger, and better opportunities. Walker made his way to the ring dressed in a nice suit, and carrying an expensive bottle of liquor. The Icon proceeded to tell anyone booing him just how foolish they were, before announcing that he was declaring himself number one in the PWE Royal Rumble style match on the October, Clash of the Titans show. This brought out Shane Malice, who seem to declare himself Walker’s first guest. Malice questioned Walker’s attitude, and told him that if he was declaring himself number one, he was declaring himself number two! Walker smirked, and told Malice “If you want to be the second guy in that match, and the first guy out, I’ll be happy to oblige, just shake my hand!” When Malice shook Walker’s hand, he got a face full of whatever expensive “adult beverage” Walker had brought to the ring with him, and a few stomps and kicks as well.
Walker is great, I’ve been saying that for over a year now. Here’s hoping this Icon Hour continues, and he uses it to become a Roddy Piper kind of heart getting heel with it. Malice is a strong, “enforcer” style of wrestler that should match up well against Walker. I am looking forward to these two possibly having a long feud in PWE, and to more Icon Hours!
The special guest of the evening, Buff Bagwell, faced off against “The Flex Express’s “Sizzling Stan Styles” who of course had his ever present valet Destiny by his side. As if that wasn’t enough, he also brought along his tag team partner, Total Alpha TJ Mathis. Bagwell, 46 years old, moved around the ring like a 30 year old, and tied up Styles often, frustrating him, and causing Mathis and Destiny to get involved as often as they could. At one point Bagwell was tossed from the ring, allowing Destiny and Mathis to get in his way just enough to give the count out win to Sizzling Stan. This didn’t sit well with Colin Bright who came to the stage, and announced that the match would restart, and if Destiny or Mathis interfered they would not work for PWE again! After another ten minutes of a well fought contest, Bagwell got the victory. Colin Bright came to the ring to congratulate him, only to be attacked by Bagwell! As Bagwell walked out with The Flex Express, Andy Vineberg appeared on the stage, and handed Bagwell an envelope full of cash for “doing the right thing.” Vineberg then went on to promise that he and Hollywood’s Fines would soon own the PWE, because Colin was nothing but a mistake in the world of wrestling, just like his conception was, alongside route 83, where all the accidents happen!
This match was fun, as Bagwell looked good, and performed solidly. It allowed not only Styles to get over, but his entire team. Even with a loss, it didn’t matter, as it was all a ploy to see Bright humiliated. The Flex Express look good, and perform solidly, and should be in the tag team mix for sure, it needs them. Vineberg keeps inserting himself anywhere that’s important, making Hollywood’s Finest more and more important, as well as hated, as it should be.
Finally, and I do mean finally, as I reach page 5 on Microsoft Word for this recap/review, it was time for the main event! In an insane Tables, Ladders, and chairs match, where the winner would advance to the finals for the PWE championship, Hollywood’s Finest Eddie Smooth would take on Sean Carr, Shane Strickland (Lucha Underground’s Killshot) and AR Fox! While several fans complained on social media that having these four incredible wrestlers face off in a gimmicked, four way match was a “waste,” these guys made them all eat those words! This bout was worthy of a Wrestlemania moment, as every competitor threw their body’s all over the venue, and caution to the wind. I can’t even begin to recap everything that went on, but it was a wrestling fans dream! From ladder spots, to chair shots, to AR Fox falling from one level of the venue, through a table, onto the floor, via Sean Carr superkick, you had to be there to believe it. At one point Strickland hit Eddie Smooth with a hurricurrinna from the top rope, through a table, that put Smooth out of the match, onto a gurney, for the second half of the match! As Fox and Strickland seemed to team up to take out Carr, and then ascend to see which could capture the briefcase above the ring, that had the title match contract in it, Eddie Smooth rushed back to the ring, took both men out, and climbed the ladder to claim that all for himself, as the winner of the match up! Was he playing possum? It’s likely he was, but that’s Hollywood’s Finest for you, and to think…they are “only getting started!”
Wow…if Collateral Damage had only been this main event match, it still would have been worth the price of admission! While it ran longer than I like to see wrestling shows run, it was a solid effort, and an entertaining night. I have to subtract points for most of the tag team action, as it was just subpar, but matches like Lance/Gory, Arpad/Rayne, Styles/Bagwell, /The ladies,/ And my lord that main event, they won more points back than they lost, giving the show a respectable 8/10 overall. Keep The Icon Hour, find better tag teams, and keep everything else the same, and PWE will work their way to a 9/10 from me as they will be even more… Wrestling Done Right!