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Sunday, April 6, 2008

4/4 United Wrestling League Internet PPV Live Report

Courtesy of Larry Goodman:

United Wrestling League taped their second internet PPV event Friday night in Cleveland, Tennessee at the Village Green Playhouse.

It will be available at www.unitedwrestling.net starting at 7:30pm EST Saturday.

On this night, The UWL looked like a surefire losing proposition. They produced a show with few redeeming qualities and a lot of strong negatives - not enough talented performers, uninspired if not downright counterproductive booking, and only 115 in the house. There was little to compel fans of indie wrestling to shell out money for the PPV. It was a poor follow up to their first show, which wasn’t exactly gangbusters, but did have its moments. Two of the key players from that show, Bull Buchanan and Bulldog Raines were not on the card. Buchanan is in Japan. I don’t know about Raines.

On the plus side, visually, PPV#2 should be tons better than the first one. They picked a perfect venue. The Playhouse is like an upscale TV studio. Excellent lighting. Plenty of close ups. If only they could have packed the place, which holds maybe 250. The West family has got to be discouraged drawing so badly in their hometown.

In a mind boggling attempt to turn back the clock, they decided to forgo entrance music. I’m all about old school, but it’s a concept that spells doom when 90% of your fans have never seen wrestlers enter without it.

Ole Anderson was introduced by Steve Hartline from FM 104.1 in Cleveland. It dawned on me that Ole’s commentary was possibly the most interesting thing about the PPV, and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. I loved Hartline’s voice. He sounded a lot like Bill Mercer from World Class. Anderson shared the color commentary duties with Hartline. Michael St. John was back as the lead commentator. The show opened with three “pregame” matches. They made end up using some of this footage to fill out the 2 hours of PPV time.

(1) Derrick King beat Casey Kage in 4:18. King's performance was the most entertaining thing about this show. He knows how to connect with the crowd and bring out the hate. Kage debuted in the role of the hometown hero. Kage has good size but lacks the physique and athleticism for the spot. King was screaming like a girl as Kage tossed him around. King ridiculed Cleveland as he beat up on Kage. A fan threatened to slap King and his woman. “If you only knew,” said King. Kage came back and mounted the ropes for the 10 punches. King cut Kage off nine and pinned him with his feet on the ropes. Kade was seeing red.

King backdropped Kage over the top and strapped him with a belt - solid licks that produced some nice welts. Kage fired up. King got even more wide-eyed than usual and ran away. Kage vowed to get a piece of King before the night was over. To me, this segment made Kage look like an imbecile.

(2) Stan Lee beat Johnny Rokk (with Jack Lord) in 10:46. Coming off wining the Ultimate Wrestler tournament on the first PPV, this match was designed to get Lee over as the athletically superior babyface. The crowd got behind Lee after an impressive series of armdrags. Some of Lee’s stuff looks really good and some not so much. This match had more high spots than any of the PPV bouts. At one point, Lee took a high angle bump on his neck off a lariat. Rokk hit a top rope lariat and took forever to make the cover. Rook took forever and missed a top rope splash. Lee made the big comeback and won it with his trademark running SSP.

Wicked Nemesis came out and said Lee was not the Ultimate Wrestler because he needed help from Raines. Lee said he earned that title and Raines stole his medal. Orion Bishop joined Nemesis. Lee invited Bishop into the ring. Nemesis told Bishop to wait. Bishop didn’t listen and ate a spinkick for his troubles.

(3) Don Buchanan beat Cameron Valentine via DQ when Lords of the Ring interfered at 3:27. Lord and Rokk came out with Valentine. I liked Valentine. His gimmick is a complete ripoff of Greg, but it’s so well done as to be a fitting tribute. Why Lord has completely different guys in his stable from the first show was never explained. Perhaps they covered it in a backstage interview. Davey Rich (David Haskins) and Damon Taz came out with Buchanan to clear the ring. Referee Gene Johnson sent the other four guys to the back. Good brawl. Valentine shrugged off a dropkick and went for a piledriver but Buchanan blocked it. Buchanan started jack hammering Valentine bigtime. Don’s training with Bull is paying off. His stuff looked good. The other Lords hit the ring and they put the boots to Buchanan until Rich and Taz made the save.

“Nature Boy” Kevin White cut a promo saying he was not a “walk behind.” He was sick of Bill Dundee and it was time for “the natch.” It’s sacrilegious for that term to be applied to anyone but Flair this week. Dundee came out and said the only thing that was bothering White was his ego.

Michael St. John and Ole Anderson did the intro for the PPV. The crowd, which was mostly dead until now, was more lively going forward. The Wrestlemania after glow was evident, as there several times when the kids in the crowd were calling for a superkick.

(4) Casey Kage beat Sky Adams (with Derrick King) in 10:08. Kage was thwarted by King’s constant interference, which allowed Adams to control the body of the match. Still, Adams is a jobber type, and if they want to push Kage as a babyface, it shouldn’t have taken him 10 minutes to beat a guy like that. Adams rammed into the turnbuckle and Kage made a careless pin, not even bothering to hook the leg. Adams was so close the corner that he had to avoid putting his foot on the ropes.

Kage chased King into the ring, but before he could do any damage to King, Adams grabbed him by the leg. King strapped Kage again and put some more welts on him.

(5) Davey Rich beat Derrick King in 5:45. A fine match. Rich looked very good here. Kage came to ringside all in a huff and got dragged to the back by the refs. King attacked before Rich could take off his ring jacket. Rich gave King an atomic drop, and King took a ridiculously exaggerated bump through the ropes. Rich speared the post. King turned Rich inside out with a lariat. Great old school punch series by King with Rich snapping his head back with each blow. King hit a DDT and went for the pin with feet on the ropes again. Not this time. Rich roared back pinning King with a fisherman suplex.

King strapped Rich with the belt and announced “Derrick by God greater than great King” as the winner.

(6) Davey Rich & Don Buchanan beat Lords of the Ring (Johnny Rokk & Cameron Valentine with Jack Lord) 2 out of 3 falls in a total time of 16:33. Match started with Taz as Buchanan’s partner. Rokk took all the punishment. Rokk mule kicked Buchanan in the groin, and Valentine tagged in for the glory. Solid offense from Valentine. Taz saved after a top rope elbow. Hot tag and Taz cleaned house. Taz had Rokk pinned with a stiff kick the the face, but Lord distracted the ref. Not to be denied, Taz pinned Valentine with a powerslam variation at 8:47. Taz got dumped by Valentine. As Buchanan was beating the crap out of Valentine, Lord used a chair on Taz. Valentine then pinned Taz with a neckbreaker in 3:09. Rich and Lee came out to check on Taz, who was injured. Taz was carried out on a backboard. Buchanan wailed away on Valentine, gamely fighting on against the odds. Rich replaced Taz. Hot tag. Bumps all around as Lords did a nice job feeding for Rich. Buchanan hit a middle rope facebuster on Valentine, and Johnson made a fast three count.

(7) Stan Lee vs. Orion Bishop (with Wicked Nemesis) ended in a disputed decision where both men scored pinfalls (11 minutes). Best match of the night. Lee opened hot. Bishop bailed after taking a huracanrana, and Lee scored a near fall after a barrage of stiff kicks. Lee attempted a high crossbody that Bishop converted into a fallaway slam to turn the tide. A series of reversals ended with a devastating wheelbarrow uranage by Bishop. Bishop used a dragon sleeper. There was a weird looking spot where Bishop got dropped on his arm. Lee countered a powerbomb with a triangle choke, but Bishop powerbombed his way out of it. Bishop came up selling the arm and was slow to cover. Referee Joe Evans got bumped. Bishop clocked Lee with a chain he got from Nemesis. No ref to count. Lee nailed a variation of the Phenomenon, the moonsault into a reverse DDT that A. J. Styles uses. Lee hit the running SSP, sort of, and referee Daniel Brooks hit the ring to make the three count. Brooks raised Lee’s hand. Bishop then put Lee’s lights out with the chain, and Evans came around to make the count on Lee. Evan declared Bishop the winner. The referees argued back and forth. Hartline said the decision would be left up to “the committee.”

(8) Kevin White beat Bill Dundee in 12:13. Dundee wore a full bodysuit. He was more over than I expected for a 64 year-old main event babyface. Not much of a match, but it did have decent heat. It was mostly stalling mixed with comedy. The fans made fun of White’s penis size. Dundee then distracted the ref and stomped his tiny nuts. White took over. Lord came to ringside. Shoulder block collision and both men down. Lord held a chair up for Dundee (huh?). White shot Dundee off into the chair and pinned him.

Postmatch, the Lords attacked White. Then they attacked Dundee. Valentine went to piledrive Dundee but White made the save. White and Dundee still weren’t best buddies. Dundee yelled at White for disrespecting Anderson. “He’s Mr. Anderson to you.” Dundee said Ole and Gene were as bad a tag team as there ever was.

The crowd cheered for Anderson. Ole said he appreciated the response but he kind of missed being booed, so the crowd booed him.

NOTES: April 26 was announced as the return date in Cleveland at the Village Green Playhouse. No matches or talent mentioned in connection with that date…Ron West was not at the show because it was the first night of the circus season, which stretches from now through November – seven days a week, two shows per day and three on Saturday.