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Saturday, November 29, 2008

11/28 Prime Time Pro Wrestling Report: Swinger Debuts

Courtesy of Larry Goodman:

Johnny Swinger made a shocking debut for NWA Prime Time Pro Wrestling Friday night in Columbus.

Until the moment a masked Swinger hit the ring to join the invaders from Great Championship Wrestling, he was the biggest name star on the GCW roster, a position he had held since his departure from WWE.

It’s a hell of angle. For several weeks, Sonny Siaki had been wreaking havoc in Prime Time, while still claiming to work for their bitter rival, GCW. Last week, Siaki grabbed Tracy Taylor as a hostage and threatened to break her neck. Promoter Billy Roper agreed to close down the company if David Young didn’t beat Siaki in a match. Siaki agreed to go back across the river to GCW if he lost. Well, Siaki lost but he lied about leaving, and now Swinger and Zero Tolerance have joined the invasion.

Whether Swinger coming in proves to be a good business decision for Prime Time is another thing altogether. Only time and the depth of Roper’s pocketbook will tell. It was almost certainly a good business decision for GCW to jettison Swinger, as he was no doubt the highest paid guy on their roster.

PTPW drew a disappointing 140 to the Prime Time Arena for the ultimate high stakes stipulation. What more can you put up than the very existence of your company? The subpar crowd is more, I think, a sign of changing times than a fault of the angle. Sadly, the days when holiday weekends meant big crowds for wrestling have come and gone. If anything, holiday weekends appear to be a negative at this point.

The crowd was on fire for the main event and all the hoopla afterwards. However, they never fully turned up the heat until then, as a lackluster undercard gave them little reason to do so. A certain group of knowledgeable regular attendees said it was only overall bad show since David Young started booking.

(1) Simon Sermon & Thomas Britain beat the Iceberg & Deathrow to retain the PTWP Tag Team Championship in 9:15. Being that it was matchup of heel teams, the heat was less than optimal. The Brits had title belts wrapped in British flags, the deal being they planned to take the titles across the river (to GCW) when their contacts expired after next Friday. Sermon was his usual entertaining self. The prospect of locking up with Iceberg had him chewing his nails. The monsters decimated Britain. Sermon had to made save after save. But the problems between Iceberg and Deathrow came to a head Iceberg “accidentally” got clocked by Deathrow. Iceberg retaliated with a lariat, Sermon pounced on top of Deathrow for the three count. Sermon then loaded Britain onto his back and ran out with the belts. Funny stuff.

Iceberg briefly took possession of both the NWA Anarchy Heavyweight belt and Deathrow’s PTPW Heavyweight belt over his head.

(2) Frankie Valentine beat Josh Stone in 9:30. The crowd popped for Valentine’s entrance. He can go face of heel. Match wasn’t bad, but it was babyface vs. babyface, and the crowd wasn’t feeling it once the bell rang. After a missed slingshot move by Valentine, Stone went to work on his shoulder. Valentine made the comeback and after wrestling clean the entire match, Stone raked the eyes. Why now? Finish saw Valentine block a superplex and pin Stone with a super sunset flip.

Sermon carried Britain back out to the ring. Sermon told Roper he had just witnessed an example of the Brits’ domination. Britain was still out of it. He crawled across the ring to grab onto to Roper’s pant leg. Sermon said they were “going across the river” in one more week. With that, Sermon carried Britain and the title belts to the back.

(3) Genni Wright beat Tracy Taylor in 9:10. This match had the wrong kind of heat. Wright was wearing the worst possible gear for her body type, and she got ripped to shreds by a decidedly sadistic element in the crowd. It didn’t help that she also stinks as a wrestler. It was originally booked as a tag (see notes below), where they may have been able to hide Wright’s shortcomings. Just maybe. Wright heeled. The crowd got behind Tracy, who hit a powerslam to spark a comeback. Wright pinned Tracy using the tights. You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. Not only is Tracy a regular, she had already pinned two of their male wrestlers. No freaking this girl should beat her.


(4) Killer Instinct (Mike Stratus & Jake Slater) beat Chip Day & Kyle Matthews in 9:40. The undersized babyface team came out flying. It was the most into the show this crowd had been all night. They worked on the leg of Stratus and then the arm of Slater. Matthews took the heat. Stratus was good here. He’s a solid heel – a stocky grizzled veteran type. Mathews went through the legs to make the hot tag. Day hit a double missile dropkick and cleaned house, but ended up on the wrong end of a slice ‘n dice legdrop by Stratus.

(5) Micah Taylor beat Travis Sawyer (with Tony Lucassio) in 13:18. This match had the best true wrestling content, and that was 90% Micah. Make no mistake, the guy is a great wrestler. Every hold applied in a realistic manner. The heat was so-so. I don’t think the fans saw Sawyer as a legitimate threat to beat one of Prime Time’s top guys. Sawyer needs to get in better shape if he’s going to make a deal out of being Buzz’s son. I was a huge mark for Sawyer when he was the man in Georgia Championship Wrestling. They talk about his feud with Tommy Rich, but with all due respect, none of those matches could hold a candle to his chain match with Roddy Piper in the Omni. But I digress. Lucassio got “shut up” heat on the mic. Taylor did some stellar work on Sawyer’s leg, the highlight being the surfboard leglock. With Lucassio providing the distraction, Sawyer delivered a knee to the back that sent Micah through the ropes. Sawyer worked over Micah’s back. Ref Rob Russo caught Sawyer using the ropes on a pin attempt. Micah then kicked out of Sawyer’s powerslam. The crowd revved up for Micah’s comeback. Sawyer did a rhino like charge into the turnbuckles and Micah rolled him up. Sawyer did the sore loser back jumping thing after the match.

(6) Bulldog Raines beat Colt Derringer in a cowbell on a bullrope match (12:34). It was OK, but there was something missing, mainly, the expected brutality. The cowbell barley figured into the match. The first man to touch all four corners in succession would be the winner. Raines controlled the early portion of the match via inventive use of the rope. He got three touches before being cut of by Derringer’s rope lariat. Derringer gave Raines a few cowbell shots to the back. Derringer hit a middle rope legdrop and they did the deal where both men touch 3 corners. They got into a tug of war as Derringer strained to make the fourth corner. They needed a shorter rope to make it believable. Raines speared Derringer. Raines hit a Blue Thunder Bomb, an impressive move on man Derringer’s size that appeared to suck out all the energy he had. Raines put the rope around Derringer’s neck and dragged him to three corners with both men touching. A not so monumental struggle ensued and Raines managed to make the fourth touch.

Postmatch: Derringer bludgeoned Raines with the cowbell and hung him over the top rope. Day, Matthews and Valentine came out to make the save.

Intermission number two. Micah and Tracy Taylor out for autographs and so forth.

Before the main event, Roper called for quiet, so he could explain the gravity of the situation. He thanked the fans for their support in case this was it for PTPW.

(7) David Young beat Sonny Siaki via DQ when his masked accomplice, revealed as Zero Tolerance, interfered at 11 minutes. The heat was off the hook for this match. Siaki entered through a side door carrying a 2 x 4. He knocked a heckler on his ass and decked a security guard. Siaki was accompanied by Tolerance in a ski mask. Ringside fans that attended GCW shows recognized him. There aren’t many dudes that size walking around. This action quickly spilled outside the ring. Roper got in a cheap shot on Siaki. Young sent Siaki flying through a section of ringside seats. Young tried to come off the apron with a huracanrana, and Siaki slammed his head into a chair. Siaki clocked Young with a fire extinguisher and got a two count on the floor. Somebody made it falls count anywhere, I guess. Inside the ring, Young kicked out of a DDT on the chair. Young kicked out. Siaki choked Young with his GCW hoodie. The crowd was pleading for Young to make a comeback. Siaki superkicked Young, and he kicked out again. Young hit a tornado kick and then the spinebuster, The masked dude attacked ref Rob Russo for the DQ.

Tolerance gave Young a full nelson slam and took off his mask. Chris Stevens ran out to save his partner (why wasn’t he at ringside watching Young’s back?), but he was beaten down, and both members of Bad Company got laid out with flapjacks. Another second masked man in a leather jacket came in through the back door with a baseball bat. By this time, Roper had jumped into the ring, and the masked guy jabbed him in the gut with the baseball bat. Masked man #2 revealed himself to be Swinger. The carnage continued with Young, Stevens, Roper and Russo all left laying. Siaki said GCW would be back next week. Swinger said they were taking over. The invaders exited through the back door of the arena. Young addressed the invaders while he was still down in the ring. “Don’t walk away, cuz I’m still breathing.” Young said the GCW guys would have to kill him. Young said Bad Company would be back and they were bringing hell with them.

That sets up Bad Company (Young & Stevens & Bull Buchanan) vs. Siaki & Swinger & Tolerance for December 5.

In an appalling lack of attention to detail, Roper conducted the show closing raffle. The rumbling in the distance wasn’t thunder; it was the sound of countless old school bookers rolling in their graves. I’m not saying Roper didn’t sell the beating, because he definitely did, but his recuperative powers were superior to the wrestlers. Either do the raffle at intermission, or better yet, have some poor grief-stricken PTPW employee do it, while Roper is being carried to the back. It’s a given that today’s fans don’t buy this stuff as real. Doing things the proper way may not sell tickets, but there’s still a right way and a wrong way to do things.

NOTES: The women’s tag match originally advertised,: Taylor & Daffney vs. Wright & April O’Neil was pared down to a singles match…Day is known as “Do or Die” Chip Day. He has Mountain Dew gear and guzzles a can of that nasty stuff on his way to the ring…The second intermission came at 10pm. The late start (7:55 advertised as 7:30) is problematic if you’re going to do two intermissions. They got away with doing a three hour show and not burning out the crowd this time, but it’s a dangerous habit to get into…Talent currently performing for PTPW that formerly worked for GCW in Phenix City include Siaki, Swinger, Tolerance, Young, Stevens, the Taylors and Bull Buchanan…Complete card for 12/5: Bad Company vs. GCW Invaders, Raines vs. Shaun Tempers, Sermon & Britain defend the tag titles against Valentine & Ace Rockwell, Iceberg & Deathrow vs. Killer Instinct, Day & El Loco vs. Micah & Tracy Taylor, Wrestler vs. Colt Derringer.