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Monday, December 29, 2008

12/26 NWA Prime Time Report With Jannetty, Swinger, Buchanan And More

Courtesy of Larry Goodman:

Saturday night’s NWA Prime Time Pro Wrestling show drew the largest paid attendance in the company’s brief history in Columbus, Georgia.

210 at the Prime Time Arena saw what may have been the best show the promotion has ever done. It was, beyond question, the bloodiest, and it certainly had the hottest crowd.

The show was headlined by twin cage matches, one with a hangman’s noose stipulation, the other for the heavyweight title. All four men involved bled, most notably Bulldog Raines, whose forehead was like a fountain.

There were issues with the presentation of the main events, but they seemed minor in the overall scheme of things. Great heat can disguise a multitude of sins.

It was also the smoothest running, best paced Prime Time event I’ve attended.

(1) Big Nasty beat Young Tiger in 3:13. Awesome finish. Too bad it was preceded by such a lousy match. Badass black guy destroys tiny masked black guy. Tiny guy was having a rough night. Badass guy was very green. But they did nail the finish. Nasty reversed Tiger’s dragonrana with a sitout powerbomb.

The debuting Exotic Ones came out looking extremely gay. Underneath the psychedelic wigs and face paint were Simon Sermon, Thomas Britain and Rick Michaels, much to the dismay of promoter Billy Roper, who though he was rid of Sermon and Britain when their contracts expired. Sermon teased kissing Roper.

(2) Bull Buchanan beat The Exotic Ones (Rick Michaels & Simon Sermon & Thomas Britian) via count out in 8:55. There was a big Asian dude dressed like a medieval Samurai warrior. I kept expected him to get involved. Exotic Ones stalled. Britain played the Buddy Roberts role of taking the beating for the other Freebirds. Michaels clipped Buchanan’s knee to start the heat. Sermon took the Flair slam off the top and it was time to feed the monster. After taking a lariat from Bull, Sermon was pulled out the ring, and the Exotics took the ten count. Buchanan looked invincible against three guys. It was a great way to strengthen the Prime Time side in the main angle with the GCW invaders.

(3) Micah Taylor & Tracy Taylor beat Josh Stone & Genni Wright (with Colt Derringer) in 12:30. Roper introed the Micah and Tracy as the only husband and wife tag team in the NWA. This match had the best heat all night. The Taylors are way over, especially with the kids. I mean this act actually sells tickets. The Taylors dominated. The main thing was Tracy getting the best of Stone, while Wright wanted no part of Micah. Wright was still bad, but it’s a lot easier to hide her terribleness in a tag. The heels took advantage of Tracy’s temper to beat up on Micah. They built it to a textbook hot tag. Taylor cleaned Wright’s clock with forearm shots and had her pinned with a swinging neckbreaker. Stone interfered. They went four-way. Tracy went for a sunset flip on Stone, and Wright hooked his hands to block it. Micah shoved Wright into Stone, who was pinned (illegally) by Tracy.

Roper announced that the Marty Jannetty/Travis Sawyer rematch would not be taking place due to the injury Jannetty suffered last week. Roper explained that Jannetty injured his leg on a dive over the top rope. Jannetty came out on one crutch to address the crowd. Jannetty said the truth was that Sawyer attacked him in the parking lot after last week’s show and messed up his leg. Sawyer came out with his loudmouth manager, Tony Lucassio. While Sawyer was getting in Jannetty’s face, Lucassio gave him a cheap shot from behind. They attacked Jannetty, ripping the bandages off his knee. Deathrow made the save. He did one spot with Sawyer, and the heels bailed. Deathrow cut a robotic promo. He said Jannetty was the toughest guy he ever faced, and Sawyer would have to come through him. Deathrow challenged them to a tag match next week. Lucassio told Sasquatch to calm down. He said wrestling wasn’t in his NWA contract, but he had an idea. Out came Mr. Hughes looking positively skinny. Jannetty and Hughes went back and forth talking about their history in WWE. Jannetty told Hughes that Deathrow was the badder ass of the two. Hughes vowed to put both of them out with the sidewalk slam. Jannetty said he had Deathrow were bonded in blood. Good stuff, although longer than it needed to be for maximum impact. I can’t see Jannetty doing much next week. His knee legitimately looked like hell- an ugly swollen mass of flesh.

(4) Johnny Swinger & Zero Tolerance beat David Young & Chris Stevens in 12:38. Swinger blamed referee Rob Russo costing them the tag titles and said Roper was at the helm of the conspiracy. Swinger told Russo to get lost, because he had brought in a suitable official from “across the river.” Swinger dragged some guy named Jeremy Black into the ring and put a t-shirt on him that had “GCW Ref” scrawled on it with Sharpie. This match also had great heat, as the fans wanted the faces to kill the fake ref for not doing his job. Young and Stevens beat up on Swinger. Young was the babyface-in-peril. Zero dropped an elbow that liked to have caved in Young’s chest, and Stevens had to make a save. For the second match in a row, they pulled off a hot tag that was truly hot. Stevens cleared the ring, with Zero selling his punches like a bobble head doll. Young bowled the heels over with a flip dive. Stevens grabbed the ref for some comeuppance, but Swinger cut him off with a low blow and the ref made the three count. I thought this match worked just fine to sustain the momentum on the GCW/Prime Time angle. It’s an encouraging sign that they drew their best crowd, while still being able to save the big stuff for later.

(5) Bulldog Raines beat Colt Derringer in a Hangman’s Noose in a Cage match (12-13 minutes. Tops my list as the goriest live match of 2008. And it made sense, at least as much as unbridled violence on a colossal scale can. Raines beat Derringer clean in a bullrope match at Thanksgiving, only to have Colt hang him afterwards. They continued to get in each other’s business. There were nooses hanging from all four corners of the cage. The only way to win was to get the noose around the other guy’s neck. Derringer bled first. Derringer used a low blow to set up a hanging, but Bulldog fought it off. After Derringer missed a huge top rope leg drop, Bulldog speared him. That brought Stone and Wright to ringside. With Stone provided the distraction, Wright gave Derringer his bullrope. Micah ran out to chase Stone to the back. Derringer clocked Raines with the cowbell. Raines bled buckets – a full crimson mask with blood covering his body all the way down to his tights. We’re talking epic blood loss. Raines tossed Derringer off the top rope and made a useless cover, as he clearly wasn’t thinking straight. They did a sadistic spot where Derringer tied Raines’ hands up in a noose rendering him defenseless and beat on his bloody head. Finish saw Raines hit his Blue Thunder Bomb and hang Derringer with his own bullrope.

Post-match, Raines pounded on Derringer’s head until he was out cold. Raines staggered to the back with blood still streaming out of his forehead. Derringer was so out of it that he slid down the ringsteps on his belly. For a grueling, violent, dramatic blow off match, this was everything it needed to be.

(6) Iceberg beat Deathrow in a cage match to retain the PTPW Heavyweight Title in 19:56. The handling of this program left something to be desired. It was a solid idea: a tag team of monsters that couldn’t get along. The Anarchy monster cheated to take the title from the Prime Time monster, but it seemed awfully quick to put them in a cage. The fans had no clear favorite going in since Deathrow’s turn didn’t take place until earlier on the show. Be that as it may, I didn’t expect a 20 minute match involving Deathrow to be this good. They didn’t wait for the bell. This wasn’t going to be pretty. Deathrow tried to hang Iceberg with one of the nooses. It was a great looking spot with Iceberg lapsing into unconsciousness as he teetered on the ropes. Problem was Deathrow had the champion in the noose no time, when Raines had just been through 12 minutes of near death to accomplish the same thing. It looked like a prime time for Deathrow to escape, but he removed the noose to dish out more punishment. Iceberg bled heavily after taking a shot into the cage. Deathrow nailed Iceberg with a stiff high boot for a near fall. Iceberg missed with a 450 pound swanton bomb, but his freight train corner splash connected. Deathrow bled, although not as much as the other guys. Iceberg hit a diving headbutt to the groinular region. Deathrow hit a superplex. Berg blocked Deathrow’s choke slam finisher. Deathrow rolled out from under Iceberg’s Ground Zero splash. Deathrow got a close near fall with a Samoan drop. Iceberg gave Deathrow a Samoan drop into the cage. Deathrow hit the chokeslam and tried to win via escape, but Sawyer was there to slam the cage door on his head. Iceberg covered for the pin. As good as it was, there was an element of overkill after the last match. Under most circumstances, you would want to put the heavyweight title match on last. In this case, the hangman's noose felt like the bigger of the two matches and would have sent the fans home on a high note.

NOTES: Last night’s show will be available on DVD…Prime Time returns on January 2 with Jannetty & Deathrow vs. Sawyer & Hughes (with Lucassio), the start of the tag team title tournament and a midget match…In the house were “Nightmare” Ted Allen, former PTPW security guy par excellence Jimbo, and Jimmy Oxendine (formely with GWP).