This week, we go over WWE Battleground, Raw and some other wrestling. Will the Wolf Pack Players continue with their winning streak of shows? Find out on this episode.
By Michael PS Schwartz
When Pro Wrestling Syndicate comes to the Rahway Recreational Center, you know you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Owners Pat Buck and Eric Tapout do a fantastic job every month coming through with an entertaining and always interesting card packed with stellar young talent, a ton of former WWE and TNA stars, Hall of Famers, and even the occasional celebrity. For me, the greatest part of going to see PWS is seeing all the wrestlers I grew up watching, mixed with new young talent and even current talent no longer employed with WWE or TNA. If you want to meet some of your favorites, you have your chance before the event, where there are autograph sessions, meet and greets, and tons of merchandise for sale. General admission to the show is only $20, and the best part is that when they say $20, they mean $20. There are no additional charges or fees unlike when you buy tickets from WWE.
This month, PWS once again delivered with PWS House Party 5 Not Starring Kid n Play. Every show has a special guest commissioner, and this month’s show didn’t disappoint. Diamond Dallas Page, a wrestling icon, was given the honor in his home state of New Jersey. He had big shoes to fill after last month’s commissioner, Dennis Haskins, who played Mr. Belding on Saved by the Bell, had the crowd in a frenzy and media outlets buzzing when he gave Devon Moore a Stone Cold Stunner.
The show opened up with Armando Alejandro Estrada coming down to the ring to gain some heat from the crowd, and he announced that tonight, for one night only, he would be managed by WWE Hall of Famer Iron Sheik in his match against another Hall of Famer, “Hacksaw Jim Duggan.” It was actually pretty funny; Iron Sheik got on the mic and blamed Duggan for their infamous 1987 arrest. It was good to see “Hacksaw” and he had the crowd really into it, but it wasn’t much of a match. Duggan really milked the crowd, and after a short back and forth, Duggan hit the Three Point Stance for the victory. This one was all about the nostalgia.
The next matchup showed off some athletic big men, with Apollyon taking on Dan Maff. This was an entertaining match, with exciting and surprisingly quick paced action, the highlight being a suicide dive through the ropes to the outside by Dan Maff. Apollyon got the victory with a splash off the top rope, but both men really had a great match.
The following match was another great matchup. Alex Reynolds, a great local talent, took on third generation wrestler Harry Smith, son of the late Davey Boy Smith and grandson of the late Stu Hart. This was another highly entertaining match. Smith hit a stalling superplex and also reversed an ankle lock into a sharpshooter. Reynolds got away with a low blow and got the win after a tornado DDT. Following the match, Reality Check members Kevin Matthews and Devon Moore came to the ring to offer Reynolds a spot in their stable. After Reynolds accepted the offer, DDP came down and was given the same offer, to which he responded that he’d let them know at the end of the night.
The next match was billed as Rikishi facing off against the man they call Vader, but after some interference by a team called Enhancement Talent (Jobber Justin and Jobber Dustin), it turned into a tag team match. The match was quick, but there was some more fun nostalgia. Vader, who has become somewhat of a regular with PWS, was managed by Paul Bearer. Also after the match, Rikishi exposed a thong and stink faced one of the members of Enhancement Talent, and Rikishi and Vader got down. It was really cool seeing Rikishi bust a move with the help of the Mastodon.
Now before I go any further, let me fill you in on one of the biggest new sensations in PWS, Star Man. Star Man happens to be a made up character from the 1986 NES game “Pro Wrestling.” When he was first put on a PWS card back in June, I thought it was just a humorous choice for a gimmick, but when he debuted I was caught off guard. The fans went nuts for him, and I mean nuts. He got the biggest pop of the night, and he can really put on a show with his high flying moves. He also always gets a laugh out of me when he freezes or continually walks into the ropes, but he is no joke. He has become a favorite of the PWS fans. This month he took on PWS Tri-State Champion Tony Nese, another great Indy talent, and they put on a great match. The crowd was really behind Star Man again, and there were plenty of near falls, getting the crowd on the edge of their seats. Star Man seemed to have the victory in the bag until the newest member of Reality Check, Alex Reynolds, came down and attacked Tony Nese, causing the referee to disqualify Star Man.
Next up was a match that has become a staple of every PWS show, the Suicidal Six Way. This time the match included John Silver, Reality Check member Devon Moore, Rich Swann, Dynamic Sensation, Lucifer Darksyde, and another third generation wrestler, and member of the famous Samoan wrestling family, Lance Anoai. Anoai was the star of the show. He showed a lot of raw talent and wrestling ability. I can definitely see him going far in this business. It was all the more special because not only was his cousin Rikishi in attendance, but so was his father, former Headshrinker Samu. The best part of the match was when Rich Swann went for the People’s Elbow on Anoai, and Anoai kipped up and nailed him with a Rock Bottom, a nice little nod to his cousin Dwayne. Devon Moore won the match with a top rope leg drop with a chair, but I was very impressed with Lance Anoai.
Tugboat was there signing autographs before the show, and they had the Shockmaster announce the intermission. The show resumed with a four corner tag team match, which pitted the PWS Tag Team Champions, SM2, against Team Energy, who were managed by another WWE Hall of Famer, Jimmy Hart, the team of Shawn Edwards and Ray Smith, and the Phat Pack, DJ Phat Pat and Fala. As I was watching the event, I was taking notes, and the first thing I wrote down for this match is how under appreciated DJ Phat Pat is by the fans. This guy is a great big man, who is ring savvy and is quick on his feet for his size. I’m always happy to see a match involving DJ Phat Pat, and yet every show I go to, the crowd doesn’t give him any appreciation. He’s definitely underrated in my book. It was a good match that ended with the Phat Pack winning the titles, but still no love for DJ Phat Pat.
The next match was really special, and seemed like it was a passing of the guard. The Big O, who has really gained a lot of popularity very quickly, has been looking more and more impressive with each match, and this match was certainly the first of many rewards for the Big O. He wrestled a legend in his own right, Dr. Tom Pritchard, who boasted the Texas Heavyweight Championship, and offered to put the title on the line. Pritchard really got Big O over, helping him show off some chain wrestling skills, and the Big O eventually won the match and the title with a running powerslam. It was great seeing young rising talent face off with a ring veteran. It was definitely a big night for the Big O.
Next up was another great match: a ten man tag team match showcasing ten of PWS’s new homegrown talent. Team Destruction took on Team Aesthetics. The match was nonstop action from beginning to end, and since most of them were from the area, the crowd had a lot of fans there to support them. The clear superstar of the bunch was Dave D-Struction, who had the crowd behind him. He had also won a battle royal with the new talent the previous show, so look for big things out of this guy in PWS. Team Aesthetics managed the victory in what was a good look at the home grown talent PWS has been cooking up.
Finally – The main event. PWS Heavyweight Champion Kevin Matthews taking on a mystery opponent. Matthews came to the ring with the belt, and reminded everyone of the open challenge he had made. Once again, the immense popularity of Star Man showed, as the fans went into a fury of Star Man chants. Somebody came running out from the back, but it wasn’t Star Man. It was Superman! Pretty funny, but definitely not what everybody was hoping for. Matthews beat him in about 5 seconds, but then Star Man’s music hit and he came running down to the loudest ovation I’ve ever heard in that place. Star Man immediately climbed to the top and nailed Kevin Matthews, resulting in a near fall. Star Man had the upper hand early, and the crowd started chanting “Let’s Go Star Man!” Reality Check came down to the ring, and Star Man lunged over the ropes, hitting them with a diving flip. The crowd was going nuts at this point, and I started to wonder if Star Man was actually going to win the Heavyweight Championship. The extra time was all Kevin Matthews needed though, and he was ready for Star Man when he got back into the ring. Matthews hit a nice powerbomb/backstabber combo and got the win. It was really a great match and I hope to see a lot more Star Man at PWS shows. After the match, Reality Check beat down Star Man, along with Tony Nese and the Big O, who tried to save him. DDP came down to the ring wearing a Reality Check shirt and celebrated with them in the ring, but then hit Moore and Reynolds with a double clothesline and nailed a shocked Kevin Matthews with a Diamond Cutter. The show ended with DDP, Star Man, Nese, and Big O in the ring doing the Diamond Cutter taunt. It was a fun ending, great seeing a Diamond Cutter live, and it definitely lived up to the Mr. Belding Stunner.
It was another great night for PWS and PWS fans. The whole event had tons of action, plenty of nostalgia, and was just overall a great night. There’s certainly something for every wrestling fan at their events, and I highly recommend PWS to anyone that can make it. For $20, it’s definitely worth every penny. The next show will once again be at the Rahway Recreational Center in Rahway, NJ, and will be held on Friday, November 9th. You can pay at the door, doors open at 6pm if you want to meet some of the wrestlers and get some autographs, and the show starts at 8pm. I hope to see some of you there, and we’ll really get that rec center rocking!
What a week it has been to be a wrestling fan! We talk about the week that was in the WWE and A LOT of pro wrestling talk with PWS Saved By The Ring Bell, Chikara King of Trios, ROH Death Before Dishonor & the upcoming NYWC Till I Collapse
Let’s go back and take a look at what, in my opinion, is the rivalry that almost single-handedly changed the future of professional wrestling. In the summer of 1997, WCW was stronger than ever. The nWo had been running wild since July of 1996, and the Monday Night Wars had really heated up. Week after week, the WWF’s flagship program, Monday Night Raw, was being beaten in the ratings by WCW’s counterpart, Monday Nitro. Eric Bischoff was pulling out all the stops, and seemed to have the upper hand. In response, the WWF began to evolve, targeting a more mature audience with more colorful language, women with barely any clothing, and more edgy angles. Another thing going for the WWF was the emergence, seemingly out of nowhere, of new big time Superstar and future face of the company, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.“Stone Cold” was the epitome of everything the WWF was trying to be at the time, as well as someone the audience could relate to. A beer drinkin’, bird flippin’, trash talkin’, ain’t gonna take crap from no one, blue collar, every day Joe. People opened up to “Stone Cold” from the get go, and he was gaining popularity at an unprecedented pace, ever since winning the King of the Ring in the summer of 1996 and uttering the now famous phrase, “Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!”. When Summerslam 1997 rolled around, Austin was still gaining popularity every day, and the company decided it was time to give him the second most prestigious title in the company, the Intercontinental Championship. During the match with Owen Hart however, a tombstone piledriver was botched, and although Austin was able to finish the match and win the title, his neck was broken as a result.
We discuss the recent unfortunate events that have happened to Jerry “The King” Lawler, the results to TNA “No Surrender and our predictions to this weekends WWE “Night of Champions” PPV