And here we go! Our ring announcer Angelo Trinidad is hyping up the crowd and they are ready to go. David Jackson, Les Thatcher, and Nigel McGuinness are announced and it is the first wrestling show I've seen in weeks where they "authority figures" aren't getting booed or cutting promos to undercut everybody's heat. I like it!
As has become WCA tradition all the wrestlers on the card are being introduced and brought to the ring before we begin the action. Biggest reactions of the intros are for Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, and Adam Pearce.
Our hostess Daffney is on the scene with a rebel yell and yes she is still "zombie hot"! She's wearing a form fitting Darth Vader shirt, Mike Johnson is at FWE screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" because he isn't seeing this.
Daffney is bribing the crowd by throwing free gifts at them everybody is chanting "WE WANT GIFTS!" people love free stuff.
Daffney puts over one of the best parts of WCA the charity and we get a "THANK YOU DAVID!" chant for David Jackson. Daffney has been the most fun host of the event so far.
Trinidad busts out a great rendition of the national anthem and it is time for the opening match:
Les Thatcher announces that Cassidy Riley has an injury and will not be able to appear tonight. Papadon is moving on to the semifinals because his opponent is not here. Papadon is upset because another opponent is injured. He tells Les Thatcher he is here to wrestle and win the tournament and he'll wrestle anybody, anytime, anywhere. B-Boy comes out through the crowd to accept the challenge. We will see B-Boy vs. Papadon later tonight in a special challenge match. There are some mic volume issues but it was a solid angle to set up the replacement match.
Match One: Timothy Thatcher vs. Drew Gulak in a submissions only match under the WCA 10 minute time limit rules. I am really looking forward to this one both these guys are great mat wrestlers. Gulak immediately grabs Thatcher in a Yes Lock after they jockey for position and gets a submission point at 9:15. After some really good back and forth wrestling Thatcher locks in the cross arm breaker a 5:57 to tie it up. Dueling chants of Let's go Thatcher/Let's go Gulak! Thatcher takes a 2-1 lead after an exchange of physical strikes and a series of nice counter wrestling grabbing a reverse armbar for the tapout. There are under 2 minutes left for Gulak to tie it up. Gulak hits a phenomenal throw and locks in the rear naked choke to tie the score at 2 with 1:11 remaining. With 37 seconds left Thatcher locks in the sleeper and Gulak does everything he can to fight out of it. Thatcher gives Gulak a nasty throw while still holding the sleeper and chokes him out with 7 seconds left. Gulak is out as time runs out and Thatcher is your winner 3-2! Really really good matt wrestling.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher 3-2
Match Two: Ladies beat the champ match! Katarina Leigh vs. Taeler Hendrix. Taeler scores the first fall of the match a 7:40 by reversing a slam attempt floating over the top and getting Leigh with a sunset flip. 1-0 Hendrix. Taeler pressed her advantage with a reverse kick, a headbutt, but Katarina tossed her off on a bulldog attempt and then hit a twisting backbreaker to even it up at 6:02. After some back and forth action Katarina takes a 2-1 lead after working over Taeler's back and putting her in a single leg crab. Taeler has 2:23 to mount a comeback. Taeler's back is wrecked so Katarina is just punishing her not allowing her to get up as the clock winds down. After stomping on her relentlessly the referee calls off the match because Hendrix can't continue.
Still women's beat the clock champion Katarina Leigh.
Much better showing for the ladies than last month, this was decent action.
After the match was over Taeler was carried out of the ring with great care while bawling. She made me doubt whether it was a worked injury, if she isn't legit hurt she is a great actress.
Match Three: Quarterfinal action. Win or go home. Steve Anthony vs. Kyle Matthews. These two have been stars in this tournament. I am expecting a really good match. Matthews attempts the first dive of the night and misses. Anthony immediately grabs him and Russian Legs Sweep into the guardrail. Great sequence. Matthews barely beats the count, Anthony drills him with a throw after he gets in and Matthews escapes again. Anthony was in total control until he went for a cannonball into the corner and nobody was home for a nice bump. The crowd is way behind Matthews' comeback. He hit this awesome rear headlock into a twisting DDT move for a near fall but got caught with a hard kick when he went up top. Another great near fall as Matthews reverses a superplex into a top rope powerbomb. Anthony kicks out of a series of low superkicks with the final escape being by the skin of his teeth…or boot on the ropes if you want to be literal. This is a fantastic match. After a series of reversals Anthony gets the first fall of a match sitting down on a sunset flip attempt with 30 seconds left. Anthony then escapes several other pinning combinations as time runs out. Kyle Matthews' Cinderella run is over, but man was he great in this tournament. Steve Anthony wins it 1-0. Great action!
Winner: Steve Anthony 1-0
Match Four: "Greek God" Papadon vs B-Boy in a special challenge match.
Papadon comes out to "Thus Spake Zarathrusta" which started "We want Flair!" chants. Thankfully this is much better than GAB 91. This is not tournament rules as it is a special challenge match. Les Thatcher joined me at my table so there isn't much blow to blow coverage of this match, forgive me for paying attention to Les and the match. It was physical back and forth action and about five minutes in the guys traded some good near falls. B-Boy countered a Uranagi into a cool submission but Papadon escaped and after another few sequences scored a near fall with a DDT. B-Boy rolled through a sunset flip and hit a stiff forearm to turn the tide as Papadon took over again. A thrust kick to the chest followed by a brainbuster got another near fall for Papadon who couldn't believe that wasn't it. B-Boy scored a near fall with the "out of nowhere" RKO and the crowd chanted "That was 3!" B-Boy continued with the advantage with some sharp kicks to Papadon while he was down on his knees followed by the SHINING WIZARD for a near fall. Papadon then countered a charge with a German Suplex, hit a vicious knee on a downed B-Boy and put him away with a piledriver. The match built really well, good stuff from these two. B-Boy has come back with two strong performances after a shaky first round match and Papdon continues to be rock solid.
Highlight of intermission, Papadon tells a kid "Please don't do this at home." Kid frowns and says "I do this at school!" Indy wrestling moments!
Daffney is back to start the second half with her Jericho's jacket memorial hat. (It lights up). Nigel, David, and Les return with the giant check to present to the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. Anthony Vilano (AKA #6 credit Dave Scherer) is there to accept for the PWH. This is always a classy segment.
Match Five: Non tournament special attraction Oliver John vs. Brandon Gatson. Oliver John has some of the best strikes in the business. He looks like he is throwing them with very bad intentions. Early on he worked over Gatson's arm hard and kids were chanting for Gatson to tap out to a key lock which was awesome. See WWE you can get good wrestling over with kids. Gatson took control and went for the Muta handspring elbow, but he got caught and belly to belly suplexed out of his boots. John climbed the top rope mid ring and dove off with a diving headbutt for a near fall. John turns Gatson inside out with a vicious clothesline but takes too long before he goes for the cover and only gets a two count. Gatson absorbed several hard slaps and then countered another strike into an arm submission. After not getting the tap out, both men got to their feet and Gatson hit the Kobashi style multiple chops and strikes. As Gatson got rolling, John caught him with a huge powerslam out of nowhere for the three count. Oliver John is really impressive and Gatson hung right in there. After the match John picked Gatson up and raised his arm in respect. Really good match out of intermission.
Winner: Oliver John!
Match Six: Quarterfinal action. Win or go home! Pepper Parks vs. Adam Cole. Parks has been really good and Cole has had match of the night in both of his appearances for WCA so far so I expect this to be really good as well. After some good back and forth action Parks caught Cole by surprise and scored the first fall at 7 minutes. Cole immediately comes back with an aggressive clothesline and a low dropkick. In a huge shock Pepper Parks hits a version of the Roll of the Dice and goes up 2-0 on Adam Cole with 4:00 minutes remaining. Cole is going to have to rally fast to get back in it. Parks still in control of the match looked like he was going to shut out Cole like the Cards shut out the Dodgers, but Cole out of nowhere hit a brainbuster dropping Parks on his knee instead of the mat to make it 2-1. Cole has 1:20to tie it up. Crowd is really getting behind Cole's effort to tie it. After a few counters Cole scores with a superkick to the back of the head and a straightjacket suplex to tie the score at 2-2. Cole hits another superkick and grabs another straightjacket suplex for another fall as time expires. Adam Cole pulls out the miracle comeback and advances. Hot hot finish to the match. Cole continues his streak of great tournament matches. Parks great run comes to an end. We get the handshake of honor and a hug between the two men after the match.
Winner: Adam Cole 3-2
Match Seven: Aaron Aguilera vs. Willie Mack. Aguilera is greeted by "You stabbed Cena!" chants. The man served his time, let it go!! Both guys start a 100 MPH and miss/avoid kicks on each other before colliding head on in a collision. Aguilera slows it down and cranks on Willie's arm, but Willie reverses before Aaron goes to the eyes. Willie can move for a big man, hell he can move for a lot of little men. He hits a flying kick and then a beautiful twisting dropkick for a near fall. Aguilera ties up Willie in a very cool submission hooking one of his arm and both of his legs leaving him to do the Shawn Michaels muscle pose to taunt the crowd. Willie gets out of the submission and Aguilera follows up with a Stinger Splash into a big boot to the face combo for a near fall. Willie fires back with chops, but Aaron cuts him off with a spinning back kick. Aguilera hits a top rope hurrancanrana on Willie Mack, the ref adds a nice flourish by taking a bump on his ass from the impact of the two big men hitting the canvas. Aguilera gets another near fall. Aguilera yells "who's the fucking man!" Dude there lots of kids here, bad choice. Willie Mack cuts him off with THE POUNCE. Mack takes over again showing off some impressive agility, speaking of impressive agility Aguilera gets irish whipped and jumps up to the top rope in one leap before spinning backwards and hitting a big clothesline for a near fall. Willie comes back again and clotheslines Aaron over the top rope to the floor. He dives through the ropes while Aaron is on the apron and both guys crash to the outside. Both guys struggle to beat the count back in. When Willie finally returns to the ring he catches Aguilera with a flash pin for the victory. I feel like Willie Mack would have been a huge star in the territory days, but his body type probably has held him back in this era. Solid match.
Winner: Willie Mack
Match Eight: Adam Pearce vs. Johnny Gargano final match of the evening. Who will be the last man to advance to the semi-finals? The crowd is all over Adam Pearce and he's heeling away. Adam takes about 5 minutes to lose the robe and pulls the old "If my robe touches the floor I'll kick your ass." Bit on the ringside attendant. Pearce continues his tradition of falling behind early. Gargano ducks the follow me lariat, knocks Pearce down and blasts him with a kick to the head for the three count. Pearce is down 1-0 with 6 minutes remaining. Pearce took control for the next few minutes but was unable to tie the score. Gargano fired back up and hit his spear from the apron through the ropes into a great pinning combination for a near fall. Pearce cuts off Gargano on the top rope and they battle for control. Gargano nails Pearce sending him flying to the outside and as he takes the bump his foot hits Gargano square in the temple knocking him out. Pearce recovers, rolls back in the ring and ties the score via pinfall. With five seconds left Pearce scores with the lariat but time runs out. We are heading into OVERTIME. Three minutes, sudden death. Next point wins. Pearce argues with the ref that Gargano is knocked out and there should be no OT. The bell rings and Pearce is all over Gargano tossing him outside and pounding him against the rail. Pearce sets him up for the lariat against the ring post but Gargano moves and Pearce's arm takes the full force of the blow. Gargano scores with a springboard DDT for a near fall, then rolls Pearce into a submission, Pearce counters into a rollup for a near fall, blasts Gargano with a forearm and locks in the figure 4. After a struggle Gargano gets the ropes. 45 seconds left! Crowd is very hot for this. Gargano nails a superkick with the good leg, but struggles for balance on the bad leg and gets nailed with the lariat for a near fall. After that both guys go through a series of reversals before Gargano rolls through and wraps up Pearce's legs for the 3 count with 11 seconds left in OT. Great match to finish the night! If Cole has been MVP then Gargano is a close second. Johnny and Pearce win my match of the night honors tonight.
Winner: Johnny Gargano!
Adam Pearce is the sore loser of the tournament as he blasts the in ring interviewer in the face with a microphone on the way out.
That is the final match of the show, Wrestling Cares hasn't had a bad show yet. This was another success, maybe a notch below the last show but still very very good. I can't wait for the next round.