Premiere Wrestling Xperience kicked off a huge triple shot weekend with a television taping at the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC Friday night in combination with a concert by Mickie James.
Davey Richards, Kyle O'Reilly, Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin and Rich Swann were in for the entire weekend. PWX also ran Saturday night in Hickory, NC and the big show is Sunday in Winston Salem with AJ Styles and Shane Helms. As for the Tremont show, the wrestling started at 6pm with the music to follow. Attendance for the wrestling was 120. As of 8pm, total ticket sales per PWX promoter Brian Kanabroski was 178, counting folks in the bar area for the concert.
I loved the vibe at the Tremont, but the space used for wrestling is small and would be packed out at 150, and PWX probably needs to do better than that to break even. It also looks grungy on TV (on the Charlotte FOX affiliate, WCCB at 5am Saturdays), like they're taping in somebody's basement. In all other respects, it was a very professional set up.
It's not a stretch to call PWX the ROH of the South. The style of wrestling and the fan base it attracted were very similar to the the ROH taping in Nashville. With such a stacked lineup, it was a forgone conclusion that the quality of the wrestling was going to blow away any indy show in these parts and it did. The first half was straight match. The second half had more storyline.
Also like ROH, long-term financial viability is a question mark. PWX clearly provides a product that is refreshingly different from other southern indies, but can it survive without attracting to a broader range of fans? Their hardcore fans are into the stories, but are they engaging enough to turn casual one-timers into regular customers?
(1) Chase Brown defeated Shaun Tempers. Former NWA National Champion Tempers was making his second PWX appearance, this time as a heel which is a much better fit for him. Brown looks like a young Bart Sawyer. Anarchy fans regard Tempers as a major star, so it was weird seeing him treated like a nobody. Tempers' overconfidence cost him the match, as he casually went for his finisher, Brown reversed it into an inside cradle.
(2) Davey Richards beat Kyle Matthews via submission in 11:55. Excellent match. Georgia's top technical wrestler once again showed that he can hang with anyone. Matthews used the Slurpee Kick and a tornado DDT to set up a frogsplash. Richard kicked out. Matthews went to the Hidaka Lock. Richards wouldn't submit and double stomped Matthews before kicking his face off. Richards then hit the top rope double stomp before locking in a single leg crab.
(3) Rich Swann beat Kyle O'Reilly in around 17 minutes. A nice blend of technical wrestling and comedy here. Swann is a terrific athlete. Fans tried to goad O'Reilly into matching dance moves with Swann but he wouldn't bite. A mat scramble left Swann and O'Reilly sitting face-to-face. Fans chanted "Patty Cake" and they obliged. O'Reilly did a Flair tribute kneedrop. Swann got a near fall with a frogsplash. O'Reilly dropped Swann on his head with a german suplex for two. When Swann tried a second frogsplash, O'Reilly caught him with a triangle, but Swann reversed it for a three count. Sweet finish.
Los Ben Dejos (Eddie Rios & Jay Cruz) came to the ring to start the second hour. Rios said that monkey's anus Tommy Thomas cost them the tag and PWX management had granted them a rematch at "Rise of the Champions" on February 15 AND Thomas would be in the match AND if Thomas lost the fall, the title would change hands. Thomas appeared at the entrance with his posse (PWX Tag Team Champions Worst Case Scenario (Eljah Evans IV & Ethan Case) and Craig Huffman and PWX TV Champion "Mr. Elite" Drew Myers. Thomas complained that Rios was being racist and he wasn't a wrestler. Out came Zane Riley munching on a biscuit. Riley said he had a title match against "Mr. Elite dick" on February 15. Riley went backstage to get his partner, and Thomas sicked his guys on Los Ben Dejos. Riley reappeared with Lance Lude riding piggyback and both drinking tall boy PBRs. Leading to…
(4) Los Ben Dejos (Rios & Cruz) & Zane Riley & Lance Lude defeated (Eljah Evans IV & Ethan Case) & Craig Huffman & Drew Myers (with Tommy Thomas) when Riley pinned Myers at 11:40. Before the show, Thomas was out front handling the will call tickets and that's just wrong. Kayfabe is dead and gone, but I don't want an actor to have to sell me my ticket at the theater. This was a fun match. Riley is a zany fat guy and the fans love him. They also love Lude, who is really tiny. Myers has a look and size to go places. The babyface team did a "move of the night" sequence consisting of fake out top rope moves. Rios was the offensive star. Evans clubbed Lude from behind to start the heat. Riley took the hot tag leading to a train of big moves. Unfortunately, Riley's finisher didn't look as good as what preceded it.
"Southern Savior" John Skyler addressed the fans as Charlotte pissants. They responded with a "we are pissants" chant. Skyler said Jake Manning was a weak-minded pathetic follower just like the fans and introduced Michael Elgin as his partner. Manning brought Steen out as his partner. Steen called Elgin "mini-Rhino".
(5) John Skyler & Michael Elgin defeated Jake Manning & Kevin Steen in 10:50. Steen was making wisecracks from the apron like "Elgin, you're losing your hair right in front of my eyes." Manning and Steen outwitted Elgin. Elgin answered with a spear on Manning for a "gore" chant. Steen and Manning put Elgin on the receiving end of 20 count stalling suplex on Elgin. The heels isolated Manning until tagged Steen for the house cleaning. Skyler kicked out of the F Cinq. Elgin foiled Steen's package piledriver on Skyler by shoving Manning into him. Steen turned on Manning with a package piledriver. Elgin capitalized with a simultaneous Samoan drop on Elgin and fallaway slam on Manning for one hell of a devastating finish.
(6) Country Jacked (Adam Page & Corey Hollis) defeated 7 OH! 4 (PWX Heavyweight Champion Caleb Konley & Cedric Alexander) in 17 minutes. Match of the night on a night of fine matches. This was wall-to-wall action that equaled anything on the ROH show in Nashville. The reformed 7 OH! 4 dominated with combo moves early and looked better than ever. Hollis escaped the wrath of Alexander's brainbuster and Concussion on Delivery. Alexander and Konley hit criss-cross dives. A lengthy (too lengthy perhaps) series of huge moves and close-call saves ensued. Konley locked a submission on Page. Hollis tried to break it up with a belt shot. Konley ducked and Page used a fistful of tights and feet on the ropes to score the pinfall.
Konley walked out on Cedric after the match.
NOTES: Regular play-by-play announcer Bruce Snyder wasn't at the show, so Chris Shore handled the announcing with multiple wrestlers including Skyler, Case and Manning switching in and out on color…Chris Veltri who does the video updates on the PXW website was the opening act for James…The referees were Mitch Blalock and "Not Mitch" Charles Culler…The ring announcer was PXW regular Corky Franks...In attendance were Anarchy owner Franklin Dove and George South…Steven Walters, who lost his father just a week ago, was visiting backstage…PWX plans to run Ziggy's in Winston-Salem on a monthly basis…Richards, Steen and Elgin were out during the break and after the show to do autographs.