Views from the Hawke's Nest: Midwest Wrestling -- The Debut Show 2012
Posted by TJ Hawke on 02.25.2012
BJ Whitmer replaces the injured Johnny Gargano to battle Aaron Epic in the main event of the debut show for Midwest Wrestling.
January 20, 2012
Niles, OH Commentators: Joe Dombrowski, BJ Whitmer, Aaron Epic, Gregory Iron, Justin Mane, Arik Cannon, Shane Hollister, and Rickey Shane Page
Rickey Shane Page vs. Arik Cannon
Sami Callihan was originally supposed to be in this match, but a last second cancellation caused Cannon to be brought in. Cannon has been one of the most consistently solid independent wrestlers for years. I have never seen Page before but I keep hearing good things from fans in the mid-west.
Wait, Joe Dombrowski just informed the audience on commentary that Page is the former masked wrestler, Christian Faith who I have seen on a couple of occasions. Scratch that pre-match thought. I’ve really liked Faith in the few times that I have seen him. Crowd was very willing to get behind Page, which should make this quite fun. Cannon got the advantage at one point and started to get the heat on Page. Page came back with a running forearm and a knee strike in the corner. Page then hit an elevation powerbomb out of the corner: 1…2…NO! Cannon came back and hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall of his own. Cannon struggled in a brainbuster attempt, but he was eventually able to hit it. Cannon hurt himself on the brainbuster as well, which caused him to make the cover too slowly. Cannon then locked in seated abdominal stretch like maneuver. Cannon was going for a Cobra Clutch, but Page was trying to block it. Page was able to escape and get to his feet. BIG KICK FROM PAGE! He followed that with a Buckle Bomb and a Trouble in Paradise! Page to the top rope: Swanton Bomb: 1…2…NO! Good nearfall. Cannon came back and hit Total Anarchy: 1…2…No! They were both exhausted, but they made it to their knees and started striking each other. They made it to their feet and Page took him down with a big boot. Cannon killed him with a German and a kneeling superkick, but Page avoided the Glimmering Warlock. Page recovered and hit a Saito Suplex, quickly followed by a roaring elbow: 1…2…3!
This match started a little slow for these two, but they turned it on big time after Page started his comeback. This made for a very good opener as it got the crowd into the show (and they were into everything for the rest of the night). Both of these men should be regulars here on out. Match Rating: ***
Jason Gory vs. Aiden Vaile
Gory used to be in a tag team with Façade, called Flippin’ Ain’t Easy (which was the best tag team name ever). I have definitely never seen Vaile before; he appears to be doing a drummer gimmick.
Gory jumps Vaile before the bell, but Vaile quickly recovers and hits a standing moonsault. Vaile then hits a slingshot plancha, which caused Gory’s head to hit the metal guardrail hard. Back in the ring, Gory cuts Vaile off with a chinbreaker and a Mafia kick. Gory started to work over Vaile after that. Gory was actually biting him at one point. On commentary, Epic says his strategy against Gory would be to stab him. Vaile avoids a double stomp and starts to make a comeback. Vaile hit a tornado DDT, but Gory got his knees up on a standing moonsault. Gory then hit a running Code Red. Gory went to the top rope and hit a double stomp that looked brutal. Gory casually pins him, but that allowed Vaile to kick out. Vaile managed to get to the top rope, but Gory crotched him. Gory then locked in Pestilence, which is pretty much a choke. Gory then hit Trepidation (almost like a package tombstone piledriver): 1…2…3
I enjoyed this match. It was brisk, and they always kept things at a good pace. There were a couple of moments that looked less crisp than others, but overall I thought these two looked pretty good. I also like how Gory was put over very strong in the match. I wish he was able to cut a promo in the ring afterwards though, so the live crowd could get more invested in him going forward. Gory should definitely be brought back. Match Rating: **3/4
The Cut Throat Crew (Rufio Rapier & Morty Rackem) vs. Team Magnum Pro (Derek Cornell & Brian Gott)
Magnum Pro is a promotion out of Iowa and Cornell and Gott are representing that promotion. The Cut Throat Crew are doing a pirate gimmick.
Dombrowski says that the Cut Throat Crew live the “Pirate Lifestyle” outside the ring as well, and that it is not just a gimmick. If Vince Russo was booking DGUSA and Evolve, these “pirates” would be brought in as outsiders trying to destroy the companies. The pirates are instantly over with the crowd, and they were in complete control early. Team Magnum Pro cheated to cut off the pirates, and then they started to work over Rackem. Rackem almost made a hot tag at one point, but Team Magnum Pro cut him off again. Rackem managed to hit a top rope dropkick on both of his opponents and then made a hot tag to Rufio who ran wild on the rudos. Rufio and the rudos ended up on the outside, and then Rackem wiped out the rudos with a tope con hilo. Rufio then hit an Asai Moonsault on the rudos. Typing ‘rudos’ is more fun than typing ‘heels’ or ‘Magnum Pro.’ Back in the ring, Rufio hit a nice swanton bomb to get the win for The Cut Throat Crew.
This match reminded me of the opener, where the match started out slow, but things heated up a lot once the babyface comeback started. The Cut Throat Crew and Paul Birchill should be brought in by Chikara if they ever do King of Trios again. Match Rating: **3/4
Bobby Beverly vs. Facade vs. Shane Hollister [Elimination Three-Way Dance]
All three guys are regulars in the mid-west wrestling scene. I like all of them, with Hollister probably being the one I am most impressed with.
Beverly is from Niles, OH so he is a god to these people. Façade is either the “Suburban Terrorist” or the “Suburban Ninja” depending on what show it is. Here, he is a terrorist. Façade and Beverly shake hands, but Hollister refuses to do so. 1 minute in and Façade does two springboard moves. As Rob Naylor would say, “It’s Springboard City!” A lot of “two guys do shit, while one guy stays out of it” to start. Façade was going for a springboard, but Hollister just kicked him down. Beverly hit a nifty Blue Thunder Powerbomb on Hollister for an early nearfall. Façade crotched Hollister on the top rope and then promptly botched a springboard super hurricanrana. Façade then did this ridiculous springboard double reverse DDT where he landed hard on his head on the way. Beverly and Hollister then ended up outside and over the guardrail. Façade then did a no-hands somersault plancha onto them. On the way down, Façade hit the guardrail with the back of his head. They all roll back into the ring and Hollister almost immediately pins Façade with spinning 2K1 Bomb. So, Façade successfully hits a big high risk dive and is then immediately pinned by an unfazed victim of his dive. Fantastic. Beverly then jumps Hollister and pins him with a powerslam driver.
Smart move to give the hometown hero a big win on the debut show. Besides Façade’s big dive meaning nothing, this match was very enjoyable. Much like the Gory/Vaile match, they kept things compact, but at a very fun, fan-friendly pace. Hopefully Beverly is pushed hard going forward given the way the fans responded to him here. Match Rating: **3/4
Gregory Iron vs. Matt Justice
Dombrowski says that Justice is fresh off a stint in FCW, but apparently, “he didn’t fit in.” Justice looks like he has a WWE body.
Justice had the advantage early until Iron hit a springboard back elbow. Iron went for a suicide dive, but Justice gave him a forearm smash before he got through the ropes. Back in the ring, Iron got a couple of moves in, but Justice cut him off with a big boot. Justice started to work over Iron. Iron hit a series of punches in a row, but Justice then backdropped him out of the ring. Iron avoided a big top rope splash, and then hit a big suicide dive on Justice. Justice sent him into the turnbuckle to cut him off again. They were on the top rope and Iron hit the Gimp Slap (Dombrowski’s words, not mine) and then hit a diving sunset flip rollup: 1…2…3!
Iron defeats his former tag team partner in a fine match. They had a much more tame match than some of the flashier stuff on the card. I was initially pleased with that, but in the end, it didn’t really feel like it added up to much. I like both guys and I still want to see more of them going forward in Midwest. Match Rating: **1/2
Justin Mane vs. Ryan Burke
Mane was great on commentary during the three-way; came across as super charismatic and confident. That is all I knew about either guy before the match started.
Mane grabbed the microphone from the ring announcer and ran down the crowd and the city of Niles. Burke then came out to a big pop, because they hated Mane and Burke was a hometown guy. Burke completely dominated the beginning of the match, much to the delight of the crowd. Burke then killed Mane with a suicide dive, which the crowd popped huge for. Back in the ring, Mane pretty much immediately cut him off and started to work him over. The crowd did not like Mane, and they were quite ready for Burke to come back. Mane went to the top rope and went for a moonsault, but Burke dived out of the ring. Burke came back with a diving cross-body and some big kicks. Burke went to the top rope and hit a double stomp on Mane’s back that drive Mane’s head into the mat. That looked sick and made for a great nearfall. Mane came back with a TKO: 1…2…NO! Mane used a lowblow behind the referee’s back and then hit Star Struck (a Pele kick): 1…2…3
This was probably my favorite match of the show so far. Mane wasn’t very subtle, but his heel antics were so enjoyable and worked perfectly for this crowd. He’s got a lot of personality, so he should be one to keep an eye on going forward. I hope he gets a strong push here. Burke and Beverly should do a big tag match together in Niles together as the crowd would really love them together. Match Rating: ***
BJ Whitmer vs. Aaron Epic
This main event was cursed. Dustin Rayz was originally supposed to be facing Johnny Gargano. Then Rayz broke his leg doing a moonsault off a cage at Cage of Death. Epic was scheduled to be the replacement. Then Gargano had the big back injury at Evolve 10, which was a week before the show. No one was announced as the replacement until the results of the show trickled in. Whitmer has been on fire since returning to wrestling. I’m a big supporter of Epic and I really hope that this promotion gives him a big push and spotlight.
Epic’s heel work does not try to be crowd pleasing at all, which is definitely a lost art. Some guys start cheering, “We want BJ’s” and Epic berates them because there are children here (and there were a ton of children in the crowd). They started out on the mat, with no one getting a clear advantage. Epic got frustrated, grabbed the mic, and told the fans to shut up because he would leave. Some kids got in his face, and Epic went to the back. Whitmer then went to bring him back. When they ended up back in the ring, Epic was able to get the advantage. Epic started to get the heat after a running strike to BJ’s head. Whitmer came back with a big spinebuster and a series of suplexes. Epic hit a sole butt, but Whitmer immediately came back with Golden Gate: 1…2…NO! Epic came back with a chinbreaker, step-up enzigiri, and a sliding forearm to the back of the head. Epic locked in the Face Lock, but Whitmer made it to the ropes. Whitmer came back with a big boot, which got him a nearfall. Whitmer was going for an exploder, but Epic got a guillotine choke out of nowhere. Whitmer almost passed out, but he made it to his feet and hit the exploder. PERUVIAN NECK TIE FROM WHITMER! EPIC TAPS!
This was a solid main event for Midwest’s first show. Whitmer didn’t quite have the same spark that he’s had in some of his DGUSA appearances, but he clearly did not phone this one in. Epic’s heel act is designed to not let the audience enjoy what he does whatsoever, which was perfect for this crowd. I think these two could have a better match down the road, after they get more comfortable with each other. Match Rating: ***1/4
Epic jumped Whitmer after the match and Arik Cannon joined in on the beating. Rickey Shane Page left the commentary station (in the shape of a table) to make the save. Epic and Cannon get on the microphone and challenge Whitmer and Page to a tag match at the next show. That main event should be good, and I look forward to seeing it. Page and Whitmer want to fight now, but Cannon says their contracts only pay them to fight one match a night. The kids in the crowd loved Whitmer after the match.
Backstage Promos to Close the Show
Shane Hollister says Bobby Beverly got lucky tonight, and that they will go one on one at the next show.
Justin Mane says he showed zero tolerance to Ryan Burke tonight. He tells Midwest Wrestling to surprise him with his opponent for the next show, because his match will definitely be the main event.
BJ Whitmer and Rickey Shane Page say they will beat Cannon and Epic again in April.
Aaron Epic and Arik Cannon say they are the winners of tonight because they laid out BJ Whitmer after the match. Cannon says they will kick their butts in April.
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The 411: I think this was a very solid debut for Midwest Wrestling. They brought in a lot of talent who know what they are doing, and that helped to make every single match worth watching and enjoyable. Partnering with Smart Mark Video was an excellent decision as the video and sound quality were both top notch. Plus, SMV has an very reliable MP4 download service. I can't speak highly enough about the work Joe Dombrowski did on commentary as well. His performance truly enhanced the whole show. Going forward, the biggest thing Midwest needs to work on is establishing a sense of purpose for the wrestlers and the promotion as a whole. More promos in the ring from the wrestlers will help the audience get invested in the characters. Also, Midwest could do well to establish some general goals for the wrestlers competing. Are championships going to be introduced? What do wrestlers get for winning? In the meantime, they just need to keep putting out entertaining shows like this, as I am definitely looking forward to watching their next show, which takes place on April 22nd. You can buy this show at Smart Mark Video as either a DVD for $15 or as an MP4 for $9.99 . I got the MP4 and it worked perfectly.