Hey hey Good Brother Nation (why do I suddenly want to sell mortgages). In one of my past posts, you may have read that I strongly advocate attending live pro-wrestling/sports entertainment events in your area. Whether it is a WWE show, one of the major indie promotions or if you are lucky enough to have a small local promotion, GO, you’ll have a great time! I am one of the lucky ones to have a promotion specific to our area, West Virginia Championship Wrestling!
I wish I could say that I never miss a show but due to life, I rarely get the chance to attend their events. I do however try to make it to their Miracle on the Mountain Show, which is kind of their “Wrestlemania” and gets better with each installment. Also, big props to the promoters for hosting this show to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and the WVU Children’s Hospital.
En lieu of a play by play write up, I thought it would be great to just hit on some of the highlights. I’ve found during my live event attendance that each promotion offers its own unique experience. WWE has its top notch production, ECW had its rabid fan base, RoH has its great ring performers and WCW had its, “Hmmm I wonder who actually showed up,” mystery. WVCW, much like many other small promotions/ business, has a way of making you feel included, like you as a fan are part of the show.
For the excellent value of $35 each, we received early entry, ring side seats and a talent meet and great! Our evening started with the meet and greet and everyone was nice and In their own way appreciative. The faces put in their acts, posed with the kids and generally did all the things you want to see “the good guys” doing. The Heels insulted the guys and said their girlfriends were ugly. They insulted the sports team you liked and made fun of the way you were dressed, so basically, everything you want to hear from your heels. The only exception was George South.
George South is an “elder statesman” of this sport we all love. This was my second time of having the pleasure of seeing Mr. South, and I made it a point to try to get a story or two from him during some point of the evening. He was the first talent to greet everyone as we made our way around the giant L shaped table set up for the meet and greet. He shook everyone’s hand and gave us an autographed miniature comic, along with an invitation to visit his merch table inside. So of course, that was my first stop. He had his books for sale, so I bought the first one and my brother sprang for the second. He autographed each and gave us a card of him and Ric Flair from the Jim Crocket NWA days. You could tell he was proud of having worked that match and proceeded to tell us about how great Flair was. “We taped that match at 8 in the morning down in Atlanta. I was blowed plumb up in five minutes, but Flair worked like the champ he was! I don’t even think he broke a sweat!” he relayed.
In addition to George South, WWE Hall of Famer, Ricky Morton worked the show. He was just as friendly and out going as South, although he admitted he had just came in from an autograph signing in Chicago and was “pretty tired”. He was happy to show off his hall of Fame ring and told us we should visit his school in Chuckey, TN.
If you have ever seen names as these on a local promotions card and chuckled to yourself about their age, you are only cheating yourself. While some of these guys may not have the pedigree of a Ric Flair, Mick Foley or one of the various other greats on the circuit, their stories are no less entertaining if you really love the business and chances are they spend a few extra minutes with you as opposed to shewing you away.
The big attraction this year was an appearance by Tenille Dashwood (formerly Emma of the WWE). Ms. Dashwood and her party were situated on a stage at the south end of the venue. For the sum of $50, you would have a professional photo taken with Tenille and receive and autographed 8×10 (I passed). There was a sizable line who seemed to enjoy their experience and hopefully she’ll have good things to say about her visit to the two Virginia’s (although maybe not…more on that later).
The venue is an older auditorium which would seat around 800-1000 counting floor seating. While it is aging, the promotion did a great job of making it feel modern (aside from lack of AC). The ring, apron and skirt all still had that new look and since my last visit, security rails and 4 lighting rigs were added. While small, this definitely felt professional.
The first action the night was a battle royal for the Children’s Miracle Network Cup. I later found out that the promotion put out an open invitation to any talent who wanted to come out to be on the show as a way to establish new relationships and get the talent some exposure to this market (thanks Jeff!). I don’t know that there is such thing as a 5-Star battle royal, but this was entertaining. There were several nice spots, some comedy, and some drama but the change up came when we got to the final four. Then the match became a fatal four way for the cup. Again, several nice spots between some pretty young guys, and ultimately won by Tracer X!
The next bout was a 6-man tag between The Heat-seekers with George South vs Ricky Morton, CW Anderson and Jack Miller (I went to kindergarten with a kid named Jack Miller, I just remember he had to sit in the ugly chair a lot). The best thing about this match up was George South’s prematch promo. It was as old school as the Sugar Hill Gang and just as entertaining. It was like one member of The Heat-seekers stayed before handing over the mic, “When George South has the mic, you shut your mouth!” South went on a vintage tirade about the evils of rock and roll. He also put the hecklers in their place like only a man of his experience can. My favorite was when he told an overly ambitious heckler to, “Get down to the Walmart and buy some make-up to cover your wife’s ugly face!” That’s right, the nicer than nice grandpa figure who gave us all comic books, just basically told a woman she was ugly to her face! The heckler was angry, his wife embarrassed but South held the room.
As far as match quality, this was not Omega vs Okada but there were plenty enough antics from the heel team to tell a great story! There were plenty of teases of South vs Morton and Ricky did a great job of pumping up the crowd. As Anderson’s are likely to do, CW hit a vicious spine buster on one of the Heat-seekers and ultimately the bout ended in favor of the face team.
The following match features the “co-headliner” Al Snow vs James Drake. This match could be best summed up as a squash with a great deal of nostalgia. “Head” chants rang out like it was the Attitude Era again and every fan enjoyed the constant teases of Head getting involved. After a bit of back and forth, Head struck during a referee distraction and Snow swooped in for the pin.
The pre-intermission match had a great concept. This was a tag-team turmoil match for the WVCW Tag Titles, which had a very unique rule set that I have not had the opportunity to witness prior to this night. So you start with 4 teams, when a team is pinned, they are eliminated and the pinning team gets to take a test until the next fall. Meanwhile two more teams take their spot and this continued until one team was triumphant. The match was won by a 3-man team who used Freebird rules named The Faction.
Al Snow posed with fans and signed autographs in the ring during intermission. Again these are opportunities you’re not going to get if you only go to larger promotions. This was a great time for the fans and Snow seemed to enjoy himself as well.
Following intermission was by far the match of the night and realistically one of the best matches I’ve ever seen in person. The Ugly Ducklings vs The Brotherhood was AMAZING. If you get the opportunity to see this match, it is a must see! There were so many near falls and spots that made you jump out of your seat. There were several times I thought one of the guys injured themselves, only to see them come back and complete and even more crazy spot! The Ugly Ducklings went over but the only losers were the acts to follow. Standing ovation for these two teams they put on a great show.
Tenille Dashwood vs Nicole Pain was next on the card. It would be nearly impossible to follow the previous match but this ladies gave a good effort. They were both working pretty stiff and Tenille lost some extensions and nearly a tooth (she remarked about this by us in her way out). This was kind of a no win scenario for Dashwood. She was the biggest name on the card but the previous match was just so spectacular, add that to the loss of hair and a busted mouth…she was not happy on her way to the exit.
The final match of the evening was for the WVCW Heavyweight Title between Aaron Biggs and William Huckaby. These were two really large dudes during it out in a LADDER match for the new WVCW Heavyweight Title. These guys were both well over 6ft and 300lbs, so seeing them in a match such as this was pretty great. The crowd was hot for the bout, and Huckaby missed on a 2nd rope moonsault that was the most impressive miss I’ve seen because of his size. In the end Biggs won (retained) and the crowd went home happy or so we thought. Remember that guy who Al Snow took out with Head? Well at the previous major event, Luck of the Draw, James Drake had won the Luck if the Draw contract, think Money in the Bank without the brief case. Biggs, who was exhausted from such a brutal ladder match, put up a valiant effort, sit succumbed to Drake after two of his finishers. So ladies and gentlemen, your NEW WVCW Heavyweight Champ, James Drake!
I’ve taken nearly two weeks to complete this write up, because I really wanted to do it justice. Next time, I’ll have to remember to get some pictures and maybe even take a notepad. This was a very fun night of wrestling and time with my brothers and a great friend. It also demonstrates that a show does not need a national TV Audience or held in a major arena to be entertaining. I would put the Ducks vs the Brotherhood up against any match I’ve seen this year! So please, don’t cheat yourselves, get out there and support your local promotions. Whether they are rising stars, part-timers living their dreams or legends of yesterday, they want to entertain! So give them their shot.
Photos (c) Jack Wade Photography