Wrestling history is being remade in Cornelia GA.
The wrestling venue, now known as the Landmark Arena, was the place where AJ Styles became phenomenal.
But after 18 years, the product was in decline, both artistically and financially, until the serendipitous return of original owner Rick Michaels as promoter last December.
Attendance topped 100 last night for the 5th consecutive show since Michaels arrived. That might not sound like much of an achievement but it hasn’t happened here since 2010.
At various times, Xavier Woods, R-Truth, Gunner. Jimmy Rave and Dash Wilder called the building home under the NWA Wildside/Anarchy Wrestling banner. Fred Yehi and Anthony Henry are the latest alumni to ascend to prominence on the indy scene.
While the current talent roster doesn’t possess anything close to the depth of the glory days, things are moving in the right direction with a number of breakout star candidates in the fold.
Dan Wilson’s Memphis style storytelling is really beginning to gel. Last night’s show was fairly perfect as a set up for Hardcore Hell, striking just the right balance of action and story. Jacob Ashworth and the aforementioned Henry killed it in their singles match. Ashworth looked every bit like the man to dethrone WWW Triple Crown Champion Gunner Miller.
It wouldn’t be a proper Hardcore Hell without gimmick matches, the 2017 version will feature three of them.
Suffice to say, the promotion heads into the 19th annual Hardcore Hell with a full head of steam…and a name change in the offing. Why We Wrestle is history. Anarchy Wrestling is back in business as of March 25.
The Monarchy (Black Baron and Prince Apollo) were pissed about losing the tag titles and said they were cashing in their rematch with Lynch Mob at Hardcore Hell.
Rave Approved (Bobby Moore & Adrian Hawkins) offered $1000 to any team that could beat them at Hardcore Hell.
WWW Women’s Champion Crystal Rose told Rock ‘n Roll Rock C she didn’t appreciate what she did to her in the King of the Hill (shouidn’t that be queen?) match. As Rock C started to walk away, Crystal grabbed her hair and slammed her into the wall.
Next on the agenda was matchmaker Wilson via the video screen with more news on Hardcore Hell: the tag team title match at would be two out of three falls with a special stipulation for each fall – tornado tag, submissions only and last man standing, Team TAG (Kevin Blue & Billy Buck & Chris Spectra) would face Devil’s Rejects (Brad Cash & Se7en) & Odinson in a lumberjack strap match and it would be the first show under the rechristened Anarchy Wrestling name.
(1) Lynch Mob (Joey & Matt) defeated Team TAG (Kevin Blue & Chris Spectra) to retain the WWW tag titles in 9:48. The Lynch brothers have gotten over huge, providing a much-needed injection of new blood on the babyface side. Team TAG jumped the bell and got extended heat on Joey. Spectra pulled Matt of the apron to prevent a tag. Suplexes are Spectra’s strong suit and he used them to good advantage. Joey could have made the tag after a Morton roll but chose to go back for more which made no sense. Joey connected with multiple stellar variations of the enzuirgiri. Matt cleaned house with babyface fire to burn. Team TAG hit a sick kick/uranage combo on Matt but Joey made the save. Blue was pinned after a Matt's frogsplash followed by Joey’s double jump moonsault. Lots to like about this match with the champs going over strong. Crowd chanted for Lynch Mob after it was over.
Coming soon the Landmark Arena -- video packages for Ryan Vega and Kyle Matthews were shown on the big screen. Both were effective vehicles to build curiosity and anticipation. The Matthews video never showed his face, only a mask logo with a star design.
Crystal Rose entered the ring. Delay wanted to know why she was so mad. Crystal claimed Rock C disrespected her in the building she had put her blood, sweat and tears into for 16 years.
That brought Rock C out. She said it was an accident for which she had apologized multiple times, then pointed out that she hit the missile dropkick on Dementia D’Rose that allowed Crystal to win the title and had therefore earned a title shot. Crystal said Rock C didn’t deserve it. Rock C said they were already scheduled for a match at Hardcore Hell but why not have one right now? Crystal accepted, NOT as we would soon see. The talk was weak Crystal caught hell from the fans irregardless.
(2) Rock ‘n Roll Rock C defeated WWW Women’s Champion Crystal Rose via count out at 3:42. Match never got off the ground. Rose hemmed and hawed and eventually walked out. Just as well to leave it to Hardcore Hell. They’ve got a tough act to follow as neither woman is in a league with D’Rose, Georgia’s Female Performer of the Year for 2015.
Anthony Henry (with Amber Young) cut a perfectly dickish promo, stating not much had changed since his last visit -- same tired talent performing low standard matches in front of a low standard crowd, while he was out conquering the wrestling world. Henry needed to see it-to believe it that Ashworth was now the man.
(3) Jacob Ashworth defeated Anthony Henry (with Amber Young) in 16:06. Match of the night. Henry is having nothing but great matches these days. Ashworth was being pushed to the limit and showed he was more than up to the challenge. Henry's strikes are as stiff and crisp as they come. Ashworth wasn't about to take a back seat, giving as good as he was getting. Amber interfered to give her man the upper hand. Crowd was enraged chanting for the ref to kick her out. Henry set Ashworth in a chair and nailed him with a leg lariat, then tossed him clean through the guard rail. Henry applied an Indian deathlock but Ashworth made the ropes. Henry was murdering Ashworth with kicks. Ashworth finally managed to catch Henry's leg and forearmed him to death. Henry kicked out of Ashworth's full nelson face plant and applied an ankle lock but Ashworth wouldn't quit. Ashworh kicked out of a top rope double stomp. They slapped each other silly. Wicked stuff. Henry fought off Roll of the Dice and got the ankle lock again. Ashworth powered out. Henry used a release german suplex to set up a brainbuster and Ashworth brought the crowd to their feet with an inside cradle for the 1-2-3.
Ashworth said he just beat one of the best fair and square and he was ready to take the championship from Miller.
Intermission with Lynch Mob in the ring for autographs and photo ops.
NCW/NWA Wildside original Scottie Wrenn introduced himself as the special enforcer for the Miller/Ashworth match at Hardcore Hell. Wrenn said it had been 11 years since he set foot in that ring and “Oh my God, this feels good!” Wrenn made it clear his presence would prevent any shenanigans from Jeff G. Bailey.
(4) Devil’s Rejects (Se7en & Brad Cash) defeated Violent Gentleman (Ayden Andrews & Scott Morgan) in 7:38. Rejects manhandled the Gentleman early on. Morgan’s interference set up heat on Cash, more than I wanted to see. The Gentleman’s offense was suspect in spots and not all that violent. In the end, Rejects decimated Gentleman and so it should be. Se7en absolutely kicked Andrews face off with a bicycle kick. Cash took Morgan’s head off with a clothesline. Se7en hit a Vader Bomb to pin both Gentleman.
(5) Billy Buck (with Chris Spectra & Kevin Blue) defeated AJ Gray in 9:25. Gray is a deceivingly athletic newcomer out of Memphis. He’s built along the lines of Koko B. Ware. All he needs is Frankie. Team TAG interfered liberally throughout. Gray countered Buck’s figure four leglock and got a near fall with a sitout implant DDT. Buck beat him clean with the superkick. Match was fine for what it was.
Rejects and Odinson hit the ring before more damage was done to Gray as Team TAG beat a hasty retreat.
By way of video vignettes, Iceberg and Stryknyn revealed their partners for the Four Corners of Pain match at Hardcore Hell. They both went with tried and true partners. Tank was the logical option for Berg and the Hate Junkies reunite as Dany Only teams with Stryk.
(6) WWW Triple Crown Champion Gunner Miller (with Jeff G. Bailey) versus Odinson was a no contest at 13:27. Both of these powerhouses have to be on WWE's radar. Both men like to use the Pounce. The power of Odinson ruled until Bailey grabbed his leg. Miller clipped Odinson's knee and worked it over with the crowd chanting "Gunner sucks". Odinson stunned Miller with a hell of a dropkick for a big man and sprayed his teeth with chrome ala War Boys in Mad Max to spark his comeback energies. Miller cut off Odinson's Pounce with a spinebuster slam. Odinson then hit the move and went for the F10 but was attacked by Team TAG. Good match. Much better than their first match at SFCW. Odinson's selling needs work. He recovered too easily from the knee attack. Miller showed the right amount of vulnerability.
Posttmatch, Buck started strapping Odinson with his belt. Ashworth and Devil's Rejects hit the ring leading to a wild pull apart brawl with all hands on deck trying to break it up.
When the smoke cleared, the babyfaces were standing tall. Wrenn came out with a baseball bat and raised Ashworth's hand.
Delay said it looked like Anarchy came early.