I made my first foray to the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) for a wrestling event to check out Viral Pro’s “Survival”.
VPW is the successor to Flatline Pro Wrestling as the preeminent independent promotion in the region. Owner Joshua Hancock worked security for Flatline and wanted to see a viable wrestling product continue. Hancock has been running events under the Viral banner every other month since August of last year.
Viral has quite the professional looking set up at Sweetwater Gym: an excellent sound system, light stands, a large video screen, merchandise tables, an entrance structure, sponsors, the works.
Crowds have been increasing with over 200 in attendance last night and VPW gave them a good show.
Viral is making a concerted effort to bring in new talent. Four wrestlers made their VPW debuts at “Survival”. Viral features a unique mix of talent vis a vie other Georgia indys because of the promotion’s proximity to the Carolinas.
The top program is Monster Squad vs. Rapture. I really dug Monster Squad (Billy Brash, Josh Cutshall and Viral Pro Champion Sixx). A more formidable heel faction in Georgia you will not find. These are big men, tough, athletic and skilled in the ring. Rapture was lead into battle by Anthony Henry. He did not lead them out.
“Survival” was a well-constructed card. The opener got the crowd involved. The weak matches were positioned so that they didn’t detract from the overall effect. They sent the fans into intermission with a strong match. And the best matches went on last. The main event was presented as a big deal and delivered an epic match.
(1) Sean Legacy defeated Hunter Young and Slade Porter in 7:41. Legacy has decent size and is absolutely ripped. Young is also well put together but small with a bit of a Low Ki vibe. The debuting Porter made a big deal of taking his shirt off to expose his not so stellar physique. Scott Hensley was spot in when he wrote that Porter is like Colt Cabana’s little brother in his 17 to Watch in 2017 story. Porter bailed and pulled Legacy out of the ring when he got the chance. Young bowled the both of them over with a tope suicida. Back inside, Porter took over on Young with a flying ass and a well-placed poke to the eyes. Young had blood in his mouth. Might have bitten his tongue. Legacy did a great looking flying bodypress. They did the obligatory tower of doom spot with Young taking the superplex bump. They went round and round with knife edge chops, some good, some not so much. Legacy completely missed the mark on a standing moonsault and it looked dumb when Porter sold it for a near fall. The finish was refreshing. Legacy hit a TKO on Young and tossed Porter out to make sure he didn’t steal the pin. This was an interesting opener. Though their inexperience showed through at points, Young and Legacy are both strong athletes with lots of potential.
Ring announcer Lionel Howard introduced PJ Synenberg as the new GM of VPW. Synenberg said Monster Squad had been running roughshod and he was there to straighten things out. Monster Squad approached the ring oozing evil from every pore. Brash told Synenberg to get out of the ring or else. Monster Squad was about to end Synenberg’s tenure as GM when The Rapture (Anthony Henry, Hexxon and Rashad) came to the rescue. This was by the number stuff to build anticipation for the main event and it worked fine in that regard.
(2) Wade Adams defeated Charlie Anarchy in 6:23. Local hero Anarchy locking up with alleged Canadian Adams was good for a brief USA chant. This was a poor match. They were running the ropes at half speed. Anarchy did the worst face wash boot in wrestling history. There was no intensity and the crowd was dying on the vine. Adams went for his Canadian flag. Anarchy snatched the flag away but the ref took the flag away from Anarchy. As the ref was disposing of the flag, Adams clocked Anarchy with a foreign object.
(3) Adrian Davis defeated Oz Knight via DQ in 6:50. Davis has the kind of body that is better suited for a singlet than trunks. Knight's surly attitude was in full effect. He attacked Davis before the bell. Davis quickly answered with an aerial attack. Flab was flying everywhere. Knight took control with a hotshot variant. Davis made a comeback with an assortment of indyriffic offensive maneuvers. Knight withstood the onslaught and repeatedly got in the face of referee Andrew Akin. Knight started pounding on Davis in the corner. Akin tried to intervene and Knight shoved him down for the DQ.
(4) Kiera Hogan defeated the debuting Aspyn Rose in 6:06. It was up to Hogan to carry the load here and she was up to the task. Hogan is wrestling with confidence born of seasoning. The awkward hesitations in her game are a thing of the past. Rose is a cute girl but very slightly built. There is no way to suspend disbelief for her offense. Rose missed a kick and got hung up in the ropes. It looked horribly fake. Hogan heeled. She stomped a mudhole in Rose and suplexed her with authority. Hogan cut off Rose’ comeback with a blatant rake of the eyes. Rose applied a Koji Clutch and Hogan was able to turn Rose’s shoulders to the mat to score a clean pin.
(5) Zane Riley (with “Fabulous Playboy” Bob Keller) defeated the debuting Jacoby Boykins in 11:48. Keller introduced Riley as “Mr. 50 Shades of Wrestling”. Keller and Riley did a great job of riling up the crowd. This match had more heat than the first four matches combined. Riley bumped bigtime for Boykins’ high impact offense. Boykins hit a massive jumping splash for a two count. Riley capitalized on Keller’s interference for a short-lived advantage. Boykins gave Riley a Samoan drop and crawled for the cover but Riley got a foot on the ropes. Riley pounced Boykins and he bumped huge. Riley brought a sledge hammer into the ring and went full blown HHH. Problem was he couldn’t pick up the sledge. Riley was hilarious here. Riley went for the Pedigree. Boykins blocked and answered with a People’s Elbow. Boykins had Riley beaten with his spinning powerslam but Keller pulled the ref out of the ring. Riley kicked Boykins in the nuts and pinned him. Strong heel/face dynamic, big men taking big bumps, Riley’s comedy, match worked for me.
(6) Effy Gibbs defeated Elijah Evans IV in 7:20. This was a technically sound match that got no love from the crowd as they had nobody to cheer for. Evans was a heel for sure but there was nothing really babyface about Gibbs’ quasi glam rock gimmick . Evans hit a top rope elbow and paused to gripe at the ref for not counting three. Evans then went for a suplex and Gibbs cradled him for the 1-2-3.
(7) Aaron Epic (with Aspyn Rose) defeated Owen Knight (with Kiera Hogan) via submission in 11:16. All Epic early on with Knight selling his ass off. Epic tortured Knight with leg kicks and tore him up on the outside. Knight caught Epic with a hotshot to take control. Big collision as Knight came off the ropes and both were down. Crowd was into Epic’s comeback. He hit an RKO for a close near fall and motioned for the piledriver. Knight escaped. Epic with a backdrop driver into an avada kedavra then a pop up knee strike. Knight was toast. Hogan jumped onto the apron. Epic went to her and got his face slapped. Knight hit a fireman’s carry sitout facebuster on Epic for a false finish. Hogan again got on the apron but Rose pulled her down. Epic locked in a single leg crab and Knight tapped. This was an excellent match in the AWE mold. It was impressive how well the debuting Epic got over as a babyface, and this is a company in need of top babyfaces.
A recap of the main event angle was shown on the video screen.
(8) Monster Squad (Joshua Cutshall & Billy Brash & Sixx) defeated The Rapture (Anthony Henry & Rashad & Hexx) in an elimination match at 25:37. Former commissioner James Kitchens appeared with Rapture before the match. Brash threw caution to the wind with a full speed flip dive onto Rapture. Hell of a way to start that caught the crowd by surprise. Hexx and Henry did criss cross double dives onto Sixx and Cutshall. Rashad shoved Brash off the top rope onto his partners. Eight minutes of non-stop mayhem ensued as the teams brawled all over the building. It was nuts. They used anything that wasn’t nailed down. Brash took an insanely dangerous high backdrop onto a table. Lots of stuff I could not see and could only hear the crowd going crazy for. Once inside the ring, Rashad ran wild before Brash pinned him with a slingshot stunner at the 11:30 mark. Hexx buckle bombed the bejeezus out of Cutshall but Sixx gave Hexx a choke slam on the ring frame leaving him in bad shape. Monster Squad isolated Hexx for several minutes before Hexx devastated Cutshall with a black hole slam. Tags made. Henry busted out a stellar sequence of moves culminating in a pinning combination to eliminate Brash at 17:20. It was a beautiful piece of wrestling. Cutshall tried to choke Henry with his straight jacket. Hexx saved Henry from strangulation and they teamed up to eliminate Cutshall at 18:52. With a burst of energy, Sixx dominated Henry and Hexx before succumbing to the numbers. A vicious series of kicks by Henry and Hexx eventually put him down. At that point, Henry turned on Hexx and laid him out a pair of curbstomps. Henry walked to the back was counted out. The crowd chanted for Hexx. It was not to be as Sixx pinned him with a choke bomb.
A wild-eyed Chris Mayne entered the ring to confront Sixx. (Mayne is on a title quest and had already taken out Monster Squad’s manager Mikey Gulino in a video segment). Mayne gave Sixx a beating. Brash and Cutshall attacked Mayne, who fought them off and laid them out, Mayne then fought off a choke slam from Sixx and laid him out. Monster Squad retreated. Superman wasn’t done. Mayne hit a suicide dive on Brash and Cutshall and security had to hold him back from going after Sixx.
The one on three deal was tough to swallow. I don’t see Mayne as that guy but the crowd seemed fine with it chanting “let them fight”. I guess Mayne was fresh and Monster Squad was exhausted from the match. The segment surely did everything possible to position Mayne as the guy capable of wresting the title from Sixx. On the surface, turning Henry is a puzzling decision by a company that needs more top level babyfaces. Perhaps the move was driven by questions about Henry’s availability going forward as he is definitely in demand on the indy circuit.