Anarchy Wrestling hit a home run at Hostile Environment 2017. Anarchy’s major event of the summer harkened back to the great shows of the NWA Wildside era in Cornelia.
It had all the ingredients of best Wildside shows-- spectacular moments, gimmick matches in abundance, the raw violence, compelling stories to give that violence a reason for being along with a sprinkling of stellar technical wrestling.
Hostile Environment 2017 will surely be remembered for the Taipei Death Match. For those that thought last year’s Ultraviolence match (Masada vs. Brad Cash) was as extreme as it could get. Think again.
But War Games was the thing, and did it ever deliver a great match with top-notch performances across the board.
In the rich wrestling lore of Landmark Arena, the War Games cage is the acid test, the ultimate in hostile environments. July 4 marks the 30th anniversary of the first War Games at the Omni. The match was a Dusty Rhodes creation. NWA Wildside, and by extension Anarchy Wrestling, is the only wrestling company Rhodes gave his seal of approval to do War Games and no promotion does it better.
The Landmark Arena was essentially sold out with 220 in attendance. That’s back-to-back sell outs for major events since Rick Michaels took over the promotional reigns. The event moved at brisk pace clocking in at three hours even with the cage set up.
Emcee Seth Delay and former announcer Jonathan Feltner were back for the occasion, joining regular ring announcer Michael Gentry.
Matchmaker Dan Wilson announced that Iceberg had been hospitalized for the past week and would not be appearing in the War Games. Gladiator Jeremiah had found a suitable mystery replacement.
(1) Jeremy Foster defeated Chase Jordan in 7:40. Jordan cut a promo on Foster. Crowd chanted “Howdy Doody” and ‘you can’t wrestle” at him. Big pop for Foster, who proceeded to outwrestle the “you can’t wrestle” guy. Jordan fought a crossface chickenwing off and hit White Noise. Why not? He’s almost as pale as Sheamus. Foster caught Jordan with a knee bar. Jordan made the ropes but moments later, Foster put him away with the flying knee. A decent match to kick things off. Crowd was certainly up for it.
(2) AJ Gray defeated Ryan Vega in 7:27. The blowoff of a nifty undercard feud sparked by Vega stabbing Gray in the eye with a pen. Gray is a deceivingly agile flyer for such a thickly built guy. Vega attacked Gray as he tried to enter the ring. They brawled on the outside. Gray used a lot of chops. Not the best choice when your opponent is wearing a shirt. Gray hit the dive of the night – a moonsault off the ringpost to the floor for a well-earned “holy shit” chant. Vega went to the eyes to get the upper hand. The comeback trail led to a Northern Lights Bomb for a near fall. Vega shook the ropes to crotch Gray on the turnbuckle and hit a DVD but Gray kicked out. Vega pulled out his stabbing pen. Not this time. Gray won it with a Phoenix splash that missed the mark. Good match, meh finish.
The postmatch exceeded all expectations. Gray demanded that Vega apologize to Gentry (Vega literally tried to piss on Gentry in his debut). Vega refused. Gentry speared the hell out of Vega and pounded on him. The crowd went nuts for it.
Video screen promos from Kyle Matthews and Anthony Henry (with Amber Young). Matthew said he was defending against one of the hottest wrestlers around. Henry said Matthews was called the best wrestler in Georgia, while he wanted to be the best in the world. Henry said Matthews was going down lethal lover style. Good promo. The taped promos are much better since Matt Griffin started shooting them.
(3) Kyle Matthews defeated Anthony Henry (with Amber Young) via submission to retain the Landmark Heritage Championship in 12:29. Technique in spades. Matthews used a trailer hitch. Henry busted out a swank lucha arm drag. Matthews went aerial with a tope and a flying body press. Young grabbed Matthews’ leg giving Henry a chance to pull Matthews’ of the apron with a nasty twist of his arm. Henry worked on the injured body part. Matthews went for a dragon suplex but Henry quickly scrambled to the ropes. A strong style chop exchange ensued. Matthews regained the advantage with an array of flying moves and went for the Octopus. Young jumped on the apron. Collison with her lethal lover avoided, Amber slapped Matthews. Henry hit a Black Mass spinkick and a cravate move I’ve never seen before. Henry with a bridging Fujiwara. Matthews back with a crossface. Young put Henry’s foot on the ropes but the ref caught her and ejected her for a huge pop. Henry escaped a second Octopus and decimated Matthews with a sequence of moves ending with a piledriver. Matthews kicked out, connected with the superkick and locked in the Octopus for the win. A superb technical match with the story of Matthews overcoming Young and Henry’s uncanny ability to counter his signature moves.
(4) The Approved (Adrian Hawkins & Bobby Moore) defeated Lynch Mob (Joey & Matt Lynch) in a taped fist match to win the Anarchy Tag Team Championship in around 12 minutes. Opening bell never rang. Lynch Mob attacked with fans chanting their name and it was non-stop action, Texas tornado style. Matt mashed his elbow on a tope con hilo that got nothing but the hardwood floor. Approved set up a steel coffin of chairs at ringside. Hawkins hit a Van Terminator on Joey. Matt frogsplashed Hawkins while he sitting in a chair. That had to suck. Moore hit Matt with discus elbow sending him off the apron into the steel coffin. That had to suck worse. Matt was toast. Joey went 1 against 2. Joey had Hawkins pinned with the Canadian Destroyer but Moore pulled the ref out to prevent the count. Joey then went for the double jump moonsault but Moore clocked him with a chain wrapped around his fist. Hawkins covered for the 1-2-3. In addition to being a terrific brawl, it was the second best match of the night on a technical level. No need for blood despite the taped fist stipulation. The cup would runneth over later on.
In a backstage segment shown on the video screen, announcer John Johnson informed Team TAG that the team photo they were admiring was not the one they were selling at the merch table. We got a close up shot of the mocking photo to spur sales.
(5) Tank (with Jeff G. Bailey) defeated Brad Cash in a Taipei Death Match at 9:31. In a building that has hosted just about every type of violent stipulation match imaginable, this was a first. Tank was over like rover. He landed the first shot with a taped fist covered in glass shards. They stabbed each other’s head with pieces of glass. Both were bleeding. Cash was bleeding like a stuck pig and screaming. Tank jammed a gusset plate into Cash’s arm. A river of blood flowed down Cash’s arm. Tank hammered a gusset plate into Cash’s head then yanked it out. I don’t which was more horrifying, Cash took a spiked ax handle to Tank’s arm and head. Cash used a cheese grater on Tank’s head and pounded it into his arm with the ax handle. Tank added more color. Tank headbutted Cash with the cheese grater. They sliced each other’s head with a pizza cutter. Tank suplexed Cash into a pile of tacks and Legos. They both suffered the consequences. Tank placed the barbed wire bat on Cash’s groin and pounded it with the ax handle. Cash tried to light his elbow pad on fire. The pad didn’t cooperate at first but Cash managed to deliver a mildly flaming lariat. For the finish, Tank choke slammed Cash onto a board covered with gusset plates and followed with a stomp off the ropes. It was a blood feast, as sick a match as you would ever want to see…or not want to see.
Crowd chanted “Tank” and “that was awesome”. Tank said Cash was as tough as nails. He respected Cash and it was time to bury the hatchet. Cash shot Tank the bird and walked out.
Intermission – long line for in-ring photos with Matthews.
(6) Rock C retained the Anarchy Women’s Championship over Jessica Leigh (with Crystal Rose) via submission in a short match. Crowd liked the comedy spot with Rock C playing bongos on Leigh’s behind. Leigh collided with Rose. Rock C then made Leigh tap out with the inverted cloverleaf. Not much to the match but it was the right time to inject some levity into the situation.
Rose has had no luck picking opponents for Rock C. She argued with Leigh and pulled her down by the hair. Leigh knocked Rose on her ass. A match between those two could be interesting.
Video screen promos from Stryknyn and Jacob Ashworth. Stryknyn said Ashworth didn’t have the mean streak he did. “Whatever you’re willing to do to keep the title. I’m willing to do more to take it.” Ashworth said he had become champion in the building he grew up in and nobody could take that away from him. “You’re a 13 point buck and I got you in my crosshairs sitting back in my field blind.”
(7) Jacob Ashworth defeated Stryknyn to retain the Anarchy Triple Crown Championship in 11:07. Dany Only came out with Stryknyn and gave Ashworth the middle finger salute before departing (as he was banned from ringside). Dueling chants at the bell. Back and forth chain wrestling early. Ashworth took control with his power game. Out of nowhere, Stryk stunned Ashworth with a headbutt to the face, opening a small cut. Stryk on the attack. Ashhworth answered. It was stiff and getting stiffer. Referee Triston Michaels got knocked down when Stryknyn went for the F5. Only returned to ringside. Stryknyn said he could do this alone. Only reluctantly departed. It turned into an all-out slugfest. They were trading bombs. Stryknyn got a double wristlock but had to break the hold when Ashworth put his shoulders to the mat. Ashworth hit roll of the dice for a close near fall. Stryknyn countered Ashworth’s finisher with the F5 but Ashworth rolled out of the ring. Ashworth kicked out Stryknyn’s spear. They slapped the shit out of each other. Stryknyn went for another spear, didn’t get it and Ashworth hit his full nelson faceplant finisher for the pin. This was a brutally stiff match as it is any time Stryk and Ashworth square off. Lots of intrigue as to how the story played out in the match and where it goes from here. Stryk’s talk of doing whatever it took notwithstanding, he never cheated. The tease had been Only doing something dastardly and it didn’t happen.
Stryk looked like he was wanted to hit Ashworth with the belt, but he handed it to him and raised the champion’s hand. The crowd popped hard for the show of sportsmanship.
Matt Tremont video to preview the July 22 hardcore insanity that will be Tank’s farewell to Landmark Arena.
Video screen promo by Gladiator Jeremiah backed by his monsters Se7en and Cyrus. Jeremiah said their opponents were mere mortals and said Battalion was guided by the acronym STRIKE: Strength-Technique-Intensity-Knowledge-Endurance.
Video screen by Jeff G. Bailey using psychology to rally the Elite. This was vintage Bailey. People were saying they were going to lose. People said Kevin Blue was too pretty and Chris Spectra was the weak link. But Billy Buck had been in the gutter before and he wasn’t worried about Gunner Miller. Bailey said Jeremiah had lost his heavy hitter – No Iceberg, no worries.
(8) War Games: Team Elite (Gunner Miller & Kevin Blue & Billy Buck & Chris Spectra with Jeff G. Bailey) defeated Jeremiah’s Battalion (Gladiator Jeremiah & Cyrus the Destroyer & Se7en & Azrael) in 23:11. Wilson explained the rules and dedicated the match to the memory of Rhodes. Buck beat the living hell out of Buck for the first five minutes, repeatedly flinging Buck face first into the steel cage until his face was the proverbial crimson mask. This was classic old school cage match mayhem. Jeremiah showed the blood on his hand to the crowd. They cheered in approval like it was the Roman Coliseum. Blue entered. Jeremiah laughed off his blows until Buck blindsided him. Buck and Blue gave Jeremiah the javelin toss into the cage. Jeremiah bled. Cyrus evened the odds bigtime. He teamed up with Jeremiah for a double team RKO on Blue and a Hart Attack sick kick on Buck. Bailey was getting frantic for his ace to enter the match. Miller made his presence known with a crushing spear on Jeremiah. Miller backdropped Cyrus into the cage and the whole thing just about came apart. The refs were running for the hills. Miller and company brought Cyrus off the ropes with a massive triple team powerbomb. Cyrus appeared to take the brunt of it on his neck. Not good. Se7en entered and cleaned house on all three opponents. Cyrus gave Miller a fallaway slam into the cage. Team Battalion was dominating. Spectra quickly dispelled any notion that he didn’t belong in the match. He had nunchucks as an equalizer and used them to dismantle the Battalion. The lights went out. Two druids appeared with flaming torches to illuminate the building. The Lost Boys music played. A section of the ceiling opened up and Azrael was lowered to the floor on a platform. I loved the spectacular surprise entrance. I didn’t love that the match stopped cold for it to happen. At least with the lights off, it wasn’t as obvious. The Match Beyond phase was underway. Azrael was a house of fire. Crowd was going nuts as he laid the Elite guys out right and left. Battalion applied four-way figure four leglocks. Bailey threw powder in Azrael’s face to break it up. Fans called for ejection. That wasn’t about to happen. Cyrus gave Miller a monster superlex. Jeremiah hit a flying DDT from the top of the cage on Blue. Just when it appeared Battalion had the match well in hand, The Elite kicked it into overdrive, picking off the Battalion one by one. Miller blasted Azrael with the CTE and ran a coping saw (where did that come from?) across Azrael’s mouth. Gruesome stuff. Azrael tapped.
It was a violent ending to a violent night. The match lived up to the tradition of epic War Games matches in Cornelia and that my friends, is saying something.