My first trip to the revival of National Championship Wrestling and Friday night shows at Landmark Arena left me with a good feeling.
I was impressed by the passion NCW fans (85 in attendance) have for the product. The babyfaces were hugely over, the heels intensely hated, shockingly so considering how little experience the roster has under their belts.
The potent crowd reactions are a credit to the storytelling by Nigel Sherrod and company. The NCW fans are hooked on the characters. As a result, they’re more than willing to overlook shortcomings in the wrestling end of things.
The backstage atmosphere is relaxed compared to the Anarchy shows. NCW is a training ground. There’s more room for trial and error. In front of the curtain, NCW has the trappings of professional operation in terms of lighting, sound and multiple cameras.
Booking the top of the card at NCW is tricky business. Austin Theory is clearly the guy, a level above the rest of the up and comers on the roster. Uncrowned champion though he may be, NCW can’t count on Theory’s availability and has to find plausible ways to keep the belt off of him for any length of time.
(1) David Ali defeated Alan Angels in 9:45 to go up 1-0 in their best of five series. My recap of the first two matches is based watching the videotape. I’m sorry I missed this match live because it was good one. Angel’s maniacal intensity was way more interesting than the lackluster character he was doing at Peachstate. Ali’s comeback was intense and explosive. I really liked the finish. Angels fought off Ali’s finisher and got a single leg crab. Ali couldn’t get to the ropes but was able to reverse Angels with a small package.
(2) Nate Wilde defeated Kurt Kyle in 6:15. Wilde kicked out a reverse tombstone and pinned Kyle with a frogsplash. Wilde is a small flier type out of Tennessee who shows good fire. Kyle is arrogance personified. He had his left arm behind his back ala Steven Regal, except he did it throughout the match. Wilde’s calf kick off the top rope looked great. Wilde did himself no favors with the botched sunset flip and off target enzuigiri leading to the finish.
Vile High Club with Jaxon Vile: Vile’s guests were Schaff and the “doppelganger” that helped him beat Logan Creed. Schaff identified the look alike as blood relative Alanis (like Morrisette?). Vile informed Schaff that he was in a fatal four way number one contender’s match next week and his opponents were Matt Gilbert, Austin Theory and Creed. Schaff said no problem. He had already beaten Gilbert and Creed and wanted to get his hands on Theory. Schaff displays a lot of confidence for his experience level and is a pretty bad ass looking dude with the chain around his neck.
The debuting Drew Blood did a zany promo comparing the Japanese soldiers that continued to fight because they didn’t know World War II was over to the wrestlers that went to the mountains of North Georgia to create something new and original. “The greatest wrestler ever was not created in a barn in Habersham County. He was created in a penthouse in Sacramento.”
(3) Josh Storm defeated Drew Blood in 6:30. Storm was really over, like virtually every babyface on the card. Blood scored a couple of takedowns and claimed to be the technical master prompting a “you can’t wrestle” chant. Blood then said he was best brawler of all time. Storm came storming back. Blood dropped Storm with a double arm DDT and went up top, only to lose his balance and crotch himself on the top rope. Storm rolled him up.
(4) Michael Manson (with Hoax & Mr. Skins) defeated Deon Mercer (with Ethan Cage) via DQ in 3:55. Manson is poor man’s Dean Ambrose. Very poor. The wrestling was bad. Nothing in particular, just overall unpolished but the fans didn’t seem to care as they love Manson. Mr. Skins was the best thing about the match. The man under the mask has presence and knows what he’s doing. Wylde hit the ring and speared former partner Mercer. In a botch-o-mania moment, Manson was announced as the winner with no correction.
Manson and company came back out with a couple of pieces of cake for a birthday celebration. Hoax gave one to a ringside fan and shoved it in his face when he tried to eat it. This fan never misses an event at Landmark. The guy was in his glory.
(5) Kenji Brea (with Bolo) defeated Ashton Starr in 6:42. Good match. The artist formerly known as Ken Lee has a new lease on his wrestling life as the devious Kenji Brea. Brea played chickenshit and took punishment until he was able to use Starr’s momentum against him. Brea’s sadistic streak was in full effect. On the comeback, Starr hit a spinebuster slam and did a cartwheel into a splash. Brea hit a jumping knee and suplexed Starr. Starr clearly got his shoulder up but referee Ryan Harmon (not to be confused with AWE ref “Butterbean” Ryan Harmon) counted three.
Fans chanted “fix”. Surely more will be revealed.
Justin Legend, one half of NCW Tag Team Champions 6:05, did an in-ring promo talking about great they are. The fans can’t stand Legend and he played off the hate really well. I’m thinking he’s more effective as a heel. Legend said partner “Big Chris” (Nelms) had the night off but they were issuing an open challenge for next week.
(6) Austin Theory & Matt Gilbert defeated NCW Heavyweight Champion Andrew Duckworth & NCW Junior Heavyweight Champion AC Mack (with Kenji Brea & Bolo) with the help of special referee Todd Sexton in 16:43. Duckworth wanted nothing to do with Theory. Sexton ejected Brea and Bolo for interference before the match was four minutes old. Theory used a standing moonsault. The heels got heat on Gilbert. At one point, Gilbert made it to his corner but Theory had been knocked off the apron by Mack. A Gilbert jumping neckbreaker set up the tag. Theory’s work showed why he earned that EVOLVE contract. Theory had Duckworth’s number but couldn’t get the TKO. Duckworth had Theory pinned with a backbreaker but Sexton delayed the count until Mack got out of the ring and Theory kicked out at the last split second. Duckworth shoved Sexton. Todd shoved Duckworth into Theory’s roll up and fast counted the pin.
Duckworth raged at Sexton and challenged him to a match on July 21. Brea Pearl-Harbored Sexton and they gave him the beatdown while Bolo laid waste to would be rescuers. Theory returned and pulled Brea out of the ring. Sexton laid Duckworth out with a superkick and accepted the challenge. I had to laugh. Sexton comes out of retirement yet again.