Austin Theory retained the PWA Heritage Championship by defeating Sal Rinauro in a top drawer main event.
EVOLVE star Theory was making his first title defense after winning the title from Kevin Blue his first night in the promotion. It was a bold move but one that will probably pay dividends for PWA. It’s no secret that at the age of 20, Theory is a pro wrestling prodigy. He looks like a champion and has the in-ring skills and natural instincts to back it up.
The Heritage Championship once again eluded Rinauro, who would have become a triple crown champion had he been able to seal the deal. Blue made sure that wasn’t going to happen.
Blue made his presence known early and often in the main event and gets his rematch against Theory on October 21 by virtue of winning a number one contender’s match.
Things appear to be shaping up nicely for PWA’s next major event, Thanksgiving Turmoil on November 25. Peachstate shows are usually strong in the storyline department and last night’s show did not disappoint with the notable exception of the tag title match. The finishes worked. The outcomes opened up interesting possibilities.
A scant 125 were in attendance at the VFW Fairgrounds. The promotion is hoping that basement level number is a one off due to the free concert by 38 Special at Carrollton’s Southwire Day celebration.
Former PWA Heritage Champion Kevin Blue stormed the ring and said it was a disgrace that he wasn’t even on the poster. Blue demanded that Commissioner Terry Hudgins give him a championship rematch. Blue said Austin Theory got a title match on night one and he got screwed out of the title.
Shane Noles said he had also been a Heritage Champion in 2017 and wasn’t scheduled for a match either but he wasn’t complaining. Title shots weren’t like Halloween candy for tricker treaters, not everyone gets one.
Not the most authoritative of authority figures, Hudgins informed Blue that he did have a match but it would be against Noles with the winner facing Theory.
(1) Jimmy Rave defeated Logan Creed (with Bill Behrens) via DQ in 4:03. Rave surprised Creed with a pescado before the bell. Creed backdropped Rave onto the ringside chairs which did not look like a fun bump to take. Behrens grabbed Rave’s leg. Creed capitalized but Rave fired back. Creed reversed Rave’s vaunted apron STO with a wicked choke slam. Rave kicked out of the pin and stomped on Creed’s foot when he tried another choke slam. Rave could only get the crossface applied in a standing position due to Creed’s size. Creed was starting to fade so Behrens choked Rave with his neckbrace for the DQ. They walked a fine line. Rave’s aggressiveness and resiliency did good things for his standing as a babyface and Creed still looked every bit the dangerous monster.
Creed added injury to insult by laying Rave out with the chokebreaker after the match.
(2) Ashton Starr pinned Cabana Man Dan in 1:56. Back story was Starr deprived Dan out his opportunity for the No Limits Championship. Dan attacked Starr in the aisle and immediately busted out the flip flop chops. Dan let a fan whack Starr with the flip flop. Starr cut off Dan’s offense with a high boot. Dan tried for sliced bread. Starr countered with an atomic drop and pinned him with the Foxy Buster. Starr has a fetish for woman wrestler finishers. This was another effective match – short and sweet and just the decisive win Starr needed to legitimize his push.
(3) Kevin Blue defeated Shane Noles to become the number one contender for the PWA Heritage Championship in 13:34. It was all Noles early on. Blue bailed with Noles hot on his tail. Both men made creative use of a steel chair. Blue caught Noles with a Harley Race high knee to take over. Blue repeatedly grounded Noles, who escaped Blue’s graps by dropping him on his head. Blue snapped Noles’ throat across the top rope to regain control. When Blue took time out to gloat, Noles put him in a Boston crab. Blue gouged Shane’s eyes with vigor but couldn’t stem the tide. Noles capped off his comeback with a senton bomb off the middle rope and a cannonball. Blue dropped Noles in his tracks with a palm strike for a near fall, then a pair of uranages. Noles got a last gasp sunset flip for a two count. Noles blocked a third uranage before Blue put him away with the Air Raid Crash. Match was longer, better and more competitive than I expected. Noles surely has come a long way as a wrestler but Blue had to go over here.
(4) AC Mack (with Ashton Starr) defeated Adam Priest to retain the No Limits Championship in 6:23. Mack’s pretentious self-introduction was instant heat. Priest is built like a fire plug and a solid wrestler. He was giving Mack all he could handle until Starr’s well-timed distraction. Mack worked on Priest’s shoulder using a classic hammerlock slam and Russian legsweep for near falls. Priest was in rally mode when Mack kicked him in the gut as he came off the ropes. Mack hit the Mack 10 (cross-armed pedigree) to pick up the win. Good match. Mack backed up his big mouth with an impressive moveset and crisp execution.
Mack made ring announcer Jason Boyd hoist the belt in the air while he lectured the fans about being the best thing to walk through Peachstate. Mack’s egotistical rant was interrupted by “House of the Rising Sun” followed by the appearance of Rave onstage.
Rave said he was a former PWA Heritage Champion with 18 years of experience and he was coming for Mack’s No Limit’s Championship. That’s a match I want to see.
PWA Women’s Champion and “Procurer of Chaos” Brooklyn Creed entered the ring showing utter contempt for the PWA fans. Brooklyn said AJ Steele made two mistakes –challenging Logan to a streetfight at Thanksgiving Turmoil and mentioning her name. Brooklyn said if Steele could find Pandora's balls, they could have a tag match against the Creeds on November 4.
(5) Beautiful Bald Besties (Michael Stevens & Zac Edwards) defeated Alabama Attitude (Corey Hollis & “P-Dogg” Mike Posey) to win the PWA Tag Team Championship in 8:23. Hollis instigated a skirmish before the bell. Besties isolated P-Dogg for most of the match. Zero heat. Besties were bending over backwards not to cheat. Posey made the tag but referee David Weakley didn’t see it and chased Hollis out. Hollis threw a hissy fit. The histrionics were such that Hollis overturned the timekeeper’s table. As Hollis was losing his mind, Stevens pinned P-Dogg. Match was fine technically. The story sucked.
Postmatch – Hollis shoved a perplexed P-Dogg and walked out on him. So Hollis has turned into a crazed hothead. No doubt he can pull off the part but it wasn’t something the fans were ready for or wanting to see. Besties are in the unenviable position of being babyface champions by default. Fans weren’t buying it to the point some were accusing the Besties of cheating when they were doing nothing wrong.
(6) Austin Theory defeated Sal Rinauro to retain the PWA Heritage Championship in 21:25. Theory was wearing the NCW Heavyweight Championship he won the night before in Cornelia. Blue made a grand entrance and took a seat at ringside. Theory and Rinauro engaged in a lengthy feeling out process featuring some nifty chain wrestling. Blue was running his mouth and really getting under their skin. Rinauro told Blue to shut the hell up and watch. Fans picked right up on it with a “shut up Blue” chant. The see saw battle continued. Theory kicked into a higher gear with a series of clotheslines and a standing moonsault. Rinauro countered the TKO and went on a tear of his own. Theory used a buckle bomb (safely done) and a cross-legged suplex into neckbreaker across the knee. Theory was in agony after hitting the move like his knee was shot. Rinauro wasn’t above working on the knee. This was for the title after all. Theory cut Rinauro off and hit an a spinning torture rack drop that was a thing of beauty. They traded big moves until both were down. Theory looked out of control on a tope but landed on his feet. Rinauro gave Theory a kneebreaker on the ring frame. Theory would have been counted out if not for Rinauro pleading his case to the ref. Theory caught Rinauro off guard with the rolling thunder dropkick and went for the TKO but his knee gave way. Rinauro applied a stretch muffler. Blue interfered and referee Mason Pike called for the bell. Rinauro said he didn’t want to win that way. The fans called for a restart. Commission Hudgins gave them their wish. Back and forth inside cradles and Theory hit the TKO to retain the title.
I really liked this match. It was old school with a spin. Rinauro got it across that nothing was more important than the title. Theory’s selling of his knee was a model of consistency and realism. Unlike many wrestlers with such limited experience, Theory doesn’t do a ton of moves, half of which look like shit. He picks his spots for dramatic effect and makes sure everything he does looks good. Blue played his role to perfection. He was a thorn in their sides and added to the tension without making himself the center of attention.
The crowd appreciated the postmatch display of good sportsmanship. After Theory departed, Blue sneaked into the ring and laid Rinauro out. Theory limped back to the ring and gave Blue the TKO. I thought Blue might never get up. He must have lain in the ring for a good 10 minutes.