LITTLE BOBBY DEAN! is the best US Midget ever!! VINNY MASSARRO dumps KID CHROME on his fucking head!! SUPER DESTROYER 2000 doesn’t suck!! WESTSIDE PLAYAZ and MODEST and DANIELS go 30!! ALEXANDER OTSUKA’s! masks slips!! and other stuff from APW Kristmas Kaos
By Phil Schneider
Since I am home in California for the holidays and APW is the best Indy promotion in the country I had to check out a show. I arranged with friend of the DVDVR BostonIdol to meet him at the show, and borrowed my Mom’s car and headed out to Mare Island for the show. Frank wanted to meet early so after driving the backstreets of Vallejo thanks to the closed bridge I finally made it to Mare Island Sports Center.
Mare Island is a military base and the sports center is this huge building with a basketball court, soccer field and pretty decent size area for a ring. Frank was nowhere to be found so I shot some baskets and watched the ring setup. After about 45 minutes, I bailed to go get a bite at Jack in the Box which is a special kind of greasy fast food unavailable in the Nation’s Capital. When I got back I introduced myself to Roland Alexander and Jason Deadrich, both of whom were good eggs and seemed pretty familiar with the DVDVR. I try to scam some tapes out of Jason and he makes some promises which I will attempt to hold him to.
I run into Frank and attempt to not broadcast fanboy vibes as I meet most of the wrestlers. Vinny Massaro was a good guy and big time shit talker, we talked about Japan tapes for a while and he had seen his first AJ old guys comedy match and was as puzzled by the phenomenon as one might expect. Donovan Morgan was pretty quiet but seemed like a genuinely nice guy. Mike Modest came off as a super knowledgeable wrestling fan, and seemed like he was pretty aware of what makes a great wrestling match. From the conversation I had with him, I would have been able to tell he was a good worker without even seeing him in the ring. He talked to us a little about the Urban Wrestling Alliance, and he seemed pretty upbeat about the prospects, although he copped to some of the workers really sucking when he initially began training them, including one worker who blew up after a 60 second sparring session. He also talked about attempting to bridge the gap between the promoters who wanted 10 highspots a match, and Rocky Johnson who has been pushing the sunset flip as a viable finisher in the year 2001. After dorking out, me and Frank grabbed a bench and checked out the show. Roland stopped by and talked to us through out the evening and it was pretty interesting to hear a promoters take on a show, and I got some pointers if we ever do that ~ show.
“The Shooter” Tony Jones vs. Sean Patrick O’Doul
Jones comes out a cuts a PROMO about how he worked in Urban Pro Wrestling and was being buried by the APW. He calls out Myaki Franz and squashes him with some nice suplexes including a pretty sweet relased German. Sean Patrick O’Doul who is kind of skinny rookie comes in and gets squashed too, with Jones winning with a camel clutch full nelson. Nothing match, which I guess is an attempt to get Jones over as a badass. I kind of like the submission hold he used, but I think if you are going to do a shooter gimmick you should do a shoot hold or two.
The Snotts (George C. & Seymour) & Jardi Franz vs. The Ballard Brothers (Shane & Shannon) & Ma’Och
This was the sports-entertainment mach of the night. The Snotts are doing a nerd gimmick with a portly valet who does the stinkface, Franz is a highflyer who is one of the most improved workers in the world. The Ballards have a hockey gimmick (Note from Rippa – The Ballards do the Hanson Brothers gimmick from the movie “Slapshot”.) and Ma’Och kind of looks and wrestles like Joe Gomez. The match was pretty enjoyable, although nothing special work wise, Franz hit a nice space flying tiger drop, and the Ballards had a bunch of nice double and triple teams (using their valet) Ma’Och didn’t do much though and his presence seemed to complicate things as well. The after match was this long SE segment with the payoff being some fat guy sticking his ass in a bald managers face. Kids seemed to like it I guess, and it was better scripted then anything Vince Russo did in WCW so there is that.
Dalip Singh vs. Boom Boom Comini – Lumberjack Strap Match
Dalip Singh is really impressive looking as he is a legit 7’2 and has a bodybuliders build. I imagine he will be a big star, but boy golly he sucks now. Abortion of a match for the most part, bad punches and chops, with Boom Boom being thrown outside and taking weak strap shots by the lumberjacks. The end was real confusing as both guys battled to the back for a double countout, which completely negates the point of having a lumberjack strap match. Very not good, but at least it was short.
There were some more promos around here somewhere by Buddy Cotello (doing the edgy, hip Clarence Mason lawyer gimmick) and by Christopher Daniels and Mike Modest. Modest and Daniels are pretty good on the mike, and both segments were over soon enough.
Bobby Dean vs. Little Kato
This was a pretty big shock, as a rule U.S. midget matches are the lowest form of professional wrestling, but these guys actually showed some nice stuff, including a really swank headscissors and a big time ring rope bump off a slingshot by Dean. They had the traditional comedy spots which suck, but the wrestling itself was worlds better then the crap which passes for most non-Lucha midget matches.
Vinny Massaro vs. Kid Chrome
Vinny was sporting his Shadow WX gear, and Kid Chrome had a anachronistic 80’s babyface look with the long slicked back hair and shiny silvery metallic vest he looked like he should be teaming with Chaz Taylor in Global for a big blowoff feud with John Tatum and Jack Victory. Massaro is a fun worker, with a bunch of really nasty moves, stiff work and the willingness to take big bumps. Chrome is a highspotty worker with some nice spots, including a tope-con-hilo ringpost moonsault and super-springboard sliding dropkick from across the ring . Massaro did a good a job keeping Chrome based, and it was a neat match, Massaro does a good job working highflyers and this was better then his matches against Myaki.
Super Destroyer 2000 vs. Donovan Morgan
This match was better then I had any right to expect. I hadn’t seen SD2K before and Frank pretty much said he was more of a Hercules Hernandez 2K and his gimmick (that of a 70’s era wrestler) seems like an excuse for poor work, and Morgan has been really up and down in the matches I have seen lately. This match was freaking great though. The spots flowed really well including a great spear counter by SD2K. SD2K also wasn’t afraid to take a second rope rydeen bomb, which was huge bump for such a big dude. There was a nice counter wrestling sequence for the finish as Morgan blocked the heart punch and twisted it into a pedigree for the win. I was impressed with SD2K he was a big guy who worked stiff and had some really nice power moves, Morgan did a great job of carrying too as he hit his spots clean and made Destroyers offense look great. I some ways this was a better match then the tag, as the finish of the tag match was slightly disappointing, and this match made the best out of both guys ability.
Mike Modest/Christopher Daniels vs. West Side Playaz 2000 (Boyce LeGrande/Robert Thompson)
I called the WOL show with Roland on it, asking for clean finishes on this show. Up to this point every match except the lumberjack match had ended clean, so I figured to spite me this match would have three ref bumps, a Dalip Singh run in, either, a Dusty finish or the lights turning off and Jake Roberts DDTing everyone in the ring and Roland standing up and calling for the bell during a submission hold. Luckly instead, they decided to go long and have pretty close to an Indy MOTY. The match started with Thompson and Modest hooking up, and Thompson going after Modests knee. They then did a pull apart which was looked like a Japanese style shoot angle, which was cool. Little stuff like that are the kind of little things that guys like Modest and Daniels add to a traditional style match.
Unlike some WSP2K matches this one built slowly with the traditional heel vs. face tag style match, with Modest and Daniels playing to the crowd and Boyce and Thompson both taking their turn as face-in-peril. They waited until about 15 minutes in before they started breaking out big moves, with Modest hitting an awesome Dragon suplex to start the sprint portion of the match which included some big dives by both WSP’s and some nasty suplexes by Daniels and Modest. Then when it looked like they were going to the finish, they pulled back again, and worked another 6-8 minutes before the actual final section of the match. I thought the very end of the match, which had a ref bump and some spots with a plastic chair and a table, took away from the flow a little bit. Everything up to that point had been well executed, but the garbage sections seemed a little disjointed, at least they didn’t kill the impact of the table spot by having it duplicate something in the undercard, but outside of matches designed as brawls, I tend to think spots like that take away from the flow of a straight match. Also the leg injury of Modest was ignored except for the opening shoot angle, which worked on a META level (Modest gets legit pissed at Thompson for working the leg, Thompson backs off, so they could work a match) but didn’t work on a wrestling level. Still those are quibbles in what was really a tremendous match, right up there with Cham Pain vs. Steve Corino for live wrestling MOTY.
After the show Frank, Roland, Bobby Dean, Chris Daniels and Me, all went off to Denny’s (insert Barnett one-liner) for breakfast. We got the services and food quality that makes Denny’s famous, as our waitress evidentially had a migraine, so we waited about 2 hours for our food. We talked a lot about Puro and Chris told stories about his Michinoku Pro and BattlArts tours, and wrestling Ohtani in England. Too many funny stories to write and still get this report out before I leave town, but I will relay this quick one. Daniels as Curry Man was working Alexander Otsuka in BAT-BAT, for some reason Otsuka decided to work the match under a hood as Shu Chin(sp?) a South Korean gimmick which consisted of a hood over his regular wrestling tights (which have Otsuka’s name all over them). So Curry Man gets bounced out of the ring and Shu Chin was going to run and hit a tope, Daniels is outside ready to catch him and Chin runs head first into the top rope, knocking himself silly. Curry recovers comes in the ring and slaps on a chinlock “He goes, what happened? Are you okay?” Alex responded with “Wait one minute, Mask Slipped couldn’t see.”
Great, great house show, all the matches except one, exceeded expectations, and everyone I met were cool, and Frank hardly smelled at all. APW puts out a great product and is well worth the trip for anyone in California.