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Hostility Is the New Normal for Championship Wrestling

Championship Wrestling Review – September 12th

This week on Championship Wrestling, Ray Rosas makes his first defence of the Heritage title and his shocking win last week. Also, the great Danny ‘Limelight’ Rivera is in action, as is Vipress and Cece Chanel for the women’s division, and the Friendship Farm, Clark Connors and Jordan Clearwater are all set to appear.

There’s no time to waste, so let’s go straight to the ring!

Cece Chanel vs. Vipress

The last time we saw Vipress, she cost Heather Monroe a loss in her best of seven series with Lacey Ryan. Luckily for Vipress, it looks like the Killer Bae has other things on her mind.

Two minutes into the match, which saw some nice, fluid grappling exchanges, Nikko Marquez, on his crusade against women’s wrestling, stormed into the ring and demanded the match be stopped and that the competitors and the ref ‘go now’. What a charmer.

This, of course, drew the ire of Halston Boddy and Heather Monroe, who came to the ring to confront Marquez. I have to admit, I was in stitches when Boddy referred to Nikko as “Discount Marquez” and ‘complimented’ his “best wedding and/or funeral suit”. Take that, Marquez!

Nikko wasn’t willing to discuss the situation, though, telling Heather to keep quiet “because the men are talking”. He took it a step further, stating that if Heather is the queen of Hollywood, then he is the king: he owns the mats, the cameras, he even owns Halston! That was a step too far for the Killer Bae, who knocked Nikko out with a great kick to the head before unloading with a barrage of fists, officials prising her off Nikko’s prone body.

I really like where this storyline is going. In a way, you could say that its playing off the tension that still unbelievably occurs in the wrestling community, with a portion (not all, I must stress) of male fans denying the quality and validity of women’s wrestling. With the Killer Bae on his case, Nikko would be best advised to change his opinion–quickly.

Heather Monroe lays the fists into Nikko Marquez on Championship Wrestling

Jack Cartwright vs. Clark Connors

If I can just start by saying, I really enjoyed Dustin Starr’s evident pleasure at calling Cartwright, “Jack Cartwheel”. Sometimes it’s the little things.

“Cartwheel” is an appropriate moniker in any case. Cartwright displayed an eye-catching series of somersaults and acrobatics that reminded me a little of modern take on the World of Sport-style gymnastics of Johnny Saint and Mike ‘Flash’ Jordan. Clark Connors, on the other hand, was all business, as you’d expect from the captain of the New Japan LA dojo.

This was a nice change of pace, with an almost pure wrestling style. Cartwright was cocky and self-assured, which he seemed to annoy Connors. Every time Cartwright seemed to have a run of offence, Connors was able to counter and take back the lead. Cartwright had a fascinating little move called the ‘Slam-Stand’, a combination of a handstand on the top rope and a splash. But again, Connors was able to counter, this time with raised knees.

In the end, a killer spear and a Boston Crab (the move all Young Lions must finish their matches with) sealed the deal. This was a solid outing which showcased the styles and characters of both men and introduced them to the audience. I’m excited to see the ‘pure’ style in Championship Wrestling and look forward to seeing more of both men.

“The Midas Touch is About to Become the Gold Standard”

It’s my boy, Jordan Clearwater! And whereas before he was giving me those old-school babyface vibes, like a modern update of ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes, it seems that Lockdown has given him the time and space to work out want he wants.

What exactly does he want, you might ask? To be the best, of course. It turns out that during Lockdown Clearwater has been training with Championship Wrestling commentator and professional MMA fighter Blake ‘Bulletproof’ Troop. We see Clearwater working out and he looks hungrier, tougher, meaner even.

Blake points out how much improvement Clearwater has made since training with him, but particularly with the Midas Touch big boot finisher. As Clearwater himself says, “The Midas Touch is about to become the gold standard”.

The rest of the roster might want to pay attention; I think they’ve just been put on notice…

Slim Boogie vs. Danny ‘Limelight’ Rivera

Danny Rivera prepares to leap off the top rope onto Slim Boogie

Here we go with the battle of the New York State of Mind: two tough, no-nonsense New Yorkers, one large and powerful, the other sharp-striking and gravity defying. Bring it on!

Boogie backed Rivera into the corner to start and give him a little push to the face, sending a message. So Rivera sends a message of his own – a solid kick to the thigh that catches Boogie by surprise. Boogie sends Rivera into the corner again but finds a hip toss attempt foiled by Rivera flipping through it then landing a kick to the chest, a head scissor takedown, a dropkick and a graceful springboard takedown off the top rope, sending Boogie flying using simple wrist control. Boogie went to the outside, which is a fine plan until you find Danny Rivera throwing himself through the air to the outside with a spinning dive! Never mind Pac, Rivera is the man gravity forgot.

Boogie retook control with a massive overhead suplex and big elbow drop using the bottom rope as a springboard. A massive kick to the head nearly knocked Rivera’s head off of his shoulders and a long-held vertical suplex displayed the power of the Boogie. A torture rack gave Rivera the chance to counter, though, with a swinging DDT. Then, in a jaw-dropping display of balance, Rivera nimbly ran across the middle rope, hopped up to the top and landed a massive springboard clothesline! Outstanding. He then cut Boogie down like a tree with kicks, landed a neat half-nelson suplex for a near-fall.

Boogie returned with a brutal pile driver, Rivera used his speed to attempt several different roll up attempts. A gigantic Symbio DDT from the top looked like it would seal the deal but as a fatigued Rivera crawled across the ring, the bell rang, calling for the time-limit draw.

This was a really good match, with Danny Rivera using his speed and athleticism to counter Boogie’s power and size. The time-limit draw is fine, as it gave us a taste of what these two can do together, meaning the subsequent rematch will have more at stake. Everybody wins, especially us fans.

The Friendship Farm vs. 4 Minutes of Heat

How can you not smile when you see Sweet Robin Shaw give Gentleman Jervis a piggyback to the ring? Friendship Farm are just what we need on our screens after a miserable 2020.

Jervis frustrates Ricky Gibson to start, using both his speed and his questionable martial arts posturing. Sweet Robin picks Gibson up and a Jervis tickle leads to a Shaw bodyslam. Now there’s a double team you don’t see every day.

A missed leg drop leaves Shaw vulnerable, 4 Minutes of Heat focussing on Shaw’s leg and grounding the big man. A big elbow creates enough space though to tag in Jervis, who unleashes a massive spear and a bunny hop drop to change the momentum.

Sweet Robin tags back in and hits a huge Saito suplex on Gibson. A charge to the corner is struck dumb with a kick to the leg though, and a double DDT is enough to put Shaw down for the 1-2-3.

This was a fun little match, with Friendship Farm being as entertaining as ever, while 4 Minutes of Heat looked hungry and showed great logic and consistency in working over Sweet Robin’s leg.

“We Are the New Normal”

So-Cal Distancing lay down the law

Something very strange is happening.

As we returned from the break, the screen was disrupted by static, and we cut to a black screen with a mystery man talking at us from behind a face-mask, a perturbing reminder of how many of us live our day to day lives now.

His name, he said, is not important. What is important is why they are here. Adrian Quest and Andy Brown entered the picture, also wearing face masks, as the mystery man claimed he has given them purpose, and that they are here to rid the world of the sickness of So-Cal Wrestling. They are going to tear Championship Wrestling apart and pick through the pieces to build something new, something great.

“We are So-Cal Distancing. And make no mistake, we will not be keeping our distance…welcome to the new normal”. The static disrupts the screen again and we are left with a simple message: WE ARE EVERYWHERE.

It’s intriguing that this is the first promotion that I’ve noticed that has used the current COVID pandemic in such a direct manner for one of their storylines, even if is functioning as a metaphor. Thankfully it’s tastefully done. What’s more intriguing is how the group seems similar in its way to CONTRA Unit and Retribution. True, the grudge against So-Cal Wrestling differentiates it from the aforementioned groups (and they’ve actually let us know their issue in the first week, unlike Retribution). This is also the group’s first appearance, so it’s only fair to let the story play itself out and see where it takes us before making further comparisons.

I do like invading or hostile stables like this when done well though, so I’m definitely on board for this idea. Only one thing left to say: watch your back Ray Rosas!

Heritage Champion Ray Rosas vs. Will Allday

After last week’s shocking turn on Championship Wrestling by Andy Brown and Adrian Quest, I can’t blame Ray Rosas for looking behind his back as he made his entrance. Clearly distracted by his (pretty justified) paranoia, he was caught straight away by two rollups from Allday that nearly put the champ down for the count.

Rosas took control with a wristlock but Allday was able to use his gymnastic skills to reverse Rosas into a fireman’s carry. Allday grabbed a wristlock of his own but Rosas escaped thanks to an elbow to the face.

Both men ran the ropes, managing to dodge the other, but Allday caught Rosas with a flying forearm. Rosas came back with fists, a bodyslam and an elbow. Paranoia got the better of him again, though, as he checked the stage for attackers before charging Allday in the corner. Allday dropped Rosas over the ropes and hit him with a stunner followed by a tope suicida to the outside.

Back in the ring, a frog splash gave Allday a near-fall. But as Rosas and Allday picked up the pace, the screen began to flicker again with static. Ray went to climb the turnbuckles when the screens in the arena began to flicker and the So-Cal Distancing group were shown outside on a pier. “Ray. Welcome to the new normal”, the mystery man told Rosas, before Adrian Quest threw the PPIII cup over the side. The match ended there, with Rosas looking perplexed and the screens in the arena once more turning to static…

Final Thoughts

Championship Wrestling followed up its fabulous return to action last week with another solid episode. We got further storyline progression with Nikko Marquez attempting to derail the women’s division and ‘The Killer Bae’ taking action, the grudge established between Danny Rivera and Slim Boogie, and the introduction of So-Cal Distancing and their provocation of Ray Rosas.

We also got great action, with Clark Connors and Jack Cartwright bringing in the pure style, Danny Rivera and Slim Boogie playing speed off across power and Friendship Farm having their enthusiasm dampened by the tactical mind-set of 4 Minutes of Heat. As Championship Wrestling from Hollywood builds momentum heading into this week’s debut of Prime Time Live, the quality of their new shows under booker Aron Stevens is demonstrating real quality and consistency that some of the bigger promotions seem incapable of producing at the moment. Which promotions? Ah, that would be telling…

I’ll see you next week, grapple fans, for another edition of Championship Wrestling!

Chris Flackett

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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