Championship Wrestling, as part of the ‘United Wrestling Network’, has been a mainstay of the independent wrestling scene for ten years now, having seen a chunk of its talent move on to such well-known companies as AEW, Impact and Ring of Honor. It also was once part of the NWA when it was still functioning as an actual wrestling alliance, and it still has a close working relationship with the NWA today, featuring the likes of Royce Issacs, Thunder Rosa, Tim Storm, Eli Drake and of course World Champion Nick Aldis on its programming.
The Memphis edition of the show, simply called Championship Wrestling, airs 12 pm Central Time (6pm UK time) on YouTube and Memphis station CW30 every Saturday, and whilst the matches it shows are from Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, and are a few months behind, it must be taken into account that CCWFH has not filmed any matches during the pandemic and will not be airing any new matches until August as it begins to go back into filming now. It also means that, as the NWA’s production goes onto an indefinite hiatus, this is the only real opportunity to see NWA talent on a potentially weekly basis, as well as the talent of Championship Wrestling.
So, without further adieu, let’s take it to the ring!
Lacey Ryan vs. Sandra Moone
I’ve not seen either lady wrestle before, so I’m looking forward to this. Sandra Moone seems to have an old-school Bayley and Kylie Rae type of happiness going on, which always brings energy to a match, whilst Lacey Ryan looks all business.
A short but sweet match saw the advantage between the two switch quite quickly and evenly. Ryan hit a lovely fireman’s carry into a roll through but stumbled a little jumping onto the turnbuckles, giving Moone the time to move out of the way of a senton and pick Ryan up for her ‘Moone Struck’ finisher (a full-nelson into a face slam) for the three-count. Fun and to the point
Afterwards, Moone picked Ryan up in a show of good sportsmanship, only for Heather Monroe to attack from behind and jar her with a Michinoku Driver! A challenge has been thrown down? Let’s see how this plays out.
Hollywood Heritage Champion Watts vs. ‘Stroke Daddy’ Ricky Starks
Pre-match, Ricky Starks cuts a quick interview and is introduced as coming from ‘NWA Powerrr.’ Sadly, he does so no longer, but what a hell of a debut he made on AEW Dynamite last week! The NWA family are very proud of the boy.
Ricky tells Watts that he might be powerful, but with “great power comes a very high electricity bill – and I plan to knock your damn lights out!” Boom! Take that, Watts! What a line. The crowd nonetheless chant “Watt’s is gonna kill you” over Ricky’s entrance (and Watts’, for that matter). Ricky does not look impressed.
In fact, Ricky heels it up admirably, feigning a handshake and laughing at Watts, while cockily posing, to the audience’s ire. He also tried to use his speed to tire Watts, running round him and aiming kicks to the legs, but Watts’ power was too much for Ricky, falling victim to a pair of fallaway slams and shoulder block in the corner.
Ricky countered another charge by leaping over the ropes, Watts smashing his shoulder into the ring post. Ricky continued to work on the arm and hand, putting Watts’ hand on the ring steps and stomping it, before giving a trademark wiggle to boos from the crowd.
A springboard DDT did nothing to hurt Watts, though, and Starks was turned inside out by a massively muscular clothesline. A dropkick followed, impressive for a man of Watts’ size. A ‘DNR’ (Do Not Resuscitate) only got a two, as Watts’ hurt hand give him problems hooking the leg. Starks got a near-fall with a spear and countered a superplex attempt by Watts by smacking the hand, slipping out and amazingly hitting the big man with a running powerbomb.
Starks went to the top rope but Mongrovia’s favourite son, the Question Mark, ran down and pushed Ricky off the turnbuckle, allowing Watts to hit the ‘Choke Force’ (chokeslam into a sit-down powerbomb) for the 1-2-3 (this must have been filmed around December/January time, before Ricky won the NWA TV title, as I do recall him feuding with Question Mark and Aron Stevens around that time).
This was a really fun little match. It started a little awkwardly with a fluffed move, but picked up really nicely. Ricky actually suits being a heel, and there was a good, psychological story told around Watts’ hurt hand. Recommended!
Maria and Dustin meet Cody and Brandi!
We got to see clips of a chat hosts Dustin and Maria Starr had with AEW’s power couple, Cody and Brandi Rhodes, and what was most interesting was how there wasn’t any context given as to why the chat was happening or what its purpose was, other than seemingly a plug for AEW.
Saying that, it was a really cool little chat that I actually really enjoyed. Brandi and Cody revealed they don’t find it difficult working together in AEW and, although they have some creative differences, they tend to find that this difference makes a positive impact on their work. Cody also revealed he initially dropped his surname from his wrestling persona as he found it would often be mispronounced whilst working in New Japan!
They also made the point, quite interestingly, that quite a few AEW guys have worked in Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. Dustin noted the likes of Brandon Cutler, Scorpion Sky, Peter Avalon and MJF (and now, of course, there is Ricky Starks). It was funny to hear Cody in kayfabe (one hopes!) refer to MJF as “short and with yellow teeth”.
I don’t think there was anything more to the segment than AEW getting a free plug, and Cody returning the favor by acknowledging the background of several of his stars, thereby giving that background an extra note of credibility, but it was certainly a fascinating and curious meeting of promotions I didn’t expect to see on my TV screen.
United Television Champion Royce Issacs vs. Dan Joseph
Main event time and, pre-Strictly Business, Royce was being managed in Championship Wrestling from Hollywood by Jimmy Iovine, but not for much longer as we shall see.
This was an open challenge and Dan Joseph, recently returned to the ring after a stretch commentary, was the man to answer. He came at Issacs with a really flurry of fire, battering and throwing Issacs around the ring with real energy. Issacs, though, played a longer game, countering with a series of innovative slams that eventually gave him the advantage.
In the end, though, Issacs hadn’t counted on his own cheating ways back firing in his face – literally. After a ref bump, Royce grabbed Joseph and held him for Iovine to crack him in the skull with the title belt. Joseph, however, wriggled free and Royce took the full brunt of the belt to the head! A quick cover and a new ref later, we had a brand-new United Television champion!
The crowd were happy, Joseph was ecstatic but Issacs was fuming. He pushed Iovine away and walked away through the crowd in disgust…
This was a very quick and easy hour of wrestling to watch and was very entertaining with it. Hosts Maria and Dustin bring an old-school Memphis sense of camp fun to proceedings. Ricky Starks and Watts had a great little match and the main event had a satisfying conclusion and a title change! All in all, a worthwhile wrestling watch!
I’ll see you next week, grapple fans, for another edition of Championship Wrestling!