IT’S BAAAAACK! After five months of having relied on reairing previous action to keep going (action I have certainly enjoyed in any case, as you can see by my reviews), Championship Wrestling From Hollywood has finally been able to return to taping new shows, having worked out and implemented a way to do so safely, and I’m very glad they have! Promising a return show full of surprises and excellent wrestling, our hosts all the way from Memphis, Dustin and Maria Starr, were pumped and so was I. So, let’s not waste any more time – ring the damn bell! Here’s my Championship Wrestling: Sept 4th review.
Open Challenge: Heritage Heavyweight Champion Watts vs. Ray Rosas
We’re straight to the ring here, as we join Jon Roberts with the fearsome man-monster Watts, who says he’s so happy to be back in action that he’s willing to give a title shot to the first person from the back to get in the ring. It looked for a moment that Anthony Idol was the man to answer the call, and what a mouth-watering prospect that is. But he hadn’t expected Ray Rosas, still in his street clothes, to dash past him and lay in the ring, the rat-like opportunist yelling that he got there first. Should Idol have just grabbed Ray and thrown him over the ropes before just getting down to business with Watts? You’re too nice, Mr Idol, you’re too nice.
At first, I thought we were getting the Championship Wrestling version of the famous Lesnar-Cena match at SummerSlam 2014. Why? Because Watts just threw Rosas around like he was a small child (disclaimer: never throw around small children). 5 massive fallaway slams in a row seemed to knock the living soul out of Rosas. Watts was taking his time, clearly confident that victory would be his very shortly.
And then it happened.
Watts grabbed Rosas and lifted him by the throat for a chokeslam. But it was not to be. Somehow, Rosas was able to get loose and roll-up Watts. 1.2. Kick out? Kick out?!? 3. We have a new Heritage Champion!
Ray Rosas looked as surprised as the ref when he handed over the title. Rosas scrambled away up the ramp, looking lovingly at his new title belt, as well he might. (Side note: only just realised how much like New Order’s Blue Monday Rosas’ music sounds like).
As for Watts, he looked like the small child now, one who has just been told that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Stunned despair, I’d call it. Watts was so stunned that he didn’t even see Jon Roberts trying to get a word with him as he trudged slowly away to the back.
What a brilliant and shocking start to new action! That’s how you get people’s attention. And as we shall see, Rosas’ title win would have consequences for him later in the night.
The David, Nikko and Halston Show
We go to David Marquez, who I swear has the smoothest voice in the wrestling business – it’s like he was born to be the next Gordon Solie. With him is David’s son, and CWFH matchmaker, Nikko Marquez. I had to laugh, quite guiltily, at Nikko healing it up and bemoaning people on the production wearing masks when the pandemic isn’t real. What a villain! Not only that, but he also accuses his father of ‘letting’ the women’s roster run around and do what they want.
David is incredulous, which is when Halston Boddy shimmies into view, mocking Nikko’s issue with the women’s division because Nikko took a bottle to the head when, after all, Halston had the indignity of being thrown into a dumpster during the same match.
Nikko agrees that things are getting out of hand – maybe they don’t need a woman’s division? Nikko’s description of the women just ‘prancing around’ leads me to believe he will inevitably take another bottle to the head – don’t say he hasn’t been warned!
A fun segment that could potentially create some interesting situations in the women’s division, it was interrupted by developments backstage, where Watts is seen leaving the venue with his flight case before throwing the furniture around in a fury. Something tells me Watts might just have gotten some focus – and that makes him even more dangerous!
The Friendship Farm (Gentleman Jervis & Sweet Robin Shaw) vs. Jack Cartwright and Jose Santiago
Here they are, the happiest tag team in the business. I don’t know how anyone could not crack a smile when The Friendship Farm are in the ring.
Jervis was in fine form, hitting a particularly nice sequence where he flipped over the turnbuckles, slid back in under Jose Santiago’s feet, took Santiago down with a single leg takedown onto the second rope, then cracked him with a running elbow.
Sweet Robin used his power, landing a big suplex on Santiago, before Jervis tagged back in and fell victim to Cartwright and Santiago double-teaming, jointly pressing Jervis into the air before throwing him in the air. Santiago went a step too far, though, and monkey flipped Jervis right back into his own corner for Sweet Robin to make the tag. Robin wasted no time, cracking Cartwright in the face with a jumping spin kick to take the pinfall victory.
A short but sweet match to re-establish The Friendship Farm with viewers, it nevertheless put a smile on my face, and that’s all you can ever ask for. Will we see The Friendship Farm chasing gold in the near future? Here’s hoping.
Papo Esco vs. Frankie Frank
Will Frankie ever be able to sing his song? Sorry, Frankie, it doesn’t look like it, at least not on this night. The debuting Papo Esco (who Dustin Starr was much bemused to find out that he’s known by the name ‘King Fat Boy’) made his way to the ring and violently sent Frank into the corner before the bell rang. ‘King Fat Boy’ is not here to play.
Papo Esco look like just the type of big, violent bruiser that I enjoy seeing in the heavyweights (think Vader, Bam Bam, Stan Hansen, Terry Gordy): big guys that can GO. I don’t make any claims for Papo being the next Vader, but I enjoyed him here, pretty much dominating Frankie and beating the snot out of him, all the while looking like a beast. One nice spot saw Esco put Frankie’s hands in the gaps at the sides of the top turnbuckle so that he was trapped and batter him with a stiff splash. That’s a first for me – I like it!
Frankie managed to get a big palm strike against the skull of Esco, but it was a moment of false hope. Esco caught Frankie and dropped him with a version of the old ‘Boss Man Slam’ for the 1-2-3. An intriguing addition to the heavyweight division, I look forward to seeing more of what ‘King Fat Boy’ has to offer.
“It’s a Victory For All of Us”
Outside, Jon Roberts catches up with Ray Rosas who still seems dazed and amazed at his title victory. His two partners in Static, however, Adrian Quest and Andy Brown, do not seem to be overly impressed that Ray went out and took the title without telling them. Ray tries to explain that it was a sudden open challenge and he had to run, but he’s told by his partners to just get ready for tonight’s match. Rosas seems to have forgotten all about it! Something tells me there’s a little bit of jealousy afoot. “It’s a victory for all of us”, shouts Rosas after the pair. It does look like Quest and Brown quite agree with you, Ray.
United Television Champion Dan Joseph vs. EJ Sparks
I say this with all due respect to everyone else who wrestled on the show, but this was the match of the night by a distance. What a performance from both Joseph and Sparks. Adnan Kureishy’s introductions really gave this a big match feel and both competitors did not disappoint on that count.
Starting out with a feeling out process, working wear down holds as each man countered the other smoothly, this was a bout that saw two evenly-matched competitors trying to outwrestle the other, meaning there was a lot of back-and-forth and evenness in terms of advantage. It was just great, competitive, modern mat wrestling.
The two men moved onto striking, throwing kicks at each other’s legs before EJ Sparks started using his speed, leaping out of harm’s way in the corner and hitting Joseph with a springboard clothesline and a jumping leg lariat. Joseph returned fire with a big sidewalk slam, but a side headlock was not enough to keep Sparks down, nor was a huge clothesline.
A chopping contest emerged in the corner before EJ moved out of the way of a big splash. Sparks flayed the flesh off Joseph’s chest with some nice kicks, following it up with a big jumping kick to the side of the head. A fisherman’s suplex and a big standing vertical suplex from Joseph proceeded an agonizing bow and arrow stretch, but Sparks still wouldn’t be denied, countering with a massive jumping kick to the head, before locking in ‘The Spark Out’. I can only describe the move as a cross between a head scissors and a crossface and it looked like absolute torture for Joseph! If it wasn’t for the ropes we might just have had a new champion.
The finishing sequence saw Joseph hit a very fluid springboard in from the outside into a German suplex; Sparks land a cutter for a near-fall; a flapjack from Joseph. But it was ‘The Long Way Down’ slam that sealed the deal for Joseph in the end. What a great match! Both men killed it in the ring and gave it their all in the spirit of competition. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch this match!
Danny ‘Limelight’ Rivera, Will Allday & Clark Connors vs. Static (Ray Rosas, Andy Brown & Adrian Quest)
There wasn’t much time left for the main event after the previous match but, as we shall see, that’s ok because there was very much a reason for this.
Even in limited time, Danny Rivera was still able to impress. The man is so damn fast! He rolled over Adrian Quest’s back to avoid a backdrop, hit a massive dropkick, nailed Quest with a springboard arm drag before hitting a lovely Northern Lights suplex. All done in an extremely fluid manner. Impressive.
Clark Connors tagged in and I like that, as captain of the NJPW L.A. dojo and a Young Lion, he was the regulation black trunks that all Lions must wear. I like the consistency and respect. He rocked Andy Brown with some big running elbows before Brown flattened him with a huge discus punch. Ray Rosas tagged in but Connors was very quickly able to get to his corner and make the tag. Will Allday sent Brown and Quest to the floor and overwhelmed Rosas with his speed. Rosas managed to catch Allday with a knee and went to make a tag…
And that’s when the night’s other big shock occurred.
Adrian Quest jumped down off the apron as Rosas tried to tag him in. Stunned, Rosas turned to Brown. He also jumped down off the apron. What the hell? Allday took advantage of the dysfunction, rolling Rosas up for the win. After the bell, Brown and Quest beat Rosas down like a dog, with Brown whipping and choking Ray out with a belt. “This was more important than us?” shouted Brown. “This is your fault. You broke it.” He then proceeded to slam Ray’s head down against the Heritage belt.
Just as I didn’t expect Ray Rosas to defeat Watts for the Heritage title, I certainly didn’t expect to see Static turn their back on Rosas either. It just goes to show: anything can happen on the fastest hour in wrestling! Who can Rosas trust now, after he has alienated the locker room with his opportunism and cheating ways? We’ll have to wait and see…
This was a brilliant show and a great way to introduce new action to your fan base after enforced time away. We got surprises, with Ray Rosas winning the Heritage title and Static turning on him; we got new talent debuting, with appearances by Papo Esco, Clark Connors and Will Allday; and we got some excellent pure wrestling with the match between Dan Joseph and EJ Sparks. Seeds have been sown for future feuds and character development. When you add in the appearance of The Friendship Farm, and Nikko Marquez insinuating a war against the women’s division, plus the anticipation for Primetime Live, and you’re looking at a company that has a real buzz about it at the moment.
Next week can’t come soon enough.