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Jack Banning Is The Muse For Clearwater’s Madness

Championship Wrestling from Hollywood Review – March 13th

Welcome back to the Oceanside Pavillion! After a small break, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood is back in action, and what better way to return than with a big main event pitting Jordan Clearwater against the man who tried to put him out of action, Jack Banning?

There’s no time to waste, so let’s go down to the ring and get into it!

Jordan Cruz vs. EJ Sparks

Jordan Cruz marched to the ring, most definitely pumped up for this one. His opponent, EJ Sparks, is definitely some I’m a fan of (hey NWA, if you’re looking for good talent…), so I was definitely pumped up for this one.

I wasn’t disappointed. This was a great, athletic encounter centered on that most classic of wrestling tropes: trying to outdo the other person to prove you’re the best. Wrestling doesn’t always have to be complex, and this was proof that two men can go out and tell a tale in the ring.

Starting off with some tentative strikes before taking it to the mat, neither man could control the pace as the advantage went back and forth. The pace did pick up as Sparks began to build a rally of offence, but Cruz took it back to the mat again, slowing things down and putting the hurt on EJ badly. A big sit-down powerbomb earned Cruz a very near-fall.

EJ used those lightening feet of his to build a comeback and was aided by Cruz when he went to the top for a high-risk move, and EJ moved, putting Cruz in a vulnerable spot for an EJ knee, kick, and cutter sequence that earned EJ a close two count. Cruz couldn’t avoid the Roundhouse Rhythm kick, putting an end to a really enjoyable opener.

Afterward, Sparks gave an interview where he said Cruz had definitely earned the respect of Phoenix’s favorite son. He’s definitely got mine as well.

Mylo Matters vs. Viva Van

The last time we saw Mylo Matters, she was on the receiving end of Ruby Raze’s temper. This time she had Viva Van to contend with, who was no less aggressive than Raze. Poor Mylo—maybe the violent beatings build character?

To be fair to Mylo, she started strong with a series of arm drags before Viva swatted her like a fly with a big boot. Van continued to grind Mylo down with big strikes and a chin lock before Mylo caught a second wind with a jawbreaker and a neck breaker. Van caught her up on the top turnbuckle, though, and put on Mylo’s shoulders, arching back to pin her with a variation of a fisherman’s suplex.

After the match, Guy came running down with a mysterious brown envelope, which he gave to Viva Van. Another one of Nikko Marquez’s one-sided contracts? I’d get your lawyer to check that first Viva…

‘King Fat Boy’ Papo Esco vs. Honest John

Poor Jack Farmer. Before the match, he was joined by the three members of The Bodega, Papo Esco, Danny Limelight, and Slice Boogie. The three decorated him with a fetching Puerto Rican bandana before he proceeded to annoy them by asking about the talk that they can’t beat anybody without some kind of shenanigans or rule-breaking.

Danny Limelight’s response was brilliant: from saying that the other publicly educated wrestlers were jealous of The Bodega’s street smarts to doing his impression of talking smack in his sleep to calling Esco’s opponent, Honest John, a Forever 21 model, Limelight was on fire. Still, Papo was starving; and that can only mean one thing…

Honest John is an optimist if nothing else. He shook Esco’s hand as a sign of respect, but respect was not forthcoming to him, thrown around the ring as he was by ‘King Fat Boy.’ Esco sent the Honest One to the outside, where he found himself with Danny Limelight on one side of him and Slice Boogie on the other. Electing that returning to the ring might have been the safer option, John was quickly and brutally choke slammed and, after an attempt to scale the turnbuckles, found himself slammed with the ‘Greetings from The Bodega’ (a nod to Bam Bam’s ‘Greeting from Astbury Park’?) for the 1-2-3.

The Bodega is open for business once again!

Jamie Iovine Makes Wishes Come True

Somewhere backstage, Jamie Iovine is holding court with Dan Joseph while his goofy assistant Guy innocently annoys everyone by fanning them, straightening pictures, and interrupting the talk to offer hand sanitizer. Dan Joseph is there to apologize for his little ‘meltdown’ pre-break and wants to know what he can do to get back into championship contention. He mentions Arizona might be a territory he can make an impact in.

It seems to be going well until Guy pushes himself across the table and says that as Joseph lost his cool, he’s going to help him find it. It must have been the last straw, as Joseph just slammed Guy’s head into the table to knock him out. That Jamie Iovine barely even reacted made me laugh, as poor Guy slumped to the floor unconscious.

Before Iovine and Joseph could make any agreements though, Jordan Clearwater came in, and he was NOT looking in the mood to play games. He was still p****d after Banning attacked him before the break, costing him the Heritage title and nearly putting him out of action. He demanded a match with Banning that night! Although Iovine seemed annoyed at someone making demands of him, he happily and suspiciously made the match. What’s Iovine playing at?

Jordan Clearwater vs. Jack Banning

Clearwater came out in his street clothes, and if it was a street fight Clearwater was looking for, it was a street fight he got as Banning came out right behind Clearwater and attacked him. Banning looked sinister in his psychiatric ward clothes with ‘Eat The Rich’ written on the back. He looked even more sinister when he carefully, methodically beat Clearwater all around ringside, throwing him into the ring post, the steps, the ramp, and onto the ring bell.

In the process, Banning let his mental state show, for instance, grabbing Clearwater on the ramp in a cuddle and smiling and laughing before looking like he was going to burst into tears. The storyline is that Banning had been in a psychiatric institute during the pandemic, and he’s still disturbed after being released—dangerously so. Clearwater was constantly grabbing his elbow and looked to be in serious trouble.

Banning eventually brought Clearwater into the ring, and the ref asked him if he was able to start the match properly. Jordan gave the nod, so the bell rang. Banning carried on his assault, but Jordan was able to throw him across the ring and to the outside, where he treated Banning to a little of the same; a trip to the ring post, the stairs, and the barricade. Back in the ring, Clearwater threw Banning in the corner and pounded him with a barrage of tough clotheslines, followed by a series of stomps and some kidney shots for good measure.

At which point, Clearwater took his belt off to use with bad intentions. The ref tried to intervene, so Clearwater knocked him down, prompting a disqualification. With Banning helpless in the corner, Clearwater wrapped the belt around his fist and gave Banning a battering. Clearwater took it a step further; he grabbed some duct tape and taped Banning’s hands to the top turnbuckle so his back was facing the ring. He hammered, kicked, and choked Banning before give him another barrage of belt-assisted fists.

Clearly, Clearwater had snapped. Banning had driven him over the edge. We had never seen Jordan Clearwater act so viciously or intensely. He had made his point for sure. Or so Clearwater thought. As the refs managed to persuade him to leave, the camera looked over at Banning lying limp in the corner. Rather than look defeated, he was…smiling?!? What the hell?

Final Thoughts

Just like the last time Championship Wrestling from Hollywood returned back in September, the UWN’s linchpin show returned with a bang and set up the company’s big feuds and stars moving forward. The Bodega re-staked their claim to being the top stable in the game; The management intrigue around the women’s division continued; Jordan Cruz got the seal of approval from EJ Sparks and looks set for a big push; Dan Joseph continues to struggle to control his temper, and Jack Banning has completely gotten into the head of Jordan Clearwater and turned it sour.

It’s this last storyline that turned a great show into a brilliant one. The sudden snap of intensity and violence in Clearwater, only for Banning to smile at what he had done despite the pain he was in, was completely gripping and brought us a side of Clearwater we’ve never seen before. Banning, meanwhile, with just that one little smile at the end, showed that he has the potential to be a great top heel in the promotion.

I’ll see you next weekend, grapple fans, for more hard-hitting action from Championship Wrestling from Hollywood.

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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