After a long wait of 15 years, Memphis wrestling is back on TV once again thanks to Championship Wrestling from Memphis! Part of David Marquez’s United Wrestling Network, and booked under the direction of true Memphis wrestling main man Dustin Starr, who also co-hosts the show with his wife, the lovely Maria, there has been a real buzz around this premiere in the weeks leading up to it.
Now, the time for talk is over. Let’s head straight to the ring and get into it!
Cobra Cup Round One: Jonny Lyons vs. Brett Michaels
The Gun Show is here! Brett Michaels is a big chunk of meat and he’s not shy about letting you know about it. Poor Jonny Lyons—he didn’t stand a chance. Being much smaller than Michaels, Lyons made up for it by attacking Michaels like a rabid dog, constantly chipping away at him with rapid forearms and kicks.
It wasn’t enough, though. A big spine buster followed by a Gun Show lariat was enough to put Lyons out of his misery and book Michaels’ place in the semi-finals.
Afterwards, we got a nice video package on David Marquez and the United Wrestling Network. This served as a great introduction to the UWN for those Memphis fans who were unaware of the company and put across nicely that the idea behind the UWN was co-operation between promotions. It also put across the wealth of well-known talent that has come through the UWN at one time or another. Maybe we’ll see the next big stars right here in Memphis?
Cobra Cup Round One: DJ Brown vs. Chris Lexx
DJ Brown is the son of Memphis wrestler Danny B. Good, and wields some mean nunchuck skills as he enters the ring. Chris Lexx looks like Jeff Hardy if Hardy was a hoss, and he gets the crowd going with his signature ‘POW!’ chant.
This was a good match, with both men moving at a fast pace and DJ Brown impressing with flying headscissors, a dropkick and a monkey flip to disorientate the bigger man. In return, Lexx beat up brown with some stiff European uppercuts and chops and used his power to grind Brown down.
While the match continued, a mysterious man who looked to my old eyes like Scotty the Body (!) walked up to the commentary platform and handed Dustin Starr a note that read “next week a king will be here”. We know King Cobra is already there, and Elvis is dead. It can’t be Lawler…can it?!?
Back in the ring, Brown was able to escape a DDT attempt and rolled up Lexx to end an enjoyable encounter and move on in the Cobra Cup.
Meanwhile, The Possee upset people backstage with a prank involving a whoopee cushion, and Dustin Starr’s Grind City Wrestling podcast co-host found his name was not on the guest list. That’ll be awkward on the next podcast…
Cobra Cup Round One: Mike Anthony vs. ‘Big Swole’ Justin Cole
Mike Anthony seems to model himself on Bobby Lashley—not a bad thing at all—rocking a big set of power moves and even Lashley’s old black headband from his TNA days. In power terms though, he appeared to have met his match in Justin Cole, who has the build, as Dustin Starr rightly put it, of a power builder.
Saying that, Anthony dominated a large portion of the match, battering Cole with power moves and wear down moves. Proving that wrestling is not just about power but brains too, Cole snuck the win by rolling Anthony up as he rebounded off the ropes on a running knee.
After the bell, Anthony proved to be a sore loser by attacking ‘Big Swole’. Rematch, gents? I’m down for that!
We then saw a pretty creepy video of Dustin Starr saying not much is known about the Crowleys, with the quality of the video image degraded and the sound slowed down as a sinister masked face was flashed into the picture. Be careful Dustin; the Crowley’s might have an issue here…
‘New Money’ Salena Dean vs. Cassandra Golden
Salena Dean is ‘New Money’, meaning she’s richer than you, she’s better than you, and you know it (sorry MJF). Cassandra Golden, meanwhile, has been previously seen in Impact and on AEW Dark, so she is definitely a solid get for CWFM.
This was a nicely contested outing, with Golden taking the advantage at first with her power before Salena Dean brought out the wear down holds to bring the bigger lady down to the mat (everyone is equal once you’re down on the mat). Partway through, the flamboyant Precious came to ringside to take notes on an extravagant portable writing stand he carried with him. He is obviously the anti-Nikko Marquez, wanting the women’s division to succeed…or is there a different, more self-motivated reason for his interest?
In any case, I’m sure he was pleased by what he saw here as Cassandra Golden drove her opponent almost through the mat with a big driver to take the 1-2-3. A possible signing for an ambitious manager? We’ll have to wait and see…
Afterwards, Dustin Starr interviewed King Cobra, the namesake of the Cobra Cup and the first African-American world heavyweight champion in Memphis. Dustin interviewed Cobra at the Mid-South Coliseum, the site of Cobra’s title victory over that other well-known Memphis King, Jerry Lawler, on December 30th, 1989. Cobra recalled how his victory seemed to shock Memphis into silence as it was so unexpected. It must have been a hell of a moment to witness.
Cobra Cup Round One: Ryan Rembrandt vs. Norman Meklakov
It can go either way with a Russian gimmick: you can either come across as cool and dangerous, like the Koloffs, or you can be a bit…well…naff, like The Bolsheviks. Thankfully, Meklakov came across more like the former than the latter, having a little bit of a physical similarity to Ivan Koloff and some of the power of Nikita.
Meklakov dominated Rembrandt throughout, using his power to beat Rembrandt down and throwing in some big suplexes like a belly-to-belly and a uranage. Rembrandt thought back gallantly, using his speed to disorientate the big man and landing a big dropkick to catch Meklakov by surprise, but the Russian would not be denied, nailing Rembrandt with a full-nelson slam for the pinfall victory.
With the first round of the Cobra Cup over, we move on to the semi-finals next week. DJ Brown will be testing his might against the big Russian Norman Meklakov while Brett Michaels is bringing The Gun Show to ‘Big Swole’ Justin Cole in what looks to be a massive collision of the hosses!
Memphis wrestling is back at last and damn, was I happy to see it! This was a fine introduction to the show if a little tentative. Dustin Starr on the live reaction chat afterwards pointed out that there were no promos per se this week because they wanted to build the characters and the stories first, and certainly just presenting the guys and gals of Memphis here in the ring worked well—I’m completely wanting to see more of DJ Brown, Chris Lexx, Mike Anthony, Brett Michaels and Ryan Rembrandt. That’s one show before any promos, or any stories are really being built, so imagine how invested the fans are going to be once things really kick into high gear over the next few weeks.
The production values were good—arguably better than those over in sister promotion Championship Wrestling from Arizona—but if I had one minor complaint, I’d argue that the bare grey walls of the venue make the show appear a little too dark-looking at times. The venue is nice, but that back wall could do with something to break up the darkness, even if it was just a banner with the CWFM logo on it. But that’s a minor criticism at best, and Dustin was clear on the live chat that the company was still looking for their permanent home. He also was clear that the company has a desire to continuously improve, which is a brilliant attitude to have.
But enough moaning, let’s focus on the positives: Dustin and Maria were great on commentary; the Cobra Cup tournament is shaping up nicely, and the talent is very much there. I think we’re definitely on to a winner here, and once we start getting some mic time and some feuds under way, CWFM is going to be must-see TV.
Join me next week Memphis fans and every week thereafter as I bring you the lowdown on the fastest hour of wrestling each week—Championship Wrestling from Memphis! I’ll see you ringside.