Gunn and Mercer Put On a Cracker

Ohio Valley Wrestling—May 13th

This week on OVW TV, we get both hours of the show on Fite TV—result! It should be a big show, with the first two matches of the Kentucky title tournament taking place. In particular, Tony Gunn is set to take on Shane Mercer in what is likely to be a great match, as well as Mahabali Shera taking on Dustin Jackson.

There’s no time to waste so let’s head straight to the ring and get into it.

Brandon Espinosa vs. Ryan Howe

Ok, so it looks OVW are still having production issues on the live front. This week, there was no sound as we started the show. Shannon the Dude and Bryan Kennison on commentary looked pumped up but I couldn’t tell you what over as I couldn’t hear. Bafflingly, the audio kicked back in for Ryan Howe’s guitar twiddling as he made his entrance but cut completely out again the second he stopped playing.

The reason, by the way, that Howe stopped playing? Espinosa, who we saw last Saturday debut on Championship Wrestling from Memphis, jumped him on the ramp and threw him into the ring, catching him with a big crossbody before pulling Howe’s t-shirt off and knocking the rocker down with a massive fit before grinding his face into the mat with his boot and stomping a mudhole into him in the corner.

A series of hard-looking elbows put Howe down as this appeared to be an absolute massacre of the Tommy Rich look alike. Howe was eventually able to catch the arm and lock in a hammerlock, then literally caught an Espinoza crossbody for a big slam. Espinoza wasn’t having that, kicking Howe in the head before apparently biting him. A Yakuza kick on the apron followed, but a slingshot attempt into the ropes seemed to miss the ropes altogether.

A Jawbreaker brought a moment of respite for Howe but Espinoza kept on beating on him as the sound finally came on! Thank god. A Howe dropkick took Espinoza down, so Espinoza responded by pulling Howe to the mat by his hair. An exchange of fists saw the crowd come alive and a springboard crossbody from Howe was impressive. A reverse DDT followed before Espinoza pulled Howe off the ropes and hitting a massive blue thunder bomb for a near-fall. Instead, a neck breaker was enough for Howe to claim the win and end this hard-fight bout.

Indeed, this was a good match. But it would have been much better if it had sound from the start…

Big Money Dimes vs. Eric Cornish

Big Money Dimes is back! That makes me happy. He tends to be one of the really fun parts of the show with his super-heavyweight challenge…not that you’d know that he was a super-heavyweight by looking at him…

Dimes was here to talk business. His protein shake is available worldwide…and from the concession stand! That made me laugh. Dimes put over his opponent in the first round of the Kentucky title tournament, ‘Big Trouble’ Ben Bishop, as a big man, almost as big as Dimes. So Dimes needed a little tune-up match to get ready.

Bringing in ring announcer Eric Cornish, Dimes flattered Eric Cornish and asked to wear his jacket. As said garment dangled like a tent from his skinny frame, Dimes did the obvious—he told everyone it was too tight and small for him. Ha! Noticeably, Dimes wouldn’t give Eric his jacket back. “Tonight is your night, bro”, said Dimes—before dropping Eric with a jumping cutter and pinning him for the 1-2-3.

What a swine! I love you, Dimes, but I’m going to look forward to seeing you get your ass kicked too!

The Box Office Blondes vs. War Hoss

War Hoss are possibly the only team in Ohio that make Big Rex look small. Pat the Bruiser, in particular, is massive.

The Hoss men dominated Adam Swayze to start, using their power to bully Swayze with big strikes, slams and charges. Pat the Bruiser bodyslamming Crosshairs Kelly onto Swayze was a cool moment. It was Kelly though who made the mistake when he sent Swayze into the ropes, allowing Rex to make a blind tag.

Rex knocked Kelly silly with a big clothesline and kicks before the Blondes made quick tags to keep the pressure on. Swayze made the mistake of posing, however, allowing Kelly to sneak up behind and drop Swayze with a back suplex. Pat the Bruiser tagged in and exploded, knocking Rex off the apron and dropping Swayze with a massive slam. A follow-up tilt-a-whirl slam from Pat looked close to ending things but Rex broke up the count. A combination slam/facebuster from the Blondes on Kelly finally ended this entertaining bout, as Shannon the Dude tried to convince everyone that he wasn’t afraid of Rex. Yeah, right. And I’m the Queen Of England…

Drew Hernandez vs. AJ Kazana

The audio for commentary dropped out again during the entrances but kicked back in as the bell rang. This was a battle of two big beefy men trying not to give up ground to the other. The early part of the bout reflected this, as both men charged into each other with neither man dropping to the mat. A hip toss from Kazana finally took Hernandez down, which Drew responded to by letting loose with fists, kicks and charges.

An Irish whip hit Kazana hard and nearly broke him in two. A spinebuster out of nowhere brought Kazana some room to breathe—that is until Hernandez nailed a spine buster of his own. A shoulder block gave Drew a two count. Hernandez continued to pile on the pressure but Kazana would not keep his shoulders down. Hernandez started to slap Kazana around a little but this only woke him up. He ran through Drew with some big clotheslines before raining down a flurry of fists in the corner. Drew was not about to allow himself to be backed up though, and one sit-down powerbomb later, Drew Hernandez was your winner. Fun match.

Tony Gunn Wants Answers

Not known for his joviality, Tony Gunn was in a foul mood as he got on the mic and asked a simple question: why is Kal Herro back in OVW? Calling Herro’s work as a cleaner a load of BS, Gunn wanted answers but neither Herro nor Al Snow were there to give it to him. Gunn suggested that it sounded a little like someone has been kissing the boss’s ass too much. But that’s ok; Tony will get his answers soon enough, and in the meantime, the Kentucky title will be his.

Short and sweet; not two words I usually use for Tony Gunn but they describe his promo nicely. Good stuff from Gunn here.

Dustin Jackson vs. Mahabali Shera

This should be an interesting match. Jackson is perhaps the best talent and biggest name Shera has faced yet in OVW. Would the streak continue for the ‘Indian Lion’?

Shera used his strength to muscle Jackson around at first, pushing him down to the mat from a collar and elbow tie-up. Jackson responded by using his speed, but not in a way I expected—he backed Shera into the corner and used his speed to unleash a speedy torrent of fists and a dropkick to overwhelm the big man. Shera countered a bulldog attempt by throwing Jackson into the corner but Jackson returned fire with an enziguri. Shera caught a leaping Jackson off the top rope with two chokeslam backbreakers in a row before suplexing Jackson in from the apron to the ring. It’s possible Jackson was becoming distracted; Drew Hernandez had come out to ringside brandishing a sign that read, “Drew 2, Dustin 0” (come off it Drew, Dustin beat you how many times before you got a win?)

In the ring, Shera continued to work over Jackson with three big clotheslines, as Hernandez seemed to tease Dustin from ringside with a training dummy in a weird moment. Dustin seemed to get a second wind, dropping Shera with a  jawbreaker, but Dustin made the mistake of going up top again, Shera throwing him once more to the mat. Hernandez got up on the apron but the ref warned him off as Shera dropped some elbows and locked in a chin lock.

Shera ducked another enziguri attempt but fell victim to a dropkick. He quickly rebounded with a big boot as Hernandez got back on the apron. Shera had clearly had enough, as he pulled Hernandez in and dropped him with the sit-down powerbomb. Intriguingly, Jackson capitalised on this, nailing the ‘Indian Lion’ with a Claymore for a very near fall! Shera quickly responded with the sit-down powerbomb for the three count to end the match.

I could have done without Hernandez’s distractions but otherwise, this was a really solid match. Jackson gave Shera his best match and made the big man look a little human and vulnerable at times. It was competitive without taking anything away from Shera’s invincible presentation.

Kentucky Heavyweight Title Tournament 1st Round: Tony Bizo (w/Professor Ricky Jones) vs. Chris Michaels (w/Terry Meiners)

Terry Meiners is apparently a legend of Louisville radio. Being an ignorant Englander, I’ve not heard of him. But I do agree with Shannon the Dude that he looked like Crocodile Dundee in his get up here. You call that a Kentucky title, mate? 

This was perhaps the most aggressive I’ve seen Bizo, focussed as he was on getting to the next round of the tournament. Chris Michaels didn’t make it easy for him, pounding on Bizo and sliding out of a Bizo bomb attempt. He locked in a crossface but, as Bizo tapped, Professor Ricky Jones distracted the ref on the apron, preventing the submission from being seen. Michaels let go of the hold to grab the ref, giving Bizo enough time to pull himself together then finally drill Michaels with the Bizo bomb to move on to the next round. Not a bad match; it did what it needed to.

‘Superior’ Tony Evans vs. Luscious Lawrence (w/’Hollyhood’ Haley J)

It’s the Luscious one! Since his brief programme with Jesse Godderz, I’ve really become a fan of Lawrence. He’s got a natural charisma that just works for me. He wasn’t able to take the National title. Next week, he gets his first-round match in the Kentucky Heavyweight title tournament. Could this time be the charm?

Before that, he had Tony Evans to deal with. Lawrence seemed to have Tony off his game, the grind randomly appearing to be a good counter for a waist lock. So Evans did the only thing he could: he cheated, poking the Luscious one in the eye. A spinning slam got Evans a two count before he put a stretch on Lawrence. Lawrence thought back with a snap mere before hammering Evans with a series of clotheslines, atomic drops and the One Night Stand running slam for the 1-2-3.

Luscious Lawrence looks ready; is the Kentucky title?

“Let The Reign of Brutality Begin!”

Reverend Ronnie Roberts has The Good Word and it’s a happy word too, as Ronnie was very much on good form, saying that he’d been asked how he’ll fare in the Kentucky title tournament, considering he hasn’t wrestled since 1973! The good Reverend didn’t seem too concerned, claiming wrestling is just like riding a bike (not in my experience!) and that the devil is alive but Ronnie Roberts is the truth and the truth, for a free, can set you free! Amen.

Today’s guest was the brand new OVW Heavyweight champion Cash Flo, accompanied by Josh Ashcraft. Flo looked very pleased with himself as he held the belt up to jeers from the crowd. Ronnie negotiating with Ashcraft over the size of his donation, as being the champion adds extra zeros on Flo’s paycheck, made me laugh. As for Flo, he told the crowd, “let the reign of brutality begin!” Looking straight into the camera, Flo spoke directly to Omar Amir, telling him it doesn’t matter what he is now, as he is not Cash Flo and he is no longer champion.

This brought out Omar Amir, who was less than impressed and pulled up Flo for having to cheat so much to beat him, even with “that black-eyed turd” Josh Ashcraft in his corner. Telling Flo his victory was an empty one, Omar demanded a rematch for the title. Flo found that amusing, but Josh Ashcraft was less pleased. He reminded Amir that, as the title was vacant when Flo and Amir last wrestled for it, there was no automatic rematch clause in the contract. Flo doesn’t have to give Omar anything.

Cash Flo, however, wanted to have a little fun. He told Amir that if he really wanted his rematch, then he has to start right from the beginning and work his way back to the top. Only then, Flo might give Amir a rematch. “It won’t be easy,” said Flo, “it won’t be hard. But it will be brutal”. At which point, the Legacy of Brutality appeared and surrounded the ring. Accepting the terms, Omar braced himself for a fight but the numbers game was too much for him. Flo cracked him in the back of the head with the title while the rest of the LOB gave him a good kicking.

Welcome to the reign of brutality indeed.

Non-Title Triple Threat Match: OVW Women’s Champion ‘Hollyhood’ Haley J (w/Luscious Lawrence) vs. Zoey Skye vs. Mickie Knuckles

Zoey Skye recently gave Haley J some real competition in a singles match, so it’s good to see her back here. Mickie Knuckles, meanwhile, came to the ring brandishing two axes! Maybe she has an axe to grind…I’ll see myself out.

Haley J started things out by telling the other two competitions not to bother because they weren’t going to win. Bad move. Zoey unloaded on Haley, only for Mickie Knuckles to spear Skye from the side as Skey bounced off the ropes. She then crunched Haley J with a fisherman’s suplex before taking it to the floor. Haley found her head rammed into the apron several times before being pendulum swung into the guard rail! Lawrence tried his usual distraction—grind at Haley’s opponent—but one hard stare from Mickie made him think again. Ha!

Mickie seemed to be dominant but Zoey Skye surprised with a dive onto her back from the apron to the floor. Locking in a sleeper, Zoey found herself carried around ringside on Mickie’s back before being snap mered to the floor. A running senton attempt saw Skye move though and Mickie smash hard into the floor.

Back in the ring, Zoey Skye threw some hard kicks at Mickie and hit a codebreaker to send the big woman stumbling. Mickie caught Skye though and dumped her on the top turnbuckle. She was climbing up the ropes as Haley J suddenly came back to life and nipped up, throwing Mickie down with a German suplex off the buckles that looked to crush Haley as much as it hurt Mickie. As Zoey leapt off the top for a crossbody, Haley rolled through and grabbed the tights, stealing a pinfall victory.

I really enjoyed this. I like Zoey Skye’s hard-hitting offence, and Mickie Knuckles is just brute force personified. Meanwhile, Haley J sneaks away victorious once again. But why are all her matches non-title recently?

Kentucky Heavyweight Title Tournament 1st Round: Tony Gunn (w/Richie Farmer) vs. ‘The Iron Demon’ Shane Mercer (w/Vince Marrow)

Tony Gunn does not like being on the receiving end. So you can imagine his mood as Shane Mercer refused to be knocked down in the early going, sending Gunn to the mat instead and winning a crisis-cross exchange with a  beautiful leg drop. Gunn tried to charge Mercer, but The Iron Demon just threw him over his head with a massive suplex before lifting Gunn up and down in a wild display of strength and slamming him down.

Back in the ring after the break, Gunn tried to grab Mercer around the waist but Mercer evaded him yet again and threw Gunn across the ring with a beautiful release German suplex. Wow. Mercer followed up by climbing the turnbuckles and holding Gunn in position to somersault with him to the mat, but Gunn managed to elbow his way out of it. A running kick to the head followed as did several hard fists from Gunn. A release vertical suplex dropped Mercer in a heap but Gunn took his time covering and only got a two.

A big knee to the head from the top got Gunn another near-fall. Gunn lost his temper at the ref for that one but allowed Mercer to roll him up for another near-fall. Gunn cracked Mercer around the head as punishment for that one. Gunn went for another vertical suplex but Mercer slipped out the back did not flinch as Gunn chopped him across the chest, instead taking Gunn down with a running clothesline. Gunn though was able to counter a brainbuster attempt with a reverse DDT for another near-fall.

Frustrated, Gunn grabbed a chair at ringside but Vince Marrow pulled it away from him. This allowed Mercer to land a release vertical suplex of his own and a spinning power slam for two and three quarters. Mercer threw some hard shots, Gunn retaliating with chops, but a jumping knee and the Killshot elbow out of nowhere put Mercer out for the count and gave Gunn the win and a place in the next round of the Kentucky title tournament.

What a main event! This was a hard-hitting, physical encounter that saw both men trading offence evenly and both men looking incredibly strong because of it. I’ve never seen Shane Mercer before and that was a revelation to me. What a talent! I also appreciated Mercer getting pumped up and the near-falls at the end as it gave the ending a sense of urgency and put over how important the Kentucky title is.

Great stuff. Don’t sleep on this match.

Final Thoughts

OVW is in a strange position. There was a hell of a lot to enjoy here, and indeed a lot of it I did enjoy. Tony Gunn and Shane Mercer had a belter of a match. The women’s triple threat and Shera vs. Jackson were very good too, with Mickie Knuckles impressing me with her sheer violence. The Kentucky title tournament is off to a good start, and The Good Word showdown between Cash Flo and Omar Amir was a great bit of drama.

The problem lies with the live production. They need to fix the issues with the audio, as that’s going to put off any new fans intrigued by the promotion’s current expansion. I’d also suggest perhaps looking at what matches and segments go where in the running order with now having a second hour, as I probably would have started things off with the Tony Bizo and Lucious Lawrence matches and opened the second hour with Espinoza and Howe going at it.

Still, outside of this, I really enjoyed the show. If the company can nip these problems in the bud early, they really will be on to a winner.

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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