It's pretty rate when professional wrestling comes to within walking distance of my house. Yet that was the case on Saturday night, May 15 - Impact Championship Wrestling held a card at Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens - a mere three blocks from home.
According to the promoter's father, Holy Cross only allows one event per year on their premises. I attended in 2008 but missed the 2009 card. Luckily, the wife had an invitation to a junior high reunion for the same night, so I had the initiative, the money, and the opportunity. A triple play!
The main problem with these local cards is that the promoter(s) know so many eager local guys that they pack the lineup with unknowns. Combine unknown performers with a lousy PA system, and there's a lot of "who are these guys?" throughout the building.
When I arrived, Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels and Velvet Sky were signing autographs and taking pictures. This would both help foster a spirit of camaraderie and also drag down the evening.
Approximately 400 people filled the gym for the card, which started at 8 pm. Like I just explained, the opening match was eight guys. I could identity Justin Toxic because he had his name on the back of his tights. And two guys represented a tag team called "Drive By," which was on their shirts. In any event, the heels went over.
Next was a ladies tag team match. Britney Savage and her drag manager with Velvet Sky faced Alicia and WSU Champ Mercedez Martinez. Nothing wrong with this match if you like ladies wrestling. And Velvet worked a large portion of the match. Tons of cameras on her at all times, goes without saying. Velvet sprayed something in Alicia's eyes and Brittney rolled her up. Mercedes then attacked Alicia after the match. That was kind of incongruous, since both were out at intermission signing stuff.
Bandido Jr. pinned Devon Moore. Moore looked to have more charisma as a southern badass, but Bandido jawed with the crowd and got over more as a heel.
In a four-way battle, Storm (didn't catch the first name) beat Sabien, Bull Marciano, and Sami Callihan.
This led to the final match before intermission, the Motor City Machine Guns against the S.A.Ts. Great work and the best match on the card. Crowd was behind both teams as babyfaces and while the S.A.Ts were always held back by their interchangeability, Sabin and Shelley do not have that problem. The Guns went over.
Next came the evening's downfall. A 20-minute intermission turned into a 40-minute intermission, which caused the rest of the show into rush mode. Tons of performers came out to sign and pose. I know it's how they make a lot of their money, but the show really needed a firmer hand - and announcements letting people know that intermission would be over in 10, then 5 minutes.
Back to the unknown action, with an out-of-shape heel doing a Rick Rude gimmick fighting your local redneck (in Queens)? The fat guy went over in three minutes, and the crowd still chanted "boring."
Prince Nana came out and turned on the crowd (he'd been signing at intermission) to introduce his next wrestler. All I can tell you is that he had "Greek God" on his tights. He fought another unknown local guy, with "DM" on his outfit. "Greek God" won the match, which brought out Chris Daniels.
Daniels immediately attacked DM and they had a match, which ended in DQ for some reason. This brought out the fat guy, Greek God, another another two undercard heels. Jerry Lynn, Azrael, and other babyface made the save.
This led into the following match with the babyfaces against Danny DaManto and the Heavy Hitters (two immense guys). Finish had ICP regular DaManto pin Jerry Lynn during a schnaz. Lynn then challenged DaManto to a rematch at the group's next card on his birthday, June 12, at the Elks Lodge.
Now we got to the two main events, and it was closing in on 11 pm. A percentage of the family-oriented crowd began to file out. But it was time for Tommy Dreamer versus Homicide. Dreamer came out to a monster pop, the biggest on the card. The mic started to cut out, and Tommy responded, "This isn't the WWE. I get time on the mic here."
Tommy talked about how his last indie appearance before he signed with WWE was in Queens. And now his first indie appearance since getting cut by WWE was in Queens. He also talked about how he'd "met a kid who said he was going to be a pro wrestler like him one day," and that wrestler was Homicide. It started babyface versus babyface but then Homicide started to challenge Dreamer more and went somewhat heel. In typical fashion, Dreamer played his role as the big-hearted local babyface who put over the opponent. He lost nothing with the crowd and got a ton of applause on the way out. Decent match, considering the large guys in the previous bout had broken the ring.
The evening was getting later and later and now we were getting to the main event at 11:15 pm - an international three-way elimination battle with Tajiri, Super Crazy, and the Amazing Red. The bout featured guest referee Mikey Whipwreck.
A bunch of double-teaming on Red, with Whipwreck and Tajiri playing off their past as a tag team. Crazy confronted Mikey after about five minutes, leading to Red hitting a dive and Whipwreck fast-counting Crazy. Super Crazy rolled out and yelled "What the fuck," which got a large pop but was kind of inappropriate since it was in front of a dozen kids at ringside. They reacted like total pros who had heard it all before. Similar double-cross spot when Tajiri wouldn't break a hold on the four count and Mikey pulled him off Red. They had words and when Red hit another high spot, Whipwreck fast-counted Tajiri! So Red got two tainted pinfalls to end the night by 11:30 pm.
An entertaining, but overlong night of matches. They could have done without 1-2 matches or combined a few of the singles matches into more multi-man battles. If the promoter could not use the Machine Guns and Velvet's matches on his DVD of the event, I understand the compulsion to "pad" the DVD to a full two hours. But that's what backstage vignettes and interviews are for. Don't make us sit there for 3 1/2 hours because you can't say "no" to guys who want to work for free in front of a crowd.
On a minor note, I would have preferred seeing Jerry Lynn versus Chris Daniels straight up, instead of mixed against a bunch of unknowns. Kind of unrealistic that they would even know who those guys were. But you want to give your performers the "rub" of working with established names. But who really gets a rub when Daniels is in the ring with the anonymous fat heel who won a three-minute curtain-jerker?
I've posted a link to upcoming ICW events. Doubtful I'll get to the Elks Lodge. Maybe if they convince Holy Cross to let them come back in the fall...