Who Was First to Strike Gold?
House of Glory Presents: Fight for Gold
On a nice November night in 2011, a young wrestling school in Ridgewood and a few steps away from Brooklyn, opened it's doors for the first time and the world was able to get a glimpse of this new promotion. House of Glory, with their head trainers Amazing Red and Brian XL, brought some new energy into the NYC independent wrestling scene with fresh-faced characters such as Panda Man and Alex Reyes as well as known names in the scene such as Dan Maff and Pinkie Sanchez. The past two years have been progressive ones for the promotion and on a similar night in November, almost two years to the date. HOG presented their first piece of waist wear. House of Glory brought to the fans new Tag Team Championships and a tournament was the template to battle for the straps.
Card Always Subject to Change
At the opening of the night Amazing Red entered the ring and informed the crowd there is always a disclaimer on flyers and tickets for wrestling shows which reads “Card Are Subject to Change”. Unfortunately, the pairing of the “brothers” that never occurred in TNA will have to wait another night. Red assured us he found a partner who was just as capable to help achieve the goal of winning the HOG gold. Before the partner was revealed, House of Glory students Alex Mason and Good Art Flanders entered the ring to share some words for their teacher and the promotion. Out comes an ECW Original and former champion Mikey Whipwreck, who made his way to the ring to help make the save and initiate the start of the match. I have seen Mason and Flanders in previous cards in the past year and I must say they have become a team which is trying and doing one hell of job doing so. The pairing doesn’t seem to have a chemistry but that's what seems to work. The pairing looked somewhat like a set of bumbling fools but with the ability to wrestle. Although the result was obvious, the vets would get the win and Mason and Flanders looked to be a team progressing in the promotion. But in the end, it looked like a break up was eminent.
Where’s Tru Talent?
Next up in the tag tournament was a team fresh off their overseas tour winning gold on the opposite and of the world, The Young Bucks versus Tru… wait, what? The team who I thought would at least make it through to the semis and maybe the finals wasn’t in the tournament? Marq Quen and Alex Reyes was a tandem inbred from HOG and had been showcasing some high spots and a strong fan following. Quen did bust through the curtain but without Reyes on his side, because on this night Quen was paired up with Smiley. Smiley is actually a really good competitor in the ring and showed grit in the Ring of Honor show, but I wasn’t sure if he really could work as a tag member, as I have seen him in a previous show from month's past. The match had a great opening with great spots and interchanging of partners in and out the ring. Also, both teams, especially the vets The Young Bucks, showed tag team finesse and maneuvers. In the end, the more experienced men took the match and although Quen and Smiley showed what could be some tag team flare, I still felt Tru Talent should have been the team in the tournament and the team to beat.
PANDA MAN, I CHOOSE YOU!!!
The third match on the card featured, well, let’s just say if you wanted a luchador match in Queens this will be the closest you would get. Chikara representatives Fire Ant and Jigsaw were to do battle against House of Glory students Panda Man and Andy Lee Ray and from the jump you knew this was going to be a fun match and indeed it was. Here we had masked wrestlers and a Pokemon Master, what more could you ask for? With Lee Ray directing Panda Man with actions as if he was calling it from his PokeDeck, this team looked as they were square to get a win over these well traveled vets. The contest seemed to sway both ways inside and outside the ring and everyone was unsure who was going to be the team to gain the overall advantage. This was probably the closest a HOG team was to advancing to the next round but it was Team Chikara who was able to take the pinfall.
LAX in NYC
The final match in the first round featured a matchup for the ages – Indy and television stars Ricky Reyes and Tony Nese going head on against worldwide recognized Notorious 187 and Super Mex Hernandez also known as LAX. When you see these four in the ring you can tell they have faced each other many times but it still had a “first time ever” feel. LAX had the crowd behind them, but Nese and Reyes are true professionals in the ring and did not looked overwhelmed. The match itself had that classic “wear down your opponent” feel with spot-on in and out tag match technicality. The audience was at the edge of their seats with the fluidness of the match and all waited for that “hot tag” moment. In the end, both teams could have easily did well in the next round but it was LAX who walked away the victors.
Does Teacher and Student School the Youngins'’?
After the intermission, the semifinals kicked off with Amazing Red and Mikey Whipwreck meeting The Young Bucks. I watched this match closely for two reasons. I wanted to see how Whipwreck, who was one of many trainers in Amazing Red’s career, was going to hold up in his second match of the night. Mikey being older and slightly heavier still looked sharp in the ring. Also, I had a strong feeling the Bucks were going to go over but I wanted to pay close attention how. Once the business was taken outside was where the highlight of the night was. Team HOG and the Bucks made their way outside and once the home team gained the advantage and the Bucks were on their back, out came the crash pad. Yes people, a crash pad. Chants echoed the HOG arena and once in place, Mikey made use of the pad and dived onto the Young Bucks from the inside of the ring. The match was intense and fun and in the end The Young Bucks got the win and advanced to the finals.
One Step Closer to Gold
Next in the semi round is Team Chikara, Fire Ant and Jigsaw going up against LAX. On paper, this matchup does not look fair and balanced because both these teams look like two polar opposites. Fire Ant and Jigsaw don’t look like they have the weight of Homicide combined let alone Hernandez. But even still, these two men fought a battle that looked unbeatable and stuck in there tough. Team Chikara pulled out all stops to keep LAX on their toes with finesse and quickness. And on a quick note, I have been watching Homicide for some time now and I can say he is looking his best these days. Tonight was one of those nights that Mr. Notorious 187 looked his best and had everything clicking. And with the powerhouse of Hernandez, LAX was able to take that step closer to HOG Tag Gold with the win.
Student Teaches Teacher a Lesson
Between the final match of the night there was a visit by the resident villain of House of Glory, Anthony Gangone who was not pleased with House of Glory trainer Brain XL. Gangone called out Mr. Man of Faith and let him know he isn’t alone. New Japan’s Watanabe is Gangone’s partner and is demanding for XL’s presence. Enter Brian XL with a partner of his own and its wasn’t what the crowd expected – a female wrestler who is said to be from New Japan as well, Sumi Sakai enters the HOG arena and both enter the ring and cause havoc. The match definitely had it's high spots but for me it just fell a little flat. The finish was good with Gangone getting the win and a heel turn by Brian XL’s partner but still I was a bit put off with gimmick style match.
Glory for Gold
The final match of the night was for the HOG tag team gold which pitted The Young Bucks against LAX. Both these teams have traveled around the world and battled in front of thousands upon thousands of fans across the globe. Both these teams have wrestled in small venues and in big promotions and have a multitude of quality matches under their belts. Tonight, these two teams met in a small venue in Ridgewood and they both tore the house down. The battle between the two waged inside and outside the ring with the crowd on their feet eagerly waiting to see who would gain the upper hand. Hernandez showed and proved in this match his amazing strengths with such moves as a Double Hanging Back Breaker and holding a suplex for almost a minute. In the end, it was The Young Bucks who came into the ring and would now walk out with more gold capturing the House of Gold Tag Titles.
Bringing it Home…
I must say, the night went pretty well after I thought about it after a few days. The HOG arena was jammed packed, the talent was high level, and the fans were slow to start but rose to the occasion. But there were two things which could not get out of my thoughts. For one, I didn’t understand why a House of Glory team did not get to at least the semis. To me, I felt this would bring some type of excitement with the fans and a strong following for a young promotion which has a strong division. I also think it makes your school look weak and unable to breed championship-caliber wrestlers. I’m not saying they should have won the gold but at least give that”Rocky” type feel to the night be giving the little guy hope. Also, as I mentioned before, where was Tru Talent? The team who was poised to be that team to go deep was not in the tournament. I would have liked to see more come out from the students and show the crowd more of their development and character. I can’t say this was one of the best nights in the history of HOG because I can whole-heartedly say there has been better, but I want to see how they bounce back with titles in the picture.