On a humid and muggy Sunday afternoon, Ridgewood, Queens had its usual activities going on; which involved anything from shopping on the avenue to hanging out and having a few drinks in front of many of the multicultural family houses. But on the border which separates the newer and developing changes in Brooklyn and the laid back setting of Queens, was a battle which would stir up controversy and reignite a rivalry which was thought to be long over. House of Glory returned in a big way, and the heat was not only outside the building.
For the first High Intensity, I was lucky enough to call matches that night. The best part was when I was able to do a post match interview with Jay Lethal. The man cut a promo like no other and while he did so he gripped my wrist to ensure the mic was not going anywhere so he could get his point across clearly. Talk about awesomeness! This time around, I was in the crowd with my crew, shoutout to #regulars, and I must say I had another enjoyable time the second time around. This year’s show had all the elements of a combustible explosion.
Anyone Into Three Ways?
The opening of the show featured a card which could have been easily Main Event caliber action. The opening card featured Tru Talent vs. Young Bucks vs. Brian Kendrick and Paul London. Now, I’m not a big fan of Triple Threat tag team matches because most usually it seems like a filler match and high spots galore, but this match seemed to work well in some areas. For starters, it was an elimination-style match and although Kendrick and London are the seasoned vets, they were only in the match for about four minutes which left the two younger teams to do battle. Once the Young Bucks and Tru-Talent settled in, the tempo of the match didn’t wind down, but you can sense there was a vibe in which these two wanted to best each other. The Young Bucks always prove why they are a top-tier team in the indys and on the main stage; but tonight the up and coming teamwork of Tru Talent was indicative of these two men not only bring the breakout team from HOG, but also of New York City.
Need A Little Push…
Next up, we have a matchup between two of House of Glory’s “Not Yet Ready for Prime Time” players. Pokemon master Andy Lee Ray faced off against the “Man of Rage” Erik Rampage. These two HOG prospects have the skills, have the forum, but there something missing to put each of them over. Rampage could go over as a ridiculous heel. He doesn’t even really need to talk much, just have angry body movement which can give him a step up to a noticeable heel. As for Ray, his gimmick as already over in the kid’s scene and I feel it would be cheesy but would go over well with crowd if he would yell out the name of his special moves or finishers before he does it. Kind of hokey, but so is Pokemon. The match was decent but the chemistry was a bit off. I can see these two have some sort of rivalry but they really need to turn it up. Lee Ray pulled off the win but I feel the crowd should have really gotten more behind him on this one.
When Rebel Met Beast…
The third platter on the High Intensity II buffet was a match between two of my favorite guys in House of Glory. The “Redneck Rebel” Earl Cooter faced off against Panda Man. Cooter is such a heel, but man, there’s nothing like a country boy who can cook steaks on a piece of chain link fencing. As for Panda Man, hey – he’s half man, half panda, what more can you ask for? I like how these two men worked in the ring and also their different styles and areas in which they resource their wrestling moves. Panda Man is super over with the crowd and Earl is, well just Earl. But in the ring you can see that both these men, using their different angles and maneuvers as well as the ring have a classic feel with a new age skill set. Panda Man was able to pull off the victory but Earl Cooter held his own on that night. You da man Earl!
A Body and a Smile
The final match before intermission was “The Grim Reaper of Wrestling” Smiley squaring off against “The East Coast Dream Boat” Anthony Nese. I heard of Nese a couple of years back and then saw him on TNA’s Gut Check. I thought this kid was talented and in fact looked like the prototype of what a wrestler should look like. In fact, when Nese walked into the ring I thought the dude was photoshopped. But not only does he have “the look”, he also is a talent in the ring as well. He’s actually agile in the ring and also has a charisma which can definitely be grasped by the ladies as well as the men in the arena. If only he was allowed to get on the microphone it would have helped to get a reach on what he is able to create. But he was facing another character in Smiley who is a talent in the ring as well. Smiley, who is a masked character, is also very talented and in the ring was able to complement Nese’s skill set. This match went back and forth until one mistake by Smiley cost him the match. This match had “Match of the Night” potential and really won over the crowd.
Image Source: Evan Arnow
A Rivalry Continues
After the intermission, and while the HOG ring crew was working on maintenance of the ring, the crowd was blessed with the presence of the “Greatest Heel in the Indy Scene” Mr. Cold Hearted Player himself, Danny DeManto. DeManto plus a microphone is dangerous combination which can combust at any moment. I always said and hold to it that Danny DeManto is an overlooked performer in the circuit and should be more appreciated and recognized in the wrestling scene. On this night, Danny’s sights was aimed on one of HOG’s students who is deaf/mute no less, and DeManto released a barrage of verbal ammunition at the kid, which prompted Amazing Red to rush into the ring for the save. Red and DeManto have a long standing feud which has been battled from state to state and city to city up and down the East Coast for years. On this night, the flame was reignited.
The Next Star in the Making…
The matches continued with one of the final appearances of an indy start who is about to take his talents to the main stages. “The New Horror” Sami Callihan made his presence known at House of Glory in a big way by stepping into the ring with HOG’s head trainer Brian XL. The hometown favorite had his hands full with Mr. Callihan who looked to spoil the party and showed it in many ways. The heat was on inside and outside of the ring and both men played out the whole “good versus evil” storyline in the few minutes they had in the ring. The war raged on and the finesse of XL matched up against Callihan’s straight to the point assault, which had these two combatants use the arena as their own little playground. Callihan was not able to get the win over XL, but his impact and rage was felt in the facility. After Brian called Callihan back to the ring to acknowledge his no venture, Sami was none too pleased with the sentiment and gave a reply to XL in a violent manner. Even after ripping up a fan’s sign (which was mine by the way), Sami made sure he left a lasting effect in the HOG promotion.
Gangone’s Hardcore Dream(er)
After the carnage left in the ring by Sami Callihan with Brian XL trying to pick up the pieces, HOG’s rising start student Anthony Gangone entered the ring and did not seem to be in the best of moods. Seems that Gangone was not happy at the fact he was not booked on the card and had a few choice words for the HOG head trainer. The quick yeteffective promo Gangone cut was straight, direct and to the point, but also intensely emotional. In fact, the mere mention of Gangone comparing himself to Jesus Christ was enough to enrage “The Man of Faith” himself Brian XL. After a small tussle, the music hit and the man known as Tommy Dreamer came in to clean up the mess. Mr. Hardcore himself was not happy with the actions of Gangone and wanted to ensure he was aware of his mistakes. Kendo sticks, the bell and hammer, and other goodies played a role in this match and both these men were able to dish as well as receive. I for one was thoroughly entertained and was pleased to see Anthony Gangone take it to the next level with a legend with the stature Dreamer has. With that said, between the back in forth action and Dreamer edging out the win, I can whole-heartedly say this was the Match of the Night.
The Main Event of the night was the continuous rivalry between Danny DeManto and Amazing Red. In rare form, rather than walk to the ring as he would often do, Amazing Red rushed through the crowd and put an attack on his biggest foe. DeManto and Red traded shots and moves inside and outside the ring. Red was slammed on the concrete with a chair, DeManto was laced with a massive swarm of shots by Red, and the Amazing One was tossed into the barricade in which unfortunately the young son of Red became a casualty. These were just some of the moments in which carnage was displayed. We also saw a rarity in which Red used power moves such as a Powerbomb and Death Vally Driver. This was a rarity since we have been accustomed to seeing his aerial and finesse attacks. On this night, Red was out to make DeManto a distant memory but DeManto wanted to leave his mark. After DeManto grabbed a chair he was poised to give Red a early night home. But the HOG student he verbally assaulted from earlier intervened and Red was able to finish off the DeManto threat for the win. As Red and his student celebrated the win, DeManto wanted to smooth things over with the duo. As Red’s back was turned, DeManto lifted the student and delivered a nasty Powerbomb. The crowd was stunned as DeManto was chased out of the building. The HOG student lay motionless in the ring while house physicians and EMT worked on him. As of this writing, the student is doing well and is rehabilitating. As I see it, this is not over between House of Glory and Danny DeManto.
In the end, this night was well beyond what I expected. Last year’s High Intensity was a huge opening to the House of Glory annual show and in my opinion, this year exceeded expectations. And with the the next show being one which should blow the roof off, I will say that this event was a great prelude to what is to come.
Image Source: Eric L. Cooper