Did House of Glory step up from the success of their last show?
For some reason I was excited, in fact, I was very excited. On a March evening I was ready for some wrestling and by wrestling I mean down home indy. Wrestling with some faces which may be recognizable straight to the newbies who may not be as seasoned but are brimming with potential. Also, I was extra excited the promotion I am a correspondent for is having its re-launching and it will be tied to the House of Glory and its growing legion of fans. The line outside seemed bigger than the line I had seen for HOG/FTW’s Winter Wonderslam. That actually made me more excited to see what was in store for the evening.
House of Glory’s Built to Win had a lot riding on it seeing the success of the previous event. The buzz was going around on what was going on in a little gym in Ridgewood, N.Y. The superstars were there, the students of the school were progressing, but will the fans come out? After what I have seen tonight, they sure did. There were two big events to be presented to the incoming crowd. The first, a Pro Slam World Pre-Show with three solid matches booked with the big show following right behind. But before the shenanigans can begin, there was some confusion from the start.
Once the door was opened and the wrestling fans packed into the lounge on Weirfield St., you could feel the energy begin to grow. But then the music hit. That is when my confusion hit and I’m sure others in the place felt the same way. First off, the pre-show was to be a Pro Slam World produced show, but two key elements where missing, one was a ring announcer and the second would be promotional acknowledgment that Pro Slam World was even attached to the HOG event. I was disappointed that Pro Slam was not acknowledged not only because I worked for the promotion in the past but also after the pre-show closed the matches were actually really good. I believe this would have been a launching pad for the New Year. The other problem which was relevant was the audio. The ring announcer was not where he usually is which is, IN THE RING! And please bear, with me if I do not know some of the wrestler’s names. No disrespect but it is mostly due to the ring announcer either not announcing the competitor’s names or the audio was just god awful. Last show, the crowd was very vocal and drowned out the audio but this show the audio drowned out the audio. What a shame because it would have really heightened the moment and gave the crowd a sense of who is in the ring especially the new audience members, who for some reason seemed to be in my section.
The opening of the pre-show had Andy Lee Ray versus some soccer player and his manager. I’m sorry, but I had no clue who these guys were, which is sad because the match was actually really good. Especially with the fact that this was an opening match for a double-billed event. Both wrestlers put on a match which had the crowd actually involved and moves which seemed to compliment each other. But the masked manager for the soccer player was a highlight in a good way. There are some managers who seem to be much more of a character than the wrestler, which could work with those who don’t have the skills on the mic, but in this case the masked individual not only didn’t overpower the match but played a crispy and refreshing role in the match. His interaction with the ref and crowd help to make the essence of the match even more pleasant to watch.
Second up to the plate was some tag team action with All Money is Legal against Good Hank Flanders and Felix Rampage. I wasn’t sure if this match would go over well saying as though how AMIL had a great match with Tru Talent at the last show but I must say the team of Flanders and Rampage held up really well with the seasoned vets. Of course, the match had its usual spots by the throwback hip hop squad, with the addition of the opening pat down by the referee. I was only peeved the match was shorter than I expected but both teams seemed to bring their best spots and the crowd ate it up.
The final bout in the Pro Slam World Pre Show was a match with another veteran versus an up and comer. Dirty Rotten Scoundrel’s KC Blade, who is now working singles due to the retirement of his long time tag team partner, went up against Chris Seton. Seton had a quick showing at the last HOG event but on this card he held his own with the crafty veteran. Blade was able to rile up the crowd with his “charming” manner and really entice the women (hope you sense the sarcasm). Just when that moment would occur in which Seaton would be able to pull out a underdog victory Blade was able to use the ropes to pull off the win.
After the pre-show, the rest of the show moved quickly. The first match of the night with the man who is much loved by himself Bobby Bluejay against the colorful high-flyer Aerocide. In the last show, Bluejay didn’t wrestle much which I know worked well for him because he did not want to mess his hair. But in this match Bobby needed to be on his toes with the quickness of Aerocide. Bluejay was able to wear down Aerocide with his strength but was unable to halt off the agility of the aerodynamic HOG rising star. Although he lost the match, Bobby Bluejay was still able to walk away without a blemish on his precious mug.
Next up was a singles match which seemed to be “The Battle for Who Has Better Hair”? Azrieal, the man known up and down the eastern seaboard, went head to head with HOG’s own Anthony Gangone. This match had a blend of different but versatile styles from the old school to the new school chain style of wrestling. Both men, each with their flowing locks, were able to counteract each other’s attacks and show what classic grappling is about. The fans were able to appreciate this style of wrestling as I did because these two put on a match which wrestling enthusiasts would have really enjoyed.
For the next part of the show we had a return to tag team action. In the ring we had Chikara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston with his tag partner, Mr.718 Homicide go up against the new kids on the block True-Talent. This was scheduled as an open challenge. This was an instance in which I wished the audio was working properly because to have these vets talk trash to the crowd and the newcomers was something I looked forward to. Although both teams improvised well, especially “The Park Avenue Playboy” Alex Reyes, who was able to project his comments to Kingston and Homicide without a mic, the promo still was able to bring a sizzle to what could have been a frozen beginning. I may be biased because I am a huge fan of tag team wrestling, but this one I was monitoring heavily because of the dynamics which were at play. The youth versus the experience was the most obvious, but what really interested me was to see how the different personas of the tag teams would play off the crowd. The action was intense, especially with the vets taking control for most of the match. When True-Talent member Marq Quinn took a leap of faith off the turnbuckle, everyone realized this was a tag team battle which we can see developing in the future. Although Kingston and Homicide pulled off the win, True-Talent is making steps to get recognized and known in the indy scene and hopefully beyond.
I’m not sure if I was just too involved with the matches or just didn’t think about it at that moment, but I realized that House of Glory’s “Built to Win” was seemingly booked as veterans going up against fresh eyed wrestlers. I shouldn’t think about it too much because once I realize there is a moral to a wrestling story I’m screwed. The same can be said with the next match up between Danny DeManto and Panda Man. This once again was one instance I wished the microphone was working because one of the sharpest mouths in the business didn’t have a mic to cut up. DeManto on the mic is verbal gold whereas novice promo cutters would be compared to verbal anesthesia. Also, this man has worked with and against top guys in the indys and the majors. This night, Danny DeManto faced a man, a Panda Man. Once this match started there was instant chemistry. Both men have size, speed and agility and both exhibited a charismatic charm as well as solid wrestling skills. Both men complimented each other and I must say this match would be considered a “Match of the Night” in my book.
After a short intermission, we were presented with an angry former TNA X-Division Champion who was riled up at ringside. Sonjay Dutt was irate because early in the evening, TNA Superstar and House of Glory head trainer Amazing Red stated he was unable to wrestle due to a knee injury. Dutt did not take those words too kindly and promised Red will fight or his students will suffer his wrath. After Red made his way into the ring due to a back entrance and attack on Sonjay, both men were able to show the Ridgewood crowd why these two men were the top X-Division stars in the TNA brand. The men took the action outside of the ring where the HOG students watched their fearless leader put on a lesson on how to push forward even through injury. After the ref was knocked out and some bullying from Dutt, it was a HOG student who stepped up with a shot at Dutt to assist Red with the win.
The next match consisted of “The Shogun of Harlem”, yes you read it right, Earl Cooter squaring off against ECW’s own Justin Credible. Earl entered the ring with the music soundtrack from the 80’s cult classic The Last Dragon. If the audio was any better the fans would have eaten it up, especially with the attire Earl wearing. As for the match, Earl and Credible went through the motions of a standard wrestling match. The high spot was Cooter taking a garbage shower served up by Credible. All in all this was a fairly decent match but I am eagerly anticipating the next event with the arrival of Bruce Leroy himself. For those of you who are not a product of the 1980’s, you may not care so much but damn it, I can’t wait for the next event for the match between Cooter and Leroy.
The main event on the card was a first time ever matchup between former TNA X-Division champion Zema Ion versus House of Glory’s trainer Brian XL. To be honest I was really surprised how this match actually worked. Ion, fresh from his TNA shows and Brian XL known and recognized in the indy scene seemed to have a similar but yet different style. Brian XL seems to get better each time I see him and Zema can bring the crowd to a boil just by the usage of a hairspray can. Both these men took a show that was already on a positive scale and put it up a level on a solid finish. From spots in the crowd to the fans becoming involved with the action, these two men had a lock and stocked match with a finish going to Brian XL. Afterwards, the House of Glory students came into the ring and celebrated with their trainers, which was a cool end to a really good show.
I will say in closing not only was the show entertaining but I believe it was a show which opened the eyes for followers and new fans. In fact, the section where I sat had a boatload of new fans who told me they will definitely be at the next show because of how much fun they had. Children and adults alike enjoyed the interaction with the wrestlers and the action which was happening both in and outside the ring. I was pleased to see how the wrestlers embraced the fans who loved and hated them but also the up and coming wrestlers who were cutting their teeth while also remaining humble. The next show will be on Friday, April 12th at 8:00pm and I will most definitely be there. Who’s the master? EARL COOTER!!!