Fifteen years ago a tournament bearing the King of the Indies name launched a wrestling revolution by bringing the best unsigned wrestlers in the United States under one roof. During WrestleMania Weekend 2015 the tourney was reborn as part of the WWN Live family and featured many names from the California wrestling scene. Would the legendary tournaments rebirth pay tribute to a seminal event in wrestling history or come across as a cheap successor?
King of Indies – Night One
March 27, 2015
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
San Jose, California
Rey Horus vs. Lil’ Cholo: The masked man and the fat man worked a lighting pace in the early going. That was not the wisest move because both men were sucking wind during the match’s closing stretch. Regardless, the night’s opening contest was an exhibition of the finest lucha inspired arm drags and takedowns. Rey Horus advanced following a Top Rope Hurricanrana.
A fast paced and entertaining opener. ***
Jeff Cobb vs. Rik Luxury: Former amateur wrestler Jeff Cobb impressed me with his performance during the match. His style is nice blend of Greco-Roman grappling and power moves.
Cobb’s style did not mesh well with Luxury. The veteran, Luxury, works in a slow manner that is best used to put over an aerial wrestler. Due to the mismatch this bout lacked energy and I was glad to see Cobb get the win with a Swinging Power Slam.
A real odd couple in the ring produced a lackluster outing. *¾
Adam Thornstowe vs. Shaun Ricker: Ricker and Thornstowe put on a good television-style match. Ricker held the advantage for most of the match by keeping his opponent on the mat or clubbing him in the back. Thornstowe got a hot comeback accompanied by good crowd support and advanced following a Frog Splash.
These two used a classic formula to perfection. **¾
Vinnie Massaro vs. El Mariachi: Fun fact, Vinnie Massaro is the only competitor who has the distinction of wrestling in both King of Indies tournaments. Another fun fact, El Mariachi has the greatest costume in wrestling.
When watching the match, which I do not recommend doing, pick a good adjective to describe it. Sloppy. Disjointed. Boring. The list could go on and on. Vinnie Massaro won with a submission to put the match out of its misery. DUD
20 Man Battle Royal: Well, this was a battle royal. A huge group of men traded punches and took turns trying to eliminate each other. JR Kratos won.
The battle royal you have seen before and will see again. *
B-Boy vs. Brian Cage: Poor B-Boy spent the opening minutes of the match as Cage’s chew toy and as a result he spent most of the match in a proverbial fog. To beat the human mountain B-Boy’s offense had to count. A strategic placement of strikes and submissions almost led him to the Promised Land but in the end Brian Cage rolled into night two courtesy of Weapon X.
A nice little narrative that saw B-Boy come back from the dead only to fall just short in the end. ***¼
Willie Mack vs. Jody Kristofferson: I have a confession, watching two stout competitors beat the snot out of each other brings me great joy. Watching Mack and Kristofferson pound each other into hamburger meat was great fun and satisfied my primal longing for violence. “Chocolate Thunder” Willie Mack was the winner after an impressive Corkscrew Senton for a man his size.
Two words, hoss battle! **¾
Jeckles vs. Luster the Legend: The clown and the slam dancer wanted to wrestle a really good match. The issue they encountered was speed. Watching this match was akin to viewing someone moving underwater and working American Strong Style with that tempo is next to impossible. Luster submitted Jeckles with a Cobra Clutch.
The effort was definitely there but both men need to rethink their choice of wrestling style. **
Timothy Thatcher vs. Dylan Drake: Dylan Drake is a tremendous technical talent. His work on Thatcher’s leg and the attention to detail by focusing most of his offense purely on that was superb. To his credit Thatcher more than held his own. Thatcher solid the damage to his leg perfectly and used European Uppercuts or reversals to keep distance between himself and Drake, thus giving him time to recover. Though he wrestled a great match Dylan Drake went to the well one to many times on the leg and Thatcher made him pay by reversing a Dragon Screw attempt into a Cross Armbreaker. Seconds later Drake tapped out.
A tremendous match that put another accolade on Thatcher’s already impressive body of work during the weekend. ***¾
Joey Ryan vs. Matt Cross vs. Ricochet: The evening’s main event was a bizarre three way between competitors with vastly different styles. Strangely enough the odd coupling paid off in a main event that was not short on action. Matt Cross was the start of the match. Several of the moves he pulled off were breath-taking especially his shooting star press. Even with Cross’ incredible performance the pin and the win went to Ricochet.
Solid main event. ***½
Final Thoughts: Night one of Kind of Indies is a mixed bag. The Battle Royal and Vinnie Massaro/El Mariachi were real clunkers. Thatcher/Drake, the opener and triple threat main event are all fantastic matches. It may not be a home run show but the first night of KOI did a nice job setting the table for the following event.