March 30, 2017
Orlando Wyndham Hotel

Voices of Wrestling 2017 WrestleMania Weekend

In an effort to further damage my already plenty-damaged reputation and lack of expertise, I’m going to attempt to preview this big WrestlePro show by researching wrestlers on YouTube, having seen very little “official” footage, only one complete show ever and having a brief conversation with VOW’s own Wrestle Pro expert, the former Jersey guy, Joe Lanza.

I know a handful of the wrestlers involved, through their involvement in other indies, former (and current) TV gigs and just through word of Twitter, but a lot of this preview is written with minimal knowledge of the actual product, of any sort of storyline nuance or company history and mostly from the perspective of people I like.

I do not mean to offend any actual WrestlePro fans – but I will admit that the card that was originally presented to me was dreadful. The card that later got presented to me to preview looks much better & more full. I cannot write true previews or predictions to most of these matches, so instead I am attempting to entice those traveling to Orlando and looking for something to do on the 30th and talking about dudes where I can.

Team España Vs. Taboo Crew Vs. Apple Corps

This matchup features three pretty young, fun tag-teams with wildly different gimmicks. The Apple Corps team are two in-shape, babyface looking white dudes who move well in the ring. The Taboo Crew of “Big Deal” Craig Steele and Micah Jenkins have a gimmick I will never get behind or understand. They are totally 100% Northeast regional “indie” but I still have enjoyed in the few matches I’ve watched this past week. Team España is the kind of comedy team I love and one of my favorite new gimmicks I’ve seen in ages. I don’t know if they think they are soccer players or just super fans, but these two dudes in Spain uniforms come out with soccer balls, their jerseys just a little too small and constantly stop the match with the ball and yell FUTBOL! They aren’t terrible wrestlers  by any means, but even if they were – they are the type of comedy I’d want in my opening contests. Prediction: Team España

Chris Avery Queling Vs. Bull James

For whatever reason, gimmicks in which a wrestler attempts to portray an actual “insane” person (ie: an asylum inmate) really don’t do anything for me. I’m not offended by them, but I’d rather just see them as some sort of psycho killer or weirdo rather than actual hospital folk. It’s wrestling, it’s never worked for me—so Queling doesn’t either. His moveset and size definitely do, though—so this Making A Murderer dude is convincing in the ring as a big guy, the gimmick turns me off though.

Bull James is the former Bull Dempsey, a guy I never cared about but sort of always wanted to succeed. I didn’t know he was still wrestling until VOW staffers told me he’s actually pretty decent. He’s a bigger name, so I’m guessing he wins. Or CAQ gets DQ’ed, you know, for being CRAZY. Prediction: Bull James

Delroy Alexander Vs. Nikos Rikos Vs. Craven Varro Vs. CPA Vs. Buster Jackson Vs. Beefcake Charlie

Here’s what I know about this match—Nikos Rikos has the worst getup I have ever seen on any wrestler, maybe ever (and I believe that’s intentional), Craven Varro is what I imagine CM Punk looked like 20 years ago, CPA just won a Best of Five series against my man Habib From The Car Wash, Beefcake Charlie is what it is and I don’t know who Delroy Alexander is.

Buster Jackson is my fuckin’ dude though. I’m all in on The Heavenly Bodies and any sort of revival gimmick like that if it’s done well with white guys you can really hate, and Buster Jackson, this young looking shithead is someone I’d push far as hell. Prediction: Buster Jackson

Tommy Dreamer vs. Chris Payne

Hey! Two dudes I actually know!

I think Chris Payne is aligned heel with the Heavenly Bodies or The EJ5 or whatever, but he’s really just a guy named after your former E-Fed character, who should probably actually get the win here because he’s pretty good in the ring. Payne is facing Tommy Dreamer who has taken so many losses that he finally earned his legend status and never really has to lose again. Prediction: Tommy Dreamer

Colt Cabana Vs. THE RYBACK

I hope that Colt runs a bunch of gags on ol’ Ryan Reeves here and The Ryback/The Guy becomes noticeably upset. I fear for Colt’s life if and when this happens. Prediction: THE RYBACK

Swoggle Vs. Grado

To be quite fucking honest I couldn’t give any less of a shit about this match unless Grado comes out dressed as El Torito, which he definitely should. Prediction: Swoggle

Joey Ryan vs. Brandi Rhodes

I like Brandi Rhodes outside of the ring and think she was a pretty fantastic ring announcer. She seems smart and well-adjusted and committed to her husband and entrepreneurial in a thousand ways and she’s maybe like the prettiest woman ever. This match is still what I watch in hell, though. Prediction: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

WrestlePro Tag Team Title Match
The Heavenly Bodies vs. Da Hit Squad

Here’s a match I am actually looking forward to seeing quite a bit, should it ever come out online or if someone bootlegs it or something. The return of Da Hit Squad early in 2016 was sort of cool and breathed some life into the stale CZW tag scene. I didn’t watch ROH when they were a thing, but like any wrestling fan worth my salt—I was aware of the dudes. They’re really big, still and look intense and frightening in the ring and no one should really be able to beat them. The Heavenly Bodies have been tag champs for a little while now, and they are just great. They’ve been working over here in Portland recently and that is truly a team I can get behind. I’ve probably loved every iteration of the Bodies and this one is no different.

I love the Heavenly Bodies so much that I’ll probably go on WWE 2k17 soon and make an entire Universe mode where every wrestler is just in Heavenly Bodies gear and gimmicks and they all rake each other’s eyes and pose and act real cool. Maff and Mack are gonna smash ‘em. Sad day. Prediction: Da Hit Squad

Jeff Cobb Vs. Fallah Bahh

Hell yeah, this match should be fuckin’ great. I don’t know how Cobb is planning to throw the super big Fallah around, but watching him try is going to be a real treat. On the real, I’m a HUGE Jeff Cobb fan (see: other previews for this weekend), and I’m a new Fallah Bahh fan, because I love big, overweight wrestlers who are good in the ring. I love when big guys go at it and give it their all.

Both of these two can move extremely well for their size and carry matches they are in. Fallah Bahh is the company man, so I have to expect him to go over here, and Jeff Cobb doesn’t seem to shy away from taking losses at this point in his career. All things considered, this is one of the matches from the weekend that I’m most looking forward to and hope I get to see it. I know that Fallah will probably get misused or mistreated in Impact Wrestling, but I’m hoping the dude can break out, for real. Should be a really fun match. Prediction: Fallah Bahh

The BWO vs. Kevin Matthews & Pat Buck & Mario Bokara

I love two people in this match: Big Stevie Cool and Mario Bokara. I’ve loved Stevie Richards for what – 20-something years at this point, and Bokara for like three days, but the idea of some hard working, badass, hairy Croatian that looks like an NXT enhancement just ripping people up on the indies is really fuckin’ cool to me. I know he signed to Impact recently, but the past few days I’ve looked at quite a few Bokara matches and really regret not knowing the guy earlier. He’s not a life changing worker or anything, but he definitely comes across as a guy who knows what he’s doing and if he continues to get put in the ring with people who have done it on a bigger stage – I wouldn’t be surprised to see really big things from him down the road. I could take or leave anyone else in the match, but this will just be a fun nostalgic match with the bWo anyway. For what it’s worth – I actually liked Richards’ brief ROH appearance in 2015, I thought he looked really good. Prediction: Team Wrestle Pro

GFW Nex*Gen Title
Cody Rhodes vs. Brian Cage

GFW, of course, stands for Global Force Wrestling and I am legitimately shocked that there are still matches and titles under that banner. Brian Cage might have the busiest weekend in all of Orlando. I don’t know what to expect from matches like this—I haven’t watched or even tried to watch any of Cody’s lesser known indie matches, I’ve stuck the the Impact, ROH and New Japan stuff. Is he any good? I like Cody, I believe in Cody, even if he often lets me down—I’ve always liked the dude and I legit pull for him, so I have mildly high hopes for this match.

Brian Cage wrestles in a way where he just destroys whoever he works with because you know, he’s not a man, he’s a machine. A f’n machine, actually. I don’t think he can or will do that with Cody, though. It’ll probably be competitive, it’ll probably also be slow, they will probably miscommunicate, Cody will probably kick Cage a lot, Cage will probably suplex Cody a fair amount and while I could definitely see Cage being one of the few guys Cody would actually job to on the indies, but that shit ain’t happening here dude, no way. Prediction: Cody Rhodes

WrestlePro Championship
Bobby Wayward © Vs. Anthony Bowens Vs. Matt Macintosh Vs. Sonjay Dutt

All things considered—this match should be the highlight of the show. It’s for the WrestlePro title and features an actual hot feud between former partners and alternating champions Wayward and Bowens. From an in-ring standpoint, all 4 dudes involved are pretty great in the ring as far as this Northeast Indie style goes and after a couple hours of researching and just watching matches of the guys, I’m stoked for it. For the unfamiliar (including myself), Wayward is like a super hot shitbag heel who wrestles in a Pink and Black singlet, is a little undersized and capable in the ring—aka, he’s my favorite. Anthony Bowens looks like if you smashed together AR Fox and Bobby Lashley and got some sort of super wrestling specimen. Matt Macintosh is a former champion, has wrestled a lot of big time names in his time and though his general look does nothing for me, his in ring work definitely does. And Sonjay Dutt has been around for what seems like 30 years, is still good, and recently had a good ROH TV title challenge against Marty Scurll.

Like a lot of things on this show, I’m not aware of all the nuance and current storyline involved here, don’t exactly know how Macintosh and Dutt fit into the Wayward/Bowens feud, but it doesn’t matter. This will be fast-paced, have a lot of “finishers” used as transition moves, and probably feature some fantastic dives and topes. These 4 guys are likely going to be in front of a big crowd of people who have never seen them, so I expect them to work really hard and deliver a hell of a match. Anyone could win, I guess, but Wayward seems to be the super heel in the promotion right now and just definitively won the title – so I’m sticking with him. Prediction: Bobby Wayward

In closing – this preview wasn’t based on much but a few hours of research, which is more than what a lot of people who actually go to this show will do. WrestlePro seems able to put a lot of their shows out on YouTube and elsewhere but don’t really do it in a timely matter. If they did, I’d try it out, because over the course of this preview I’ve convinced myself that this is no longer the worst card ever, but something I actually want to see. I truly hope it delivers and that all who attend can validate that feeling.  Again, I am hoping I get to see this down the road.

Voices of Wrestling 2017 WrestleMania Weekend