“THIS VERY MOMENT”
MARCH 9, 2018
LOGAN SQUARE AUDITORIUM
In January, Powerbomb.tv began streaming monthly shows from Freelance Wrestling, an independent promotion based out of Chicago. I had heard good things about Freelance and decided to try their first streamed show out. Emanating from the Logan Square Auditorium (a great venue where I saw AAW in November), the show featured a solid roster with a mix of Midwest, Canadian and national talent.
After their first two shows of the year, several storylines were brought to a head at This Very Moment on March 9, 2018. In addition, several other rivalries continued to be built upon which will continue on future events.
The show began with the first 2018 appearance of Freelance Champion Suge D (Sugar Dunkerton) on a Freelance show. Suge had missed both the January and February shows due to a tryout with Impact Wrestling and a tour of the UK. During his absence, Darin Corbin had been blasting Suge for selling out Freelance and not putting his title on the line against him. Corbin’s words clearly affected the crowd as the popular Suge got a mixed reaction. After defending his absence, Suge called Corbin out and made it clear that Corbin’s words had made it impossible for both men to remain in Freelance. Suge challenged Corbin to make their title match a Loser Leaves Freelance match as well. After being shamed by Suge, Corbin accepted.
SIX PERSON SCRAMBLE MATCH
SHOTZI BLACKHEART VS. GREGORY IRON VS. SHANE SABRE VS. BRANDON ESPINOSA VS. ROY GORDON VS. ISAIAS VELAZQUEZ
Background: The multi-person Scramble is the typical opener for Freelance and this month had one of the better fields of the year. Iron and Espinosa were making their debuts with Freelance while Blackheart and Gordon returned for the first time in 2018. This was Sabre’s second Scramble appearance this year. Velazquez is the longest reigning Freelance Champion and has been a regular since the second Freelance show in 2014.
The Match: Multi-person matches are hard to pull off as you must balance giving each wrestler something to do while also letting one or more standing out. This match did better than most by giving Blackheart, Gordon and Velazquez a chance to stand out while also giving the remaining their own moments as well. Blackheart more than held her own and didn’t fall into any of the typical intergender tropes that I don’t really care for. Gordon looked very good and it’s not shocking that he’s been on WWE’s radar. In the end, Velazquez (who had never been in the Scramble match before) picked up the win with his Hammer of Dawn finisher. ***
What’s Next: I hope Gordon and Blackheart will be back on future shows after their performance here. Velazquez will likely be in the mix for a future shot at the Freelance title.
JAKE PARNELL VS. ARIK CANNON
Background: Cannon has been presented as the respected veteran of Freelance both by wrestlers and competitors and has been a consistent presence in the company since 2014. Parnell has a very good match with Anthony Henry in January.
The Match: A battle between a veteran and a relative newcomer actually played into both wrestlers’ offense. Cannon was focused and consistent while Parnell would hit moves and then waste time that allowed Cannon to make a comeback. Cannon hit his finisher, Total Anarchy, and Parnell kicked out. After a brief comeback by Parnell, Cannon hit Total Anarchy again for the win. The match didn’t last very long, but was decent while it lasted. **1/4
What’s Next: Nothing clear is on the horizon for either man, but I expect both to back on shows going forward.
CRAIG MITCHELL VS. SWOGGLE
Background: Mitchell has been with Freelance since their first show and got a good win over James Drake in February. This Swogggle’s second appearance in Freelance. He is a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion and a former heir to the McMahon family fortune.
The Match: Big burly guy vs. Little burly guy. If you’ve seen any of Swoggle’s indie matches, you probably know what this match looked like. At one point, Mitchell hits a big splash and the ref throws up the dreaded X. This was all a ruse as Swoggle somehow knocks several of the people who came to attend on him. Mitchell is able to overcome the former Little Bastard’s power and finishes him with a Cradle Shock. And that’s that. *1/4
What’s Next: Hopefully for Mitchell, more matches like his match with Drake. Hopefully for Swoggle, a multiple city tour with El Torito reenacting Wee LC.
CHICAGO STREET FIGHT
ANTHONY HENRY VS. STEVIE FIERCE
Background: Fierce lost the Freelance title in December 2017 and faced Henry after a one month absence in February. Henry appeared to be heading to a victory, but Fierce caught Henry with a small package to pick up the victory. Henry attacked Fierce post-match and smashed Fierce’s signature hand mirror across his head while Fierce had his back to him. Henry’s attack didn’t stop until his tag team partner, James Drake, convinced him to leave the ring.
The Match: Henry has been the most consistent performer in Freelance this year and with this match, he continued to showcase his talents. He and Fierce did a good job building the match as a grudge match with escalating violence. From hard strikes to crowd brawling to some sick bumps using chairs, tables and part of the guardrail, the match progressed well with both men getting a chance to shine. There were several callbacks to the match from February including Fierce trying another small package and both men trying to use a hand mirror on the other. Fierce got control of the mirror and smashed Henry in the face with it before finishing him off. A very satisfying fight that matched the build from the month before. ***3/4
What’s Next: The match seemed to be a blow off of the feud, but maybe a third between the two will come sometime later. Fierce may be one of the next contenders for the Freelance title after his victory.
After intermission, former Freelance Champion GPA came to the ring. In his last appearance in January, he turned on his tag team partner, Kylie Rae. GPA appeared ready to explain himself, but the reaction from the crowd changed his mind. He told the booing audience that they didn’t deserve an explanation and left.
DRAZTICK BOY VS. AERO BOY VS. ROBERT ANTHONY VS.GRINGO LOCO
Background: At the February show, Robert Anthony laid Gringo Loco out after Loco won the six man scramble match. Draztick Boy and Aero Boy are from DTU in Mexico which has a partnership with Freelance.
The Match: Before the match began, Anthony made sure to clarify that he was the heel in the match by making fun of the luchadors lack of English fluency. The match itself was fast paced with all four men mixing between lucha and American style wrestling. The underlying story between Anthony and Loco was prominent in the match, but the two DTU wrestlers never came across as unnecessary players. Loco hit a backwards splash from the top rope on Draztick Boy, but Anthony pulled the referee out before he could get the three count. With the ref temporarily out of sight, Anthony grabbed a backpack and nailed Loco and covered him for the pin. Post match, Anthony revealed that the backpack contained a custom title belt with his initials on the main plate. A fun match overall with a finish that kept the Anthony/Loco rivalry going. ***
What’s Next: Anthony and Loco are heading for a singles match that hopefully will have a non-fuck finish. Both Aero Boy and Draztick Boy will hopefully be back on future Freelance shows.
THE UNFORTUNATE PAIRING (ELLIOTT PAUL & PAT MONIX) & THE N WORDS (B’RYCE & A’JIZZLE) VS. KOBE DURST, SPACE MONKEY, FOUR STAR HEROES (CHRIS CASTRO & MATT KNICKS)
Background: The N Words are two time Freelance Tag Team Champions and the Unfortunate Pairing have yet to lose a match as a team since forming in late 2017. The Four Star Heroes are the current tag team champions and have held the titles since December 2017. Durst and Space Monkey are based out of Toronto and are both Freelance regulars.
The Match: “The Unfortunate Pairing” is amongst my favorite tag team names of all time. I have no logical explanation for why, but it strikes me as both ominous and ridiculous simultaneously. I was less enamored with this match. It wasn’t bad, but after several multi person matches on the show already and the main event looming in its aftermath, it was hard to get into this match as much as I would’ve expected given the talent involved. The makeshift team of Durst and Space Monkey as the other face team made them seem out of place. The finish, where the N Words hit Knicks with “Swiss Mist” (I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess cocoa replaced Kool Aid here), seemed repetitive after seeing a foreign object finish in the previous match. Solid action, but missing something. **3/4
What’s Next: Titles matches for the N Words and the Unfortunate Pairing would seem to be the next matches for the Four Star Heroes. Durst and Space Monkey could start teaming regularly or perhaps again contend for the Freelance title.
FREEELANCE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH/LOSER LEAVES FREELANCE
SUGE D (c) VS. DARIN CORBIN
Background: Suge won the Freelance title in December and made his first title defense on the same show. He subsequently missed the next two shows and his absence gave Corbin the fodder to cut two “pipe bomb” promos on him, questioning his commitment to Freelance. Corbin won a four way #1 contendership match in February and this was his first shot at the title. Corbin’s last singles loss in Freelance was in January 2017 to Suge.
The Match: Given the stakes and bad blood between the two wrestlers, Corbin and Suge put on very good, intense match. The hate between the two was clear in each strike and each momentum shift. The crowd was muted for much of the match and its unclear whether the attacks on Suge by Corbin turned him from a face to a heel or if the stipulation being added the same night as the show made the finish more apparent. They came alive at the end while both men kicked out of each other’s finisher. Corbin hit Suge with a Go to Sleep and then a second Ginger snap for the win, the title and the end of Suge D’s Freelance career. With a better crowd response, it would have been great, but even with the crowd issues, it was a very good and satisfying match. ***3/4
Post match, Corbin grabbed the title belt, blew D a kiss goodbye and left through the crowd. That was completely unsubtle in its ripping off Money in the Bank 2011. Suge leaves the ring and Freelance as the show ends.
What’s Next: It says something of modern use of “loser leaves” stipulations that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Suge back in Freelance in the future. The late addition of the stipulation leads me to think he will be gone for the foreseeable future. As for Corbin, hopefully he moves past his Punk tribute act and blazes his own trail as Freelance Champion.
I came into this show wanting the street fight and the title match to deliver and both clearly did. Outside the Swoggle match, the rest of the show ranged from solid to good. This show was a good starting point for those looking for an introduction and is well worth a watch. Freelance Wrestling will be back Powerbomb.tv on April 28th.