The weekend drizzle and probable WrestleMania hangover many suffered didn’t deter many from the Hawthorne Theatre in Portland, OR this past Saturday for DEFY’s Wolves at the Door II. The show looked to be sold out, totally packed with locals and traveling groups in from neighboring Washington state.
The card kicked off with a light show to the tune of the original DEFY instrumental theme song. Very professional. Little things like these, done well, are what separates DEFY from other indies down the West Coast. People chanted “DEFY” along with the introduction. As the ring announcer ran down the match list for the night, the crowd chanted “ART-Y!” for DEFY Heavyweight Champion, Artemis Spencer. He defended his title in the main event of tonight’s card against PCW Ultra Lightweight champion, Jake Atlas.
Four-way Elimination Match: Leon Negro def. Cody Chhun, Guillermo Rosas and Guerrero de Neon
This was really good. Four young guys pushing the pace and doing some really creative stuff in terms of both spots and match layout.
A few of these guys in this match are from a Lucha Libre gym in Washington called Lucha Libre Volcanica. The crowd chanted “Sexy Lucha” at Leon but also kind of at Neon. I guess they both can be sexy lucha. Chhun was really popular with the crowd and even to a few streamers thrown at him. A couple fans offered Chhun their beers and he chugged them like he was the Sandman.
Guerrero de Neon quite literally kicked off the match by kicking Guillermo Rosas before the bell. There was a ton of four-way pinball action from the get. Neon and Leon had impressive chemistry together, as did Chhun and Rosas. Sometimes these kinds of matches go off the rails because of all the moving parts but this felt seamless.
Midway through the match Neon did an awesome tope con giro onto Rosas and into the first few rows. Leon then hit a huge plancha from the tope rope into the crowd. He came really close to railing the mixing board but stuck the landing.
The crowd was popping loud for this when Cody teased a dive, instead doing the Andrade I’m-chilling-between-the-ropes bit, then went hard with a swan dive senton over the corner ring post into the crowd onto all three opponents. All this chaos and we’re only around ten minutes into the card.
Once the heat from the dive sequences cooled down, Rosas eliminated Neon, the first one to go in this match. Moments later, Chhun was able to hit the “FU *$%!” Springboard cutter to then pin Rosas, the second to be eliminated.
The final two in the ring were Chhun and Leon and the crowd sounded split between the two. Leon hit spike hammerlock DDT, Chhun hit a falcon arrow for two. Crowd is in a tizzy at this point.
In the end, though, Leon was able to pin Chhun with a Frankensteiner for the win. Again, great starter with a lively crowd from these up-and-comers. Hope to see more of all four of these lads in 2019.
No One Lives (Dr. Kliever and Drexl) def. Sonico & Hero Napier by submission
Fun surprise match that wasn’t announced before the show. Sonico came out alone. No One Lives are the house heels at DEFY always get hearty boos when they’re in town. Before the match, Drexl grabbed the mic and got tons of heat before even saying anything. Once he had a chance to speak he said that since Sonico came out by himself and didn’t have any friends they might as well start the match, 2-on-1. Sonico took the mic and said he had someone: Hero Napier, a DEFY crew head and local fan favorite, probably most well known as the guy running the ropes at intermission matches. He got lots of hometown love tonight. Sonico got good reactions, too. I have to reiterate how good this crowd was for the show.
The baddies worked over Napier for a while at the start, who got lots of sympathy heat from the crowd. This match was entirely different from the first, ringwork-wise, much more focused on story and character than action. It was a nice shift of focus after how fast-paced the first match was.
Napier later did his rope-running spot during the match. Towards the end, Sonico did a big springboard plancha to the floor, then Drexl was whipped through the middle ropes and into the crowd by Napier, who then teased a plancha until Riea Von Slasher snuck in the ring and laid Napier out with a low blow and a fall-away slam. Lots of boos here.
Drexl then did a double-arm DDT and used a butterfly lock submission on Napier for the submission win. No One Lives “violated” Napier after the match.
Amerikan Gunz (Mike Santiago & Ethan HD) def. Reno Scum (Adam Thornstowe & Luster the Legend
Both teams got great reactions from the crowd. There was a small section of crowd was chanting for Reno Scum before the match.
Santiago from Thornstowe had some fun in ring before the match and teased shaking hands. This was a steadily paced-match from the start with a huge build towards the end. Reno Scum did the Bushwhackers battering ram spot and then turned it into and assisted senton. Whenever Reno Scum would do cool double-team moves you’d hear more people chanting for them. They did the Pit-Stop spot to Ethan HD, the one the Nasty Boys used to do.
Santiago later got the hot babyface tag but the crowd seemed torn since they also were into Reno Scum halfway through. The Gunz used a 3D “outta nowhere” during the final stretch of this. They’re just as good as Reno Scum at the innovative and explosive double-team moves, so if that’s in your wheelhouse you might want to go out of your way to check this one out when it hits VOD.
Reno Scum hung Santiago in a Tree of Woe in the corner and then Luster took Ethan HD and Razor’s Edge’d him into the corner into Santiago. This got a big “holy shit” chant.
Gunz rallied back with a Hart Attack + Disaster Kick combo for a two-count. There was one point in the match where the back of Santiago’s head was bleeding after a double-team spot. Not sure what happened there.
The match wrapped when Santiago used an inverted DDT while HD used a diving double footstomp for win. Really good match, good pacing, and hot action at before the finish. The crowd was really into Reno Scum by the end, too.
Scum teased a handshake again, like at the beginning of the match, but faked the Gunz out and flipped them off which actually got a big babyface reaction. They got “please come back” chants after this.
Chain Match: Schaff def. Alexander Hammerstone
Great big hoss brawl right here. A good portion of the crowd seemed up on the angle between Hammerstone and Schaff from a few months back and booed Hammerstone when he came out. From here, the lights went out and people started a massive “SCHAFF!” chant. He has somehow connected with a lot of the locals here, their hometown hoss.
Hammerstone jumped Schaff during ring introductions. They brawled into the crowd. Hammerstone did a running missile dropkick from apron to floor while Schaff sat in a chair, then from tope rope into ring. I’m not sure people realize how big Hammerstone is; he’s huge and he’s really agile.
Hammerstone did a delayed suplex that Schaff no-sold and countered with a spinning lariat that made the crowd chant his name at increasingly deafening levels. It’s not hyperbole, I swear. With every Schaff match I see, the reactions get louder each time, a little more visceral.
The chain came into play early on in this one. They did good chain-centric spots; Schaff did tope con giro with the chain still wrapped around his wrist.
The bout spilled outside again and the two brawled deeper into the crowd. Schaff did what I think was a cannonball onto Hammerstone near the bar but we were too far away from where the two were in the crowd, and it was dark, but the crowd popped so it must have been a big deal.
Hammerstone finally countered the Schaff onslaught with exploder suplex into corner. Schaff later double back chop and German. Hammerstone used a low blow and touched three of the turnbuckles, but Schaff blocked his final turnbuckle slap. They exchanged some elbows here and Schaff hulked-up and no-sold everything. The crowd loved it.
Schaff finally wrapped the chain around Hammerstone’s head and mouth and dragged like a sack strapped to his back, slapped three turnbuckles, then got into it with the chained-up Hammerstone at the last corner. High drama at the end here but Schaff picked up the win.
This was a good brawl with excellent booking to wrap this angle if that’s where they’re going with it. Both wrestlers made each other look really good in this one, and the fans were delighted because the villain of the story got his comeuppance, a righteous justice paid in full and brought to you by the hometown hoss hero himself.
Randy Myers def. Jimmy Havoc
Myers got a loud “sexy bitch” chants as he walked to the ring. He interrupted his own entrance, grabbed the mic and talked about how this wasn’t his and Havoc’s second match but their second “date” and that tonight they’d go “all the way.” Myers then went around the ring and kissed people (with consent) as he sang along to a punk cover of “Let’s Fall in Love.” A few fans threw streamers in the ring for him.
“Jimmy F*ckin’ Havoc” chants abounded before he himself came out, though the crowd was pretty much 50/50 for both Myers and Havoc throughout this one.
They started out the same way the kicked off their first match, with Havoc agreeing to kiss Myers first before they’d begin wrestling. In their first match, Havoc first kissed Myers but then pulled Myers tongue out with his teeth and sliced his tongue with a sheet of paper. This time, though, Myers came prepared with a stapler and stapled Havoc in the plums before he could have his tongue sliced again. Myers got his happy stapler revenge and stapled pretty much the entire Wolves at the Door II promo poster to Havoc’s face and arms
Jimmy later bit Randy’s fingers but Randy bit back. They then brawled to the bar and then up to the second floor balcony area. Jimmy fell from the balcony to the floor and the crowd chanted “holy sh*t” Randy then teased a plancha but finally did a big one from the balcony onto Havoc on the floor.
Once they were back in the ring Havoc use a chair and did some more papercut spots. Jimmy did hadoken sequence (hadoken uppercut in corner, rolling DVD, low kick to face). They when somehow did a Shattered Dreams tease that transitioned into Randy tying a neon LED ballgag around Havoc’s mouth. With Havoc indisposed, Myers used his modified version of the GTS called Get Well Soon for the win.
This was a fun, violent match, cartoony in a good way, almost like Looney Tunes. Jimmy grabbed mic and talked about why he came back to DEFY before going to AEW, which were to 1) Get his win back from Myers and 2) To put Randy over (“The better and kinkier man won. I fucking love you.”), then put over the crowd huge, saying he’d been all over the world but the DEFY crowd was special and he had a great time in DEFY. This garnered another loud reaction from crowd. It was all very classy.
Before the match ended, Randy called in a guy wearing a taco shirt who seemed to desparetly want to kiss Randy. The fan whipped his own shirt off and the two shared a smooch that popped the crowd like it was Liz & Randy’s wedding all over again. Nice moments.
Riea Von Slasher def. Danika Della Rouge
Solid match. Della Rouge did some textbook flying early on in this match. Riea had a professional presence and had good heel charisma.
Von Slasher did big cannonball into corner, and later Della Rouge returned with a nice headscissors into a bulldog. She hit a big with big top rope frankensteiner and got a great reaction the crowd towards the end. No One Lives guys came out and distracted Della Rouge, allowing Von Slasher to use a Liger Bomb on her for the win.
DEFY Heavyweight Title match: Artemis Spencer (c) def. Jake Atlas
Atlas is the current PCW Ultra lightweight champion.This was his first proper appearance in Portland, OR. The crowd gave him a polite “away team” boo from a somewhat but not yet familiar crowd.
Spencer got good reactions from the audience. Tight chain wrestling from get-go here. Spencer’s facials were prominent tonight, really expressive, very aggressive. He did some Fenix-esque rope-bouncing, also very impressive for a guy of his size. He’s very agile and the crowd loved it.
The two exchanged really hard chops midway through the match. Atlas used an Angle Slam on Spencer at one point, then clotheslined both he and Spencer out of the ring at the same time. The venue is a smaller rock club so the ring and the crowd essentially overlap, so when I say the two went “out of the ring” it’d be more accurate if I said they “spilled out into the first few rows.”
Spencer did some really impressive stuff in this match, particularly this diving senton to Atlas who was vertically draped on ropes.
Later, Atlas used a cartwheel DDT on Spencer that he didn’t quite get all of. Even still it was impressive. Spencer finished Atlas off with a corkscrew senton for the win.
This was a good showcase match for two technical flyers who are gaining some momentum around the independents in 2019. The DEFY crowd sided with their champion, as expected, but also really seemed to enjoy Atlas after this match.
DEFY continues to put on high quality shows despite more and more star power disappearing into the widening indie wrestling vacuum. Every match on DEFY Wrestling’s Wolves at the Door II delivered, the three hours breezed by, and the hardcore crowd made for a good time.