Stadium Series Night 1
September 12, 2020
Marian Catholic High School
Chicago Heights, Illinois
I have never watched a Warrior Wrestling show, but looking at the talent line up and matchups announced I was intrigued enough to give it a fair watch and check-up. Going in I had been told different sides of the coin, I had a few people tell me the shows were consistently good, and I had at least one person tell me he found each show to be boring. When presented with both potential outcomes of quality I went in with very moderate expectations and a clear mind determined to decide for myself.
AAA Latin American Championship Match
Daga (C) def. Isaias Velasquez
I am very hot and cold with Daga, with the temperature usually pointed toward cold, while I find Isais to be a consistently fine performer with upside potential. So I was interested to see what the quality of this match ended up being. This turned into a fine opener. Daga seemed motivated and did a good job with his leg work in the match while Isaias Velasquez responded with good selling on the target leg and showing appropriate fire when need to be shown. Daga (and rightfully so) was the aggressor most of the match but Velasquez was able to get some good offense in but with that said I never felt that hope spot. Never felt that “Velasquez could possibly win” here moment and that hurts the match a bit. Still, a fun opener that got the show off on the right foot. ***
Tom Lawlor def.Kevin Ku
I love me Kevin Ku, especially as a tag team wrestler (but he’s singles here). Tom Lawlor is someone I acknowledge as talented but his matches can fall on the short side for me more often than I would like. Still, I felt he could mix things up well with Ku and this match would have good potential. I could’ve ended up in the minority opinion here, and if I do I accept this but this just didn’t click with me for the majority of the match. Both men worked hard and I won’t take that away from them but the match just didn’t land with me. Sometimes I find that happens when the work is fine and acceptable but I have a hard time getting into it. Also just like the problem with the last match during the whole match I never bought Ku had a legit shot at winning which took away quite a bit from the match. Still, the work was solid and not awful so I’ll be kind and give it a classy lady’s three to showcase that. Perhaps others will enjoy it more than I did. ***
At this point, I will take a moment to say there were several Frank The Clown commercials/promos throughout this show. I won’t touch on them other than to say I can’t stand that gimmick and I saw no positive in these segments.
Thunder Rosa def. Kimber Lee
I’ve been on the Thunder Rosa train and I see no signs of me getting off any time soon. She along with Shida recently had one of the highlights (of a show that needed them) at ALL OUT. Kimber Lee is talented but I don’t always find myself getting into her matches. Still, I had good hopes for this match, hopes that were mostly realized as both women put in a solid effort that turned into a fun show. Both women are champion(s) of different promotions and they both did a good job of showcasing themselves well enough to demonstrate why that is. Kimber Lee and Thunder Rosa were both good and clicked together quite well. One or two spots that weren’t smooth here or there but that doesn’t often bother me unless it causes the match to fall apart, which didn’t happen here. Also, again which is a recurring problem on this show not at any time did I buy at least one of the competitors (In this case Kimber Lee) as having a legit shot at winning the match which took things away a bit. That said, this was fun stuff and I definitely say you won’t be wasting time watching it. Nasty thunder driver to end the match by Rosa gives it points as well. Am I going a bit high on this match? Perhaps, but I had fun so I don’t care. ***1/2
WARHORSE def. Joey Janela
WARHORSE (last time I’ll do all caps on his name) is talented but I feel often his gimmick gets in the way of his performances while Janela can have good matches, but sometimes (I think his recent match with Lio Rush is a prime example) he succeeds at a good match . . . and then keeps going until the match is no longer good. With the exception of his Beyond Wrestling Iron Man Match as long as Jenala doesn’t attempt “epic” the match has a shot at being good. If there’s one thing I REALLY appreciated about this match was energy. I felt this match had a level of energy that the other matches so far did not bring (even though I mostly enjoyed them). Their personalities no doubt played into this, but also both men worked really well and this match was good. Heck, this match was great and I feel confident in saying that. At times Warhorse’s gimmick flared up briefly for some ridiculousness (such as hand banging while doing a submission hold) but it never got in the way of the body of the match itself.
The fact this is the first match I’ve hit a second paragraph on so far should tell you I was quite enjoying this. At one point Janela ran down the field and dumped Warhorse into the endzone (TOUCHDOWN) forcing Warhorse to run back to the ring to break up the count and get meet up with a superkick which was a very fun spot the crowd totally got into. Damn, I had a great time with this. It felt on a different wavelength to the rest of the show so far (Almost made me want to go back and readjust my current star ratings a bit lower, but I don’t operate like that). I dare say this might be the most I’ve enjoyed either man this year so far. This was also the first match where I felt either competitor could’ve ended up the winner so that’s a huge plus. A highlight of the evening and an easy four stars for me. ****
After the match, Janela tried to cut a promo only to be attacked by masked men and beaten and laid out. Both men were not revealed and just took off after attacking him. Okay, wasn’t expecting angles or anything I must admit, but considering this is a series of shows I’m all for it!
Alex Shelly def. TJP
Shelly and TJP are both very capable wrestlers and as such I went into this with very good hopes of having a fun competitor match where either man could end up with the victory. That’s what I ended up with. Two wrestlers with good to great technical chops getting technical as hell with each other and putting together a really fun contest. Both men must love snacks because they know how to take body limbs and make pretzels out of them, and that’s on display several times through this as both men get chances to shine a light on their grappling and submission abilities. When in the wrong hands and less talented performers that can be dull and boring, but both men have enough chops to make it engaging and interesting.
I also love that it’s not mindless grappling with bodywork that goes nowhere. Every hold and submission attempt felt like it had a purpose and meaning and wasn’t just time-wasting or showing off what one can do just for the sake of showing it off. Both men were/are varied enough in their abilities to keep it fresh throughout the entire match without feeling like retreading or repeating too many maneuvers or hold. Very technical, very solid, and very well put together match that I enjoyed. Honestly, I don’t need it every single match on the card but just a straight forward technical solid wrestling match is something I can definitely go for, and both men delivered a very high-end version of just that. ***3/4
Elayna Black def. Dan The Dad
Okay, look, I don’t know much about Elayna Black so I’m in the dark here. Dan The Dad I’ll go on record as saying is one of my least favorite gimmicks in American Wrestling. I don’t want to be a downer or dog on someone too much, but it does nothing for me and I find it nothing less than awful. I had zero interest in this matchup, and after the two highs of the previous few matches, this was a huge step back in the show’s quality. The moment the bell rang and we had a coffee chug spot with Dan The Dad (I hate typing that) followed by him wrestling while holding the mug I knew I was in for a lame time. I won’t type too much more as I really have nothing good to say about this match. There were coffee mugs, there were cards, there were attempts at comedy, oh yes, and some wrestling. None of it good or memorable. There’s a toy from the 90s called Skip It, and that’s what you should do with this match. This match is star deficient. Zero stars.
Brian Cage def. Benjamin Carter
Alex Zayne was originally supposed to be the opponent. I’m going to say something that might get me slagged but Carter for Zayne in this girl’s humble opinion is an upgrade. I’m not as high on Zayne as many are, although I get he’s an impressive spectacle at times. Carter still needs seasoning, but he’s already pretty darn good for the level he’s at right now and if he can simmer a bit longer before someone gobbles him up I feel like he can truly be something special. This was power and strength versus speed and agility and it ruled. Wasn’t perfect or flawless by any means but Cage throwing Carter around as a rag doll ruled, Cater using his speed and flash to counter and get his offense in ruled. This served up a really good David versus Goliath dynamic.
I’m sure Zayne versus Cage would’ve been a good match as well, but I feel like we ended up with the better match up due to the circumstances. Carter just continues to grow as a performer and his taking and selling Cage’s offense showcased exactly how manhandled he was getting throughout the contest. Cage came off the machine he loves to attempt to present and the dynamic just clicked and locked in throughout the match. They succeeded at getting the taste of the Dan The Dad performance out of my mouth. This along with Warhorse/Janela has been my favorite thing on the show so far. Skip the previous match and just go straight to this. ****
The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz and Trey Miguel) def. Chris Bey, Jordan Oliver and Myron Reed
Just by the six names above I was expecting high-quality high flying maneuvers, jumps, spots, dives with some fair and fine wrestling thrown into the mix as well. I did get that, but I also got quite a few things I could’ve done without. There was one moment in the match where they took turns trading outside of the ring cutter (a play on the everyone gets a dive spot) which came off a bit ridiculous and contrived to me but that aside I enjoyed this match quite a bit. Then the slow-motion wrestling display kicked in from them blowing smoke into each other’s face, and while I’m not anti-comedy in my wrestling, I didn’t really want it here. It took me out of the match immediately and soured me on it a bit. In fact, at this point, I was starting to have a strong dislike for it . . .then the Rascals hit triple Canadian destroyer which is the one time I’ll applaud an absurd amount of destroyers because it brought an end to that slow-motion mess.
Unfortunately, the damage was done, and while things got more octane after that, I never fully got back into gear with this match, which is a real bummer as I had high hopes for this and really wanted to be pumped and excited and giving it full recommendations, and that ended up going out the window once the slow-motion button was pressed. Still, once we got over the silliness the match did pick up nicely with the spots, high flying, double and triple-team maneuvers I was hoping for and wanted out of this match. Some of you may end up rating this match much higher, but the cutter tradeoff spots and the slow-motion wrestling brought this down heavily for me. ***1/4
Warrior Wrestling Women’s Championship
Kylie Rae def. Tess Blanchard (c)
Then this brings us to our main event. I enjoy some Kylie Rae and while Tess Blanchard comes with a lot of baggage and issues she is quite the capable wrestler. So this main event going in had much potential. Turned out to be a very good main event and title match. Blanchard being such an unlikeable bully really helped with this scenario. Just roughing up Kylie, ripping up a fan’s sign, removing and throwing Kylie’s bow, just so unlikable. On the opposite end, Kylie just has such positive energy and underdog vibes I just wanted her to prevail and end up on the winning side, and it was a pretty feel-good moment when she reverses Tessa’s second attempt at a DDT into a roll-up for a pin.
Both women are very capable wrestlers and they had good striking exchanges and execution of moves throughout. Nothing flashy or over the top in this match, just a heel acting champion going up against a plucky underdog face trying to overcome from underneath the bullying, the cheap shots to reach the top of the mountain. Wrestling isn’t difficult and the simplest setups and stories can tell so much. I could’ve done without the show of respect at the end of the match as I feel (especially on the independents) it’s becoming way to much commonplace. Sometimes I rather have one competitor show disgust or disappointment over losing instead of the let us hug it out and be glad we gave a good match type of ending. Overall, this was a fine main event a good ending to the show. ***1/2
I’ll admit right here that I’m one of the easier to please wrestling fans out there. The fact that everything except Elayna Black versus Dan the Dad got three stars or higher is a testament to that. That put aside I still feel anyone could watch this show and find something to enjoy. I think this turned into a really good show, with only one thing I really did not like. This was a good start to the Stadium Series and being around three hours never felt like it was bogged down or dragging. Easy watch, good fun wrestling, and Dan The Dad didn’t take too much of time. I’ll give this a recommendation and hope you enjoy it as well!