My buddy Bonto and I got there 30 minutes early, and there was already a line forming. By the time the door opened for the VIP event, the line was just huge.
Pre-show VIP autograph event: The place was a madhouse, with a line that snaked through the building for autographs. My buddy Bonto asked Abyss if he had brought any balloons, and Abyss chuckled and said “I haven’t had good luck with balloons lately.” We also asked D-Ray 3000 how long it takes to do his hair. He answered; “I don’t do it. I just wake up.” All the guys who were there were really hospitable…Jeff Hardy and Chris Daniels were late and missed the autograph signing, and there were a couple no-shows (I’ll get into that later), but overall, a great atomsphere. I got my Mick Foley DVD signed by both Foley and Socko, which was a nice touch.
The show was late to start, due to the VIP event taking forever to finish. By the time the line was finally processed, it was 6.30. Jimmy Hart kept the crowd going from 4 o’clock on, and I’m sure he was damned exhausted for standing in the ring talking for two hours, but kudos to him.
Jimmy talks … and talks … and talks …
The other pre-show entertainment: Amber the ring girl
First match: D-Ray 3000 & Shark Boy vs. Conrad Kennedy III & Eddie Venom. Eddie Venom is a local semi-celebrity, being a frequent guest on Detroit’s #1 afternoon radio show, Live! 97.1’s Deminski & Doyle. He looks like a younger version of Nash with spiky hair. CK3 is a super-egotistical Simon Diamond-type gimmick (and is built a lot like him too). CK3 cut a promo before the faces came out that got him a lot of heat, saying we were all there for a good cause to honor one man: himself. D-Ray and Shark got great pops. Great spot of the match had Venom & CK3 outside, dazed, and Shark Boy trying to get D-Ray to do a Sabu-esque double jump dive off a chair and the ropes; Shark Boy even set up the chair, but D-Ray stood their “confused”. Finally, D-Ray understood and started, only to “fall off” the chair. Shark Boy ended up getting the pin with a Diamond Dust on CK3. Decent comedy match, and a good opener for what was a night of wrestling for the sake of fun. With a little more polishing, Venom could have a future. **1/2
Who woulda ever thought Nash and Simon Diamond would work together?
They rock ruff ‘n’ tuff with D-Ray’s afro puff…D-Raaaaaay…rock on with your bad self
Second match, BCW Heavyweight Title: D’Lo (c) vs. A-1 (w/Jade). A-1 is Jesse The Body Ventura, right down to the cheesy glasses and feather boas. A guy in front of us named Kevin got a chant started of “A-1 Steak Sauce”. D’Lo was crazy over. Why the WWE let this guy go I’ll never know…if they’re still holding a grudge over Droz, it’s sad, cause the fans were VERY down with the Brown. Crowd was firmly behind D’Lo, chanting at both A-1 and his valet (many Asian jokes at her expense about dry cleaning and Chinese food). Unfortunately, the power of the Brown could not carry A-1 to a very good match; A-1 is pretty sluggish and dull, a generic big man. At one point, D’Lo blew a move, and the crowd started a half-hearted “You f*cked up!” chant; D’Lo just shrugged and said “I f*cked up.” A-1 ended up getting the pin after some distraction provided by Jade, hitting D’Lo with a move that was a combination of Regal’s old arm-wrap neckbreaker and a Rude Awakening, and became the new Border City Wrestling Champion. *1/2
Not even this was enough…
…to prevent a condiment from winning the BCW Title
Third match: Monty Brown vs. Dallas. This was advertised as Brown vs. Abyss in the program, but people around us were saying Abyss wasn’t scheduled to be there, so I don’t know what to believe. All I know is, I was disappointed not to get Brown vs. Abyss, Bonto was disappointed since he’d never seen Abyss, and the crowd was shared the feelings with a lukewarm reception of Dallas. Dallas got lots of taunting (one of my better lines of the night, which got my whole section laughing: “You’re worse then the fake Diesel!”). Abyss ended up doing a run-in and helping Dallas beat down the Alpha Male, but Monty came back and hit both guys with Pounces and scored the pin. Brown was just INSANELY over, and if TNA doesn’t push this guy to the title soon, they’ll lose him to the competition. He’s the next Rock, mark my words. He still needs some more seasoning, and Dallas ain’t the guy to help him grow, but put him in with some technical wrestlers, or good power wrestlers, and you’ll see him grow. **
Dallas: a poor man’s Fake Diesel
Fourth match: AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels. Words cannot describe how over both men are. The entire crowd chanted “Fallen Angel-AJ Styles” as one chant, and did so roughly every 90 seconds (no joke). AWESOME back and forth match, easily the best match of the night. AJ Styles has future superstar written all over him; I mean Shawn Michaels level. Styles ended up winning, reversing a move into a VICIOUS Styles Clash (it happened so fast, I don’t remember what it was). Styles and Daniels shook hands afterwards, much to everyone’s approval. Match probably went 15 minutes, and was the highlight of the night, match-wise. ***3/4
One half of the match of the night
The other half
Styles takes flight and kicks an audience member in the head…no joke
They took a brief intermission, raffled off some prizes, and Jimmy did some more talking.
Fifth match: Petey Wililams & Johnny Devine vs. James Storm & Gutter. The second reshuffling of the card, and by far, the most perplexing. I can only assume it was supposed to be Showtime Erik Young and Bobby Rude (the actual Tag Champion members of Team Canada), but for some undisclosed reason, they weren’t there. Likewise, Chris Harris wasn’t there, again unexplained. Thus, Petey’s X-Title defense against Chris Sabin was cancelled (he was there for the autograph signing, and that’s it…why they didn’t put him in w/Styles and Daniels or as the partner for Storm is beyond me), and this match had to be made to take it’s place. Gutter is a total unknown who looks like Sick Boy from WCW, only a little thicker, and a lot greener; we could hear him calling spots from our seats. Match was disjointed and lacking rhythm; Team Canada and James Storm gave it their best, but the lack of the advertised participants and the replacement of Chris Harris with a total unknown was a heat-killer. Scott D’Amore cost Storm & Gutter the victory. *1/2
So that’s who has my hubcaps!
James Storm has to pick up Johnny Devine and carry Gutter…poor Storm
Sixth match: ICP & Rude Boy vs. Zack Gowan, Cpl. Robinson & ? (missed his name). How do you know you’re in for a bad match? Some hints … when you find yourself pining for the scientific prowess, psychological subtlties and technical mastry of a New Jack/Baldies Angel match … when what you’re watching makes XPW look talented … when the most seasoned veterans in the match are THE INSANE CLOWN POSSE, then you know you’re in for a long match. Total train wreck, and the anti-ICP contingent in the crowd (which was as loud, if not louder, then the pro-ICP freaks) turned on this clusterf*ck instantly. My section was fully populated with anti-ICP people, and our chants were so hated by the fans of those two insults to wrestling that we were pelted with beer and threats of ass-kickings for daring to disagree with the mutants (and almost thrown out of the building…scroll down to the end for a full rant on this). If I had permission to use Scott Keith’s “Hot Poker Up The Ass” rating system, there’d be 5 pokers for every participant and 5 more for D’Amore for putting us through that horrible excuse for a “tribute” to Sabu. Alas, all I can do is give it -*** and watch hours of Benoit to cleanse the palatte.
If I had to suffer with these fools, so do you
Seventh match: Jeff Hardy vs. Michael Shane. And the reshuffling/train wreck continues. Kid Kash didn’t show up, so Shane was brought in instead. I don’t see what’s so good about Michael Shane myself, and he didn’t do anything to dispel that in this match. Shane was dull and lifeless, and Hardy was, as usual, sloppy. Jeff’s heat was solely from the female contingent; everyone else chanted for Matt Hardy, and “boring” came up once or twice. And of all the people on the card I would expect to pull out an Arabian Facebuster in honor of Sabu, it would be Hardy … yet, nothing. For shame! Shane got the victory (!) when he reversed the Twist Of Fate into a roll-up and put his feet on the ropes. It gets a * and owes me an apology for being so frightfully bland.
Michael Shane, thinking “What the hell am I doing here?!?”
REDNECK ON PCP!!!
Jimmy Hart came back and introduced Sabu (a loooooooooooooooooong intro), who came out, dressed in a suit and turban, to a wave of “Sabu” and “Thank You Sabu” chants. He honestly looked a little choked up, and tried to hush the crowd, but the chants continued until their died on their own. He said “Thank you” and sat down behind the ring to watch the main event. He looked a little frail, and had a bit of a time getting into the ring, but the fact that he was there and was so genuinely touched by the reaction was awesome.
Mick Foley was introduced first (coming out to “Detroit Rock City”), and gave a nice little speech about how Sabu is the guy who’s given his body and life to the business and has never quite gotten back what he put in, and how treasured and important that was in a business with people who took and never gave back. He then thanked us all for coming and gave some more praise for Sabu.
One hardcore icon, paying homage to another
Douglas then came out and cut a promo. He acknowledged he has a big mouth and has said things that have kept him from getting hired in certain places (“But then again, I hate Irishmen”), and that he once said and saw in print that ECW was built on his shoulders…but he corrected himself and said it was buit on Sabu’s shoulders, and called him the toughest opponent he ever faced. He said that, for Sabu and for The Sheik, he’d kick “that piece of shit” Raven’s “f*cking ass”.
Good thing this wasn’t billed as a family show, cause The Franchise worked bluer then Andrew Dice Clay
Then Raven came out and cut a hilarious promo, saying how he hated Foley, Douglas, Sabu, The Sheik, Jimmy Hart, the town, the fans, charity and Christmas (and refused to sell for Socko). I got a chant of “we suck” started (my first chant!), and he looked right at us and said “This isn’t some post-modern ironic humor!” He tore into everyone again, and said we weren’t worth wrestling in front of and started to leave. Foley grabbed a mike and said he had two words for Raven; someone in my section suggested “suck it”, to which Foley said “No, not ‘suck it’. What is this, 1999? No, the the two words I have for you Raven: Johnny Polo.” This drove Raven nuts, and when the crowd chanted it, it drove him back into the ring. It also, later, prompted someone to add “Dean Douglas” in between “Johnny Polo”, which Shane took with a laugh and a smile.
(Sorry…my cameraman’s digital camera ran out of power at this point, so I have no Raven pictures or in-ring action).
Main event: Shane Douglas vs. Raven (w/Mick Foley as referee). I don’t know if this was booked as comedy match or not, but it ended up coming off as such. It was probably done to cover up Douglas being VERY rusty and out of shape, forcing Raven to do 90% of the work. Foley and Raven kept grabbing a microphone and insulting each other as the match progressed. One of the highlights of these exchanged was Raven demanding Foley to get down and count a pinfall, to which Foley did so by staying standing and tapping his foot. Raven jumped up and was barking at Foley about how he didn’t didn’t protect Raven when he was in WWE, and how his ego was out of hand. Foley’s response: “I think you need to be a little less concerned about me, and more concerned about not stinking up the f*cking joint.” Classic. They fell out of the ring, and Foley started a count-out, but ended up following Douglas and Raven as they did an ECW wandering brawl. Finally, Foley ran back to the ring, grabbed the microphone and, after about two minutes had gone by, finally counted “Two!” Naturally, this prompted another Raven diatribe. Raven ended up attacking Foley and hitting an Evenflow on him (his fourth of the night, having given three to Douglas) before he could effectively attack with Socko. Sabu snuck into the ring, put on Socko and hit the Socko Claw on Raven. Foley came to, Douglas made the pin, and both Foley and Sabu made the three count. If I were judging it solely on in-ring action, * if lucky. But, with the comedy and the rest of the trappings, an easy ***.
Raven then cut a promo after Douglas, Sabu and Foley left, saying how he really did think the world of Sabu, and thanked us all for coming out and showing our support for Sabu … “but Mick Foley and Shane Douglas are still assholes.” Funny stuff.
However … on a personal note, to all you maniac ICP fans out there who think that, by not liking ICP, we’re committing some sort of heinous war-crime or something … chill the f*ck out!!! I have every right to razz and jeer them as the talentless hacks they are, both in the ring and as rappers. If you wanna like ’em, fine, no skin off my nose. But having beer thrown on us and threatened with physical violence because we dared disagree with you is stupid. If you wanna trash my musical tastes, fine … and if they happen to step into the ring and suck it up, go right ahead and say so. But to go to the extremes you go to just because someone disagrees with you is pathetic. It was a black spot on an otherwise fun evening, and make no mistake about it: it was your fault. We didn’t throw beer on you, and we didn’t threaten your physical safety if you dared cheer against people we liked. Grow up. And to the security of Diamondback Saloon, I realize you were probably being extra careful, what with the Dimebag shooting just days before, and the Pacers/Pistons brawl from November, but warning us that if we “kept it up” that we’d be thrown out was stupid. We have the right to cheer or boo whomever we want, and cannot and should not be held responsible if someone in the crowd decides to disagree to the extent they did.
Sorry to go off on a tangent. I needed to get that off my chest.
Border City Wrestling and Scott D’Amore helped put on the show, and they deserve a little recognition for it.
I’m told Marquee Wrestling did videotaping of the event, and will be putting it out on DVD (with, if rumors are true, Joey Styles doing commentary). Check it out.
The pics were supplied by Kevin Lechkun; many thanks to him for giving this report some color.