Deep South Wrestling lives.
After two and a half months of inactivity brought about by WWE’s sudden decision to pull the plug on their association with Joe Hamilton, DSW returned to action in their old Thursday night time slot.
However, the resurrected version that debuted in Locust Grove, Georgia at Metro Auction Center bore little resemblance to the DSW that operated 10 miles up the road in McDonough.
There wasn’t one wrestler on the card that had ever appeared in a DSW ring during their 18 month affiliation with WWE. Most of the talent that was released by WWE during their tenure in Deep South are no longer in the Atlanta area. The few that are (Tony Santarelli, Johnny Swinger and Bill DeMott) weren’t booked for various reasons. Nor were any of the non-contract regulars such as Melissa Coates, Frankie Coverdale, and Cru Jones (out with a knee injury).
The Auction Center is a far cry from the suburban strip mall vibe of their digs in McDonough. It’s a grungy auto auction garage without the luxury of air conditioning. They used a tiny ring, 16 feet at best, to maximize seating space and it left a lot to be desired.
The crowd of 85 was largely made up of hardcore DSW fans from the old days. Their lack of familiarity with the talent, mostly North Georgia indie guys, resulted in minimal heat even when the wrestling was decent. It’s going to take time for them to warm up to a completely new group of wrestlers that don’t have anything close to the WWE size or physiques they were accustomed to seeing.
For Hamilton, last night’s show was all about getting to see what he has work with in the way of talent. The booking was kept simple Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all clean finishes on the undercard and no angles or mic work to speak of.
My guess is that future shows will be an improvement on the following.
Ring announcer Ted Guinness opened the show with a rallying cry. He said the fans had lost their wrestling fix and their wrestling family, but now DSW was back in a new building with new talent. Guinness said a tournament to crown the heavyweight champion would be held next Thursday night, 7/12. He also promised that the building would have better ventilation.
A. J. Steele, the current DKP (Macon) Champion, came to the ring and announced that he would be the first to enter next week’s Heavyweight Title Tournament.
(1) Adrian Hawkins beat Ryan Michaels in 7:10. These poor guys were greeted by dead silence. Fortunately, they were able to establish enough of a heel/face dynamic to get the crowd going a little. Michaels cheated on the break and gave Hawkins a hotshot to take over. Hawkins made is comeback and hit a rocker dropper for a near fall before getting the pin with springboard back elbow. An inauspicious start. Not much spring in those ropes.
(2) Salvatore Rinauro beat Andrew Pendleton III in 9:34. The skirt on Rinauro’s trunks wasn’t very babyface like. Pendleton was more boisterous than usual. He gave referee Jeff McGowan a ration of s*** and claimed his robe was worth more than McGowan’s mobile home. Same basic structure as match number one. The heel heat built to Pendleton’s pronouncement that he was going upstairs. He, of course, missed huge with a swanton bomb. Rinauro scaled the ropes for the 10 punches. Pendleton fell down at 8, so Rinauro pulled him up to administer 9 and 10. Rinauro connected with a superkick for a strong near fall. Pendleton reversed Sal’s forward rolling cradle into a sitout facebuster. Rinauro nailed Pass the Courvoisier for the win, which is one of the nice things about seeing him work as a babyface. It’s too pretty of a move for a heel to use.
(3) Brodie Chase pinned Murder One at 11:14. It was weird seeing Chase as a babyface. The small ring was OK for cruiserweights, but two big heavyweights like these guys barely had room to maneuver. Murder One reached back to the 80s for the phantom punch routine. Ref Jeff McGowan fell for it. It built to the spot where Chase blasted M-1 for real. M-1 admonished McGowan. “Be lenient with me and strict with him.Ã¢â‚¬Â M-1 hit a Divorce Court and worked on Chase’s shoulder. They traded cool old school punches. Both down on a double lariat. Chase hit his pumphandle neckbreaker for a near fall. M-1 got an inside cradle, but Chase kicked out. M-1 griped about the count and got rolled up by Chase.
(4) Simon Sermon beat Caleb Konley in 6:17. This cruiserweight match got as much response as anything on the show. Sermon oozes arrogance in a way that gets instant heat. Konley has the physique, but he’s not a natural babyface. Sermon acted like Konley was no competition. Konley clotheslined Sermon over the top. Back inside the ring, Konley speared Sermon, but ended up spearing the post when he tried it again. Sermon worked the shoulder with a crucifix shoulderbreaker and a hammerlock slam. Sermon did the flip bump to the apron followed by the flip bump off the top ala Flair. Konley went up for a moonsault, but Sermon got the knees up. Sermon went right to the Manchester Driver (a sick piledriver from a crucifix powerbomb position) for the 1-2-3.
Guinness mentioned that it was Scrappy McGowan’s birthday.
(5) The Harley Crew (Brian Alexander & Pretty Boy Floyd with Mr. Donnie & Notorious D. O. G.) beat Rick Michaels & Tommy Too Much in 11:37. Donnie has been around the Georgia indie scene forever. The unforgettable image I have of Donnie came from the time period when Tommy Rich became part of his biker crew. Mr. Wrestling II couldn’t take any more of Donnie and blasted him with a chairshot so stiff that his knees buckled. Michaels has dropped the extra weight he was carrying the last time I saw him and showed no signs of the back injury that nearly ended his career. His work was easily the best thing about the match. The Harley Crew looked the part Ã¢â‚¬â€œ crude, burly brawlers. The biker boys gave the babyfaces a beating for the majority of the match. They worked over Michaels’ shoulder. D.O.G and Donnie interfered at will. Michaels finally hit the Double Shot, but D. O. G. choked Too Much out with a chain, so there was nobody for Michaels to tag. Harley Crew hit a modified Doomsday Device on Michaels and he was pinned by Floyd.
Former DSW television announcer Nigel Sherrod made a cameo appearance, which got as big a pop as this crowd was going to muster up. Sherrod pimped next week’s title tournament.
(6) Jeff Lewis vs. Austin Creed ended as a double DQ at 16:06. Lewis was the same pompous ass he is at Anarchy. No music for Creed’s entrance, which ruined one of the best parts of his act. Creed wisely refused to shake hands, so Lewis slapped him across the face. Lewis ducked the receipt and pasted Creed with a series of shots. He did it again. He talked trash. Creed responded with a leapfrog and a dropkick to the jaw. Lewis sold it bigtime. Creed controlled Lewis with arm drags. Lewis turned the tide with a hotshot to the gut. From there, it was Lewis cutting of Creed’s comebacks and grounding him to slow things down. A full-fledged comeback by Creed built to a high backdrop. Lewis planted Creed with a spinebuster for a near fall. Creed hit the Montefisto, but Lewis grabbed the ropes. They got into heated exchange of punches and started throwing Scrappy around until he was forced to call for the bell. Creed took it to Lewis and was standing tall at the end.
NOTES: DSW returns to the Metro Auction Center on 7/12 with a tournament to crown the new DSW Heavyweight Champion. They also have a show booked for the following Thursday (7/19) Former DSW referee Rob Russo was assisting Hamilton Owner Diane Hewes and booker Quentin Michaels from Great Championship Wrestling were in the house as Hamilton’s guests Last night’s show took place one day beyond the 21st anniversary of the inaugural event of Hamilton’s Deep South Championship Wrestling at the West Georgia Fairgrounds in Carrollton. That card featured 80’s stars such as Mr. Wrestling II, Jerry Blackwell, Assassin, Luke Graham, Tommy Rich, Ted & Jerry Oates and Ken Timbs Rick Michaels was ecstatic about getting the opportunity to wrestle a match with Scrappy McGowan as the referee.