The NeelDown Video Review: NWA-Florida Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup 2004

– You may even remember The NeelDown for NWA Royal Beatdown two years back (which was also published on the old blog prior to even going up on IP).  If so, major props and all that good stuff to ya.  I can assure you that unlike last time, this will not end in a disappointing fashion via a Jerry Lawler main event.  You can thank me later.  The second half of this event was taped in St. Petersburg, Florida, a place I used to visit and LOVE every Summer as a kid, and hence why the promotion, aside from the great shows they typically put on, has always fascinated me.  Now, obviously the environment was much different at this show as it was a normal type event for them, unlike for Royal Beatdown when it was at the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning about 5,000 strong.  I’ll shed a little light on who Jeff Peterson was if you’re unaware, and why NWA-Florida puts on this annual tournament every year.

– Nicknamed “The All American”, Jeff Peterson lost his battle with lymphoma in November of 2002.  Among the companies who wrestled for was the ECWA and IPW-Hardcore.  He was inducted into the ECWA Hall of Fame in 2000, and during one angle helped the ECWA draw their largest crowd ever.  NWA-Florida, the next year after his death in 2003, began having these special Memorial Cup tournaments in honor of Jeff.  For the record, I only did ever see one Peterson match, against Christopher Daniels in the Super 8 Tournament.  So let’s just get right to the second annual tournament, held in 2004 …

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The NeelDown: Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup 2004

– From Brandon and St. Petersburg, FL

– Your hosts are the ever so insightful Lenny Leonard and co.

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– The tournament works like a round robin, and the first round is in two brackets (A and B), with four one-on-one matches in each which makes a total of sixteen participants: Roderick Strong, Sederick Strong, Alex Shelley, Jimmy Jacobs, Chris Hero, Matt Striker, homicide, Black Tigers, Teddy Hart, Azrieal, Mikey Tenderfoot, Puma, Petey Williams, Naphtali, Justice, and Jack Evans.  Obviously then each winner advances to the second round, and then the semifinals and the finals to decide the Cup winner.  This one would work a little funky due to injuries however, which you’ll find out later on.  It was also held in two days, Day 1 being the first round in Brandon and Day 2 in St. Pete.  The second day actually had to be done in two parts, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, due to time to get all of the other matches on the card for those shows in besides the tournament part.

– First Round Bracket A-

Chris Hero v. Matt Striker

Back and fourth mat wrestling to start with Hero grounding him with a headlock, countered to an armbar by Striker. Striker ends up going after a grapevine with the leg but Hero mocks him by doing push-ups before breaking it. Hero works him into a full nelson which Striker powers out of and tries stretching him with the legs into a pin for two. The commentary is AWFUL during this tournament by the way. I’m talking some of the worst I’ve ever heard. It’s pretty stupid when they keep making fun of the ref and saying he’s not doing a good job. Back and fourth on the mat they continue to go, with Hero getting a monkey flip out of the corner and trying a knucklelock.

Striker gets out with a … standing Indian deathlock is the best I can call it. They fight out of that and Strikers tries a STF to no avail. Finally to their feet and into a clean break. Swinging neckbreaker by Hero gets two, followed by stomps. They trade chops and Hero goes back to working the headlock. Alabama Slam and senton by Hero gets two. Striker is able to dump him but when he runs to the ropes he gets shouldered. However, Striker catches him with a neckbreaker from the second rope for two, then nails a kick for two. Crowd gets behind Hero now and he confuses Striker with a bunch of quick holds, and then an Oklahoma Roll finishes it as Hero advances. Good technical match and interesting to see Striker before a certain “other company” transformed him into a teacher on Sunday nights when that show was still hanging on by a thread. (**3/4)

Winner: Chris Hero

Roderick Strong v. Sederick Strong

Sederick is the kayfabe brother of Roderick here (started in IPW Hardcore), and their current X division champ. Handshake to start and Sederick takes him to the corner attempting a guillotine choke. Roderick does the same. Sederick dumps him and throws a chair at him. Back inside Sederick drops a leg for two. Sederick nails a second rope moonsault for two. He tries going off the top again but Roderick meets him with a kick on the way down followed by chops. Tree of woe hands Sederick and Roderick nails a sliding dropkick to the corner, but Sederick gets the rope. They exchange chops and Roderick rakes the eyes (he’s heel now) and nails a samoan drop into a knee similar to CM Punk’s GTS, and folds him in half with a lariat for two

Sederick pulls down the ropes to dump him and follows him out with a somersault senton. Yakuza Kick by Sederick only gets two. Sederick tries a gut wrench bomb but Roderick fights out and ends up pinning him somehow for two. Roderick TURNS UP THE HEAT and starts kicking the hell out of his brother’s spine, much to the dismay of the annoying announcers. Roderick counters a sunset flip attempt and grabs the legs then pulls him off but Sederick gets out and a falcon arrow gets two. Frog Splash gets two for Sederick. Roderick has him from behind but Sederick gets a low blow mule kick, however, Roderick nails him with a piledriver for the pin. Good match but a bit prodding at time, especially when I was expecting some type of really special ending. (**3/4)

Winner: Roderick Strong

Homicide v. Black Tigers

Black Tigers is Jeremy Lopez who has been wrestling in Osaka Pro Wrestling in Japan under both the BT alias and his real name.  Black Tigers takes him down with a drop toe hold to start and turns it onto a bow and arrow. Homicide stays on him and locks in a front chokehold which BT counters to an armbar into a bridge. Homicide grapevines the legs and tries taking off BT’s mask to no avail. BT tries a triangle choke and takes him to the corner for some corner offense. Monkey flip out of the corner connects but Homicide lands on his feet and armdrags him down and they have a stand off to an ovation, rightfully. Homicide tries a monkey flip of his own but BT scouts it and hangs him over the ropes for a Japanese submission similar to the Tarantula. Baseball slide by Tigers and he follows with a plancha to the CONCRETE floor. Back inside and a neckbreaker by BT gets two.

Tigers up top, but Homicide follows him up and nails a “wicked cool” superplex for two. Second rope knee by Homicide and BT is … confused. Neckbreaker and a snapmare big kick to the back, capitalizes Homicide. Homicide nails an exploder suplex for two, and a piledriver, which definitely seems to be a favorite in this tournament, gets the same. Flying elbow misses and a snap powerslam by BT results in a double KO spot. Nice dropkick by Tigers and a high crossbody gets a close two. Homicide lands on his feet after a german suplex and Homicide dropkicks him to the floor, where he follows him out with a tope and lands almost to the other end of the building. Back in he tries another expoloder but BT gets out and nails the Tiger Driver for two. And again they talk about how the refs are slow on the counts. Embarrassing. I don’t even get what they’re going for with that bit, are all the refs heel or something? Homicide catches him with a dropkick and tries a lariat but Tigers grabs him in a standing chinlock and drops him down for two, but Homicide slams him down and hooks the legs for the pin. Great match and the back and fourth close falls only made it more exciting down the stretch. (***1/2)

Winner: Homicide

Alex Shelley v. Jimmy Jacobs

The announcer brings up his first good point of the night as in these guys have both done a lot to boost the Michigan independent scene. Jacobs ends up getting a twisting rana and nails a big kick from the apron. Back in Shelley rakes the eyes and tries sending Jacobs to the turnbuckle, but Jacobs shows that he’s a machosist and likes it by slamming his own head against it, then tries biting Shelley. Shelley hotshots him and nails the STO for one. Double stomp to the eyes and a fist drop by Shelley. Announcing is back to brutal at this point. Inverted DDT by Shelley and he goes back to stomping the throat. Jacobs tries the Sliced Bread # 2 but Shelley drops him down and goes to work with corner offense and stomps to the head for two. Jacobs comes back with something, the announcers called it an “inverted Pedigree” so we’ll go with that, to go in control. Shelley nails a superkick out of nowhere and nails the Shellshock for the pin. Good stuff from the two but it was kind of based on Jacobs being too much of the underdog and for that reason it fell pretty short. (**)

Winner: Alex Shelley

– First Round Bracket B –

Petey Williams v. Naphtali

Naphtali was a best friend of Peterson, and has recently been wrestling in Japan. They go back and fourth and Naphtali ends up getting a monkey flip. Petey tries his arm but he gets stomped and arm dragged down, and a backslide gets two. Rolling kick forces Petey to take a breather, and Naphtali tries a corkscrew moonsault (it was called a Shooting Star Press but nowhere close) but misses and gets a piece of the folded chairs. That gets two for Petey inside. Spin kick by Naphtali results in a double KO. Naphtali quickly goes back in control with a flying elbow and sloppy dropkick for two. Naphtali goes for a death valley driver but Petey reverses it to a neckbreaker for two. Drop toe hold sends Petey to the corner but he comes back with a back elbow for two. Naphtali fights out of the Canadian Destroyer and nails the POLISH HAMMER followed by Garvin Stomps for two. POLISH HAMMER, ha, that kills me. Piledriver by Petey gets a CLOSE two. Naphtali nails the death valley driver for two, but misses a shining wizard and Petey nails the Canadian Destroyer for the pin. (**1/2) Okay match though the way they set up Williams for kind of the surprise comeback seemed odd.

Winner: Petey Williams

Mikey Tenderfoot v. Puma

Tenderfoot is the current tag champion with Justice. Puma gets a running dropkick right off the bat and nails a powerbomb for two. Bridged german suplex gets two. Puma tries coming off the top with a dropkick but Tenderfoot catches him with one of his own and goes to an armlock but Puma gets the ropes. To the floor they go and Tenderfoot gets a corkscrew plancha, and follows up back inside with a tiger driver for two. Tenderfoot tries a running elbow to the corner but Puma scouts it and tries his own Tarantula-esque rope choke. Snapmare into dropkick to the spine gets two. Puma works on the leg with a dragonscrew and wrenches the knee. Puma nails a suplex/brainbuster combo for two, not sure if he was supposed to land on his head or not. Single leg Boston Crab is applied but Tenderfoot makes the ropes. He pins anyway though, for two.

Tenderfoot gets an enziguri to counter another dragonscrew from Puma and they both catch each other with big kicks for a double KO. Blind charge by Puma meets Tenderfoot’s foot, no pun intended, and he capitalizes with a missile dropkick for two, and immediately after goes to a cross armbreaker, but Puma quickly makes the ropes. Tenderfoot stands up with it and turns it into a pumhandle slam for two. And guess what? Back to criticizing the refs. Puma catches him with a doublehook bridge suplex but the dangling legs of Tenderfoot gets the ropes. Tenderfoot catches him again with the cross armbreaker after a rana and Puma taps immediately, advancing Tenderfoot. Great back and fourth stuff here and nothing to complain about. (***1/4)

Winner: Mikey Tenderfoot

Jack Evans v. Justice

They go back and fourth to start including some misses moonsaults and the like. Evans gets a falcon arrow for two and gets a spinning heel kick for two. Moonsault by Justice misses and Evans gets a dropkick followed by a sitout bomb and standing 450 for two. Justice finally gets something going by working on the hamstring with a couple of spin kick variations and back hand spring mule kick, which I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve seen before. Evans tries going to the corner with a handspring of his own but that’s stepped with a swift kick and then Justice hits a spin kick, which I guess is his finished called “The End”, and it’s just that, as that gets the pin and advances. The back and fourth action and spots were great, but too short to really be taken seriously. (**)

Winner: Justice

Teddy Hart v. Azrieal

Fun fact: Two years later in January of 2006, Hart beat Azrieal to win the JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship. They trade kicks to start, Teddy winning out, and he armdrags him down, then goes to a hammerlock. He then goes to a headlock and hangs onto it while getting a Russian leg sweep. Azrieal tries fighting out with a tilt-a-whirl but Hart still has it latched on. He ends up merely dropping him on his face to get out of it, then drops some knees for two. These are followed by headbuts and the chops in the corner. Oklahoma Roll gets two. Azrieal levels him with a dropkick for two then goes to a rear choke assisted with some more DEADLY HEADBUTS. Azrieal tries springing in but misses and Hart nails a Flatliner as a rare thing happens and the crowd gets behind Hart. He goes to work with knees and stops to take a drink of water, and throws some on Azrieal as well. Piledriver gets two, and he follows with the Shooting Star Press, but doesn’t pin, and he tries another but Azrieal gets the knees up and capitalizes with a really nice looking modified Michinoku Driver for two. Azrieal goes up top, but Hart catches him up there with a low blow and then DEBUTS the Stu Hart Special for the pin. Azrieal’s moveset was pretty limited but nonetheless a perfectly fine back and fourth match especially due to the usual good stuff by Hart. (***)

Winner: Teddy Hart

– End of the first round. And now, apparently, Homicide suffered a hand injury in his first match and so his opponent Chris Hero gets a bye. Well that really sucks and puts a damper on things.  A Homicide-Hero match would have definitely been a highlight of the tournament in my book.  Alas, this is how it ended up, so, loyal readers, we shall deal with it.

-Round Two-

Roderick Strong v. Alex Shelley

There is a new announcer for round two in Rod Steel which is MUCH better. Obviously two members of Generation NeXt going at it here. They trade armlocks to start and Shelley wins out and puts a knee to the face, which allows Strong to counter into a leg lock and they break off. Strong gets a reverse chinlock but Shelley twists out and gets a wristlock and a backslide gets two. Back to the armlock works Shelley and then he goes to the legs and Strong quickly makes the ropes. Shelley gets a clothesline from the second rope and follows with a rana and inverted neckbreaker followed by the STO for two. Strong comes back with a backbreaker and leg lariat and follows with a couple of lariats to the corner. He tries a shining wizard but misses and Shelley bails to the apron, but as he comes back in he’s met with a backbreaker from the ropes, Shelley gets the ropes. Shelley comes back and locks in a crossface but it’s quickly countered.

Strong tries a backbreaker but Shelley slips out and goes back to the crossface, and then gets a springboard leg drop and he goes to a surfboard stretch. Strong gets out and nails another backbreaker. Strong wins out a chopfest, suplexes him and gets a flying elbow for two. Shelley nails a superkick out of nowhere. Strong gets yet another backbreaker, this time by flinging him up from the corner after he held onto the ropes, for two. Running jawbreaker by Shelley gets two, but he runs into the fourth backbreaker by Strong for two. He tries another backbreaker from the ropes but Shelley gets an enzuigiri and locks in the crossface again. Strong fights out and tries a Boston Crab but Shelley gets out and goes right back to the crossface. Strong gets out and is finally able to lock in the full Boston Crab, and Shelley taps, advancing Strong to the semifinals. This was just about as technical as they could have been which could easily come off as boring and tedious to some, but for people who love it and anticipated this type of exchange from the two like myself, it was a classic of the tournament. (***1/2)

Winner: Roderick Strong

Petey Williams v. Justice

Back and fourth to start and Petey works a hammerlock. Justice fights out of it with a snapmare into a chinlock. They exchange sweeps and now Justice has the armbar applied. Petey gets out with a drop toe hold and now it’s him. Justice gets a dropkick from the apron and tries to follow with something to the outside but Petey blocks it and gets a neckbreaker from the top for two. Justice tries a backslide but Petey counters it with a neckbreaker and follows with another, making it three in a row, for two. Justice tries a back handspring but Petey catches him and turns it into a wheel barrel for two.

Suplex and leg lariat by Williams gets two.  Justice finally slugs his way back into it, but a spin kick is ducked and they exchange germans for a double KO.  Slugfest now and Justice hits a textbook tornado DDT for two.  Another neckbreaker by Petey gets two.  Petey cuts Justice off from the top and tries a Super Canadian Destroyer (come on, please) but Justice fights him off (damn).  Superplex attempt is fought off as well and Justice finishes with a 450.  Nice little surprise finish there after the Destroyer tease.  Could have went longer but all in all one of the best pure matches of the whole tourny. (***)

Winner: Justice

Teddy Hart v. Mikey Tenderfoot

Tenderfoot attacks him from behind to start while Hart gets cocky, and Hart favors the eye.  He bails to the floor now as the cameraman checks on the eye injury, but is met with a tope from Tenderfoot.  Moonsault to the floor by Hart and now the arm is injured as well.  Probably not a smart move.  Back inside Tenderfoot goes in control and gets a delayed brainbuster on Hart for two.  Hart now looks confused as to either fight back or not as the announcers wonder if he was just playing opossum or not.  He is able to pull off a lariat though and that gets two.  He fights off a superplex and now capitlizes with a brainbuster of his own for two.  Sitout powerbomb gets “two and 7/8”, thanks announcers.  Hart goes to the top and Tenderfoot meets him with an enziguiri to the cranium, then hits a mid-ring rana and locks in an armbar.  Missile dropkick by Tenderfoot but Hart gets the ropes.  Tenderfoot comes off the top but is met with an uppercut and Hart hits a splash for the pin to move on … or so we think.  Details next.  Really lacking due to Hart’s injury. (**3/4)

Winner: Teddy Hart

– Leading to the finals, Teddy Hart is also injured from his match, as expected, so they decide to make it a triple threat final with Strong, Justice and Hero.  Again this is disappointing as now not only did we miss what was sure to be a phenomenal Hero-Homicide match but Hart in the finals as well.  Alas, here we have the three way final.


Chris Hero v. Roderick Strong v. Justice

Jet Jaguar will referee the finale.  Hero would obviously have the advantage here after getting the bye. Hero and Strong start, exchanging an armbar. Hero manages to put it into a full nelson but they get a clean break. All of the other contenders are here watching at ringside. Strong takes him down by the leg and they go into another clean break. Hero goes back to working the leg and tries to lock in a STF but Strong reverses it and gets a full nelson, and that makes Hero tag out to Justice and he and Strong shake hands. Justice attacks the leg to start but Strong wrestles out and goes back to the quick armbar. While in the armbar they exchange chops and Justice gets his own armwringer. They exchange chops again but Strong kicks him instead.

Justice gets the arm worked over but Hero wisely comes back in and locks Justice in a headlock. They go back and fourth with the arm and a quick schoolboy by Justice gets one. Hero offers a random handshake but instead chops him down then locks in a leg lock maneuver but Strong then comes in and gets a variation of a double Strong Hold in a pretty cool spot. Strong suplexes Justice but he comes back with a pair of bicycle kicks. He goes after Strong in the corner but Hero attacks from behind and gets a bunch of palm thrusts in the corner. Cool spot sees Justice springboard OFF of Strong into a kick on Hero. Justice headscissors Hero down but Hero and Strong drop him with a double team neckbreaker.

They double team Justice now and trade chops to him in the corner, until Strong pokes Hero’s eyes to turn on him and then takes the chops to him instead. Suplex by Strong gets two on Justice and now it’s back to the chops, then a dropkick and stiff kicks to the spine. Trying to PUNISH him, says Steel. Cover gets two. Hero re-enters and gets a modified Alabama Slam on Strong then sets him up in the corner but on his charge Justice rolls him up for two. Hero gets a running bit boot to the corner on Strong then thumbs his eyes to return the favor, and some chops send Strong to the floor. Petey Williams now gets up on the apron to yap something. Never revealed what it was.

Hero locks in a rear choke mid-ring on Justice as Tenderfoot tries to cheer his partner on. Justice fights out of it with a jawbreaker and gets a crucifix locked in, and Strong comes in with an elbow drop from the top, saving Hero. Justice is able to get a spin kick on Strong followed by a dropkick and he lands on Hero’s chest in another cool spot as everyone gets back into the match. Strong catches Justice with a sideslam on a headscissors attempt but Hero suplexes him onto Strong. Spin kick by Justice to get back at him and Strong gets Justice in a wheel barrel and Hero comes off the ropes with a neckbreaker while they’re locked up, Hero breaks up the pin.

Strong gets a rana out of nowhere on Hero and Justice follows the “out of nowhere” sequence with a spin kick on Strong. Hero snapmares Justice down and turns him over into an Indian Deathlock but he’s quickly met with a stiff kick to the back from Strong. Hero grabs Justice by the hair and swings him around in a tilt-a-whirl slam, but he gets attacked by Strong. Hero is able to apply the STF on Strong but Strong makes the ropes. Justice sneaks in and gets a snap standing moonsault on Hero for the pin. Truly a pin out of nowhere. Great finish to the tournament as expected with these three, the only thing possibly holding it down was the isolation on Justice being the underdog.  It was certainly lacking in certain parts though, and still not nearly as good as it could have been.  Still a fine finish to the tournament. (***1/2) Afterward, everyone comes in and lift up Justice on their shoulders to present him with the 2004 trophy.  His former best friend would be proud.

Winner: Justice

End of show.

The NeelDown — Overall, you will be happy with this tournament because there isn’t a particular “bad” match in it.  The main thing is the finish as due to injuries Homicide and Teddy Hart had to sit out after winning their qualifying matches and as touched on, a Hero-Homicide match was absent.  Additionally, if you do end up with this DVD, I will warn you about the God-awful commentary.  I kid you not when I say they NUMEROUS times criticized their own referees for slow counts and what not out of nowhere, something I surely saw for the first time here.  One of which was a middle-aged white guy with a mullet without even an official attire on named Richie Rich.   If you can get over that, pretty enjoyable card full of guys now wrestling in ROH, TNA, Japan and elsewhere.  Recommended.  And don’t forget to let me know what YOU thought as well … mark.a.neeley@gmail.com

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