The Day The Earth Stood Still
It’s difficult to fathom that such a fresh promotion could endorse their product with such a tag-line, but Elite Xtreme Wrestling sold it to the salivating fan base they’ve already accrued with majestic ease. The night boomed with entertainment from the dark match all the way to the main event. A member of the growing company twisted my arm to attend an event for a long time; I had no choice but to give in. With the advertised matches, the prominent talent, and five dollar beers, who could say no?
EXW had the distinct advantage of providing a name on the card that was sure to draw in crowds, not because he has a “sweet” merchandise line, but because of his talent. I was fortunate enough to chat with Tommy Dreamer for a short while before the show began. Never have I come across a more compassionate and down-to-earth wrestler like this man. The passion for the business he’s bled for radiated from him in such a way that I was sure translated to the other stars, pushing them and motivating them to put on the best damn show of their lives.
The crowd seemed to have been doused with adrenaline pre-show, not needing a dark match to rev them up. It was given to them, however, and I found myself utterly pleased at what I found. There’s always a moment before you watch a promotion for the first time, where your breath catches in your throat as you eagerly wait for the bell to ring. I almost felt ashamed to have no prior knowledge of this company, as the die-hard fans that encircled the ring shouted their patented chants and shook the theater with their rowdiness. They were so fascinating, I found it difficult at points to watch the matches, instead of them.
The first match sets the pace and tone of the entire show, and the 6-man tag team match that started it all off set the bar very high. Not only did the wrestlers have me lean back and say, “wow!”, but the fans were already shouting themselves hoarse. Through out the rest of the night, I watched in awe as these men took bumps so hard that I flinched. I watched them climb the ropes and barrel towards wobbly barricades without an ounce of fear behind their eyes. There was a gauntlet match with a heroic finish, a Falls-Count-Anywhere match that nearly took out the crowd–including myself–and a TLC match that no one wanted to see end. These animals conveyed immense dedication with a fraction of the safety measures you see some professional companies appoint.
This company has very obviously hit their stride, as Tommy Dreamer and Val Venis took the stage second to last. They brought their signature styles to the ring, but also let shine their freedom. Freedom to entertain how they see fit, freedom to do whatever the hell they wanted, freedom to enjoy themselves. This match-up led straight into the main event, as both contenders for the first ever EXW Championship disrupted the Dreamer/Venis match, forcing a no contest as a finish. From there, a bone-chilling promo erupted through the theater from one of the top heels, and the match quickly followed. Not a single fan was seated as this match drew to a close and the first EXW champ was named.
Much like the local music scene, the local wrestling promotions are so raw and untainted by fame and fortune that the appeal is vastly greater. Passion rules over profit in such scenarios, as is evident by the adoration of the fans and the excitement of the matches. As long as the boys and girls of Elite Xtreme Wrestling maintain this formula, they will continue to grow. Never have I seen such a loyal fan base, such passionate stars, and such thrilling matches. Cheers to EXW, and here’s to many more just like it.
â€œThe Rebel with a Causeâ€ Andrew Hellman, Bryce Slavin, and The 300lb Manimal
The Poppers (â€œSharp Dressed Manâ€ Remy Marcell and Mike Dâ€™lite) and â€œThe Dudeâ€ Bryce Harrison
This match kicked off the show as a dark match, and as I reflect on the entire night, was probably my favorite. The Poppers carry a gimmick that I would normally roll my eyes at, but was thoroughly entertained by. Even “The Dude” Bryce Harrison impressed me. The star of this match, however, was Andrew Hellman. I watched in awe as this man took bumps like a champ, and threw scoop-slams that would make Randy Orton jealous. I’m not sure if their stellar performance was due to a no-pressure dark match, or if these men shine regularly, but I’m excited to find out what else they have tucked up their sleeves.
Winner(s): â€œThe Rebel with a Causeâ€ Andrew Hellman, Bryce Slavin, and The 300lb Manimal
â€œThe Kid from Vegasâ€ Cutler Wright
â€œThe Disciple of Sabuâ€ Khan Kussion
As the first official match of the program, I had high expectations for these two, especially since the match that preceded it was so impressive. When the first entrance was made by Cutler Wright, I felt a little underwhelmed. The gimmick is original, but it brings the momentum of the show to a dramatic halt. But Khan Kussion remedied that situation upon immediate entry, bringing the crowd back to their feet. Intros aside, the match delivered entertainment from the milli-second the bell rang. I wondered at times if these two were just really efficient at selling their moves, or if they were stiffing each other. The cherry on the cake was the finish; submission tap-outs establish dominance and strength, which these two more than earned.
Winner: Khan Kussion
One half of The Freak Squad and â€œThe Universal Hearthrobâ€ Frenchy Riviera
â€œThe Chicano Assassinâ€ Chuey Martinez
As the first stipulation match of the night begun, the crowd was going insane. Frenchy Riviera issued an open challenge for anyone who wanted to face him, adding the mystery and suspense most other companies lack. We were in for a Falls Count Anywhere match. Glancing around, I had to wonder how much space they planned to use, as the theater space at the small venue seemed almost too dangerous to fathom. The safety measures installed were perhaps the complete opposite of any other show I’ve ever seen, which had me biting my nails a little bit. Neither man expressed any fear, however, as the men ruthlessly attacked each other and the battle moved–as promised–outside of the ring, nearly taking out bystanders. In a twist I didn’t expect, the match concluded atop the counter of the bar, in a ballsy high-flying attempt that cost Martinez the match.
Winner: Frenchy Riviera
â€œOne half of the Atlantic City All Starsâ€ Ryan Castellucci
â€œThe Epicâ€ Jeff Orcutt
Crash Test Cody
â€œThe Iron Man of Professional Wrestlingâ€ Jerry One
â€œThe Only Real Juggaloâ€ Moshpit Mike
This match kicked off with EXW’s CEO interrupting Castellucci’s entrance, announcing that a gauntlet match would take place, as punishment for a series of events that took place over the last few weeks. On the one hand, it was exciting to see management have a role in the evening, adding a sense of reality and embodying the unpredictability that personifies professional wrestling, but the set up was a little too much. The concept was set up well, and the spots were performed well, but there was too much going on that some of the wrestlers had to stand around and wait for an opening. Another disappointing aspect was the Superman finish. Anyone who has read my work knows the disdain I have for a man named John Cena, and this finish was reminiscent of something that would involve him. While professional wrestling is scripted, laws of reality must be adhered to, and although the talent was there and the fans were thrilled, I found that the ending took away from the believability. I was ecstatic, however, when Andrew Hellman ran out after the pinfall to attack Castellucci. I thought that the attack, pseudo-pin, and self-delivered three count was pure genius.
Winner: Ryan Castellucci
One half of The Freak Squad Dom â€œThe Bombâ€ Vitalli
â€œThe Institution of Professional Wrestlingâ€, â€œElite Xtremistâ€, â€œKing of No Rulesâ€ Gabriel Gallo
I looked forward to this match greatly, as I had to privilege of watching Mr. Gallo wrestle a year ago for WWZ, and was excited to watch a familiar face. Not to mention, a TLC match is something I haven’t seen done outside of television. So the expectations were high, and I wondered if these men would meet them. I’m pleased to inform you, that they did. I watched in awe as these two men performed stunts that the WWE wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. The highlight of the match, in my eyes, was the hurricanrana about halfway through the match from the top rope. Not once did I see either man hesitate, and the fans were losing their minds.
Winner: Gabriel Gallo
â€œThe Extreme Originalâ€ Tommy Dreamer
What is there to say about this match? I had no expectations, as I’ve seen these two wrestle on multiple occasions. Both men knew how to put on a show and excite the crowd beforehand, as they’ve been classically trained to do. The match went on as expected. Both men excelled at their trades and the crowds went nuts. I especially enjoyed the finish being ruled a no-contest due to Derick Neikirk’s interference. Kept both legends looking strong, and set up perfectly for the next match.
Winner: No contest
â€œThe One, The Onlyâ€ Tyson Tyler
â€œThe Elite Athleteâ€ Derick Neikirk
Finally, the show led us to the main event. We were informed as the show begun that this match would determine the first ever EXW champion. Upon research of this match, these two men had already impressed me with their accolades, that I was dying to see what they would deliver in the ring. Already, I was impressed by the super-heel quality that Neikirk brought to his promos. There I was, an unbiased bystander, and I had to fight the urge to boo and heckle him. Both men put on a hell of a match, definitely worthy of the main event status. They kept you guessing as to who would come up victorious, but only one was the master of those crucial three seconds.
Winner and FIRST EXW Champion: Derick Neikirk
The show provided all the different elements that goes into a successful show. There were hits and misses, and not every wrestler shined. But more often than not, I had to scoop my jaw off the floor. During the forty-minute trip home, the friends I brought to the show could not stop gushing about the show and rehashing their favorite parts. This was my first venture to an event from this company, and itÂ will not be my last. I recommend you get your wrestling fix by attending an EXW event. They will surely exceed your expectations.
If you are in the Phoenix/Tempe/Mesa area, and would like to attend a show, you can do so on Tuesday at:
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill
1065 N Dobson RdÂ Mesa, AZ 85201
Bell time is at 8 pm. Give the hostess a heads-up that you’re there for EXW Wrestling. Get there as early as you can, so you can get a decent seat and not miss a SECOND of the action!
Tags: exw, Independent Wrestling, tommy dreamer, Val Venis