A Quick Review of the Fred Yehi vs. Jeremy Wyatt Iron Man Match (STL Anarchy/Journey Pro)

Here’s something that isn’t AEW. Back in June, “The Monarch” Jeremy Wyatt wrestled a 60-minute Iron Man Match against “Savageweight” Fred Yehi. Wyatt’s Gateway Heritage Championship wasn’t on the line, but both men were fighting for specific charities. It was livestreamed, I think, or at least the video of it was, and fans were invited to donate while they watched the match. Wyatt represented the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities organization (which is weird because he was very much a heel), and Yehi represented One Heart KC Mentoring Initiative.

Jeri Evans wrote a column about this match over at Voices of Wrestling. She did it more justice than I can: https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2020/09/01/ironmen-how-fred-yehi-jeremy-wyatt-succeed-in-a-match-type-i-dislike/

My quick review as that this match was very engaging and will probably be my Match of the Year. I haven’t seen a lot of hour-long Iron Man Matches; the only ones I can remember are Bret vs Shawn at WrestleMania XII and Lesnar vs. Angle from an episode of SmackDown. I’m usually intrigued by the concept, but I don’t often take the plunge into watching them because of the time commitment required. In fact, it took me several months to make time for this one. But I’m glad I did.

I do recommend watching this without knowing the falls. But in case you’re interested…

It’s not a “grapplef*ck” match, but there is a lot of technical grappling, especially before the first fall. They’re very good at it, and I probably would’ve enjoyed it even if the whole match had used that style. Yehi got the first fall around 13 minutes in with a Koji Clutch, and Wyatt tapped out quickly, most likely to minimize the damage done.

After some more grappling, Wyatt got frustrated and hit Yehi with a chair, getting himself disqualified for one fall, but hurting Yehi. Yehi almost got counted out after getting his leg dropped on a standing chair, but he just made it and ended up surviving and battling back for a while.

After getting out of another Koji Clutch, Wyatt got his first fall with two piledrivers.

Around eight minutes later, after much back-and-forth, Wyatt pulled off an elevated double arm DDT to tie it up.

Only four minutes later, Wyatt took the lead by tapping Yehi with a crossface. Wyatt tried to run down the clock a bit by refusing to break contact for the inter-fall rest period.

Yehi frustrated Wyatt and almost inadvertently dropped a guardrail on him. They were super aggressive by this point (as if they hadn’t already been). After about seven minutes, Yehi ties it again with a cradle pin, and now he’s bleeding from around his eye.

With around ten minutes left, they were both running on fumes but breaking out in bursts of energy. After a superplex, Yehi nipped up and started bouncing around the ring with his second (or maybe fifth) wind. It didn’t turn into a fall for him, but he persevered until he could counter an Octopus Hold. Wyatt tried to turn it into a Sunset Flip, but Wyatt sat down and folded him up like Bulldog did to Hart at Wembley, and that got him the fall with less than thirty seconds to go.

Wyatt tried in vain to do something, but Yehi grabbed him and held him, running out the time and getting him the win.

Afterwards, Wyatt offered a handshake. Yehi thought about it for a while, but when he started to accept, Wyatt flipped him off and rolled out. Yehi gave him the Savageweight smirk in response.

(They say that this is Wyatt’s first loss since Thor Theriot beat him in the NWL back in 2017, but that’s only true if we’re talking about St. Louis Anarchy and Journey Pro shows. He lost to Sharkbait in the NWL after that, and outside of the Kansas City area, he’s lost to Jaysin Strife, Bear Bronson, and Nicky Scent since the NWL folded.)

NWL: Jeremy Wyatt vs. Mat Fitchett (January 27, 2018)

My wife just had a baby last weekend, so updating blog posts is not going to be as easy as before, especially when I have to watch matches before writing. But I don’t want my blogs to go stagnant, so I’m going to try to post short reviews whenever I have the time and motivation.

Sadly, the NWL has removed most of their videos from their YouTube channel. The good news is that Jeremy Wyatt was able to upload several of his matches to his own channel, and I think he got the word out about the situation in time for others to rip videos so they can host them personally, as well. This match is one that I never reviewed before, but it’s between two of my favorites, so I thought I’d give it a look.

Jeremy Wyatt is defending the NWL KC Championship.

Fitchett runs wild right off the bat and hits the busaiku knee, but Wyatt rolls out. Wyatt takes over and zeroes in on Fitchett’s back. This comes up later when Fitchett can’t do a running move because his back hurts too much. Wyatt spends a lot of time taunting the crowd, though, and allows Fitchett to fight back. Surprisingly, though, he doesn’t tap out to any of Wyatt’s wicked submissions near the end. He and Wyatt both kick out of big moves. Fitchett gets very defiant at the end, but Wyatt drops him with the piledriver to put him away.

Nice match, very good work from both guys. No interference, not seconds at ringside, just two guys wrestling. The finish was never in doubt for me, but it was fun to see how much fight Fitchett had in him. I’d love to see a rematch.

Metro Pro: Jeremy Wyatt vs. Dak Draper, 2-Out-of-3 Falls (May 19, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
– Dak Draper was the first NWL KC Champion. He won the title in the finals of a tournament and held it until the first (and only) NWL Rumble. He was actually a villain in the eyes of the fans until he turned on the Matt Jackson regime and tried to help Major Baisden retain control of the NWL.
Jeremy Wyatt defeated Dak in the match that got Matt Jackson into power in the NWL. Then he won the title by winning the NWL Rumble (with a little help from Matt Jackson and friends). He went on to cleanly defend against Draper in a really good match. Draper was working his way back towards a title shot when the NWL folded.

The first fall is grapple-heavy. It’s almost all technical mat work, reversals, holds, etc. They fire up with some strikes and stuff closer to the end, but I’d say most of it is top-notch stuff for fans of Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak, the Ring of Honor Pure Championship, etc. Dak tweaks his knee missing a handstand knee drop, and Wyatt attacks it. It doesn’t really play into the fall, though, as Wyatt gets a sudden pin countering a school boy into another type of roll up.

The second fall is much more vicious, and much shorter. Wyatt attacks immediately. Draper eventually fights back and takes Wyatt outside a couple times. I notice that he’s not selling that knee he hurt anymore; this will likely bother some viewers more than others. He hits Wyatt with perhaps the scariest move I’ve seen in Metro Pro – a powerbomb from the apron onto the apron. I do not envy Wyatt’s spine, because that looked brutal. After taking a moment to recover, Draper takes Wyatt back into the ring and gets the second fall with a doctor bomb.

The third fall is a long one. Draper tried to get a quick pin right away, but Wyatt gets the ropes. Draper’s left shoulder soon eats the post, and now he’s got a hurt arm that Wyatt can work on. There are some SLICK transitions and counters during this fall that I just love. Neither guy seems to have a hard and fast grip on control, because the other guy always seems to be able to pull something out of nowhere when they’re on the brink. Draper kicks out of the flying elbow and the lightning spiral. He doesn’t really keep up with the arm selling, because he pulls off a superplex while Wyatt is on the apron. Draper kicks out of a piledriver, and then Wyatt kicks out of a doctor bomb (nice show of strength the way Draper muscles him up). It all boils down to them fighting for a backslide, and Wyatt rolls back over Draper and pulls him into a quick piledriver to win the third fall and the match.

Very good stuff, though I do feel a bit nitpicky about the limb work not playing into anything. Call me a whiny smart mark or whatever. But I still liked the match and have added it to my playlist of favorite matches from this year. Did I like it better than their NWL match? That’s a good question; I’ll have to go watch that one again to know for sure.

Afterwards, they both throw pretense to the wind and hug. Wyatt holds up Dak’s arm and leaves him alone in the ring to soak in the applause. Dak’s favoring his arm again, so he gives one more “Shame on you” with the good one.

And that was Metro Pro’s return show, though it felt more like an NWL farewell show with a lower budget. This is not a bad thing at all; the fans never got to really say goodbye to the NWL, so this was their chance. The babyfaces won every match until the main event, and the only match on the show that didn’t solely feature NWL talent wasn’t posted to YouTube. Dak Draper, surely the face of the NWL, was the last face seen at the end as he waved goodbye one last time. I don’t know if that means he won’t be around Kansas City anymore, but I’m fairly certain he hasn’t been signed anywhere yet. Likewise, I’m not sure if Metro Pro is coming back soon, but if it does, I suspect it will look a bit different than this show. Either way, I look forward to what’s next from everyone involved.

3XW: Jeremy Wyatt vs. Maverick (June 1, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
– Jeremy Wyatt is a five-time former 3XW Heavyweight Champion and the final NWL Champion. He recently returned to 3XW after the demise of the NWL.
– Maverick was a two-time, and the final, Spirit of the NWL Champion.
– This match actually happened at least once before. It was at a VIP show of some sort, and it streamed on Facebook, but I’m pretty sure the video went away when the NWL Facebook page did.

This is very good. Big surprise, right?  Maverick is a hoss, and Wyatt can’t match him in the chopping and striking department, but he’s able to get the advantage by getting crafty on the floor. This isn’t until after he’s tossed up into the low ceiling, breaking out a piece of drywall with his recently-shaved head. I wonder how much that cost them?

They do some nice, smooth transitions. Maverick pounds Wyatt and throws him around. Wyatt chokes Maverick and methodically picks him apart. Neither man hits his finisher. Maverick kicks out after the lightning spiral, and Wyatt does the same after a Death Valley driver. Wyatt finally uses the ref as a distraction, pulling him in front of a Maverick charge. He uses the hesitation to roll Maverick into a hammerlock pinning combination for the three count.

I look forward to these two matching up again, especially in a situation with some bigger stakes.

NWL Episode 59

Another requested review of a show I missed!

Our Story So Far…
– Dak Draper is on the road to getting back the NWL KC Championship from Jeremy Wyatt.
– The Besties in the World are on the hunt for the NWL Tag Team Championships currently held by The Foundation.
– Leonel Howlett has a win over Jimmy Jacobs, but he recently lost to Eddie Kingston.
– Thor Theriot and Jeremy Wyatt had a series of matches in the early months of the NWL, with Thor coming out on top in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Since then, though, Wyatt has gained the top title in the promotion, while Thor hasn’t been too focused.
– Gil Rogers was fired by Matt Jackson, but he refuses to go away, and the fans have been rallying behind him.
Now on to the show!

Matt Jackson is with Ace Steel and Michael Strider in the back. They make fun of Mat Fitchett and Davey Vega and say they aren’t worthy of a title shot.

Dak Draper vs. Leonel Howlett
Both guys have been really good lately. I was a bit critical of Dak’s in-ring work in the early days of the NWL, but he’s definitely come into his own in my eyes. Despite his size, he’s good at working from beneath as a babyface against the aggressive Leonel Howlett. They do a lot of reversals and counters in the latter half, keeping me guessing as to who has the advantage. After a slugfest, Dak flapjacks Leonel, and out comes Marco Howlett for a distraction. He ends up accidentally superkicked by Leonel, but it doesn’t quite lead to the finish. Instead, after a couple more slams and pin attempts by both men, Dak wriggles out of a fireman’s carry and pulls Leonel right into a doctor bomb for the pin. Love that sequence.
Winner – Dak Draper

Gil Rogers is out in the lobby with a large group of chanting fans. He says that Matt Jackson can’t silence them.

NWL KC Championship: Jeremy Wyatt (c) vs. Thor Theriot
This one’s lengthy, as expected, and very engaging. They match up very well, and they go back and forth throughout the match. There are plenty of nearfalls and big moves down the stretch. Thor gets his knees up against Wyatt’s elbow drop, something I don’t see very often. They almost reach a double count out after a clothesline to the floor, but both men make it back just in time. Thor kicks out of the lightning spiral, but I guess everyone does that nowadays. He makes the mistake of rolling Wyatt into what maybe was going to be an Alabama slam, and Wyatt uses it to pull him into a piledriver and gets the clean win.
Winner – Jeremy Wyatt

Gil Rogers is escorted out by security, but he reiterates that he can’t be silenced and he’ll be back.

The Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. Top Shelf (Niles Plonk & Rasheed Ali w/ Belvedere)
Plonk is in the ring up until the commercial break, showing off his skills and then taking some double team attacks from the Besties. After the break, Vega is in peril for a few moments before making the hot tag to Fitchett. Fitchett goes wild on everyone and hits a moonsault kick to Rasheed while both are on the apron. I’ve gotta say, Fitchett has been one of my favorite NWL guys to watch since almost the beginning. Belvedere provides a distraction that saves Rasheed Ali, and then Plonk hits the uncorker on Fitchett. He feeds him to Ali for the money driver DDT, but Vega makes the save. Top Shelf then try to steal the Besties’ wacky new finishing move, Total Taker, but the Besties counter and hit it on them for the win. Total Taker, by the way, is Fitchett performing a tombstone and a last ride at the same time on two guys.
Winners – The Besties

The Besties call out The Foundation after the match. Ace says they’re crazy if they think they’ll give them a title shot. Fitchett challenges them to a no holds barred match. Vega says it’s The Foundation’s match, as Ace is a veteran and Strider is a local hardcore icon. Ace still says no, and Vega calls them chickens (taking the old Back to the Future route). Strider takes it personally and accepts the match against Ace’s wishes. (This match happened on episode 61, and it was wild.)

Good stuff on this episode. If not for the big challenge at the end, I would have preferred the Wyatt/Theriot match be the main event. That one’s really worth watching, and I hope they do it again in Metro Pro or elsewhere.

NWL Episode 63

Our Story So Far…
Gil Rogers, who never won a single match in the NWL, was fired by Matt Jackson a few months back, but he’s been crashing shows and rallying fans ever since.
– Former NWL STL Champion Todd Letterman made a surprise return two episodes ago, attacking Dak Draper and aligning with Matt Jackson.
Buddy Shepherd recently turned babyface and made friends with Jack Foster, though Foster isn’t interested in joining the Buddy System.
Jeremy Wyatt defended the NWL KC Championship cleanly against Dak Draper but needed outside assistance to beat Eddie Kingston.
– When he isn’t wrestling as Danny Burch on NXT, British veteran Martin Stone works indies around the U.S. and U.K.
Now on to the show!

Gil Rogers manages to buy a general admission ticket to the show, promising not to cause any trouble.

Todd Letterman vs. Dak Draper
They go right at it with the Frye/Takayama punches. Dak gets to display some atypical offense due to his actually being the smaller man for once, as he pulls off a tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors on the giant jock. He also has to rely on strikes and body attacks for the most part. Letterman, of course, bullies him around when he’s in control. Dak can’t get him up for the doctor bomb, but he still frustrates Letterman enough that Letterman grabs a trash can lid for assistance. Dak gets him in an interesting figure four/arm lock submission hold, but Letterman grabs the lid and smacks him with it to disqualify himself.
Winner by DQ – Dak Draper

Letterman hits Dak with a spike driver to add…well, injury to injury, I guess.

Matt Jackson and Maddox are talking about weights until Marti Belle comes and asks once again for a singles match with Carolina. Jackson continues with the excuses, so Marti says she’s going to call her out herself. Jackson tells Maddox to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Top Shelf (Niles Plonk & Rasheed Ali w/ Belvedere) vs. Foster Buddies (Buddy Shepherd & Jack Foster)
Fun stuff at the start when the faces trounce the heels in many entertaining ways. I personally like Ali taking a hiptoss to the floor onto Plonk and Belvedere. After Buddy gets the hot tag, Plonk does his best to avoid Foster, leaving Ali to take the brunt of the big man’s offense. But Plonk takes Foster out with an ice bucket shot behind the ref’s back, and then he pins Buddy with the uncorker.
Winners – Top Shelf

Marti comes out and gets blindsided by Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Rodriguez. Security and Michael Strider pull her away as Gil Rogers checks on Marti from the other side of the guardrail. Strider attacks Rogers and throws him into the ring post. Staff have to help both Gil and Marti to the back.

Jack Foster in the back talks about his upcoming championship match and what it means to him and his family. Oddly, this has nothing to do with Niles Plonk or the events of the previous match.

NWL KC Championship: Jeremy Wyatt (c) vs. Martin Stone
Great stuff. I don’t think it will end up as my match of the year, but it’s on my top ten list of the year so far, at least. I wish Martin Stone could be a regular so I could see him wrestle more people. He does a lot of British-style catches and escapes. Wyatt isn’t outclassed, but he is put in jeopardy a few times. It’s pretty back-and-forth. The only thing that hurts it is that nobody believes Stone will win the title, but that’s par for the course when you give an outsider a shot. Wyatt retains in clean but crafty fashion; he baits Stone in to get snapped over the ropes, then does a sunset flip, rolls him through, and hits the piledriver.
Winner – Jeremy Wyatt

I have one complaint about this week’s episode, and it’s the placement of the Jack Foster promo. It’s very strange to me for a guy to lose a match and then cut a promo about his upcoming title shot without even touching on the loss. Sure, it wasn’t a clean loss, and he wasn’t the one pinned, but I would’ve expected him to be peeved at Niles Plonk for hitting him with a foreign object. I’m guessing the promo was taped before the tag match, but it would’ve made more sense to save it for a different episode, IMO.

The rest of the show was good, especially the opener and the main event. Also interested in Gil’s and Marti’s respective stories.

NWL Episode 60

Time to try something new…

Our Story So Far…
– The Matt Jackson administration is still in control of the NWL.
– The miserable Leonel Howlett has been on a singles tear in the NWL, but he was recently derailed by “War King” Eddie Kingston, who now has his sights on the NWL KC Championship.
– Fuego del Sol doesn’t have a lot of wins, but his high-flying style has won him many fans.
– The crafty NWL KC Champion Jeremy Wyatt won the title in the NWL Rumble and then managed to defend it cleanly against previous champion Dak Draper.
– Maverick has been bitterly chasing crowd pleaser Gary Jay ever since losing the Spirit of the NWL Championship to him back in November.
Now on to the show!

Maverick and Drew Gold arrive at the arena. Maverick isn’t interested in shaking Matt Jackson‘s hand, but Drew assures Jackson that there’ll be a new champion tonight.

Leonel Howlett vs. Fuego del Sol
Good brawler vs. flyer match. Leo gets to rag doll Fuego a lot, and Fuego gets to make big comebacks. He only slips up a couple times, and he recovers well, I think. Leo kills him with a uranagi, though, to get back to his winning ways.
Winner – Leonel Howlett

Jeremy Wyatt cuts a promo in the back about how he’s a man of his word. Eddie Kingston interrupts and talks about legacy. They jaw briefly.

NWL KC Championship: Jeremy Wyatt (c) vs. Eddie Kingston
Big deal title match. Neither guy mails it in. They wrestle, they brawl, Kingston does a tope. Kingston won’t let you be cocky in front of him; you’ve got to fight to survive. Kingston hits the spinning backfist (to the Future), but Wyatt seems to have (accidentally?) KO’d the referee. Michael Strider runs in, Kingston tried to fight him off, but the numbers game overwhelms him. Strider hits the Strider spiral, and Wyatt hits the piledriver. The ref wakes up and counts the pin.
Winner – Jeremy Wyatt

Afterwards, Kingston goes on a tirade backstage, demanding that he get Strider in the ring if he comes back.

In the middle of that match, we get a Gary Jay promo about how Maverick knows that Jay is better than him.

Spirit of the NWL Championship: Gary Jay (c) vs. Maverick (w/ Drew Gold)
Maybe the most painful looking fight in NWL history that doesn’t involve foreign objects. Maverick attacked Jay a few weeks ago, so Jay returns the favor to start this wild match. They brutalize each other with their fists and elbows, and Jay takes a freaking release German suplex on the floor, landing on his head! Somehow, he can still stand and fight back after a while. Maverick breaks out a sweet dropkick, too. Neither will say die. Maverick kicks out of the flying double stomp to the back of the head. Gary misses something and gets nailed with a lariat, and Maverick finally finishes him with a running Gory bomb to become the first two-time champion in the NWL.
Winner and New Champion – Maverick

Very good episode of the show. The NWL has hit its stride.

NWL: 29-Man Rumble for the NWL KC Title (December 8, 2017)

I was thinking about doing a long review of the CWF Mid-Atlantic Rumble from last fall, but it happened months ago, and so much in the CWF has changed since then that it just seems outdated. Fortunately, the NWL had their own rumble match just last month, and they recently put the video online. I think this is a good opportunity to look at a lot of the NWL talent and catch this blog up on the storylines that have been going on since I stopped reviewing them regularly.

This NWL Rumble is special because the NWL KC Championship is on the line. GM Matt Jackson was going to make the winner of the Rumble the #1 contender, but champion Dak Draper insisted he’d put the title up in the match itself. Then he proceeded to officially turn babyface and run down all of Jackson’s cronies. A brief, impromptu match with Jeremy Wyatt ultimately turned into a brawl between pretty much the whole roster as a teaser for what we have here.

This is my first time reviewing such a long match with so many participants. Just assume that if I don’t write much during certain parts, it means guys are just doing generic battle royal stuff. So here we go.

Entrant #1 – NWL KC Champion Dak Draper is the first and so-far only Kansas City Champion, winning the belt in the finals of a torunament back in April. He’s been an arrogant frat boy-type character, but he’s also been dominant. Unless I miss my guess, only two men have pinned him in the NWL, and they both did it in multi-man matches. He’s had issues with NWL owner Major Baisden, but he shockingly joined his team to battle Jackson’s in an elimination match that saw him come up on the losing end and Jackson take control of the NWL matchmaking department.

#2 – Michael Strider is part of Matt Jackson’s establishment as well as a founding member of The Foundation. He’s currently one half of the NWL Tag Team Champions with Ace Steel. He’s a grizzled local veteran. He and Dak slug it out, and Dak has the advantage until the next guy comes in.

#3 – Ace Steel is Strider’s partner and is best known as one of CM Punk’s trainers, so he’s a veteran, too. He and Strider double team Dak, but Dak is able to fight back without getting eliminated.

#4 – Leonel Howlett is also part of Team Jackson, is coming off a win over Jimmy Jacobs, and is possibly the best promo in the NWL. You may also see him and his brother pop up in a Future of Honor match on Ring of Honor’s YouTube channel from time to time. An ally of Strider and Steel, of course he joins in on the beating of the champion. But then we get a severe weather warning on the screen, and out comes our first surprise of the night…

#5 – Bolt Brady is the original persona of Blaine Meeks from his pre-NWL days. Meeks, a very well-toned nerd, was a big fan favorite in the NWL as Draper’s main foil. He lost to Dak in the title tournament, but he came back to pin him in a tag match. Draper put him out for many months after breaking his leg in a No DQ match. Now he’s back with a bleached mohawk, and he looks like he’s ready for revenge…but then he turns and eliminates all three heels, one by one, single-handedly!

Ace Steel, Leonel Howlett, and Michael Strider are eliminated.

Now he has Dak alone, and they start to jaw at each other.

#6 – Marco Howlett is Leonel’s brother (I think). He gets the advantage on Bolt and Dak, but they fight back (though not together). Marco does surprisingly well for himself against two top guys.

#7 – Rasheed Ali (“Privilege Personified”) is a Pitbull-looking record producer character and a partner of Niles Plonk and Everett Connors in Top Shelf. He gets to have a little flurry on Marco. Now we have four guys with no allegiances with one another, so they pair off.

#8 – JoJo Bravo is a short guy who had a match or two in Metro Pro. It looks like he had his first NWL match on this same card, and he’s an underdog babyface-type character. He takes down Bolt with a headscissors into a face plant, and then goes after others without much fanfare.

#9 – Fuego del Sol is a young high-flyer who’s been putting on fun matches but hasn’t won a whole lot. He’s had a bit of a mini feud going with Niles Plonk and Top Shelf. He flies in with a dropkick to two guy and avoids being eliminated by Bolt. JoJo Bravo, meanwhile, actually catches Dak with a crossbody.

#10 – Niles Plonk, resident wine snob (and unheralded good worker), comes out with butler Belvedere. Plonk goes after Dak and Fuego, but doesn’t stay on anyone long. Meanwhile, Fuego avoids elimination and decides to hug the ring post on the outside. He tells the fans not to let anyone know. Marco sees him but gets an eye poke. Fuego comes back in before the next entrant.

#11 – Jeremy Wyatt is the long-time king of Kansas City wrestling, holding belts in Metro Pro and Central States Wrestling. He’s never really gotten an NWL title shot, though. He’s the other founding member of The Foundation and aligned with Matt Jackson. He and Dak go right at it, but they’re quickly pulled apart.

#12 – Mav…no, wait, it’s Drew Gold, Maverick’s manager. He joined with Maverick back in the NWL STL days to help him with the St. Louis Championship. He’s a great mouthpiece. He comes out dressed as Maverick and does his whole entrance, but when he sees all the wrestlers standing against him, he tries to back out. They all beat on him, but no one manages to eliminate him.

#13 – Jack Foster will probably be the biggest guy in the match. He’s a hairy dude who likes to fight (he’s not really doing the “I am pro wrestling” gimmick anymore). He’s coming off a big feud with Jeremy Wyatt, and he was supposed to be in the previously-mentioned elimination match on Major Baisden’s team, but was taken out by the Howlett’s and Maddox. He comes in and takes down several guys before JoJo Bravo challenges him. He tosses Bravo, who lands on the apron. When he makes to springboard back in, Foster roars at him, so he just hops down and eliminates himself. He’s not messing with that after all.

JoJo Bravo is eliminated.

Foster grabs Rasheed Ali by the throat and puts him on the top rope, then headbutts him out to the floor.

Rasheed Ali is eliminated.

Foster tosses Drew Gold.

Drew Gold is eliminated.

Foster gets Jeremy Wyatt by the throat, but he’s distracted by the next entrant’s music.

#14 – Maddox debuted before the elimination match to take out Jack Foster. Since then, he’s been acting almost as a bodyguard for Matt Jackson. He’s about as tall as Foster and seems to have a larger pectoral area. He’s the third member of the Howletts, though I don’t think he’s a blood relative. He stares down Foster. Niles Plonk and Fuego del Sol try to attack them from behind, but they get tossed aside, and the big guys go at it, exchanging big boots and clotheslining each other down.

#15 – Mat Fitchett, one half of the Besties in the World with Davey Vega, has wrestled all over the country and probably the world. He and Davey were friends with Matt Jackson since long before the NWL, but after Jackson turned on them, they teased quitting. Ultimately, they chose to stick around and go after the tag titles held by The Foundation. He tees off on a few guys but get caught by Maddox. Jack Foster helps him, though, and they team up to send Maddox out.

Maddox is eliminated.

#16 – Christian Rose is “the absolute best at being the absolute worst.” He used to be Tommy Flagg in NWL STL, then joined with Matt Jackson’s #Anarchy group back before Jackson turned on the Besties. Since then, he’s just been a lowlife loner. He hits almost everyone with elbows, including Jack Foster, before seemingly being eliminated by accidentally stepping off the apron and onto the timekeeper’s table. The table falls, but Rose lands with one foot in the air. Since both feet haven’t touched the floor, he’s still in it. (If the table breaking was a botch, then credit to him for saving it and making a moment out of it.) He hops back in on one foot.

#17 – Thor Theriot had a great series of match with Jeremy Wyatt early in 2017, and has since been kind of gunning for a championship. There hasn’t been as much focus on him in a while, but he’s one of my favorites. He takes down a lot of people with running strikes and avoids being tossed by Foster.

#18 – Ken Dharma hasn’t been a focus of the NWL since his feud with Hans Ruger over who had the better body. Dharma is well-toned and incredibly flexible (he’s Matt Sydal’s brother). He’s also a staunch vegan and yoga enthusiast, so the crowd isn’t high on him. He and Thor Theriot pair off. Meanwhile, Niles plonks’ butler, Belvedere, gets ejected from ringside by the referees for constantly helping his employer avoid elimination.

#19 – Roscoe Leech is not a wrestler. He’s a manager with the Leech Talent Agency and most recently has been running the concession stands at shows. He’s been a lovable goof and a crowd favorite ever since hitting a stunner on manager/wrestler Buddy Shepherd. He crawls through the window of the concession stand and comes in through the crowd. He low blows Christian Rose and tries in vain to attack other guys. Then he hits a series of stunners, including one on Jack Foster. I can’t believe Foster sells for him.

#20 – Buddy Shepherd is like a TV preacher who preaches about the Buddy System instead of the Gospel. He was a babyface in St. Louis, but he’s always been heel in Kansas City. His Buddy System squad has been pretty empty of late, and he himself doesn’t wrestle a lot outside of comedy matches. Roscoe tries to stun him, but he gets out and muscles Roscoe onto the apron. He offers a handshake but then kicks Roscoe low, and Roscoe falls to the floor.

Roscoe Leech is eliminated.

#21 – Davey Vega is Mat Fitchett’s partner in the Besties in the World. He pulls the ring rope down as Buddy runs at him, and Buddy takes a tumble.

Buddy Shepherd is eliminated.

Davey kicks Bolt Brady in the head, and he and Fitchett hug. Niles plonk goes for the grape stomp on Fuego del Sol, but the Besties dump him out from behind.

Niles Plonk is eliminated. Fans do the “Na na na na…” chant to him.

Ken Dharm’a flexibility prevents him from being lifted by Fuego del Sol. The Besties clothesline former ally Christian Rose out.

Christian Rose is eliminated.

#22 – Maverick is out for real this time. He’s a hoss, and aside from Drew Gold, he has no friends  He turned heel at the end of the NWL STL’s run and became St. Louis Champion thanks to Drew Gold. He only recently lost that title to Gary Jay in a match that has never been shown for whatever reason. He hits power moves on a number of guys before Jack Foster slugs it out with him.

#23 – Cody Summers is new, and this is apparently his first appearance in a televised match. I know nothing about him. I’m guessing he’s a graduate of the NWL Training and Performance Center? He hits a nice slingshot cutter. Meanwhile, Davey Vega suplexes Marco Howlett out.

Marco Howlett is eliminated.

#24 – Mike Outlaw used to be Dez Wellston. Then NWL STL died, and he went back to his old name. He was associated with Matt Jackson until Jackson turned on the Besties. Then he turned face. Aside from being at odds with Jackson, he hasn’t really had a specific program. He fights for a second with Marco on the floor before going in. Jack Foster tries to toss him, but he skins the cat. Somewhere during his entrance, Mat Fitchett is thrown out.

Mat Fitchett is eliminated.

#25 – Thomas Shire is another guy I know nothing about. He’s tall and blonde, and the announcers say he was trained by Dory Funk Jr. He hits Dak Draper with a sort of DVD, so he must be pretty strong.

#26 – Shane Sanders (“The Blue Collar Brawler”) was once one of the orange shirt staff members who often took beatings from guys like the Howletts. Now he’s got ring gear and babyface fire. He’s pretty tall, and I’m almost positive he comes from the NWL’s Training and Performance Center. He doesn’t make much of an impact until Thomas Shire and Cody Summers have a three-way new guy fight with him.

#27 – Anthony Gutierrez, commonly referred to as “Sharkbait,” is a former MMA fighter who was on The Ultimate Fighter once upon a time. He’s not very big, but he’s been doing well mixing his MMA strikes and holds with high-flying moves. He had a little feud with Michael Strider and company, and he’s recently been teaming with Jet Royal as Friendship Team 9000 while Jax Royal is injured. He comes in kicking and actually gets some offense in of Maverick without getting flattened. A few moments later, Maverick picks up Fuego del Sol and plows into Cody Summers, sending him out. Then he presses Fuego onto him.

Cody Summers and Fuego del Sol are eliminated.

Gutierrez kicks at Maverick’s leg and seems to do damage.

#28 – Jet Royal, one half of the Royal Blood with twin brother Jax, has still mostly focused on tag team action since his brother was injured. His athleticism and local roots have made him a big fan favorite. He gets big air coming in with a crossbody on Jeremy Wyatt. He spikes Bolt Brady with a Canadian destroyer-esque DDT he calls “Jet Lag” and knocks Jack Foster with a dropkick. Soon, Mike Outlaw hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Ken Dharma and flings him.

Ken Dharma is eliminated.

#29 – Everett Connors used to be Skyler Beckett of the Buddy System, but he disappeared for a while and came back under his former name doing a Justin Bieber gimmick. Interestingly, the announcers never mention that he was Beckett before. Connors is Rasheed Ali’s top signing and is continually teasing the debut of his new hit single. He superkicks a couple guys and does silly poses. Jet Royal and Jeremy Wyatt almost eliminate each other.

#30 – Gil Rogers is the final competitor. The ultimate underdog, Gil hasn’t won a single match in the NWL (outside of a tainted tag victory that he refuses to acknowledge), but he’s always got a lot of heart and insists on playing by the rules. The crowd adores him, as this is his first time back in a while. He comes in with a series of old school atomic drops.

Now it’s time to focus on eliminations.

Shane Sanders and Everett Connors are eliminated by Gil Rogers in similar fashion.

Thor Theriot is eliminated by a big clothesline on the apron from Maverick.

Mike Outlaw is eliminated by Maverick tossing him.

Jet Royal avoids elimination by landing on the guardrail and using a chair to hop back into the ring.

Davey Vega is eliminated by Jeremy Wyatt tossing him.

Thomas Shire is eliminated somehow. It sounded like the ring announcer said he went under the top rope, but he never comes back, so whatever.

Jack Foster is eliminated when he goes for a double chokeslam but is shoves out by a group of guys.

Anthony Gutierrez is eliminated by Maverick. He had Maverick in an armbar over the rope, but Maverick powered him up and slammed him on the apron, causing him to roll to the floor.

Jet Royal is eliminated after several attempts by Jeremy Wyatt. Royal kept holding onto the top rope from the apron, but Wyatt finally slapped his hand and caused him to fall.

Bolt Brady is eliminated by a Jremy Wyatt backdrop from the apron.

Gil Rogers is eliminated after trying to eliminate three guys at once. They all landed on the apron, and Maverick came back in and threw him out from behind.

Wyatt and Dak Draper slug it out on the apron. Maverick charges, and they pull the top rope down, so…

Maverick is eliminated.

Wyatt and Draper face off in the ring. Draper shows off some great agility for a tall guy. Wyatt hits the lightning spiral (his former finisher). Draper escapes a piledriver. He clotheslines Wyatt over the top, but Matt Jackson and his cronies have come out and distracted both of the referees, so they don’t see it. Wyatt comes back in and throws Draper out while he’s celebrating.

Dak Draper is eliminated.

The winner and NEW NWL KC Champion – Jeremy Wyatt

Wyatt celebrates with Jackson and The Foundation while Draper protests on the floor.

This was a pretty good rumble. Not the best of all time, but they can’t all be 1992. The finish reminded me of 1997 when Austin was thrown out but the refs were distracted by two other wrestlers, so he snuck back in and threw out Bret to win. The difference is that this distraction by Jackson was deliberate. My favorite moment was the return/debut of Bolt Brady, and I’m very interested in what he does going forward. I could see him turning heel now that Dak is a face, but I could also see him challenging Wyatt.

Anyway, if you like rumbles and you’ve got time, this one has some fun stuff. I hope they do another one in 2018.

Three Dog Collar Matches from 2017!

I consider the chain match a staple of Missouri-area indy wrestling. Midwest Renegade Wrestling (later NWA Central States, and Central States Wrestling after that) and Gateway Championship Wrestling both featured chain matches as parts of big feuds. I got to witness at least two of them live.

The chain match is a great gimmick match for indies with smaller budgets. It’s similar to the cage match in that it prevents the wrestlers from running away, but it’s usually easier and cheaper to set up (unless the chain is made of solid gold or something). It can be just as dramatic and violent, and there are a lot of creative things the participants can do with the chain itself.

In 2017, three promotions in the Midwest put on dog collar matches (a type of chain match, if you didn’t know), and but none is derivative of the others. Rather than review each one separately, I wanted to bulk them all together in one post with mini-reviews.

Here they are…

Glory Pro “Sleep When We’re Dead” – August 20, 2017 – Alton, IL

“The Millennial” Danny Adams vs. Paco Gonzalez

These best-friends-turned-bitter-rivals brawl all over the place, bunkhouse-style. Merchandise, chairs, and a table all get involved, as do Kevin Lee Davidson and Jake Something. Their feud is finished in brutal fashion, at least for now.


National Wrasslin’ League – October 28, 2017 – Kansas City, MO

“The Monarch” Jeremy Wyatt vs. Jack Foster

Foster finally gets the leader of The Foundation alone, at least for most of the match. Even when Wyatt’s friends interfere, Foster has his own backup available to clear out the riffraff. The most unique part is when they tear up the ring mat, exposing the wooden boards beneath. It’s a major war and my top NWL match of the year.


Impact Pro Wrestling “Instant Ticket” – November 4, 2017 – Des Moines, IA

Ugly vs. Malice

This is the second match in a series between these two. Ugly won the first, a falls count anywhere affair, so I guess they decided they needed to keep this one almost entirely in the ring.  I think it’s better for it, especially considering the lighting and single camera presentation. There’s no interference in this one, just two guys pummeling each other because they’re crazy.

If you like blood feuds and steel chains, you can’t go wrong with any of these matches.

CSW: War Games Match (December 16, 2006)

I’ve always enjoyed the War Games match, and I think it’s because it has a little bit of everything in its stipulations. It’s got faction wars like in the Survivor Series, staggered entrances like in the Royal Rumble, a steel cage, and all the chaos of the final battle of a feud. And the double ring gimmick is cool when you can get it (though a lot of indies can’t).

I’m excited to see what NXT does when they bring back War Games this month. Hearing about it reminded me that I once had the chance to see a War Games match live, but for reasons I can’t remember, I passed. It was a single-ring, single-cage version put on by the now-defunct Central States Wrestling promotion. CSW was my “hometown” indy fed for a sew years, and I constantly looked forward to going to their shows, so it’s kind of a bummer that I missed this one. I’ve since been able to see it via the video above, which is from the official DVD release, and now seems like an opportune time to write about it.

The match commentary and pre-match promos will fill you in on some of the details, but local favorite Michael Strider had been feuding with Steven J. Girthy and his Girthy Management Group for a while. I forget the inciting incident, but the GMG and Strider’s group, Project Aggression, were pretty bitter rivals, so a big team-based cage match seemed like a proper way to resolve things. Girthy had “The Rebel” Jeremy Wyatt (before he was “The Belt Collector” or “The Monarch”), the oddly-popular-despite-being-a-heel Hype Gotti, and Harley Race trainee Wade Chism in his charge, while Strider was partnered with “Superstar” Steve Fender (another race trainee) and Ace Steel (CM Punk’s friend and trainer). But someone took Ace out before the show, leaving Project Aggression one man down. Strider approached former rival Derek Stone to fill the spot, but due to their previous issues, Stone refused on principle.

On to the match (which starts at the 7:17 mark, by the way)!

It’s set up as three-on-two, which may upset some purists who remember the old matches with teams of four or more, but with only one ring and cage available, things would probably be too crowded with more than five or six guys in the ring.

Strider starts with Jeremy Wyatt, and Steve Girthy is on the outside. They spend the whole three-minute period trying to ram each other into the cage. Strider finally hip tosses Wyatt into it as the countdown for the next entrant is going on.

Hype Gotti is out next since the villains won the coin toss earlier. Strider takes advantage of his headstrong entrance and gets some shot in before Wyatt catches him from behind. The heels work over Strider, making a point to push and slam him into the cage.

Steve Fender comes in like he just got the hot tag, running wild on both opponents. He pairs off with Wyatt while Strider battles Gotti, and even though the heels get a few moves in (including Wyatt’s lightning spiral, a future finisher for him), the faces are on the advantage when the countdown ends.

Wade Chism is the last entrant on the Girthy side, and he goes right for Steve, clubbing him with clotheslines. Steve fights back but can’t maintain any momentum due to being outnumbered. Chism pounds on him and dares him to fight back. Strider, meanwhile, is bloodied up from being raked against the cage, and now he’s being double-teamed by Wyatt and Gotti.

The countdown for the final man comes and goes without anyone entering at first. The fans chant “We want Stone.” Finally, Derek Stone does come out, dressed in bunkhouse attire and brandishing a chair. He squares off with all three members of the GMG, perhaps teasing a “swerve,” but then he blasts them all in the heads with chair shots. Then he pulls out a trio of forks and hands one each to Strider and Steve.

As someone who was used to seeing Superstar Steve and Wade Chism at family-friendly World League Wrestling shows, seeing them in a match involving forks on foreheads is a bit surreal. It gets even weirder once a barbed wire bat and board are introduced, and Chism takes a couple unprotected chair shot to the head.

From the introduction of the forks, the match gets increasingly violent. Girthy beats up a referee* at ringside so he can get the barbed wire bat in through the door. Every wrestler except Steve bleeds. Five of them brawl outside so Strider can jump off the cage onto them. Wyatt gets locked out of the cage, so he tries to climb in, but he gets put through the barbed wire board with a tower of doom spot. Finally, Gotti is pinned after a piledriver from Stone and a big elbow from Steve while he’s trapped under the barbed wire board.

The crowd loved this match. It gave them all the violence they could’ve wanted, plus the joy of seeing their heroes win and the novelty of being the first War Games match in Kansas. I enjoyed it, too. I thought they made good use of their means to put on a memorable War Games match despite having small teams and only one ring. I also thought it was a good end to the feud, until…

After the match, Strider puts over the toughness of Wyatt, Gotti, and Chism, and tells them to stand up and leave the cage like men. He then says that the war is over. In a backstage promo, Girthy says that the war is over when he says it’s over. Also, Strider thanked Stone, and Stone said he did the right thing for the right reason.

Where Are They Now?

Michael Strider feuded with Jeremy Wyatt in CSW and Metro Pro, even coming out of retirement to battle him one last time. He’s currently a member of The Foundation in the National Wrasslin’ League and holds the tag team championships with Ace Steel.

Steve Fender continues to wrestle for World League Wrestling and currently holds their tag team titles with Brandon Espinosa.

Derek Stone has been a trainer at the NWL Training and Performance Center and makes occasional appearances on NWL shows to break up fights. He’s also going to be wrestling in a handicapped match this weekend for Gateway Elite Wrestling.

Jeremy Wyatt collected a lot of belts and briefly retired in the latter days of Metro Pro, but now he’s also a member of The Foundation with Strider and Steel.

Hype Gotti wrestles a lot for Pro Wrestling Phoenix in Iowa and Nebraska. He was retired for a bit, but he seems to be back now.

Wade Chism doesn’t seem to have wrestled since 2008, so I’m guessing he’s retired.


*The ringside referee, Adam, was actually a fan with whom I hung out at several CSW shows and pay-per-view watch parties. Fun times.