Written by: Bob Colling
NEW Wrestlefest XXI
From: Waterbury, CT
Opening Contest: Vinny Marseglia vs. Travis Gordon vs. Brad Hollister: Vinny seems like he is wannabe version of Enzo. Hollister’s nickname is bacon and the crowd chants that it smells like bacon. Hollister takes Gordon over with a German suplex. Vinny is really acting like Enzo having delivered a head butt and pokes Brad in the eyes. Vinny head scissors Brad to the floor and plays to the crowd. Vinny takes Brad out with a suicide dive to the floor, as well. Gordon dives off the top rope to take both men out with a swanton! Flip continues with a springboard senton on Brad back in the ring. Vinny pulls Flip out to deliver an uppercut and head butts Brad into a corner. Vinny knee lifts Brad and goes for a sunset flip but Brad gets out of that with a slam. Flip hits a Blockbuster on Brad for a two count. Flip nearly pins Brad following a standing moonsault. Vinny gets a two count on Gordon with an inside cradle. Vinny continues with a side Russian leg sweep on Gordon after countering a tilt a whirl attempt. Brad takes Gordon over with a German suplex, who had Vinny on his shoulders! All three men are trading shots with Gordon getting the better chopping both men. Vinny stops Gordon with an uppercut.
Brad hammers away on Vinny to no effect. Vinny uppercuts Brad and delivers a running forearm smash in the corner. Brad decks Vinny with an uppercut in the corner but gets kicked by Gordon. Vinny slams Brad to the canvas but Gordon hit a Death Valley Driver. Vinny super kicks Gordon before heading to the top rope. Vinny hits a swanton bomb for only a two count. Brad decks Vinny with a clothesline and grabs Gordon, but Gordon is able to drop Brad face first onto the canvas. Gordon comes off the top to hit a 450 splash and pins Brad. (***. Vinny is annoying largely because his act is very similar to Enzo. I heard them say, “We should go home” and that kind of ruined the finish for me. Regardless, this was a solid opener and Gordon was impressive.)
Second Contest: Adrenaline Rush (Daniel Evans & Keith Youngblood ) vs. The Battle Brothers (Anthony & Chris Battle): They start the match with Chris and Youngblood trading some basic holds until Youngblood gets a two count with a dropkick. Evans tags in to take over Chris with a double arm drag. Chris continues to be double teamed with a neck breaker and elbow drop by Rush. Youngblood takes Chris over with a head scissors to the floor and follows up with a suicide dive. Chris stops Evans with a running kick to the chest and here comes Anthony who hit a running cross body for a two count. Anthony got a good pop for his entry into the match. Anthony side slams Evans for a two count and gets frustrated with the referee. Anthony takes Evans over with a butterfly suplex for a two count. Evans is getting worked over while Youngblood tries to get the crowd behind his buddy. Anthony hits a standing senton splash for a two count on Evans. Evans tries to fight back but is stopped by a forearm shot. Anthony hits a running cannonball on Evans which almost gets Chris a three count on a cover attempt. Youngblood gets the hot tag and cleans house on the Battle Brothers. Youngblood splashes both men in the corner and super kicks Chris for a two count. Anthony sneaks a tag but so does Evans. Anthony and Evans collide with double clotheslines. The crowd is chanting “ten” while the referee counts them down. Anthony hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count on Evans. Evans gets out of a double power bomb and decks Anthony. Youngblood tags in and comes off the top missing a cross body attempt on Chris. Chris comes out of the corner with a spear and wins the match. (**. Not too bad of a match, as I was expecting this to be a little dull. The fans really reacted well to the larger Battle brother, Anthony. He was good or at least better than I ever would have expected. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of these teams.)
Third Contest: Donovan Dijak vs. Wrecking Ball Legursky: Legursky grabs Dijak off the middle rope to hit a suplex to get the cheap advantage as the bell hasn’t sounded yet. Legursky sends Dijak to the floor and hammers away on him a few times. Dijak uses a drink to hit Legursky on the head but Legursky continues to pummel Dijak against the railing. Legursky sends Dijak into the railing back first as the crowd seems to be really behind him. They trade shots until Dijak gets backdropped onto the apron. Legursky gets into the ring as the bell finally sounds for the match to start. Legursky clotheslines Dijak in the corner to maintain control of the match. Dijak boots Legursky in the corner and tries to fight back with back elbow shots. Legursky knee lifts Dijak and taunts the fans before knocking Dijak over the top to the floor with a clothesline. They are trading shots on the floor with Dijak getting the advantage. Dijak is sent into the ring but comes twisting over the top rope to take Legursky out on the floor! Dijak connects with a tornado big boot but only manages a two count on the cover. Dijak goes to the apron looking for a springboard but is clotheslined in midair. Legursky goes for a press slam but Dijak gets out and forearm strikes Legursky. Legursky avoids a roaring elbow by dropping Dijak to the canvas for a two count. Legursky delivers a falling head butt a few times to keep Dijak on the mat. Legursky misses a running splash and Dijak hits a top rope moonsault for a two count. Dijak waits for Legursky to get up and attempts a Samoan Drop or something. Legursky got out of it and eventually hit a middle rope shoulder block. Legursky drives Dijak down with a press slam power slam for the win. (***. What the heck was that?! Dijak carried Legursky to a solid match here. Don’t get me wrong, Legursky appears to be talented, but Dijak got him onto another level here it felt like. A solid big man match that again I wasn’t expecting much from.)
Fourth Contest: Ron Zombie vs. Hanson: They back each other into corners but then do clean breaks. Zombie drop toe holds Hanson after pulling on his beard. Hanson clotheslines Zombie from behind to get control of the match. Hanson continues to work over Zombie in the corner and keeps Zombie on the canvas. Zombie tries for a suplex but Hanson blocks it. Zombie eventually takes Hanson over with a suplex. Hanson misses a clothesline and Zombie takes Hanson over the top to the floor with a clothesline. Zombie slams Hanson onto a chair and delivered a knee lift. They battle near a plastic table where Zombie slams Hanson’s head off the table ten times. Zombie comes off the apron to hit an elbow drop. Zombie sends Hanson chest first into the corner and hit a running neck breaker after coming off the ropes. Hanson power slams Zombie for a two count. Hanson works over Zombie with body shots in the corner. Hanson cartwheels to avoid Zombie and nearly wins with a clothesline. Hanson clubs away on Zombie in the corner and taunts the fans. Hanson misses a bronco buster and Zombie jabs him several times before decking Hanson with a right hand. Zombie tries for a choke slam but Hanson counters with a modified tombstone for a two count. Zombie gets up and doesn’t appear to be bothered by any strikes. Zombie big boots Hanson and sets up for a choke slam. Zombie plants Hanson with a choke slam but Hanson kicks out at two. Hanson sits down on Zombie out of the corner. Hanson goes to the top rope but misses a moonsault. Zombie plants Hanson with a jumping DDT for the win. (*1/2. This felt a little bit like a filler match and wasn’t something I overly enjoyed or anything. I was shocked that Zombie went over clean, though. I must give NEW some credit for putting their guys over and doing so cleanly.)
Funny note, Romeo Roselli went to put over his partner Cam Zagami, but looked at Cam because he didn’t know hoe to pronounce his last name.
Fifth Contest: Bull Dredd & Jerry Lawler vs. Cam Zagami & Romeo Roselli: Roselli is very slender nowadays looking similar to Sasha Baron Cohen. Zagami attacks Dredd from behind as Lawler hasn’t even come out yet. Dredd power slams Zagami but gets held back by Romeo. Dredd pulls Romeo into the ring and the referee confronts the heels to stop their nonsense. Oh, this was a singles match originally. Anyway, the match becomes a tag match and here comes Lawler. All four men are in the ring brawling with Lawler and Dredd getting the advantage. Dredd drops an elbow on Zagami for a two count. Romeo clotheslines Dredd from the apron to help out Zagami. Romeo tags in and keeps control of Dredd. Dredd drops Zagami with a forearm shot and Romeo quickly gets tagged in. Romeo misses a splash in the corner and Dredd tags in Lawler. Lawler cleans house on the heels and jabs Romeo several times. Lawler hits a dropkick! Romeo falls head first onto Zagami’s groin. Lawler plants Romeo with a piledriver and Dredd hit a modified atomic drop with Zagami over his shoulder. (*. Exactly what you’d expect this to be. Lawler still gets great reactions on the independents.) After the match, the Godfather comes out and has a couple of hoes with him. The hoes seduce Lawler in the corner.
Romeo Roselli says he wasn’t ready for that match but now he’s ready since he got woken up by a piledriver. Oh boy, here comes The Great Khali. Khali takes them both out with one chop.
Sixth Contest: Jake Manning vs. Ryback: Manning tries to sneak a rollup but Ryback kicks out and shoulder blocks Manning. Ryback wrenches on the left arm of Manning to keep control of the match. Jake attempts a vertical suplex but Ryback easily counters with a suplex of his own after a long delay. Ryback decks Manning with a super kick for a two count. They go to the floor where Ryback continues to work over Manning with chops and strikes. Ryback misses a chop and hits the ring post. Manning battles back with a few chops and soon a slingshot cross body to the floor! Manning hammers away on Ryback in the corner and boots Ryback in the corner. Manning comes off the top to hit a clothesline but Ryback kicks out at two. Manning hits a cross body but Ryback powers out at two. Manning plants Ryback with a DDT for a two count after getting out of a power bomb. Ryback plants Manning with a spine buster and plays to the crowd. Ryback nails Manning with a clothesline but Manning nearly comes back with a rollup. Ryback finishes Manning off with a Samoan Drop. (*1/2. There were a few good spots for Manning that made it believable that he may actually win the match. It was a serviceable match.)
Seventh Contest: NEW Heavyweight Champion TK O’Ryan vs. Mike Bennett: TK takes Bennett down controlling Bennett with a head scissors, but that doesn’t last long as Bennett quickly gets to his feet. TK chops Bennett in the corner and he falls to the floor where he taunts a female fan in the front row. TK controls Bennett with a headlock on the canvas. It’s a rather slow start with neither man getting much of an advantage. TK dropkicks Bennett for a two count. Bennett misses a clothesline while TK was on the apron and gets backdropped to the floor. TK takes Bennett out with a springboard moonsault on the floor! TK misses a chop and almost hits the female fan that Bennett had taunted moments earlier. TK goes to the top rope and hits a cross body for a two count. TK hammers away on Bennett against the railing. TK slams Bennett face first onto the plastic table at ringside. TK gets backdropped onto the table by Bennett. Bennett hits a piledriver on the table! Of course, the table doesn’t break since it’s plastic. Bennett goes for the cover back in the ring but only gets a two count. Bennett controls TK with a sleeper hold but hits an ace crusher for a two count. Bennett knocks TK down with a forearm shot to the face. Bennett keeps control of the match working over TK with strikes.
Bennett stops TK’s momentum by locking in a sleeper hold. TK’s arm almost drops three times. They collide after TK comes off the ropes and they are both laid out on the canvas. They begin to trade strikes from their knees. TK gets the better of the exchange with right hands and chops. Bennett ducks a chop but still gets decked with a punch. TK comes off the ropes with a forearm shot and clothesline. TK hits a fisherman suplex for a near fall. Bennett big boots TK and delivers a forearm shot in the corner. TK charges and big boots Bennett in the corner. TK comes off the top to hit an elbow drop for a two count. Bennett tries for an F5 it looked like but TK nearly wins with an inside cradle. Bennett almost wins with a spine buster. Bennett hits TK with a super kick for another near fall. Bennett waits in the corner and misses a spear, but on a second attempt hits the spear for a near fall. Bennett knocks Ryan down to a knee after a right hand. Bennett hits a sit out Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Maria appears at the entrance way and has a steel chair with her. She gives the chair to Bennett. Bennett misses the chair shot and hit the ropes which cause the chair to hit him. TK hits the pump handle sit down piledriver for a near fall as Maria pulled the referee out. Maria distracts the referee and TK goes to the floor where Bennett takes TK and the referee out with a cross body on the floor.
TK is rolled back into the ring and Bennett charges the corner where TK takes Bennett down and has a leg lock submission on and Bennett tapped out but the referee isn’t awake. Bennett recovers and low blows TK while the referee is still down. Bennett goes for the cover and that’s good enough for the win. (**1/2. Well, the finish felt like something you’d see in the 80s independents. It was an average match as it didn’t really hold my interest all that much. It’s a good title change for the company. TK didn’t impress me all that much here.) After the match, TK thinks that everyone in the arena wants to see a rematch.
Main Event: Kurt Angle vs. Cody Rhodes in a steel cage match: Rhodes shakes hands with Angle to start the match as they have a feeling out process. Cody kicks Angle after dropping to the mat and tries to send Angle into the cage but fails. Angle works over Rhodes with several stomps in the corner and chokes Cody out. Angle continues to work over Cody with an uppercut but gets sent face first into the cage by Cody. Cody again tosses Angle face first into the cage. Cody stomps on Angle a few times to maintain control of the cage match. Cody keeps Angle on the caves with stomps and chokes him before doing a cartwheel and flips off the crowd. Cody comes off the ropes and thrusts Angle but Angle counters being sent into the cage by hitting a German suplex! Angle hits another German suplex for a two count. Angle sends Cody face first into the cage a few times. Angle tries to escape the cage but is stopped by Cody. Angle drops Cody with an eye rake. Angle takes Cody over with another German suplex. Cody wants the door open and tries to escape but Angle takes him over with another German suplex. Angle tries to climb the cage but Cody cuts him off hitting a superplex! They begin to trade right hands with Angle getting the better of it but Cody runs over Angle with a forearm shot and clothesline. Cody hits a snap power slam.
Cody springboards off the middle rope to hit the Disaster Kick for a two count. Cody demands the door be opened and he attempts to escape through the door. Angle boots Cody in the corner and sends Cody into the cage with a German suplex! Angle goes for the cover but Cody kicks out at two. Angle attempted the Angle Slam but Cody gets out of it hitting the Cross Rhodes for a two count. Cody climbs to the top of the cage looking for the moonsault but misses as Angle rolled out of the way! Angle waits and takes Cody over with the Angle Slam but Cody kicks out at two! Angle pulls down his straps and puts the ankle lock on Cody! Angle has him right in the middle of the ring but Cody kicks Angle into the cage to break free. Cody tries to escape through the door but gets pulled back in and Angle locks in the ankle lock again. Cody sends Angle face first into the cage and hit the Cross Rhodes but Angle kicks out at two! Rhodes tries to escape the cage but gets stopped by Angle with an ankle lock. Angle charges towards Cody and gets rolled up for the three count! (***. I’m surprised that Angle lost to end his independent run, but it makes sense considering Cody has been seemingly the go-to guy on the independents since his WWE release. It’s not some kind of classic, but they worked very well together, I thought.) After the match, Angle has Cody’s boot, which I didn’t realize Cody had taken off when in the ankle lock. Cody ends up praising Angle and Angle puts over the NEW promotion and the fans.
For the most part, I enjoyed the overall show. There was a few moments of uninteresting action, but the good outweighed the bad. I checked this out largely for the cage match, but there’s more on here to give the show a mild recommendation to watch.
Thanks for reading.