Empire State Wrestling presents Temperature Rising
From: North Tonawanda, NY
A video package promoting the main event is shown to start the event. Daniel Garcia had to sit and watch ESW Heavyweight Champion Brandon Thurston disrespect him following his car accident. Garcia is going to prove that he’s the best that Buffalo has ever seen.
Opening Contest: Atticus Cogar vs. Bill Collier: Cogar attacks before the bell knocking Collier to the floor and hits a suicide dive. Collier catches Cogar on a crossbody attempt driving Cogar back first onto the apron. Cogar delivers two dropkicks while Collier was stuck in the ropes. Cogar continues to work over Collier with chops in the corner. Collier stops Cogar with a boot in the corner, but Cogar battles back with strikes and bites Collier in the corner. Cogar taunts the crowd, but Collier delivers a back elbow. Cogar takes Collier over with a German suplex after Collier bounced off the ropes. Collier takes Cogar over with a German suplex of his own. Collier clotheslines Cogar several times and hits a fallaway slam. Collier kips up and hits a splash in the corner. Cogar dropkicks Collier on the knee followed by a running boot for a two count. Cogar superkicks Collier and nearly wins following a standing shooting star press. Collier superkicks Cogar and waits in the corner to hit the spear for a two count. Cogar plants Collier with a tornado DDT. Cogar heads to the top rope missing a double stomp. Cogar forearms Collier and nearly wins following a suplex. Cogar grabs the book from Brother Christianson, but Collier nails Cogar with a lariat. However, the referee is distracted. Cogar almost wins with a rollup from behind. Collier nails Cogar with a knockout punch to win the match. (**. A decent match that felt like a spotlight for Collier more than anything to showcase Cogar. Cogar didn’t look bad by any means and I enjoyed his early offense. Collier is a top guy for ESW and his performances have been standout on the shows I’ve reviewed thus far.) After the match, Cogar has a confrontation with Brother Christianson. The book is left in the ring.
Backstage, Vince Valor has been attacked by several wrestlers.
Second Contest: Puf vs. Jerk Cockins: Puf backs Cockins into a corner, but backs away and dances a bit. Puf keeps a wrist lock on Cockins, but reaches the ropes quickly. Cockins eye rakes Puf and puts a headlock on Puf. Puf nails Cockins with a wet punch to send Cockins to the floor. Puf signals for a dive to the floor, but Cockins rolls his female manager into the ring. Cockins delivers a knee lift from behind and maintains control with chops. Cockins tries for a clothesline, but Puf doesn’t budge. Puf plants Cockins with a spinning slam for a near fall. Cockins connects with a cutter for a near fall. Puf elbows Cockins followed by a boot in the corner. Puf drives Cockins down to the mat gut first with a swinging slam. Puf waits in the corner missing a splash and Cockins delivers a knee strike. Cockins is stopped in the corner and Puf drives Cockins down with a powerbomb. Puf finishes Cockins off with a Bonzai Drop for the win. (*1/4. It was mostly a comedy segment, which was to be expected. Action wise, there wasn’t much going on here. Puf is over with the crowd, though.)
Third Contest: Josh Alexander vs. Jay Freddie in a number one contenders match: Alexander backs Freddie into a corner, but backs away cleanly. Alexander tosses Freddie to the mat with a hip toss after some counters. Freddie kicks Alexander’s arm away and takes Alexander down to the mat, but Alexander counters with a head scissors. Freddie breaks free, but Alexander reaches the ropes for a quick break. Freddie shoulder blocks Alexander a few times and is taken down by Alexander with a headlock. Freddie breaks free and shoulder blocks Alexander followed by a snap suplex. Freddie clotheslines Alexander in the corner looking for a flip stunner, but Alexander tosses Freddie into the corner with a German suplex. Alexander focuses his attack on Freddie’s knee. Alexander lifts Freddie up for a vertical suplex and drives Freddie down to the mat. Alexander manages a two count on the cover. They begin to trade chops in the middle of the ring. Alexander forearms Freddie several times in the corner to drop Freddie. Alexander pummels Freddie with strikes and stomps. Alexander chops Freddie several times and is met with a dropkick. Freddie tries for a back suplex, but Alexander elbows free. Freddie drops Alexander with a back suplex for a near fall. Freddie boots Alexander in the corner and leaps off the middle rope to hurricanrana Alexander to the floor. Freddie continues with a suicide dive to the outside. Freddie heads to the top rope hitting a missile dropkick for a two count.
Freddie hooks Alexander for a powerbomb, but Alexander breaks free and arm drags Freddie. Freddie with a dragon screw leg whip followed by a running knee for a two count. Freddie heads to the top rope missing a double stomp. Alexander forearms Freddie from behind and manages to get the ankle lock on Freddie. Alexander stomps on Freddie’s back, but Freddie kicks free from the hold. Alexander recovers to powerbomb Freddie over his knee for a two count! Alexander forearms Freddie a few times and delivers a short arm clothesline for a near fall. Alexander clubs Freddie over the back a few times. Freddie chops Alexander, but Alexander responds with a chop of his own. Freddie with a flurry of chops and Alexander responds with a few. Freddie hits a running knee strike and a tiger bomb for a two count. Freddie tries for a few clotheslines, but Alexander connects with a backbreaker. Alexander attempted a powerbomb, but Freddie almost wins with a rollup. Alexander forearms Freddie and has Freddie on his shoulders. Freddie breaks free to hit another tiger bomb for the clean win. (***1/2. A competitive and hard hitting match between these two underrated wrestlers. Initially, the crowd didn’t have much of a reaction towards Freddie, but I think after this performance that shouldn’t be the case anymore. I love that Alexander did a clean job here for Freddie, who now gets a title match next month. Freddie beats a star and will be seen as a strong threat to whomever is the champion by the end of the night. This match delivered some really good, quality action.)
We see footage from Brawlfest where Johnny Puma led a bunch of wrestlers attacking James Sayga and others. Vince Valor is suppose to be involved in the next match, but he’s been taken out due to the attack shown earlier.
Fourth Contest: ESW Tag Team Champion James Sayga vs. Chris Cooper & Will Calrissian in a handicap match: Sayga nails Cooper off the apron and clotheslines Will several times followed by a heel kick. Sayga tosses Will over the top onto Cooper and Puma. Sayga takes out Puma with a crossbody on the floor and is double teamed by the challengers. Sayga backdrops Will coming out of the corner. Cooper is kicked off the apron, but manages to yank Sayga off the apron to the floor. Puma gets some cheap shots in, as well. Will dropkicks Sayga in the corner and Cooper tags in delivering a running uppercut and a neckbreaker for a two count. Cooper kicks Sayga in the ribs followed by strikes on the mat. Cooper delivers a facebuster and a knee lift for a two count. Cooper continues with a backbreaker and keeps Sayga over his knee. Cooper locks in a bearhug before hitting a northern lights suplex. Will hits a slingshot senton followed by a snap suplex and a sit out vertical suplex for a near fall. Sayga fights out of the corner and delivers a roaring elbow to Cooper. Sayga tosses Will overhead into Cooper in the corner. Sayga connects with several running forearms to both men in opposite corners. Sayga connects with a double German suplex to the challengers. Vince Valor’s music hits. However, it’s not Valor and instead it’s Kevin Grace causing a distraction. Will hits a top rope knee drop and pins Sayga to win the titles. (*1/2. Essentially this was a 4 on 1 match and it took them a long time to finish off Sayga. I understand the story of Sayga fighting for the titles, but I think having the heels take so much time to win the match wasn’t worth it. I would have had them dominate the match and win in quick fashion to really make them look strong.) After the match, Anthony Gaines comes out to make the save.
Fifth Contest: Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Kevin Bennett: Pillman fakes out on a handshake. Pillman backs Bennett into a corner and cleanly backs away. Bennett cleanly backs away from Pillman moments later. Bennett keeps a headlock on Pilman for a few moments. Pillman breaks free and kicks Bennett leading to a standoff. Pillman shoulder blocks Bennett and delivers a dropkick. Pillman continues to work over Bennett with chops in the corner and taunts the crowd. Bennett avoids a chop to deliver a forearm strike. Pillman clotheslines Bennett in the corner and fakes a dropkick to slap Bennett. Bennett arm drags Pillman a few times followed by a sit out hip toss and a standing corkscrew moonsault to send Pillman bailing to the floor. Pillman spits water into Bennett’s face from the apron, but Bennett trips Pillman to connect with a slingshot stomp to the back followed by a splash, but Pillman got his knees up, I think. Pillman nails Bennett with a running knee on the apron for a two count. Pillman elbows Bennett to the mat and taunts the crowd. Pillman kicks Bennett over the back and rubs his boot into Bennett’s face. Pillman uppercuts Bennett and they trade shots. Pillman kicks Bennett over the back before locking in a neck vice. Pillman knee lifts Bennett a few times on the mat. Bennett fights back with right hands, but is stopped by Pillman’s back rake. Pillman attempts a piledriver, but Bennett counters by getting Pillman onto his shoulders. Pillman elbows free and plants Bennett with a snap powerslam. Bennett forearms Pillman on the floor and continues with strikes in the ring and a side slam for a two count. Pillman dumps Bennett to the apron and is shoved down to the mat. Bennett hits the remix splash for a two count. Bennett drives Pillman down to the mat face first for another near fall. Bennett splashes Pillman in the corner, but is met with a kick and a crossbody, but Bennett rolled through for a two count. Pillman almost wins with a fisherman buster. They begin to trade strikes with Pillman getting the advantage. Bennett gets out of a DDT, but Pillman superkicks Bennett. Bennett boots Pillman and counters a DDT with a twisting suplex for the win. (**. I didn’t like the flow of the match as it kind of felt like they were wrestling in sand. It felt slow, but they were trying to be fast with quick counters, but it didn’t mesh well. Also, Pillman didn’t seem to fit in a heel role as I think Pillman excels as an underdog at this point. I’d say this is an underwhelming and disappointing encounter.)
The next match is an on-demand exclusive match, which I don’t understand since it’s in front of the live crowd anyway.
Sixth Contest: Slade vs. Ryze: Slade tries to run at Ryze, but misses and Ryze delivers several strikes. Slade chops Ryze to the mat followed by a headbutt and bites Ryze. Slade scoop slams Ryze for a two count. Slade chops Ryze in the corner and drives Ryze to the mat with a vertical suplex for a near fall. Ryze hammers away on Slade, but a strike to the midsection stops the momentum. Slade puts the claw on Ryze in the middle of the ring, but Ryze kicks himself free. Ryze leg sweeps Slade, but misses a kick and settles for a knee to the head. Ryze is caught on a crossbody, but manages to get a crucifix pin on Slade for the win. (1/4*. These two are newcomers to the promotion and I think wrestling in general. The crowd didn’t care about either guy and I didn’t see much of anything to get excited about.) After the match, Cloudy comes out and confronts Ryze and Dakoda Orion. Cloudy notes that Nick Ando wasn’t here for their scheduled tag match and challenges Orion to a singles match.
Seventh Contest: Dakoda Orion vs. Cloudy: Cloudy goes after Orion with strikes in the corner to begin the contest. Orion dropkicks Cloudy to the floor and fakes a dive to the outside. Orion sends Cloudy back to the floor and tries for a springboard, but Cloudy yanks Orion down over the apron face first. Cloudy tries for a cover, but Orion kicks out at two. Cloudy misses a dropkick and Orion hits a standing shooting star press for a two count. Orion continues with kicks and strikes. Cloudy avoids a clothesline to connect with a cutter for a two count. Cloudy forearms Orion in the corner several times and dorpkicks Orion on the back for a two count. Cloudy keeps a headlock on Orion to keep control of the bout. Orion elbows free from Cloudy and connects with a few clotheslines. Orion nails Cloudy with a kick to the head. Cloudy kicks Orion away and hits a swinging flatliner for a two count. Orion kicks Cloudy away and gets a sunset flip and a sit out modified Cradle Shock for a two count. Cloudy eye rakes Orion and plants Orion with a Burning Hammer, but Orion counters a pin with a crucifix rollup for the win. (*1/2. Orion looks like he may have some potential to provide something in the future more so than what I saw out of Ryze. The crowd doesn’t appear to be invested in either guy and the segment felt a little forced in an attempt to get them over.)
Eighth Contest: Anthony Gaines vs. Zachary Wentz: Gaines backs Wentz into a corner, but cleanly backs away. Gaines gets wrist control, but Wentz arm drags free of the hold. Wentz hits a springboard corkscrew crossbody to send Gaines to the floor. Wentz misses a dive to the floor. Gaines ends up taking Wentz out with a springboard moonsault to the floor. Gaines rolls Wentz back into the ring and delivers a springboard back elbow. Wentz avoids a few kicks and they have a standoff. Wentz pump kicks Gaines to the mat followed by a knee strike and a running kick to the chest. Wentz takes Gaines out with a crossbody to the floor. Wentz connects with a Codebreaker and standing shooting star for a near fall. Wentz chops Gaines in the corner, but Gaines removes his shirt asking for more. Gaines responds with a chop of his own. Gaines pulls down his top and Wentz chops Gaines causing Gaines to drop to his knees. Wentz bridges with a submission hold, but Gaines reaches the ropes after nearly passing out. Gaines comes off the ropes with a leaping clothesline to get momentum. Gaines misses a springboard moonsault attempt. Wentz misses a handspring attempt and Gaines hits a reverse powerbomb followed by a spinning lariat for a near fall.
Wentz avoids a knee strike and hammers away on Wentz a few times. Gaines backhands Wentz, but Wentz delivers a handspring knee strike. Gaines kicks Wentz and tries for a headlock DDT, but Wentz lands on his feet and plants Gaines with the same move. The Old Guard make their way out to ruin the match and taunt Gaines on the microphone. Gaines leaps over the referee to take everyone out on the floor with a dive. Wentz superkicks Gaines followed by an elbow. Gaines nails Wentz with a boot and tries for a springboard, but is kicked in midair. Wentz plants Gaines with a springboard cutter for a two count. Wentz kicks Gaines before heading to the top rope. Wentz is stopped by Gaines with a strike. Gaines is knocked off the middle rope, but Gaines delivers a springboard punch. Gaines hits a middle rope DDT for the clean win. (***1/4. Well, that was a lot better than I was expecting. I’m not overly familiar with Wentz, but he came across well here. Gaines held his own against Wentz and his offense was good throughout. I didn’t really like the distraction, but it played its part from earlier in the show. Gaines winning is the right choice to continue his build up. I think Gaines could eventually be someone ESW relies on as a guy who can have good matches with other big indie names. A good, enjoyable match.) After the match, Gaines fights off the Old Guard, but the numbers are too much and Gaines is beaten down. Gaines tells them he’s still breathing and the fans love it.
We see footage from Brawlfest where RJ City teamed with Gregory Irons and they lost a tag match to Dakota Orion and Ryze. That was a major upset. RJ was not happy about the lost and the miscommunication lately. RJ wondered if that means they need to feud. Irons agrees they’d have to feud. RJ says that in wrestling logic they’d have to, but they don’t want to. RJ wonders who should turn on who. Irons suggests RJ turn on him because he’d get more sympathy. RJ says he doesn’t like how Irons trims his beard and tells the crowd to act like he’s a major insult. Irons doesn’t like how RJ styles his hair. RJ shoves Iron rather softly. Irons returns the shove. City says they are feuding and they raise each others hands. They walk off together in their feud. That was maybe the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a pro wrestling ring in recent memory.
RJ City cuts a promo saying they are in the midst of a very big feud, which they don’t want to do but have to do because of the rules in wrestling.
Ninth Contest: RJ City vs. Gregory Iron in a best two out of three falls match: Iron puts a hammerlock on City and City quickly submitted. City gets a hammerlock on Iron and Iron quickly submits as well to tie the match at one fall each and it’s been maybe twenty-seconds. They counter hammerlocks and tease submitting each time. Iron puts a headlock on City, but City breaks free. They miss wild strikes and embrace in the middle of the ring. City decks Iron with a right hand and apologizes for decking Iron. Iron almost wins with an inside cradle. Iron mounts City with a flurry of punches and hits a middle rope elbow drop. City plants Iron with a slingshot back suplex. Iron counters a knee strike and hits a flatliner. Iron goes for a superkick, but City tells Iron that he loves him. City wonders if they need to feud if they love each other. City kisses Iron on the forehead. Iron responds with a kiss to City’s forehead. They exchange kisses to the cheek. “kiss forever” chant. City kisses Iron on the lips. They are trading kisses on the lips instead of chops. This is priceless. They lock lips and proceed to knock each other out. The referee counts and the match ends in a draw. (NR. From a comedy standpoint, this is incredibly unique and so much fun to watch. I tend to hate comedy matches, but these two did something so different and fun that this was loads of fun and I really enjoyed it as a segment. Well done!) After the match, they embrace.
Tenth Contest: Vinnie Moon vs. The Blade (Pepper Parks): Blade goes right after Moon in the corner with strikes and chokes Moon with his ring jacket. Blade delivers a kick and a running chop in the corner. Blade suplexs Moon into the corner and plays to the crowd. Blade grabs a chair from ringside and gets in the referees face. The referee takes the chair away allowing Moon to deliver several chops. Blade delivers a forearm strike and Moon delivers a strike of his own. Blade connects with a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Blade hits a buckle bomb and Moon is knocked silly. Blade delivers another buckle bomb. Blade tosses Moon a third time into the corner. Blade continues to beat on Moon in the corner and shoves the referee down. Blade has the chair and Moon dropkicks he chair into Blade’s face for a two count. Moon forearms Blade in the corner a few times. Blade sits Moon on the top rope delivering chops. Blade wins the match following a superplex. (*1/2. For essentially a squash match, I enjoyed that quite a bit. Blade looked to be fired up and taking no nonsense. I’d like to see Blade back in the main events.)
A video package promoting the main event is shown. Daniel Garcia was trained by Brandon Thurston and grew up as a fan of Thurston by attending ESW shows.
Main Event: ESW Heavyweight Champion Brandon Thurston vs. Daniel Garcia: They have a stare down in the middle of the ring until Garcia slaps Thurston. Garcia shoulder blocks Thurston followed by a clothesline. Thurston hits a German suplex, but Garcia dropkicks Thurston into the corner and they have a standoff again with Thurston sitting in the corner and Garcia intently staring him down. Thurston takes Garcia down to the mat and they trade some mat wrestling holds. Garcia knee strikes Thurston a couple of times into the corner and pummels Thurston with strikes. The referee is checking on Thurston, who may be knocked out. Thurston struggles to his feet and tells the referee to not call for the bell. Thurston want a fight from Garcia and calls him “boy”. They begin to trade chops in the middle of the ring. Garcia powerbombs Thurston, but Thurston gets a Rings of Saturn locked in. Garcia spits at Thurston and keeps the hold on, but doesn’t get a submission. Thurston leans back with Garcia’s arm and works over the left arm. Thurston slaps Garcia before putting a front face lock on. Garcia prevents his shoulders from staying down on a cover attempt. Garcia bridges on his head and has great leg strength to avoid being kept down. Garcia puts a body scissors on Thurston and they trade chops. Thurston puts a surfboard on Garcia, but doesn’t get a submission. Garcia tosses Thurston with a German suplex and a under hook suplex into the corner for a near fall.
Garcia plays to the crowd stating he’s the best wrestler in Buffalo. Garcia chops Thurston and delivers a knee strike to the ribs. Garcia stands on Thurston’s back, but rubs his boot on the champs shoulder before hitting a senton splash for a two count. Garcia delivers several forearm strikes to the lower back, but Thurston comes back with a kick to the head. Thurston taunts the crowd saying he’s the best. Garcia boots Thurston in the corner, but Thurston gets to his feet and Garcia dead lifts Thurston with a choke from the top turnbuckle. Thurston kicks Garcia and hits a running Death Valley Driver into the corner. Thurston double stomps Garcia in a tree of woe followed by an exploder suplex for a near fall. Garcia gets out of a rollup and drives Thurston down with a suplex. Garcia continues with a side suplex for a near fall. Garcia locks in a sharpshooter in the middle of the ring, but Thurston quickly gets out of it. Thurston chops Garcia several times, but Garcia responds with chops of his own. Garcia delivers body strikes in the corner, but Thurston forearms Garcia to gain control. Garcia nails Thurston with a strike. Garcia chops Thurston on the top turnbuckle several times. Garcia connects with a superplex off the top rope and holds on, but Thurston knee strikes free and rams Garcia into the corner with shoulder rams.
Thurston sits Garcia on the top turnbuckle delivering strikes. Thurston hooks Garcia for an exploder suplex, but Garcia elbows free. Thurston tosses Garcia with an exploder anyway. They both roll to the floor exhausted and on opposite sides. They both return to the ring before ten and have a stare down on their knees. They get to their feet and trade forearms. They get a second wind and continue with forearms. Thurston nearly wins with a rollup out of a tilt a whirl. They bridge up out of a cover and Thurston almost wins with a backslide. Garcia locks in a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Garcia punches Thurston’s knee, but lets go and puts an arm bar on the champ. Thurston breaks free and kicks Garcia before locking in the arm bar submission. Thurston puts the Sharpshooter on Garcia, but doesn’t get a submission. Garcia spits at Thurston and they trade slaps on the mat. They both go down after a headbutt, but they pop up on the pin attempt and slowly get to their feet. Garcia kicks Thurston followed by a piledriver for a near fall. Garcia puts an arm bar on Thurston and delivers a flurry of elbows to the chest. Thurston counters with several strikes to the left arm. Thurston tries for a triangle choke, but Garcia lifts Thurston up to break free. Thurston tosses Garcia with an exploder suplex for a near fall.
Garcia looks to be loopy as Thurston has a double hook chicken wing. Thurston hits a double hook German suplex for a near fall. Thurston nails Garcia with a boot in the corner after Garcia claimed he was the best in Buffalo, again. Thurston pie faces Garcia a few times. Garcia almost wins with a rollup followed by a running knee strike. Garcia nails Thurston with a second running knee. Garcia hooks Thurston, but can’t lift because of his arm. Garcia spikes Thurston with a piledriver using one arm for a near fall. Garcia goes to the top rope missing a frog splash and lands on his injured arm. Thurston delivers an arm breaker and a few kicks. Garcia avoids a kick attempt. Thurston locks in the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Garcia leans backward and Thruston submits to give Garcia the win and title! (****. Hell yeah, that was great. The story is fantastic since Garcia was involved in a car wreck and missed some time. The intensity throughout the match was done very well. The finish was almost messed up as Garcia lost his footing while leaning back, but credit to Thurston for feeling that and promptly submitted to not ruin the moment. I thought this was a fantastic match and one of the best student vs. mentor matches I’ve seen in a long time. Thurston came across great and Garcia is made a star in the process. I would 100% watch these guys compete again against each other. A great moment and a great way to close out the show. I’m all in on Garcia and look forward to seeing his career continue on and the same goes for Thurston.)
Freddie/Alexander, Gaines/Wentz, RJ/Irons and Thurston/Garcia are all standout matches all for different reasons. I’m excited to see a Freddie/Garcia match as I think their styles will mesh well. The runtime is under three hours and it flew by for the most part. An easy recommendation to watch.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.