Empire State Wrestling presents WrestleBash 2014
From: Lockport, NY
Opening Contest: ESW Interstate Champion Kevin Bennett vs. Sonjay Dutt: Bennett enters the ring from behind and sends Dutt to the floor hitting a suicide dive to start the contest. Dutt sends Bennett through the ropes to the floor to stop the champs momentum. Dutt kicks Bennett over the middle rope and tosses Bennett to the floor again. Bennett forearms Dutt a few times, but Dutt spits a soda into Bennett’s face. Bennett sends Dutt into the guard railing back first. They continue to brawl around ringside for a few moments. Bennett tosses Dutt over the railing into the crowd and dives onto Dutt with a crossbody. Bennett manages a two count upon returning to the ring. Dutt sends Bennett chest first into the corner and connects with a missile dropkick to gain control of the contest. Dutt chops Bennett a few times in the corner and eye rakes Bennett. Dutt eye rakes Bennett with his boot and delivers a couple of kicks to the back for a two count. They begin to trade forearms on the mat until Dutt eye rakes Bennett. Dutt spits in his hands and rubs Bennett’s face and then hip checks Bennett a few times. Bennett stops Dutt with a boot to the face. Bennett hits a 619 type of splash for a near fall. Dutt stops Bennett with a jawbreaker and an uppercut. Dutt slams Bennett to the mat and goes to the apron where Dutt slingshots in and casually kicks Bennett for a two count.
Dutt keeps a front face lock on Bennett, but doesn’t get a submission. Bennett forearms Dutt to break free and is met with an elbow. Bennett decks Dutt with a forearm smash for a two count. Bennett forearm smashes Dutt followed by a heel kick. Bennett takes Dutt down with a side Russian leg sweep for a near fall. Bennett continues with a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. Dutt grabs Bennett by the boot and blocks a standing moonsault to eventually hit one of his own and a springboard moonsault off the middle rope for a two count. They trade a few forearms and boots with both men bouncing off the ropes. Bennett forearms Dutt several times and runs into a superkick. Bennett kicks Dutt to the mat and heads to the top rope. Bennett hits a top rope moonsault for the clean win. (**3/4. I was a bit worried at the start that these two were going to brawl and not do a more high risk kind of opener. After a bit, they did a bit more of that style and they put forth a solid outing. A clean win for Bennett is the right call.)
Second Contest: Hellcat & Rob Sweet vs. Andrew Cravatta & Randy Philbrick: Hellcat and Sweet attack before the bell to gain the cheap advantage. Hellcat is stopped by a dropkick. Hellcat is taken over with a double hip toss. Hellcat stops Andy with a backbreaker in the corner. Andy is driven down with a spinning vertical suplex for a two count. Andy is double teamed in the corner with a spear and running boot scrapes. Andy continues to be worked over by both men with atomic drops and a clothesline by Sweet. Andy kicks Sweet to stop his offense, but Hellcat gets involved to prevent a tag. Andy is taken down with a running boot/side Russian leg sweep for the win. (1/2*. That felt like a students match with Hellcat being the only one to come across as a veteran. Hellcat and Sweet seemed to be a decent tag team, but this felt like a filler match.) After the match, two wrestlers come out and dump Hellcat and Sweet over the top to the floor. After they leave, another guy comes out portraying a Russian and attacks Andy and Randy. Security tries to get involved and they are taken out as well. I have no idea what the point of this was, but it seemed like it dragged on for too long.
Third Contest: Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan vs. Pepper Parks & Cherry Bomb: Ryan and Parks start the match with Parks hitting a shoulder block, but Ryan coming back with a hip toss. Ryan tries to use his blow pop in the corner, but Parks blocks it. Ryan knee lifts Parks and is met with a right hand. Parks shoves the blow pop into Ryan’s mouth causing Ryan to tag out. Bomb and LeRae tag into the match. Bomb arm drags LeRae and they trade leg sweeps. LeRae avoids a superkick and backslides Bomb for a two count. LeRae almost wins with another rollup. They roll around the ring in an inside cradle position. Ryan tags into the match and backs Bomb into the corner. Ryan sends Bomb across the ring and Bomb drop toe holds Ryan into the corner followed by a dropkick to the back for a two count. Parks tags in and works over Ryan with a strike and a scoop slam. Ryan knee lifts Parks and tags in LeRae, who hits a top rope head scissors and a tilt a whirl octopus with knee strikes. Ryan returns to the match with a snap suplex for a near fall. Ryan knee drops Parks after a few stomps and comes off the middle rope blocking a boot shot. Parks kicks Ryan into the corner anyway, though. Bomb and LeRae tag in with Bomb clotheslining LeRae several times. LeRae tries for a suplex, but Bomb counters with a running Death Valley Driver for a near fall as Ryan made the save.
Ryan tosses Bomb with the boobplex. Parks hammers away on Ryan followed by a backdrop. Parks splashes Ryan in the corner and hits a snap suplex into the corner. LeRae tosses Parks with a ball-plex. LeRae follows up with a suicide dive. LeRae missile dropkicks Bomb for a two count. Ryan tags in and Bomb dropkicks Ryan, who had LeRae on his shoulders. Parks hits a Codebreaker and a swinging neckbreaker allowing Bomb to pin Ryan for the clean win. (***. I wasn’t really feeling the comedy aspect of the match in the opening moments, but they put together a fun mixed tag match. The crowd enjoyed it and made for a good undercard tag match.) After the match, Brandon Thurston attacks Parks. Thurston decks Bomb with a clothesline and then avoids Parks.
Fourth Contest: Blackjack Phoenix vs. Gabreal Saint in a lumberjack match: Phoenix shoves Saint and is kicked through the ropes to the floor, but is quickly rolled back in. Saint continues with another dropkick and jabs. Saint hammers away on Phoenix but is met with a clothesline. Phoenix works over Saint in the corner with right hands. Saint hammers away on Phoenix with strikes in the corner and delivers a clothesline. Saint tries for an axe handle, but Phoenix manages to block that easily. Phoenix plants Saint with a back suplex. Phoenix yanks Saint down to the mat and delivers a knee drop before putting a headlock on Saint. Saint is dumped to the apron and knocked off with a right hand, but the lumberjacks catch Saint. Phoenix sends Saint to the floor on the other side and the heels attack Saint. Saint breaks free with right hands and returns to the ring. Phoenix plants Saint with a pump handle slam for a two count. Phoenix tries for a slam, but Saint counters and shoves Phoenix to the floor, but the lumberjacks don’t attack and roll Phoenix back into the ring. They collide heads as Saint ran the ropes and both men are down. Saint ducks a lariat to forearm Phoenix. The lumberjacks begin to brawl on the floor. The referee is distracted allowing Phoenix to jam Saint with a chair and connects with a lariat for the win. (*. They relied on the usual lumberjack stuff with distractions and constantly throwing each other out to the floor. I didn’t enjoy this.)
Fifth Contest: ESW Tag Team Champions Hurricane & Johnny Adams vs. James Santel & Sal Muracco: Santel wants to start the match with Hurricane and Adams tags out. Hurricane takes Santel down to the mat with a headlock to start the title match. Santel runs the ropes and is taunted by Hurricane leading to tag out to Muracco, who wants a piece of Adams. Adams controls Muracco with a headlock. Adams taunts Muracco coming off the ropes. Adams keeps control with arm drags and a takedown to the mat for a two count. The champs hit a vertical suplex/standing elbow drop combo for a two count. Hurricane elbows Muracco down to the mat for a near fall. Adams connects with a neckbreaker for a two count. Adams continues with a scoop slam and a vertical suplex for a two count. Hurricane is sent into the corner chest first and double teamed by the challengers. Hurricane fights back with a clothesline and tags in Adams. Adams is met with a running knee lift. Adams continues to be worked over by the heels. Adams counters a double suplex attempt managing to hit a double DDT. Hurricane tags in and cleans house with clotheslines. Hurricane hits a reverse Un-Prettier and an ace cutter for a two count. Hurricane clotheslines Santel to the floor and signals for a chokeslam. Hurricane tries for a chokeslam, but Muracco breaks free. Hurricane hits the chokeslam and Adams comes off the top with a splash for the win. (*. It felt a little clunky and as if the timing wasn’t very good between the two teams. I think the other three guys are fairly new to the wrestling scene and I sensed a level of frustration with Hurricane working with them. This wasn’t an enjoyable segment.)
Sixth Contest: Bobby Sapphire, Roscoe Black & RJ City vs. Brett Mednik, Ron Falco & Coconut Jones: This one is going to get a quick recap because I’m only familiar with RJ City for the most part and I quite honestly just want to get into the final three, more appealing matches. Late in the match, Jones was tossed into a forearm strike by Black and that allowed City to get the pin.
Seventh Contest: Brandon Thurston vs. Colin Delaney vs. Ethan Page vs. Will Calrissian vs. Asylum vs. Johnny Gargano in an elimination match for the DiPaolo Cup: Delaney and Calrissian kickoff the elimination match. Calrissian decks Delaney from behind following a distraction. Delaney recovers to chop Calrissian in the corner several times. Delaney hammers away on Calrissian in the corner followed by an overhand chop. Delaney is dumped to the apron and met with a right hand. Delaney avoids a spear and Calrissian flies to the floor. Delaney springboards off the top rope to hit a crossbody on the floor. Delaney sits Calrissian on a chair in the crowd to deliver a chop. The next entrant is…
Johnny Gargano as Delaney was sent to the floor. Gargano spears Calrissian and takes Delaney out with a suicide dive. Gargano continues with a slingshot DDT on Calrissian for a two count. Gargano dropkicks a seated Calrissian and Delaney returns to the match. Delaney and Gargano trade shoulder blocks. Gargano nearly wins with a backslide. Calrissian attacks both men as they attempted a suplex. Calrissian splashes and kicks both men in opposite corners. The next entrant is..
Ethan Page backdrops Calrissian and follows up with a forearm strike. Page drops Calrissian gut first to the mat and a vertical suplex for a two count. Gargano kicks Page, but Page tosses Gargano with a fallaway slam. Delaney chops Page several times and tries for a suplex, but fails. Page catches Gargano on a spear attempt, but misses a clothesline attempt. Gargano kicks Calrissian and they all trade big boot shots. Calrissian uppercuts Page and Delaney missile dropkicks Calrissian as the next entrant comes out..
Brandon Thurston back suplexs Delaney and gets a leg lock on Calrissian, but Page breaks the submission. Thurston gets out of a rollup by Page and has a Sharpshooter locked in even as Gargano beats on Thurston with strikes. Gargano kicks Thurston and launches Thurston into the corner shoulder first. Delaney stops the cover with an elbow drop. Page crotches a painted face guy on the top rope and that leads to a Tower of Doom spot, but Calrissian actually stops that from happening. Instead, the Tower of Doom happens with Calrissian taking the superplex.
Asylum makes his way out to be the final entrant. Asylum has a microphone and asks if they are happy to be killing themselves for the morons. Asylum asks the fans if they have to kill themselves for the fans approval. Gargano superkicks Asylum and Delaney delivers a forearm smash for a quick elimination.
Gargano and Delaney trade strikes in the middle of the ring with Delaney being knocked to the apron. Gargano superkicks Calrissian, but is rolled up by Thurston for another elimination. Pepper Parks slides into the ring and attacks Thurston. Thurston sends Parks to the floor and is met with a rollup by Delaney for another elimination. Parks and Thurston brawl on the floor. Page plants Calrissian with a slingshot cutter from the apron, but there’s no referee. Calrissian recovers to connect with a double knee gut buster and eliminates Page. That leaves Calrissian and Delaney.
They start off trading a flurry of strikes in the middle of the ring. Calrissian gets the advantage with chops in the corner. Calrissian runs into a dropkick by Delaney followed by a kick to the head. Delaney heads to the top rope, but Calrissian is pulled to the apron and they have a tug of war. Delaney double stomps Calrissian and blocks a cane shot. The referee gets knocked down and Delaney gets hit with the cane followed by a double knee gut buster for the win. (***1/4. The elimination sequences didn’t flow the best. It’s a good match for the most part as it included good workers. They just fell into the trap of quick eliminations, which is something I don’t particularly enjoy in these matches.) After the match, Calrissian reminds the fans that he’s a former ESW Champion. They are no longer jokes. Delaney knocks Calrissian to the floor to end the segment.
Eighth Contest: Rhino vs. Abyss in a four corners of carnage match: They collide with shoulder blocks, but neither man drops down. Rhino shoulder blocks Abyss and continues with right hands. Rhino grabs a stop sign off the ring post, but Abyss blocks it with a boot to the gut. Abyss clotheslines Rhino coming off the ropes and taunts the fans. Abyss grabs a trash can off another ring post and wedges it into a corner. Abyss sends Rhino back first into the trash can. Abyss grabs a table and slides it into the ring. Rhino sends Abyss into the railing and chokes Abyss over the railing briefly. Rhino rams Abyss face first into the ring post. Rhino grabs a table and slides it into the ring, as well. Abyss knee lifts Rhino a few times to avoid a chair shot in the ring. Abyss sets a table up in the corner. Rhino nails Abyss with a leaping clothesline. Rhino hits a frying pan on Abyss’ groin. Rhino sets a table up, but Abyss hits Rhino with a chair and chokes Rhino with it. Abyss runs the ropes and tries for a sit down splash, but Rhino moved the chair to low blow Abyss instead. Rhino shoulder rams Abyss in the corner and Abyss stands in front of the table in the corner. Rhino charges, but Abyss connects with a chokeslam for a two count. Abyss signals for another chokeslam, but Rhino breaks free and they collide on clothesline attempts. Hellcat and Rob Sweet are brawling with guys at ringside as Rhino hits a belly to belly suplex. Rhino waits in the corner and is tripped by Hellcat and Sweet. They attack Rhino and the bell sounds to have the match thrown out. The match is a no contest. (1/2*. That sucked and the finish is probably the worst thing you can do. I’m not sure why they couldn’t do a finish. The idea of both men taking out two heels to send the crowd home happy doesn’t seem to be the best decision to me. I don’t think Abyss vs. Rhino really served much of a purpose for ESW anyway, but I’d much rather get a logical finish for a top match on two featured talents than a no contest. I’m just glad this wasn’t the main event.) After the match, Rhino hits a GORE and shakes hands with Abyss. I don’t think the crowd liked that.
Main Event: ESW Heavyweight Champion Chris Cooper vs. Bill Collier: Collier gets arm control to start the contest yanking down on Cooper’s arm a few times. Collier keeps a hammerlock on the mat, but doesn’t get a submission. Cooper counters with a headlock, but is met with a shoulder block. They attempt dropkicks and miss leading to a double kip up and have a standoff. Cooper shoves Collier away in the corner and taunts Collier by flexing. Collier tosses Cooper across the ring and delivers a few shoulder rams. Collier tries for a press slam, but Cooper breaks free. Collier dumps Cooper over the top, but Cooper hangs onto the ropes and is tossed down to the mat gut first and rolls to the floor. Collier works over Cooper on the floor with a few strikes before returning to the ring. Cooper stomps on Collier to gain control of the contest. Collier nails Cooper with a big boot off the ropes. Collier goes to the middle rope, but Cooper shoved the referee into the corner to cause Collier to drop. Cooper chokes Collier on the mat and switches to a front face lock. Cooper bridges over, but doesn’t get a submission. Cooper uppercuts Collier and leaps over the ropes to drop Collier throat first over the top for a near fall. Cooper keeps a sleeper on Collier as the fans are chanting “why does this matter?”
Cooper comes off the ropes with a leg drop. Cooper atomic drops Collier followed by a side Russian leg sweep for a two count. Cooper hammers away on Collier, but Collier fights back with right hands of his own. Cooper nails Collier with a running knee in the corner. Collier gets a rollup on Cooper for a two count and Cooper drops Collier with another clothesline. Collier fights out of a headlock, but Cooper pummels Collier with more strikes. Collier comes out of the corner to nail Cooper with a lariat. They begin to trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Collier uppercuts Cooper followed by a clothesline. Collier tosses Cooper with a fallaway slam. Collier splashes Cooper in the corner and is met with a knee strike. Cooper hits a Slice Bread for a near fall. Cooper punches Collier in the corner several times. Collier buckle bombs Cooper and connects with a powerslam for a two count. Collier tries for a Death Valley Driver, but Cooper counters with an inside cradle for a near fall. Cooper tries for a crossbody, but is caught and Collier hits a swinging flatliner for a two count. Collier heads to the top, but Cooper cuts Collier off. Collier punches Cooper off the middle rope and Cooper dropkicks Collier. Cooper hits a superplex and both men are down.
Cooper eventually tries for a cover, but Collier kicks out at two. Cooper tries for a neckbreaker, but Collier counters looking for a spear and instead hits the referee. The fans are chanting “that was awful” because it was setup poorly. Collier spears Cooper, but there’s no referee. Cooper low blows Collier and connects with a Codebreaker and manages a two count as another referee came out. Cooper nails the referee with a Codebreaker. Cooper nails Collier with the championship, but only manages a two count. Cooper beats on Collier with strikes. Collier drops Cooper over the top rope and delivers a knockout punch. Collier hits a sit out Death Valley Driver to win the match and title. (**1/4. There were several poorly timed spots and I’m not sure if the fans really bought into Cooper as a main event act. Collier came across much better than Cooper and I’m glad that he won the title here. I wasn’t very entertained during the match and felt myself tuning out as it continued to go on. It didn’t help that the crowd was actively crapping on the action.)
Despite the final two matches not really delivering quality matches, I’m still going to consider this an average show overall. The undercard helped carry the show and considering they continue to keep their releases under three hours, it’s an easy watch regardless.
Thanks for reading.