ESW Brawlfest 5/21/2022

Empire State Wrestling presents Brawlfest ’22
From: Buffalo, NY

Opening Contest: ESW Interstate Champion Frankie Feathers vs. Johnny Swinger: Swinger tosses Feathers over the top to the floor before the bell sounds. Swinger is answering an open challenge, by the way. Swinger slingshots Feathers into the ring and rams Feathers into the corner followed by a clothesline. Swinger works over Feathers after a hip toss, but Feathers bails to the floor. Swinger rams Feathers onto the apron face first. Swinger eye rakes Feathers and rolls Feathers into the ring. Feathers works over Swinger with strikes on the mat. Feathers chops Swinger in the corner. Swinger chops Feathers, but misses a splash in the corner. Feathers delivers a knee drop for a two count. Swinger gets a sunset flip for a two count and Feathers nails Swinger with a dropkick for a two count. Swinger nearly wins with an inside cradle. Feathers drives Swinger down with a backbreaker. Feathers goes to the top rope and misses an elbow drop. Swinger rams Feathers into the corner face first several times. Swinger jabs Feathers several times followed by a clothesline. Swinger puts a sleeper on Feathers, but doesn’t get a submission. Feathers rams Swinger into the corner face first. Feathers gets a rollup on Swinger after the referee took a fanny pack away and gets a three count. (*. Swinger was a lackluster surprise for the open challenge as I’m not sure a lot of people in the crowd knew or cared about Swinger. There wasn’t much to the match either.)

Second Contest: Vinnie Moon vs. Mike Skyros vs. Levi Everett vs. Gavin Glass vs. Brayden Lee vs. Kevin Bennett in a scramble match: Skyros kicks Levi while he was making butter. That leads to everyone getting some offense in at a rapid rate. Moon gets a two count on Lee with a rollup. They have a standoff until Skyros sends Lee into the guard railing and the same to Moon. Skyros puts Levi’s hat on and taunts him. Levi headbutts Skyros and hits a spinebuster. Everett twists Skyros left arm and pulls back to the mat. Glass nails Levi with a running knee, but Moon forearms Glass. Lee delivers a kick, but Skyros kicks Lee, too. Everett hits a suicide dive to the floor onto Glass. Skyros fakes a dive and taunts the crowd. Moon hits a Codebreaker on Skyros. Moon heads to the top rope hitting a dive to the floor. Lee hits a dive to the floor. Skyros hits a sit out vertical on Lee, but Everett spears Skyros. Everett goes to the top rope and hits a diving headbutt. Glass hits a cutter on Everett for a near fall. Glass chops Everett in the corner. Bennett has remained on the floor the entire match doing nothing. Lee dropkicks Everett into the corner and hits a backpack stunner on Glass and a cannonball splash onto Everett. Lee hits a Coast To Coast in the corner on both men. Lee hits a shooting Starr press on Glass, but Skyros makes the save. Skyros kicks Lee in the corner and hits a middle rope DDT. Moon breaks the cover with a splash off the top. Bennett gets a rollup on Moon and wins the match. (**. The finish was a little obvious once it was shown that Bennett hadn’t done anything on the floor. Personally, I wouldn’t have noted it and had him win. I had kind of forgotten about him prior to them showing him on camera. It’s a fine scramble match and I was left being impressed with Brayden Lee.)

Third Contest: Vince Valor vs. Alec Price: The fans are behind Valor, which annoys Price. Price goes to the corner to avoid Valor early on into the match. Valor backs Price into a corner and taunts him. Valor tosses Price to the mat and plays to the crowd. Valor wipes his butt with Price’s jacket. Valor shoulder blocks Price to the mat. Valor catches Price on his shoulders, but is sent into the corner. Valor has Price for a back suplex and drives Price down to the mat. Valor backdrops Price, but Price avoids a slam and delivers a chop block. Price dropkicks Valor on the knee followed by a double stomp and a knee drop. Valor is met with a few strikes to the back. Valor elbows Price and hits a gut wrench slam. Price nails Valor with a kick to the head. Price dragon screw leg whips Valor to the mat. Price works over the left knee of Valor with strikes. Price stomps Valor on the knee. Price uppercuts Valor into a corner a few times. Price knee strikes Valor followed by a running boot in the corner. Price misses a strike in the corner and superkicks Valor. Valor ducks a kick and leg sweeps Price to the mat. Valor hits a sit out powerbomb. They begin to trade strikes from their knees. They get to their feet with Valor getting the advantage. Valor clotheslines Price a few times and hits a neckbreaker out of a hip toss. Valor hits a swinging side slam for a two count. Valor has Price on his shoulders, but Price elbows free and delivers a kick to the face. Price leaps off the middle rope to hit a leg lariat. Valor catches Price, but Price connects with a side Russian leg sweep and a twisting moonsault for a near fall. Price takes Valor down to the mat and gets a leg lock, but Valor reaches the ropes. Price waits in the corner for Valor to get to his feet. Price misses a step up kick. Valor tries for a move, but his knee gives out. Price knee strikes Valor several times. Valor decks Price with a clothesline. Valor has Price on his shoulders to hit a Death Valley Driver for the win. (*1/2. I wasn’t a fan of the match as it was a little boring and felt like it dragged on for me. There wasn’t anything in that match that made me invested to watch it.)

Fourth Contest: Shazza McKenzie vs. Christina Marie: McKenzie reminds Buffalo that they haven’t won a Super Bowl, that good heel heat. They start off with a test of strength with McKenzie and Marie trading advantage. McKenzie takes Marie down, but that doesn’t last long. Marie doesn’t budge on a shoulder block. Marie shoulder blocks McKenzie to the mat. Marie arm drags McKenzie followed by a dropkick and a scoop slam for a two count. McKenzie elbows Marie and hits a rollup into the corner and a running boot strike. McKenzie goes for a cover managing a two count. McKenzie chokes Marie in the corner. McKenzie kicks Marie over the back. McKenzie gets a two count after a leg drop. McKenzie delivers a few elbows and locks in a submission, but Marie doesn’t give in. Marie hits a jawbreaker, but runs into a boot in the corner. Marie handsprings out of the corner and delivers a dropkick into the corner. McKenzie delivers a few knee lifts and a fisherman suplex for a near fall. McKenzie slaps the back of Marie’s head, but Marie fires back with strikes. They collide on stereo clotheslines and they are both down on the mat. They chop each other with Marie delivering several forearms. Marie clotheslines McKenzie and a back elbow. Marie forearms Mckenzie from the apron and rolls over from the apron. Marie hits a springboard back elbow for a near fall. McKenzie hits a DDT and a side suplex for a near fall. Marie hits a Samoan Drop, but McKenzie counters with a rollup for a two count. Marie hits a Rock Bottom and wins the match. (*. There wasn’t much interest in the match and the action wasn’t all that exciting. Marie seems to be someone that ESW is getting behind and the fans respond well to her.)

For what it’s worth, Lethal got a huge reaction for his entrance.

Fifth Contest: Jay Lethal vs. Trey Miguel: They shake hands before the bell to show respect for each other. The crowd is heavily behind Lethal. They do struts and the referee does as well. Lethal and Miguel walk off thinking they are fine, but obviously return to compete. Lethal has wrist control, but Miguel counters to take Lethal down to the mat. Lethal pops up and counters as well with wrist lock. Miguel arm drags Lethal to the mat and taunts him with dance moves. Lethal shoulder blocks Miguel and runs the ropes. Miguel shoulder blocks Lethal to the mat. Lethal hip tosses Miguel and hits a seated dropkick. Miguel gets a waist lock on Lethal, but that offense is short lived. Lethal hammerlocks Miguel to the mat and keeps control. Miguel breaks free of a hammerlock and gets a headlock on Lethal. Miguel kicks Lethal from the apron and kicks Lethal on the elbow before a dropkick to the chest to send Lethal bailing to the floor to regroup. Lethal returns to the ring and they have a test of strength. Lethal kicks Miguel on the arm and takes Miguel down to the mat. Miguel bridges onto his head avoiding a pin attempt. Lethal tries to keep Miguel down a few times but fails to do so. Miguel arm drags Lethal to the floor and hits a somersault dive over the top to the floor! Miguel is fired up.

Lethal rams Miguel onto the apron a few times to gain the advantage. Miguel leaps over the railing and superkicks Lethal. Miguel leaps over the railing to plant Lethal with a tornado DDT on the floor! Miguel tries for a cover, but Lethal kicks out at two. Miguel knee drops Lethal on the back a few times followed by a kick to the back. Lethal nails Miguel with a kick, but Miguel blocks the Lethal Injection and hits a springboard moonsault for a two count. Miguel forearms Lethal against the ropes. Lethal holds the ropes and is chopped by Miguel. Miguel chops Lethal several times, but Lethal powers up. Miguel slaps Lethal on the thigh, but Lethal hits a backbreaker and a flatliner. Lethal delivers a backbreaker for a two count. Lethal sends Miguel into the corner back first. Lethal stomps on Miguel’s back on the mat. Lethal chops Miguel in the corner. Miguel boots Lethal followed by an elbow in the corner. Lethal hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker and a back suplex. Both men are down.

Lethal chops Miguel and Miguel struggles to respond with a chop. They begin to trade chops in the middle of the ring. Lethal misses a kick and is kicked by Miguel. Lethal superkicks Miguel, but Miguel hits a lariat. Miguel kicks Lethal a few times on the chest. Lethal ducks a kick, but Miguel delivers a flurry and a double stomp for a near fall. Lethal elbows Miguel, but Miguel hits a double knee in the corner. Lethal gets his knees up to avoid a moonsault. Lethal tries for a suplex, but Miguel breaks free. Lethal hits a swinging neckbreaker and a brainbuster for a near fall. Lethal misses a dropkick and Miguel misses a clothesline on the apron. They are both on the apron until Miguel clotheslines Lethal into the ring. Lethal dropkicks Miguel off the apron to the floor. Lethal waits in the ring and hits a suicide dive to the floor. Lethal heads to the top rope and leaps off. Miguel almost wins with an inside cradle after countering the figure four. Lethal tries for another figure four, but is countered. Lethal locks in the figure four, but Miguel doesn’t submit. Miguel reaches the ropes to break the hold. Miguel almost wins with a rollup to avoid the figure four. Lethal low blows Miguel and hits the Lethal Injection for the win. (****. This was a fantastic match. The storytelling and counters throughout the match were executed very well and the flow of the match was my ideal kind of match. Easily match of the night to this point. I loved that it was a friendly match, but Lethal showed his true colors for the finish of the match. Having it be the finish and not drawn out tends to be more effective.)

Kevin Bennett comes out onto the stage before the next match starts. Bennett notes this is a number one contenders match for the ESW Heavyweight Championship. Bennett believes he’s the true number one contender. Kevin Blackwood, the champion, isn’t even here. Bennett says the match is pointless and have fun wrestling.

Sixth Contest: Jay Freddie vs. Bill Collier in a number one contenders match: Collier shoulder blocks Freddie, but Freddie comes back with an arm drag. They trade a few chops in the middle of the ring. Freddie gets the advantage with several chops in the corner. Collier misses a few strikes and Freddie stops Collier with a jawbreaker. Freddie dropkicks Collier into the corner and tries for a tornado DDT, but Collier counters and hits a press slam across the ring. Collier chops Freddie into the ropes and plays to the crowd. Collier drops Freddie with another chop to the mat. Collier chops Freddie to the mat and hits a snap suplex. Collier uppercuts Freddie in the corner. Freddie hits a middle rope Codebreaker and hits a head scissors to send Collier to the floor. Freddie takes Collier out with a suicide dive a couple of times. Collier blocks a third attempt by delivering a kick and yanks Freddie’s arm into the ropes. Collier yanks Freddie down to the mat by his arm and keeps arm control. Freddie battles free, but is arm dragged to the mat and Collier delivers a leg drop to the arm.

Collier kicks Freddie in the ribs a few times to keep control of the contest. Collier sends Freddie shoulder first into the corner. Collier slams Freddie to the mat for a one count. Collier knee lifts Freddie a few times and kicks Freddie’s arm over the top rope. Collier continues with chops in the corner. Collier misses a boot in the corner. Freddie chops Collier on the top rope and follows to the top turnbuckle. Freddie hooks Collier for a suplex. Collier knocks Freddie off. Freddie dragon screw leg whips Collier off the middle rope to the mat. Freddie dropkicks Collier on the knee a few times. Freddie dragon screw leg whips Collier to the mat again. Freddie continues to focus his attack on Collier’s knee. Freddie delivers a running knee strike in the corner and hits a tornado DDT for a near fall. Freddie tries for a double under hook, but Collier counters with a sit out Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Collier big boots Freddie a couple of times. Freddie gets fired up and chops Collier. Collier headbutts Freddie and delivers a shoulder breaker for a two count. Collier chops Freddie and tries for a slam, but Freddie counters with a German suplex. Collier responds with a German suplex of his own. Freddie tosses Collier with a snap German suplex and signals for finish. Freddie runs into a boot and a spear by Collier for a two count.

Collier waits in the corner as Freddie struggles to his feet. Collier misses a clothesline, but gets a Crossface on Freddie. Freddie gets to his feet and hits a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. They trade forearms on the mat as they struggle to their feet. They trade forearms in the middle of the ring. Freddie drops Collier with a kick to the head. Freddie goes to the top rope and misses a diving headbutt. Collier locks in the Crossface, but Freddie doesn’t give in. Freddie knee strikes Collier and tries for a shining wizard, but is powerbombed into the corner. Freddie hits a cutter and a shining wizard for a near fall. Freddie goes back to the top rope and hits a diving headbutt for a two count. Freddie tries for a suplex, but counters an attempt by Collier and hits a suplex for a near fall. Freddie goes to the middle rope, but is caught in midair and Collier hits a swinging flatliner. Collier delivers a forearm strike and Kevin Bennett is getting on the apron. Collier is distracted by that and picks up Freddie. Freddie counters a forearm with an inside cradle to win the match. (***1/4. A good match with a bit a of a predictable outcome. Bennett getting involved opens up matches with both guys, but I’d absolutely expect a showdown with Collier first and I’m interested in seeing that. Having it follow the Lethal/Miguel match probably hurt the perception of how good it is. If I watched this on its own it may be a better match. A good hard hitting match regardless between two wrestlers I enjoy watching.)

Backstage, ESW Interstate Frankie Feathers cuts a promo about being a longest reigning title. Vince Valor celebrates his win, too. Alec Price enters the scene and says he wants the Interstate Championship. Feathers tells Price he can have a shot whenever he wants.

Seventh Contest: Chael Connors & TJ Epixx vs. Cerin Rahne & Jeremiah Richter: Richter and Connors start the match with Richter tossing Connors across the ring. Epixx tags in to try his luck and kicks Richter a few times on the knee. Richter works over Epixx in the corner and catches Epixx on his shoulder dropping Epixx over the top turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Richter boots Connors off the apron to the floor. Richter works over Epixx and chokes Epixx over the middle rope. Rahne uppercuts Epixx, but is met with right hands until a boot to the knee stops Epixx. Richter returns to the match and boots Epixx in the corner. Epixx elbows Richter in the corner and tries for a tornado DDT, but is backdropped instead. Richter slams Epixx and delivers an elbow drop for a two count. Richter is sent into the corner chest first and misses a splash. Epixx kicks Richter and tags in Connors. Richter accidentally kicks Rahne off the apron. Connors hits a springboard twisting kick to send Richter to the floor. Connors takes Richter out with a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Connors goes to the top rope hitting a swanton bomb on Richter for a near fall. Epixx and Connors kick Richter in the corner. Richter kicks Connors and tries for a chokelam on Epixx, but is met with kicks instead. Connors hits a top rope blockbuster and Epixx hits a 450 splash, but Rahne pulls the referee out. Epixx is crotched by Richter as Richter rammed Connors into the corner. Richter grabs Epixx to hit a sit out chokebomb. Rahne tags in and pins Epixx for the win. (*1/2. I’m assuming Rahne and Richter are going to be a heel duo that gets a lot of attention and focus in the tag division. I didn’t really care for the duo. Epixx and Connors were good and had some fun offense. Epixx seems to be making the rounds throughout New York and could be a breakout guy in the next year or so. This felt like a cool down match for the main event.)

A video package explaining the ESW Tag Team Championships being vacated due to Gregory Iron and RJ City having not defended the titles since the pandemic. Iron promised that ESW would regret this.

Main Event: High Seas (Cloudy & Nick Ando) vs. To Infinity & Beyond (Colin Delaney & Cheech) in a ladder match for the vacant ESW Tag Team Championships: Delaney and Cheech send Cloudy and Ando to the floor to start the match. They follow to the floor to keep control of the match. Ando is dropped chest first over the guard railing by Delaney. Gregory Iron is watching the match from the stage. Cloudy gets a ladder to the face, but Ando baseball slides the ladder into Cheech and Delaney. Cloudy chokes Delaney in the corner, but Delaney knocks Ando to the floor. Cloudy knee strikes Delaney in the corner. Delaney drop toe holds Cloudy into the corner and Cheech kicks Cloudy. Delaney hits a back suplex and places a ladder over Cloudy allowing Cheech to hit a slingshot senton. Cloudy remains on the ladder and its picked up only for Cloudy to be tossed off. Ando is sent to the floor by Cheech. Cheech stops Cloudy climbing the ladder and has him on his shoulders. Ando slingshots the ladder into Delaney’s face! Cheech sends Cloudy into another ladder face first. Cheech rams a ladder into Ando in the corner. Cloudy misses a clothesline and Cheech dropkicks a ladder into Ando. Cheech drops Cloudy onto the ladder back first. Cheech begins to climb the ladder, but is shoved off and gets the ladder rammed into him. Ando dropkicks Cheech in the corner.

Cloudy grabs a ladder from under the ring, but it’s a small one. Cloudy lays that ladder over the top turnbuckle. Ando is sent into the ladder face first. Cloudy head scissors Cheech onto the ladder. Cloudy tosses a ladder into the ring and begins to climb. Delaney stops Cloudy, but is pummeled with strikes. Cheech kicks Ando followed by a knee strike. Cloudy tries to climb, but Cheech stops Cloudy getting him on his shoulders and Delaney hits a cutter off the ropes. Delaney suicide dives onto Ando and hits a sliding German suplex on Cloudy. Ando stops Delaney on the ladder with forearms. Ando tries to climb, but Cheech delivers a knee breaker to stop Ando. Cheech gets a leg lock, but Cloudy tries to break it up. Cheech keeps the hold on
Ando and has Cloudy trapped, but Cloudy breaks free and meets Delaney on the ladder. Cheech sends Cloudy into the ladder face first. Cheech begins to climb snd kicks Cloudy. Cheech and Delaney hit the Lincoln Lob on both Ando and Cloudy. Ando dumps Cheech to the floor and trades strikes with Delaney. Ando blocks a kick and sends Delaney face first into the ladder.

Delaney tries to fight out from under the ladder, but the ladder is rammed into his body by Cloudy and Ando. Ando and Cloudy hit a 585 and dropkick combo onto the ladder. Ando climbs the ladder, but Cheech gets up and stops Ando on the ladder. Cheech hits a top rope hurricanrana from off the top rope. Cloudy drops Cheech with a cutter. Cloudy kicks Delaney, but is met with a heel kick. Delaney pops up and plays to the crowd. Delaney goes under the ring and gets a really tall ladder. Ando stops Delaney and yanks him down to the mat. Cheech climbs a ladder on the floor and jumps onto the ladder in the ring to stop Ando. Ando knocks Cheech off with right hands. Cheech springboards off the ropes and hammers away on Ando to knock him off. Cheech is tipped over by Cloudy and lands on the ropes chest first. Cloudy lays a ladder over the middle rope and another ladder. Delaney is sent into the ladder face first. Cheech sends Cloudy to the floor as Ando tries to climb. Cheech gets on the other ladder to meet Ando at the top. Cloudy gets on the ladder behind Cheech. Cloudy helps Ando to hit a sit out vertical suplex off the ladder to the mat! Cloudy sets up the ladder and begins to climb. Delaney sets up a smaller ladder next to Cloudy. Ando slides a third ladder into the ring. Delaney moves to the bigger ladder after knocking Cloudy off. Delaney is stopped by a low blow from Cloudy and falls down. Cloudy and Ando grab the belts to win the match to become the new champions. (***1/4. It’s a good ladder match with a disappointing finish for me. I was hoping for a more exciting finish. The low blow and collapse was just a little underwhelming. They had some good spots throughout the match and I think High Seas winning the titles is the right call. As I usually say, it takes effort to not have at least a good ladder match. This was a good ladder match and flew by.)

Final Thoughts:
The first half of the show was a bit slow and lacked much excitement. However, the second half having Lethal/Miguel, Freddie/Collier and the ladder match really turned the show around for me. Thus, this gets a thumbs up from me for such a strong second half. Recommended show.
Thanks for reading.

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