Good evening once again from the announcers table! We’re here live at “Strapped” in beautiful Saint John, New Brunswick. Sam de Champlain is once again playing host to the event.
Tonight is one of those special occasions when all the titles are on the line. And for the FRAT, it has the potential to be one of the biggest nights of their collective careers, or one they may soon rather forget. Only time will tell.
Entering action, the FRAT are currently proud owners of two of the three corporate championships. The leader of the FRAT, Josh Kotsabasakis, is currently the reigning XWA Heavyweight Champion.
In addition, the XWA Tag Team Champions are being carried by none other than the Gyration Nation. The lone exception is the XWA Elite Division Championship, which is currently secure around the waist of Jonny Versace.
The matchups for Strapped are quite intriguing. The XWA Heavyweight Champion Josh Kotsabasakis will be defending his title against Dazzling Dick Durning. Gyration Nation will be looking for a way to maintain their straps when they take on the newcomers Brute Force (listed at a combined weight of almost 800 lbs).
As most fans are aware, James Steele has been waiting a long time to get his hands on arch rival Wesley Pipes. Tonight he finally gets that chance. After months of sneak attacks and small measures of payback, Pipes and Steele meet to settle this feud once and for all, in a Last Man Standing match.
Also on the card we have Julius Fantana set to try and reclaim the XWA Elite Division Championship when he goes one-on-one with Jonny Versace. John Striker will be entering the squared circle to face Ryan Heath (or whoever Heath believes he is on this particular evening), and the undefeated Shaheer Rasool will be going for another victory when he faces Sunny Warcloud.
Less talk and more action, so here we go!
Championship Roll Call
XWA Heavyweight Champion: Josh Kotsabasakis
XWA Tag Team Champions: Gyration Nation
XWA Elite Division Champion: Jonny Versace
Segment 1: A Recap of Last Month’s Event
First off, a video recap is played which highlights the action from Standoff, though you can also read a more detailed written account of this event.
Once the video finishes up, we’re finally ready to kick off tonight’s offering, "Strapped."
Segment 2: The Freshman Serves up the Pledge
To the hardened wrestling fan, it can be a bit of an odd twist as the first match of the evening was announced as being the XWA Heavyweight Championship title defense. It didn’t take long before things started making a bit more sense as Josh Kotsabasakis would explain.
Kotsabasakis pointed out to Dazzling Dick Durning that the stipulation previously set up by president Nelson Hum was that Durning was required to beat each member of the FRAT before he would be granted a rematch for the title against The Freshman.
The caveat revealed by Kotsabasakis was that while Durning had indeed beaten Chip Chambers and Dale Dangles, he had not beaten all of the FRAT members. There was still one member left...The Pledge.
Match 1: Dazzling Dick Durning vs. The Pledge
Durning reluctantly played along with the shenanigans, but the match was over before it started.
The Pledge got in a nice slap to kick things but made a huge error in judgment when he turned his back on Durning to celebrate with his fellow FRAT members. As he turned his head, Durning hit him with a high boot to the head which about knocked his lips of his face. The Pledge went down for the count, and that was that.
Match 2: Ryan Heath vs. John Striker
The second match of evening pitted John Striker against the man of many faces (as of late), Ryan Heath. At last word, Heath still shows no sign of returning to his “old self." To date he has entered the ring performing as Hulk Hogan, Jesus and Julius Fantana “the second." This evening would be no different as he came to the ring to compete as Puff the Magic Dragon.
So we had a dragon facing a monster in Striker, and in the end, the monster would win. Puff didn’t go down without a fight, though, as he controlled a good portion of the match. Puff stayed on top of Striker and kept him off his feet for a while.
Puff kept things entertaining with pre-offensive-attack dragon roars. While amusing to the fans, they only enraged Striker. After Puff landed a belly-to-back suplex, the dragon was able to coax the crowd into a “destroy” chant of his own.
A failed attempt at landing an F5 by Puff against Striker was the turning point as it wasn’t long before Striker dropped the straps, signaling the end. Up went Puff for the F5, and down went the dragon in a heap of pink plushness.
Oddly enough, though, the F5 seemed to have an added effect in that post-match, Heath appears to have finally come out of his daze. XWA announcer Coug went into the ring after Striker had left to see if Heath was okay.
In short, the bump to the head has returned Heath to his former self. Not only did he finally remember who he was, he was clearly distraught (and rightly so) to be dressed up like Barney the Dinosaur. Where this goes is anyone’s guess.
Segment 3: The Pledge Complains in the Back
Postmatch, we head to the XWA tron to see Kotsabasakis admonishing the Pledge. Kotsabasakis reminds the Pledge that he’s a colossal failure and that it’s his fault that Josh has to go out and try to win the biggest match of his life later tonight.
Evidently, Chambers and Dangles get a pass in terms of their losses to Durning. It may be a long summer for the Pledge. To close out the segment, Kotsabasakis wedgies the Pledge (and by the looks of the video, this young man clearly needs a change of undies).
Match 3: Sunny Warcloud vs. Shaheer Rasool
Onwards and upwards we go to our third contest of the evening. The unbeaten Shaheer Rasool (with Sheik in tow) is set to go one-on-one with perennial fan favourite Sunny Warcloud. This looked to be an interesting matchup, with the high-flying Warcloud trying to be the first competitor to defeat Rasool.
Things got off to a quick start with Warcloud springing into action and nearly putting Rasool into a UFC-style armbar submission. That would have been a shocker. Rasool was just able to avoid the hold and get back to his feet. After tossing Rasool to the outside and following up in hot pursuit, it didn’t take long before the Sheik got involved.
Warcloud impatiently headed to the outside, but before he could toss Rasool back into the ring, Sheik pounced from behind and took him down to the floor. Rasool would dominate much of the action mid-match with a series of knees and kicks. Primitive, but very effective.
As usual, the Sheik played a factor in this one as more than once he attacked Warcloud on the outside, causing him to lose any momentum he may had built up. After Rasool missed from the top turnbuckle, Warcloud got a near fall. Out of nowhere, Warcloud went on a sustained run of high-power offense, taking Rasool off his feet with flying elbows and dropkicks.
As quickly as he gained the control, he lost it, finding himself in a Persian necktie. Once Rasool cinches that in, it’s usually lights out. In this case it was no different, as Warcloud was forced to tap.
Before Rasool and Sheik left the ring, president Nelson Hum arrived to announce that due to Rasool’s wins against various top talents, he was now considered the No. 1 contender.
Segment 4: Another KI Real Video
Another educational segment by KI Real airs…This time it’s the word “badonkadonk." Feel free to look it up.
Match 4: Wesley Pipes vs. James Steele
It was finally time for perhaps the most anticipated match of the evening. This would serve as the blowoff to a feud that has gone on may months now, with James Steele coming up on the losing end more often than not. Tonight was the night to even all scores.
It took no time for this one to start spiraling out of control. Steele was clearly fired up and went on the attack. The action was fast and furious and made its way all around the outside of the ring and even up into the bleachers.
The first one to bring a foreign object into the dance was Pipes, who found himself a steel chair from under the ring. He proceeded to swing that chair like it was nobody’s business, and he connected more than once on the small of Steele’s back.
They would go on to trade chair shots back and forth until Steele headed out under the ring to find an American flag, which (of course) he used as a weapon to knock Pipes silly. Steele followed it up with a beautiful moonsault off of the ropes, connecting with Pipes’ head and upper chest.
The pace was fairly brisk and the crowd was more than fully invested in the action.
As the war escalated further, Pipes kept Steele off his feet with stiff shots to the head and back. Pipes produced a bag of thumbtacks and dumped them into the ring. He tried to deliver a pedigree to Steele into the tacks, but Steele reversed it and delivered a spinebuster to Pipes on the mat. Pipes came up with thumbtacks in his back, arms and shoulder.
If that wasn’t enough, out came a garbage can and everyone’s favourite—the folding table. This never seems to end well for somebody. Steele delivered a superkick to Pipes, buying him some time to set up the table. Pipes temporarily gained control but it was short-lived.
Steele left the ringside area and returned with a ladder. He slid it into the ring, lambasted Pipes with right after right and laid his foe across the table. The end came when Steele climbed to the top of the ladder and dove on top of Pipes, sending both men through the table.
Steele was able to make it to his feet, but Pipes didn’t have enough to beat the 10 count, giving the win to James Steele in the last match before intermission.
Match 5: Gyration Nation vs. Brute Force
After intermission, initial attempts to match strength with Brute Force left Gyration Nation either on their backs or unwillingly flying through the air. Manslaughter Manson quickly knocked Dale Dangles off his feet. Chambers and Dangles tried to use some slick tag-teaming to keep a fresh man in the ring, but it wasn’t long before Brute Force seemed to figure out the strategy and adapt.
Brute Force aren’t going to out wrestle you, nor will they necessarily be considered technical gods. But they are mean, nasty, wrecking machines who go straight through anyone and anything in their path. At one point, Chambers was sent into the ropes and was met with double elbows taking him off his feet and likely loosening some teeth.
Big Nasty made no apologies when he continued to choke out Chambers in the corner with his size-15 boot. Dangles did his best to rally his partner to make the tag. But Dangles met with the same fate when Brute Force all but dismembered him as soon as he entered the ring.
Gyration Nation had glimmers of hope where they were able to execute some solid tag-team moves, including double dropkicks and double flying shoulders. But the latter seemed to barely stun Manson. The merciful end came when Dangles was left helpless on his back in the middle of the ring. Chambers was sandwiched between Manson and Big Nasty.
This was followed by leg drops and dual monster splashes. The ref counted both, and this one was over. Gyration Nation may not have been able to hang on to the gold tonight, but they lived to fight another day. And given the monsters they were just in the ring with, that may be an accomplishment in itself.
Match 6: Julius Fantana vs. Jonny Versace
Sixth on the card was a re-match from last month, with Julius Fantana trying to regain the XWA Elite Championship from current title holder Jonny Versace.
Kicking things off, Versace tried to unmask Fantana. After he successfully pulled off his green mask, both he and the fans were shocked to find another mask (this time a blue one).
A few minutes in, Fantana missed a running shoulder (Versace stepped out of the way at the last second) and Fantana drove his collarbone directly into the post). This left Fantana with a damaged wing, which Versace would try and work early on.
Versace was very much in control as he used his strength and experience to keep Fantana off of his feet and to keep the crowd from rallying Fantana. Versace caught Fantana after an attempted hurricanrana and slammed him into the mat with authority.
Versace hit his brainbuster finisher but took a long time following up for the pin. As a result, he only got a two-count. Fantana appeared to have his second wind and started mounting an attack.
Fantana landed a multitude of chops, sending Versace wobbling in the ring. This allowed Fantana to slingshot Versace off the ropes and into a flying cross body.
Fantana has Versace outside the ring and continues decimating him with chops and slaps. Versace finally regained control and slid Fantana back into the ring. Versace delivered a swinging neckbreaker off the top rope, pulled the leg back for the three-count and retained his title.
Post-match, Versace tried to unmask Fantana yet again, but Barstool Bailey was out to save the day. Bailey gave Fantana his stool to sit and take a breather on. Barstool took the mic and talked about how even if Fantana gets six more chances and loses, the fans will still love him. Bailey isn’t feeling the same love and said the fans aren’t respecting him.
Unfortunately for Fantana, he was the one to pay the price as Bailey nailed him with the Hangover before leaving.
Wait, the lights go out and another cryptic video plays. Someone is coming in May 2012.
Match 7: Dazzling Dick Durning vs. Josh Kotsabasakis
And the main event of the evening saw Dazzling Dick Durning getting his rematch for the XWA Heavyweight Championship against the reigning titleholder The Freshman Josh Kotsabasakis. The format for this contest is as follows:
1. Twenty five of Saint John’s finest have paid a small fee to purchase a strap.
2. These fans are permitted to surround the ring.
3. When a combatant is sent to the floor, the fans are allowed to strap the wrestler until they are back into the ring.
Let the games begin!
Both wrestlers clearly had it in their mind that they wanted to send the other to the floor so the fans can help them do damage. The first one over the top rope was Kotsabasakis, but he smartly landed on the apron and rolled back in.
After getting his face raked on the ropes, Durning was able to fight back. But when he tried to hit a high knee in the corner, he missed. In the process, his leg got caught in the top turnbuckle, leaving him in the tree of woe. On the way down, his head struck the mat.
The fans were reluctant to strap Durning early on when he was sent to the floor, but after some time had passed, the fans' need to get their money’s worth took over, and they no longer cared who they were strapping.
Wouldn’t you know it, out came FRAT to get involved. Both Chambers and Dangles snuck into the ring, but Durning fended them off, banging their heads together. Durning delivered his finisher to Chambers while Dangles was in the midst of sliding a belt in to Kotsabasakis . Durning went up top but missed Kotsabasakis, landing awkwardly.
Things came to a head when the Pledge entered the ring trying to throw powder on Durning. Durning was quick enough to move, and Kotsabasakis was on the receiving end of the powder, effectively blinding him. After that, Durning merely had to hit his babykiller piledriver on Kotsabasakis one last time to regain the belt!
Post-match, Shaheer Rasool came out to beat down Dick. The Sheik came with him, and they both ran amok over Durning and the officials. Durning was able to fend them off briefly in the process, delivering a back body drop to the Sheik.
Rasool eventually put Dick in submission while the Sheik strapped him with the title belt. Just to drive home the point, Rasool and Sheik decimated anything in their path on the way back to the locker room. What a path of destruction…
Biggest Pops Of Night
1. Wesley Pipes pours tacks into the ring, and the crowd smells blood
2. Sheik goes up and over via backdrop after sneak attacking Dick Durning
3. Pledge throws powder into The Freshman’s eyes and costs him the title
Biggest Boos Of Night
1. Josh Kotsabasakis tries to duck his title match by sending in the Pledge
2. The Sheik takes out the referees in a mad frenzy
3. Brute Force become your new XWA Tag Team Champions
Highlight of Night
James Steele goes high flying off the ladder, onto Wesley Pipes, sending him through the table.
Surprise of Night
The Pledge actually wears underwear.
The next show is Top Rope Turmoil, which comes to you from the Lord Beaverbrook Arena on Friday May 4th. Doors open at 7:00pm; bell time is 7:30pm. See you next time!
XWA is Canada's premier independent wrestling promotion based out of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. More information on the promotion including recaps of past events as well as information on upcoming events can be found on their website.