It’s official: Summer is finally here!
The sun has been shining and the weather has been oh-so-fine. The only thing missing so far to date is a little action in the squared circle.
Well! Tonight we fix that as we get our monthly helping of high-flying-smash-mouth wrestling entertainment.
Live in historic Saint John New Brunswick we’re set for Roll The Dice. When you talk Roll The Dice, you’re talking about the premier summer wrestling extravaganza held by the XWA each year in the July time frame.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Roll The Dice briefcase contains within it a contract. This contract entitles the holder to a title shot for any of the XWA Championship belts. The briefcase can be cashed in at any time, and at any place.
And that is what makes it such a desired prize. Statistics don’t lie, and if I were a betting man, I would say that the winner of the Roll The Dice briefcase will go on to become a champion in the XWA. We just don’t know which belt and when it will happen.
At last year’s Roll The Dice, we saw Joshua Kotsabasakis cement his spot as a main eventer when he beat five of the XWA’s finest to capture the prestigious Roll The Dice briefcase. This year’s winner is anyone’s guess. At this point, we aren’t even sure who will be in the match to begin with.
You can bet there will be various ladders involved and when it’s all over, there’s a good chance one or more of the competitors may be sporting a headache of epic proportions.
We also have some previously-announced matches that will take place this evening. General Duce is returning and is set to take on Jonny Versace. We also know that in this very XWA ring this evening we will see James Steele taking on current XWA Heavyweight Champion Shaheer Rasool.
We also know that due to the breakup of prior XWA Tag Team Champions Brute Force, the titles have been officially vacated. Hopefully we’ll have more clarity around how this situation will be resolved this evening.
Tonight is the night where champions are born, careers are ended, and history is made. Speaking of legacy, The Milion Dollar Man Ted DiBiase will also be on hand this evening. We’re not sure how he plans on making his presence known.
We only know that as he’s told us on various occasions over the years, everyone has a price. We’ll see whether The Million Dollar Man has spread any wealth amongst the dressing room or whether he’s here with honourable intentions.
So without further ado, let’s get this party started and kick off July’s XWA offering, Roll The Dice.
[What follows is a recap of the July XWA event, “Roll The Dice".]
Championship role call
XWA Heavyweight Champion
XWA Tag Team Champions
XWA Elite Division Champion
Segment One: A recap of last month’s event
A video recap was played highlighting the action from Deception. Once the video finished, it was time to finally kick things off properly. The crowd was welcomed to Roll The Dice.
Match One: James Steele vs. Shaheer Rasool
Roll The Dice got off to a hot start with Shaheer Rasool defending his XWA Heavyweight Champion of the World against local and perennial fan favourite James Steele (hailing from Sussex New Brunswick). Both entered to slick new video packages, suggesting the production crew is once again raising the creative bar that they’ve set for themselves.
Steele failed to make it into the ring before Rasool attacked and started taking the fight to the “Working Class Hero”. Rasool didn’t bother digging into his technical bag of tricks focusing instead on simply choking Steele by driving his throat across the bottom rope.
Rasool followed that up with a running knee to the head of Steele as he lay prone on his back in the corner. The Sheik was sure to get a few shots in when the referee was distracted doing his best to try and help his man win.
While Sheik distracted the referee, Rasool used a foreign object (cloth or bandana-shaped item) to drape across the throat of Steele depriving him of crucial oxygen while in the Camel Clutch position. Steele was clearly just hanging on during the earlier portion of this match as Rasool and The Sheik worked almost in tag team-like fashion. One would distract the referee while the other would inflict damage.
After being put through legal and illegal variations of the Camel Clutch, Steele finally dug up enough energy to power up from the move and deliver a side slam to Rasool. This was the first major sustained offense from Steele since the early part of the contest.
Steele then went to work on Rasool with an oxygen-depleting hold of his own in the form of the Sleeper. Rasool faded but eventually broke free when The Sheik got involved yet again. Steele stayed on offense by delivering a Russian Legsweep followed by a forearm/elbow drop to the head of Rasool. At this point it was starting to look as if the belt might be slipping away from the champion.
Steele sent Rasool off the ropes into a back body drop which was a precursor to a devastating Spinebuster. Just when it looked as if Steele was heading for the victory, Rasool was able to counter Steele, drop him face first onto the mat, and then transition into his finisher the Persian Necktie and this one was all over, with the champion retaining.
Segment two: Rasool talks, Fantana responds
After Rasool’s impressive win over James Steele, he lingered in the ring seemingly berating the fans and his fallen opponent to a chorus of boos. Perhaps unable to stand it any longer, Julius Fantana hit the ring in to silence the terror from the Middle East.
After nailing his trademark 506 (and nearly clobbering The Sheik with it in the process), Fantana pulled Rasool up into the air in a suplex position for what seemed like an eternity before dropping him on his back. Fantana was evidently not satisfied just yet as he toppled the Sheik to the outside, and went high up in the corner to deliver his 450 Splash.
For good measure Fantana posed with the World Heavyweight Championship—perhaps declaring his intentions via his actions. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one.
Segment Three: KI Real video
KI Real delivered another in a series of informational videos helping broaden the vocabulary of today’s youth. If I’m not mistaken, the word of the day was “cracker”.
Segment Four: Nelson Hum speaks
XWA President Nelson Hum noted for the fans that the company has released one of the members of Brute Force due to medical issues. As a result, the XWA Tag Team Championship belts were effectively vacated. and as such, were going to be the prize in a tag team gauntlet match that would start immediately.
Match Two: Tag Team Gauntlet match
So just like that it was time for a tag team Gauntlet match. The rules as explained were relatively simple. Two teams would start in the ring and attempt to secure a victory via the standard means (pinfall, disqualification, or submission). The winner would remain in the ring and would go on to face another tag team opponent. This cycle would continue until such time as all teams registered as entrants in the gauntlet match had competed.
XWA’s ring announcer JD brought the XWA Tag Team Championship belts to the ring so everyone could see the prize(s) up for grabs. After tantalizing the guys in the back, it was time to let those who thought they could bring it on this evening to try and lay claim to the biggest tag team prize in the XWA.
The first tag team to take the ring was the R&R Express (Rick and Rodney). Their opponents would turn out to be none other than the El Handsomos. That’s right, for this evening it would appear the chicanery and skullduggery found in many of the seemingly lone El Handsomo matches (where one masked assailant swaps out with the other mid match) is going on hiatus tonight. Or maybe not, as only one of the El Handsomo’s takes the ring to begin.
The first El Handsomo got off to a bad start by polishing off the remains of a beer from his opponents. This appeared to instantly intoxicate him to the crowd’s amusement. Sure enough, before long the second El Handsomo appeared from under the ring to take both members of the R&R Express down for the count. The El Handsomo’s took early control until Rick bounced back to even things up.
The critical point came when an El Handsomo Irish Whip was reversed. The R&R Express member followed up with a swinging neckbreacker. Add to that another finishing move and this was just enough to get the job done and secure the pinfall.
Winners and moving on, R&R Express
Entrant 3: Renegades
If you blinked you missed this as the Renegades (comprised of Eric O’Connell and Jack Spears) hit the ring and wasted little time. Each member took a number of the R&R Express and before you knew it, they had gotten the victory and sent the R&R Express home early on this evening.
Winners and moving on, Renegades
Entrant 4: Full Metal Militia
The next entrants into the Gauntlet event was the Full Metal Militia. This new team of Jax Mason and Adrian Cage has been looking to make a mark in the tag team division and this was a great opportunity to showcase their talent. Unfortunately the Renegades did their best to Jump Mason and Cage upon entry.
The crowd was clearly divided in whom they were backing for the win as cheers for all four competitors broke out in succession. The Renegades eventually were overpowered and the Full Metal Militia took control. It ended when Jax Mason attempted to suplex Jack Spears back into the ring from outside the ropes.
Just when it looked as if Mason would deliver the move, O’Connell reached beneath the ropes to pull Mason’s feet out from under him. Mason crumbled, Spears fell on top of him, and the Full Metal Militia were eliminated via pinfall.
Winners and moving on, Renegades
Entrant 5: Gyration Nation
The fifth entrant in the Gauntlet was Gyration Nation. Dale Dangles and Chip Chambers wasted no time in attacking the Renegades and taking the early control. The Renegades were able to isolate Chambers and begin weakening him.
Chambers found a way to make the tag and in came Dangles. Gyration Nation used their experience to repeatedly double-team the Renegades without getting disqualified. This resulted a pinfall which led Chambers and Dangles to believe that they had successfully recaptured the XWA Tag Team Championship belts. But the Gauntlet wasn’t over just yet.
Winners and moving on, Gyration Nation
Entrant 6: Wave Riders
The final entrants in the Gauntlet match to determine the holders of the vacated XWA Tag Team Championship belts were none other than the Wave Riders! Mikey and Kayden Rave, who have not been in the tag team hunt since February (when the former tag team Brute Force attacked them and put them out of action) are appeared ready to try and reclaim their place at the top of the food chain.
The crowd noise was deafening as these two made their way to the ring. A pleasant surprise indeed. You just never know what is going to happen here in the XWA. The Wave Riders hit the ring and laid down some early punishment.
Gyration Nation was clearly caught off guard and it showed. Mikey and Kayden strutted their tag team prowess as each delivered a series of chops and slaps to their respective dance partner. This was followed by a series of near pins as they quickly tagged in and out.
Mikey was isolated mid-match while Gyration Nation worked him over. Dangles and Chambers tagged in-and-out seamlessly while the referee often was focused more on preventing Kayden from entering to aid his brother. This routinely left Mikey to be double-teamed even more by Gyration Nation while the referee simply did his best to maintain order.
At one point Mikey was on the receiving end of a set of double dropkicks, a Roughrider, and then was placed in a Tree of Woe where Gyration Nation reigned down punches and kicks before finally breaking at the five count.
Kayden finally entered the match via the Hot Tag and wasted no time before attempting a rollup for the win. The kickout came at what had to be 2.99 as some in the crowd had already jumped to their feet having thought the Wave Riders had won. The referee clearly waved it off though and the match continued.
Mikey tagged back in and went to work on Chambers with a running dropkick. He followed it up with a stiff running kick to the head while Chambers lay prone on his back in the corner. Kayden tagged back in and took Chambers up to his shoulders. He transitioned this into a Codebreaker as Chambers fell to the mat. Mikey followed it up with a jumping DDT on Chambers.
To cinch the win, Kayden delivered a huge Frogsplash while Mikey hit a big flying knee. And as they say folks, it was academic at this point with the Wave Riders getting the pin and recapturing the XWA Tag Team Championship belts. What a return!
Winners and new XWA Tag Team Champions Wave Riders
Match Three: Jonny Versace vs. General Duce
The third match of the evening would see the returning General Duce taking on current XWA Elite Champion Jonny Versace in a non-title matchup. This one was a very competitive and spirited contest that saw the balance of power swing back and forth throughout the match.
Versace often played to his strength, delivering power offense via Clotheslines, inverted Atomic Drops, and body slams. Duce focused on his speed as well as taking some risks by going up to the top rope more than once.
A furious finish saw each wrestler transition from move to move, each trying to deliver a setup or finishing move while the other either trying to block/reverse or deliver a setup/finisher of their own. Versace would get the better of Duce on this evening when, after a series of counters, he would finally deliver his Brainbuster to secure victory and in the process, deliver a loss to the returning General Duce.
Segment Four: Teddy 2 Sweet (and Saint John Councillor) Ray Strowbridge talks to the crowd
Recently-elected Saint John city councilman Ray Strowbridge came out to a great video recap of his time in the XWA as Teddy Two Sweet. Ray took the opportunity to introduce special guest WWE Hall Of Fame inductee (class of 2010) the Million Dollar Man Ted DIbiase! The crowd acknowledges greatness when they see it and give a standing ovation. Ted thanks Ray for the hospitality and pumps the crowd up as only Ted DiBiase can
During the intermission Ted DiBiase took pictures in the ring. In a very honourable gesture, Ted notes that he will be donating all money raised to a charity dedicated to preventing the trafficking of children.
Segment Five: Wesley Pipes and Julius Fantana chat
Wesley Pipes came out to a chorus of boos. Wesley keeps getting interrupted by the fans and he’s not pleased. Pipes tells the crowd that DiBiase has already left the building because he wouldn’t want to waste his time with loser fans in Saint John.
Julius Fantana clearly took offense to this and came out to challenge Pipes. Pipes said he’d fight him only on one condition. If Fantana loses, he is Pipes’ “Virgil” for a whole month. No stipulation was added should Pipes lose. Fantana was riding high on confidence.
Match Four: Nightmare vs. Sunny Warcloud
The fourth match of the evening involved a recent returnee to the squared circle: Nightmare taking on perennial favourite Sunny Warcloud.
Warcloud, sensing his plight, actually jumped Nightmare to kick this one off. It didn’t take very long for Nightmare to gain control over Warcloud however and in typical big fan fashion, leveled Warcloud with a huge clothesline that shook the building. Nightmare followed this with a big leg drop and called for his finisher. He must have had an after-match playdate as he looked to end this quickly.
Warcloud turned the tables after being brought up for Nightmare’s finisher and punched his way out of harms way. At this point the action spilled outside where both men inflicted damage at different points. Upon returning inside, Nightmare would display some great agility for a big man as he took Warcloud off his feet with a flying dropkick from the top rope.
Warcloud reversed his fortunes and went flying high with his trademark Frogsplash. In what appeared to be a fairly slow count, Nightmare kicked out at two before regaining control. He left no question at this point decimating Warcloud with his finisher and this one was over.
Segment Six: Striker is on the phone
Striker is on the phone and doesn’t have much positive to say about Pipes. Fantana politely asks Striker not to interfere in his mask so that he can beat Pipes on his own to which Striker agrees.
Up to the 'tron we went to see John Striker on the phone. As we eavesdrop we hear a lot of trash talk directed the way of none other than Wesley Pipes. Julius Fantana stops by and they both appear to indicate mutual respect for each other regardless of any prior friction between them.
Segment Seven: Pipes promo
Then a follow-up video played in which Pipes talks directly to the crowd reminding us that he is offering Fantana one last chance to beat him, noting the stipulation added to the match (if Fantana were to lose, he would have to do Pipes’ bidding for a whole month). He points out that he isn’t a big fan of John Striker either.
Match Five: Wesley Pipes vs. Julius Fantana
Next up was a match everyone expected to be hotly contested. Julius Fantana versus Wesley Pipes. These two seem to have been on a collision course for some time now and on that night it was time to see who the better man was. Adding to the drama was the stipulation that if Fantana were to lose, he would be required to serve as Pipes’ “Virgil” for one month.
Pipes was quick to show that Nightmare isn’t the only big man to be nimble on his feet delivering a Hurricarana off of the top turnbuckle. Pipes was clearly pretty pleased with himself and even Fantana offered up some applause.
Before long Fantana headed up top and dove at Pipes only to be caught in the act. Pipes would go on to steal a move out of Barstool Bailey’s book and deliver a Hangover of sorts which clearly stopped Fantana in his tracks. Fantana was able to come back shortly afterwards and deliver a standing Moonsault into a pin attempt but was unsuccessful.
Pipes took over from here and tossed Fantana across the ring by his head. He again launched Fantana into the corner but Fantana tried to use the momentum to his advantage by running up the ropes and launching into a Cross Body. Unfortunately Pipes was up to the task and moved out of the way allowing Fantana to splatter on the mat.
After regaining composure Fantana actually pulled off a huge move by taking Pipes up to his shoulders and delivering a Powerbomb. I can’t say that I know where he pulled off the strength given Pipes is a much larger opponent but he executed the move with relative ease.
After they traded offense, Pipes leveled Fantana with a big boot to the face. Just as it looked like Pipes was moving in for the kill: “ha ha ha ha ha ha ha” Ted DiBiase’s music hits! Pipes was clearly confused and lost focus. Just long enough for Fantana to roll him up in a schoolboy for the win! DiBiase never came out, and Pipes was furious.
Segment Eight: The Million Dollar Man embarrasses Wesley Pipes
As Fantana left the ring, Pipes was still livid. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” again rained through the sound system and this time, out came Ted DiBiase. No more games it seemed. DiBiase would go on to call out Pipes for having lied to the fans earlier in the show when he said that DiBiase had already left the building.
But being the good sport DiBiase is, he still offered Pipes an opportunity to make some cash. He gave him a simple ball and told him that if he could throw it in the air and catch it he would pay him some of the Million Dollar Man's money. Pipes practiced a couple of times while DiBiase reminded him that it was going to be a whole different story when the money was on the line.
At crunch time, Pipes tossed the ball and just before he caught it, DiBiase slapped Pipes's hand out of the way causing him to miss. Pipes was furious and eventually pushed DiBiase. DiBiase returned the favour. Pipes had seemingly had enough and went to deliver a Haymaker to the Hall of Famer. DiBiase blocked the punch and delivered one of his own.
After Pipes staggered to his feet it was time to lock in the Million Dollar Dream. To Dream Street went Pipes. And in traditional DiBiase fashion, he stuffed some cash in his mouth before leaving to a chorus of cheers.
Match Six: Roll The Dice Match
It was finally time for the main event of the evening, the Roll The Dice match. The winner would be the entrant who was able to climb the ladder and retrieve the briefcase being hung above the ring. The case contained a contract for a match for any XWA championship belt any time any place.
In order of entry, the participants of the Roll The Dice match were determined to be the following competitors:
Entrant 1 Joshua Kotsabasakis
Entrant 2 Dazzling Dick Durning
Entrant 3 Zane Valentine
Entrant 4 Ryan Heath
Entrant 5 Barstool Bailey
Entrant 6 The Pledge
It started out on a very bad note for the Pledge as he ultimately ate finishers from all of the other combatants before taking a well-deserved powder to the outside.
In this type of match the sole goal of the endeavor is to successfully secure the briefcase. Pinfalls and submissions do not count, nor is there any risk of count out or disqualification. For all intents and purposes, this is a free-for-all where those who excel at throwing caution to the wind often find themselves rewarded by match end.
Josh was the first to take a run up the ladder to grab the pot of gold at the top of the rainbow. He didn’t quite achieve his goal however. Dick was next at trying to reach the prize but Zane Valentine took him out. Heath soon followed but was knocked to the mat by Barstool Bailey.
This chaos continued as one after another seemed poised to make it to the top of the ladder to grab the briefcase but ultimately each came up short-handed. At one point there were two ladders side by side. Barstool Bailey was on one whereas Zane Valentine was on the other. Valentine was able to power Bailey down and it appeared as if he was going to win the contest.
Just then Ryan Heath scaled the ladder behind Valentine and proceeded to deliver a belly-to-back suplex onto a ladder already positioned on the mat. Ouch.
In one crowd pleasing spot in particular, Bailey threw Dazzling Dick at a ladder propped up in one of the corners. Dick proceeded to execute a baseball style into the bottom of the ladder which caused the top to snap down into Bailey’s face. That shot just about killed Bailey.
Just then a couple of Druids walked out to the ring while a video played showing Bailey apparently having been hanged. The Druids proceeded to drag Bailey away to the back and he kicked and screamed.
Back to the action as Valentine and Josh were in the ring. Josh had a ladder. Zane suggests that Kotsabasakis give the ladder to him “or else” so of course he does, thinking he got the better of him. Josh proceeded to dropkick him to the mat calling him a meathead in the process.
As we reached the culmination of this one, The Pledge had struggled back into the ring, up the ladder, and almost had the Roll The Dice briefcase in his grasp until FRAT “brother” Kotsabasakis ordered him down. The Pledge had second thoughts as the crowd chanted his name, but before he could give it too much more thought, Kotsabasakis pushed him off the ladder. Not only did he fall off the ladder, but he went over the top rope into Durning, Valentine and Heath, who were still on the floor below.
With nothing more than opportunity and arrogance in his way, up the ladder one last time went Kotsabasakis and down came the briefcase (and the hopes of the rest of the combatants) as this one was over. The Roll The Dice briefcase was once again in the hands of Josh Kotsabasakis and before Ryan Heath was able to collect his thoughts, out came FRAT to commence with a beatdown.
FRAT decides to focus their anger on Heath while Dick and others escape harms way. Durning appears to be leaving Heath to fend for himself while the crowd is clearly unhappy about this decision.
Just before Durning goes through the curtain he seems to have a change of heart and heads back to the ring. FRAT isn’t able to dominate Heath anymore and he’s able to fight his way back to his feet. As the former Above Average team backs their way to the middle of the ring, they turn and stare. Heath watches as Durning, leaves the ring.
Biggest Pops Of Night
1. Ted DiBiase lays the Smack Down on Wesley Pipes
2. The Wave Riders are back and are the new XWA Tag Team Champions
3. The Pledge is the sixth entrant in the Roll The Dice match
Biggest Boos Of Night
1. Joshua Kotsabasakis is your first back to back Roll The Dice winner in XWA history
2. Shaheer Rasool retains his XWA Heavyweight Championship with a win over James Steele
3. Wesley Pipes nails Julius Fantana with a cheap shot after agreeing to one more match against his Cuban foe
Highlight of Night
1. The Million Dollar Man ensures the world will continue to hate Wesley Pipes
Surprise of Night
1. Dazzling Dick Durning returns and saves Ryan Heath from a beatdown at the hands of the FRAT at the conclusion of the Roll The Dice match
The next Saint John show is Retribution and will come to you from the Lord Beaverbrook Rink on August 10th. Doors will 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 located at: