Just a few short months ago, the idea of Ryan Heath and Dazzling Dick Durning co-existing in in the ring seemed nothing more than a fantasy. Yet there we were one month removed from Retribution, set to witness a 3-2 handicap match pitting the FRAT against the one night only reformation of Above Average in a street fight.
On this night we’d also see the XWA Tag Team belts defended when The Wave Riders went two-on-two with the R&R Express. Both teams have developed loyal fan bases so it was set to be an interesting match both in the ring and out.
In singles action Jonny Versace was scheduled to defend his XWA Elite Championship against “The Working Class Hero” James Steele.
In the main event, Shaheer Rasool would be accompanied to the ring by his mentor The Sheik to defend his XWA Heavyweight Championship belt. His opponent was scheduled to be Julius Fantana. However, leading up to the opening of the doors, no one had heard anything from him since he was left in the ring bloody and bruised at the hands of Rasool and the Sheik last month.
To top things off, local musical act December Fall Out were set to play the FRAT to the ring later on in the evening. Quest for Gold, the biggest show for the XWA, was ready to begin…
[What follows is a recap of the September XWA event, “Quest For Gold".]
Championship role call
XWA Heavyweight Champion
XWA Tag Team Champions
XWA Elite Division Champion
Segment one – A recap of last month’s event
The production crew rolls a video package highlighting the action at Retribution (XWA’s August offering).
Match 1 – R&R Express vs The Wave Riders (c) [XWA Tag Team Championship]
In the opening contest we had the R&R Express taking on the Wave Riders, XWA Tag Team Champions entering the contest. The R&R Express are fairly new on the scene (Rick and Rodney) but have developed a solid fanbase. When it comes to online commentary and throughout the “twittersphere,” these guys are becoming the talk of the tag team division.
To start off, we saw something that is seemingly in short supply these days, mutual respect in the form of a handshake from Rick and Kayden. Nothing wrong with that (Sheik, take a memo for your man Rasool). Rick and Kayden made quick tags and in came Rodney and Mikey.
Before long Rick and Rodney take to working Mikey via double quick tags (keeping it legal). The R&R Express looked to be consciously trying to isolate Mikey from making the tag to Kayden. Rick delivered a big forearm from the turnbuckle to the chagrin of Mikey who appeared to be on life support the longer he was kept in the ring.
He eventually mustered up the strength to tag in Kayden, thus marking a turn in the tide. Kayden and Mikey then looked to return the favour as they went to work on Rick with some high flying high-impact moves executed using quick tags in and out. After a flurry of exchanges at breakneck speed, we found ourselves in a pin situation with Rick pinning Mikey in an attempt to secure the victory for the R&R Express!
The experienced referee waved it off though, noting that while all four members were in the ring, Rick and Mikey were NOT the legal men (therefore the pin was not going to count). For a split second (more like a fraction of a second) the action stopped before Kayden pounced and rolled up Rodney (both the legal men in the contest) for the quick win.
This match proved to be a great opener with both teams showing mutual respect. A spirited contest that showed why the Wave Riders are still the XWA Tag Team Champions, and why the R&R Express are more than just redneck drinking buddies who like to bump around in the ring on the weekends.
Match 2 – James Steele vs Jonny Versace (c) [XWA Elite Division Championship]
The second match of the evening pitted the local “working class hero” James Steele going one-on-one against current XWA Elite Division Champion Jonny Versace. Versace had held the belt ever since he defeated Julius Fantana back on March 10 , 2012 at XWA’s Standoff event.
Since that time he has defeated a myriad of challengers and in the process, looked very impressive. James Steele was coming off a summer during which his main goal was in getting his hands on Wesley Pipes. Both competitors were switching gears with Steele focusing on some XWA gold, and Versace seeking to defeat one more name in a list of many who want what he already has.
Worth noting right from the get-go, a visibly distressed Steele appeared to be on his own this evening. No Isabella Bliss to accompany him to the ring. Steele’s head was clearly not in the game and he needed to bring his focus to the matter at hand.
The early going of this contest saw Steele in hot pursuit of Versace both in and out of the ring. Eventually, Versace caught Steele coming back through the ropes with a stiff kick to the head. Versace picked his lucky limb to go to work on and got right down to business.
And he went to work.
Versace was on the outside of the ring and proceeded to pull Steele to the corner, one leg on each side of the post before slamming Steele’s knee directly into it. Steele hung on in the early going even rolling Steele up at one point for a quick two count.
Versace headed to the top corner before Steele issued a dropkick, which sent Versace straddling the top rope in a very uncomfortable position.
They traded hold and counter-hold near the end, each trying to come up with a match-ending hold or pinfall maneuver. Versace was sent into the ropes by Steele and it appeared as if he was set to go up and over with a back body drop.
Versace’s quick presence of mind allowed him to stop his momentum. Before going over to his back, he crawled down Steele’s body into a schoolboy position to roll Steele up for the 1-2-3! If you were in the right position, you would understand why Steele was protesting afterwards—Versace had grabbed a huge handful of tights in order to keep Steele in the pin position. The referee just did not see it.
Segment two – Nelson Hum welcomes the fans and provides an update
At this point in time, we got our first update on the whereabouts of Julius Fantana. Hum informed the audience that at that time, there had still not been any formal update on whether we would be participating this evening or not. Hum’s update didn’t sound very promising, in fact it sounded like he hadn’t been in contact with him since last month. And it also doesn’t sound like there is a plan B for tonight’s main event.
Match 3 – The FRAT vs Above Average
This match easily could have been the main event for any other wrestling federation. The FRAT (Josh Kotsabasakis, Dale Dangles, and Chip Chambers) were scheduled to take on Ryan Heath and Dick Durning (former “Above Average” tag partners) in a three-on-two handicap street fight. What are the rules for this one?
The match could only be won by pin or submission. Not in effect were countouts or disqualifications. There had been a fairly hefty online campaign by the fans as well as the participants in the match itself to bring as many foreign objects to the match as possible. Given that street fight rules were in effect, there was a high probability for blood to be involved and for the fans to be right in the middle of the action.
The FRAT were played to the ring by local up-and-coming band December Fall Out. And while the crowd seemed to appreciate the music, they appeared to welcome the FRAT with a mixture of cheers and boos. Noticeably absent was the Pledge, frequent lapdog to the other three FRAT members.
Out to a warm reception was Dick Durning and Ryan Heath, or as they were known a couple of years back, Above Average. While these two have had some major battles of their own over the last year or so, they were galvanized on this night with a common disdain for the FRAT.
The FRAT have made Heath and Durning marked men of late. They might not have bargained for the reformation of the two teaming together in this type of match. Soon enough we’d see if they had bit off more than they were prepared to chew.
It didn’t take long for this one to spin out of control as, just off to one side of the ring, Chip Chambers issued multiple European uppercuts to Durning, leaving him wobbly on his feet. Kotsabasakis wasn’t far behind as he threw Durning headfirst into one of the ringside chairs, breaking it. Durning reversed his fortunes when he grabbed the seat (broken off of the chair) and clobbered Chambers in the head with it.
Meanwhile, Heath had paired off with Dale Dangles and they battled their way over to the penalty box area. He managed to grab a hockey stick and proceeded to demolish Dangles over the head with it. He followed that up with shots to the stomach which sent Dangles reeling to the floor. Heath followed up with stick attack with multiple knees to the stomach.
As Heath and Dangles kept at it, Durning and Kotsabasakis kept fighting their way around the ring. That left Chambers peculiarly absent from action. We’d find out why shortly. Durning looked to the fans on every available occasion to grab an object and use it as a weapon.
Durning and Kotsabasakis neared where Heath and Dangles had been going at it. Just as they all looked up, Chip Chambers (who had climbed up on the top of a transport trailer) came flying down with reckless abandon in a huge splash.
Chambers ended up taking out all four guys as the crowd noise erupted! Once everyone finally got back to their feet, Chambers began taking it to Durning as he threw him shoulder first into the ring steps. Dangles and Kotsabasakis decided to tag up and work on Heath while Durning and Chambers took the fight into the ring.
Durning and Chambers brought trash cans and various other metal objects into the fray, nailing each other in the head with the items. The action worked right over to the announcer table as Heath tossed Dangles right into the middle of it (my trusty laptop was quickly moved out of the way just in time). The only thing that slowed Heath down at that point was a low blow.
At that point Chambers left Heath on the ground to help Dangles and Kotsabasakis in the ring as they continued to work on Durning. Heath eventually gathered his thoughts and headed back to the ring with steel chair in hand. FRAT takes a cheese grater to Durning’s head, opening him up.
Durning goes to punch Kotsabasakis but hits a chair instead (as Kotsabasakis had pulled it up in the nick of time). Kotsabasakis takes the steel chair to the corner and props it between the top and middle rope before throwing Durning headfirst into it. Durning looks like he is out of it. Kotsabasakis knows it so he tries for a pin which is broken up by Heath at two.
There is frantic action for about ten minutes involving tables and Singapore canes and every item imaginable. Durning takes a moment to lay a table between the apron and the railing separating the fans from the action.
Eventually, Durning would go on to crush Dangles through the table with a fantastic suplex. What’s a streetfight without a guitar? Not a streetfight I have seen in recent memory. So this one would prove no different as Durning cleans Chambers with it. Durning then took Chambers, laid him back across an awaiting table that had been set up earlier, and Heath splashed him through it! Both men look like they were down and out.
What’s a guitar without tacks you say? Right again, as Durning dumps a bag full of tacks to the floor. After multiple attempts to hit a power move, Durning finally side-suplexes Chambers onto the tacks. And they stick in his back, his rear, and the meaty part of the palm.
Heath is about to clean Kotsabasakis with a steel chair and from the back comes the Pledge! He’s about to hit Heath with it and, you guessed it, Heath moved and Kotsabasakis gets creamed. Heath takes a moment to lay a beating on the Pledge who offers little resistance.
Heath takes Kotsabasakis up on the air while Durning grabs onto him and delivers a huge codebreaker. Heath rolls Kotsabasakis directly into a Ryan Tamer and submits him to win the match!
Match 4 – Wesley Pipes vs John Striker
Last month Wesley Striker was “gracious” enough to offer John Striker up an opportunity to face him at Quest For Gold. Well, a month later as he walked that aisle, he didn’t look near as confident in his decision-making skills as he was some 30 days earlier.
Striker was quick to take over early with numerous shoulders into the ribs of Pipes. Striker follows this up with an Irish whip into the corner followed by a stiff clothesline. Striker is ready for battle tonight and is going to his bag of power move tricks early and often. At one point Striker takes Pipes up into the air and walks him around the ring before delivering a devastating suplex.
Striker takes a moment or two to admire his work which in turn gives Pipes a chance to catch his breath. And after a brief exchange that takes Striker to the mat, Pipes locks in a crippler crossface. He does his best to stretch out Striker but before long, Striker using his unbelievable strength to pick Pipes up and deliver a powerful sideslam.
This takes Pipes off his feet again. But he digs deep and is back to his feet before long, delivering some stiff forearms to Striker. They stagger him to the point that he’s able to deliver a front facedrop to Striker. The tide appears to have turned. But not for long.
As Striker looks to close this one out, he takes Pipes off his feet and looks for the pin. Pipes kicks out and it was a close one. So close that Striker is arguing with the referee claiming it was a slow count. Striker smells blood and has Pipes up for the F5.
Pipes is able to counter and get to his feet, pushing Striker face first into the ropes. As Striker turns around, Pipes nearly boots Strikers’ head clean off. Pipes follows up with the 1-2-3 and it’s all over. Great match by two men who typically dominate their opponents. Something gave tonight in the form of Striker being defeated.
Segment three – Nelson Hum gives the fans a second update
Nelson Hum was front and centre once again with the update on Julius Fantana. Well, his update was more of the same. No word from Fantana and the main event for the evening looked even more like it was in jeopardy.
Match 5 – Nightmare vs Barstool Bailey [Casket Match]
The fifth match of the evening was a very highly anticipated one in the form of Barstool Bailey going one-on-one with the demon of the dark himself, Nightmare. This match was scheduled to be a casket match which meant that pinfalls and submissions didn’t count, and there were no DQs. The only way to win the match was to place your opponent inside a casket, and shut the lid.
Sensing this may be a match suited for Nightmare, Barstool does the smart thing (in my opinion) and attacks Nightmare from behind with his stool. Nightmare barely flinches before taking out his bat to even things up. Bailey hits him a few more times with the same results. Bailey ultimately slams Nightmare with authority.
Once the big man gets back to his feet he starts delivering stiff punches to the face, followed by a clothesline, leg drop and an impressive standing moonsault. As control shifts back and forth, Bailey tries to hit the Hangover but Nightmare blocks it. Nightmare heads to the top rope but misses with a flying crossbody..Bailey serves up a headbutt which takes Nightmare off his feet.
For the first time, Bailey attempts to bring in the casket, which to this point, had been sitting outside the ring. Rather than try and put Nightmare into the casket, Bailey decides instead to deliver the Hangover on the top of the casket.
This all but turns the casket into spare parts although to seal the deal, he finishes the total destruction of the casket leaving it in little pieces. Many of the fans have puzzled looks as we wonder how exactly this one is going come to an end given the casket has been destroyed.
Turms out that Nightmare evidently had a backup in his back pocket, which is brought to the ring after Nightmare calls to his druids. The cloaked characters bring the new casket to ringside. Bailey is somewhat distracted by this and fell victim to a sitout powerbomb from Nightmare. The druids circle the ring with the casket, Nightmare proceeds to roll Bailey inside, and closes it shut for the victory.
Match 6 – Julius Fantana vs Shaheer Rasool (c) [XWA Heavyweight Championship]
It was finally time for the main event of the evening but unfortunately, before we went anywhere we were told that Julius Fantana is still MIA. As a result, Nelson Hum had no other choice but to award the victory to… WAIT! He was here!
Fantana wasted no time before WHAM, he took the Sheik out with the sledgehammer! Big clothesline sent Rasool over the top rope. Fantana delivers a Slingshot bodypress over the top rope which again took Rasool out on the floor. Fantana continued the onslaught as the referee refused to issue a count while the two combatants went at it on the outside.
Rasool finally made his way into the ring and began to turn the tides. Rasool reversed himself off the ropes and nailed Fantana with his signature setup to the Persian Necktie. Rasool is quick to his feet before scaling the turnbuckle to deliver a flying headbutt and Fantana .
After some back-and-forth action, Fantana nailed a moonsault with a follow-up pin for the two count. The crowd was clearly pulling for him. The Sheik was still napping… Perhaps dreaming of sugarplums dancing in his head.
Somehow Fantana had re-acquired the sledgehammer and was about to decimate Rasool when he ducked, and followed up with a takedown into a headscissors.
Rasool looked like he was getting ready to setup that Persian Necktie again but Fantana reversed it! Both guys were caught in a rapid fire exchange of chops to the chest. Fantana eventually took over, then transitioned into the 506. After successfully hitting his setup move, he headed under the ring to find a second sledgehammer.
Fantana paced around the ring hitting each set of stairs as be passes. The ref didn’t want any part of this and begged him to re-think his plan. In a quick succession of action, Rasool grabbed his championship belt, Fantana swung and missed with the sledgehammer, and while Fantana and the referee argued, Rasool once again grabbed his belt and clobbered Fantana with it. It looked academic at this point, but Fantana somehow kicked out at two!
Rasool headed to the top turnbuckle and mimicked flying airplanes and bombing buildings before leaping and missing! After Fantana is back to his feet, he heads up for the 450 and HE missed!
Rasool hit his setup move one more time and finally locks in that deadly Persian necktie. Fantana struggled to crawl to the ropes, but just didn't have enough left in the tank. Fantana FINALLY tapped out, and your XWA Heavyweight Champion Shaheer Rasool (as The Sheik finally woke up) has retained one more time!
Biggest Pops Of Night
1. Julius Fantana is in the building!
2. Above Average pull out the win over the FRAT
3. The Wave Riders successfully defend their XWA Tag Team titles against the R&R Express
Biggest Boos Of Night
1. Shaheer Rasool and The Sheik find a way to retain the belt in the main event
2. Jonny Versace uses a lot of tights to get the cheap win over James Steele after a blatant low blow
3. Wesley Pipes gets the win over fan favourite John Striker
Highlight of Night
1.Ryan Heath and Dick Durning finish off the FRAT together
Surprise of Night
1. Julius Fantana shows up for his championship belt contest against the hated Shaheer Rasool
The next Saint John show is Aftermath, and will come to you from Sam de Cham on October 6th 2012. 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: