The current focus here in the XWA is that of championship gold. Due to the recent decision by XWA president Nelson Hum to strip former XWA Heavyweight Champion Shaheer Rasool of the title belt, we find ourselves here this evening ready to kick off what we anticipate to be an epic tournament for the ages.
Sixteen of the XWA’s top talent have been entered into what is being called the “Gold Rush.” A round-robin single-loss elimination style tournament scheduled to take place over the next three months. The tournament will culminate with the crowning of a new XWA Champion.
If you were to believe what each of the wrestlers are saying, it appears that there are 16 clear favourites in this tournament. In fact the tournament does offer the potential for some unique circumstances. Friends may become enemies, old rivalries are poised to re-ignite, and new ones may well emerge.
Not to be lost in the glitz of this climb to the top of the XWA mountain in the singles division, the tag team championships held by the Wave Riders are being pursued vigorously by the former title holders, the R&R Express. The beer drinking gun “rack in the pickup truck” Nascar loving fan favourites are eager for another shot at the straps. The Wave Riders, on the other hand, don’t seem to be in any hurry to grant that wish.
Who will advance to the next round? Will the R&R Express get their re-match? Let’s get down to business as wrasslin time is right NOW!
[What follows is a recap of the October XWA event, “Revenge".]
Championship role call
XWA Heavyweight Champion
XWA Tag Team Champions
XWA Elite Division Champion
Match one—Ryan Heath vs. Pat Perswayze
The first match pits of the evening Ryan Heath against Pat Perswayze. While Heath is clearly the more experienced grappler of the two, Perswayze has proven to be a formidable foe since joining the XWA. And tonight should prove no different.
Heath starts this one out in hot pursuit but gets caught making a rookie mistake as Perswayze baits Heath to chase him around the ring, then catches him with a shot to the back of the head. After missing with a high knee, Perswayze still gets kicked between the legs for his troubles. Heath somehow avoids the DQ.
But Perswayze isn’t on the defensive long before he issues a big slam followed by an elbow to the head of Heath. Perswayze perhaps gets greedy as he goes up top for a more high impact elbow, but misses. Heath turns it on with chops and a fallaway slam. Heath tries for a German suplex but it’s blocked.
Perswayze nails a fishermans suplex but can’t get the three count. Heath regains control with a belly to belly suplex. Perswayze still has enough to get the foot on the ropes to stop the count. But Heath isn’t finished as he nails another big suplex to get the pinfall.
Suplexes were the order of the day and there were a few well executed by both competitors. The Canadian Icon takes this one and chalk it up as yet another loss for Perswayze. After coming onto the scene with a lot of fanfare, this young mans' stock continues to drop.
Segment one—R&R Express visit a lawyer
R&R Express are off to see Goldstein, their lawyer. Upon arrival, the R&R Express see that he’s already enjoying a drink or two. Rick calls the lawyer Horatio because he looks like the guy from CSI Miami.
The former champs ask about getting their belts and their cooler back. The lawyer explains that they need to stay two trailers and a lawnmower away from the Wave Riders or they violate a restraining order that is currently in place. They tell Horatio to have good luck in Miami. I’m not sure what we’ve accomplished here. Hopefully the bill is one that the R&R Express can pay (either with cash or perhaps moonshine).
Match two–Josh Kotsabasakis vs. Sunny Warcloud
The second Gold Rush tournament match pits Josh Kotsabasakis against Sunny Warcloud. Kotsabasakis still has his Roll The Dice briefcase in hand, and proudly brings it to ringside for announcer JD to keep safe while he takes care of business.
After they briefly trade offense, Kotsabasakis heads to the outside to regroup. Sunny wastes little time in trying to take control of the action as he bounces off the ropes and suicide dives over the top rope into Kotsabasakis on the outside.
Referee Steve Doussaud (making his in ring return after a brief “retirement”) attempts to maintain order as Warcloud tries to get back in the ring. Each time he gets to the apron, Kotsabasakis drives him back to the floor outside.
Once Warcloud finally gets back inside, Kotsabasakis works the leg and does some serious (perhaps irreparable) damage to Warcloud. Warcloud does his best to mount a comeback but Kotsabasakis stays focused on the injured limp of Warlcoud with a chop block.
Warcloud isn’t even able to Irish whip Kotsabasakis into the corner without wobbling to his knees. Sensing he’s done some serious damage, Kotsabasakis mercifully rolls up Warcloud for the pin. One has to wonder whether some permanent injury has been sustained here. We’ll hope to get more later on.
Segment two–James Steele is offered his choice of a match this evening
James Steele meets up with acting General Manager Jeff Graves to talk about who he is going to face this evening. Graves lays it out for him. Steele has a choice to make. He can choose to face Pipes tonight and go on to chase the title. BUT… if he does so, he will forfeit any opportunity to face Versace again (with perhaps Bliss’ services hanging in the balance). Steele has a decision to make…
Match three–James Steele forfeits against Wesley Pipes
Pipes is all smiles on the way to the ring. Once inside, Steele lets everyone know what his decision is, that he is in fact going to forfeit the match so that he can have another chance to fight Versace in the near future.
Pipes grabs the microphone to talk a little trash about Steele being chicken. Either way, Pipes isn’t breaking a sweat this evening. Cheap win or not, Pipes will take it.
Before Steele leaves, however, he reminds everyone that he is coming for the Elite title, his girlfriend, and that he will do it via any means necessary. One has to wonder whether Bliss still feels the same way about Steele as he does about her these days…
Match four–John Striker vs. General Duce
As we near the halfway point of the evening, we’re set to see two returning combatants who will fight to move on to the next round. John Striker goes one on one with General Duce.
For those keeping track, Striker has been absent from the XWA since October of 2012. Rumours of contractual issues ran rampant and the internet was abuzz with speculation on whether we’d ever see this behemoth back in the squared circles here at XWA or whether he was going to pop up in another federation. The fans jumped out of their feet when his music hit, sending a clear message that they didn’t forget about him and were happy that he had returned.
Given Duce gives up at least 50lbs, his best chance to pick up the win will be to stay on the move and not get into a battle of strength given he’d be at a huge disadvantage.
We start with Striker using his power to force Duce into the corner. Striker follows up with shoulders to the abdomen which stun Duce. But Duce is quick to bounce back with a dropkick and a textbook clothesline. He surprises Striker with a shoulder tackle of his own and a jumping kick to the face which he follows up with a pin for a count of one.
BIG clothesline by Striker almost knocks the paint off of Duce ( I felt that one at the announcer table). Big old-school bodyslam by Striker. Duce tries to fight back with stiff shots to the head but Striker blocks them. Striker powers Duce up to his shoulders and hits “shellshocked.” Duce shows a lot of heart by kicking out at two though. I really didn’t think he’d get up from that one.
Striker sends Duce into the ropes and nails him with a flying forearm. Striker follows up with a spinebuster. Striker picks him up and carries him around the ring. Striker then takes him up to his shoulders and delivers a thunderous F-5. Mercifully this one is over as he gets the 1-2-3.
Striker looked fantastic in his return to the squared circle. Duce put up a valiant effort and gave the big man more then he may have been expecting. No shame for Duce in this one.
Match five–Nightmare vs. Jonny Versace
The lights dim again and we’re back from intermission. Hopefully everyone got their XWA swag and perhaps picked up a soda. No need for any Red Bull as the action alone should be more than enough to keep everyone wide awake.
To start us off we get Nightmare taking on the current XWA Elite Champion Jonny Versace. Note that this contest is a non title match as per the contract signed prior this evening getting underway.
Versace hits the ring surrounded by security. Versace is evidently not confident he can handle his own business, so has chosen to enlist the aid of some pretty big guys who are evidently there to watch his back. Also accompanying Versace is Izabella Bliss. She doesn’t seem particularly happy to be along for the ride with this showboat as evidenced by her sticking her tongue out at him and flashing the big thumbs down sign.
The fans start chanting “Nightmare’s gonna kill you, Nightmare’s gonna kill you.”
Versace hits the ropes and leapfrogs into a bearhug. Nightmare drops him after repeated punches to the face. Nightmare sends Versace into the ropes and delivers a clothesline which had to loosen a few teeth. He follows that up with a snapsuplex that would make Dynamite Kid proud. Versace is in big trouble.
Nightmare decides to apply a choke in front of Bliss which gives her reason to smile. Versace needs to talk to this valet of his as she doesn’t seem to understand her role. As he’s dangling in the corner, Nightmare attempts a big splash but misses offering the opening Versace has been waiting for.
Versace takes Nightmare off his feet with a chopblock. He starts to work on the leg and seems to have learned that trying to match power with Nightmare was a lost cause. Versace lays it across the bottom rope and stomps on it with everything he’s got. This goes on for some time and unless Nightmare reverses his fortunes soon, Versace may just pull this off.
Nightmare gets a few headshots in and is about to try a high-risk move. Versace catches him and nails a fallaway slam. Versace hits the ropes and stomps Nightmare in the head. Verasce hits the swinging neckbreaker for a two count. Versace goes up top but Nightmare catches him before throwing him face first off the turnbuckle. A clothesline sends Versace reeling to the mat.
Looks like Nightmare is going to deliver a Scorpion Deathdrop but instead he powers Versace up into a suplex and then down into a stunner. Wow, no idea what to call that. Maybe we’ll call it The Bad Dream. Evidently he’s not convinced it’s enough to finish him so he nails a splash to drive it home.
And out of nowhere, KI Real is on the apron! Nightmare turns around and gets clocked with the chain wrapped fist. Nightmare topples over and Versace drapes himself across the lifeless body of Nightmare for the three count.
Post-match Versace lingers in the ring like a bad smell in the elevator you just stepped on. No wonder that fat guy was smiling as he was getting off and walking past you. Versace proceeds to talk smack about James Steele. Before long, out comes Steele right into Versace’s trap.
As soon as Steele hits the ring, the rent a cops subdue Steele. Versace beats him to the ground. The final blow comes courtesy of the XWA Elite Championship, a virtual afterthought in this feud between Versace and Steele. The cops escort Steele away and Versace enjoys his handiwork.
Match six–Julius Fantana vs. KI Real
The pay per view level matches continue as Julius Fantana and KI Real get set to tangle. No time wasted here as the Real and Fantana jump right into a test of strength. KI sends Fantana to the mat then boots him to the guts. Real took a moment to gloat and that’s all it took before Fantana nails some offense and sets him up for a 506.
Real blocks part of the move and is able to slide to the outside to gather himself. That was a close one for Real. When he finally gets back in the ring, he thumbs Fantana in the eye before starting to lay into him with heavy headshots.
Real hits a snapsuplex then follows it up with some stretching of Fantana (Real drives his knee into Fantana’s back while pulling on his chin). Fantana fights to get out of the hold and eventually gets to his feet but not for long. After more offense from Real, Fantana finally breaks free. He gets Real on the floor in the corner and hits the bronco buster. Fantana attempts a pin, but only gets two. Standing moonsault with ease and another two count.
The two trade offense and there are multiple close calls. The momentum swings to the man from the Motor City as Real is about to finish off Fantana when Karma comes a calling. Nightmare is in to destroy Real with a sitout powerbomb. The Referee and Fantana were on the outside and neither saw anything, Fantana is back on his feet and goes to the top to nail the frogsplash. He follows up with the pin and the win. Nice assist by Nightmare.
Segment Four—The Wave Riders get arrested
Up to the screen to show the Wave Riders drinking and talking about how cool they are. The cops show up to claim that the Wave Riders are in possession of stolen property (the belts and the cooler). “What goes around is all around” says the R&R as the Wave Riders get hauled away (what does that even mean?).
Match seven—The Pledge vs. El Handsomo
We’re in the homestretch as The Pledge and El Handsomo wave the white flag tonight. El Handsomo decides to have a danceoff with Steve the Ref. I’m surprised I didn’t have to pay extra tonight to see that. In comes Pledge announced at an obese 350 or so. Evidently he’s still on supper patrol as he’s still piling away a cheeseburger on the way to the ring. He straps on his headgear and he is ready to go.
Handsomo slaps his food to the floor and that upsets the Pledge. Handsomo proceeds to deliver a wedgie to the Pledge. Handsomo has trouble moving him given his colossus weight. Finally Pledge is able to send him into the ropes and when he comes off, he drops Handsomo like a lead balloon.
Pledge heads up to the second rope and is going for some kind of high-risk maneuver. Fans are chanting his name and Pledge drinks it all in… Perhaps a little too long. Handsomo runs at him and knocks him down. El Handsomo calls for a Hogan style slam (as he military presses air). Handsomo is surprisingly able to get Pledge up in the air but ultimately, Handsomo collapses and is pinned for the victory. Pledge is so happy he hugs it out with the ref. Mr. Doussaud looks to be enjoying this.
Match eight–Lorenzo vs. Dick Durning
Our last match of the evening (and final in the first round of the Gold Rush tournament) has Lorenzo (whose favourite wrestler growing up was likely Golddust, if you know what I mean) taking on Dick Durning. Anyone want to lay bets on this one?
Lorenzo takes a long time before he ever comes out. Once he finally does come through the curtain, he struts to the ring with his valet (or whatever you would call him). For our sake we’ll calls him the apprentice. Lorenzo and his apprentice spend a lot of time walking around the ring before ever going through the ropes. It’s hard to tell whether Lorenzo is scared to get in the ring, or whether he’s trying to use a little psychology.
When we finally get this one started, Durning takes Lorenzo into the corner. Lorenzo is able to wiggle his way out, and I do mean wiggle. Durning attempts a belly to belly suplex but Lorenzo decides to grind him instead. Durning doesn’t seem to appreciate this and chokes Lorenzo into the corner before tossing him across the ring. Durning delivers a wiggle and suplex all his own.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo’s apprentice has been walking outside the ring shushing everyone in the crowd throughout the match. The fans are getting irritated and this seems to entice him to do it more.
Back in the ring, Lorenzo gets clotheslined over the top rope to the floor below. Durning heads to the ropes in an effort to nail a suicide dive but the apprentice pulls down the top rope sending Durning outside (hitting his head on the floor).
Lorenzo starts to work on the arm of Durning. While Lorenzo distracts the referee, the apprentice punches Durning square in the jaw. Lorenzo has Durning on the mat and is working the arm still. Durning tries to get to his feet but Lorenzo takes him back down so he can crank on the arm again. Durning finally picks up Lorenzo and slams him to the mat. Lorenzo is still able to hang onto the arm.
Durning finally gets out of the hold and sends Lorenzo into the corner. He follows up with a running shoulder but misses, driving his shoulder into the ring post. Durning finally summons some inner strength and powers Lorenzo up and over into a slam which shakes Lorenzo and causes him to break the hold. At this point, Lorenzo heads outside to confer with the apprentice. Evidently they have had enough and are going to leave.
Of course, this doesn’t sit well when Durning successfully hits the suicide dive this time taking both men to the ground on the outside. Lorenzo is slowly climbing the corner post but Durning dropkicks him back to the floor. Once Lorenzo is back in the ring, Durning takes him up top and delivers a superplex. Durning eludes a couple of punches and throws Lorenzo into the corner. He nails a running elbow to the head, then kicks him in the face.
Finally Lorenzo comes off the ropes , into a boot to the gut, and a babykiller piledriver to finish this one off. The referee counts the 1-2-3 and it’s over.
Biggest Pops Of Night
1. Julius Fantana is here
2. The Wave Riders get arrested
3. Pledge picks up the win over El Handsomo
Biggest Boos Of Night
1. El Handsomo knocks Pledges cheeseburger on the floor
2. Pat Perswayze talks down to the fans
3. KI Real tries to pose off with Julius Fantana but does not fare so well
Highlight of Night
1. It’s official. Former WWF/E tag team champions Demolition are booked to appear in June here in the XWA! Don’t wait too long to get your tickets to this one folks. The big question between now and then is, who will they face?
Surprise of Night
1. John Striker and Steve Doussaud both make their returns to the XWA
The next Saint John show is the second round of Gold Rush, and will come to you on March 8th 2012 from the Lancaster Branch 69 Legion. Doors will open at 7:00pm, first bell 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: