Yesterday (Feb. 2) was a great holiday and it had absolutely nothing to do with a rodent predicting the weather. While men in top hats were looking to a gopher for seasonal advice, a plethora of independent wrestling promotions came together in Philadelphia to celebrate the first ever National Pro Wrestling Day.
The event consisted of two cards that demonstrated the wide variety of professional wrestling that exists, and it didn't disappoint. For those of you who couldn't make it to Philly or grab the iPPV, let's take a look at the afternoon card first:
NPWD Afternoon Card:
- The afternoon card kicked off with tag team action from Ring of Honor (ROH) featuring SCUM (Steve Corino/Jimmy Jacobs) taking on the ROH World Tag Team Champions - The Briscoe Brothers. It was a solid match that ended when the Briscoe Brothers were able to hit the Doomsday Device for the pin. After the match, Corino laid out the Briscoes and stated that the death of ROH was coming. After he vacated the ring, Jay Briscoe took control of the mic and laid down the gauntlet to ROH World Champion Kevin Steen.
- Next up was Saturyne vs Juan Francisco de Coronado under the Wrestling Is Fun! banner. The match got off to a very sloppy start but Saturyne and de Coronado recovered well and put on a good show. Saturyne would top off her impressive performance with a victory via small package.
- Tommy Dreamer was in tag team action with Hale Collins against the team of Vik Delicious and Ben Ortiz for the House of Hardcore. It was the first match that Remsburg was reffing for (and not commentating) and the roof came off the building. He was probably the most over man in the building. The match was decent and Ortiz, in his first match, put on a good performance. The commentary for the match was absolutely golden (as it was for the entire night, no matter who was in the booth) with such quips as "I didn't realize that SyFy show ECW had such a loyal following. It was a nice show and all, but not that great".
- Absolute Intense Wrestling had a break out year in 2012 and their match up for NPWD demonstrated why. Ethan Page and Josh Alexander went out and put on an absolute show. The action was well-paced and both men made each other look like a star out there. Alexander would take the win with a spinning Tombstone Piledriver.
- CWF Mid-Atlantic would steal the show with a tag team match up of Arik Royal and Chiva Kid vs Ric Converse and Trevor Lee. This match has a coming out party for Chiva Kid and CWF Mid-Atlantic. Chiva Kid put on a magnificent high-flying performance that whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Royal, Converse, and Lee put on great performances as well, in what was easily a contender for Match of the Afternoon. Arik Royal showed off some great athleticism for a man of his size. The match came to an end when Chiva Kid hit a double moonsault for the win.
- CZW's late addition to the card saw Matt Tremont, Latin Dragon, and Rory Mondo in a triple threat match. The threesome put on a good match with some ridiculous spots and recovered well from a couple of botches. The most notable botch involved Mondo messing up a flying head scissor on Tremont to the outside. To recover, Mondo suplexed Tremont from the apron onto the concrete. Tremont would take the victory with a sit down powerslam on Latin Dragon.
- Colt Cabana took on Mike Quackenbush under the Wrestling Is Art banner. The match was a deviation from a typical match, but it was absolutely entertaining. Cabana and Quackenbush put on a unique match that left me wanting more. After the match Bill Apter, of Pro Wrestling Illustrated fame, presented Cabana with an award for being an ambassador for independent wrestling. Cabana gave a great acceptance speech on what the independent wrestling scene has meant to himself and everyone involved.
- Beyond Wrestling put on a tag team match between Sugar Dunkerton and Aaron Epic vs Eric Corvis and Chris Dickinson. To recreate part of the Beyond Wrestling experience, other wrestlers surrounded the ring to offer critiques. Dunkerton and Epic took the victory in a decent match when Epic hit Lightning Spiral.
- The first elimination match of the Rey de Voladores saw Shane Hollister, 2 Cold Scorpio, Oliver Grimsley, and Jo Jo Bravo in action. 2 Cold Scorpio took the victory in an entertaining match that provided some good spots and comedy bits.
- Kaiju Big Battel was next up on the card and featured American Beetle and Neo Teppen vs two of Dr. Cube's minions. Kaiju Big Battel combines pro wrestling with Japanese monster movies to create a one of a kind experience. Dr. Cube, Sekmet, and many other of the Kaiju Big Battel performers were ring side and would eventually get involved in the match. The match provided some good laughs and a lot of fun. The Dr. Cube minions would take the victory, thanks to help from Sekmet.
- Drew Gulak and Francis O'Rourke faced off in the other contender for Match of the Afternoon under the Wrestling Is Respect banner. The two put on a clinic in chain wrestling as they exchanged counters and submissions through out the match. I was a wonderful match that came to an end when Gulak was able to lock in the Gulock.
- The final match of the afternoon card saw ACH, Bolt Brady, Surfer Mitch, and Lukas Sharp competing in the second elimination match of the Rey De Voladores. The match wasn't all that good until Surfer Mitch and ACH were the only two remaining. They have excellent chemistry together and put on an great match that saw ACH take the off of a frog splash.
The afternoon card had everything you could ask for in a card. Grade: A-
The evening card kicked off after a couple of hours intermission.
NPWD Evening Card:
- Starting off the evening card was Wrestling Is Heart presenting Reed Bentley and Tripp Cassidy vs Heidi Lovelace and Mat Russo. This match was a showcase for the talents of Lovelace. She put on an amazing performance that saw her taking bumps and selling liker her name was Dolph Ziggler. Bentley would secure the win for his team with a pop up forearm. The crowd went nuts for Lovelace as she exited the ring and it was well deserved.
- The Maximos saw action against Angel Ortiz and Mike Draztik under the Fighting Spirit Wrestling banner. The match was an excellent showcase for the promotion as all four men in action put on great performances in a great match. The Maximos hit Spanish Fly to secure the win.
- Women's Superstar Uncensored was billed as having their champion Marti Belle take on Ezavel, but Belle was replaced by Christie Von Eerie. The two put on a average match that saw Ezavel take the win with a sunset flip. Von Eerie would have to be escorted out of the ring after the match because she began to strangle Ezavel with her studded belt.
- Billy Corgan's Resistance Pro Wrestling presented Robert Anthony and ThunderKitty in action against Jay Bradley and D'Arcy Dixon. The match seemed to be designed as a spotlight for Dixon, but was a disappointment overall. Dixon had a couple of decent spots against Anthony but he and Bradley were underutilized. Easily the worst match of the day. After the match Bradley would attack Dixon.
- Following the disappointment of Resistance Pro Wrestling's offering came CHIKARA to save the day with F.I.S.T. and Los Ice Creams vs 3.0 and The Colony. Everything about this match was amazing. The action was outstanding, the comedy was uproarious, and the crowd was great. Everyone in the match got some good time in as the technicos of 3.0 and The Colony took the victory.
- Representing New York Wrestling Connection, Tony Nese and Apollyon took on Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver in an excellent show of tag team action. The action was non-stop from bell to bell as Nese and Apollyon secured the pin after a splash from Apollyon.
- AR Fox saw action against Shane Strickland as EVOLVE's offering for the day. AR Fox would earn the victory with Lo Mein Pain in a showcase of some great action. Both of these men are amazing wrestlers and the show they put on for NPWD demonstrated that.
- Wrestling Is Awesome! provided a dose of comedy with Devastation Corporation vs Proud Oak and Thunderfrog. In a great showcase of comedy and action Devastation Corporation would take the victory off of a big splash.
- International Wrestling Cartel saw it's champion John McChesney put his title on the line against Logan Shulo. The match saw a lot of back and forth action as McChesney retained as champion in a solid match.
- Wrestling's Heroes and Outlaws presented tag team action that saw Hurricane Shane Helms and Matty de Nero take on Ophidian and Kobald. The beginning of the match involved a lot of dancing with Helms doing his best Cotton Eye Joe to counter the break dancing of Ophidian. The action was good with Helms looking great in some spots that you wouldn't expect due to his recent injuries. Helms and de Nero would secure the victory after a double chokeslam on Kobald.
- The final match of the evening saw ACH vs 2 Cold Scorpio in the finals of the Rey de Voladores. The two put on an excellent demonstration of high flying action that saw 2 Cold Scorpio win with a moonsault senton. A fine end to a great day of wrestling action.
The evening card continued the great action that the afternoon card kicked off. Grade: A-
National Pro Wrestling Day was an absolute success in my book, and I hope this wonderful event will be back next year. What about you Cagesiders, any of you catch the show on iPPV and see it differently?