REVIEW: NOVA Pro Wrestling's 11th Dimension -- The Year of the Kat

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Okay, holidays over, regular job resumed, checking out pics and gifs, feel like I'm forgetting something..

Oh, right, I need to support my local independent promotion with a RECAP!

Yes, while the rest of you were out spending hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts for others, I was out spending money on the gift that keeps on giving: pro wrestling. Specifically, it was time for yet another NOVA Pro show, this one entitled the 11th Dimension. As it is the second annual Black Friday show, they were ready to continue the tradition of homaging the Survivor Series with big elimination matches. Throw in a huge singles rematch, and there was reason for a hot card.

But there was also a sense of unfamiliarity. Many of the names that you may have read about in this space were elsewhere during Thanksgiving weekend. To wit:

* Sonjay Dutt was not booked for this event, much like last year.
* Chet Sterling was in Modern Vintage Wrestling, competing in their main event title match.
* Tim Donst was over in Absolute Intense Wrestling, competing in their main event title match.
* Arik Royal... well, actually, he was advertised as being on the show, but ran into some transportation issues and couldn't make it.
* Angelus Layne, the first female main eventer, was red-carded for this event in kayfabe (as was Dominic Garrini) for events in October.

Fortunately, the cupboard was not empty. We still had a great series of matches lined up, plus it was a chance for the up-and-comers to spread their wings in a very welcoming environment. Even without the top names, the crowd was bigger than ever, with the JCC bringing out more chairs than they knew they had (including some of the fancy auditorium-style chairs with armrests and everything... that the Gated Community used, because of course they did).

So who's up for showing off the roster's depth? Let's do this!

Match 0 for the C.R.A.B. Heavyweight Championship: "Bad Mother Trucker" Mack Buckler (with Josh Fuller) (champion) vs. "Mercenary" Graham Bell (challenger)

Okay, before you ask: CRAB stands for Championship Rasslin And Beyond, and is a small-time Maryland-based promotion. However, a lot of the people who train there help on ring crew for NOVA Pro (including me now) and Money Green helps train them, so there's a very friendly relationship between the two companies. Buckler and Bell were both on the Box of Chocolates tryout show, and now they get a second chance to make a first impression.

But first, Fuller takes the mic to explain the background of the company: basically, his dad bought the company and gave it to him as a birthday present, so he gets whatever he wants. And he wants Buckler to be the champion, so eat it. And with that said, he has a proposal for Buckler. Would you... (gets on one knee)... do him the honor... (searches in tights)... of being... (pulls out ring)... his champion forever? Good news, everyone, Mack said yes!

So the title defense was gfdgvg... sorry, guys, I forgot that Bell used a pyro bazooka during his entrance.

Anyway, to the match. One thing I noticed about this, and it may be my training rubbing off, is how the wrestlers establish themselves as face and heel. Sure, Fuller did the heavy lifting for Buckler before the match, but Bell wasn't just face by default. He was the one leading the clapping, usually by tapping his back foot in rhythm as he was getting up from the mat. It helped a lot in this match – as did Fuller screaming at random fans, including a prolonged argument with superfan Ricky. When neither man is too familiar to the crowd (this will be the first main show DVD appearance of both), you need to work extra hard to say who to cheer for, and they came through.

The match was your standard opener. Both guys were given time they don't usually get to show off their stuff, and they had a satisfactory back and forth match. Most pre-show matches in NOVA Pro are about getting the crowd into it more than anything else; in some cases, workrate is actually secondary. Fortunately, Bell and Mack came through there. So with all due respect to both men, let's fast forward to the finish...

Mack Buckler defeated Graham Bell with a running powerslam to retain the CRAB Wrestling Heavyweight Championship (Rating : **¼)

...but before Mack can even blink, he gets a leg drop to the back of his head from a springboarding... dude in a mask! Fuller is furious and races in, but he gets hit with a standing uranage for his trouble! For a split second it looks like the man may unmask himself, but instead he heads to the back, leaving some in the audience baffled as to his identity.

So with that out of the way, let's begin the Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition! (Can you call it a tradition if it's the second straight time it's happened? I AM!) (Editor's note: I'll allow it.)

Match 1 – SURVIVOR SERIES RULES: The Carnies ("The Ringleader" Nick Iggy, "The Dog-Faced Gargoyle" Kerry Awful, "The Blue-Eyed Devil" Tripp Cassidy, and "The Beau Show" Beau Crockett) vs. The Sugar Dunklings ("Special Dark" Sugar Dunkerton, "Juke Joint" Lucas Calhoun, Lance Lude, and Rob Killjoy)

For the record, Calhoun is subbing for Arik Royal here. Side note: you may be cool, but you will never be funkadelic-superstar-leading-an-Elvis-impersonator-and-two-scraggly-haired-lightweights-in-a-perfectly-synchronized-Fargo-strut-down-the-aisle cool. It's Sugie D's world, and we live in it.

And just to prove my point a little more about how it's his world: the Carnies toss the two Ducklings early and have Dunkerton and Calhoun surrounded. Dunkerton then shouts: "Wait, wait! I hope to God this works... hit the track!" And it's the Cha Cha Slide! And Sugar works his magic like he did last month to get everyone in the ring (except the very confused referee) to take part in the line dance! Poor Kerry's feet can't handle the "1, 2 stomp" part, though. This goes on for long enough that it's clear the Carnies are engrossed in the dance, which allows the Ducklings to fly in and hit stereo missile dropkicks as the Dunklings take control!

Things settle down for a while as Calhoun takes control with his karate (because Elvis). He can't get very far on Crockett, but resorts to his secret weapon: the One-Inch Latent Energy Punch! (Isn't that Hercule Satan's finisher in Dragonball Z?) As always, it knocks Beau down a full ten seconds after contact. Chaos reigns some more, with Dunkerton getting in and everyone brawling on the outside. Beau reverses momentum and looks to finish as he did last month, but Sugar's learned a few extra tricks since then.

OUT: Beau Crockett (Carnies) by Sugar Dunkerton via a catch cradle at 7:10.

The Carnies settle the game down a little now, isolating the Ducklings and keeping Calhoun and Dunkerton on the apron. A mini-match with all three Carnies and both Ducklings breaks out, with Coach Mikey (not at ringside, but at the merch table – hey, priorities) leading the cheers on the duck call. The usual Carnies/Ducklings chaos breaks out, with neither side getting an edge until Lude tries to come off the top with a rana on Cassidy. Iggy stops his momentum, and all Cassidy has to do is catch him and stuff him.

OUT: Lance Lude (Dunklings) by Tripp Cassidy via Tombstone at 14:34.

Calhoun rushes in where wise men fear to tread, and although he makes progress, he loses track of the most important member of the bunch – Iggy. Nick sneaks in from behind and levels him with the Dandy Orton, and from there the muscle finishes the job.

OUT: Lucas Calhoun (Dunklings) by Kerry Awful & Tripp Cassidy via an Earthquake senton from Awful (15:28)

Dunkerton tries his luck next, and in fact he manages a small rally against Cassidy. It includes some running knees in the corner, but he can't get anything in the way of a solid cover because of Iggy and Awful breaking it up. Eventually, the numbers game proves to be too much, and the Carnies decide to hit the Force Destroyer. Now, normally that move requires both opponents, but the Carnies decide to improvise by having it be an assisted Canadian Destroyer by Cassidy on Dunkerton. In all the chaos of setting it up, they kind of forget that Sugie D still has a teammate.

OUT: Tripp Cassidy (Carnies) by Rob Killjoy via a top rope sunset flip (20:46)

Killjoy has the momentum, and he and Sugar do their best to keep going, but at this point reality sets in: their opponents are a well-oiled machine, and these two are a duo by circumstance. Nick and Kerry's knowledge of their tag partners comes through in isolating Killjoy, allowing them to wear both men down. This time, no one is around to break it up and no one is around to stop the impact.

OUT: Rob Killjoy (Dunklings) by Kerry Awful via the Force Destroyer (24:19)

This leaves Dunkerton alone. But upon seeing himself between the two Carnies, he shrugs and resolves to go out guns blazing. He actually manages to isolate the two by racing back and forth, corner to corner, pillar to post, knocking each man in turn. But the truth is it's a quick recipe to run out of gas, and soon he finds himself a step slow. Awful turns him over into a Boston Crab, and Iggy comes off the top with a kneedrop to score the killshot. Sugar has no choice but to surrender to save himself from harm.

OUT: Sugar Dunkerton (Dunklings) by both Iggy and Awful via the Death Comes Calling kneedrop (26:51)

The Carnies d. The Sugar Dunklings with Nick Iggy and Kerry Awful the survivors. (Rating; ***½)

But they're not done. The Carnies want to look out for Beau, the first eliminated and the one with the issue with ol' Sugie. Cassidy and Crockett return to the ring and lay the boots to a fallen Dunkerton. It takes Killjoy, still recovering on the outside, to get into the ring and shield Sugar. The Carnies, satisfied, leave the carnage in the ring.

Match 2: Wheeler YUTA vs. "The Kermonator" John Kermon

Talk about an interesting styles clash. Wheeler is more of a quick high-flyer, and he used this to keep the MMA-based Kermon off-balance. Kermon, normally a white-bread babyface (nothing fancy, just the good guy type), was almost leaning heel in this match, showing an intensity rarely seen. He even seemed determined to make an example of YUTA – perhaps he was sending a message to the suspended Garrini with his brutality.

In the end, rather than submit YUTA, he pummeled him until the referee had no choice but to call it.

John Kermon d. Wheeler YUTA by TKO with mounted punches at 6:29. (Rating: **¼)

Our next match was a three-in-one special: the Triathlon Survivor Match. For those of you who haven't watched CWF Mid-Atlantic: first of all, why not? Second, here are the rules. It's two teams of three fighting a trio of matches. The first match is one person from each team stepping up. The second match is two people from each team having a standard tag match. (These two are usually, though not necessarily, the two members of the team who were not in the singles match; common sense says you'd give your singles men a breather.) If the first two falls are split (if?), all six men are thrown in for a winner-take-all trios match.

Since there was a prolonged rest period between falls, it was decided to treat these three matches separately for the purpose of timekeeping, and I will do that for my review too.

(Sidenote: okay, so New Japan invented the Triathlon Survivor match. But the most recent episode of CWF has it on their show.)

TRIATHLON SURVIVOR: The Spitfires ("Proficient" Sage Philips, "Diamond Cut" Ace Perry, and Cabana Man Dan) vs. The One Percent ("Champion of the 1%" Logan Easton LaRoux, "True Talent" Bobby Shields, and...)

Oh, right, about that. See, Alexander James – another regular to NOVA Pro and member of the 1% in good standing – is in Europe over Thanksgiving. But when you have the kind of money that LaRoux and his neighbors have, you can make a few calls and grease a few palms. The third member of the team and the newest member of Team One Percent is... "Mr. Scenic City" Gunner Miller.

Match 3 (Round 1, singles): Cabana Man Dan vs. Gunner Miller

Miller is 6'1 and carries himself a lot bigger. Dan is... not that big. It's part of his charm. But the end result was Miller throwing Dan all the way around the ring and just brutalizing him with German suplexes. It was like watch Brock Lesnar toy with his prey. However, even the best make a mistake, and Miller got too cocky, allowing Dan a chance to escape and find his flip-flops.

So, the flip-flop chop that Dan does is of dubious legality. Sure, footwear is absolutely legal when worn on the foot, but what about when on the hand? Then again, the referee has an opportunity to check the flip-flops for any illegal weighting, and he says they're okay on his feet. So if they're attached to his body, does that make them legal? Or do they have to be used as footwear to...

...well, in this case, it didn't matter because the whole thing had zero effect on Miller. Miller stared at Dan, more amused than hurt. He then grabbed Dan into the ropes and Pounced him so hard I think parts of Dan's soul migrated to Baltimore. The finish was academic.

Gunner Miller d. Cabana Man Dan with a Jackhammer at 6:34. (Rating: **)
One Percent leads Spitfires, 1-0

Match 4 (Round 2): The Spitfires (Sage Philips & Ace Perry) vs. The One Percent (Logan Easton LaRoux & Bobby Shields)

Interesting sidenote here: whereas the Spitfires remained loyal to each other, staying in the corner and leading cheers, the One Percenters who weren't in the match would sit with the Gated Community in a comfortable chair, drink water, and just enjoy a view of the match. Make of that what you will.

Anyway, an early back-and-forth fight with bodies flying all over the place soon settled down after Shields help isolate Philips. LaRoux, furious at being pinned last month (dubious refereeing or not), wanted to make sure that Sage bore the brunt of the offense. It appeared to work as Sage couldn't get the upper hand on either man. But one false move led to crawling away, and Perry got the tag to clean house. Miller and Dan at this point (I think) charged ringside, drawing the attention of both referees (one in the ring to call the match and one outside in case something like this happened).

With Shields helping to add to the pain on Dan, LaRoux looked to put away Sage with confidence. He wasn't expecting the mild-mannered Philips to land a low blow in the confusion. With his opponent stunned, Sage managed to go for the kill.

Philips/Perry d. LaRoux/Shields when Philips pinned LaRoux with a Shiranui at 7:58. (Rating: **½)
One Percent and Spitfires tied 1-1

But in came Gunner Miller during celebrations, and we weren't waiting around – it was winner-take-all and we were off and running!

Match 5 (Round 3): The Spitfires (Sage Philips, Ace Perry, and Cabana Man Dan) vs. The One Percent (Logan Easton LaRoux, Bobby Shields, and Gunner Miller)

Miller laid waste to the victorious duo, forcing a still-groggy Dan to be the one to face him. A few throws put Dan down, and the One Percent went to work. It looked like a replay of the first fall all over again, but with three times the people making Dan's life miserable. Had all three been on their first match, it might have even worked. But the barefoot islander escaped with one last enzuigiri to Miller before making the tag to...

...both his teammates. Is that allowed? Which one did he tag first?

It didn't matter, because on seeing this, Logan and Shields both tagged Miller at about the same time, leading to the rather unusual situation of (seemingly) four legal men at once. Bodies were flying with dropkicks and ranas left and right. At one point, Dan even got his flip-flops back and laid it into Shields. Chaos broke out as Miller knocked Sage down while Shields was disposed of. Perry and Philips connected with a Cactus clothesline to knock Miller to the floor (in theory), followed by a series of dives by all involved. Both referees went to the outside to try to restore order, leaving Logan and Sage alone in the ring.

Logan quickly went for the PWI Ultra J Title – after all, if Sage could give a low blow earlier, he could win underhandedly now, right? But he telegraphed his move and Sage ducked. Thinking quickly, Sage grabbed Logan on a return charge, and the in-ring ref returned just in time!

Philips/Perry/Dan d. LaRoux/Shields/Miller when Philips pinned LaRoux with a small package at 7:55. (Rating: ***)
Spitfires win the match, 2 falls to 1.

Whew. I'm gonna need an intermission for this one.

But before we return to the action, a reminder: Such Great Heights, the next event from NOVA Pro, can be watched online by all involved! Just sign up for Powerbomb.TV and enter the code NOVAPRO for a 20-day free trial! The show is December 28 (Thursday) from the Annandale VFD in Annandale, VA! Hey Rev, you do reviews of online shows: wanna help me with this one? (Editor's note: We'll see what we can put together!)

Okay, back to the show.

Match 6: "The Gifted" Isaiah Frazier vs. "Mr. Untouchable" Dirty Money

Oddly, despite Money being a longtime vet in the sport, I'd never seen him before. He came out looking like Mr. T on SlimFast, and he definitely had the charisma to get the crowd on his side. But unfortunately for both, a couple minutes in the crowd was distracted by a visitor. It was Coach Gator, walking out to scout both men.

Okay, if your reaction to that was "Coach Who?", then you're roughly on par with half the crowd. Coach Gator is a new manager type who dresses like Mickey from the Rocky films, walks around with a cigar, and is usually eating something while checking out the action. He's a firm believer that wrestling was its best during the 1950s or before and wants to find the person to conquer the Northern Virginia "territory" with. (There were intro videos to him on YouTube, so I knew the deal.)

Okay, so if you're Coach Gator – and maybe you are, I don't know if he has Internet – what did you see? Well, Dirty is a known quantity, so the question was if Frazier could measure up. And measure up he did: this was his longest outing thus far in NOVA Pro, and it was the kind of ebb and flow you look for in a young lion. Sure, Money timed the comeback well, so take nothing away from the wily vet. But this was a showcase for Frazier, and he made the most of it.

Isaiah Frazier d. Dirty Money with a full nelson into a spinout slam at 9:36. (Rating: **)

After the match, the Coach tried to get Isaiah signed to a deal, but Frazier was none too interested in the moment, asking ringsiders whose grandpa had wandered into the action.

Up next came a bit of a grudge match. In May, Fred Yehi beat Jonathan Gresham when the ref called a TKO due to the bicycle kick barrage. In September, Jordynne Grace won a match and was rewarded by being allowed to name her opponent for last month. She chose Yehi, who did not go easy on Grace, giving her the same kick combo. Gresham quickly threw in the towel for Grace and got in Yehi's face about his viciousness. And thus, the stage was set.

Match 7, Non-Title: Powerbomb.TV Independent Wrestling Champion "The Octopus" Jonathan Gresham (w/Stokely "Someone Give This Man a Nickname" Hathaway) vs. "Big Trouble" Fred Yehi

The two men spent most of the first few minutes jawing during a lockup or getting nose-to-nose. Lockups that went to the ropes wouldn't result in a clean break until 4 and a half. The referee got so annoyed he pulled them apart and informed each that if they didn't listen to him, he'd throw the match out. With this warning in mind, the two went to work.

Yehi displayed a vicious side that was his trademark, constantly looking to make mincemeat of his opponent's hands. His strikes, especially his shotgun dropkick, were on point and had Gresham reeling. But for Gresham, this was beyond personal, and he displayed a type of fighting spirit not seen from him in NOVA Pro before. In fact, he would often fire back off of Yehi's chops with ones that resonated twice as loudly!

But Yehi was the stronger of the two and used that size to his advantage. He took Gresham down and tried to get him to submit, but it wouldn't happen. Running out of ideas, he put Gresham on the top rope and hung upside down – an avalanche bicycle kick barrage! Gresham was out on his feet, and when Yehi broke, he climbed back up and struck with a fisherman's buster off the top! But to everyone's amazement, Gresham kicked out!

Yehi then went to a more conventional bicycle kick barrage on his back, but Gresham had had enough. He got madder, not more tired, with each kick. Something snapped inside him, and he laid into Yehi with a ferocity, doubling him over and setting up the Octopus Hold! Yehi escaped to a full nelson, only for Gresham to reapply it twice more. The third time, he made double sure there was no escape as he pounded away on Yehi's head with his free hand. That was enough.

Jonathan Gresham d. Fred Yehi with the Octopus Hold and strikes at 20:11. (Rating: ***½)

After the match, Gresham was told to hold off by Stoke as Yehi got to his feet. The two men shook hands, and Yehi went on his way. But Stokely had a little something to say:

You know, he said, it's not hard to get a Powerbomb.TV Title shot. Just come to him – he's easy enough to find. But there's someone who went to back channels with the higher-ups to try for a title shot. Someone who thinks they run Northern Virginia – that he's their "Godfather" or something. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Sonjay Dutt. (Crowd: "Ooooooooh!")

Now, normally, Stokely would be shutting his request down for not asking him directly, but heck, it's the holiday season and so why not be in the giving mood. So at Such Great Heights, live on Powerbomb.TV, Dutt will get the chance he wants. But he'd better make it count, because he's going against the best in Jonathan Gresham.

And with that, we go to our main event.

Match 8 – SURVIVOR SERIES RULES: Team Faye ("Milkshake" Faye Jackson, Mia "Jade" Yim, "The Last Pure Athlete" Jordynne Grace, "La Lutte Real" LuFisto, and Brittany Blake) vs. Team Veda ("Veda-berg" Veda Scott, "La Virtuosa" Deonna Purazzo, "The Snapchat Queen" Laynie Luck, "The Queen Incarnate" Sahara Se7en, and Allie Kat)

All of Faye's team comes out in matching T-shirts, while Veda's team comes out to Goldberg's music, and yes, Veda does the martial arts warm-up Goldberg does. It's... different seeing her do it.

But first, a dance-off, as Purazzo mocks Faye's more posterior-enhanced dancing skills. Faye then shows her how it's done, causing Mia to race over to the Gated Community, borrow their $100 bill printouts props and make it rain in the ring by Faye. And just when you think you've seen it all, a fan in the front row stands up and throws ACTUAL MONEY into the ring! The match is put on hold as all the women immediately scramble to collect as much as possible while the crowd, completely caught off guard by this development, begins a Holy Shit chant. Bryan and I over at the timekeeper's table nearly pass out from laughing.

Hey, in the immortal words of Emil Jay, "Gotta get that money."

So after that momentary (and understandable) distraction, it's back to the action, with Faye getting a quick bit of revenge for last month. This time there's no ropes to help or hinder, and she's on point the whole way, keeping the other team from helping.

OUT: Laynie Luck (Team Veda) by Faye Jackson via the Rikishi Driver (6:53).

The Faye Team kept their momentum going, as in came their ace in the hole in Mia Yim. Veda wanted nothing to do with Faye – or anyone, for that matter – basically forcing her teammates to do the heavy lifting. This meant the least experienced member of the squad, Sahara, found herself with the most accomplished opponent in Mia. The young queen was easy pickings for Mia, and she soon had Sahara up for a huge Michinoku Driver that...

...oh dear.

Look, I was some distance from the ring, so I didn't get a clear look at the landing, but two things were immediately clear: Sahara had been knocked loopy (she forgot to kick out, which caused the match to come to an awkward halt) and Mia had taken a huge hit to the leg (she suddenly couldn't put any weight on her right foot). I won't speculate, other than when Mia tried to save things, she couldn't even walk well. She quickly tagged out and tried to recover on the outside.

Back in the ring, Sahara was able to figure out she had to stay down, and Grace and LuFisto, teammates in Beyond, delivered their finisher to make sure it happened.

OUT: Sahara Se7en (Team Veda) by LuFisto after a PAWG Slammer (10:19). (Yes, this has another name in Beyond; no, I'm not using it to report on a PG company)

But Mia quickly headed to the exits, asking to be taken to a hospital right away.

OUT: Mia Yim (Team Faye) due to a legitimate injury (10:35).

Epilogue: both Mia and Sahara spent time in the hospital after the show. Neither one has mentioned the extent of any damage, but Mia soon revealed on Twitter that she would withdraw from the remaining bookings that weekend. On Monday, Sahara thanked all of her fans for their support during "a scary situation".

With things quickly falling apart, Veda finally reluctantly saved in to take a beating and keep the match flow going. Faye finally had her hands on her rival, and the results were a satisfying beating. Sensing it was time for the kill, she brought in LuFisto – but it's possible the referee was trying to keep Allie and Deonna out of the ring. Whether he saw the tag or not is uncertain, but LuFisto wasn't going to be allowed to trap Veda in the corner. And she certainly wasn't allowed to shove the referee either.

OUT: LuFisto (Team Faye) by disqualification via physical attack to an official (13:18)

Faye's team, led by the captain, tried desperately to keep LuFisto's now boiling temper under control. It didn't work.

OUT: Faye Jackson (Team Faye) by Veda Scott after LuFisto turned on her team (13:44).

Suddenly, what was once 5-on-3 in favor was now 3-on-2 against. Team Veda isolated Brittany, the smaller of the two, and handed her off among Veda, Allie, and Deonna. Fortunately, she was able to escape and bring in Grace, who took it to her opponents. After trapping Deonna in the corner, she used her compact size to deliver the final blow.

OUT: Deonna Purazzo (Team Veda) by Jordynne Grace via a Vader Bomb (16:03).

Blake came back in and targeted Veda – the two were supposed to face off in May, but circumstances prevented it. Blake wasted no time in getting Veda on the ropes, trying to run for safety, when Veda saw Jordynne's water bottle – still mostly full. (It's in the shape of a dumbbell; kind of hard to miss.) She headed outside and hid it in her hands, goading Blake to try to dive onto her. It worked.

OUT: Brittany Blake (Team Faye) by Veda Scott via use of a weapon (17:23).

Grace, unamused, tore into Veda, but a quick move to the eyes stemmed the tide. Veda figured that worked before could work again and went back to the water bottle. Two things, though: first, she was in the ring, not out of it, so the referee would have disqualified her immediately; and second, more interestingly, Allie would have none of it. She tried to rip the bottle out of Veda's hands insistent on winning the right way. (Perhaps her friendship with Mallory, our four-year-old fanbase mascot, made her want to be a role model?) Grace shoved the two foes into each other during the argument, and suddenly it was one on one.

OUT: Veda Scott (Team Veda) by Jordynne Grace via a rolling cradle with a bridge (18:05).

So here we were, one more time. Just as in September with a trip to the Making Towns Classic on the line, it was Grace and Allie, the last ones standing. The crowd's loyalties were surprisingly divided between the two hard-workers, who went in an all-out blitz, throwing big move after big move at each other. On one side was Grace, the accomplished competitor whose name was already on the rise. On the other, the hungry Kat, still looking for the big break. Would this be it?

Slams that put Allie away in September were escaped in November. Moves that Grace had no issue with earlier required more effort this time. Allie was getting more confident, and with it, her moves making more of an impact. Eventually, she called for the ripcord headbutt – the move that won her the tryout match back in June; the move that made Veda Scott ask her to be on the main show; the move that got her her one and so far only win at a NOVA Pro event. If it hit, it would be her best chance at her biggest victory.

It hit. She fell on top. The crowd counted.

One. Two. Three.

OUT: Jordynne Grace (Team Faye) by Allie Kat via a ripcord headbutt (21:33).

Let me pause here for a second. I know I tried above to do justice to how much this win meant, but there's a lot about Allie that I want to explain. Just five short months ago, she signed up for NOVA Pro's tryout event, Life is Like a Box of Chocolates. For the wrestlers on that show, there was no payout and no guarantee of a callback. All they would get was a chance to impress the NOVA Pro faithful. Many names came through that day. Some were instant successes like Sugar Dunkerton. Some were good hands miscast as wrestlers such as referee Thomas Munoz. Some were well-established and hoping to help others like Prakash Sabar or Donnie Dollars. A few new names even stuck around.

One of those matches that day – the only women's match, now that I think about it – was Laynie Luck vs. Allie Kat. Laynie did all right for her part, but Allie took a different tactic. On a show where just about everyone was trying to show what they could do as a wrestler, Allie went with being a performer. All of her offense was cat-centric. She even used quirky moments to behave as a cat would (like getting herself stuck on the top turnbuckle or becoming relaxed when her head was rubbed). Through two matches that night – only three guys had earned a main show spot – she showed that she was willing to entertain, to humiliate herself, to go full-blast into the gimmick.

Basically, she showed that she GOT wrestling.

But it was a long way from there. At that evening show, she did the honors for Faye Jackson in a tag match. At her next appearance, it was Brittany Blake getting the pin. Come September, and she was ceding a spot in a major women's tournament to Jordynne Grace. Other tryout alumni made regular appearances – AC Hawkes and Sugar Dunkerton appeared multiple times, and Laynie Luck was back last month to set up this match – but so far she found herself not having success, at least if you count wins and losses.

But there was an area she did have success: the fans. Her connection to us in the crowd was undeniable. In a place that embraced the fun side of wrestling as much as the workrate side – witness Tim Donst becoming a construction worker – the idea of someone combining gimmick with wrestling caught on quickly. It was the little touches, too: her moves that she called out all had feline-related names ("kitten-ton splash", "Shining Kitty", "Cannon-fur-ball", that sort of thing), and she didn't miss a chance to let the inner cat take over. In August, the referee had a laser pointer to calm Allie down with, and she abandoned the match almost completely to chase it. Come September, when her opponent got streamers, she cheered with glee and begged for one to get tangled up in.

But the icing on the cake was Mallory. Mallory is the daughter of Heel Will, one of the NOVA Pro regular superfans. She's four years old. She is ENAMORED with Allie. She came to the September show dressed in a Wonder Woman outfit, but with whiskers painted on her face, just like Allie always has. Allie saw this, got a mile-wide smile, and went over to cuddle with Mallory. The crowd took to this moment, and took to Allie soon after in a way much stronger than before. Sure, by history she was still a "heel", but no one was doing anything but cheering.

If the argument with Veda made it okay for the fans to embrace her as loudly as possible, tonight's finish made clear what most fans knew: she – more than AC Hawkes, Cabana Man Dan, Laynie Luck, heck even more than Sugar Dunkerton – was the breakout star of that first tryout show. She's the one the fans rallied behind. In a land of kings and queens, the joker – the most gimmicky – had won the hearts of an ECW-esque crowd that wanted success for all that deserved it.

Now, none of this is to set aside her skill. In the ring, she's put on matches worthy of being a star to watch even if you strip away her gimmick. But it's the combination – the ability to put a match together; the ability to connect with the crowd through a character; and the ability to weave the two together so seamlessly that it adds to both – that has led to her meteoric rise. She's not at the level of someone like a Donst or an Arik Royal, and she can't make her opponent get the reaction the way Logan Easton LaRoux does. No matter; she's a star in the making. In just five months, she went from being a complete unknown to being the winner of the main event. And she deserved every last inch of that rocket up the charts.

Team Veda d. Team Faye with Allie Kat the sole survivor. (Rating: ***¼)


Folks, ever since I first reviewed the Commonwealth Cup here in April, I've been hoping you've enjoyed these looks into the most fun independent promotion in the Mid-Atlantic. They've gone from 100 or so people two years ago to over 400 this weekend. They were a bold experiment that has grown into being a legitimate promotion – maybe not Ring of Honor in terms of exposure, but one that lots of people want to know about. I've seen people like Cedric Alexander and Mia Yim make regular appearances here. Abbey Laith came out for a show. Kassius Ohno made us one of his last stops before his current NXT stay. In short, it feels like I've caught a shooting star, and I want everyone to enjoy it.

Guess what: YOU TOTALLY CAN!

NOVA Pro's next show is THURSDAY, December 28, LIVE on Powerbomb.TV and is called "Such Great Heights". Already as of this writing, SIX matches have been announced, and what a lineup we'll have for you!

* Anarchy Championship: Gunner Miller (champion) vs. AJ Gray (challenger) – assuming Miller survives Matt Riddle, can the man who put Chattanooga on the wrestling map make his second successful defense within the Annandale VFD?
* PWI Ultra J Championship: Logan Easton LaRoux (champion) vs. Sage Philips (challenger) – after being pinned twice in one night by the Proficient One, the Champion of the 1% must grant a rematch. Can he escape? As a twist, if Sage is caught doing anything shady (like a low blow as on this show) and gets disqualified, he can never challenge Logan again – the pressure's on.
* Dominic Garrini vs. John Kermon – Two MMA gladiators who had a falling out over their skills see fit to do battle one last time. And unlike in October, there won't be any rope-related shenanigans, because THERE WON'T BE ANY ROPES! And with no ropes means no countout (how can you be "inside" or "outside" the ring, after all), which means expect a war between two men who use their bodies as weapons!
* Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tim Donst – The Zombie Princess's indy revival tour hits the Internet stage and comes to Annandale as he takes on a man obsessed with keeping it safe and keeping it real in the ring. What strategy can the Mat Wrestling Machine use?
* Brandon "Money" Green vs. Santa Claus – Look, it's the Christmas season and we're a wrestling show, why the hell NOT have Santa Claus show up? (Editor's note: If you're not down with Santa wrestling, I've got two words for you...)
* Faye Jackson vs. Veda Scott – Little Miss Milkshake has finally had enough of Veda's hit-and-run antics; come December, there will be no rules for the legal eagle to hide behind. Can Veda find the key to winning, or is this her day of reckoning?

On top of this, we're looking to see if Dutt will accept the terms put forth by Hathaway. Is he clearing his calendar to go for the Powerbomb title in his home? Is the Dream Team prepared to win the ultimate road game?

All of this on December 28, as Season Two of NOVA Pro Wrestling closes with a bang LIVE on Powerbomb.TV! SUPPORT INDEPENDENT WRESTLING! And more than that, see for yourself why I love this company!

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.