In my home district, there is an independent wrestling promotion, In Your Face Wrestling, based in Ballston Spa, which has hosted shows outside of its base area---albeit in Amsterdam & Whitehall, and not on the other side of the Hudson River. Fans in Troy, Watervliet, Albany, etc., can rest easy. We've got our own promotion now.
787 Pro Wrestling presented its debut card earlier today at the Troy Boys & Girls Club, drawing close to 300 raucous fans, thanks in large part to word of mouth and some media promotion. A talk host from the local ESPN Radio affiliate was the ring announcer, and 787PW bought ad time during Ring of Honor's Saturday broadcast on the CW affiliate here. It happened, appropriately, that Albany native Bobby Fish, who now calls Saratoga Springs home, was booked to appear, and the ad just happened to air the night before the show.
Fish didn't disappoint his constituents. He had his own vendor's table during the first half of the show, selling t-shirts, then worked the co-feature as a heel, beating Watervliet's Foxx Vinyer. If you haven't seen Fish in person or on TV, he's a near-dead ringer for WWE champion CM Punk, and has the charisma and heel attitude to match. He's also far more chatty, yakking at the ringsiders throughout the match. Fish made his TV debut a couple of months back, and I was stunned to learn he was from my area. He timed his entrance into Ring of Honor pretty good, though, arriving there shortly after another New York product, Buffalo's Beth Phoenix, had left the WWE after a 6 year-plus run.
The rest of the card:
"The Real" Rob Coleman won a battle royal to determine who would be in the main event to crown the first 787PW champ. Vik Dalishus, who would be his opponent, chose to attack Coleman after the match, clipping him in the knee with---of all things--a broom. Dalishus didn't participate in the battle royal, saving himself for the title match. Apparently, there was a method to his madness.........
Chris Envy, billed as hailing from Albany, defeated Chad Evans in the next match. Envy has plenty of energy and promise, and used Petey Williams' Canadian Destroyer (a flip piledriver) to end the match.
"Triple X" Ron Falco resorted to blatant cheating to get past Kyle Badger. The ref was actually in position to see Falco use a low blow, and he even hooked the tights to get the pin. Worst match on the show.
"Redneck" Randy Walker, riding to the ring in a wheelbarrow pushed by wife Brandi, teamed with Sgt. Fury & Corporal Saint in a 6-man vs. Viper the Ninja and Dos Locos Luchas. The last time there was an indy show in town, Viper beat Walker in a singles match, so now he's 2-0 here, as he picked up the win for his side with a top rope splash.
Wynantskill's Bert Williams was billed as "Bombshell" the last time he was here (June 2011), but this time, he's "Buttery", even carrying a bottle of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter to the ring for his match vs.William King, who cut a promo to get himself over as a heel, claiming he was taking over NY like he did New England. Nope, not gonna happen. Score one more for the home team, as Williams knocked off King in what amounted to an upset.
In the last match before intermission, CJ Scott defeated Kyle Brad. Scott screened the ref from seeing a low blow, then finished Brad with the package piledriver, the favored finisher of Ring of Honor champ Kevin Steen. Decent stuff, and Scott got plenty of heat.
After the break, Coconut Jones, billed as "Mr. Slippery When Wet" , and hailing from Jamaica, defeated Adam Badger. Because he had a Jamaican gimmick, some of the kids at ringside tried encouraging Jones to emulate WWE star Kofi Kingston. He finished the match, however, with a sloppy Paydirt (Shelton Benjamin's finisher) in a very competitive match.
Indy star Cloudy headlined a fatal 4-way lucha rules match that also featured "Your Captain" Nick Ando (who came out to Eric Clapton's classic "Cocaine"), Jordan Lennox, and local DJ Fulton Castle. Cloudy got chants of "Justin Bieber" tossed his way, if only because he could pass for "The Biebs"' older brother. To be honest with you, I felt sorry for the guy. Castle won, but then again, shouldn't that have been a surprise?
J. P. Black was up next, now billed as "The Dark Pony", and he made quick work of Rick King. Fish beat Vinyer in the semi-final as noted earlier, but the way Fish was shouting at some of the kids at ringside, it seems to me he might be a parent, too.
Yeah, he was definitely doing something Punk would've done in the same circumstance........
Vik Dalishus vs. Rob Coleman was our main event, and it was kept short, as Coleman was still selling the knee after the earlier attack. Dalishus locked on a single leg Boston Crab. Coleman wouldn't tap, so J. P. Black came back out and threw in the towel, giving Dalishus the 787PW title.
After the match, Black cut a promo and said he had trained most of the talent at the show, including Dalishus & Coleman. Dalishus, he said, was his first student, who went on to work with others, and has become dangerous, and Black kept telling Coleman that "you can't beat him". If that sounds familiar, think back to 2002 WWE, and Big Show challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE title. Paul Heyman, Lesnar's manager (and currently in the same capacity for CM Punk), told Lesnar the same thing. Heyman would then turn on Lesnar and cost him the title. I see the same thing happening, except Dalishus already has the title, and Coleman's the one doing the chasing........
The business model for 787PW is to have house shows every 5 weeks at the Troy Boys & Girls Club. They're titling their individual events, just like In Your Face does. Doing some quick math, the schedule sets up thus: (all dates are Sunday afternoons)
January 19, 2014
The crowd was full of energy, and were into every match. The only things 787PW needs to improve, really, are the sound system, and a lack of a program, which would make it easier to identify the wrestlers in each match without straining the ears trying to hear the names.
Will Bobby Fish, Cloudy, and some of the other indies return? Probably, especially Fish with his roots being in the area. Would this lead to Ring of Honor inevitably coming into the market for a live event, like a TV taping? I would think so. It's not that Fish was there as a talent scout, since he'd just signed with the company, but he knows the area, and ROH does have some people under contract, including Rhino, Shel Benjamin, Charlie Haas, and announcer Kevin Kelly, who are familiar with the market from their WWE days. Jay Lethal has been here, I think, while with TNA. Matt Hardy is not under contract with ROH--yet--but is another one area fans will know. Add it all up, and factor in the prospect of a border war with In Your Face, and, well, do we really need the stale, tired WWE and/or TNA anymore? Judge for yourselves, kids. The future of the wrestling business has to start somewhere, and as the old saying goes, there's no place like home.