Saturday, June 16th, 2011
The Grindhouse

The Grindhouse, as it turns out, is a hockey rink. There were 62 people present in the audience at the opening bell (I counted), and probably around 70 by the end of the first match. Commissioner/ring announcer Nino got into the ring to start the show, then realized that his mic was broken. Not an ideal start, but things picked up quickly.

Massive Damage vs. Chris Perish

Massive Damage went from being a contender for the Heavyweight Title to not even being booked, and confronted Nino, who apparently is both the ring announcer and the commissioner. Nino praised Massive Damage’s experience and accomplishments, and said that even though he was no longer in the Heavyweight Title picture, the MPW Provincial Title was the only belt that Damage hadn’t won yet, so maybe he should go after that. The current Provincial Champion, Nite, proceeded to come out with cronies Chris Perish and Mutato to protest the commissioner siccing Damage on him and

Massive Damage gives Chris Perish a moment to ponder the unfairness of the universe before throwing him around like a football.

saying that if Damage was going to get a title shot, he should have to earn it like everyone else. I suspect his argument was motivated by the fact that his entire body was smaller than one of Damage’s legs. Much bantering ensued, the upshot of which was that Chris Perish would face Massive Damage right now, and if Damage won he’d get a title match at a later date. Chris Perish was very unhappy with this, as he too is smaller than one of Damage’s legs, and claimed that he was unprepared because he hadn’t had time to stretch out his quads, to which Nino responded “Quads? You call those quads?” In my favourite line of the entire night, Perish screamed “Yes! Quads! I have four of them! Quads!”

The match started slowly, with extended sequences of Perish being wary of Damage punctuated by Damage throwing Perish around the ring like he was a toy. Perish decided that he’d had enough and started to head to the back, but Damage followed him and threw him back in the ring. Perish gained the advantage when Mutato grabbed Damage’s leg as he slid into the ring, preventing him from getting up and murdering Chris Perish.

Perish worked on Damage’s neck for most of the match, aided by Mutato, who choked Damage on the ropes whenever the opportunity to do so presented itself. My favourite part of his offence was a simple ten punch in the corner, which in and of itself, wasn’t very interesting, but when the fans started to count he screamed “I CAN COUNT, I DON’T NEED YOU!” and then continued to punch in silence. Damage eventually made his comeback, hitting a variety of suplexes. He attempted to suplex Perish from the apron into the ring, but Mutato pulled out his leg, causing Perish to fall on top of Damage for the three count. Another referee immediately interjected, telling the bout’s referee what had happened. After a short conference with Nino, the match was restarted. Massive Damage won in about 20 seconds with a spear that looked like it broke Perish in half.

“Mr. Beefy Goodness” Vance Nevada vs. Spooky Bonanza

Vance Nevada wrote a very interesting book chronicling the history of pro wrestling in the Canadian West, which has nothing to do with this match but is worth mentioning. Spooky Bonanza is a comedy character, and started the match by running around and flailing his arms like a madman before squatting in the corner as still as a statue. Vance Nevada made

Spooky Bonanza mocks Vance Nevada's butt-related pain.

a big show of removing his tearaway pants, straight out of 1998, to reveal his hot pink trunks with “Beefy” written on the butt. Spooky bailed out of the ring screaming “ew ew ew” and trying to erase the mental image of Nevada stripping by rubbing his eyes so hard they burst into flames.

Once Spooky got into the ring, he challenged Nevada to a test of strength, then kept switching which hand was in there as Nevada tried to accept the challenge. This went on for a good 30 seconds until Nevada gave up and started beating on Spooky. Nevada kept “accidentally” cheating, and at one point was making the referee explain to him why choking Spooky with his boot was illegal while kneeling on his throat. He transitions into a camel clutch, but Spooky counters by standing up and falling backward. On the offence, Spooky went for a ten-spot slamming Nevada’s head into the turnbuckle, but the crowd messed up the count when the pace of slamming changed, so he tried it again in a different corner. Nobody cared. He hit a pair of atomic drops, then mocked Nevada from behind. Spooky missed a running avalanche in the corner, then Nevada rolled him up and put his feet on the ropes for the leverage he needed to get the three count.

Mixed Tag Team Match
Mutato & Dawnamatrix vs. Sonic Insanio & Sexy Samantha

This one was off to an inauspicious start. Mutato and Dawnamatrix attempted to whip Sonic Insanio and Sexy Samantha into each other, but they dosey-do’d, ducked under clotheslines from the heels, and dropkicked the heels as they turned around. Except that Dawnamatrix didn’t turn around until Sexy Samantha clapped loudly several times, then botched taking the dropkick so that Sam barely tapped her with one foot. Things improved quickly as the faces hit a series of double team moves culminating in Sam reverse power slamming Sonic onto Mutato, then the two girls began chain wrestling. Sam got the advantage and Dawnamatrix tagged in Mutato, which called Sonic Insanio into the ring. Kind of.

Sexy Samantha about to hit Dawnamatrix with a fisherman's suplex while Sonic Insanio looks on from the apron.

Whether or not the guys were actually allowed to be in the ring with the girls was unclear, but it didn’t cause any particular problems so I kind of ignored it. The heels took over, as heels often do. At one point the girls botched a clothesline spot, with Dawnamatrix throwing a high clothesline that was intended to miss, but Sam went down anyway despite being about a foot away from contact. Apparently I was the only one in the audience who thought this was terrible enough to boo loudly. Anyway, the match continued and the referee was distracted for some reason (the same referee who would get distracted in every other match he was in). Dawnamatrix stood around awkwardly, looking at the referee then Sam repeatedly for about 10 seconds before the ref turned around, then hit an X-Factor for the win.

Wiseman Pierce vs. Taylor Stone

Oh my god this match lasted AT LEAST a hundred years. If this match had been ten minutes, and the pace adjusted accordingly, it would have been a serviceable midcard match. As it was, it went somewhere in the range of 20 minutes (probably closer to 25), and it became abundantly clear that Wiseman Pierce was not experienced enough to wrestle a match that long. He wasn’t BAD, and his gimmick was kind of neat, he just had very little offence. Unfortunately, he was the heel, so he was on offence most of the time. The match was essentially Stone doing something interesting, then Pierce putting him in a hold for about a minute, at which point Stone would get the crowd behind him in a hope spot before getting shut down. The whole affair mercifully came to an end after Stone hit a

"Why oh why is this match still going!?" laments Tyler Stone.

double arm DDT for the pin. Afterwards, Nite and his henchmen came out and beat up Stone, which ended when some other faces chased the heels away after Nite had hit Stone with his own double arm DDT. I immediately wished that had happened much earlier.

Intermission. On the plus side, I really needed a break after the last match. On the downside, it’s not great going into an intermission praising higher powers that the lead-in match finally ended.

MPW Provincial Championship Match
Nite © vs. Tyler James

Nite came out with his lackeys, Mutato and Chris Perish, as well as a mannequin head for some reason. Tyler James came out and cleared the ring by swinging his tag team title belt around, which made a noise like a gunshot when he smacked it against the ropes.

The match started off with some solid chain wrestling, during which both guys tried to work over the left arm of their opponent. Unlike the previous matches, these guys busted out some fairly intricate submission/weardown holds, like a figure-four butterfly lock. Notable mid-match spots included a really interesting see-saw suplex sequence in which both guys kept going for suplexes and being blocked. Eventually Nite managed to get James halfway over before James countered and fluidly muscled Nite over. For the most part, both wrestlers went hold-for-hold with each other. Whenever James got an advantage, Nite would use his superior striking to target James’ left arm. When Nite got in control, James was able to use his size and strength advantage to counter him.

In a great bit of psychology, even as Nite was being hammered by shoulder tackles (the aforementioned countering via

Nite couldn't decide whether to use a butterfly lock or a figure four, so he did both.

size and strength), he was always on James’ left side, which resulted in the collisions doing as much damage to James as they did to Nite. James countered a clothesline into a floatover DDT, but the referee was distracted by Chris Perish, who climbed up onto the apron to prevent his boss from losing the title. James then hit a variation of the Osaka street cutter (in this case, a reverse suplex into a stunner), but of course couldn’t pin the champ because Mutato distracted the referee. Nite attempted to regain the advantage, but James countered his tilt-a-whirl backbreaker attempt into what I can only describe as La Mistica with less spinning. He cranked on Nite’s left shoulder, which he had worked on earlier, but the referee failed to see Nite tapping out as Nite’s henchmen distracted him for the third time in about two minutes. The official had had enough and demanded they leave ringside, which caused Nite to walk out in disgust after them. James wouldn’t let Nite escape, though, and slammed him into the boards (the show was in a hockey rink, remember), the battered him on the outside before hitting a flying elbow drop onto a prone Nite from a chair. I couldn’t see from my vantage point, but I’m told Nite hit a low blow on James, then rolled back into the ring at the referee’s 9 count. Nite retained the title, but James was quick to demand a rematch. It’s worth noting that the referee for this match would also referee the main event, which is an important aspect of the story.

MPW Heavyweight Championship Match
“Mr. Intensity” Mark Posey © w/ Vance Nevada vs. Jack Hammer

The match started with a few spots to demonstrate Hammer’s significant strength advantage, including a slap exchange which left Posey flat on his back. Forearm smashes in the corner left Posey on his feet, but only because the ropes were holding him up. Hammer held Posey up for about five seconds in a very well-executed stalling vertical suplex. Mr. Intensity took a powder before long, frustrating Hammer by bailing back out to the floor whenever Hammer got anywhere near him.

Vance Nevada provides totally legal support to "Mr. Intensity" Mark Posey against Jack Hammer. Totally legal in the sense that the referee didn't see it, because he was terrible at his job.

Posey gained and maintained the advantage with help from Vance Nevada. Whenever Hammer managed to turn the tables on Posey, Nevada would interject himself to give Posey time to recover. My favourite bit of ringside shenanigans involved Hammer chasing both men around the ring in a fit of rage. As Posey continued to run around the ring, Nevada ducked into the crowd two seats over from me and sat there pretending to be fan, which was either good enough to trick Hammer, or Hammer was just content beating the tar out of Posey, whom he had caught up with.

Posey gained control and did his best to neutralize Hammer’s power advantage with holds like the abdominal stretch (naturally given a little extra pressure by Vance Nevada’s assistance). Hammer came back, hitting a piledriver, but Posey was close enough to the ropes that Nevada was able to drape his leg over the bottom strand to break up the count. The two contenders battered each other with clotheslines, culminating in a double clothesline, which Posey recovered from slightly quicker. He hooked Hammer up in a suplex position and yelled that it was all over, which turned out to be true. Unfortunately for Posey, the end was Hammer countering into a small package for the three count.

But wait! Throughout the match, Hammer had become more and more frustrated with the official for missing every instance of Vance Nevada’s interference, at one point threatening to punch the official. This particular referee’s incompetence had been built up throughout the evening (he had missed Nite tapping out due to distractions from Mutato and Chris Perish, missed the low blow that allowed Nite to score the count-out victory, and been distracted by wrestlers’ seconds at every opportunity). Once Posey realized he was beaten, he smashed the referee from behind, then claimed that Hammer had done it. The referee, likely upset that his glasses were now in the front row, changed his decision and disqualified Hammer, which took the wind right out of Hammer and the crowd. Hammer called Nino into the ring, who upheld the referee’s decision as final, but granted Hammer a rematch at the next show with the added stipulation that there would be a second referee. I suspect that additional terrible officials won’t be as helpful as Hammer seemed to think.

Spot of the Night: Nite and Tyler James’ see-saw suplex exchange.
Match of the Night: Nite vs. Tyler James. Strong psychology and interesting offence put this one over the main event for match of the night.
Overall: The storytelling throughout the show was pretty strong. The referee who would go on to be an integral part of the main event made at least one bad call every time he was in the ring, establishing that he was terrible and easily taken advantage of. The in-ring work was hit-and-miss, with some of the wrestlers clearly being very talented while others needed a lot of work.