As wrestling is my second geek obsession after comics I have wanted to speak more about it. I already did one write up on Wrestling As Fine Art but I decided to give brief reviews and writes up to spread the word on what I’m watching. I’ll probably start doing comic reviews soon too but those will be more bundled and brief.
Wrestling Is Heart and Wrestling Is Intense are two of several small promotions of the Wrestling Is set. There is not much information on these promotions except their ties to the now “defunct” Chikara Pro. Utilizing a number of Chikara’s top wrestlers and carrying over elements. The promotions have ties but there is not a single champion touring like an NWA style system. Each one acts independently and a few have their own niche or reputation.
Wrestling Is Heart-The Seat of Emotion
Wrestling Is Heart is born from wrestler Billy Roc’s ClassWars promotion, bringing in some of his trainees as well as wrestlers coming out of Chikara and the Chikara Wrestle factory. Heart’s identity seems to be a mix of Indiana/Illinois wrestling and Chikara elements in a straight forward presentation. Family friendly show like all the Wrestling Is promotions. The Seat of Emotion is their 4th show, and features the finals of their La Copa Idola Tournament.
Observations: I love the barn as the setting. It gives Heart a very old school territory feel. However its large with lots of seating so it comes off as extremely bare with its crowd. The crowd seems to be between 50-100 people, usually seated around the ring but some in the various bleacher seats. despite the small crowd they seem to be into the show.
1. Billy Roc & Dale Patricks vs. Brown Morning of Belarus & Proletariat Boar of Moldova
Billy Roc is an Indiana veteran wrestler and trainer, Dale Patricks one his students. Brown Morning and the Boar are both new wrestlers and making their debuts on the show. Both Morning and Moldova are crazy gimmicks with crazy outfits. Morning specifically looks like someone took a hatchet to Wolverines yellow and blue outfit. You can tell both are green and Boar doesn’t really seem comfortable in his gimmick. Roc and Patricks are fine, they do their thing but this opening match is forgettable.
2. Pierre Abernathy vs. Sue Jackson-Abernathy is part of the Submission squad, a semi-popular group of indy wrestlers. Don;t know much about Sue. Another forgettable encounter. Sue Jackson is a really big guy so his matches are short and his opponents can do little to him but strike. Not off to a good start.
3. Arik Cannon vs. Jervis Cottonbelly-Arik cannon is a fixture on the independent scene and former Chikara Young Lions Cup champ. Jervis Cottonbelly is interesting, started wrestling in Chikara in 2005, then long hiatus with a few appearances throughout, Cottonbelly started working various Wrestling Is promotions in late 2012 and has been building steam as a fun masked wrestler with a gentleman gimmick. Cannon is an excellent wrestlers, big moves and good on the mat, surprisingly fast. Cottonbelly, once past the gimmick, is a strong mat wrestler. Both guys had an excellent encounter and its the first match on the show to really get my attention.
4. Heidi Lovelace vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado-Juan Francisco is another fixture on the Wrestling Is circuit, and has been doing well as a heel (bad guy) and has racked up some nice match ups. Heidi Lovelace is one Billy Rocs students and has mostly stayed in the Heart promotion. Juan has done a good job matching up with another lady high flyer in Saturyne so I figured this would work out. It did. Juan is only an inch or two taller than Heidi but had more muscle and muscled her over for a few mean looking moves. Heidi of course used her quickness and flying to combat Juan. This was a fun match and definitely one I would use to show how gifted Heidi is.
5. Estonian ThunderFrog vs. Tripp Cassidy-Estonian Thunderfrog is another weird gimmick wrestler who made his name on the Wrestling Is scene having wrestled for practically all the promotions (Fun, Awesome, Respect, Cool, Art, and Intense). A giant sized frog who has a hammer only he can lift (sadly, recently destroyed). Thunderfrog has built quite a response from the crowds, becoming a favorite. Having watched him since the end of last year he’s grown to be better and better. Tripp Cassidy is from the Roc school and my few viewings of him previously I found him uninteresting. This match worked well with Cassidy play a jerk heel and there is a scene where he uses a female fan as a shield, when Thunderfrog gets her out of the way he Cassidy catches him with a boot. The barn gives an interesting battle ground and it adds to this match. This is the best of Cassidy matches I have seen and one of Thunderfrogs best single outings. Thunderfrog is a joy to watch.
6. Chris Castle & Devin Bliss vs. The Submission Squad-I don’t know the names of the Submission Squad guys and truth be told I don’t care. They were not carrying this match, Castle and Bliss were. That tag team has had good tag matches through all their Heart shows. There was a couple spots where one member messed up on but nothing too bad. An alright tag match.
7. Eddie Kingston vs. Mat Fitchett-Carrying over from Chikara the first and last Grand Champion (Chikara went ten years before having a real singles title, preferred their tag belts and Young Lions Cup) Eddie Kingston made his Heart debut and started picking fights with fans. Kingston is been playing an angry bully in his few Wrestling Is appearances, a man lost without his home I believe is the point. Matt Fichett I had only seen once before and he is a high flyer. Kingston brought the brute force, strikes and throws while Fitchett tried to counter with speed. Kingston, a veteran whose worked most the major indy promotions, made this match more a showcase of him. I doubt it was intentional but his charisma and heel tactics out shined Fitchett who did a good job but was really there to get beaten. Kingston took shots at the fans, at the company, and a Billy Roc leading to Heidi Lovelace confronting him. Their signed for the next Heart show and I worry for Lovelace, Kingston hits hard but I know Kingston is a pro and the two should put on a good match.
8. La Copa Idolo Match: Joe Pittman vs. Mat Russo-The finals of the La Copa Idolo saw Joe Pittman, a very jock looking wrestler, take on Matt Russo who at first comes off as nerdy until he drops the jacket and glasses to expose his tattoos and wrestling gear. I don’t know much about both men other than they are also young wrestlers. Pittman has the personality and physique but still seems to have a ways to go where as Russo is almost already there. Russo’s style has an MMA element and he his “no quit” attitude make him quite a sight. I want to see more Russo especially against more seasoned wrestlers. A good match up, Pittman looked maybe his best.
Summary: Solid show. No big stand out matches, the kind you have to run and talk about. However for me, having seen all the shows, I see them getting better with each one. I think in the next year, if the make it, they will blow away their 2013 stuff.
Match of the Show: Heidi Lovelace vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado
Wrestling Is Intense-Before The Devil Knows, You’re Dead
The last Wrestling Is promotion to show up is also the first to close. What? Intense only had three shows total and not much time to build an identity other than being an extension of Heart. This show and Seat of Emotion from Wrestling Is Heart took place on the same weekend.
Observations: Took place at a college so the auditorium was nice. However only about 20 people were there.
1. Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Mat Fitchett-A good solid opening contest. Mat is quick and fun to watch, Coronado is good at what he does. Nothing too impressive to make a write up about. But a better opening contest than Hearts show the previous night.
2. Gary the Barn Owl vs. Proletariat Boar of Moldova-Forgettable encounter. I do not care for the Submission Squad from what I have seen. So far Proletariat Boar has only really looked good teaming with Mr. Azerbaiajan. Those two, plus Brown Morning make up the Polar Barons Union who may be going to war with the Baltic Siege of Thunderfrog, Latvian Proud Oak (he’s a tree), and Lithuanian Snow Troll. Yeah, its sill but thats Wrestling Is Fun. This was not fun.
3. Eddie Kingston vs. Jeff O’ Shea-Another stop on the Eddie Kingston is angry train saw Eddie run through Jeff O’Shea. Not much of note other than Kingston once again came off as a force of nature.
4. Christian Rose vs. Sue Jackson-Christian Rose, the little I have seen, has been good but Sue Jacksons limited ability in the ring hurt this one. Sue does not work like any of the good big men and while his look is neat, I am really considering fast forwarding all his matches moving forward.
5. The Beautiful Bodies vs. The Daywalkers-The Daywalkers were orginally the Kentucky Buffet until meeting former WWE star Gangrel on the first Intense show, turning them into vampires. While the gimmick change is rather dumb both guys are pretty good. Beautiful Bodies, first time seeing them and no-not Beautiful. Another match to skip.
6. Arik Cannon vs. Estonian ThunderFrog-Probably would be the best match on the show but I can’t remember who won. Yeah… Still, what I remember was a good match up with some nice comedy thrown in.
7. Darkness Crabtree vs. Jervis Cottonbelly-Darkness Crabtree’s gimmick is that he is a very old senior citizen. Yeah… Amusing for a laugh and him Cottonbelly had fun until a trio of wrestlers hit the ring. The GEKIDO were briefly a force in Chikara in 2012 until they were broken up and some “injured.” The five man group were doppleganger characters 17 was Mike Quackenbush (Chikara’s patriarch, who injured 17 in mid 2012), the Shard (based on Jigsaw and now teaming with him as the Pieces of Hate), and the Swarm (based on the ant themed Colony) featuring CombatANT (injured by Quack), assailANT (now a part of the Colony) and deviANT (whose been bouncing around). They attack Crabtree and Cottonbelly and demand Intense to be closed. This appears to be another plotline leading to Chikara’s resurrection. Thats it, go home.
Summary: The debut Intense show was shrug inducing for the most part but it was better than this. This was not a good show and I watched it after Heart and Heart is more clear in my head. Intense seemed almost designed to fail.
Match of the Show: Matt Fichett vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado
These shows available to stream at 7.99 each over at SMVOD.
Next time I’ll review shows a little better. I got CZW on my SMVOD account and waiting from PWG and Shimmer.