Reported by Larry Goodman:
It was fun times at Southern Extreme Championship Wrestling in Villa Rica, Georgia Sunday night.
The name is misleading. It’s an old-school show with the fan base to match, right down to the nasty old ladies in the first row. Villa Rica may only be 25 miles outside the perimeter of Atlanta, but this is a not a cosmopolitan group.
SECW debuted on the Fourth of July, and they’ve weekly at the Tri County Plaza ever since. Crowds have been in the range of 200-300. Last night’s show drew at the low end of that range. A show featuring an appearance by Mr. Wrestling II put 375 in the building.
SECW uses a diverse array of indie talent with a few grizzled veterans and legend types to spice things up. The young guys learn from the vets and vice versa. “Nightmare” Ted Allen is doing something right with the booking, because the crowd was into the characters. It was a comfortable mix of comedy, wrestling and brawling. And at least last night, the finishes all worked.
The strip mall venue has a nice feel to it despite the low ceiling and the horrible fluorescent lighting. Bad lighting is a pet peeve of mine. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just halfway decent contrast between the ring and crowd. After all, there’s supposed to be something special about what’s happening in the ring.
SECW Owner Scott East got the evening underway by honoring the veterans in attendance. East shares a couple of key traits with Georgia’s most successful promoter, Jerry Palmer at NWA Anarchy. East is a man of the people – and a man who is comfortable with a microphone in his hand.
(1) J-Rod pinned Kyle Matthews at 12:12 after East added 3 more minutes to their 10 minute draw. An entertaining opener, largely because of J-Rod’s engaging personality. He’s improved like 1000% since his early days under the tutelage of Jerry Oates. J-Rod cut promo that was spot on for these fans where he challenged anyone in the crowd. Matthews is a talented guy in his own right. His work in NWA Anarchy speaks for itself. Good back and forth action. J-Rod roughed Matthews up and used a hammerlock slam. They traded stinging chops. Mathews worked the arm. J-Rod catapulted Matthews into the bottom turnbuckle for one near fall and hit a bulldog for another. Matthews nailed J-Rod with his specialty, the absolute best 170 pound dropkick on the planet. They went back and forth in the final minute, although not with the sense of urgency the situation called for. The fans chanted for five more minutes. East said he would give them three. Matthews was all over J-Rod, who clung to the ropes like a Koala bear. Matthews mounted the ropes and delivered the 10 punches. With the final seconds ticking away (East was shaving time), Matthews went for a repeat. Not the most logical thing to do. In any case, it backfired and J-Rod scored the pin with his feet on the ropes.
(2) Cru Jones beat Billy Knight in 9:28. This was only going to be as good as Jones and his arrogant dick persona (complete with matching major league physique) could make it. Jones was hilarious. You’ve got to love a guy that pauses to adjust the thermostat on his way to the ring. Jones had added a video camera to his gimmick. Athletically speaking, Knight is the pits. The confederate flag on his trunks wasn’t enough to get the fans behind him. Jones was way cooler. Jones was toying with Knight. Jones used a bearhug to wear him down. Jones got into it with lady at ringside, and sold like the stench of her breath was about to knock him out. Knight got his comeback. Jones dropped him with a neckbreaker for the 1-2-3.
Intermission. Joyce Grable, a women’s wrestler from the 70s and 80s, was doing autographs as was Tommy Rich. It was a really nice moment when Grable and Rich met up. I’ll post Grable’s thoughts on the death of Fabulous Moolah later in the week.
(3) Adrian Hawkins beat Frankie Valentine via DQ in 9:28. These guys have been feuding. I’m used to seeing Valentine as a babyface at GCW. I like him way better as a heel. The half crazy quality works for me. They recently did an angle here where Valentine and J-Rod ended up wrestling in dresses for three weeks. Good intensity from both wrestlers and the crowd got into it. Hawkins used crisp armdrags to set up a short arm scissors. Valentine got his trademark bloody nose. Hawkins knocked Valentine off the apron with a springboard dropkick. Valentine pulled Hawkins out, but Hawkins fired up with an X-Factor and a springboard back elbow for near falls. Valentine managed to snap Hawkins’ neck off the top rope. He clocked Hawkins with a chain, stuck it in his mouth, and covered for the three count. Tommy Rich hit the ring. He made Valentine cough up the chain with a modified Heimlich maneuver. Classic stuff. That was all the evidence referee Randy Ray needed for the DQ. Billy Love attacked Rich. Chick Dononvan and Scotty Blaze ran out. East added Hawkins and Valentine and made it a six man.
(4) Tommy Rich & Scotty Blaze & Hawkins beat Chick Donovan & Billy Love & Valentine in in 14:49. Super heat with the crowd chanting for Rich. The deal was that Donovan wants no part of Rich, so Rich forced Love to tag Donovan in. They both seemed to be inspired by the crowd reaction. Everyone worked hard here. Rich popped Valentine in his busted nose. Blaze hit a split-legged moonsault and Love had to make the save. Heat on Hawkins. Donovan put Hawkins down with a short arm clothesline and Rich made the save. When Valentine ate a boot coming off the top, the heat for the hot tag to Rich was insane. Six-way action ensued. The babyface trio sent the heels into a three-way collision and Rich rolled Love up. The crowd went nuts for the finish.
The heels argued. Rich called it Mutiny on the Bounty. Rich said he wanted a six-man elimination so all three of them could stomp a mudhole in Donovan.
(5) Bull Buchanan and Bulldog Raines went to a double count out (14:45). Buchanan retained the SECW Title. Buchanan is the man in this area. He holds both the SECW and the GCW titles. Raines looks the same as he did in NWA Wildside. Your basic brawl. Raines stalled a lot. Buchanan collapsed Raines with a corner lariat and went after his eyes. A series of headbutts by Raines left both men down. On the comeback, Buchanan gave Raines a big furry boot and hit an axe kick, but Raines got a foot under the ropes. Raines pulled out the powder. Buchanan ducked the ref got a face full. Raines then used a chain on Buchanan but no ref to count. Raines and Buchanan brawled all over the place. Buchanan posted Raines and whacked him with a chair. Ray finally counted them out.
“This thing between you and I ain’t over by a damn sight,” said Buchanan.
Buchanan challenged Raines to a lumberjack match next week. East made the match. Raines said East was against him. He claimed the powder and the chain were Buchanan’s doing. Raines asked for a dog collar match. Buchanan accepted. They brawled their way to the back. The people were hot for this and will no doubt be back next week.
NOTES: A. J. Steele from GCW debuts next week and there’s also a women’s match on the card: Fantasy vs. Stefanie Starr. When All Star Championship Wrestling cancelled their 11/8 show in nearby Carrollton just 3 days prior to the event, owner Rock Parsons made an internet post indirectly accusing rival promoters of tearing down a large percentage of his posters. East indicated that businesses in Carrollton are down on posters in general, and SECW has also encountered difficulty with keeping their posters up.