It has been a fun journey covering local independent wrestling this past year. I’ve always endorsed the Northeastern U.S. and more specifically, NYC, as being a place that offers so many great options for pro wrestling enthusiasts. Wrestling shows at MSG are special but the charm and personal touch of a small independent show is hard to replicate. Broadening my experience with the local indy scene, I had the good fortune to attend the Warriors of Wrestling shows on October 14th in Brooklyn and the 15th in Staten Island. Both shows featured a blend of local talent with notable nostalgia acts keeping a fun balance of in-ring action and family entertainment. As a grown man, I gotta say it was pretty cool.
First, a little history about Warriors of Wrestling. This company has been running for 9 years and is owned by Joe Bellini who also performs as the wrestler, Joey B. The company is based in Staten Island although they occasionally run shows in other areas as well, most typically in Brooklyn. Warriors of Wrestling also has a training center in Staten Island that runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5-9pm. Jake Gomez, who wrestles as Logan Black, is the head trainer at the school that trains many of the company’s star performers.
I’d also like to take a moment and express my gratitude to the people I have met over the past year in the crazy world of professional wrestling. The companies and performers have been open and inviting to a journalist like me that typically covers baseball and “mainstream” sports. Okay, tangent over, back to the review.
As I enjoyed myself at both shows, I couldn’t help but compare my experience to some of the other local shows that I have attended. I was thrilled that both nights started right on time. (Yes, I am becoming an old man. No, I don’t like it when shows start late. I have an early bed time.) Also, the shows felt very comprehensive to me in all the necessary ways. There was a good balance before and after intermission and a solid pacing of the overall card. Familiar faces of name talent helped create an immersive feeling for the family crowd with kids recognizing former WWE stars and being wowed seeing them “in real life.” The crowds were enthusiastic, especially in Staten Island, where they seemed very in-tune and responsive to the product. It appeared that the fans went home happy and satisfied on both nights.
Here are my thoughts and observations from my experience attending Warriors of Wrestling.
Having already attended several Tier 1 Wrestling shows in 2016, it was easy to notice that both companies utilize many of the same workers for their shows. However, it is apparent to me that Warriors has more history as a company based on the crowd size and fan recognition of their product.
This was the first local show I have been to in a while that didn’t feature the Wrestlers’ Laboratory in the pre-show. If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out the brain child of Chris Ruiz.
I need to get this off my chest. I am a Darius Carter mark. The guy makes me feel good in all the right ways. Okay, that sounded gross. But seriously, I am such a sucker for great heels and this guy knows his character so well and knows how to both react and interact with the audience in all the right ways. And no, he did not pay me to write that. I also enjoyed seeing him lead a heel stable which was featured at both Warriors’ shows.
I found it kind of strange that Logan Black lost to Brooklyn Brawler on Friday night. An old-timer that made his career on being a jobber is now being put over younger (and better) local talent?!? I heard a buzz that Brawler has refused to lose on his recent independent wrestling run. This is shocking and appalling to me. I believe that veterans have a duty to put over the future of the business. Let alone the fact that losing was his career gimmick. In addition, Warriors of Wrestling owner Joe Bellini had some less than pleasant things to say on his Facebook page about Brooklyn Brawler following the weekend. The Brawler sounds like a real piece of work. On a positive note, there was a wonderful piece done recently on Logan Black (Jake Gomez) that you can access here. Spoiler alert, he is a middle school teacher.
Rude Boy Riley gets a very strong reaction from the Warriors’ fans. This fan base has watched him grow tremendously over the past few years and they adore him as the company’s heavyweight champion. With his talent, look and dedication we will surely be seeing him fast track up the professional wrestling ladder. He has all the makings of a next level star.
There was a moment during El Torito’s match on Saturday where he picked up one of his full-size opponents on his shoulders and held them in a great display of strength. I did not see that coming at all!
The crowd really popped on Friday for former WWE star Adam Rose’s party entrance that he used on television. There was even a bunny, granted it was a considerably worse looking bunny suit. The bigger the bunny, the harder the fall?
Marc Hauss and Jackson Smart. Where do I begin? I had not seen either of these two guys on any Tier 1 Wrestling shows but that all changed when Hauss appeared at Empire State of Mind in August. Prior to that show, I had seen footage of Hauss wrestle and although he appeared to be a good ‘in-ring’ technician, there was something missing for me. Fast forward to the show in August and despite all of the drama surrounding Hauss’ match with Jessie Brooks and the NYS Athletic Commission, I noticed an edge that I previously hadn’t seen when observing Hauss. He also had his manager (or “best friend and life coach” as he prefers to be called) Jackson Smart with him which resulted in quite the entertaining tandem. When I found out that Marc Hauss was wrestling for the Heavyweight Title on Friday against Riley and against Sonny Kiss on Saturday, I was excited and Hauss was as good this past weekend as I had hoped. He had a mean streak and an attitude that worked really well against babyfaces like Riley and Kiss. Can you tell he has a new fan? I told you that I am a sucker for strong heels.
And as for Jackson Smart. He is annoying, obnoxious, pretentious, intolerable, abominable, despicable, cowardly, disagreeable, irritating, overbearing, bumptious and has a really weird sense of fashion—and I love it. The art of wrestling manager is not dead. Ahem, I mean “best friend and life coach.”
Tony Booze was a wrestler that caught my eye. He is very young and I was able to see his passion and determination bleed through his performance. After the show, a video surfaced online indicating that this was his first ever main-roster match and you can see his emotional response here recorded by Brian Black.
Former TNA Stars SoCalVal and Tara were fun people to hang out with. At some point over the weekend, they appeared in a special video with Jackson Smart that can be seen here.
Jason Sinclair had a “Jon Moxley” look and feel to him. I would like to see more of him as he continues to develop. If you don’t know who Jon Moxley is then shame on you.
Jessie Brooks is so bad-ass. I can’t say that enough.
There was a moment at the end of the six-way contest on Saturday where Jasin Karloff locked eyes with Darius Carter saying, “Watch out, I’m coming for you.” It was scary. I am glad that Karloff was looking at Carter and not at me. Did I mention Karloff is a large, scary man? I think this company is soon going to feel his wrath.
Juba had a good match with Riley on Saturday night. He is another one of those large dudes that kinda looks like he might be a softie on the inside. Since he is so big, I’m not gonna bother to ask him.
Do refs get recognition? I am compelled to compliment Kris Levin for his work as a referee. I have seen this guy busting his butt multiple times per night on several occasions and he is a consummate professional. Good stuff, Kris!
Nikki Adams continues to stand out among the female performers I have seen locally over the past year. She has a high energy feel combined with a scary/sexy vibe resulting in an empowered woman that competes against anyone looking for a fight.
Sonny Kiss continues to provide a high level of entertainment with his flamboyancy and flashy in-ring moves. He put forward a good effort while getting his butt kicked pretty good by Marc Hauss in Staten Island. He is going to generate attention anywhere he performs and has a niche act that makes him memorable.
I totally dig the weird stuff that JGeorge is doing. I can imagine some people being critical and thinking that he is trying too hard for attention but I am in the opposite camp. I am a fan. Maybe it’s because I am such a weirdo myself? Maybe it’s because JGeorge is awesome? Scholars are still working on an answer. Stay tuned.
I thought Mike Law was super-entertaining as he sold his ass off for Adam Rose on Friday night. In any other context, that last sentence gets really weird.
When it is all said and done, I had a blast watching this company. Good booking and solid performances make for memorable experiences when it comes to pro rasslin’. I would recommend Warriors of Wrestling to anyone that is interested in attending a show and all ages are recommended. To learn more about upcoming shows, DVDs and their training center, please visit www.warriorsofwrestling.com.