For months and months, EXW fans were given everything they needed in order to enjoy one night. One night where new champions were possible, and careers may end. The Super Bowl of EXW took place on January 15th, at Bad Intentions. The frosty Prescott air didnâ€™t stave off the diehard following as Timâ€™s Toyota Center was prepared to be rocked. In a show that immediately followed an intense training camp run by Tough Enough trainer, Bill Demott, the anticipation was tangible. A writer should not struggle to find words that describe the events that followed, but I can guarantee that the hype proved true. We were definitely ready for what was to happen that evening, and were not disappointed.
EXW presents: Bad Intentions â€“ January 15th, 2011
The fans were itching for the show theyâ€™ve been waiting for to start, and were met with The Freak Squad (Dom Vitalli and Frenchy Riviera), who had entered to antagonize the newer ring announcer, Rob. This was brief enough, as a Battle Royale was about to begin.
Cedric the Hitman
Miracle Mike James
Mike Da Lite
Iâ€™ve made no secret of my love for Battle Royales in the past, and this was no exception. A lot can go wrong in these situations, but each man played their part perfectly, making it comfortable to let my eyes dart around from person to person. Naturally, the familiar faces shined but a few of the new ones were equally impressive. Such wrestlers that stuck out were Sal, Miracle Mike, Johnny Manson, Rexx Reed, and Cutler Wright. One by one, the men were thrown over the top rope. Ultimately, it boiled down to Cutler Wright, Chuey Martinez, Johnny Manson, and Mike Da Lite. These four went at it with an aggression I loved. Once Chuey and Manson were disposed of, the two Vegas stars were free to fight, and both were determined to survive. Finally, a winner was named as Wright tossed the final participant over the rope, thus becoming the number one contender for the Elite Championship belt.
Winner: Cutler Wright
Immediately after, a video package was delivered, once again showing the Freak Squad with manager Johnny Roxx. We were clued into the tricks they had pulled, as it revealed Rob was tied up in their locker room, hinting at the fact that Roxx would be resuming his former position once again. The video ended, and out walked Dom, accompanied by the lovely Terra Calaway.
The focus of Dom Vitalliâ€™s aggression has primarily landed on Gabriel Gallo as of late, so I often forget that Stratmore is even in the mix. But thatâ€™s between shows. Once these two hit the mat, all bets are off and Iâ€™m always thoroughly impressed. Â And this match was a prime example. It was fast-paced right from the get-go, and not overwhelming. Their chemistry was stimulating as they fed off of each other and hit their spots perfectly. The crowd was blown away when Terra was distracting Shane while Dom prepared for a Superkick, only to have it connect with Terraâ€™s beautiful face instead of Shaneâ€™s. This gave Shane some momentum, but not enough, as the Superkick eventually found its way to Shane, giving Dom the victory.
Winner: Dom Vitalli
Chuey Martinez and Khan Kussion
Rexx Reed and Cedric the Hitman
For the next step, we were met with some of our favorites all thrown together in one big tag team match. One complaint I seem to find myself with time and time again concerning this group is the fan interaction. It bordered on being too much momentarily, as it affected the action and slowed it down considerably. But that was only at the start. Khan Kussion and Rexx Reed (who you can look for in Dragon Gate USA on 1/29) definitely were the highlights of the match, but Chuey definitely had the fansâ€™ excitement in his pocket, where it was safe. The match hit its stride once it moved outside of the ring, but the finish erupted as Chuey and Khan picked up the win.
Winner(s): Chuey Martinez and Khan Kussion
Here is a match that was probably the one I was looking forward to the most. As per the usual, it started out slow and slowly built up. The story unfolded in the most enticing of ways, and I loved it. The pair kept the fans in the seats, refusing to take a bathroom break or grab a drink. Rellikâ€™s experience was obvious. I could barely tear my eyes away, which is saying something as Prophet is one of my absolute favorites. However, the cruiserweight was off his game that night, for reasons unknown. But youâ€™d never know it, as your attention was almost completely on Rellik, as he picked up the win.
Winner: The Prophet
Â Lawrence Tyler
Well, this is a match-up Iâ€™m still scratching my head on. It was a bit obscure and caught me off guard, but entertaining nonetheless. There was a lot more action, and a lot less of an act, which I greatly enjoyed. Lawrence was getting frustrated with his opponent, nearly walking out on the match as he made his way up the ramp. But with the same ferocity Iâ€™ve come to admire from Tyler, he returned to put an end to his large opponent. After many attempts to wound Manimal, Lawrence was finally successful at putting him away.
Winner: Lawrence Tyler
The hype was enormous for this match, as Bill Demottâ€™s name ignites some buzz. However, I found myself frustrated and a little bored upon the start. There was a lot of talking, a lot of silence, and a whole lot of nothing. Demott was visibly angry about the vuvuzelas being sold by the venue and used by the fansâ€”which, I canâ€™t say I disagree with. Those things were obnoxious, and very distracting. However, after the long beginning, Demott turned vicious, locking Tyler in a submission hold and forcing him to demand the cessation of the noise. The rest was such a blur, and before I knew it, the ref had counted to three.
Winner: Tyson Tyler
Elite Championship Title Defense
This originally started out as being one on one, but the kid from Vegas decided that this match was where he wanted to be, despite competing in the earlier Battle Royale. He also proved to be the apparent antidote for the Triple Threat curse, with the help of his competitors, as to me, this was the match of the night. The two heels (Hellman and Wright) decided to team up on Castellucci as he was hung up on the ropes. Hellman demanded that Wright prove he was worthy of the title, and attack the upside-down star. But once Wright charged, Hellman struck with a clothesline that nearly beheaded him, proving that he had no allies. It boiled down to Hellman and Wright going at it, both men completely on their game, before Ryan entered to clean up. However, Hellman is a sneaky man, and cashed in on Ryanâ€™s hard work to retain his title.
Winner: Andrew Hellman
Career-ending â€œI Quitâ€ Match
Everything boiled down to this very moment. Gallo against the Freak Squad has been one of the hottest feuds in EXW, and it would all be put to rest that night in the â€œI Quitâ€ match, as the loser would have to walk away from the company. These two men brought us a stretcher match a mere month ago that rocked us, and werenâ€™t finished. I knew I was about to watch something special. Gallo appeared to have every fan on his side, as the deafening chants echoed throughout the large venue. The ring wasnâ€™t enough for these two, as the fight inevitably moved into the crowd, and then the stands. Neither man would say that they quit, so the battle continued. Finally, they ended up back in the ring. Frenchy locked in a submission that caused Gallo to become unable to respond to the numerous questions from the ref. The ref called for the bell, and a career ended.
Winner: Frenchy Riviera
EXW Heavyweight Championship Title Defense
No Holds Barred
Val Venis had finally earned another title shot with Neikirk, and we were all ready for the main event. In an MMA-style start, the two went at it low to the ground, conveying the tension that has been building between the two for months. They put aside the training they had religiously been taught in order to unleash all the fury. The tempers rose, as Neikirk began bleeding. These two were obviously out to kill each other, and seemed to be well on their way. After utilizing the no disqualification rule with trash can lids, Derick propped up a table in the middle of the ring. They moved to the top rope, which ended up being a good strategy one Derickâ€™s part, as he sent Val through the table via a superplex, and successfully making sure the title stayed in his hands.
Winner: Derick Neikirk
Another EXW show in the books, and what do we have? Gabriel Galloâ€™s employment with the company was over, both members of the Freak Squad were victorious, and both champions retained their titles. Whatâ€™s next for these hardworking boys? Will Castellucci and Wright get another shot at the Elite Championship? Whatâ€™s next for Val Venis after another failed attempt at the strap? Whatâ€™s next for the Freak Squad? All of which are questions I expect to be answered at the next show, which happens to be on Tuesday (1/18). The tournament for the first ever tag team belts will most likely begin. And the action is not exclusive to Arizona residents. If you miss what WWE and TNA arenâ€™t giving you, tune in to EXWâ€™s website at 8 pm (MST) and see what all the fuss is about.