By Chris Ruiz, Contributing Writer
Despite New York City being slammed with rain and knocked around by powerful gusts of wind, Tier 1 Wrestling’s ‘Rumble in the Concrete Jungle’ was where the majority of the carnage went down.
Paco and Curt Stallion, two of the top students of Michael Elgin’s Training Systems, took on the unenviable task of opening the show, and went to war before the raucous Q-boro crowd. It was clear that these upstarts knew each other well, but they each fell victim to their own eagerness. Eager to prove themselves to their trainer, or maybe to the excitable Tier 1 fans; Paco and Stallion went all out and pulled subtle tricks out of their hats that were well beyond their years of experience. In the end, Stallion was able to score the victory, much to the chagrin of the T1W fans.
Six Way Elimination Fray Eric Draven v. Mike Orlando v. Bobby C. Dinero v. Sonny Kiss v. Mike Verna v. ‘Mr. Touchdown’ Mark Angel
We don’t call these Frays chaotic for nothing. These six competitors meshed the same way a fist meshes with a jawline. Luckily, this is pro-wrestling and not The Bachelor. Speaking of bachelors, Eric Draven and his new squeeze found themselves focusing heavily on his former tag team partner Bobby C. Dinero, or rather on outrunning him. The former Disrespectfuls game of cat and mouse ended, but neither of them could keep their head in the game enough to avoid being the first two eliminated. Mr. Touchdown was the next out at the hands, or more accurately the extremely flexible body, of ‘The Concrete Rose’ Sonny Kiss; who was able to pin him with a quick back bridge roll up. This left Kiss, Verna, and Orlando. Verna lived up to his reputation of being one of the strongest men in independent wrestling today, but Orlando was able to drop out of a stalling suplex, roll him up, and grab a handful of tights to eliminate ‘The Man of Steel’. Sonny Kiss had the crowd in a frenzy the entire night, but they were on the edge of their seats when ‘The Concrete Rose’ came off the top rope with a hurricanrana attempt and got caught in mid-air. Trapped in a powerbomb position on the shoulders of ‘The Elite Athlete’, Sonny was able to shift his momentum into a flip-through pin for the victory!
Style & Finesse v. The Bravado Brothers
After Mike Donovan and Rob Vegas’s dubious win on the debut show, and The Bravados quoting their grandma saying “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying,” the T1W fans may have expected to see some shady tactics from both teams, but what they got was shady tactics AND a lesson in tag team wrestling 101. After heated back and forth competition, and a game of switch the pin behind the referee’s back, The Bravado Brothers proved that the dark side was just a little bit stronger with them and put Style and Finesse down for the count with some good old fashioned Southern grace and impact.
VsK w/ Ace Romero and Mr. Martineze (FEDERATED) v. Caveman
At A New Hope, VsK won the first ever Six Way Elimination Fray, pinning Caveman to seal the deal, but had it not been for Mr. Martinez’s enormous hired gun, Riot Raze, Caveman could’ve been one step closer to a Tier 1 Championship opportunity. As a result, Tier 1 Management saw fit to give the prehistoric phenom an opportunity for revenge. As clueless as Caveman may seem sometimes, it was clear that he was hell-bent on inflicting pain and punishment on the self-centered centerpiece of FEDERATED. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of action, Martinez’s new hired gun Ace Romero followed suit and jumped into the ring to save VsK’s skin. FEDERATED was looking to put an end to Caveman once and for all, but there was an unexpected save from none other than Kyle “The Beast” Winant. This resulted in the match being turned into a tag team match. Despite Kyle and Caveman’s primal chemistry, Mr. Martinez’s newest acquisition paid off as Romero was able to score the victory.
‘The Lariat’ DJ Hyde v. Lio Rush
For Lio Rush, this match was all about respect, but it seemed as though CZW’s head honcho was not even in the same book, let alone on the same page. Regardless, Rush showed off his skills and intensity as he managed to keep his much larger opponent on his toes. In a test of agility versus power, neither attribute was the deciding factor in the outcome of the match. Instead, frustration tainted what could’ve been a memorable bout as Hyde leveled the referee with a vile lariat, which brought out another official to call for the bell. In an unexpected turn of events, after Rush struggled to his feet, DJ shook his hand; seemingly giving him the respect that he made the trip to Tier 1 to earn.
Women’s Showcase Match Savannah Evans v. Vanity
After being bumped up from the pre-show to nearly halfway into the card, Vanity and Savannah were on a mission to prove themselves worthy of the spot. These two fierce females fought with everything they had, and brought a high level of physicality and skill. In the end, Savannah’s fortitude worked in her favor when she was able to kick out of Vanity’s tried and tried-and-tested eat defeat, and then quickly capitalize on her utter shock with a sudden cradle pin for the three count.
Tier 1 Championship # 1 Contender’s Match Rude Boy Riley v. Joey Ace
The Queens crowd was all over Joey Ace in this bout; making it abundantly clear that Rude Boy Riley was the favorite to win the match. Despite the T1W fans’ perception of ‘The 5 Star Studd’, he proved that he’s every bit as tough and resilient as ‘The Fresh Prince of Shaolin’. Certainly no strangers to one another; Riley and Ace went back and forth and fought both in and outside of the ring. This one got out of control in a hurry, but the referee made the judgement call to let things slide for the sake of guaranteeing a new # 1 contender. After a highlight reel of exceptional scouting and familiarity, it was only fitting that a sudden reversal earned Riley the victory as he was able to un-studd the face of his old rival with a pop-up knee. Just like that, Rude Boy Riley was crowned the new # 1 Contender; guaranteeing him a title opportunity against the winner of Luke Hawx v. Tim Donst later in the evening.
*** INTERMISSION ***
At the tail end of intermission, a table was set up in the middle of the ring. Ring announcer Brian Beckwith entered the along with Tier 1 Wrestling Management Representative, Chris Ruiz. It was time to introduce and officially sign Tier 1’s newest acquisition, who had been hyped as the hottest unsigned talent in the Northeast. After a lengthy drumroll, out came none other than ‘Wrestling’s Richest Prize’ Darius Carter. Forcing Beckwith to hold the ropes open for him, and scoffing at Ruiz’s extended hand, Carter wasted no time in addressing the fans’ negative reception. He quickly began to degrade and demoralize every member of the audience who didn’t welcome him as he felt he deserved to be welcomed. He went onto say that, without even realizing it, the fans all paid to see him, and that he was every bit as good as anyone in the Tier 1 locker room. This was easily the most venomous reaction of the night, and Carter seemed to bask in every negative comment being thrown at him. Talk about making an impact in your first night in the company. For better or for worse, Darius Carter has a guaranteed year to shake things up in Tier 1 Wrestling.
Gran Akuma v. FIP World Heavyweight Champion Caleb Konley
At first, ‘The Obsession’ Caleb Konley seemed hesitant to go all in against Gran Akuma, but that hesitation quickly transformed into the technical and athletic showcase that everyone expected to see in this bout. Still, there were moments where Akuma’s relentless assault caught the FIP World Heavyweight Champion off guard. Despite Caleb’s cocky attitude, it was clear that he respected how dangerous Akuma could be, and was bordering on desperate to put the thirteen going on fourteen year veteran away. These two were very evenly matched; so much so that the match hit its fifteen minute time limit in the midst of Konley attempting to put Akuma away with a very innovative submission. Based the fans’ look of shock, it seemed as though they thought some sort of screwjob had happened, but when they discovered that the time limit had elapsed, they quickly began to chant for “FIVE MORE MINUTES.” Tier 1 Management was happy to grant the request. As they would be in any sudden death scenario, tensions were through the roof. Every movement mattered, and Akuma and Konley quickly entered a pinning war. After multiple kickouts, Akuma was able to get the better of a roll up by a fraction of a second, and secure a huge victory over one of independent wrestling’s top stars.
After the match, Akuma requested a microphone. Breaking his usual silence, Akuma talked about the length of his career, testing himself in the ring, and just how good Caleb Konley is. With that, he expressed his desire to have another go against ‘The Obsession’, but this time, he doesn’t want to simply walk out knowing that he still has it; he wants to walk out as the FIP World Heavyweight Champion. The challenge has been laid out, but only time will tell if Konley will accept, and when this historic match would take place.
Inter-Gender Tag Team Match JGeorge & Ashley America v. Alex Mason & ‘Bonesaw’ Jessie Brooks
When we book an inter-gender tag team match, we deliver on the inter-gender action. There’s no obligatory tags in Tier 1. Based on his reprehensible actions at A New Hope, where he leveled Brooks with a thunderous uranage, JGeorge clearly has no qualms about laying his hands on a woman, but if he was willing to dish it out, then he needed to be prepared to take it back. ‘Bonesaw’ wasted no time in giving him what he had coming. Chops, forearms, and suplexes galore; ‘Bonesaw’ made JGeorge and Ashley her punching bags, and ‘The Carnivore’ Alex Mason was there to back her up with his infectious intensity and impactful athleticism. Despite Jessie’s undeniable toughness, ‘The Unpredictable’ JGeorge and the redheaded hellcat Ashley America had more than a few tricks up their sleeves. Though they were able to maintain control of the match for a while, the rage of Mason and Bonesaw was too much to overcome, and Jessie was able to drop Ashley on her head enough times to secure the victory for her team and earn herself a one-on-one match against JGeorge.
After the match, Ms. New York Anna Theresa Treppiedi, whom George had berated before the bell, came into the ring and slapped the taste out of his mouth. All in all, it was not a good night for The Unpredictable One.
MAIN EVENT – Tier 1 Championship Match ‘The Southern Stomper’ Luke Hawx (c) v. Tim Donst
Before the match, Hawx demanded that referee Rob Blatt leave the ring because he was the center of the controversy surrounding the champ’s victory at A New Hope.
With the crowd chanting “WRESTLE, DONST, WRESTLE!”, that’s exactly what they got. Right out of the gate, Tim Donst proved why he’s highly regarded as one of the best technical wrestlers in the game today, but Hawx – who’s infamous for being a unforgiving brawler – proved why he’s had the kind of longevity and success that he’s had throughout his career and quickly turned his dial back to the fundamentals. With the Tier 1 Championship hanging in the balance, the wrestling quickly evolved into scrapping, an area that Donst isn’t at all uncomfortable with either. They wrestled, they fought, and they threw everything they had at each other. Hawx got dropped on his head multiple times, but the Southern Stomper kept trudging through; strong as an ox throughout the entire match. The action got so intense that referee after referee got leveled and removed from the match; leaving Donst awaiting a count for a pin that would’ve won him the Tier 1 Championship. In the end, original official Rob Blatt made his way back out to the ring, but by that time Hawx had regained his bearings and was able to overcome Donst’s relentlessness with a brutal powerbomb for the win.
After the match, new # 1 Contender Rude Boy Riley make his way out to the ring and encouraged the fans to stay seated. He then proceeded to lay out a challenge for the Tier 1 Championship for right then and there; pointing out that both he and Hawx had gone through wars that night. Before Hawx could say anything, Riley was jumped by The Bravado Brothers! They subdued him with repeated blows to the stomach and face; a brutal mugging. Rendering Riley helpless, Hawx finished him off with the final blow, and added insult to injury when he laid the Confederate flag on top of Riley’s lifeless body. The Bravados raised the champion’s hands, and hoisted him up onto their shoulders to close the show.
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