Hello again and welcome to another recap of Wrestling On Fire. This is the first, brand new episode of WOF for 2014 (they took the first week of the year off and last week was a Best of ’13 show). 2013 ended with more questions than answers so let’s see if we can get a few answers. As James Earl Jones would say in a cell phone commercial, “Don’t bet on it!”
I got to emphasize how terrible the new theme music is for this show. It’s a Rob Zombie ripoff singing “Hey ya! Time to feed the beast! Hey ya! Hey ya!” Just literally those lyrics and only those lyrics for a minute. Was in the rejected pile for potential themes for Ryback I’m guessing.
ECPW Light Heavyweight Title Match: Dan De Man (c) Vs Sonny King
Since this show was taped around Christmas time, Dan De Man is wearing a Santa hat with his robe which I find mildly amusing cause it’s always funny to see someone be a dick while wearing a Santa hat. Sonny King is kind of unique in the world of wrestling where’s a stereotypical, flamboyant gay babyface. Not sure when the last time that happened. So I guess it’s progress that we’re supposed to cheer for the offensive stereotype instead of boo. The crowd here is really sparse. There’s literally one row of fans here at the Paramus Elks Lodge. King is impressive, agility wise but his offense looks goofy as hell. Ray Ray Marz is back in the commentary booth (must have read me praising his work in the recap for last week’s Best of ’13 show). He’s paired with Joey G, which is fine. Anything to keep Uncle Tommy out of the booth. Joey and Ray Ray mention Marz being a part of the tournament to crown the new WOF Title. Anyway, we get a cheapo time limit draw as King has De Man in a Sharp Shooter. Wanted to like this one but the whole execution just sort of fell short here. One of those matches clearly intended to give a young guy a rub but it just ended up making both participants look not great. C At this point, I’m really curious as to how good/bad Dan De Man really is and wish they’d pair him against more experienced workers He seems like a solid enough hand but he’s always paired against wrestlers that are as green as goose shit so it’s hard to tell.
Wrestling On Fire Title Match: Brian Fury (c) Vs Apollo
Here’s a random one from the vault. Oh I guess this show isn’t entirely new then as we get a 2013 Year In Review graphic on the screen. Anyway, let’s go back to September 7th, 2013 for our original recap of this match;
Wrestling On Fire Championship Match: Brian Fury (c) Vs El Leon Apolo
Before the match, Ken Reedy announces that this match has no time limit. I just noticed that there’s a Ken Reedy Show banner hanging in the Parsippany PAL which I find amusing for some reason. Also Fury’s title is a replica of the 1986/87 era WWF World title not the WCW World Television title as I previously stated. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. Fury stalls to start. Other completely random observation, instead of having regular ring mats around the ring, they have nine or ten of those small gymnastic mats that you used in elementary school phys ed scattered around the ring. They finally get in the ring and Apollo pummels Fury. They brawl around ringside. Back in, Fury tries to cheapshot Apollo but his offense has little effect. Fury finally takes over the match with a well timed low blow. Fury works over Apolo for a few minutes before Apolo launches the comeback. They trade big moves for two counts and then the ref gets knocked out because of course, the ref always gets knocked out in big matches like this! Fury whacks Apolo with the belt but no ref is to be found. The crowd underscores this by chanting “NO REF! NO REF! NO REF!” Mario Savoldi Jr suddenly revived throws a chair in the ring and Tommy stumbles down the aisle to distract Fury. Apolo thwacks Fury with the chair and Mario Jr forces the unconscious ref to count the three count by slamming the ref’s hand against the mat (What is this? SummerSlam ’88?) And after a twenty one month run with the belt (!!!), Brian Fury’s WOF Championship Reign is over. Or so we think. I get the gist of this match was to pay off the Fury Vs Savoldi storyline but it just sort of made the World Title seem like an afterthought to a story that’s basically there to serve the family of the company’s owners ego. I mean, WWE would certainly never do anything like tha—
Anyway, regardless, this match was a fine way to pay off a storyline and have the Savoldis enact *some* measure of revenge against Fury but not too much so Fury looks like a goof. But at the same time, this match was not a very good way to work a title change. Would have been better for Apollo to have just kicked Fury’s ass and win the World title and then had this match be the rematch. Match itself was fine. Then I called it B-. Three month ago Connor seems about right. Brian Fury might be the best worker this company (he’s not the head trainer at Killer Kowalski’s school for nothing) had but you can only do so much with a lump like Apollo (albeit a popular and charismatic lump) and the convoluted booking here. In retrospect, I guess it was an OK way to write both Apollo and Fury out of the storylines although I’m not sure they were intentionally writing Apollo out.
Next we get a promo from a few weeks ago with The Punisher Martinez on “The Re-Enforcer” Andrew Anderson. The seriousness of the promo is undercut by the fact that he’s cutting it in front of a bunch of 8x10s by old members of whatever Elks Lodge they filmed this at. At least, it’s not as bad as Andrew Anderson’s promo, which is filmed right outside an open bathroom door. Wish I were joking here.
Andrew Anderson (with Doug DeVito) Vs The Punisher Martinez (with The Creeper)
Anderson jumps Martinez at the bell. This is pretty punch kick heavy. Anderson works over for 90% of the match until Martinez makes the comeback and looks like he has Anderson defeated when Doug DeVito runs in to draw the DQ. Punisher Martinez’s “manager” The Creeper runs in to whack DeVito in the “collarbone” to send him out of the ring. This really was just here to advance the Punisher-Andrew Anderson storyline more than anything. This match reminded me of every Undertaker-Triple H match I didn’t like. Anderson’s a capable enough hand and Martinez hasn’t looked as bad as he did tonight but boy, they didn’t really show a lot of chemistry in or out of the ring. I guess Andrew Anderson cutting a promo in front of a bunch of toilets should have kind of foreshadowed how this match would be. D
Kind of appropriate that we start 2014 with the same type of inconsistent, scattershot show that we got a lot in 2013. I like the idea of them trying to actually have a program over the ECPW Light Heavyweight title instead of just having Dan De Man battle random greenhorns for the belt but the execution here just felt half-assed. It was kind of random they showed Apollo-Brian Fury again but it was the most important match (kayfabe wise and probably overall) in 2013 and it does set up the fact that they’re going to start showing matches for the tourney for the vacated belt in the next few weeks. I get why they’re trying to do a Punisher Martinez-Andrew Anderson feud (because “in the business”, we know that veteran hosses locking horns= $$$) but just the way they’re doing it seems off so far. Anyway, luckily, we’ve got a lot of room to go up for the rest of 2014! Hope everybody has a very happy and healthy Martin Luther King Day.