The ladies are in action this week and so is former ROH star and #1 contender for the Wrestling On Fire TV Title Ricky Reyes as Wrestling On Fire hypes its big show at the Parsippany PAL. Plus Bill Apter Skypes with WWE Hall of Famer George “The Animal” Steele.
Welcome to another recap of Wrestling On Fire, one of the hottest independent promotions in the Northeast (according to the promoters of Wrestling on Fire). I’m glad to see that we actually have a show this week as two out of the previous three weeks we’ve gotten infomercials in the show’s timeslot. But that’s the price to pay when you’re paying for airtime!
This show was done earlier in the day of Wrestling On Fire’s first show in two and a half months at their new home base of the Police Athletic Building in scenic Parsippany, New Jersey. So it’ll be interesting to see if they attempt to hype the show or if they don’t bother since the show is taped so far in advance. It’s funny, a lot of the hype for the show on their website is based around Wrestling On Fire Champion Brian Fury returning from a 60 day suspension for attacking AJ Savoldi. Why is a 60 day suspension a big deal if they haven’t had a show in the past 60 days? Also, 1. Isn’t a champion supposed to get stripped of the title? 2. That incident where Fury slapped AJ Savoldi happened way back in December/January. That’s quite the delayed response for a punishment.
The show starts off in the studio with Ken Reedy and new co-host, commentator and part time wrestler Ray Ray Marz, who looks like CM Punk’s non union equivalent here though his gimmick is more of a ripoff of the 3MB. Ken Reedy is wearing a sleazy grin as he says we have the ladies in action to start off the show. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a women’s match here.
“The Psycho Siren” Ida Marie Vs Jennifer Cruz
We join the match in progress. Marz says the Psycho Siren may not look tough but you can’t underestimate her. With a nickname like that, you’d think she was the heel but she’s not. Cruz is a lady hoss, who vaguely resembles a Latina version of Bertha Faye, which reminds me that I sang Bertha’s theme last night at a friend’s birthday party. Why am I single? Super sloppy, big gal-little gal match. Ida Marie wins with a rollup. If the women’s matches are going to be like that, I can see why Wrestling On Fire hasn’t regularly finished the ladies. Marz and Reedy hype the fact that you’ll get to see Ida Marie in action in Parsippany. Wish I’d booked my plane ticket. D
Wow. This show is actually (almost) current as Ken Reedy and Ray Ray Marz hype up tomorrow’s show at the Parsippany PAL. Reedy and Marz hype up the Television Title match between Champion Scotty Slade (who is also returning from a suspension) against “The Cuban Crippler” Ricky Reyes.
“The Cuban Crippler” Ricky Reyes Vs Sebastian Cruz Vs “The Greek God” Papadon
This is the Night of a Thousand Cruzes here on Wrestling On Fire. Another match that’s joined in progress. Reyes and Padon start off the match taking turns beating the hell out of Cruz. Then tensions rise when they can’t figure out who gets to pin him. I guess this show isn’t entirely current as Marz and Ken Reedy hype Wrestling On Fire’s shows during WrestleMania weekend in New Jersey. Also Reyes is acting heelish here and has since turned babyface. Somebody is blowing an air horn throughout the match, as annoying as it is on TV, I can’t imagine how annoying it must have been in a half empty middle school gym. This match is super energetic if nothing else. Cruz hits his finisher on Papadon and then celebrates like a goof and gets shoved out of the ring by Reyes. Reyes gets the pin on Papadon. I laugh. Winner: Ricky Reyes. Reyes cuts a wheezing promo about how he’s going to be the Wrestling On Fire Champ that people deserve. I like insincere, smug heel Reyes. I’m not sure why he’s mired in the TV Title division when he’s obviously got the pedigree to be in the main event scene. That match was sloppy as hell at moments with more than few noticeable botches but it was a step above the usual fare we get on this show. I’ll be generous and give it a B-
We go back to the studio with Reedy and Ray Ray Marz and we’re going to Apter’s Alley for Part 2 of an interview with George “The Animal” Steele. I’m assuming part one was on the show last week that was preempted by an infomercial. Dammit. Bill Apter’s ramblings about this and that are joined in progress (can they show any segments from start to finish) and he throws it to his interview with Steele by doing an impression of The Animal.
Apter interviews George Steele at a wrestling convention in character and Animal vows revenge on Bruno Sammartino and Andrew Lutzke salivates at the prospect of The Animal and Bruno having a rematch a mere forty five years past their prime. Unfortunately, this whole segment isn’t George Steele kayfabing Apter as we cut to an interview that they did later via Skype. Steele puts over Bruno for solidifying him as a superstar in wrestling. Steele plugs his autobiography, which I wasn’t aware existed. Somehow, they ended up using a picture of The Animal with MINE on the cover. The two of them ramble about Pedro Morales Vs Bruno Sammartino at Shea Stadium in 1972. Steele claims that his run-in wasn’t planned and the NYPD weren’t aware that he was going to run down and he was legit dragged away by the police. Hmm. Steele claims that he and Gorilla Monsoon had a bet over whether he could make it to the ring during the main event. Steele and Apter talk about Bill Watts’ influence on The Animal’s career.
Bill Apter plugs Steele’s book again and says that Part 3 of the interview will be next week. We close the show with another impression of The Animal. Riveting stuff.
I actually sort of enjoyed this week’s show outside of the first match. The show actually seemed to be moving forward in some direction instead of just listless classic episodes or random matches. I don’t know if I would have gone out and bough a ticket for the show but at least, I was aware that Wrestling On Fire had shows going on instead of it being “Hey, here are s0me random matches.” They also did a good job of pushing the importance of the TV Title for the first time since…well, ever. I still don’t think a secondary singles title is necessary unless they ramp up the number of live shows they do but hey if you’re going have one, you might as well feature it. I also think this was the best Apter segment they’ve done. George Steele was a surprisingly game interview and the anecdote about his run in at Shea Stadium was entertaining as hell even if it did sort of sound like BS. Plus it was kind of entertaining to see them try and hype a Bruno-Steele rematch forty years later that will never actually happen (…at least, I hope never happens).
So yeah, this show was pretty decent. Almost makes up for the fact that the show has been replaced by infomercials twice in the past month or so. Almost…
See everybody next week…unless the show gets replaced by an infomercial again. I hope not. I need to see Part 3 of Bill Apter’s interview with George Steele, dammit!