The Rust Belt Report: Mega Championship Wrestling in Elyria, Ohio 5/4/2013

This is the third report of what will hopefully be a series on live events in the Northern Ohio and Central Pennsylvania region. Mega Championship Wrestling is based out of Elyria, Ohio and runs shows once every couple of months. They also operate a wrestling school and a lot of their workers come from the school. This show was entitled “Breaking Down Barriers 3” and was a benefit show for the Murray Ridge Center, an organization that provides assistance to children and adults with developmental disabilities.

There were two possible shows that I could have covered tonight as I prognosticate instead of studying for my Corporate Finance Law exam. (On a completely unrelated note, that class is taught by Charles Korsmo, the former child star from the movies “Hook” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Really. Google it, he’s a law professor now.) The other show was an Unda Ground Wrestling show in Akron, Ohio, where their big star is “Even Colder” Mike Austin, a Steve Austin impersonator. I will cover one of those soon, I promise.

A word on match ratings, I’m a really easy grader. I rate matches on a B average curve. If it entertains me enough to not regret going to the show it gets a B, if I really like it, it gets an A. If I give it a grade lower than a C, it was actively terrible. I don’t rate on objective match quality, I rate on entertainment value. (For example, I would rate the Hart/Michaels Iron Man match a C+ at best.) I just want to be entertained, nothing more, nothing less.

As it’s a charity show I’m going to be even easier on grading than I probably would be otherwise. The whole show was booked in a TV-G style which is not my preferred style but is completely understandable given the audience.

The first thing that’s apparent is that they’re using an extremely small ring. It looks like it’s probably 12 feet by 12 feet, and it’s only about eight feet tall from the top turnbuckle down to the floor.

Match #1: Eric Ryan defeated “The First Black President of Wrestling” LaMont Williams in approximately five minutes.

Eric Ryan is a fixture on the Ohio independent  scene, and is a former CZW tag champion as well as the the current Absolute Intense Wrestling champion. Lamont Williams is a fairly capable worker who mainly works indies in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Williams is immediately booed upon entering, and I can’t help wondering if it’s because he’s black. The two seemed to be working soft, which again is understandable given the audience, but completely unlike Eric Ryan. The match was basic but competent with the high spot being Ryan hitting a stunner. It’s really kind of a crime that Ryan didn’t get more ring time than this. After the match Ryan celebrated like he had just won the main event of Wrestlemania, and posed with a lot of the disabled fans in a nice moment. Grade: B-

Match #2: Marti Bell defeated Angel Dust in approximately seven minutes.

Marti Bell has wrestled in SHIMMER and RoH, and also works across town for Prime Wrestling. She comes out in a Dominican Republic baseball jersey and is working as a heel. Hmm, another minority heel, could this be the start of a pattern? Angel Dust is this tiny, little white girl that is probably smaller than a size zero and might weigh 90 pounds. Pretty decent match that was, again, basic but competent. Bell did some great over the top selling reminiscent of Dolph Ziggler and, in a very un-Dolph Ziggler like moment, got the clean win. To be honest, I’m surprised they put the heel over on a show like this. Grade: B-

Match #3: Rickey Shane Page, Shawn Blaze, and Luis Diamante defeated “Amazing” N8 Mattson, Joey “The Snake” Diamante, and Sodapop Johnson in approximately fifteen minutes.

N8 Mattson is a regular in Prime Wrestling, and is a heel by virtue of being from Michigan. Sodapop Johnson works an obnoxious heel gimmick and seems to have potential. Joey “The Snake” Diamante plays a Puerto Rican thug gimmick, and needless to say, as a minority, he’s a heel in this promotion.

Luis Diamante is Joey Diamante’s former tag team partner, and possibly the only minority babyface in the promotion. The Diamantes were known as Da Latin Crime Syndicate and have wrestled in promotions across northeast Ohio. Shawn Blaze is a Ohio area regular, and Cagematch.net tells me that his finisher is known as “The Fuck Your Brains Out.” So he’s apparently toning down his act for this promotion.

Rickey Shane Page is the great, stoned dishwasher-looking wrestler that seems to work every show in the Cleveland area. You might remember him from last week’s Rust Belt Report as the crazy, bleeding guy giving the thumbs up on that article’s main photo. He’s quickly becoming my favorite indie wrestler as he always seems to be one of top highlights of whatever show he works. Tonight was no exception although he was working as a happy smiling face, which was a bit jarring after seeing him booked as a psychotic heel everywhere else. That’s not to say he’s a bad face by any means, but it doesn’t feel natural.

RSP clearly seemed to be the best worker in the ring, but everyone kept up. The Diamentes worked a lot of the match against each other, with each one yelling “¡Lucha Libre!” whenever they successfully executed a move on the other one. They also did some awkward mat wrestling which just looked like two overweight Latinos rolling around. Following the ill-advised segment of mat wrestling, this match had the most high-spots of the night, with the workers performing a couple of somersault planchas, a superplex, and a top rope leg drop. Shawn Blaze got the pinfall on Sodapop Johnson with a super-kick that Johnson sold like absolute death. After the match Johnson was helped to the back.  Grade: B

Match #4: Sodapop Johnson won a 30(?) person, Royal Rumble style battle royal in approximately 30 minutes.

This match was for a title-shot for any of MCW’s titles at a later date of the winner’s choosing. I had a hard time keeping track of the names of the workers in this match as they seemed to be entering in 30 or 45 second intervals. A lot of the wrestlers seemed to be fresh out of or still in MCW’s wrestling school. The ring announcer announced them as “contestants” when they entered rather than “participants” which gave the whole proceeding a vague, “Price is Right” feeling. Like a crazy South American “Price is Right” where the contestants have to win a poorly scripted battle royal to advance to the Showcase Showdown.

The entrance order was (some of these names are approximations as MCW doesn’t have a website for me to check them):
1. Bruiser Schmidt(?), a stocky bald guy that entered with an unlit cigar in his mouth. Damn Ohio smoking ban. He reminded me a bit of a stockier version of Tazz, and threw stiff punches.
2. Conny Slika(?), a large guy doing the barefoot Somoan gimmick.
3. Ryan Whitten(?),a large Ryback looking dude.
4. Shawn Blaze, from the six man tag.
5. Pain Stone(?), a skinny, super hipster looking guy.
6. Jack Spade, a guy I’ve already forgotten every detail about.
7. Ree Dufe(?), who I’ve also forgotten every detail about.
8. Lamont Williams, from the opener.
9. Canadian Bad Boy, a huge, Bastion Booger-looking fat guy.
10. “The Aftermatch” Justin Lee, a small guy that seemed talented and is ripped as hell.
11. The Duke, the storyline co-owner of Absolute Intense Wrestling who looks a lot like a high school wrestling coach.
12. Luis Diamante, from the six man tag.
13. Tough Tina, a middle aged woman that seemed to be having the time of her life.
14. Marcus Knight, one half of the tag team “Cleveland Sucks” and another minority heel.
15. Corey James, the other half of the tag team “Cleveland Sucks” and another minority heel.
16. Alex Matthews, a pretty boy that I assume must be new because every other worker took turns stiffing him.
17. Rickey Shane Page, the Rust Belt Report’s favorite wrestler.
18. “Bad Boy” Billy Taylor, a pretty forgettable Tommy Dreamer-looking fellow.
19. Marion Fontaine, an extremely talented veteran of the Cleveland scene.
20. Southside St. Clair, a comedy jobber in Absolute Intense Wrestling.
21. Eli Thomas, an overweight guy in a neon singlet that seemed to be doing a flamboyant gay gimmick.
22. N8 Mattson, from the six man tag.
23. Sodapop Johnson, from the six man tag, he entered still selling his jaw, which he had taped up.
24. Joey Diamante, from the six man tag.
25. “Crazy White Boy” Danny Stiles, I have no recollection of this man other than the note I took of his name.
26. TJ Dynamite, another skinny hipster looking guy.
(27.-30.) I must have blocked other wrestling school students out of my memory, as I’m fairly sure there was 30 guys in there. Dynamite was definitely the last entrant though.

This battle royal was bad, bordering on unwatchable. There were too many people in the ring at a time for there to be any sort of coherent story, and the action was hard to follow. When I could follow it, the wrestling students seemed to be calling their spots loudly. The highlight was The Duke trying to headbutt Slika and knocking himself over, because as everyone knows, you can’t headbutt a Samoan. Soda Pop Johnson got the win after some heel shenanigans, and asked for a shot at the vacant MCW Tag Titles. Storyline-wise, why wouldn’t a worker take a shot for the top title? I understand the purpose of this match was for MCW to get their students ring-time, but I really would have preferred not to have to watch it. It’s like a third grade science fair, something that’s an educational necessity but not particularly interesting.  Grade: D

Match #5: “The Jerk” Joey Vincent with Eli Thomas defeated Marion Fontaine by disqualification to retain the MCW Fighting Spirit Championship in a approximately nine minutes.

Marion Fontaine does a sort of old-time boxer gimmick and comes out to ragtime music in MCW. You kinda have to see it to to understand it. Regardless, he’s an amazing worker. Joey Vincent has the WWE look and seems to be a capable worker. The two worked a good match in a basic speed (Fontaine) vs Power (Vincent) sort of way and incorporated some good comedy spots. There was a ref bump after Fontaine accidentally kicked the ref, and a second ref came out to count a pinfall victory for him. Fontaine was announced as the winner and celebrated with the title until the first ref regained consciousness and reversed the decision into a disqualification victory for Vincent. Grade: B

Match #6: Mad Dog Manson defeated MCW Champion The Bouncer via disqualification in approximately 22 minutes in a non-title Relaxed Rules match.

Mad Dog Mason is an obese man wrestling in jorts and a t-shirt. He has some sort of connection to the Murray Ridge Center so he’s by far the most over guy on the roster. If he’s a trained wrestler, you can’t really tell from watching him. The Bouncer is announced as being from the Sugarfoot Lounge, a strip club in Youngstown, Ohio in the only remotely risque moment of the night. He also has a tan and looks as if he might have some trace of ethnic heritage, so he’s clearly the heel.  There was so much stalling in this match that I temporarily believed I had somehow been transported to Memphis. The Bouncer seems to be a decent heel but this match was beyond terrible.Logic and Booking 101 would seem to dictate that Mad Dog would go over clean here, it being in front of his audience, and a non-title match. But no. Instead they booked the second disqualification in a row, in a match where the stipulations seem to suggest that there won’t be any disqualification. Grade: D

Final Verdict 

Well, apparently, if you’re a minority, and you’re in MCW, then you’re a heel… This show was for a good cause, and the target audience really seemed to enjoy it. I can’t fault MCW for that. But as a wrestling fan it was a little frustrating. To see excellent workers like Rickey Shane Page, Marion Fontaine, and Eric Ryan in this environment is like being in strip club where you can’t touch the strippers. The promise of wrestling is there but it’s just out of reach, and you can’t touch it.

Logo Courtesy Mega Championship Wrestling.

 

When I’m not watching professional wrestling, I’m a second year law student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I previously studied at the University of Southern Indiana, the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Heidelberg Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile.

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