Welcome to another recap of Wrestling On Fire. Hope all of you readers are staying safe and sane in this hectic time of year. I’m glad you took a few minutes out of your day to read my recap on the world of small time independent professional wrestling, which is anything but safe or sane! Readers of the recap in recent weeks aren’t seeing things, after re-rebranding itself as ECPW On Fire a month or so back, the promotion has reverted back to the Wrestling On Fire name for this week’s show because…I don’t know, let’s see there’s some sort of explanation.
Speaking of which, strange things are afoot during the opening of this weekend’s episode. The show began with an ad for a Best of ICW DVD that the Savoldis are shilling, which briefly got my hopes up that we were seeing the first Classics episode of the show in months. Oh well. Then we go back to the Wrestling On Fire intro that we haven’t seen in a few months, complete with wrestlers that aren’t even on the roster.
And weirdly, we also go back to WOF’s horrible production after a few weeks of ECPW’s bland and generic but competent style as we open with Joey G interviewing ECPW Owner Gino Caruso in the ring and camera work so awful that I suspect that the cameraman is probably drunk. Caruso talks about what a great year ECPW has had in 2013 and starts to ramble about upcoming events in 2014. This is the type of promo that just begs to be interrupted. Mario Savoldi Jr and Ken Reedy interrupt. The microphone doesn’t work so Mario Jr cuts the first part of the promo a cappella and the crowd is small enough for it to work even though the faces have to kayfabe that it isn’t. Ken Reedy’s “tough guy heel” look makes him look like the Little Petey Pump version of Ryback. Also, I should mention the show is lame enough that they only have one microphone so both sides have to pass it back and forth. FEEL THE HATRED! Reedy proposes an WOF/ECPW Showoff with WOF Cruiserweight Kai Katana taking on ECPW’s Matt McIntosh in one match and ECPW TV Champ Crazy Ivan battling WOF Television Champ Ricky Reyes in a unification match in another. Reedy proposes that if WOF wins both matches, then a wrestler of their choosing gets a shot at ECPW Champ “Jumbo” Joe Gunns.
HEYWAITAMINUTE! When’s the last time they brought up the fact that we have no WOF Champion. Yeah, the reasons why it’s vacant are brought up on a fairly regular basis and are the basis for this ECPW/WOF feud but they’ve mentioned little to nothing about the tournament to crown a new champ.
Gino Caruso accepts. What are the odds that ECPW and WOF split the series? 75%? 99%?
We get ads for the new Wrestling On Fire.com (which hasn’t been changed in the past six months) and I get disappointed when the new ad for classic episodes of USWA Texas airing on Saturday Nights at 11 P.M. are not airing on this local UHF station but an obscure cable channel (TuffTV) that I don’t get. BAH! Besides…erm, I’m usually too busy on Saturday nights at 11 to watch ’80s rasslin. Yeah…
Showcase Match: Tony Vega Vs Shooter Mike
Been a few weeks since we’ve seen a Showcase Match from the kids of the ECPW Training School. Shooter Mike has a mixed martial artist gimmick, if the name didn’t give it away. Tony Vega is a generic plucky babyface, no relation to Savio (as far as I know). I HATE that they brought Tommy Savoldi into the commentary booth. His commentary is a combination of John Madden-esque obvious observations, slang from the 1950s, and nonsensical hollering that makes him sound like the white version of Grady from Sanford & Son. And everything he says HE SHOUTS. FOR NO REASON! LIKE SID! EXCEPT SID HAD A QUIET MODE! It’s literally painful to listen to. I actually gained a modicum of respect for Joey G for trying to rein him in and attempt to call the match. The match itself is fine as far as these Showcase matches, the basic type of Wrestling School 101, meat & potatoes match. Nothing that’ll win any awards but nothing that will embarrass anybody. Vega goes over with a Flatliner. I don’t think the heel has ever gone over in one of these Showcase matches, for some reason. C+ Unfortunately, Tommy Savoldi could call Steamboat-Flair and all I’d be able to talk about the match was “WHY IS THAT COMMENTATOR YELLING ALL OF THE TIME??”
WOF Vs ECPW Series: Kai Katana (With Mario Savoldi Jr) Vs Matt McIntosh
Mario Jr immediately walks over to the commentary booth, hopefully to pipe down Uncle Tommy. Katana and McIntosh start off with some chain wrestling and Mario Jr immediately becomes best commentator of the night by saying that in addition to some high flying, we’re going to some real “rasslin” tonight. Joey G and Mario Jr argue over whether the promotion is called ECPW On Fire or ECPW/Wrestling On Fire. Tommy Savoldi lets off a stream of LOUDER THAN USUAL, INDECIPHERABLE HOLLERING that gets me to contemplate muting the TV for the first time since Mark Madden’s run as the color commentator on Monday Nitro. I sit through Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler every week for the past five years and haven’t considered putting them on mute! Joey G and Mario Jr attempt to try and talk over Uncle Tommy but that’s impossible to do. Tommy: “JAPAN PRODUCES SOME OF THE FINEST WRESTLERS IN THE NATION!” *shakes head* Mario Jr shouldn’t be talking with his Uncle Tommy about taking over the WOF/ECPW merger but talking to him about sending him to an assisted living facility.
The sad thing is this match is actually pretty decent but I get taken out of it by Uncle Tommy yelling and moaning like an old lady taking an enormous dump. Katana’s really come a long way in a short time to be one of the best of the small group of WOF guys still left and McIntosh isn’t shabby. Katana wins after a convoluted ref bump and McIntosh getting hit with a crowbar by a mysterious masked man. This match was fairly decent before the goofy finish. B
I’m about ready to give up hope on this WOF/ECPW angle being anything other than terrible. It’s bad, bad, bad even by invasion angle standards. Nothing about it makes sense; the fact that it’s so prominently centered around non-wrestlers, the fact that the storyline moves at a glacial pace. The fact that Tommy Savoldi, a guy who shouldn’t be let onscreen in a speaking capacity, is featured so prominently. This is like what would have happened if the Invasion was centered around Shane McMahon and Michael Cole leading the Alliance with Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon (who mostly appears offscreen) leading WWF with “Classy” Freddie Blassie being stuck in the middle and an actual wrestling match that advances the storyline happening maybe once a month. After a period of bland competency, the cacophonous, confusing WOF of old is back and I for one am excited/terrified to recap all of the “action” it has to offer.