Monday, November 19, 2018

A wrestling 'Insurgency' in Walcott!

It was Survivor Series weekend, but I didn't sit down to watch either WWE event this weekend live. With a day job and a side gig writing for this site, a half dozen other places and a new novel in the works something has to give. But I wasn't going to miss out on an event from the fine folks of SCW if I could help it. So while many were glued to their televisions, I rebelled from the World Wrestling Entertainment machine and traveled to scenic Walcott, Iowa for Insurgency.

For my troubles, I got to watch one of the best events I've ever seen from the company.

The night opened with a banger though. A six man tag match pitted the QC Cup holder Braden McBride and the tag team champions JAH-C and JT Energy (better known as Vicious & Delicious) battled ex-Iowa Hawkeye, "The 1" Steve Manders and the veterans Krotch and Latin Thunder. Their next event features a big tag match between Vicious & Delicious, Manders and another former Iowa football star making his wrestling debut, former Indianapolis Colt Pat Angerer. So it was no surprise that while everyone got a chance to hit a big move or two, this was mostly about Vicious & Delicious and Manders. That didn't stop Vicious & Delicious (quickly doing their best to be SCW's "Best Bout Machines, with all apologies to Kenny Omega) from showing why I'm far from the only one high on this pair of excellent young talents. Manders ultimately managed a double pin on both tag champions, an easy set up for Marek Brave to make the tag match coming up for the titles.

After a rollicking start, "The Cajun Kid" Sage Cainan made his return to the company looking much improved from the previous times I've seen him in action. He went up against the veteran Johnny Wisdom, one of the last few old guard members of the roster left. Wisdom plays a classic heel so well that he pulls down heat whenever he enters. His style is also based on a lot of strikes and suplexes with a handful of submissions mixed in, basically the moveset of every create a wrestler in every wrestling video game I've ever played. Wisdom is a joy to watch. I've never heard his name outside an SCW ring, but if you ever have the chance make sure to go check him out for just a really great old school beat them down guy. A bit surprisingly, Wisdom did pick up the win, hopefully setting up a bit of a push for him going forward.

Val Eden made his SCW debut next. His tights declared him as a Parisian, and he clearly came with a cocky French men gimmick right in place, not speaking a word of English. This brought out his opponent King Steven Youngblood, one of the earliest SCW wrestlers, and still a regular with the company. He's spent months as a villain (nicknamed "Burger King" by the fans) but has since turned babyface. He took offense that Eden didn't speak the King's English and proceeded to squash the young star in short order. An ignominious debut for Eden, but he'll probably get more chances to shine in the future.

I mentioned a few weeks ago in my review of a CEW event that Deonn Rusman really impressed me as a young developing talent that looks like a million bucks and moves far faster than his power wrestler look hints. I'm not nearly as high on his regular SCW partner Robin Steele. I mean I inherently take Robin as a heel because of his need to sport attire from some of the weakest anime out there, but he still feels a bit sloppy in the ring. The pair took on a more makeshift unit of Steele's former partner Shain Bender and the favorite of every teenage girl in Walcott, Dante Leon. Leon gives me hopes for Steele as I remember his first few matches where he was just as sloppy. While Leon works a super fast style flying around the ring, he's really tightened up a lot since those days. He's earned some higher spots on the cards as well, and picked up the win for his team here as the clear veteran even with only a couple years under his belt. He wasn't the one to hit the most impressive move of the match however as Rusman and Steele landed a Doomsday Destroyer on Bender that was perhaps the most picture perfect finishing move I could imagine.

The last match before intermission brought out SCW champion Shane Hollister to make an open challenge. His opponent from just a few weeks earlier, Xander Killen, made his way to the ring to take it. After seeing him as an inexplicable face at CEW, the boos seemed right for the young star. He cut a blistering promo on Hollister, the kind of twisted truth promo that can just cement a young heel. The two men proceeded to put on an exposition of fantastic wrestling. I watched Killen debut in the building just a few years before. He's grown by amazing leaps since that day. Much like Energy and Rusman, I see great potential in him. The match ultimately ended with two referees counting for both men and a double pinfall. Hollister kept his title but we have a clear set up for a rematch between the two, though whether that comes at the next Hawkamania or at their final event of the year Season's Beatings, I have yet to find out.

Sensei Bock has been working the same cowardly heel "teacher" hiding behind his student pretty much since he first debuted. It works well as though I don't know how old Bock actually is, he looks about fifteen years older than the Black & Brave class he arrived in. He's been working a regular storyline with another talent, Jimmy Thomas, where he's trying to teach Thomas the ways of Bock Kwan Do. This basically amounts to a lot of tag matches where Thomas does all the work. That was the case here as they faced the fun loving duo of JP Finger and Jared Thumb (a.k.a. Thumb & Finger.) Thumb and Finger have become the solid comedy act of every SCW show, though their basics are rock solid behind their fun loving. They picked up the win over Bock (a bit of a surprise as I expected Thomas to eat every pin for his team) and perhaps are working their way towards a shot at Vicious & Delicious.

A war between veteran Mason Beck and upstart Travis Titan has been brewing for months in SCW. It came to a head in the semi-main event. Titan started with an early flurry, but the match soon became just a vicious beat down by Beck. He excels in that atmosphere, ripping apart his opponent before stopping to jaw jack with the crowd. Ultimately, he sealed his own fate when he refused to get a pin to continue his beating on Titan. When he stopped for a bit too long to antagonize the crowd, Titan was able just enough to roll him into a small package for the surprise one two three. Beck proceeded to destroy Titan, both referees and the Black & Brave students on security before the locker room cleared out to pull him to the back.

The main event was a no disqualification street fight. I watched Connor Braxton end one long standing feud against Eddie Machete in such a match. This time he sought to end another long feud with Joeasa. Joeasa has developed immensely since his early days as Joe Acer. While I sometimes find ethnic gimmicks a bit tiresome, he's used it to cement himself as a strong heel. He's been working a lot of tags outside SCW with Deonn Rusman and both men were in a stable just a few months ago in SCW. But Joeasa knows how to handle himself as a singles star and got to show it as the smaller heel against Braxton. After an extended barn burner for that Braxton / Machete street fight, I expected more of the same here. Instead I got a surprisingly short match, but an eventful one. The two men flew around the arena. A copious number of chairs, cookie sheets and a kendo stick all came into play. But it was Connor Braxton that upped the ante with thumbtacks. Unfortunately for him, no one taught him the age old rule of thumbtacks in wrestling: if you bring them out, you're going to get them in your back.

That aforementioned connection between Rusman and Joeasa came into play as Rusman and Steele hit the ring to join him in beating down on Braxton. The three men hurled Braxton into the thumbtacks before Joeasa pinned him for the victory. As a company devoid of any factions for the first time in awhile, it seemed clear we might have a new power trio in Joeasa, Rusman and Steele.

Thus ended one of the strongest wrestling events I've attended live. I've stressed before how important it is to support independent wrestling. It's incredibly easy to do with a promotion as steady and solid as SCW. Though they don't bring in the big blockbuster stars groups like Revolver and AAW do, they manage to tell compelling stories month in and month out.

Their next event heads a bit closer to home for me with Hawkamania VII: Anger Rising in Iowa City on December 1st, followed a week later by their year ending Season's Beatings back at Walcott. Weather providing I plan to be back at both events as I continue my wrestling treks across Iowa. If you drop in to one of the events and see my ugly mug, feel free to stop over and say hello. For more on both events, check out @SCWPro on Twitter or the company's official website.