Monday, December 31, 2018

The Wrestling Revolver's Holiday Hangover: A few thoughts on my last wrestling live event of the year

Revolver seems set to cement a place as a new focal point of wrestling in central Iowa and that's good news for the independents in general and Iowa in particular. I will almost certainly continue to nitpick their use of Iowa (or more accurately, lack of use) talent, but they also continue to bring a ton of talent to Iowa that we wouldn't normally ever see without at least a trip to Chicago.

Here's my bullet point thoughts on Holiday Hangover.

Zachary Wentz in his natural element.
All Photos featured on this page are by the amazingly talented Photos by Manning.
  • DJ Z is an amazing high flyer and it turns out, so is Gringo Loco, a dude I've never seen in action before Friday night. But Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz are now on another level. They've traveled around the world twice over and I cannot help but think their work with the OWE kids and CIMA has helped them to strengthen their game. I expect 2019 to be an even bigger year for the unit. 
  • The first three of the four first round title tournament matches were just okay. Jessicka Havok versus Matthew Palmer was a classic beatdown with her just destroying him before he pulled the old Eddie Guerrero fake chair shot move, only to get beaten down even more. Larry D versus Rich Swann was competitive but with Larry's positioning in Revolver it seemed like his victory was a foregone conclusion. No JT Dunn, so the three way became Trey Miguel vs. Ace Austin vs. Clayton Gainz. I was more than okay with this as Gainz seems set to have a solid wrestling career, even if his ring name is one of the worst since Flex Kavana. 
  • Tommy Dreamer took Brian Cage's place against Shane Strickland and showed why he's such a talented ring psychologist to the fans in attendance. It wasn't a first time match-up I ever expected to see but it was a heck of a lot of fun. Strickland is an amazing talent and working folks like Dreamer will only make him that much better.
JT Energy confronts Manders-Claus!
  • The return from intermission gave us the only few moments with any Iowa-based talent in action as Manders-Claus (Steve Manders handing out prizes in an awful Santa outfit) came under attack by the debuting JT Energy. Manders took Energy out quick and finished his rounds, but if the Revolver really wants to ingrain itself in Iowa wrestling, I really want to see it actually use the local talent in significant ways. 
  • I was surprised to see Kimber Lee before the event selling her wares. She's an amazing talent that I can't help but feel WWE dropped the ball on and I hope she returns for more Revolver shows, maybe as an announced talent next time. She got to show off some of her skills in the six way scramble open against champion Caleb Konley, Manscout Jake Manning, Madman Fulton, Ace Romero and Dirty Andy Dalton (also a last minute replacement.) They put on a great spot-based match frequently built around how they could use the tent Manning of course brought in. Konley stole the win in a bout way better booked than the mess in October.
Kimber Lee.
  • Jake Manning and Caleb Konley are rockstars in their roles with Highspots. They're hocking wares, maintaining cameras and/or on commentary for various parts of the show, and still take time to be really great talents in their match. So much of what they do is behind the scenes and I don't think they get close to enough credit for their talents.
  • I think the Christmas Death Match between Jimmy Jacobs and Arik Cannon was pretty much doomed to fail from the start. Half the people there didn't seem to know Cannon despite him being a regular Midwest guy for over a decade (including in Des Moines' own 3XW.) Jacobs brought out a few of the same spots he used back in October's death match and it all just came out feeling a bit redundant. It was a fun callback to see him pull out the trusty spike I haven't seen in years though. 
  • OVE versus ACH and the Besties in the World (or the Super-Besties) was apparently a bout the six men talked about for a long time in advance of it finally happening. ACH is a fun talent and knows how to play a local crowd, but if the rumors about his future are true, I'll be curious to see how he can play to a large audience. He was lost in the shuffle in ROH and I worry it might be the same for him wherever he proves to go. But the spectacle the six men put on here was worth the price of admission alone. A ton of talent all in one ring at the same time is always something to love. 
  • The main event was built around an angle from the start and that hurt it. With Palmer out due to "injury" Strickland was the only member of The Crew left standing. He put on an entertaining battle with Trey Miguel and Larry D, but the end came with a ref bump. With the ref down, Larry takes out his opponents and covered for a pin as a new ref hit the ring. Only the new ref stopped his count and attacked Larry, pulling off his shirt to show he was a freshly shaven Matthew Palmer. He stole the pin and the victory and gave The Crew their second main event win over the last two shows. It will be interesting to see how they play out that story in the shows ahead. 
  • Matthew Palmer landed maybe two moves for the entire show and still exited as the most hated heel in the promotion and the new champion. He's just an amazing heel and it's fascinating to watch him in action. He's a Texan guy with history in Inspire Pro and Wrestle Circus, but isn't a guy that is much more than a blip on the indies. But damn if he isn't pure greatness as a top heel. I got a special kick out of his pre-match promo against Havok, where he ranted about how women shouldn't be allowed to wrestle, an interesting note from a man whose Twitter handle name recently listed his last name as Palmer-Moon.
  • The company isn't back to the Val Air until early March, but with six shows planned for Des Moines this year, I'm excited to see what else they have in store for the future. 
  • If Sami's focus on talent has shown me anything with the crowd reactions at the Revolver, it is that Larry D and Matthew Palmer are both incredible independent wrestling talent that need to have more eyes on them. 
New Revolver Champion Matthew Palmer. 

Overall another great show from the Wrestling Revolver. Promised talents at the next event included John Morrison and Daga among others, so it will be very interesting to see what the future holds for the company in the new year.

To watch the show, stay tuned to the Highspots Wrestling Network as it usually goes up within a week. For more on the promotion, visit And stay focused on this site to see some of these same names in the Top 100 wrestlers of 2018!  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

It's that time of the year! Voting for the Year End Talent Countdown is now open!

For the last three years, The Wrestling Deep End has closed out the year with a countdown of the Top 10 wrestlers of the year as voted on by you, the incredible readers of this blog. This year we're expanding things though as we will officially build a Top 100 list of wrestlers! Only the Top 10 will get the detailed entries you see every year, but as part of the event, we will also run down numbers 100 to numbers 11, in order, with highlighted comments from you, the voters.

Here's how the process works: 

  • You make a list of every wrestler you've enjoyed from the calendar year 2018. The list can be as short as twenty (20) talents or as long as one hundred (100). Your favorite wrestler is ranked first, going all the way down to one hundred. 
  • Ranks should be based on entertainment factor inside the ring. It does not need to be rated on nebulous conceits of what makes a good or bad match, but all rating should be based on things that happen in front of the crowd at the venue. 
  • The list covers both male and female wrestlers.
  • Talent from any promotion in the world is eligible, as long as they wrestled in the calendar year 2018. 
  • Tag teams must be separated. If you feel like a tag team is on equal footing for the year, you may lump them together. If you feel one talent has brought more to the team than the other, you may put any number of other talents between them. But all tag teams must be separated. 
  • I encourage the support of local independents in the list. If your local indie features talent rarely seen elsewhere but that you consider top tier even if only in that indie, vote for them as such. If you want to eschew every major televised promotion in favor of smaller local companies or the affiliates or whatever, feel free. This list is as much about recognizing talented stars wherever they may come than solidifying the star power of the world's top stars in their top promotions. 
  • Commentary on talents you choose is greatly appreciated and will likely be featured on their vote page. (In the case of #11 through 100, it might often be the only text for each.) This is a chance to share why you think each talent deserves the position you've given them. 
  • All votes should be sent to wwfmegs{at} or left as a comment on this post. 
That looks like a lot of rules, but it's really not. Just send in your lists between now and Christmas Day. The list will launch just a few days later starting with #100 and counting all the way down to your pick for the best wrestler of 2018! 

I cannot wait to see your votes! 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Not even a limited roster can slow them down! SCWPro "Season's Beatings" in review!

One of the things I love about SCWPro is that they schedule their events well in advance. For someone working at a retail company with schedules a month in advance, it's very handy to be able to put in for nights off well ahead of time. It also creates issues though when another company in the area comes out and schedules on the same night. AAW's final show in LaSalle, Last Call, also landed on December 8th, which meant a lot of the company's talents were gone for the night. Connor Braxton, Joeasa, Deonn Rusman, Sensei Bock, Dante Leon, Sage Cainan and current tag champion Steve Manders were all in LaSalle, most of them working in a battle royal. But despite a third of their regular talent away for the night, Season's Beatings turned out to be a solid end of the year event.

The night opened with JT Energy and Jah-C, Vicious and Delicious, the now former tag team champions. It came as no surprise they weren't happy with the fans or the loss of their belts. They were ready to take it out on anyone they could. Their opponents came in the form of two long time SCW talents: King Steven Youngblood and Latin Thunder. The King of Scott County and the luchador did some of the best work I've seen from either man in a fairly brief opener, but Vicious and Delicious were just far too wily to lose to a makeshift team on this night.

The second match opened with Johnny Wisdom stalking to the ring, angry as ever. His opponent was a newcomer to the company, Derek Wolf. A student of Josh Raymond, a long time veteran who made his SCW return later in the night, Wolf tried hard to fire up the crowd fast. But despite his size, Wolf never really got going. Watching him, I'd guess he's a guy that is used to working as a heel in his young career, as he didn't quite have the visuals down to play the good guy. Wisdom brought the match to a merciful finish, but Wolf swore he'd be back for a rematch. I wouldn't mind seeing the kid get another chance at the promotion, just as I'd like to see more from his mentor as well.

Robin Steele came to the ring for his match without his compatriots Asa and Rusman. But his opponent Jimmy Thomas also didn't have his Sensei Bock in his corner. Instead the two men went it alone. Thomas works his student gimmick really well and he sold the vicious beating he took from Mason Beck days before just as well. He put on a valiant effort against Steele, who despite the fact that I'm anything but a fan of his gear, seems to be coming along well as a young competitor. He seems to be settling down and didn't let his desire to be a fast moving high flyer derail his fundamentals here, which seems like the routine problem of a lot of the Black and Brave students.

I've been a bit down on QC Cup holder Bradon McBride in a few of my reviews. But he showed me why the company entrusted him with the title in his defense against Shain Bender. McBride and Bender set out to steal the show. The two worked a fast paced match with a ton of big hits and big moves, but despite their speed, both men did everything in their power to keep it from turning sloppy as such matches, especially with young talents, can do. They put on an incredibly strong undercard match that I expected was going to lead to intermission after McBride used his valet Miss Olivia to secure the win yet again.

Mason paused with a
cold stare the entire time
while the kid got this
picture of him. 
Instead it lead into one of the two big matches announced ahead of time: a brutal battle between the young Travis Titan and Mason Beck. Beck is a Midwest indie stalwart, a long time talent who much like fellow SCW star Shane Hollister deserved a ton more recognition than he got in his career. Beck comes out cold and angry and never turns off for a second. Even when he's interacting with the crowd, it's often to taunt them at how much damage he's done to their favorite.

Last month, Beck decimated Titan but lost to a surprise roll up during the beat down. This month he wasn't able to destroy Titan and the two men fought a fairly even contest. Titan has sworn to make Beck tap to his Titan's Cross finisher and his focus on that move ultimately cost him the victory as he kept going for it instead of trying for more pinfalls after his big moves. He took two brutal Beck bombs and his Not-Samoan spike before Mason picked up the win.

Coming out if intermission, SCW likes to bring a fun match so it was no surprise that JP Finger and Jared Thumb made their way to ringside to battle angry Frenchman Val Eden and his new partner Timothy Legrand, a poor man that feels like he might have just been roped into Val's angry Frenchman gimmick as I didn't hear him say a word, in French or otherwise. Eden and Legrand got more offense than Eden did last time around, but this was mostly a showing for Thumb and Finger to have some fun. I remain impressed by the fundamentals beneath the comedy, as so often young stars working comedy styles are covering up a lot of inefficiencies in talent. I see none of that here and honestly hope a few indies might give them a chance to shine against the likes of Colt Cabana, Jake Manning or Kikutaro.

If you haven't seen SCW,
you haven't experienced
Krotch. There's no one
quite like him in wrestling.
As I mentioned Josh Raymond made his return to SCW and my memories at Season's Beatings. He hasn't wrestled too regularly to my knowledge since mounting injuries ended his run as one half of the House of Truth tag team in ROH, where he and the late Christin Able mostly served as silent killers for Truth Martini. As he emerged from the back to take on Krotch, he made it clear he would be anything but silent here. Instead he worked a fun little gimmick where he declared the ring his safe space and demanded fans cheer for him whenever he was in said safe space. It got him over as a heel fast with the Walcott crowd and I honestly love the idea of a wrestler triggered by booing as a gimmick. Krotch picked up the clean win, but I really do hope we get more than a one off appearance by Raymond here to fill the card. He worked a fun gimmick and I wouldn't mind seeing him take on some of the younger SCW talent. Heck, I suspect the aforementioned Thumb & Finger could have some fun with him.

Valentina Loca paid a visit to the ring to declare herself once again without competition in an SCW ring. But this time it wasn't so much her pleading for the company to bring in more female talent, but with a level of pride that she rid herself of her former partner Rahne Victoria. Val's a great talent on the mic, but I'm itching to see her actually wrestle a full match at Walcott.

With all the previous matches out of the way it was time for the main event as Shane Hollister once again defended the SCW title against Xander Killen. The two men have traded barbs on Twitter over the last few weeks as the straight edge Killen has called Hollister a drunk and a deadbeat dad. In a taped segment from before the show, Killen berated Hollister's stepdaughter and her friend about her Dad's future fate, so it goes without saying that this feud is heated.

The two men put on a match just as brutal and heavy-hitting as the one last month at Insurgency. But I realized I would have a front row seat to some of the storytelling with Hollister's daughter just a few seats away. Killen derided them more than once, but often to his own detriment as it gave Hollister time to recover from the damage Xander did.

The brutality continued for what I'm fairly certain was one of the longer main events I remember seeing at an SCW show. Ultimately it proved too much for both men as they both fell to a ten count for a no contest. Shane Hollister demanded a Last Man Standing bout with Killen in response, a match immediately made by Marek Brave for the next show in January.

Here's where I'll throw in my one tiny booking gripe, as a Last Man Standing match would have ended in the exact same way if both men couldn't answer the ten count. It might have served their purpose to set up just a typical Street Fight instead, but they brought one of those to Walcott at just the last event, so I can understand the reason they avoided it here.

But beyond that tiny gripe, Season's Beatings was a well-booked clean-flowing great way to spend ten dollars. From top to bottom, everyone seemed to know this was their chance to shine on a card with far less talents than the usual SCW show. And with a large crowd out on a perfect December night, here's hoping everyone that did make the show got to home with a few more dollars in their pockets!

SCW has a month off before they return with their next Walcott event on January 18th, their annual 20 man Prestige Rumble. With that match and the continuance of the Hollister / Killen feud, it looks to be a barnburner. For more on the promotion, check out their official website.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The beginning of an Iowa dynasty? SCW Hawkamania VII: Anger Rising in review!

Despite SCW running the much nearer Iowa City six times before I attended Hawkamania VII, I hadn't managed to actually get to a show at the Wildwood Steakhouse and Saloon. I found the venue's layout incredibly odd upon arrival, complicated by the fact that I didn't arrive far enough in advance to guarantee myself a place to sit! But while I cannot comment on the food at the place, I will say SCW put on a heck of a show.

Hopefully, they will get a 2018 Pat Angerer picture for his next appearance...
The night kicked off with two young stars I was thoroughly impressed with the night before: DDT's Rekka and Naomi Yoshimura. They would not disappoint tonight either as they went up against the reunited team of Dante Leon and Sage Cainan. The DDT contingent were on point for their spots. Dante is an incredibly gifted worker whose look I simply don't understand. It's a strange thing to say about a high flyer, but Sage feels like he just needs to slow down a bit as he missed a few cues in the match. It seemed clear he knew it as well, as he seemed flustered by match's end. Thankfully the energy he, Dante and the DDT boys brought made up for any missed spots in the match. The four men warmed up the crowd like no one's business. The energy of the room after Dante and Sage picked up the win was almost electric.

Latin Thunder and Johnny Wisdom received an unfortunate spot following that match. The two men decided to go old school, with Wisdom's strikes against Thunder's grappling and mad dropkicks. Thunder picked up the win in a fairly brief encounter, a bit of a surprise after Wisdom's win at the previous show.

Sensei Bock made a change leading into the next two matches, swapping out his bout and that of his protege Jimmy Thomas. This put Bock in a QC Cup contenders match while Travis was up against Mason Beck. Beck's been booked as a monster at the last few shows I've attended and this was no different. Though Thomas isn't much smaller than Mason, his fear at the site of his foe quickly made him seem it. Thomas tried to mount offense but the angry Beck dismantled him in a brief match.

Bock didn't appear at ringside for that battle, but popped back up as the contenders match was next. His opponents were Chase Holliday, the first I've seen of this Black & Brave graduate though he's been around a bit, and Shain Bender. I barely mentioned Bender in my Insurgency review. He wasn't particularly impressive in that tag bout, which the other three men seemed to carry far more than he did. That changed here as he played the sole babyface against two villains. He showed off a bit more fundamental wrestling here, as well as some impressive flying. He still needs a ton of seasoning, but he's got potential.

The next match took the new unit of Joeasa, Robin Steele and Deonn Rusman and pitted them against Joeasa's long rival Connor Braxton, the SCW champion Shane Hollister and Travis Titan, a man that picked up a shock win over Mason Beck last show. The match was wild and chaotic as a good six man brawl should be. Things turned a little rough when a loosened rope caused Rusman to slip and take a nasty spill against the rear ropes. He looked visibly dazed for much of the match afterwards, but to his credit he held up his end as the big man of the heel team. The face squad had a ton more experience as Hollister's years in wrestling is probably three or four times that of the heel contingent combined. But the real story here was interference by Mason Beck on Titan as well as Hollister's ongoing rival Xander Killen. With two of the three faces out of the ring, Joeasa and his crew triple teamed Braxton for the win.

That top half of the show featured two of the night's three matches. The second half of the night got off to a slow start with a battle for QC Cup between current holder Braden McBride and the rather interesting Corn Boy, a feral character that is just really in love with corn. Despite the weird gimmick, he seems to be over strong with the Iowa City crowd. SCW does alright with goofy gimmicks, whether it was Bobbi Dahl, Steven Youngblood or the team of Thumb & Finger, but Corn Boy might be a bit too out there even for me. McBride has done little to show me why he should be holding the cup, working the most basic heel-with-valet gimmick. The match wasn't bad, but it didn't lift off the second half to much of a start either.

Xander Killen took on Krotch in the semi-main event. This one showed some solid storytelling as Killen targeted Krotch's neck and dissected the fifteen year veteran for the rest of the match. He took out Krotch even as he stopped a few times mid-match to call out SCW champion Shane Hollister. Hollister would eventually appear, but only after Killen started to attack the already injured Krotch post-match. Killen ran for the hills, with my assumption that the two men will have a payoff sooner or later, perhaps say... at the next show?

The show's main event had been hyped for several months now. Iowa Hawkeye and Indianapolis Colt veteran Pat Angerer hosted that event, but Vicious & Delicious targeted him for scorn. This set up a match between Angerer and fellow Hawkeye veteran Steve Manders against JT Energy and Jah-C of Vicious & Delicious. Manders win over both men in a six man tag at Insurgency made it a title bout. SCW hyped it as their biggest main event ever and the four men set out not to disappoint.

I really don't know how much training Angerer had going into the bout. But whatever work he put in at the Black and Brave Wrestling Academy and with Manders was clearly enough. Though his segments of the match were somewhat limited, it was clear he knew how to bump and to land some good hits. Vicious and Delicious played up their status as three time SCW tag champions, using every wily veteran move they could as they fought to dissect Manders. But when Angerer did come in he was a house afire and with his size, his bowling over Energy and Jah was perfectly convincing.

I came in expecting a screwjob finish of some kind, perhaps Valentina Loca (who was in attendance but didn't perform) aligning with her former foes in Vicious & Delicious. Instead, the Hawkamaniacs landed the clean win in the middle of the ring right after Angerer hit a big Stunner. The two men celebrated with Angerer's kid and a couple Steveweisers post-match.

Two Iowa Hawkeyes becoming tag team champions in Iowa City was pretty much guaranteed to ignite the crowd, but the great match made the celebration afterwards that much more special. What their victory means for the future of the SCW tag team titles I cannot guess, but it seems clear we'll see Angerer team with Manders again to defend them.

While the last show topped Hawkamania VII in shear impressive matches, I cannot imagine a single fan went home disappointed after a great show. If you're interested in seeing some highlights, a local QC sports show filmed it for Youtube. While the quality isn't spectacular, it shows off just how hard working these stars, young or veteran, actually are.

SCW returns this Saturday, December 8th with their final event of the year Season's Beatings in their home base of Walcott. That being said, they've got a full slate planned in 2019 with two to three shows a month for much of the first half of the year. For more, check out their official website or follow them on Twitter.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Extravagant action, big matches and DDT superstars! 3XW Winter Wars 3 in review

Much like SCWPro, 3XW has been running in Iowa for a decade now. And much like SCWPro, their initials now really don't mean anything. But I finally had a chance to see them live and in person for Winter Wars 3 on Friday. The company has started to recruit an old school star for each show, and this one was no different as Glacier of all people made his 3XW debut!

The night kicked off with a "pre-show" match featuring Xander Killen and Barbosa. Barbosa is a pretty standard Latin heel with the added gimmick of combing his groomed chest hair. Xander is featured in pretty much every one of these articles, so hopefully you recognize his name by now. He's becoming a very solid star for SCW and getting his feelers into other companies in the Midwest now. Like at CEW, he plays the face here again and it doesn't feel as natural for him. Perhaps I'm just used to him being such a great asshole heel at SCW shows, but it feels flat when he's trying to rile up the crowd. This was nothing special and it's a shame that Killen didn't get to show off a bit more.

The show opened with Jah-C (or Gyasi, depending if the company phonetically spells it or not) battling Sentai. Sentai hasn't worke SCW since I came back, but he's a tiny man working a masked Asian wrestler gimmick. He's alright in the ring, but he pales against Jah. This worked as a better opener than the pre-show match, but both men didn't really push too hard in the bout.

Things picked up as "Supafli" J Fowler took on DDT star Naomi Yoshimura, an amazing talent at the end of his excursion. Yoshimura is built like a ton of bricks, reminiscent of Daisuke Sekimoto which is never a bad thing in my opinion. He worked as a great base for Fowler's high flying while getting to show off some technical precision of his own. As a foreign star in for a one shot, Yoshimura took the L here, but I'm very curious to see where he and his partner in crime end up doing in DDT upon their return.

Kara Noia (rhymes with Paranoia, get it?) made her 3XW debut, but her scheduled opponent Brooke Valentine was injured. She was replaced by Nathan Edwards. Nate plays the crazy asshole well, although misogyny in these matches never feels necessary these days. This was my first time seeing the Minnesota-based Kara, but she impressed me after a slow start to this one. I'll be curious to see her in action if she pops up in anymore East or Central Iowa indies anytime soon.

The second DDT contest pit Jaysin Strife against the other DDT star, Rekka. Rekka is actually a ten plus year veteran, but he only really started to work after leaving his native Taiwan to train with DDT. Strife is the consummate Iowa independent wrestler. He's always in great shape,, works a highly active style that is fun to watch and somehow never seems to get much attention from any larger promotions. He's been at it for years and years and doesn't seem to get much recognition for it. They put on what might have been the match of the night in work rate, though they fell a bit behind in the pure fun category. Strife picked up the deserved win, but Rekka impressed me greatly as well.

The first half's main event featured Gil Rogers teaming with Glacier to take on Devin Carter and JT Energy. Rogers (as Rory Fox) and the pair have been feuding for a few months now, but this one offered the big payoff with a great guest appearance by Glacier, a bit heavier but still in great shape in his fifties. Rogers, Carter and Energy carried much of the match because of it, but it didn't lack for Glacier's involvement. Energy looked like a million bucks, Gil looked like a man that loves wrestling above all else and Glacier and Carter mostly came along for the ride. Gil got the pin, but I suspect this storyline might still have some legs, Glacier or no.

Never thought this would be a sight I'd see live.
Image by Photos By Manning. 
After the intermission, things kickoff with SCW announcer and 3XW manager Alex McCarthy out to cut a heel promo and introduce a 5 minute challenge with Moondog Bernard. The challenge is answered by Sensei Bock, inexplicably a babyface here in his 3XW debut. No sign of the cowardly heel he plays so well in 3XW. Instead he beats Moondog with a surprise running kick and a roll up. He doesn't win the five minute challenge though, as Moondog jumps him from behind and leaves him laying in a heap on the ground in the aftermath.

By this point, we reached the two hour mark on the event already, which is approaching the limit for any show without a full bar and food service available. So marked the beginning of my biggest problem with 3XW's show: the length.

Jeremy Wyatt and Steve Manders wrestled an uneventful but very solid match that the long time 3XW regular Wyatt eventually won after wearing Manders down. Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett, The Besties in the World, made their 3XW debut to challenge the Desire Boyz for the tag titles in a surprisingly short battle to feature two high flying guest stars. Neither match did much to ignite the crowd (although the Besties did alright with the "Truely, Madly, Deeply" singalong.) The fan energy at the arena was waning, with two big matches left on the card.

Chainsaw King challenged Jon West for the 3XW Pure Championship in the semi. West is a large guy and Chainsaw King is an actual giant. Dude is not indie wrestling big, but just big overall. He can still move well in the ring though, and he brings an unorthodox off kilter style that makes him more than a one note face-painted kill machine. (See the Desire Boyz in the previous match for that gimmick.) West is a long time 3XW guy and a solid if unremarkable talent and the two put on a heck of a match. A more fired up crowd would have eaten up just two big hosses hitting big moves. It lit up the crowd a little, but the gig was already up there. Fans started to make their exits during the match, especially those with young children. It's a shame, because King and West did some solid work. King's come a very long way since I last saw his uncanny doppelganger die in a Chikara ring.

The main event was a ten man survivor match with Mad Dog McDowell's Heavyweight Championship on the line. The survivor would win the title, which immediately made me wonder what happens if more than one team member survives on their side. Does it then become more like a cibernetico? I have no idea because 3XW didn't bother to explain the rules beyond this live, which was probably a wise decision for myself and the other bleary eyed fans.

Mad Dog's face contingent featured his sometime tag partner Redwing the Barbarian, Donnie Peppercricket and the team of Midwest Blood: Johnny Ruckus & Lars Metzger. The heel team had rich snob and top heel Niles Plonk, Iceman, Jaden Roller, Duke Cornell and Seto Kobara. I'm not going to do a play by play rundown of who was eliminated when. With the majority of the cast being 3XW regulars I've never seen, I was a bit frustrated when the talent I did know (Cornell, Roller, Peppercricket) were all eliminated fairly early. Ultimately it came down to McDowell versus Plonk, which honestly could have easily just been the main event. Plonk stole the win and became the 3XW title. He promised to bring some class to Des Moines as the crowd filed out into the night.

I'm pretty sure I was the most focused man for that main event, but despite the fact they ran through much of the cast of characters rather quickly, it was already way too much way too late. The show ran three and a half hours, which was just a bit too long for the crowd on hand, myself included. (There's a reason WWE starts four hour shows at 6 p.m.)  It makes me feel bad, as I know the folks in the last three matches worked just as hard as the folks in the first half of the show. But at eleven matches, with very little to cool the fans down or warm them back up, the flow just fell flat at night's end.

Still, I'll heap high praise on the scope of the card and the talents working their butt off to put on a good show. A mixed up second half with a bit more of the high flying of the first half might have helped overall, but in the end none of the matches stunk the place up. Fowler / Naomi, Noia / Edwards and Strife / Rekka were all great bouts well worth checking out should they come to 3XW's Youtube channel. That's a pretty solid win, honestly.

3XW's next event is on December 14th, which will wrap their events for the year. Dates for 2019 start on January 11th, all in Des Moines. Check out 3XWrestling on Twitter or Facebook for more details forthcoming!