Monday, January 21, 2013

ACW Guilty By Association 7 -- Results, Recap

Guilty By Association is Anarchy Championship Wrestling's biggest show of the year. People like to throw around terms like "their WrestleMania" to explain it to people, but it's different. At WrestleMania, the idea is that the show is the big payoff to everything they've done in the year (read: the last four week cycle). GBA is the opposite of that. It pays off angles and all that, sure, but EVERY ACW show does that. GBA exists as a big ball of anger and emotion, and is the show where ACW goes to places it wouldn't normally ... last year's show featured the Matthew Palmer/MASADA scaffold match that bothered me so much I had to go get a slice of pizza and forget about wrestling for a while.

I'd been dreading this show as much as I'd been anticipating it. Anarchy has been advertising it as the show where "everything changes," and that's not lip service. Jerry Lynn is (officially) retiring. ACH isn't going to be around much anymore, because he's off to Ring Of Honor and everything that comes with it. Rachel Summerlyn's life is changing, as anybody who follows her on social media knows. I've spent the last month worried that the thing I loved so much was going to go away, and be replaced by ... I don't know what, but it wouldn't be MINE.

I left GBA 7 feeling good about where everything was going, even if it stops being comfortable. So here's the show.

Pre-show: Ricky Romida, Jack Jameson and Machiko defeated Jason Silver, Jeff Gant and Killa Kash. The story of the match was that Kash (who is becoming a pretty big deal in the Houston area) is a big unstoppable monster but doesn't like/respect his teammates, so he just destroys everybody and bails. That left the much smaller, much less able-to-handle-Ricky-Romida's-girth Silver and Gant to take a beating and a loss. This helped give Ricky and Jack some momentum going into their tag match on the show proper, which they desperately needed, having lost TWO title matches at the last show. Two notes: (1) Jack Jameson has boss Megaman trunks, and (2) Machiko wrestled in jorts, and deserves the same condemnation you'd give Cena for doing so.

Actual show (I think)

- ACW ring announcer Barry delivered a great opening speech about ACW helping Texas wrestling matter outside of Texas, and that couldn't be more true. He also gave a shout-out to people who have blogs and say nice things about the company, so what up, TH.

JC Bravo and Stan Summers defeated Ricky Starks and Kyle Hawk. "A Little Crazy" got the win with stereo-ish reverse ranas, which hopefully puts them in contention for a title match, because I really, really want to see Jojo Bravo take on a drunken dwarf clown.

Thomas Shire (with Chris Trew, Jojo Bravo and Angel Blue) defeated Lil' Tony. I use "defeated" loosely, because he got the win with a roll-up with his feet on the ropes. Two things here: (1) Jojo and Angel Blue were wearing furry animal hats for some reason, and it was SHOOT ADORABLE. As far as I could tell, Angel was a panda and Jojo was a skunk. RUN WITH THAT, GUYS. (2) This match had HILARIOUS, CRAZY HEAT. Lil' Tony has become our pet fan project, and I guess our enthusiasm has leaked out into the rest of the crowd, because this was HOT. The best moment (by far, possibly ever) is when Tony tossed Shire into a chair next to me, then instructed his biggest fan Destiny on how to throw an overhand chop. Destiny landed two of the weakest, most amazing chops ever and Shire (a man who has wrestled Satoshi Kojima, for Christ's sakes) sold it like DEATH. It was wonderful. We didn't get Pierre on this show -- we missed you, Big Daddy -- but we used Lil' Tony as our vessel to put the fear of God into Shire, and it was the best. Bonus points to Shire for being scared of Destiny when he accompanied the tag champs out for their match later in the show.

U-30 Title Match: Bolt Brady defeated Carson (c) to become the new champion. Bolt Brady is on a roll. He's always been good, but he's improved tenfold in the last few months, and he showed that here, winning a belt he'll hopefully take along with him to National Pro Wrestling Day. Carson was rocking Mr. Ass-colored tights, which got a lot of response, because people still and forever for-real hate Billy Gunn. Bolt won with his amazing Canadian Destroyer lungblower thing where he jumps over you like he's gonna give you a sunset flip, puts his knees in your back on the way over and just flips you around backwards onto his knees. Good stuff. Congrats, Bolt. You're gonna have to be ACH, if ACH isn't around.

JT Lamotta defeated Jason Silver. Lamotta is another guy on a retirement tour, and came back from injury here as a surprise opponent for Silver's open challenge. There are few characters (emphasis: characters) I like less than Lamotta, so the "thank you JT" and fired-up babyface stuff seemed really false to me. This is the guy who berated and abused the joshi division for most of the time I've been an ACW fan, and here he is saying his last match is gonna be against Jimmy Jacobs (because Jacobs is a "bitch"). Yeah, not cheering for that. Stab him into oblivion, Zombie Princess.

American Joshi Title Match: Jessica James defeated Athena, Amanda Fox and Barbi Hayden (c) to become the new champion. Double Jeopardy matches in ACW are pretty confusing. The idea is that there are two matches going on simultaneously, and the winners of those matches face each other right then and there, like a mini-tournament. Jessica got the win when Rachel Summerlyn showed up dressed as Harley Quinn (!!) and gave her ... I guess a reverse Lady Poison kiss? Not sure, but the kiss of Rachel Summerlyn gives you super powers, and Jessica took home the belt. I am totally okay believing Rachel makeouts give you magic.

Oh, and a note for any ACW fans reading: Amanda Fox is a heel and I totally get that you should boo and hate her, but the "Amanda Fox is a guy" thing is the worst. She's not using her sexuality to get heat, she's just who she is, and you should boo her for the cheap shit she does in the ring, not because she looks "less like a woman" than Barbi Hayden. They are the same amount of woman. Deal with it. Also, Amanda Fox (save for a little ring rust, which is excusable) rules. Good to have you back, Five Star.

Anarchy Televised Title Match: Athena defeated Davey Vega and Shawn Vexx (c) to become the new champion. Lots and lots of title changes tonight. This was originally Vega vs. Vexx, with the winner "winning" Athena, but Athena had a title shot coming to her and cashed it in to make this a triple threat. She got the win, too, pinning both guys and becoming the new champ. After the match, Vega delivered a legitimately touching, normal-guy-in-love speech to Athena and got kissed, so I guess even though he lost, he won. And he had a SWEET, SWEET Vega from Street Fighter mask to (finally) match his purple and yellow gear.

Darin Childs (with Machiko) and Cowboy James Claxton fought to ... something. Who knows. The originally scheduled Rachel/Darin world title match didn't happen, as The Takeover finally acted on their two-ish years of saying they were gonna beat people other than the pre-show guys up by jumping both Rachel AND Darin, declaring that they were true Anarchists and were gonna make their own rules. This was absolutely brutal (in a bad way) with the Takeover taking forever to do or say anything, Claxton's promo earning a well-deserved "shitty promo" chant and a big beatdown thing in lieu of a long-advertised championship match falling as flat as humanly possible. The Takeover has never really figured out that the big negative reaction they get isn't because we're mad about what they're doing or saying, it's because they're the shittiest part of a show we've been enjoying, and we'd be a lot happier if they did something OTHER THAN THIS ALL THE TIME.

ACW Heavyweight Title Match: Rachel Summerlyn (c) defeated Jaykus Plisken. The other half of the Takeover show ruin-a-thon was Jaykus dragging Rachel to the ring (complete with Claxton calling her a "cunt," which was ... not enjoyable) and getting his 1500th title shot of the year. Rachel put him down, clean, because Rachel is awesome. Jaykus got mad and stormed to the back, and I guess he'll stay mad until he gets another title shot next month, and the month after that.

Barrett Brown and A Mystery Partner defeated Gary Jay and Evan Gelistico (with Amanda Fox). Now THIS is more like it. Barrett Brown, who is 18 goddamn years old and already a better wrestler than most, brought back Mat Fitchett as his mystery partner. Fitchett brought back his "brother" Murphy, too, the inflatable man-sized leprechaun who had his head forcibly removed last year. Fitchett appears to be at 100% and busted his ass, hitting a shooting star press for the victory, a running SSP that made the move look better than I've ever seen it, and a Fosbury Flop onto ACW's patented "several rows of suddenly empty chairs." The Submission Squad continues to be the best part of any show they're on, and this got me back into YEAH ANARCHY mode pretty quickly.

Hardcore Title Match: Centerfold Matt Palmer (c) defeated ACH. No amount of capital letters and me hyperbolically hyping it will get across how good this match was. They agreed to special hardcore match stipulations for this one: that it would be a RULES match, with countouts and disqualifications and everything, to ensure a winner. To make it even better, they had PRE-MATCH MUSIC. I hope I can explain this. After the bell, the opening to 'Run This Town' played, and right before the beat kicked in, they started wrestling. It might not sound great in paragraph form, but it was the coolest, most effective thing I've ever seen at a live wrestling show. Whoever came up with this deserves a raise.

Anyway, the match was beautiful from start to finish. Technical brilliance, ACH doing that thing where someone tries to roll him back into the ring over the bottom rope and he goddamn lands on his feet and starts running, Matt Palmer continuing to be the most under-the-radar super fucking star in independent pro wrestling and a breathtaking finishing sequence that ended with a Palmer snapmare driver and pinfall. Seriously, if you don't buy the DVD of this show to see Destiny chop Thomas Shire, buy it for ACH/Palmer III. God bless you wherever you end up, Albert, because you deserve it. And hey, Beyond Wrestling guy or AIW promoter or whoever's reading this: book Matt Palmer on your show. He is movie star handsome and a better wrestler than the people you're booking right now.

Tag Team Title Match: The Business (Jojo Bravo and Angel Blue, with Chris Trew Dot Biz and Thomas Shire) (c) defeated Ricky Romida and Jack Jameson. The Business continues to be where it's at. Jojo and Angel have a great comedy thing going on where they're partners but they also kinda dislike each other, so they basically fight each other while hurting their opponents. They'll, like, drop toehold the other onto somebody. It's great. We didn't get to see Chris Trew wrestle last night, but we did get to see him sneak into the ring, deliver a running elbow in the corner, then flop out of the ring selling the elbow, because he can't fight for shit. The people behind me have finally come around: "I hate to admit it, but Chris Trew is really good at what he does." YOU'RE RIGHT HE IS. I can't wait to see Jojo at National Pro Wrestling Day. I hope Philly marks out for the WA-CHING taunt as much as I did the first time I saw it.

Jerry Lynn defeated Showtime Scot Summers. This match is Jerry Lynn's last ever match in Texas, and it was the emotional, crazy thing it needed to be. Ladders, tables, chairs and a giant plywood board all came into play, with both guys giving everything they could, and Jerry coming out on top with a reversal that sent Summers down face-first onto a chair, followed by a crossface for the submission win. My only complaint (and get ready, because this is the most niche, elitist wrestling thing I'm ever going to type) is that PEOPLE IN AUSTIN DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY THROW STREAMERS. Basically everybody in the building brought streamers to throw at Jerry as a farewell, but like 70% of people don't know how to do it, so they just started tossing them when Jerry got in the ring. It was AGONY. Then, when Jerry's name was actually spoken in the pre-match introductions, the remaining 30% of people who have I guess seen a goddamn puroresu VHS at some point in their lives tossed theirs. I know we live in a world where opinions differ, social classes do not make us better or worse than our brother and the colorful cultures of the world all bring a much-needed spice to the melting pot of mother Earth, but I am not above saying FUCK THOSE PEOPLE and that I am 100% better than a wrestling fan who doesn't know when to throw streamers. YOU RUINED IT FOR EVERYONE.

ANYWAY, the match was very good, and the post-match stuff started as a goodbye speech, and turned into...

ACW Heavyweight Title Match: Evan Gelistico defeated Rachel Summerlyn (c) to become the new champion. Yep. The Submission Squad jumped Jerry and Summers after the match, handcuffed them to the ring ropes and fought off the roster as they tried to get into the ring. Rachel showed up and got through, but Gelistico made her a deal: a right-then shot at her title, the title he won at the Lonestar Classic and immediately lost to her, for "the life of Jerry Lynn." Rachel's got the biggest heart in wrestling and agreed, which led to the Squad just jumping her and Gelistico hitting a spinning tombstone for the win. It was dirty as hell, but pro wrestling dirty, not "you're a cunt" dirty, so now I really want to see somebody kick Gelistico's ass. See how that works? Yo Davey Vega, what're you doing at the next show?

After THAT, we got our for-real goodbye speeches. Summers, Rachel and Lynn were all in tears, and it's one of those things you had to be there for. I know a paragraph on a blog somewhere isn't a proper thank you, but hey, if everything's got to change, I love and appreciate the people at ACW -- and especially Rachel -- for giving me two and a half of the best years I've ever had as a wrestling fan. If the next show is just 8 Jaykus Plisken matches, it won't erase the spirit, passion, creativity and honesty these performers have given me more times than I can count.

So now I get to anticipate the next show, and dread it just the same.