Friday, May 2, 2014

Pick Three: STACKED

Fret not, Chris Hero is all over this weekend for you
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Welcome to the weekend, which means welcome to another installment of Pick Three. I give you three indie shows you need to go to and give you the lowdown on what you can expect. However, just because I only list three shows below doesn't mean they're the only games in town. Nope, wrestling is going on all around the world. Check out your local listings, but if you happen to be in the Gateway of America, the Philly suburbs, or in the Toronto metro area, these shows are the ones for you:

GOLD - St. Louis Anarchy #STACKED

The spirit of Anarchy is alive and well in the Gateway to the West. In some ways, St. Louis Anarchy has certain advantages over its sister promotion to the south because of location, and tonight's show at the Knights of Columbus in Alton, IL shows it off with the menagerie of guest stars coming through for #STACKED. The show starts at 7 PM local time, but you want to get there at 6:30 when the doors open. Also, come with some food in your belly, because beer is $1 at the bar. With that deal in place, you might be drinking more than you would at, say, the Cardinals game, and I don't advocate being sloppy drunk at a wrestling show.

The feature attraction was supposed to pit ACH against Alex Shelley in a dream match. Obviously, that contest would've rocked the joint to its foundations, but Shelley injured his foot this past weekend. ACH will still be in action, but his replacement opponent has not been announced. Still, the number of big guests flying in for this show is impressive. Takaaki Watanabe of New Japan Pro Wrestling will invade to challenge Gary Jay for the St. Louis Anarchy Championship. IN a first time ever encounter, Chris Hero will take on Davey Vega. Hero's return to the indies has been pretty hot, and Vega is one of the best technical wrestlers and babyface workers on the scene. For anyone who is disappointed that ACH/Shelley isn't happening here, Hero/Vega should be more than a consolation prize. Additionally, Jonathan Gresham battles Kyle O'Reilly, while Danny Cannon, who has LIT UP Beyond Wrestling, will take on the Heaviest Sumo in the Land, Jojo Bravo.

The biggest spectacle at this show, however, might be the Lethal Lottery. Twelve wrestlers - Brandon Espinosa, Arik Cannon, Angelus Layne, Jeremy Wyatt, Darin Corbin, Evan Gelistico, Mat Fitchett, Alex Castle, Adam Raw, Devin Cutter, Mason Cutter, and Christian Rose - will be drawn at random, and the winner will receive a future title shot at the winner of the Jay/Watanabe match. A lot of interesting possibilities are at play here. The favorite might be the former Champion Darin Corbin, but keep your eye on Jeremy Wyatt. A star in Missouri indie wrestling, Wyatt has made more waves to the west of the state than the east. This match might be his coming out party along the Mississippi.

SILVER - Wrestling Is Fun! Tag World Grand Prix Block B

The fun and games of the Tag World Grand Prix, gently handed down from Chikara to its child promotion, began with Block A last month. The Osirian Portal and Devastation Corporation survived Block A and will meet in the semifinals on May 24 in Easton. Who will emerge from this block at the Greater Norristown Police Athletic League in Norristown, PA? The doors will open at 6:30 PM local time, and all children under the age of 12 will get in for free with a paying adult.

Four first round matches will take place, as well as two quarterfinals. The Throwbacks of Mark Angelosetti and Dasher Hatfield will battle the strange duo of Haack and Slaash. Advance intel on the latter team suggests they are minions of Dr. Cube, and with the war for Chikara's soul in full swing, they are automatically a deadly entry into the fray. Speaking of the forces that mean to send the Chikaraverse to a premature heat death, the Wrecking Crew of Oleg the Usurper and Jaka will battle the Baltic Siege of the Lithuanian Snow Troll and everyone's favorite electricity-generating, hammer-wielding amphibian, the Estonian Thunder Frog. Knight Eye for the Pirate Guy - Lance Steel and Jolly Roger - will battle the Bloc Party of the Proletariat Boar of Moldova and Mr. Azerbaijan. This match will have dueling nuisances on the outside, as Princess Kimber Lee and the Polar Baron may just cancel each others' presences out. Finally, Team Benchmark of Bill Daly and Will Ferrara are set to lock horns with the resident dairy-based tricksters of Wrestling Is Fun!, Los Ice Creams.

In non-tournament action, Fire Ant clashes with Missile Assault Ant in yet another installment of the war between the Colonies. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Fire Ant might want to interrogate Missile Assault Ant as to the whereabouts of his MIA buddy, Soldier. Finally, Ophidian will take a respite from tag action to take on Juan Francisco de Coronado in a singles contest. Both wrestlers are among the creme of the Chikara crop, so I expect a decent bout at the very least.

BRONZE - SMASH Wrestling Gold

SMASH Wrestling in a short time has become the premiere company in the Toronto area, and this weekend, it will take the first steps towards crowning its first Champion will be taken at Gold. The E-Zone in Ebiticoke, ON will play host to this event with a special bell time of 3 PM local. Ten names have been entered into the fray split into five first round matches. The headline match will most certainly be the one that pits Chris Hero against Michael Elgin. The winner of this match will almost certainly be the favorite to take the strap. Then again, to discount the other names in the tourney might be a mistake, no matter how much momentum both Elgin and Hero have at their backs.

For example, Kevin Steen returns to his home country to battle "The Hacker" Scotty O'Shea. Takaaki Watanabe's excursion into North America will see him take on Alex Vega. In a match imported straight across Lake Erie from the Cleveland area, Johnny Gargano battles Matt Cross' Beard. Finally, in what promises to be a SUPER HOSS FIGHT, Josh Alexander will butt heads and beards with the massive John Greed. Then, all five winners will be thrust into the main event, where one competitor will walk out as the first ever SMASH Champion.

Two non-tournament matches have been announced as well. Gregory Iron will team with the inimitable Jewells Malone to battle the husband-and-wife team of Pepper Parks and Cherry Bomb in what should be a hard-hitting, potentially potty-mouthed affair. Finally, Sebastian Suave takes on Brent Banks in a battle of the SMASH homegrowns.

Once again, wrestling is happening everywhere. Even if you're not fortunate enough to be in those areas this weekend, check out your local events calendar and see where shows are happening near you. I guarantee something's going on within driving distance, especially if you're in the state of Georgia. Platinum Championship Wrestling and Empire Pro Wrestling are running shows at the very least. NWA Smoky Mountain's got a date in Tennessee, as well as NWA SAW and Tennessee All-Pro. The Monster Factory has a show this weekend in South Jersey. Don't just sit at home like a doofus. Go see wrestling! Besides, your favorite promotion or wrestler may be out there already. You just don't know it yet.