Thursday, July 3, 2014

ACW's Queen of Queens '14 Tournament Review

Not toilet paper!
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
So many thoughts, but first, let's check out the preshow, which they say is always filmed for Anarchy Television, so I'm assuming they are on their YouTube channel? I've never checked, but I'm going to assume that's their purpose. Something free to whet potential live and DVD consumers' appetites.

There didn't seem to be a lot of fans this time. I'm not sure if that was because it was close to a holiday or what, although that seems unlikely, since the 4th of July is actually on the weekend (if you count Friday) this year. Maybe just because it's summer in general, even though the weather is almost always beautiful (though people could be on vacation). Could have just been the new set-up that made it seem like less people were there. I just hope it's not because people are choosing one promotion over the other. Whatever the case, there still was about 100 people there, which is not shabby at all.

STAN "The Sinner" SUMMERS and THE HOLE F'N TEAM ("Chi-Town's Finest" Mr. B and "Playboy" Johnny Axxel) vs. KAIENTAI USA ("Daper" Donny Brooks, Dylan Dunbar, and Dylan Divine)

A rare six-man tag team match from ACW. JC Bravo came out with his clown-suit wearing little person tag team partner, arm still in a sling. He claimed to now be sober (from hard drugs, but not alcohol) and apologized for his recent behavior. Here's the thing, during the match Bravo somehow tagged in (rules in ACW are nothing if not inconsistent), but attacked his buddy Summers, but... OK. See, the team of Lil’ Crazy has always come to the ring drinking beer. But at the Halloween themed show BEYOND GOOD and EVIL '13 Bravo took it up a notch, and shot up heroin. That was a thing that happened.

From that moment on, he continued to shoot up during matches and then decided he was fed up with some things in ACW. He claimed that everyone continued to cheer for all the newer wrestlers that have come in after him (he's been around for six years), and despite being a former Champion (not sure which belts), they were overlooking him, pushing him aside for the fresh faces.

That sounded like a legitamite gripe. The trouble I have is, why should we take him seriously? He comes to the ring drinking (probably after already having a few in the back) and then he upped the ante to doing hardcore drugs in matches... it starts with him. If he's not going to take himself and his craft seriously, then we're going to continue to treat him as the comedy wrestler that he acts like. Even after he attacked Summers, he still tied off his arm and presumably injected himself once again (admittedly, I didn't notice if he did or not, but the implication was that he either had or was going to). It starts with you, man.

On the other side of the ring stood KAIENTAI USA, a subsidiary of KAIENTAI Industries, whom I absolutely adore. Sadly, Tadasuke was back in Japan, so Dylan Dunbar and Donny Brooks found some dude named Dylan Divine to stand in his place. The reason I enjoy them so much can all be found in Brooks' introduction (he doesn't trust the ring announcer to get it right as he did mess up previously) where he states that Dunbar is his best friend and the person he cares more about than anyone else in the world. Friendship, guys! Of course, a few people were all set for the gay reaction, until Brooks' pointed out Dunbar's new girlfriend in the second row (it wasn't really true).

The match itself, I don't remember too vividly. Everyone involved was a competent wrestler, so it was fine from that aspect. It was mostly there for Bravo to turn on Summers, and thankfully KAIENTAI USA got to pick up the win (with all three men piled on top of Summers).


There’s this alternate reality (Inspire Pro) where Miss Diss Lexia is a one of Paige Turner’s Book Marks. They know each other quite well. None of that matters in this match because ACW exists on completely different timeline. I dig Paige Turner as a character, but her actual wrestling hasn’t caught up to how cool a wrestling librarian is. Maybe she needs to stop being so much into her books, reading about all the great wrestlers, and instead put in some practice time between the ropes. You can see her thinking about what comes next. She’ll hit a move, sometimes she’ll meander around, or she’ll just stand there waiting for the next thing to happen. It makes her matches very disjointed and hard to get into. I think those weaknesses are being hidden well in Inspire Pro, because she has her stable. But when put out there on her own to sink or swim? She more often than not sinks.

Miss Diss Lexia, on the other hand, has improved quite a lot since I first saw her inside a ring. I used to always dread when her music hit and she walked down those ACW steps. But now? Not so much that at all. Having said everything I just said, I don’t think these two work bad together at all. At one point, Miss Diss Lexia picked up Paige’s Encyclopedia that she always brings to the ring with her and someone in the crowd shouted, “Throw it in the street!”


The first two portions of the match, Santiago defeated Hawk and Jameson beating Scotty, were SUPER short. I have no idea why that was the case, as it’s not like the show isn’t going to last until 10 PM (this match happened before 6), especially considering Scotty and Hawk are quite capable in the ring. It is what it is. As soon as Jameson dispatched Santiago, Lil' Tony jumped him and did a number on him. After brutally beating him, Tony grabbed a microphone and informed Jameson that Scot Summers was issuing a challenge for FROM INNOCENCE TO INSANITY on July 20th to a No Rope Barbwire Match.

For the life of me I cannot remember if Tony actually pinned Jameson or if they just eliminated him because he could no longer compete. By the same token, I don’t recall Jojo Bravo (competing here as a nod to the American Joshi division as Jojoshi Bravo) pinning Tony either. In my mind, the two men just disappeared into the ether, and Bravo was joined by Just Steve. Bravo was honoring the women competitors, with a red extension in his hair ala Jessica James and shouting out the names of women (“PORTIA PEREZ!”) and hitting one of their corresponding moves. I always enjoyed those gimmicks where a wrestler shouts out the name of a famous colleague and performs their move. It’s a nice little comedic trope. Of course, Bravo has a habit of calling out a lot of his moves before he does them, and he has a very low success rate, especially in ACW.

After putting away Steve, in another rather quick match, Ricky Starks was the final entrant. He and Bravo, whom I would like to see on a bigger stage, bigger stakes, and a lot more time, had a fantastic little back and forth match. Starks has a version of the People’s Elbow, where he pulls a tissue from his trunks, tosses it into the air, and in theory, catches it upon completion of the elbow drop.It only really worked the first time he did it. But the real reason I bring this up, is that I have seen a lot of Ricky Starks. Meaning, there were about three shows in a row where, for some reason, his bare ass got shown for all to see. My wife and I like to sit on the balcony at the Mohawk because it provides a nice vantage point, and there isn’t also the constant getting up and running for your lives when the action spills outside the ring. So, when he went for this elbow drop, he couldn’t quite find the tissue. So, he pulled open his trucks and then pulled open the undies he has on underneath those. While nothing could be seen, I do now know how well-groomed Starks is. So… yeah.

Besides that, it was a wonderful final flourish to the Gauntlet Match, one that saw Starks earn an ACW Hardcore Championship match against Barrett Brown on the actual show later in the evening.

And so now it was time for QUEEN OF QUEENS ‘14 to begin!

For those that don’t know, ACW holds their events at the Mohawk bar in downtown Austin. It is an open air venue, with a stage and concrete floors. In the past, the stage was used for seating. This time they switched thing up. They pulled the commentators down off the balcony (along with the sound guy and all that jazz), and put them on the stage. This opened up more seating on the balcony for people, as well as opening up the stage for the wrestlers to play with, as the commentators were pushed to the back wall.

It looks like this now (the guy in the American Flag short shorts is the ring announcer Eric):

A view of the new stage
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
The show actually started with the First Round of the Queen of Queens Tournament, but I'm going to talk about the other matches first, and then talk about the tourney as one big thing. Cool? OK. The one thing I will say up front, Sam, my wife, was not down for ANY of the men's matches. Not because she doesn't enjoy them, but just the simple fact that this particular show is supposed to be about the women, and she wanted the whole show to be about the women. Personally, I'm was cool with having other matches (Inspire Pro did the same thing with their XX Divison show), my only complaint is that the men's matches all seemed to be longer than any one women's match. Sure, collectively, since it was a tournament, the women were featured more, I guess you could say, but I want some twenty-minute women's matches, ya know?


I had no idea who the Foundation were, but they came to us all the way from Australia and are in fact the NWA Australia Tag Team Champions. It is now that I would like to mention this kid sitting in the front row. His name was Langston and I don't know how old he was, but he had to have been around ten years-old. He was very vocal throughout the whole show and for some reason, he was not a fan of the Aussies. So, London and Childs made Langston their honorary manager, allowing him to hold their belts. The Foundation pitched him on being their manager, but he wasn't having any of that.

The match itself wasn't too bad. The Aussies pretty good, I must say. I'm still confused on why Jack Jameson isn't a Tag Champion anymore and why he's cool with Childs just taking his place, but I guess this is what we're going with. Steve and Scotty Santiago watched from the balcony, stairs, then the stage, and when it was over, they congratulated London and Childs on their successful title defense. I have no idea if that means they will have to go to Australia and challenge for The Foundation's belts.


Thankfully, there were no wardrobe mishaps with this match. It was just a straight-up hell of a match. It didn't start off very hardcore at all, which I'm cool with. When you're company is called Anarchy Championship Wrestling, having a hardcore belt is a little redundant. The only way to truly make it different, would be to call it a Hardcore Championship but have it defended under regular match rules. Have rope breaks, ten counts, no closed fists. Shit like that. There really is a big inconsistency with ACW matches. Anything and everything is allowed. You cannot be disqualified, as near as I can tell. And yet, they enforce rope breaks, five counts in the corner, and things of that nature. It literally makes no sense. Those things will happen in the same match as someone being pummeled with a chair or having twenty people run into the match and interfere. I really like the idea of making this Championship as un-hardcore as possible. Create a little variety on the show and in stories.

But this match was really good, because both guys are really good. They made use of the stage and also provided us with a very sick tombstone piledriver onto a steel chair, one that almost looked more like a Ganso Bomb, leaving a skull-shaped dent in said chair. That somehow was not the finish, although I really wish it had been. It was a brutal move, not something you see too often. The actual finish wasn't too bad, though, with Brown using a chair to assist with his Crippler Crossface. It looked painful. But we shall see where these two men go from here.


I honestly don't have too much to say about this, as I was mostly not paying attention. Some matches are like that, you just don't have any vested interest in it. I think Sky attacked Gant afterwards? I'm really not to sure, but at some point after Jeff Gant retained his Championship, Jason Silver came out and ran Sky off. I think. All I know is that this was suddenly ECW, and one match was bleeding right into the next because...


Shawn Vexx still doesn't have his physical belt, and I don't know that he is ever going to get it back. It just doesn't seem like the Submission Squad are ever going to return. They might just have to have Davey Vega mail it back if they aren't going to continue that storyline. But lately Vexx has been giving some of the younger guys title shots. It was supposed to be a triple threat with Carson and Thomas Shire, but they were not present. The roster was extra thin on this evening, it seemed. I also did not pay a lot of attention to this match. It's not because Silver and Vexx are bad, I just wasn't particularly interested. I didn't figure Vexx was going to lose. About the only thing that truly kept my interest was watching to see if Silver would kill himself. One day, it is going to happen.

He takes a lot of risks and has come very close (at least from a fan's perspective) to straight up seriously injuring himself. Maybe he came out of all those bumps perfect fine, I don't know.  However, some of his spills looked bad, and this match would definitely have one. It was actually kind of funny in retrospect, as we watched WWE's Money in the Bank on Monday and saw Kofi Kingston fall from a ladder, hop onto and bounce off of the top rope and dive to the floor. Silver did a similar stunt. His goal was to jump off a speaker from the stage (there are two really tall speakers on each side of the stage), springboard off the top rope, and hit Vexx with a high-flying move of some sort. Instead, he did not really land on the ropes at all, and just tumbled to the mat. I don't think he was injured, as he continued the match, but at the same time, he looked pretty awful throughout the remainder.

Thankfully no one chanted, "YOU FUCKED UP!" Mistakes happen, especially if you're going to take high risks like Silver does. I actually like it when some moves don't go smoothly (as long as no one is injured) because it gives off the feeling that these are people actually competing and are not just video game characters going from spot to spot mindlessly. Vexx, your esteemed ACW Heavyweight Champion, got some assistance from Sky DeLacrimosa. The distraction allowed him to retain, which is not the best look for your Champ.

After the match, Sky brought a staple gun into the ring and pierced Silver's head. God, I hate Staple Gun Matches. They just make me hurt all over. But that's exactly what Silver and Sky are going to have at INNOCENCE TO INSANITY '14. But it won't be your typical Staple Gun Match. No, it's going to be a Lumberjack Match, and all the fans at ringside are going to have staple guns. I don't know if that means when one of them falls to the floor that the FANS get to staple the wrestler, or if they just get to hand their stapler over for use. I kind of hope it's the former, because I want Langston to return and just staple the shit out of some people.

That was all for the non-Tournament matches, so here, real quick, are the results of the tournament to crown the Queen of Queens and American Joshi Champion:

Athena def. Jenny Rose
Leva Bates def. Angel Blue
Jessica James def. Miss Diss Lexia
Su Yung def. Candice LeRae

Leva Bates def. Athena
Su Yung def. Jessica James

Su Yung def. Leva Bates

The first match of the tournament and the night was Athena vs. Jenny Rose. It was my first time seeing Rose, and my wife commented that she looked more like a figure skater than a wrestler because of her attire. I wouldn't disagree. But she was definitely a good hand in the ring though. It took a bit for things to get going, but once it did, the two put on a good showing. It was definitely better than the last match I saw Athena have, against Veda Scott in Inspire Pro. That match was due to just bad luck, as they were having an off night. Thankfully, things went a bit smoother on this particular night. The fans showed their appreciation by throwing streamers into the ring for both competitors, so hopefully Rose returns to Austin some day.

I want to get the non-Business dealings out the way first, so I'm going out of order here. The third first round match to take place featured Jessica James against Miss Diss Lexia, who replaced Angelus Layne. She was too injured to compete after all.  The match was... weird. I'm not sure what the story was or what was going on, but Diss Lexia was coming at James and saying, "I'm gonna get ya!" Like, I dunno, she was going to tickle her or something? It almost felt like a lesbian vibe thing going on. It was strange. I'm liking Jessica James since her recent stint in Japan. When I first started watching, I didn't find her that appealing. Something was missing. Now she's carrying herself like a badass (she was sans samurai sword this time, though), who doesn't have time for your shit. I like it. She, naturally, won.

Let's backtrack and get to Angel Blue's bid to become the first ever Joshi to win two Queen of Queens Tournament (back-to-back in her case), against a semifinalist last year, Leva Bates, dressed as Maleficent. Chris Trew accompanied The Business member, claiming it was going to be a big night for his stable. I suppose he was right in the end, but the fans disagreed, as you can see in the image at the top of the page. That was toilet paper for the biggest heel in ACW instead of streamers, which prompted a little "ANGEL SOFT!" chant. The match was a good one, although this begins my problem, overall, with the show.

The Business was always hated. Always cheated to win, and were just generally not well-liked (although everyone had soft spots for Jojo Bravo and Thomas Shire). The matches became repetitive and were just general soul-crushing. No matter how good the contest was, it wasn't going to end without so much interference. The Submission Squad matches, especially Evan Gelistico ones, had the same problem. It was the same thing time and time again. I bring that up, because at GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION 8, The Business, having been burned in a few business deals (mostly involving the Squad using Shire for their dirty work), prevented the Squad from helping Evan in a Cage Match against Shawn Vexx (who won the match and the Title). Since then, they have been working as faces (except for Angel Blue, 'cause, well, you know, it's Angel Blue).

Quick sidebar - I mentioned Langston sitting front row being vocal throughout. He HATED Angel Blue, you know, as you do. They had some words for each other, then at one point, after Su Yung had won thanks to The Business, Angel flipped the double bird, and shouted, "Fuck you, kid!" She's the more vulgar version of Chuck Taylor. She doesn't scare children so much as berate them.

Back to The Business... for some reason, they reverted back to their old cheating ways. I have absolutely no idea why they switched back. As bad guys, it made sense, but then they renounced their cheating ways when they went up against the Submission Squad. The change back, however, seemed arbitrary  There were no other heels, I suppose, on the show, so why not turn the group that used to be hated? Nevermind that they evolved beyond that MONTHS ago (again, except for Angel Blue). It has been proven in Inspire Pro that people want to cheer for Bravo and Shire (who was absent, as was Ricky Romida), so why the backslide? I said in the preview, that, yeah, Blue and Su Yung were the most heelish of the group, even after they went good, but overall, it made no sense.

Not to mention, it made the matches REALLY bad. There was so much interference with almost non-stop run-ins. And since it's Anarchy, it doesn't matter. You can't DQ anyone for it. All it really does it make the faces look like utter fools. Everyone in the back should be used to the shenanigans of every match they have involving people who were not participating in the match. Band together and fight 'em off! I was going to be PISSED had a version of that not happened in the main event, but even then it wasn't enough. Somehow Leva Bates was able to defeat Angel Blue, but everyone that Su Yung faced stood no chance. Not even four suicide dives in a row was enough for Candice LeRae to overcome The Business. She had the best chance, because she single-handedly disposed of Jojo Bravo (BALLSPLEX!) and Angel Blue (BOOBSPLEX!), and even hit a Vaginaplex on Su in the corner. But the damned numbers game, man.

The result of that match in particular was disappointing because I wanted to see more of LeRae. The match with Yung was phenomenal even despite the rampant cheating. She's supremely talented and definitely hope she comes back to either ACW or even Inspire Pro. The only sad part was, beyond her losing, was that I was unable to purchase her sweet Powerpuff Candice shirt because the rent was due and all our disposable income for the month was spent on a moped. Sad face. As it was, because she was screwed thanks to Chris Trew, she'll bring Joey Ryan with her and do battle if she does come back.

The Business also showed up during the Athena vs. Leva Bates match. (Sidenote: I was a little disappointed in the Leva costumes, but that was mostly because the first two were exactly the same, except for the first round was Maleficent with a bird and the second round had her with a staff. The final was a bit better, as it was the Angelina Jolie version with the wings, which looked pretty badass.) They did NOT want Athena to win. It was downright ridiculous. Interference can work if it's used sparingly, but when it's literally every single match involving a certain set of people, it just gets olds. Everyone was already tired of it a year ago. It almost seemed like Bates was joining the Business, but thankfully, that would not turn out to be the case.

I took some brief notes on my phone, and my only note on Su Yung versus Jessica James was "Su wins with Business interference naturally." So, yeah, with the help of Angel Blue, Jojo Bravo, and Chris Trew, Su Yung retained the American Joshi Championship for one more round and advanced to the Finals to take on Bates. Thankfully, the night long run of cheating had a bit of a purpose, as Jack Jameson accompanied Leva to the ring (as they comprised Mega Man Powers). And as the match got going, LeRae showed up, with a beer, which lead to Bates climbing the turnbuckles, turning into "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and double fisting some Lone Star. Jessica James also arrived, and the two of them removed Bravo and Blue from ringside, leaving only Trew on Yung's side.

Unfortunately, Trew's presence would be enough. I don't recall what happened to LeRae, but Jameson just kinda... didn't help. This is where I have a major issue. If you know the heels are going to cheat, like, all the time, who cares if you're a good guy? Get in there and defend your friend! Trew pushed Bates off the top rope? Clothesline her! Even the odds! That's why you're out there to begin with. If Yung has Bates in a submission, break it up! There are no rules. Funnily, that was exactly what Bates said during one of her matches. The referee was administering the five count in the ropes, and she said, "I thought there were no rules." And she's right, there are no rules. It's Anarchy! Maybe Jameson should've gotten in there and roughed up the cheaters. Jameson has a long history with The Business. His old partner Romida turned on him to join them. He engaged in a literal blood feud  with Angel Blue that saw his beard get shaved off. Eventually, he turned to Paul London to help and the two of them took the Tag Team Titles from Bravo and Blue.

It was mostly just frustrating. I'm a big Su Yung fan. I think she has a nice mix of character and wrestling ability, and I have no issue with her winning the Queen of Queens Tournament and remaining as the American Joshi Champion. She worked her butt off, but she had SOOO much help it was ridiculous. But it's everyone else's fault for letting The Business get away with it. I mean, they tried, but why did LeRae and James just disappear? Why was Jameson unable to get rid of Trew? And why can't the referee, who has dealt with the same shit all night long, just kick everyone out and make the two women prove who the better wrestler was in the middle of the ring with no help at all?

At any rate, Su Yung was your winner.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, did I have a good time? Yes, I did. There was some really good wrestling. It seemed like they were actually trying some new things. They didn't repeat the exact same matches they always do. It would be nice if Jason Silver, Jeff Gant, and Sky DeLamicrosa could move on and feud with other people, not just have one off matches with randoms (like they all have had with ACH). Mix it up a bit. Getting some solid tag team action going would be good. They have enough teams to not need to just toss the same combinations out each month. This time, we at least got some Australians to test the Champs. Really, each show should have a different team challenging for the belts. If they want to do the four corners matches every month, that's fine, just have the winners get a title shot the following show (or on the same show). All the women did a really good job, and I really hope we get to see Jenny Rose and especially Candice LeRae back (if even just for one match where she brings Joey Ryan with her, they could do a trios match with Athena against Bravo, Blue, and Yung). I know you can't really plan too much around the free agents, as it were, but it would be a nice incentive to bring them back and for us to care when they are there (especially if they aren't a HUGE name).

 I would also like to see something really get moving on the ACW Heavyweight Championship front. So far, Vexx has just been having matches with new people, and while I enjoy that (as long as it's not the main event, sorry, it just drags the show down), because there's nothing better than a fighting Champion. However, he needs a story. He is the top dog, after all. And he gets ACH at the next show, which is strange. It'll be a great match, because ACH, but it's not like he is back in Texas actively, so I don't know the grander point of it.

Things are progressing with Summers and Jameson, although I'm still baffled as to why Summers is continuing it. He defeated Jameson clean as a whistle; it should be the other way around. Jameson should be the one actively escalating it, not being passively swept along. Anyway, their No Ropes Barbwire Match next month should be good and bloody. All of next month's show is going to be super bloody, probably, but I'll get to that when I preview it.

And it looks like Athena won't be done with Su Yung, as she attacked her after the final match. So, we should have ourselves a solid women's storyline going, which is nice. I just want things to make sense, mostly. I want things to happen (different things especially) and for them to make sense. I may not like them, and that's fine, I just need story progression. So, overall, Queen of Queens '14 was a positive step, now it's just about continuing it. Although, I would really like an explanation for The Business, just in general. What's their deal? And can we outlaw all the interference? That'd be great.