Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Inspire Pro's Fade To Black

Your NEW Inspire Pro Champion, Ricky Starks
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
I would like to note right at the top that my process for writing is as follows. I’ll jot down some general notes soon after the event happens (rarely do I ever write anything down during the show, as I usually just take pictures to remind myself of what happened and when), but I usually let things sit for a couple of days before I really begin to write. Once I do get to writing, it’s completely stream-of-consciousness. I don’t really super think about things or try to tie anything together. I just write and whatever spills out from my brains and through my fingers on the keys is what ends up in the column. I don’t edit or re-word anything to sound differently. It’s straight up what I thought as I was writing it.

I bring this up only because I feel this review may come off as a bit negative towards the show and Inspire Pro in general. Nothing could be further from the truth on my actual feelings for the show or the overall product that they produce. I love Inspire Pro and it’s my favorite thing in wrestling. So, if things feel like I’m being down on everything, know that’s not my intention, but I think anyone who has read my work in the past could recognize that I’m kind of a big Inspire Pro homer and I like things more than I dislike things.

One other thing is that I sometimes delve into fantasy booking. I call this a review, but it’s only barely that. If you want a blow-by-blow recounting of the events of Fade To Black, this probably isn’t the column to be reading. What you will get is a general idea of what happened, but more importantly, my opinion on what Inspire Pro is doing with their stories. Sometimes I don’t care for them, sometimes I whole-heartedly love them, and sometimes I feel like they are SOCLOSE to creating something perfect and beautiful that I toss in my own ideas on what I would like to see or I think they should be going for. Of course, I’m a nobody blogger who’s never worked in the wrestling business, so all I have to go on is my barely creative brain and years of watching wrestling experience. So, I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. But, again, this is less a review and more an opinion piece of the shows.

I just wanted to give you that little bit of insight into what these columns are and what to expect. So, without further adieu, here is your “review” of Inspire Pro’s Fade To Black.

It's been three days (as of this writing) since Fade To Black went down at the Marchesa and as I sit here typing up my review I can't help but think that it's not enough time to fully capture, in words, the show. I don't think three weeks, months, or maybe years will be enough time. How does one write about one of the strangest professional wrestling shows they've ever seen?

I say strange, but I don't mean to say it didn't make sense or that a lot of crazy, unexpected things happened (although they did). It was a wrestling show, not unlike others Inspire Pro has put on. Not unlike any show you have probably attended. Wrestle things happened, as one would expect, but for whatever reason everything felt different.

I'm going to assume that if you are reading this you've probably been to a wrestling show before, whether that be an independent or even WWE. It was exactly like one of those (only with the original flavor of Inspire Pro), because essentially all shows are the same. You've seen one, you get the general idea how most other shows will be. Again, every promotion has their own style, but, still, it's wrestling. It's a fairly simple medium.

But, Fade To Black, it felt familiar, like any of the other shows that preceded it. Yet, it felt completely unlike anything that's come before it. It was weird. From the on-set, everything just seemed... off.

There has been a lot of chatter on the social media sites about the show. I don't pay attention to a whole lot of it, mostly because I don't want my opinion colored by anyone else's before I get a chance to put mine down on the metaphorical paper. This time, however, I was greatly intrigued by people's thoughts. It's probably been the most talked about amongst the Inspire Pro circle of fans.

They had some strong opinions and I think it's good that they are voicing them. It's one thing to get the voices of more snarky fans like myself or a few of the other reviewers out there. The thoughts of the common fan are very important, I think, for a promotion to see. And Inspire Pro got them for this show.

What exactly happened to elicit such a response? Well, that's what I'm here to tell out about in the best and most honest way I possibly can. First, however, let’s get the results out of the way.

1. Open Challenge Match: The Submission Squad (Evan Gelistico and Pierre Abernathy) defeated House of Wolves (Erik Shadows and Matt Riot)
2. Four Way Match: Scot Summers defeated Everett Connors, Cherry Ramons, and Terrale Tempo
3. Trios Match: Rabid Empire (Thomas Shire, Zac Taylor, and DG Taylor) defeated Thomas Munos, Teddy Hart, and Sky De Lacrimosa
4. Center of Perfection (Matthew Palmer and Franco D’Angelo) defeated The Pump Patrol (Jared Wayne and Curt Matthews)
5. Pure Prestige Championship: Angelus Layne defeated Keith Lee © by Disqualification; Lee retains
6. Tornado Trios Match: Alex Reigns, Mike Dell, and Moonshine Mantell defeated Ray Rowe, Barrett Brown, and Scotty Santiago
7. Triple Threat Match: Kimber Lee defeated Athena and Barbi Hayden
8. J*Crown Championship: Sammy Guevara defeated Steve-O Reno (c) to become the New J*Crown Champion
9. XX Championship: Veda Scott © defeated Lady Void
10. Inpire Pro Championship: Ricky Starks defeated Andy Dalton to become the New Inspire Pro Champion

The show kicked off with the open challenge tag team match that the House of Wolves had laid down after Clash in the Bash II. Answering that call was the Submission Squad, who was making their debut in Inspire Pro wrestling, and to the best of my knowledge, their first visit to the Austin area in quite some time. This version consisted of Pierre Abernathy and Evan Gelistico. Gary Jay has appeared in Inspire Pro once previously, but there wasn’t any mention of his Squad membership, and Davey Vega has appeared several times, and as everyone knows, he is a part of Andy Dalton’s crew.

The Submission Squad got on the microphone right away and let everyone know who the heels were. Inspire Pro is gearing up for their big Tag Team Tournament on November 1st, in a show entitiled, Taggcade. Yes, it’s as wonderful name as it sounds. That show, from what I understand, will be nothing but a single elimination tag team tournament to crown the first Inspire Pro Tag Team Champions. I’m only a little saddened that they aren’t going with a trios belt, since they have so many factions, but I can see how that may be difficult to book. That’s a lot of talent you’d have to pay. Anyway, House of Wolves will most definitely be involved (as will the team of James Claxton and Killer McKenzie, who won a first round bye a few shows ago), and the Squad was there to show exactly who is the best tag team in Texas (or anywhere).

Now, there are some people who dislike the Submission Squad. More specifically, they aren’t big fans of the two people we got. Almost everyone loves Davey Vega (even if they are booing him, they recognize his superior talent), and Gary Jay may look and dress like a hobo, but he’s also very good in the ring. Now, Gelistico and Abernathy are a different sort. Personally, I’m a fan. It’s wrestling, not everything needs to be super serious. Abernathy is probably the smartest wrestler in the world if you think about it. How many injuries do you think he’s suffered working the style that he does? He could work until he’s 70. Plus, they are entertaining.

They are very effective at what they do, and they kept the crowd into it. Matt Riot and Erik Shadows played their roles well, and I was actually quite surprised that they lost. It’s not often that an open challenge is lost by the person laying it out there. (I can’t back that up with any kind of numbers, and I’m probably wrong about my assessment anyhow.) So, it was a pleasant surprise that the Squad picked up the W (albeit thanks to a headshot with the megaphone), but I’m sure that means we’ll be seeing them on November 1st. And, yeah, while it was a setback for the Wolves, who were looking to ride a wave of momentum into Taggcade, I think they’ll be just fine come tourney time.

Now, this match went off without a hitch, as far as I remember, and there weren’t really any weirdness to it. What followed kicked out a string of matches that just… didn’t click completely like you would have liked them to. It was the four-way match pitting the returning Scot Summers against the also returning Cherry Ramons of the New Movement, and newcomers Terrale Tempo and Everett Connors. Summers is gunning for the Pure Prestige Championship, which people keep saying is a belt that he created, but I take a bit of umbrage to that statement. He was never the Pure Prestige Champion. The first ever to hold the Title was Thomas Shire. What Summers did was introduce the idea of an official championship into the mix that separated itself from the Inspire Pro Championship. He was unofficially defended the old World Class Championship, which was not sanctioned with Inspire Pro. So, I mean, he may be the spiritual father of the Pure Prestige, but it’s a belt created by Inspire Pro in response to Summers basically defying the company by defending his own belt. Which, I mean, is kind of a shitty thing to do, and doesn’t really make you look good when you have to bring your own belt into a company when you couldn’t capture the one Title they had at the time (the Inspire Pro Championship). But Summers is a scary man and he could easily kill me, so, I understand what he was doing, giving the people who may be overlooked for spots at the top of the card, and he went about it in a way that was very much in line with the type of guy he is, but still.

Ramons, as everyone knows, is kind of the odd man out within the New Movement after they turned over a new leaf and cut out the cheating. He’s not about that life, but he’s under contract, so he remains a member. Connors is someone I had never even heard of, but he was trained by Michael Elgin, and has worked the midwest from what I understand. He… honestly looks like someone from the crowd just stepped into the ring, but he surprised everyone right away. In fact, the first parts of the match was really just him going for it, and being in control of the thing. He never stopped, that is, until he was put down by Tempo (although Ramons stole the pinfall). Tempo is someone I’d seen once before at show in Del Rio, Texas that also featured Samoa Joe. Tempo was the most impressive person on that show.

Now, eventually it came down to Tempo and Summers, and it ended when Ramons (after having been eliminated by Tempo) decided to interject himself back into the match, and ended up leading to Tempo’s loss. Chris Trew was not happy with Ramons outside the ring, which would come into play soon after this. But we’ll get to that. Instead, I want to talk about the pacing of this match. At the onset, Summers got in a few quick shots, since he was the veteran and the person this match was set-up around, so he showed his dominance early, but then it was time for the newbies to shine. Connors hit some very impressive moves and he kind of reminded me of “Jiggle-O” James Johnson. If you saw Connors, just like when you first see Johnson, you don’t think much of him. He doesn’t have the best physique, which I hate talking about as a thing you need (because you don’t), but it does color your expectations for a wrestler. I’m not proud of it, but it happens naturally. But he, like Johnson, quickly stomped all over your expectations and really impressed.

Tempo was the big star of the match, if you ask me. He’s quite good, but there were a couple of problems I had. I don’t want to go too inside baseball here, but there were times when he was selling for a bit too long just waiting to get into the next sequence. Like, he was having to wait for the other person to get into position, but he hadn’t suffered enough damage to lay around awhile, you know? Now, with three other people in the match, it’s easy to hide that, unless he happens to be right in your eye line, so that’s almost all you see. Now, the other thing that happened was the match was going along at a really good clip, but when it got down to Tempo and Summers, with the crowd really into the action, they… started over. What I mean is that it’s like they just complete reset the match, starting over like it was a brand new match.

That’s a killer for any kind of crowd reaction. It actually reminds me of that Del Rio show in which I first saw Tempo. On it, there was a women’s match that was basically seven or eight matches in one. Every time they would gain momentum and string together some solid sequences, they’d get hit with a double down or something to slow the action, but instead of building upon that, they would just reset. They would go back to circling and locking up and almost every “re-start” would be the same sequence repeated. It happened every. single. time. It was the most frustrating match I have ever watched.

It happened during the final stretch of this four-way and it happened in a lot of the matches at Fade To Black. That isn’t to say it was as egregious as that women’s match, but there were several instances where momentum had been built up and someway, somehow, they would just lose it. Not that they would restart matches, it’s just that they would lose the flow, you know? Luckily, Tempo and Summers were able to mostly get it back on track, and although the finishing sequence was sloppy, it hopefully sets up more in the future. Tempo was impressive and he got a big “Please come back,” call from the crowd. If there’s one thing the Inspire Pro fans can notice almost instantly, it’s talent.

The next match was the first of two trios matches, this one pitting the every-expanding Rabid Empire against the unlikely team of Teddy Hart, Thomas Munos, and Sky De Lacrimosa. For the Rabid Empire, it was Thomas Shire, DG Taylor, and Zac Taylor. But as they came to the ring, Jojo Bravo wanted to say a few words. He would have loved to have said a few words, but he wasn’t able to. I’ve been to every Inspire Pro show, and I can honestly say, the fans interrupting Bravo every time he even thought about opening his mouth was the most intense heat I’ve experienced. No one has been as loathed as Bravo was in this moment. I have no idea what caused it, but they simply did not want to listen to Bravo and let him know about it. I mean, OK, I love Bravo, but he does kind of have the voice and face of someone you want to shut up and punch. He reminds me of Seth Rollins in that respect. No one wants to listen to Rollins jibber jabber and the same is true of Bravo.

I’ll have more on Bravo later on, but if he isn’t challenging for the Inspire Pro Champion in the near future, they’ve fucked up. Now, the other thing that happened before the match was that Chris Trew was called out to the ring. Nigel Rabid managed to talk Ramons into leaving the New Movement and joining the Rabid Empire. That’s a good pick up for them, I think, but they should probably stop at five members, unless they want to add a woman to complete in the XX Division. I’m hoping this opens up a spot within the New Movement for Tempo, maybe? It wouldn’t be a bad idea.

As for the match itself, here’s what I know, Teddy Hart arrived late, about halfway through the match. Of all the matches, this was probably the most disjointed and “off.” Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I REALLY had to use the restroom (I typically go before the show starts and then at intermission, but I drank a lot of Gatorade before the show actually started), so that’s what I did. That meant I missed the ending, but I know the Rabid Empire won (which they should have, it’s a new faction, they can’t be losing right away, and it’s my same feeling with Bravo lost at Clash at the Bash II to Hart, there was a third guy to take the fall). I heard tell that DG Taylor suffered a concussion, but I haven’t confirmed that. If so, it makes sense that it would happen on this show.

Following that, I made it out in time for Biss to enter the ring. He wasn’t there for a match, but he wanted to do a little shooting, and then point out his father and grandfather (and Inspire Pro’s work with VetTix, that supplies free tickets for veterans), and also the merch lady, who was working her last show. He also had more pressing matters as he called out Matthew Palmer and Franco D’Angelo. Once they were in the ring, he said straight out that he was glad Palmer was back, but he was not happy with the manner in which it transpired. He warned that if D’Angelo put his hands on Biss again, he would fire his ass. He let it be know that D’Angelo could kill him on the spot, but he had his pride and he wasn’t going to be pushed around. With all that said, he didn’t want a hug or an apology or anything like that. He just wanted Palmer and D’Angelo to do what they do, and that’s steal the show. He also announced that they would be apart of Taggcade, which led perfectly into their match with The Pump Patrol.

Now, typically The Pump Patrol is a really entertaining team, who, c’mon, aren’t a serious threat to anything, but they’re fun. In the theme of the show, I guess, it didn’t seem like the Center of Perfection really wanted to play along. They didn’t take The Pump Patrol seriously. Like, OK, they aren’t a serious team, but if you don’t treat them like real competition, no one wants to see that. It’s actually one of those rare occurrences where it may have been better if Palmer and D’Angelo just straight trounced them in a minute. There wasn’t any need to draw it out like they did, especially if they weren’t going to play along with any of the Pump Patrol hijinks.

If anyone’s the favorite for Taggcade, it’s gotta be Center of Perfection, and I put that squarely on Palmer’s involvement. Palmer is, legit, one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen. Not going to lie. And, I know there was the whole schtick between Athena and D’Angelo, that Athena said he was just riding the coattails of Palmer. Now, D’Angelo has his appeal. He’s a physical specimen to say the least. He could pop my head off just by flicking it. But… he kinda is, right? Palmer is the former Inspire Pro Champion who had a series of battles with Andy Dalton that spanned four shows. It’s rare that Inspire Pro repeats matches, but Palmer has been in the main event more than anyone in Inspire Pro, and they’ve all been with Dalton (even his win over Dell to capture the Title ended with Dalton popping in and stealing his moment). I’m not saying I don’t care about D’Angelo, it’s just that Palmer kind of has some other business he should probably be attending to, right? His situation with Dalton isn’t over, right? He still wants him to die, yeah? I mean, all those people bought “Die, Dalton, Die!” shirts for no reason, if it’s over!

Back to the match, one of the reasons it may have been the way it was, it maybe Palmer’s head was somewhere else? See, Athena actually accompanied him to the ring, and after the match, this happened:

That’s right, Matthew Palmer proposed to Athena and she said yes. It was a very touching moment and I won’t lie, I teared up a little bit. It’s not often you get to see something like that happen. I wish nothing but the best for the both of them. I only know them from what they do in the ring, never having talked to them, but I enjoy what they do there, so they deserve this happiness outside of it. Now, that said, will they have an in-ring ceremony? And if so, does Dalton crash it? I mean, that has to happen, right? Even if that’s not their legit wedding, and just a wrestling one… THAT HAS TO HAPPEN!!

On with the show, as the final match of the first half of Fade To Black is for the Pure Prestige Championship, with Keith Lee defending against Angelus Layne. You may recall Layne as the woman who has continually tried to kill Delilah Doom. After Layne injured Doom and forced her to miss the XX Championship Match at In Their Blood II, Lee stood up for his friend and fellow New Movement member, but Layne was not intimidated. At Clash at the Bash II, after Layne struck Doom in the face with the Pure Prestige Title, Lee again got between Layne and Doom. Layne, again, didn’t back down, instead throwing down the gauntlet. Either put the title on the line, or she would continue to harass Doom. If Lee did, she would stop. That brings us to the title match.

Layne brought along Dalton and Sammy Guevara (they actually named the team, but I forget what it was), whereas Lee had Trew, Johnson, and Doom along with him. Oh, and plus Roxie, Trew’s assistant. This was a match I was kind of looking forward to but also dreading. I didn’t want to see anyone die. A lot of people just had the “why is this happening” point of view, which is weird to see in regards to a company who doesn’t seem to shy away from male and female interaction. It hasn’t happened a lot (Jessica James has defeated Cherry Ramons twice), but the women have always been placed at an even level as the men (even if their XX-themed shows haven’t exactly lived up to their billing with how many women’s matches are on the show or even main eventing like they had in the past). Yeah, Lee is a beast of a human being, but everyone knows Layne can’t be killed.

That was proven time and time again in this match. Of everything that happened on the show, no one came out looking better than Angelus Layne did after this match. She was a beast. Now, you could say Lee was taking her lightly and didn’t want to hurt her, but fuck that noise. Layne took the fight to Lee. In fact, if Lee did take her for granted, he’s a fool. He seemed to be on his heels the entire match. It’s almost like he was kind of overmatched. Sure, Layne had help in the form of the Inspire Pro Champion and the former J*Crown Champion, but she still had to be the one standing in the ring toe-to-toe with Lee. And she didn’t back down.

Of course, she had her flurry of moves and some pin attempts (that Lee would toss Layne halfway across the ring when kicking out), and Lee was always able to absorb what Layne threw at her, but he never truly wanted to fight back. He got in some hellacious chops to her chest and a German Suplex but not a whole lot else. Layne spent a lot of her time harassing Doom, as well, spitting at her and whatnot. Eventually, a fight broke out amongst the two factions and Johnson ended up being driven into the concrete floor with a piledriver. He was dead. Probably legit. I never saw him again, so who’s to say?

This all caused Dalton and Guevara to be kicked out, which didn’t stop Layne from doing this:

A video posted by @mrbrandonstroud on

That is impressive as hell, right? It was so impressive that it wasn’t diminished by the fact they we’d already seen that spot performed in the second match of the night (with a bonus superplex thrown in for good measure). Who saw THAT coming? Definitely not Lee, but he won’t forget it. But all that did was give Doom the chance to take the Pure Prestige Championship and whack Layne right in the face. Directly in plain view of the referee. That led to the disqualification and Layne had a victory, but not the Title, over Lee.

After the match, Doom flat out beat the shit out of Layne, grabbed a microphone, and demanded a Street Fight at Battle Wars 2. I assume it was accepted, as Layne was pretty out of it. Doom, I should mention, was wearing all black. It’s what I wanted from her, but not for like, several more months. I wanted Layne to completely drive Doom into the depths of her psyche, making her absolutely mad. But I’ll take what I can get. It ends at Battle Wars 2, but Layne’s night wasn’t over. After the match, she was nearly killed with a Spirit Bomb from Lee. Now, I’m conflicted on this. Sure, Layne has been an awful person since she debuted and has targeted Doom relentlessly. But she’s stood up to Lee, battled Lee, and took him to the brink (no matter what anyone says, she dominated this match, no matter the circumstances or how much Lee wanted to fight back, ‘cause that’s his fault, it’s a fight, so you gotta be ready to fight). I’m not quite sure she deserved the Spirit Bomb after getting knocked in the head with a belt and beaten up by Doom. The story is between the women, and Doom had taken care of things on her end. She was done being targeted, took matters into her own hands, and setup a match for the next show. Why did Lee, who is a face, on a team that doesn’t do bad things anymore, powerbomb someone who could no longer fight back? Maybe I’m remembering a bit of the post-match? Did Layne do something else to deserve it? I don’t know, as I don’t remember it. Just seems odd and like something that shouldn’t have happened. Regardless, the fans loved it.

The second half of the show kicks off with our second Trios match, this one performed under Tornado Rules, with two referees. The World Class Syndicate was down a man, as Carson was out with an injury. They found a pretty suitable replacement in Ray “Death” Rowe. And this match was instant CHAOS. The action was everywhere. No one was safe. Action spilled out into the crowd and you didn’t know what to look at, but you had to keep your head on a swivel, because you didn’t quite know when another large human being was going to come flying towards you.

It’s almost hard to write anything about the match, because you just couldn’t keep up with everything that was happening. Things never really settled down. It was just a couple of guys in the ring for a bit, then switching off and different people would be going at it. Like I said, it was chaos. But the action was intense and there wasn’t a single person who wasn’t into this match. Probably, out of all of them, this was the only one that didn’t suffer any hiccups… no, wait, yeah it did. Remember that thing I said about two referees? Well, we had the World Class Syndicate with a pin while Scotty Santiago was tapping out. The count of three and the tap out happened at the same time, and they were picked up by each referee. One called for the pinfall, the the other the submission. Who could have seen that coming? But, no, at least they go it right though. Instead of going, “welp, that’s a no contest, see you next time,” they started the match.

It wasn’t long before Alex Reigns was hitting Barrett Brown with a tombstone piledriver while Moonshine Mantell was jumping off the ropes for an added spike. You may have seen the Young Bucks do it. Hey, it’s highly effective, as it got them the victory. There’s no way this war is over and I welcome the next edition. Look at that, I’m actually interested in seeing a Mike Dell match in the future!

Post-match, Lance Hoyt made his way to the ring, while Ray Rowe was still there. Hoyt was still wanting to #StopTheBS which, let’s be real honest right now, has gone on WAY too long. Brandon Stroud isn’t a wrestler, so there doesn’t seem like there will be any suitable payoff. Hoyt has been a bully from day one and only was justified in his actions when Stroud started to physically get involved in his matches. It should have all basically ended, however, at Clash at the Bash II, when Stroud attempted to get involved again, only it backfired on him when he was temporarily blinded when his glasses were knocked off. Instead of helping Ray Rowe, Stroud ended up costing him the match. It should have been over. Hoyt gave him the thumbs up and everything!

Instead, Hoyt was in the ring, with a specially made #StopTheBS tank top for Rowe. So, are we forming a faction against a ring announcer now? To what end? Either Stroud has to die, or he has to become a legit wrestler and stomp these fools. No other outcomes make sense. I heard several people sitting beside me having similar sentiments. It’s nothing against the performers, it’s just… a waste of time? Like, what does it further? If the movement becomes so big, do they just fire Stroud? Does he give up ring announcing and take another job within Inspire Pro? Is he banished? Look, Stroud made a mistake a long time ago, has been suffering for over a year now. When he did stand up for himself, it back fired, and he’s since apologized. There’s nothing left here. Even if he’s like, “I got this guy to finally stop you, Hoy!” uh, why? I think it’s been proven that Hoyt will never stop. He had his chance to let it all go, but instead he’s recruiting reinforcements. Again, why? Are Rowe and Hoyt going to battle Stroud in a handicap match? I dunno, it was a fun little thing when it started, but at this point… if you want Stroud to be more involved in storylines, take him off announcing, and make him a manager or something. At least then there would be something that could be achieved.

I felt I was really negative there and I don’t want to be, so, we’ll move on to the next match, which was a Triple Threat Match between Barbi Hayden, Athena, and the returning Kimber Lee. We saw Lee once before, when she lost to Jessica James. This was also Hayden’s first match since serving her suspension for paying off an official (who, based on his absence, has been fired?) and her trip to China. This was a really good match, which was a welcome treat, as I’ve felt the women’s matches have been lacking lately. I stated it in my preview, by Athena seems to be the lynchpin in all the really good women’s matches that Inspire Pro has had. She’s been in the three best. This wasn’t better than any of those three, in my mind, but it was close. It was on par with Hayden’s best ones (back when she was NWA Women’s Champ and headlining shows).

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the actual action, and as far as I know this match wasn’t for anything, although I’m sure it will put Lee in contention for the XX Championship. It makes sense that it wasn’t an official Number One Contendership match as it would be odd to strip Hayden of her Title shot and suspend her only to put her back into a match that could earn her a Title shot. I’ll talk more about the XX Championship and it’s peculiar contendership rules when we get to Veda Scott’s match, but I want to touch instead of Hayden’s story.

The results of the match had Hayden pinning Athena with her feet on the ropes, and then Lee pinning Hayden. It was all very good. But, I dunno, I feel like there could have been more there for Hayden. She just got caught cheating and suspended, right? Is she that egotistical (she could be) that she would basically flip off Inspire Pro management and continue cheating? There are more subtle ways of being underhanded that blatantly putting your feet on the ropes on a pin. If anything, you would think maybe Inspire Pro would put two referees on each match that Hayden works to keep an eye out for such things. But, not, I felt there was a story that could be told here. Hayden loses her Title shot, gets suspended for bribing an official, and she has to go away for a bit, so she takes a trip to China, right? One of the first women wrestlers on Chinese television. That’s a big deal. She’s a big deal.

Perhaps she could have come back showing a bit of remorse? Being all, “I messed up. I understand that. You know what being a champion does to a person. I mean, maybe not you all, but you’ve seen what the stress of being a champion does to people. It’s very demanding and all you want is to remain champion, because once you’ve tasted that life, you never want to go back.” Like, she’s come to terms with what she’s done, she’s apologetic, and that’s the only reason she was even put into this match. I mean, wouldn’t you want someone you just had to suspend to have to prove themselves again? They have to earn your trust back. And that’s exactly what Hayden would do. Of course, it’s all a con. She doesn’t give a shit, she just knows how to game the system. She knows she has to get in everyone’s good graces to get what she wants, a shot at the XX Championship. Being arbitrarily put into a match that may or may not be a Number One Contenders match is a lazy story. Making her have to earn it, to have to watch herself and be extra careful, that’s a story. That’s something you can connect with. People liked Hayden before, they’ll like her again (they still like her), and when she betrayed you again? That would gut you. You thought you knew her, thought she had changed, but, nope, she’s just as awful as you feared. Give me this story. Not her coming right back and cheating right in everyone’s faces again.

/end rant

I’ll get back into the women’s shenanigans (and another rant) in a moment, but first, the J*Crown Championship. Current Champion Steve-O Reno defended against the man who never lost it, Sammy Guevara. First off, Guevara’s music is absolutely perfect for him. I love it. Also, I hate him, because his face. Now, OK, I think for most everyone this was the most anticipated match on the card. Everyone hates Guevara but they recognize he’s not unnatural talent. He proved that night after night before he was kicked out for being young and dumb. And Reno, I mean, he’s been a beast since he signed up. He won what were basically handicap matches on a nightly basis. He has two losses on his resume, one of those an aforementioned handicap match, and then at Clash at the Bash II against Andy Dalton in the main event for the Inspire Pro Championship when Dalton was able to just barely escape by countering a roll-up.

Overall, this was probably the best match of the show, by almost any measure. But even it, like a lot of matches before it, it had some moments where basically nothing was happening. It didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations, but that’s not their fault, it’s ours for having such high standards. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, but typically, the shows that haven’t delivered as highly as others, are almost always those shows that have that extra month in-between. Like, they are good shows, no doubt, and better than what a lot of companies can put on, but it’s happened more than once that when a show is a little off, it’s when there was more time between it and the previous show. It’s like that extra month of build-up and anticipation heaps this unwarranted level of expectation on it that just cannot be met. Inspire Pro has had so many great shows that we almost take it for granted that they always will. I more or less said this in my preview.

So, what I’m saying is, Inspire Pro? Make this shit monthly (weekly would be better, but that’s not possible), even if that extra show you have to do is themed like Taggcade will be. Like, do an all-women’s show from a smaller venue if you need to (not that they couldn’t sell out the Marchesa by themselves). I know all these things cost money and time and whatnot, but I want it! I just want Inspire Pro all the time. But this is a whole other topic of conversation that isn’t the J*Crown.

Back to the match, there was one scary instance where Reno was on the outside, near the corner, when Guevara dove over that corner turnbuckles with a corkscrew dive. Only, he clipped the top of the ring post on his way over. He still managed to land on top of Reno, although they both landed on the ground with an audible thud. Everyone seemed OK, but it was a heart-stopping moment. Reno looked beaten up in this match, as he had scratch marks under one arm, and it look as maybe his nipple was bleeding? There was blood from somewhere on his chest. My only issue in the match came on the finish (although not the outcome itself). Reno hit a second rope Blue Thunder Bomb that Guevara kicked out of. OK, that’s fine, whatever. The problem was that he kicked out, immediately got up, superkicked a seated Reno in the face, then in the back of the head, and then hit a running knee(?) that got the three count. He essentially no-sold a Blue Thunder Bomb from the middle rope. That’s…. that’s not OK. There were a few instances throughout the night of some weird no-selling, that I didn’t touch on, but they happened and it always took you out of the match a little bit (like I said, the show was a bit “off”). Otherwise, the match was fantastic.

Now, the outcome. A LOT of people had a problem with it. As you know, Reno is Mr. Inspire Pro. He doesn’t lose. Sure, Guevara held the J*Crown Championship previously, but Reno WAS the J*Crown Championship, you know? He faced all comers (even from Chikara and elsewhere) and came out on top. Here comes Guevara back, the self-proclaimed “Best Ever,” gets his Title shot (which he had the right to, given that he never actually lost it), and immediately wins it back. Well, he would had he not destroyed its physical form. Now, the knee jerk reaction would be to say that, well, the last however long Reno’s been the Champ was a waste. Guevara was stripped and then wins it right back? Guess Reno was never truly worthy of the J*Crown after all? He was just keeping it warm until Guevara came back.

I won’t lie, I initially thought the same thing. I was like, well, OK, yeah, good match, but story-wise, it’s a bad look. Why do it that way? Well, now, if you listened to Guevara after the match, he stated that this was the end of the J*Crown. What I gather that means is that the J*Crown is no longer a Championship in Inspire Pro. If that is the case, then this makes perfect sense and it’s the only way that could have happened. Personally, if it is true, I am 100% on board. Inspire Pro added Titles very quickly and I always felt they had one too many after they added the Pure Prestige (and knowing the XX was on the way). And now, with the Tag Team Titles about to debut, it made sense to eliminate a Championship. The perfect one to get rid of was the J*Crown, since there was no actual belt for it. It was just a crown. While, yeah, that was super unique for wrestling and I enjoyed it (especially Reno’s time as Champion), if something had to go, that’s the best option. It was meant to be an intergender Title, but the Pure Prestige actually had an intergender match before it (not counting the J*Crown gauntlet where Reno won the crown).

The bigger question is, what does Reno do now? Look, Steve is great. He’s a tremendous wrestler and he was a great J*Crown Champ, but the guy doesn’t have the greatest confidence in himself. He loses to Guevara and he feels like he let down all of Inspire Pro and doesn’t deserve to be called Mr. Inspire Pro. On the contrary, the fact that he feels that way is exactly why the moniker fits. The only person he let down was his Number One Fan, here seen after the show:

Poor #1 Steve O'Reno fan
Photo Credit: Michael Dupin
So, where does he go from here? I wouldn’t mind them mining his lack of self-confidence for some stories. Have him get into a funk. Maybe so much so that he brings back Bradley Axel Dawson to go after the Tag Titles? Actually have it be different and Dawson helps them advance pretty far (either the semis or finals), but it’s actually just a way for him to get brought back into the company (he lost a Loser Leaves Inspire match at last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest) and then screw over Reno at a crucial moment. That sets Reno up with Dawson for another match (as it happens, this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest is the week after Taggcade) which, of course, Reno would win again and perhaps start to regain his confidence. Then you can move him up into the main event scene, where he belongs.

Man, just giving all these awesome ideas for free!

Up next was the XX Championship Match between Veda Scott and Jessica James. Now, the match was made without the consent of Scott, and she made that known right away. She started speaking her legal mumbo jumbo and she said she wasn’t going to face James. Instead, it was her right to name her own challenger, as well as who the referee would be. James was wearing the stripes. Now, who did Scott choose as her brand new number one contender and challenger for the title? Well, none other that Void. In this case, Lady Void.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, who’s Void? Well, Void has appeared a couple of times. Only once has it really made sense. The first time, it was Mike Dell under the mask, who revealed himself after winning a Inspire Pro Championship qualifying match. Now, why was Dell under the mask? Was he for some reason not allowed in Inspire Pro (even though it had just started)? When he unmasked, a lot of people went crazy, but I had no idea who he was. So, it meant nothing to me. I mean, I guess I get it in that Dell needed some way to get in, but why was someone named Void booked to begin with? I have no idea (I’m sure there was a reason back then, but that was quite a long time ago), but it worked out well for him.

The second time, it was Matthew Palmer who donned the black-everything in an effort to help Franco D’Angelo win a shot at Dell and his newly won Inspire Pro Championship. (Look at that, D’Angelo needed Palmer’s help again. Hmmm.) It worked, although D’Angelo failed to capture it. And now, this time, Scott had chosen the female version of the Void (although, perhaps it could be a man? Void had the figure of a very attractive woman, but we can’t say with 100% certainty that it was), and that seems dangerous on the surface. Why would you pick the unknown? Sure, you don’t want to face James, but why choose someone who could be anyone? It could have been Athena under that mask for all she knew. Unless, of course, she knew exactly who was under there (which seems the only logical explanation).

Now, before I get into the match, I want to go on a bit of a rant again. Why exactly is Jessica James even getting a title shot? If you’ll recall, Athena hit James with the O-Face, Scott pushed Athena out of the ring and pinned James herself. Regardless of who pinned her, James was losing that match. So, why exactly are we rewarding losers? It happens A LOT in wrestling and reminds of last month’s AAPW show where Comrade Silovik lost his International Championship (in his first defense, a month after winning it) and before the show is over has managed to get himself a shot at the more important AAPW Heavyweight Title. Um, what? How does that happen? He managed to get rewarded for losing his belt. It makes no sense. Same thing here. James lost, straight-up. You can say maybe Scott shouldn’t have been in the match or whatever, but, legally, she was. That’s her whole thing, Scott makes sure everything is legally within her rights.

So, when she says she doesn’t want to face James, it makes perfect sense, but not in the way she’s doing it. It shouldn’t be because under the surface she’s scared of James (she should be) and afraid of losing her Title, it should be because Scott is a super-smart lawyer woman who understands how wrestling should work. Wins and losses should matter most of the time (otherwise, what’s the point), especially when it comes to doling out Title matches. It’s like, oh, you lost five matches in a row? No biggie, here’s a Title shot. It’s like how WWE books their Money in the Bank winners sometimes. They’ll win the case and then immediately lose every match they are ever in until they decided to cash it in (unless it’s poor, sad sack Damien Sandow, who just loses all the time, no matter what). If you want to give James a Title shot, make her earn it?

Before this night, of the women who regularly work Inspire Pro, there’s only two that deserve a Title shot: Athena, who’s O-Face is what kept James down for the three count, and Delilah Doom, who was taken out of the match and replaced with Scott. I’m assuming Doom will get her shot whenever she’s done with Angelus Layne (someone else who should probably be in line in front of James, although she actually hasn’t won a match beyond the DQ over Keith Lee, but Scott wouldn’t be Champ if it wasn’t for her), and Athena just lost to Hayden (albeit it because of cheating), so there weren’t a lot of options on the table from their general pool of women. So, I get why maybe James was chosen, but a lack of options shouldn’t really be your reasoning for giving someone a Title shot. It’s not just the Title shot, it’s the overall story of James being the unofficial Number One Contender, I guess. It doesn’t compute.

As it is, Scott chose Lady Void and she basically dominated the match. Void got in one roll-up and a couple more moves, but ultimately, Scott dominated while James half-assed her job as referee. At one point, Scott had Void pinned but James took forever to count. Sure, Scott is annoying, but you’re dealing with a lawyer, you don’t think she can’t use that against you? (It was stated at the top of the match that James could not touch Scott or she would never get a Title shot.) So, she really should have just done the job given to her. Now, the question of who Void is (not who she is specifically, but her relationship to Scott) becomes apparent after the match. After Scott defeats Void, she ordered the masked wrestler to attack James. That quickly turned sour as James counters the attack and put Void in a vicious armbar submission.

So, who is Void? I don’t know, and it may not matter. If she’s an ally of Scott, she didn’t really work out so well. The fans were not happy with this match at all. It wasn’t so much the ladies’ work involved, it’s just that they really didn’t care. They wanted to know who Void was (and she did get a few “Void! Void! Void!” chants like she was Inspire Pro’s version of Blue Pants), but when they realized they weren’t going to know, they lost interest. Everyone seems to like James, so they want to see her get her hands on Scott, but I don’t think people are too keen on the XX Champ. Personally, I think she’s a great character, and while her wrestling work doesn’t quite match up to the same level of her character work, she’s serviceable enough. Character trumps wrestling ability a lot of the time anyway.

I presume we’ll continue with James chases Scott, with Doom on the horizon (one would hope, although I feel it only makes sense if Doom is the one to defeat Scott, since, well, she’s the reason Scott is even the Champ). I just can’t see James winning when she probably shouldn’t even be in this position (not from a talent standpoint, but a storyline one).

And now it was time for the main event.

Welp, it’s over.

Yes, basically in the time it took me to type those two sentences, Ricky Starks had defeated Andy Dalton and become the new Inspire Pro Champion. Here is the entirety of the match. Starks entered the ring with his ACW World Heavyweight and Hardcore Titles around his neck, then Dalton entered with the Inspire Pro. After introductions, the two men circled one another, but stopped short of locking up. Instead, Starks gave Dalton the thumbs down, hit a spinning back fist, kicked him in the stomach, and then hit him with what Christopher Daniels calls Angels Wings. One. Two. Three?

Here’s where the referee completely fucked up. He stopped short of counting three, looked up, and then counted it. Starks was livid. Straight up pissed off. So, he hoisted Dalton back up to his feet, hit a second Angels Wings, and shouted, ‘COUNT THE FINISH!” This time the referee did so. It was… not the best way for things to go. Now, I don’t mean how the match played out, with Starks hitting one more and ending the year-long Title reign of “The Dirty Mind of Wrestling.” No, I’m completely fine with that, what sucked the life out of everything was the screw up by the referee. Now, had it went completely as planned and the referee hit the three count the first time, I feel like everyone would have loved it.

As it was, though, people were mostly confused. Some were legit annoyed by it. Now, you can’t fault the fans for wanting something more from the main event. Inspire Pro has delivered more times than not on their main events. Granted, the matches they choose to end shows aren’t always the best matches of the night (you could probably pull any show from any company and the percentage of the main event being the match would probably be pretty low), but they deliver something that makes you remember the show in a positive light. Heck, when Dalton won the Title from Palmer in a matter of seconds, sure, everyone was pissed because Palmer lost, but it was a good kind of pissed. It was exciting, it was great storytelling, and the crowd reaction in a way that you wanted. This time, with the screw-up, yeah, I don’t think they reacted the way that Inspire Pro had hoped. Mostly, they didn’t really react at all. It was just one of those, “wait, what?” moments.

Most everyone, I think, had settled in for a long match between two of the most talented guys on the roster. Following Starks’ intense promo at Clash at the Bash II and just the general hatred everyone has for Dalton, they were expecting something epic. Not necessarily anything on the scale of the final Dalton and Palmer battle, as that was a personal blood feud, but something that was the culmination of Starks’ long struggle to get to this point and everyone wanting Daltons’ reign to end. They may have gotten the outcome they wanted, but the way they got it left them unsatisfied.

The ordering of the back half of the show probably wasn’t a great call either. First the fans had to watch Mr. Inspire Pro lose to Sammy Guevara which really deflated the crowd, then they had to sit through the XX Championship Match. Nothing against the people involved in that match, but it was a storyline-heavy encounter with the only hook being the possible unveiling of Lady Void, which did not happen. Then they got this main event? I won’t say it was a terrible way to end the show, it just wasn’t the most satisfying final three matches. It’s one of those things where, no matter how great a show can be all night long, if the finish leaves a poor taste in your mouth, you’re likely to not look back too fondly on the overall show.

Now, I don’t think this is going to affect Inspire Pro going forward. I mean, they have Battle Wars 2 in a month that’s nearly already sold out, and they follow it up with Taggcade on November 1st and then Fun Fun Fun Fest on the 6th, 7th, and 8th. Things to look forward to. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to Starks’ finally ascending to the tippy top, shall we?

The decision to have Starks defeat Dalton in a minute (give or take a few seconds) was an incredibly ballsy play for Inspire Pro. You had Dalton who held the championship from Relentless in September 2014 until August 2015. Basically an entire year. He had an intense war with Matthew Palmer that ended with Palmer’s forced removal from Inspire Pro (although he would return two shows later), and the only other Title defense he had was against Steve-O Reno on the last show (not counting a match with Thomas Shire at last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest which I am not certain was for the Title or not). He didn’t exactly set the world on fire with a string of impressive defenses, in that he lost more matches as Champion then he won, which most people probably didn’t even notice was happening. The key was that people just hated Dalton. He’s good at his job.

Some people might say that if it had been Palmer who defeated Dalton is quick fashion, it would have went over better. I disagree. There’s no way Palmer could catch Dalton as off-guard as Starks did. Any match between Palmer and Dalton would now be a long affair. Neither man would want to give an inch to the other. We saw that in their bloody encounter that temporary cost Palmer his job with Inspire Pro. No, Starks beating Dalton in under a minute wasn’t a bad call at all. The execution (through not fault of the wrestlers) let them down, but, hey, when does anything go exactly to plan in wrestling? Shit gets fucked up constantly and the beauty of this art form is that anything and everything can be salvaged. The thing with wrestling is that it’s the ultimate “wait and see where it goes” medium. Instantly judging a story point is, yeah, something you can do, but it’s probably in your best interest to give it time. Now, the exception to that rule is WWE, as they have the track record of never being able to satisfyingly pay off their storylines. Inspire Pro, though? Yeah, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve earned it.

So, the key for this will be in the follow-up. It’s a shame the show is only month-to-month (and even then taking a month off from time to time), which comes with it’s own sort of constraints when mapping our storylines. You can’t drag things out too long, so you end up rushing a few things (like Palmer’s re-instatement), and that’s just going to be the nature of the beast. So, how do they follow-up? I think they HAVE to give Dalton his rematch. Sure, I have half a mind to just be like, “bruh, you got trucked in mere seconds, go to the back of the line,” but giving them a rematch is as much, if not more so, for the fans who wanted to see the match as it is to service the story. They could continue on with Starks heading towards his next challenger and leaving Dalton to live with his being humiliated (plus, how about that karma of him ending Palmer’s reign in seconds, and then his year-long tenure as Champ ending in less than a minute?).

As a general rule, I’m not a fan of rematch clauses. They are an old antiquated trope used to milk more matches out of a feud. I’m OK with it dying out. It’s not something that has really been used in Inspire Pro, either, as Mike Dell never got a rematch when he lost the Title, and Palmer never got rematches because they were in his contract, but rather because they made sense. He deserved them. But you don’t want to keep having the same matches on several shows in a row. You only have so many of them a year, you know? If it were me, with Battle Wars 2 on the horizon and then Taggcade, the rematch makes the most sense for Fun Fun Fun Fest. Sure, not everyone is going to be able to plonk down $199 for a 3-Day Pass, especially not just for wrestling, but perhaps it would be a good opportunity to test out doing a match on Periscope. People could watch it live. Plus, it gets it out there for people to see quicker than waiting for them to upload it to YouTube. Plus, doing it at the festival frees them up for Ecstasy of Gold III in January to give Starks a new challenger.

So, I’m completely on board with not only Starks as Champion but the way in which he won it. I just really wish the referee hadn’t missed it. But I feel good about what’s ahead for Starks as the Face of Inspire Pro, a position I felt he had been groomed for from The Beginning.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Now, if you read through all nine-million of those words, I thank you. So, did I convey the strangeness of the show? It was one of those things that you probably needed to be in the building for to truly experience, as I’m not sure it was even translate over video. Now, the big question, I suppose, is: was it good? Was the show worth it? Did I leave satisfied? ‘Cause, at the end of the day, if you left overall satisfied, it would be considered a good show, right? Even if some things didn’t go as you had hoped (or were noticeably not the way THEY had planned for them to go), if, when you put it all together collectively, and you feel good about what you saw, and are hopefully for things going forward, it had to have been worth it, right? So, was it good?


Were there problems? Yes, but that’s the nature of the business. Are they fixable? Most definitely. Easily so, I would say. Like I said, wrestling is the easiest medium in which to fix storylines. You have a live, immediate, test audience. For a television show, it could take half a season before the showrunners are aware of what might not be working as they intended. Movies requires a series of test screenings with a bunch of random people off the street for the people putting it together to know what they need to tweak or just outright blow up. Wrestling though? It’s all right there in front of you. You just need to listen. They’ll tell you who they want back (Terrale Tempo) and who they hate (Jojo Bravo, but in a good way). That’s what makes wrestling so great.

So, Inspire Pro is going to be just fine. They have not disappointed when it comes to their storytelling (on the whole), and I feel they are a notch above the rest. Not every show is going to hit 100%. No show ever has, not for everyone, completely. But they have an incredibly high batting average in that department. This is a show that was well above the Mendoza Line, but it was an under performance for what we are use to. Such is the situation Inspire Pro finds themselves in. It’s a good position. When you have so routinely hit the ball out of the park, you raise the expectation level. You won’t always hit for a cycle. Sometimes you’ll go 2-for-5, and that’s OK. They’ll just hit practice harder the next day, watch some film, and be ready to rock and roll with the next show.

Now, I have been accused of ending these things on a sour note in the past. I would write 10,000 words of glowing positivity for everything Inspire Pro is doing right and then hit them with the things I wasn’t so keen on at the end. It’s never a purposeful thing, as I stated at the top, it’s all just words hitting the screen as they come into my mind. So, with that in mind, I want to spotlight three people who I think really benefitted from this show. The biggest stars to come out of this show, as it were.

”Absolute” Ricky Starks: This is a no-brainer, as he is the new Inspire Pro Champion and defeated the longest reigning Champ who people thought would probably keep it forever. Instead, he took it from Dalton in record time and is finally on top. As I said in the Inspire Pro Championship piece, he’s someone I thought was being positioned as “the guy” in Inspire Pro from the very beginning. And now he is. It’s great to see and I look forward to what they have in store for the future.

Jojo Bravo: Ever since turning heel (and kicking kids), Bravo has turned things up a notch. Joining up with Nigel Rabid and the Rabid Empire has just brought him up even more. And at Fade To Black? I’m going to tell you, no one has ever had as much heat as Bravo did when he was simply trying to talk before the Trios Match. People just HATE him now and it’s great. It’s different than someone like Dalton, who, yeah, everyone abhors, but there’s a grudging respect there. They understand that he’s very talented and yeah, he’s a scumbag, but it’s one of those things where people WANT to boo him, because it’s fun. With Bravo, they geniunely hate him now. He could say two words without everyone booing him and wanting him to shut up. As I said above, he reminds me of Seth Rollins, in that he just has this voice that’s kind of grating and when he’s talking down to you or just talking in general, you just want him to stop. Plus, he has a very punchable face. If he’s not Starks’ first truly challenger and feud for the Inspire Pro Title, I’m going to be very disappointed. Their stories are very similar, in that both were positioned as potential stars and faces of the company. But where Starks continued on his path in a straight line, knowing he was heading in the right direction and that it would just take patience and determination, Bravo went the other way. He couldn’t handle the pressure that he believed the fans had put on him to be a sort of savior, as it were, and instead decided to take a different route. Some could say maybe an easier route, aligning himself with a very formidable group, who will surely reak havoc on all of Inspire Pro. Right now, I think he’s in a good position and I hope they take advantage of it.

Angelus Layne: Going into her match with Keith Lee, I don’t think anyone expected the match to go as it did. I don’t care what anyone says, she dominated that match. And out of anyone who was actually in matches, she gained the most. People might not like her, but she earned a lot of people’s respect, I have to believe. And her feud with Delilah Doom has been killer from the get-go. Doom has a huge test in front of her. She asked for the Street Fight at Battle Wars 2, but she has to know that the only reason Lee is still the Pure Prestige Champion is because she, herself, cost Layne the match. I mean, Lee might have still won the match in the end had things continued, but as it stood, he was reeling. Layne showed no fear and just went for it. Now, she gets a chance to prove Doom wrong and show that Goonies do, indeed, die.

Some honorable mentions go to the two debuts of Everett Connors and Terrale Tempo. I”m not sure if Connors will come back, but we know Tempo will. The fans demanded it and Inspire Pro will listen to their fans. I would not be against Connors returning though. He surprised me, as I wasn’t expecting a whole lot when I saw him. Inspire Pro keeps bringing in these people you may never have heard of and they keep delivering. I’m glad they have such an open roster on that front. Yeah, they have their regulars, and their semi-regulars, but as long as they keep bringing in new people from time to time, it’s a good thing.

Now, looking ahead, as I mentioned several times, the sequel to Battle Wars, Battle Wars 2, will be held on September 13th, featuring a slew of Chikara Pro stars (just one week removed from King of Trios) such as esteemed referee Bryce Remsburg, returning players Dasher Hatfield, Mr. Touchdown, Fire Ant, Chuck Taylor, and making his debut, the Chikara Grand Hallowicked. I don’t know if there are more to be announced or not, but I hope so. I love seeing all those people back, don’t get me wrong, but if I don’t get the Devastation Corporation to battle Keith Lee (I guess he would have to be the only representative of The New Movement with Doom fighting Layne and Johnson likely dead), man, I’ll be a sad man. But Inspire Pro has enough hosses they could toss anybody on Lee’s team and it’ll be good stuff. Give me that, guys!

You can get tickets (if there are any still available) by clicking in this general vicinity. You’re not going to want to miss it!

Following that will be an entire month off, as there will not be a show in October. Ugh. Off months are the worst. But, they’ll be returning as soon as the calendar changes to November, exactly on the 1st, with Taggcade. A one-night single elimination tournament to crown the first ever Inspire Pro Tag Team Champions. So far, the only participants we know are the Center of Perfection, House of Wolves, and the team that earned a first round bye, James Claxton and Killer McKenzie. Assuming that’s the only first round bye, we may only have four other teams taking part. You’d have to think the Rabid Empire would likely enter DG and Zac Taylor into the tournament. Perhaps The New Movement will put a team in, maybe of Johnson (if he’s not dead) and new member Tempo (I’m just hoping he joins them, I have no idea if he actually is)? We could see The Great Depression and The Red Scare, perhaps The Pump Patrol. I would like to see at least one mixed tag team or an all-female team. There’s no reason for the Tag Titles not to be intergender. I would also like to see my idea of Reno reforming The Hollywood Knives come to fruition. If it is only seven teams (hopefully it’s more, maybe 14, with two byes, which would give you 13 matches and that’s too many, so nevermind, ignore this parenthetical) that’s only six matches and I’m figuring this will be the only thing happening on the show.

Immediately following Taggcade, we’ll get going into the 3-Day Fun Fun Fun Fest on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of November. You can still grab your tickets. Last year, Inspire Pro had an hour block on each day. I assume that will remain the same, as they will probably be splitting time with ACW once again. But it’s a lot of fun, as there’s of course wrestling, but also music, comedy, skateboarding, food, and just good times. It’s worth the money if you have it and it’s 10-times more fun than ACL (for, like, a quarter of the price). So, check it out!

Until next time...