EWA “Rage in the Cage 2017” recap
by Joe Klunk
Normally, conflicts between two people play out in private. Sometimes, the issues are resolved within an enclosed space. However, there was nothing normal about the conflicts on January 21st at Tall Cedars Hall. The battles in question were all laid out in the open in front of arguably the largest crowd in EWA history (about 700 fans). And the confrontations took place in a steel cage surrounding the ring. EWA’s annual celebration of caged carnage would put an end to some of these feuds but would also invite controversy into its presence (some of which I’d find out about first hand).
Jai Kole b. JT Moore
The Holiday season was more about fighting than partying for JT Moore, as he had been captured & tortured by Supremacy in an attempt to work on old friend Desert Storm’s psyche. The only spot left for him on the nearly filled card was against the Jamaican powerhouse Jai Kole. Moore was tenacious in bringing the fight to Kole but was tossed around with ease. Regardless of the punishment, Moore kept getting up and seemed to find an opening when Kole missed a big splash. However, Mr. Jones wandered out to goad JT, which left Moore easy prey for an Alabama Slam. A front powerslam by Kole was enough to pin Moore at 5 minutes.
Mikey D and Jim Christian came out to officially kick off the show. After some general announcements, the roster came out for two 10-bell salutes. The first was for recently deceased WWE legend “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and the second was dedicated to longtime EWA fan Rae Hershey & Len DeBaufre, father of manager MJD. Both passed away during the holiday season and were loyal fans of the EWA. Condolences to their family and friends are appreciated during this tough time.
Ivan Ali b. Derron J
The former tag team of D.T.P. finally got to take their aggression out on each other in a feud that has been brewing since last year’s Sweet Sixteen tournament. “The Artist” struck first by dropkicking the cage door into Ali as he entered. The ringside brawl eventually spilled into the cage where both men blistered each other with chops. Derron would gain the advantage with some quick kicks but was ultimately powered down by his former partner with such moves as Adam Cole’s Last Shot. As Ali was to leave, Derron kneeled defiantly as if to tell Ali to finish what he started. That would soon come to pass as Ali threw his foe into the cage several times en route to pinning Derron with the K-Driller (Rikishi Driver) at 9 minutes.
The Oddball Army b. The Dark Horses and Tony Macko & El Bucanero Negro to win the EWA Tag Team titles
TOA ditched the motorized ring cart for two stick horses (one who may be related to Chavo Guerrero’s doomed sidekick Pepe…I’ll have to look into that). This match was pure chaos from bell to bell. The Horses jumped Macko & Bucanero during their entrance, running them into the cage repeatedly while TOA was locked inside. When inside, The Horses tried to isolate Macko but he responded with a split missile dropkick and a (called in mid-air) Hard Drive. TOA recovered to pair off & brawl with the Horses, a fight the Horses initially got the better of. Blood & Berg were hit with stereo Coast-to-Coast dropkicks from their larger rivals. Macko proved to be the fly in the ointment, popping up when he seemed totally out of the picture. Macco nearly had the match won when he climbed the cage and hit TMHWK with a perfect Superfly splash but Grizzly O stopped the pin by inches and sent Macco into the cage. As the Horses stood tall, Bucanero fought his way back in the cage and nailed TMHWK low. Bucanero revealed himself to be JT Moore, gaining his sweet revenge he promised weeks ago! As Moore left, Grizzly was sent to the outside and Ray Hawkins ensured he wouldn’t intervene by ramming the cage door shut with his wheelchair! TOA then hoisted TMHWK up and hit the Doomsday Device for the pin at 8 minutes. The Dark Horses reign of 259 days as Tag champs had ended as every dirty trick they ever employed came back to haunt them in the end.
Jason Drake (w/Rabid Rizzo) b. Mr. Jones to retain the EWA Maryland title
In perhaps the most even matchup of the night, Jones had another chance to bring gold into Supremacy. Jones seemed to be on his way to do that in the early minutes as he caught Drake with a quick Ace Crusher while both rapidly rebounded off the ropes. Jones battered Drake with kicks & punctuated that attack by throwing him viciously into the cage back first twice. However, Drake used the great crowd support behind him to fight back. Jones would eventually set up for his frog splash, only to come up empty. Drake capitalized and hit a super Curbstomp moments later for the pin at about 6 minutes.
TJay Sykes b. Desert Storm 2 falls to 1 in a 30 minute Ironman match (Mikey D as Special Guest Referee)
The entrances alone conveyed the scale of how epic this rivalry has become, nearly two years after it began. Sykes came to the ring in regal attire, with masked minions bowing down to him. Storm went old school, coming out to his Breaking Benjamin theme and presenting the American flag while clad in his familiar military colors. Both foes circled each other to start, not wanting to rush their attack and make a critical first mistake. After a few minutes of parity, both started slugging it out & running each other into the cage. Sykes’ strategy consisted of targeting Storm’s neck, preferably with sharp kicks & a swinging neckbreaker. Storm would fight back & make his way to the top rope, only for Sykes to push Mikey into the ropes. With Storm subdued, Sykes hit the Pepsi Plunge & superkick to a kneeling Storm to score his first pinfall about 13 minutes in. This advantage would cause TJay to get cocky and obtain a chair from the outside. Each man’s hatred came out in the form of vicious chair shots to their respective backs. Sykes tied up Storm in the ropes and looked for the crowning blow but Storm would fight out and come back with some of his trademark offense. Finishers would be countered rapidly but TJay went on to hit a superkick for a close count. Storm would catch Sykes with his version of the Rock Bottom and that tied the score at 1-1 at about 17 minutes. Storm would strike big next by hitting Sykes with a Scissor Kick onto the chair but that only got two. The warring instincts in Storm took full effect as he commandeered the timekeeper’s table and brought it into the cage. Sykes used the table propped up in the corner to his advantage by hitting Storm with Sliced Bread #2 off of it. However, Storm would go on to spear TJay through the table! Heavy forearms & strikes would reign down from both foes. Several superkicks would drop Strom to his knees and one to the back of his head would bring TJay his second pinfall at about 24 minutes. With the advantage, TJay went back to the chair. Mikey D tried to wrestle it away but got shoved down in response. This was Mikey’s last straw as he responded to TJay’s months of bullying with two superkicks of his own! A Desert Storm chokeslam brought about the closest of near falls, as the expressions of frustration were evident on Storm & Mikey. TJay countered another chokeslam into a Koji Clutch, which Storm managed to fight out of with one minute left. Realizing time was on his side, TJay tried to climb the cage and run out the clock. Storm eventually caught him on the top rope & hit a super Rock Bottom. Storm went for the cover and the clock hit zero, with the bell ringing just right before Mikey D’s hand hit for the third time. Referees Corey Berger & Jesse O’Ryan conferred with Mikey D and then myself about the clock running out right before the three count. As painful as it was for him to do, Mikey D had no choice but to announce that TJay had won by a score of 2-1. Storm, with a look of exhaustion & disbelief, manned up offered his hand to TJay. TJay slapped his hand in respect and the two hugged, partially out of begrudging respect (despite all of the heinous acts towards each other) and partially because their war had come to an end.
(Note: I got a lot of flack from fans after the match, saying that the wrong decision was made and that the two outside officials and I were wrong. I watched the end of the match several times afterward, both in real time and with the sound & video slowed. At the end of the day, my thinking hasn’t wavered. As Mikey went to count TJay’s shoulders down, his hand hit the mat two times. My focus was on Mikey’s count and the video screen. As Mikey’s hand sprung up for the third strike, the clock on the video screen hit 00:00 and I rang the bell without hesitation. The bell sounded as Mikey’s hand was mere inches away from striking the canvas for that third time. I’ll admit that the decision caused me great strife. I wondered aloud why there couldn’t be one more second on the clock so Desert Storm could at least tie the match 2-2 and maybe continue the fight. As much as I wanted that, I did what I have been doing for the past two years and that’s my job. All I can say is that I hope this clears the air and closes this matter.)
Wes Mercer retained his EWA Cruiserweight title against Chris Burns, Apollo Cruz and Ken Phoenix in a Four Way Elimination match
Not only did the Legendary Super Cruiserweight™ have to contend with two familiar foes in Cruz & Burns but also the debuting Phoenix. The Canadian native is a name on the rise, having been trained at the Lance Storm Wrestling Academy and being a Future of Honor prospect. Mercer came away with the first big strike in the match, hitting a Randy Savage elbowdrop onto Phoenix. However, Phoenix would come back with a lungblower onto Burns, in effect countering a double suplex attempted on him! Cruz & Mercer would reignite their old rivalry as “The Original Apollo” hit the champ with a top rope swinging neckbreaker! Cruz would scale to the top of the cage but a collision into the structure by others caused him to precariously crotch himself on the top. Phoenix would pick the bones of the fallen Cruz and eliminate him first at 6 minutes. Phoenix & Burns would work over Mercer but that alliance would fall as the newcomer snuck in a CrossRhodes on Burns for the elimination at 11 minutes. Phoenix felt he was ruling the ring but Burns made sure to nail him low before he left. Mercer & Phoenix started slugging each other with forearms but Wes would persevere and hit his patented spear for the final pin at 13 minutes. Wes celebrated his win with a Rocky-esque lap around the ring, proclaiming he in fact “did it”.
Rayburn b. Cory Bush to become #1 contender to the EWA Maryland title
And like that, the show moved from four cruiserweights to two “meat slapping mastodons” (Al Snow™). Rayburn struck first, jumping Bush during his entrance & slamming the cage door twice onto his back. Some heavy hitting would commence but Rayburn scored the game changer by taking out the Weight of the World’s leg. Rayburn would work over the leg for several minutes and Bush’s subsequent comeback would be hampered by it. At about 9 minutes, Bush would go for the Weight of the World splash, only to be tripped up and hooked into an ankle vice. Bush would tap in what has to be considered an upset in the manner of how it happened. Rayburn would stare down Jason Drake (who was at the commentary table) afterwards.
“The Hampden Hammer” Bill Ward (w/Pete Eibner) b. Simon Ryme
Pete Eibner (Hammer’s personal trainer) would second Ward in this grudge finale. Like any grudge, it wasn’t pretty as Ryme tried to counter Ward’s amateur skills with straight pounding. The tide definitely turned when Ryme cracked Ward in the nose with a vicious back elbow that could be heard anywhere in Tall Cedars! The Hammer may have been out of it if not for Eibner, who hyped the crowd to keep Ward going. Ryme would hook on one of Hammer’s favorite weapons; the Figure Four but Ward would not stay down. Ward would come back and end up hitting a front face takedown en route to the pin at about 7 minutes. Chris Burns entered the cage and assisted Ryme in a 2 on 1 attack but Eibner would make the save! Ward & Eibner would hook stereo Figure Fours on their foes and send them packing.
#Pat Anthony (w/Violet) retained his EWA title against Joey Badami in an “Escape Only” Cage match
Badami was ready for a war, bringing out a trashcan adorned with the writing “#trash #notmychampion”. The popular challenger had no qualms about meeting the champion out on the floor for a lengthy ringside brawl. Chair shots & headfirst runs into the cage were traded before both made it into the ring. Violet would slip a kendo stick to Anthony, who left ferocious welts on Badami’s back with the weapon. Joey would come back with kendo stick shots of his own but Anthony would break the momentum with cheap tricks (legal by the cage’s standards, of course). The champion would resort to choking out his opponent with the stick, a move that seemed to have done the deal. However, Badami would catch Anthony’s attempt at scaling the cage and a super legsweep would take both down. After beating each other with hatred that would cripple most, Anthony would fight up to the top of the cage and risk it all with a Swanton Bomb off the top! And Anthony missed! Badami seemed to have his opening and took it by setting the trashcan up & powerslamming Anthony onto it from the second rope! Badami seemed to be on his way to victory when Anthony recovered to hit Joey low (a favorite move amongst many this evening). Anthony hit his patented twisting snap faceplant on Badami onto a chair. The champ climbed to the top while Badami opted for the door. It was a close race but Anthony dropped to the floor before Badami and retained at 15 minutes. #Pat was involved in several MotY candidates last year and he broke in the new year another one here. Badami could only lie dismayed by the cage door as his cashed in title shot amounted to no gold at the end. Supremacy came out to hoist Anthony on their shoulders to celebrate, knowing the crown jewel in the EWA crown was staying with their king. However, the Sweet Sixteen tournament on March 18th may confirm a new prince, next in line to take the throne.
EWA "Year In Review" 2016
By Joe Klunk
The calendar year of 2016 may have been the biggest and most prolific in EWA history. With new eyes on the company (courtesy of a partnership with CZW Studios and coverage by the Baltimore Sun) came new names to go against veterans. With those new names came new risks, some of which proved to be controversial in nature. And with new risks came rewards that led to the EWA having great momentum going into 2017.
The year began with “Rage in the Cage”, EWA’s annual full metal spectacle of cage matches. This was also the beginning of a career year for Wes Mercer. The crafty cruiserweight would cash in his “Evolution” title shot during a 4-way Ladder match and claim that division’s title for the fourth time. What made Mercer’s year all the more notable was that the 15 days leading up to event was the only time he did not have gold all year. Although he was unsuccessful in his bid for the EWA champion TJay Sykes’ title, Mercer held on to the Cruiserweight gold through multiple defenses, including a sensational 7-way Ladder war at “Evolution: World War Z”. Nearing a whole year with his title, Mercer is on a big match roll and it will be interesting to see how long it continues.
“Rage…” also brought about TJay Sykes & The Dark Horses’ fight for the EWA Heavyweight & Tag Team titles respectively. Sykes was fighting to keep his and despite turning back challenges by Cory Bush in January & Wes Mercer in March, fan support was starting to split between him & upcoming contender Joey Badami. Meanwhile, Grizzly O & TMHWK lost their Tag Team titles in a wild “Inside/Out” Cage match to Storm/Cruz ’16. The result (and underhanded tactics by their rivals to keep the Tag titles) led to them visibly showing their frustration to EWA owner Jim Christian at “Faith No More 2” in May. Jim could only assure them another title shot before walking away.
No one could have seen what was coming next…
The event was moving along with growing unease & tension. As the Horses’ anger simmered, Mr. Jones decided to interrupt the show during various matches in protest of his loss to Mercer. The culmination was Sykes beating Badami due to Jones’ interference. Confusion soon turned into anarchy as Sykes & Jones turned on Badami. They were soon joined by The Dark Horses and the quartet commenced in turning back most of the EWA locker room. The soon to be coined “Supremacy” capped off the night by TJay superkicking Ray C. Hawkins, the inspirational, wheelchair-bound manager of The Oddball Army! A sickening pall was cast over the crowd at the action, which garnered much attention on various wrestling websites as video of the incident became public. Supremacy’s carnage was just beginning…
Incidents of bottom of the barrel violence would become the norm in EWA. JT Moore would be superkicked out of a wheelchair to mock Hawkins. The Horses would win back the EWA Tag Titles and take part in threatening ring announcer Mikey D with violence several times. Eventually, Mikey would take a superkick right before TJay’s title defense at “Summer Sizzler”. Supremacy would make sure that wasn’t just the apex of their attack as 2016 Sweet Sixteen tournament winner #Pat Anthony attacked Sykes’ opponent DJ Hyde in the main event and become the newest member of Supremacy. While the group seemingly grew stronger, they gained a new enemy in “The Deej”. He originally came in as a regulator of sorts; to humble TJay by giving him a beating old school EWA fans would be familiar with. He would end the night by ensuring a new age CZW beating was coming to Supremacy.
Hyde would bring Joe Gacy from CZW and CZW/EWA legend Derek Frazier with him for one night to beat Supremacy at “Evolution: WWZ”, which ensured Sykes’ EWA title would be on the line in the Double Ring Ladder Battle Royal main event. Along with a host of CZW prospects & EWA standouts, the 29-man finale would be for the highest stakes in company history. At the end of the night, the power was seemingly split. Joey Badami would win the contract for a future EWA title shot but #Pat Anthony would claim the EWA title. All was well with Supremacy…except for TJay Sykes, whose reign came to an unceremonious end.
As if being jealous of Anthony’s new found title success wasn’t bad enough, ROH’s own “Brutal” Bob Evans wanted a piece of TJay. The respectful champion Bob met at “Sweet Sixteen” (the tournament Evans was a part of that night) was anything but that anymore. Bob wanted to bury Sykes & his new ideology figuratively (and literally) in EWA’s annual Casket match at “Last Rites”. An appropriately brutal battle took place and just as TJay seemed to reign supreme, an old foe in Desert Storm surprised him from inside the casket! Storm took psychological warfare to new levels in what was arguably the feud of the year between he and Sykes in 2015. It may be accurate to say that rivalry took a part of TJay’s soul and at “Last Rites” it would cost him a victory.
Despite all of this, there were still much fun to be had during EWA’s 2016. Jason Drake went from a cocksure newcomer to EWA Maryland champion and showed a lot of heart in his battles against Anthony & the giant Rayburn. The Oddball Army of Blood & John Berg caused plenty of chaos in the tag team division (and at certain ringside tables where timekeepers & announcers sit). Fan favorite “Hampden Hammer” Bill Ward would come back after almost a year of being on the shelf and become embroiled in a feud with veteran Simon Ryme. And the EWA roster of the future shows great promise with newer faces such as The Gun Show (Mason Walls & Sean Wayman), JT Moore, Ivan Ali, El Bucanero Negro and Tony Macko.
Of course, the answers of today pose even more questions for the future, most notably January 21, 2017. Which new prospect will become the next breakout name? Will Wes Mercer’s success continue in 2017 and beyond? Will #Pat Anthony command the spotlight among The Supremacy as new EWA champion? Will feuds such as Simon Ryme/Bill Ward be settled? And what new twists will the war between Desert Storm & TJay Sykes take? A great place to answer those questions will be Tall Cedars Hall in Parkville, MD on January 21, 2017. Get ready to ring in the New Year with rage…at RAGE IN THE CAGE!
(On a personal note, I would like to send a few thanks to close this out. Thank you to Mikey D for getting my foot in the door & continuing to be a great source of information during shows. To Brian & Jim for allowing me to continue to contribute to EWA through my writing & ringside work. To Chris (aka Vinny, who’s ability as a State Commission of Athletics official leaves much to be desired). To Docta D, Under the Mat Radio & The Dirty Ugly Wrestling Podcast for sitting in on our events and their coverage. To Ace & William of Wrestling in Maryland and Big League Photography (respectively) for covering our events with their amazing pics. To Barbara Haddock Taylor for her coverage of “Last Rites” for the Baltimore Sun. To 105.7 The Fan for the ad air time. To our visiting crew (Bob Evans, Tim Hughes, Wildman Kongo, Ty Awesome, Robbie Paige, the up and coming tag teams of House of Pain Wrestling, DJ Hyde and his CZW crew) for making our shows even better. To our sponsors, ring crew, referees, announcers and roster members (I will forget someone but there are numerous people that bring this together). And of course, to our fans. I’ve said before that there are many feds within Maryland (and by all means, support INDEPENDENT WRESTLING IN MARYLAND in general) but we are very grateful when you choose EWA & we show our gratitude by putting on the best show possible. Thank you for a great 2016!)
EWA “Last Rites 2016” recap
by Joe Klunk
Normally, a priest to an ill or mortally wounded individual performs the custom of “last rites”. On October 22nd, Supremacy looked to take the role of putting the EWA to rest. Over the course of the evening, several surprises would take place but the biggest one would be in store for the symbolic coup de grace of the show…the EWA Casket Match!
Mikey D (dressed as The Dude of “The Big Lebowski” fame) came out to kickoff the show. Vinny Versace of the State Commission of Athletics joined us at the timekeeper’s table.
Chris Burns b. Jai Kole
A late addition to the card pitted one of the EWA roster’s veteran members against a newcomer in Jai Kole, who is quickly gaining experience in the Mid-Atlantic Indy scene. Burns did everything he could to keep the big man off of his feet but made his biggest mistake in trying to slam Kole. The big Jamaican took control and leveled Burns with several suplexes. However, an errant charge by Kole into the corner led to Burns rolling him up and (with aid of a handful of tights) scoring the pin at about 5 minutes.
Show officially opens with a “Stranger Things” themed video hyping the EWA title match.
Mikey D & Jim Christian came out to run down the card and welcome a special guest photographer from the Baltimore Sun. Supremacy saunter out to interrupt the proceedings but it soon became apparent that #Pat Anthony & TJay Sykes were still not on the same page. Each man touted their goals for the evening but one would cut the other one off in mid-speech, causing the tensions to rise. Anthony & Sykes engaged in an intense stare-down but Violet (in 1940’s style dress) told both of them it was all about Supremacy having the title. Pat offered his hand in peace but TJay wanted none of it & walked to the back.
The Oddball Army (w/Ray C. Hawkins & Bump) b. El Bucanero Negro & Tony Macko
This read as an eclectic tag team match on paper and even that may have been an understatement. The cult favorite Bucanero controlled John Berg early, even performing a Captain Morgan stance as he worked the arm. Macko & John Berg would trade chops and Muay Thai kicks respectively before Macko hit the Hard Drive for a close near fall. Bucanero would gain possession of his sword and have an impromptu battle on the apron with Blood and his fork (a contest Blood won and Versace chided us on the legality of). Macko & Bucanero would soon set up John Berg for a superplex but Blood pushed Macko to the side and the Oddballs scored the win on Bucanero after hitting the Doomsday Device at about 8 minutes. Afterwards, Blood tried to steal the ring bell because Blood.
Joey Badami b. Ivan Ali
Badami looked to keep the momentum of his title shot briefcase win rolling against the new lone wolf in Ivan Ali (leaving his partner Derron J behind at WWZ). Badami would evade Ali’s strength to start but would not win out against him in a ringside brawl. Ali seemed to be well on his way to wearing Badami into the ground but the O.C. native would fight back with a Busaiku Knee. An Ali attempt at a super chokeslam would be countered by an equally super Busaiku Knee off the top rope for a very close near fall. Ali would shake off these attacks and hit Badami with a Liger Bomb for two. Finally, Badami would stay with what brought him the case initially & hit a third Busaiku Knee for the pinfall at 9 minutes.
The Dark Horses (w/Mr. Jones) retained their EWA Tag Team titles in a No Contest with Wildman Kongo & Cory Bush
This match marked a rarity for the Supremacy members as they encountered a nearly 300 lb. weight disadvantage! The giants threw the champs (and Mr. Jones) around at the start but the Horses would gain the advantage outside by repeatedly posting the challengers. The Horses worked over Kongo, using underhanded tactics to counter the size disparity. Bush would make the hot tag and began to throw his weight (of the world) around. TMHWK grabbed an EWA tag title from the table and threw it to Grizzly O to use. As Berger tried to retain control of the match, Grizzly tossed the title to Bush and did an obvious flop in front of the ref. Bush seemed bemused by the sorry attempt at chicanery but Vinny Versace was not amused. Versace ran in and called for a No Contest due to there being a foreign object (the Tag title) in the ring! The Horses used this opportunity to leave with the titles and with no opponents for Kongo & Bush, I had no choice but to ring the bell at about 9 minutes. Afterwards, the Wildman & WotW sent Versace running from the ring. I hate to say it but this was another case of Versace using his authority & making a situation worse than it actually was.
#Pat Anthony (w/Violet) b. Desert Storm (w/Apollo Cruz) to retain the EWA title
As “Goodbye Horses” played, Storm/Cruz ’16 danced to the ring dressed as Clarice Starling & Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs”. No, I’m not making that up. And yes, photos are up courtesy of Big League Photography & Wrestling in Maryland (if you’re interested in seeing them, for some reason). It was all business once the bell rang as Storm sent Anthony outside early. A distracting Violet allowed Anthony to take out the knee with a chop block. The champ would work over Storm’s leg for several minutes but Storm would fight back and score a pair of corner splashes. Big moves would be traded back & forth as TJay Sykes walked out for a closer look. Anthony would deflect a Scissor Kick attempt and send Storm into referee Corey Berger, knocking him out of the ring. Sykes walked into the ring with the EWA title and shocked everyone by blasting Anthony with it! Sykes made sure his issue with Storm wasn’t over as he nailed him with a superkick. With conflict in his eyes, Sykes draped Anthony over Storm’s prone body & Berger awoke to count the three at 15 minutes. Sykes presented Anthony with his title & raised his hand but was none too happy about it.
During Intermission, Mikey the Dude walked around with “Harambe” as the gorilla passed out candy to the children in attendance. After posing for some photos, Harambe made his way to Desert Storm’s table & greeted him with a pose…and a superkick! Off came the mask and the reveal of TJay Sykes (mirroring Storm’s actions from last year’s “Last Rites”)! Sykes put the boots to Storm until “Brutal” Bob Evans (Sykes’ opponent in the main event) ran TJay off.
Wes Mercer b. Mr. Jones in a Last Man Standing match to retain the EWA Cruiserweight title
Mercer (clad in Vegeta’s armor from Dragon Ball Z) & Jones (entering as Deadpool) were expected to go to superhuman lengths to win and they didn’t disappoint. A brawl around ringside started things & both answered with heavy shots. Mercer scored with a German suplex but Jones turned the tide later with a leaping DDT. Jones went on the offensive with a barrage of stiff kicks & high impact flying. Jones hit his trademark frog splash, followed by numerous chair shots to the back of Mercer. The champ would not stay down and would fight back with a series of spears. Mercer would try to end things by bringing the wooden base of the ring steps in but ended up backdropped onto them by Jones. Jones set Mercer onto the base and attempted his frog splash again but came up empty. Mercer would keep Jones down for ten by setting him upside down in the corner and hitting a super double stomp a la Dragon Lee to retain in 12 minutes. Despite his indifference over the EWA/Supremacy rivalry, Mercer’s win insured that Supremacy would not win any new gold on this night.
Jason Drake (w/Miss Rizzo) b. Rayburn to retain the EWA Maryland title
A show of respect via a handshake from both men was short lived as Rayburn scored a quick powerslam for a near fall seconds in. The story of the match had all of Drake’s kick & dive attacks (majorly effective against most opponents) being absorbed by Rayburn’s size. Rayburn kept Drake down with moves such as a heavy lariat & corner splash but none got the three count. Drake fought back with quick strikes but a wheelbarrow turned into a lethal Weapon X by Rayburn. The big man taunted/pleaded for his opponent to stay down but this only made Drake more determined. Drake hit the Curbstomp late in the match for a close near fall. After a few attempts to finish Drake off, Drake would duck a spear attempt and nail a super Curbstomp on his larger challenger to win at about 8 minutes.
“The Hampden Hammer” Bill Ward & Simon Ryme (w/Chris Burns) fought to a double Count Out
Burns accompanied Ryme to the ring in place of MJD, who is assumedly still laid up from his beating at WWZ. Despite the grudge like nature of the match, Ward felled his more experienced foe with mat wrestling to start. Some chain work led to Ward hooking on an anklelock & nearly getting a submission. Ryme would resort to the cheap trickery (eye rakes, chokes) to gain back the advantage. The Hammer fought back with several clotheslines but the battle would soon spill to the floor. Burns held The Hammer against the apron for a Ryme punt kick but ended up catching the brunt of the impact when Ward moved. Both Ward & Ryme kept brawling until ref Jesse Sondheimer had no choice but to declare a Double Count Out at 10 minutes. Both combatants went at it back in the ring, seemingly attempting amateur style takedowns in between the occasion fist to the face.
Jim Christian came out through the crowd and made it official that Bill Ward v. Simon Ryme would be the first match signed for “Rage in the Cage” on January 21, 2017!
“Brutal” Bob Evans b. TJay Sykes in a Casket match
Evans made his EWA debut at this year’s “Sweet Sixteen” tournament and was one win away from appearing in the finals before succumbing to Joey Badami. The Ring of Honor journeyman made it clear that he wanted this particular match against Sykes, as he wanted to symbolically bury the man that Sykes had become since Evans last appeared. Sykes was in for a big surprise as Bob came in through the crowd and jumped TJay pre-bell. Evans wore TJay out in the first few minutes with stiff strikes outside the ring. A low blow turned the tide to Sykes’ favor but Evans gutted it out and tried repeatedly to put TJay inside the casket. TJay took out Bob’s knee & targeted the body part with his noted vicious streak. Evans was close several times in having the casket shut on him but he managed to escape. Evans absorbed some stiff strikes from TJay and forged a comeback with a bulldog & patented running shoulder tackle. The Dark Horses ran in to stop Evans from closing the lid on TJay but Kongo & Cory Bush arrived and fought them to the back. TJay seemed to have it all won after he rocked Evans with a superkick but as he opened the casket, a smiling Desert Strom greeted Sykes! A shocked Sykes was hit with the Barack Bottom & given the lick of death by Storm before Evans’s running shoulder tackle sent TJay into the casket for the win in 13 minutes. Evans & Storm stood tall to end the show as the casket was wheeled away to the back. If the thrilling conclusion to “Last Rites” is any indication, “Rage in the Cage” will be a hell of a start to 2017!
EWA “Evolution: World War Z” recap
by Joe Klunk
The annual “Evolution” event is often called the biggest show in EWA’s calendar year, both in literally (due to it being the only event with two rings set up, side by side) and figuratively. The latter certainly held as true as the former this past Saturday night. In front of a packed EWA Country, past and new faces made history. Chaotic action and controversy reigned. Legends were honored (and in some cases, reborn). Bodies went to and past the brink of physicality. And in the end, while one side of the EWA & CZW/Supremacy war would walk away with the top prize, not everyone on that side would walk away happy…
Special guest Exo Skeleton kicked off the show with a rap set against past Evolution moments on the video screen. Mikey D and EWA owner Jim Christian welcomed everyone the show.
“The Hungarian Hero” Laszlo Arpad b. Tony Macko
Two debuts kicked off the action as CZW product Arpad took on Macko (who has impressed in recent EWA Ringside contests). Arpad’s power game seemed to work early against Macko but the EWA rookie responded in kind with several Muay Thai kicks throughout. Arpad ended up neutralizing these attacks and at one point, backdropped Macko from one ring into the next! Macko would get near falls with a double springboard dive from one ring into the other and with a leaping inverted X-Factor but Arpad would hit a Hungarian lariat at around 8 minutes for the count of három (three in Hungarian; who says you can’t learn at wrestling shows?).
Storm/Cruz ’16 b. D.T.P. (Derron J & Ivan Ali)
The bad blood between Storm & Ali from “Summer Sizzler” simmered over as both tried early to knock the other one down by brute force. Eventually, D.T.P took over on offense but both Derron & Ivan seemed to take umbrage with each other tagging themselves in very physically on a few occasions. In the end, D.T.P. had Cruz set up for their finisher but Ali decided to catch a flying Derron J before completing the move & chokeslammed his own partner! Derron was then easy prey for the Scissor Kick/Sideslam combo and Storm/Cruz picked up the win at about 9 minutes. Ali kicked Derron down afterwards.
Team CZW (DJ Hyde, Joe Gacy & Derek Frazier) b. Team Supremacy (TJay Sykes & The Dark Horses) - As a result, TJay Sykes’ EWA title would be up for grabs in the Evolution main event! –
The Supremacy not only had to contend with two of CZW’s toughest but also the returning Derek Frazier (for one night only). Despite not wrestling full time for years, Frazier looked as if he had not lost a step & frustrated Supremacy with his maneuverability. Supremacy looked to bail but that only triggered a wild ringside brawl that had mostly everyone nearby scurrying. Supremacy took over inside the ring but Team CZW would fight back with Frazier leading the way. After hitting some of his patented offense, Frazier would pin TMHWK at 15 minutes with an amazing frog splash from the top rope of ring #1 and into ring #2!
Wes Mercer retained the EWA Cruiserweight title in a “Magnificent Seven” Ladder match (Also in the match: JT Moore, Mr. Jones, Sean Wayman, Alexander James, Frankie Pickard and Maxwell Jacob Feinstein)
Matches of this magnitude break down in a hurry and this was no exception. Many of the participants hit dives to the outside early on to gain some sort of momentum. Mercer & James picked up where they left off after their stellar time limit draw at McAvoy’s 22 days prior. Moore & Wayman brought down many with a Tower of Doom, which allowed Mr. Jones to hit a great frog splash immediately after! Feinstein (who, along with Pickard, is from the CZW contingent) tried to assert his cocky swagger at one point and all that earned him was a 6-way superkick! Wayman upped the ante soon after by leaping over the ladder in the corner & legdropping Pickard! Moore would soon Sunset bomb Mr. Jones off of a ladder set between two rings. Jones would recover and look to finish off Mercer but the Legendary Super Cruiserweight™ would spear Jones in mid-air as he leapt off the ladder! 15 minutes in, Mercer would climb up and recapture his Cruiserweight title in what will no doubt be a Maryland Wrestling MotY candidate.
Jim Christian, Mikey D and Silhouette presented the 2016 EWA Hall of Legends plaques. Receiving the awards were:
Eagle (2x EWA Champion and 2x EWA Tag Team Champion)
Buster Macabbi (½ of first ever EWA Tag Team Champions, 3x EWA Tag Team Champion)
Derek Frazier (EWA Heavyweight & Cruiserweight champion)
The Oddball Army (Blood & John Berg w/Ray C. Hawkins & Bump) & “The Hampden Hammer” Bill Ward b. Chris Burns, Simon Ryme & MJD
At McAvoy’s, this situation came about when MJD cost the Hammer a victory over Simon Ryme. The extent of MJD’s offense throughout the match was to choke & stomp The Hammer whenever the referee’s back was to the action. This worked for a bit but eventually the match broke down, leaving Hammer & MJD alone in the ring. Whilst Burns & Ryme were getting a good “forking” by TOA ringside, Hammer pounded MJD down & locked on a Figure Four. Blood & Berg would soon join Hammer, locking on cross arm stretches from each side on MJD! Being all but drawn and quartered, MJD submitted at around 9 minutes.
NWA Northeastern Heavyweight champion BJ Walker went to a No Contest with Joey Badami
The first ever defense of an NWA sanctioned title on an EWA card was an intense and physical affair. Both Badami & the returning Walker met face to face before the bell even rang and the tension didn’t stop there. Badami managed to take keep the pressure on Walker with some nice moves & even sent him into the timekeeper’s table at one point. Walker would recover later with mounted punches & a shot that sent Badami’s mouth-guard flying. At that point, Vinny Versace (the newest member of the State Commission of Athletics, who had been observing the last few matches at ringside) jumped up and claimed Badami was bleeding from the mouth. Versace gave me little choice but to ring the bell, as he declared the match a No Contest at 5 minutes due to the “blood loss”. Badami was indignant & confused by the turn of events, as Versace stuck to his ruling and Walker left with his title. Personally, I was looking at Badami’s mouth while the ruling was read and I nor Mikey D or ref Corey Berger saw any sign of blood at all on Badami or anyone else. It was a stiff punch and it did rock Badami but in the end, it seemed like a case where Versace got too carried away with his authority & saw something that no one else did.
Jason Drake & Miss Rizzo b. #Pat Anthony & Violet in a Mixed Tag Team match
The most controversial event to come out of EWA Ringside at McAvoy’s was Supremacy attacking Jason Drake & Miss Rizzo. The beatdown culminated in #Pat Anthony’s “social media advisor” Violet pummeling Rizzo while Drake was being held down by Supremacy & forced to watch. Drake & Rizzo were ready for battle but the Supremacy came out with Violet noticeably limping. Anthony had claimed Violet had just injured her ankle warming up backstage. However, he already had a backup plan in the form of flying in the returning Nyla Rose from Japan! Rose came out and confirmed that while she appreciated the gesture, she didn’t confirm she would be Violet’s replacement. Rose tricked Violet into breaking her ruse with the ol’ “Is that a spider?” ploy and then revealed she was in fact the special referee for the match! The match started proper after Rose sent Supremacy to the back. Anthony & Drake went back and forth before the women were tagged in and Violet was on the run until Rizzo was tripped up. Violet seemed to be in control but soon enough, the two ladies were trading forearms as well as any of the men! Rizzo would gain the win at 8 minutes after putting Violet down and hitting a version of Drake’s curbstomp.
The Evolution Double Ring Ladder match Battle Royal!
Wes Mercer & Mr. Jones were the first two of 29 entrants into literally the biggest match of EWA history. The early action mainly commenced in Ring #2, as Mr. Jones did everything possible to avoid contact by occupying ring #1 on his own. That soon changed when DJ Hyde entered and basically toyed with Mr. Jones until the ring was left all to the Deej. Other CZW wrestlers would enter and join Hyde in ring #1 in solidarity but some (like Maxwell Jacob Feinstein) needed more prompting. Any non-CZW personnel that ended up in ring #1 were met with a sound thrashing from DJ via chops. Ivan Ali would enter & toss out a few entrants while continuing to escalate his issue with Derron J. Nyla Rose was a surprise entrant and seemed at home in the fray. However, the complexion of the match changed when Cory Bush made his surprise return! Cory sent bodies flying & instantly made himself the most imposing force in the match. Desert Storm would come in at #29, meaning the ladders were in full effect for use. Highlights included Joe Gacy taking a nasty spill off of a soon wrecked ladder. Blood would be dropkicked backwards into a ladder propped in the corner, decimating the ladder into twisted wreckage. Hyde & Bush would climb for the title shot at one point and were amazingly close to it before Badami toppled them both. Hyde booted Badami down but Joey fought back with a pair of shotgun knees to DJ holding a ladder. This was enough to give Badami time to extract the briefcase over ring #1 & claim the EWA title shot. The remaining entrants in the match realized there was one prize left and a mad scramble ensued to bring the title down. With each attempt, another entrant was taken out of the mix with a devastating move. Seeing his opportunity was at hand, #Pat Anthony set up the ladder and brought down the EWA title at 37 minutes.
Winner of ring #1 and an EWA title shot good for the next year: Joey Badami
Winner of ring #2 and the EWA title: #Pat Anthony
As Mikey D wrapped the show up, Supremacy celebrated in the ring with the new champion…except for TJay Sykes, who sat dejected in the corner. Anthony & the rest of Supremacy kept reassuring TJay that the EWA title was still on Supremacy’s side and that’s what mattered the most. Time will tell if TJay is on the same page with that way of thinking…
EWA “Summer Sizzler 2016” recap
by Joe Klunk
There was an air of uncertainty as EWA’s perennial summer event started up. With the recent forming of The Supremacy at “Faith No More 2” and a successful Tag Team title win for members The Dark Horses on “Ringside TV”, the locker room had their heads on a collective swivel & wondered who would be the next victim taken out. By the end of the night, familiar faces of past & present pledged allegiance…but to which sides?
Mikey D comes out to introduce the show. In the opening moments, former EWA manager Vinny Versace led his crusade against Jim Christian’s ownership of the company in the form of a walk-in protest. He was quickly dispatched outside by security and was not seen the rest of the show.
The locker room (sans The Supremacy) & Christian’s family came out to wish Jim a Happy Birthday.
“The Show” Mr. Jones b. Alexander James and Joey Badami and Eddie Page in a Fatal Four Way match.
Originally scheduled to be a Three Way match, Eddie Page of The Wildcardz interrupted and (after claiming he was told to be “too good” to be in the Maryland title Gauntlet later on) inserted himself into the match. The action was fast paced & crisp from the start with little let up. The end came when The Dark Horses (accompanying Mr. Jones to ringside) interfered & Mr. Jones hit a Cutter on James for the cheap win.
EWA Champion TJay Sykes sauntered down and The Supremacy cleared the ring. Sykes stated that they weren’t there just to take the EWA over but to “burn the son of a b---h to the ground!”
Simon Ryme & Chris Burns (w/MJD) b. The Gun Show
The guile & experience of MJD’s team won out over the The Gun Shows’ youth & exuberance in the end of a pretty competitive match. MJD tried several times before (and during) the match to offer his services as The Gun Shows’ manager. After the loss, the youngsters shook hands and seemed to begrudgingly accept the offer. This should become clearer in the near future…
Apollo Cruz (w/Desert Storm) b. “The Artist” Derron J
“Party Time” started early as Cruz got the win with an inverted Stunner on Derron J in another highly competitive match. Afterwards, Ivan Ali came out and had a hearty laugh at his former partner’s expense.
Gauntlet match for #Pat Anthony’s EWA Maryland championship (Each of Anthony’s three mystery opponents were wrestlers outside of the EWA roster)
Ty Awesome was Anthony’s first opponent. The young and exciting newcomer of the East Coast indy scene gave Anthony all he could handle but after a few minutes, the champ managed to tap Awesome out with the Coquina Crab. Veteran Robbie Paige came out second and took even more fight to Anthony. The champ would eventually get the pin, albeit illegally with use of the ropes. Anthony was in for a shock when his former indy tag team partner Rayburn showed up as the third man! Rayburn spent the next few minutes almost literally throwing Anthony around at will. This caused Anthony to bail and take a countout loss to supposedly end the gauntlet but Jim Christian came out and ordered the match shouldn’t end that way. Anthony was thrown back in and F5’ed by Rayburn. Jason Drake & Rizzo came out and Drake was officially made a part of the gauntlet. One curbstomp later and Jason Drake became the new EWA Maryland Champion!
EWA Tag Team Champions The Dark Horses b. The Oddball Army
The crowd came to their feet when Ray C. Hawkins returned with the Oddballs, with Blood & John Berg on a motorized ring cart a la Wrestlemanias 3 & 6! However, the jubilation was short lived as the Horses laid out Blood & Berg with belt shots pre-bell. As Blood was led to the back for medical attention, John Berg was given a hellacious 2 on 1 beating. Blood would come out minutes later but was still shaking off the effects of the attack. Berg would succumb to the Horses’ double team finish and the titles would remain with the Supremacy members.
EWA Cruiserweight Champion Wes Mercer b. JT Moore
Most of the crowd anticipated this would be the night the “Legendary Super Cruiserweight “ would lose his coveted title. Moore kept the pace quick to try to upend the champion but Wes would eventually gain the victory by holding the rope during a rollup. Moore pleaded his case to referee Corey Berger (the call being one of several questionable ones throughout the night) but got nowhere.
Ivan Ali b. Desert Storm in a Bodyslam Challenge
Storm went into this match with the rarity of being smaller than his opponent (3 inches shorter and 40 lbs lighter, to be exact). Both tried to pound each other down in order to wear the other out for the inevitable finishing slam. At a point where both men were down on the canvas, Derron J came out to mock his former partner. That distraction allowed The Supremacy to attack Storm and leave him easy prey for an Ali slam.
DJ Hyde b. EWA Heavyweight Champion TJay Sykes via DQ
Tensions were at an absolute boiling point by the time both made it to ringside. At first, Mikey D would not announce Sykes to the crowd but ultimately decided he would be a professional and do his job. Just has he finished with Sykes’ introduction, the champ responded by superkicking Mikey into unconsciousness! Mikey was carried to the back as the match began, which was the stiff, brutal affair that was expected. Hyde chopped Sykes around the ring for several minutes before TJay managed to get the upper hand. The closing stretch saw both men trade big moves before The Supremacy swarmed the ring. Hyde managed to fight them all off but he was not ready for the surprise of the night…#Pat Anthony running in with a chair and attacking DJ Hyde! Anthony then embraced The Supremacy, as they became one member stronger. Alexander james came out to help DJ run The Supremacy off. DJ then threw down the challenge for Evolution on September 24th: Himself, Alexander James and 3 people of his choosing vs. The Supremacy in a Double Ring, 5 on 5 war where anything goes! Hyde closed the show by promising CZW would be coming to Maryland that night!
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