Inside Matt Hardy’s head – yday at APW in S.F., CA (‘attacks’ Photog Lano@ringside after his match too…)
– Dr. Mike Lano
At both APW vendor times for the boys, Matt spent quality time with fans, and even though the assistant/handler wanted him to speed the fans along faster, Matt wouldn’t hear of it. He seemed to get pleasure in the fact everyone who paid for an 8 x 10, a photo op taken on their cell, Hardy shirts, all his cool catchphraises on plastic wristbands and that he had one of the largest fan lines to buy merch of any APW visitor last Friday night at their 20th annual All Pro Wrestling Halloween Hell show near SF’s Cow Palace.
We’ve all seen “cra crazy person” acts in wrestling. Sheik, Abby, Steele, JB Psycho (who was actually the Farhuts’ gardener who Ed trained!), Tiger Singh, Lonnie Mayne of course, etc. Matt’s studied, watched tape of them but his character is based more on tv and film current pop culture stuff that’s well beyond the obvious in Game of Thrones. I’d thought they turned the Broken Matt character perhaps too soon to a face, but there was allegedly a well-intended plan to all this. And now he’s over like an SOB. His match with former longtime local APW champ JR Kratos (from Sir Samurhai’s Sacramento-based PCW group originally) was 2nd from the top & the SRO APW crowd last night had been doing the Delete, singing the “I’ll face away…” song all night & even b4 the show started and went nuts when he finally came. He “maniacally” chased after fans ala Sheik and Abby, but in a fun, non-threatening way. All the while staying in character, which he wasn’t obviously in the back. He’s grateful that it’s taken off, the catchphrases, everything about it as a package. Reby is better known than when she was an indie worker all those years.
Pre-match, he started in-ring with “San Francisco, I knew you’d come…” then he got the crowd quickly to yet again sing “He’ll fade away…” over and over dedicated to his opponent in the imposingly huge JR Kratos. During the match, Matt would repeatedly slam JR’s head into the mat, turnbuckle yelling “Delete! Delete!” and the crowd chanted it back going nuts. They were as loud as any Balls/Nuts type chants from 90′s ECW here. JR at one point did the same to Matt’s head on the mat a few times shouting “delete” but the crowd yelled “F.U.” at him and usually JR plays monster face in APW. B4 I forget, MVP and I in talking to Matt at length backstage (Matt follows everything & assume he reads the newsletters still every week) and we go “you should start calling your white hair streak your Bonnie Raitt because hers suddenly grew out as one clump only of gray hair in front.” Matt laughed and got the reference. Matt cut a major pre-bout, in ring promo twisting around Yoda-like, area city and attraction names, called the promotion “The Wrestling of the All Professionals” rather than it’s simpler name of All Pro Wrestling, etc. Just funny, creative. Well, for as long as TNA/Impact lasts until whatever happens, happens. He is doing great fun with it.
*Took pix of Matt with PWG/Japan’s Joey Ryan and Lucha Underground’s Matanza/Jeff Cobb b’stage which is a mashup of promotions. Plus Jacob Fatu (son of Tonga Kid Sam Fatu/Tama) who just did the NXT tryout said he did it w/ Shayna Baszler. Nicole Savoy was limping bigtime and the longtime Shimmer champ came to see all her friends since she still lives here. She started at the SF-based indie Fog City Wrestling valeting 10 yrs. ago for longtime APW-ite Rik Luxury and Pink Mink Ink with APW booker/owner Markus Mac.
When Matt kept signing 8×10′s “Delete” then putting his name, I suggested “how about putting Deletefully Yours” which he began jotting down thereafter and people got a kick out of it. Every few seconds he was doing his crazed, wide smile to the point after two merch table sessions before the show & at intermission, I warned him he might get TMJ because he was also doing his hard, noisy snapping jaws thing too. What he has I’ve not seen any wrestler since maybe Steamboat in ’89 with his young son, is he’s even gotten his kid over. He actually was selling (they sold out too) 8×10′s of he, Reby, Maxell and another of all 3 plus her “Caretaker” dad. A wrestler’s tot is over-amazing.
Thruout the show & again well before the show; fans nonstop yelled “delete” and at many points (again, well before he even came out for his match) 1/2 the fans would chant “delete” while the other would respond with “obsolete.” It was like some of the Rock’s catch-p’s in his prime, the Cena Sux/Let’s Go Cena chants but I’ve not really seen anything of this magnitude b4. That’s good for TNA becuz Matt reinventing himself yet again from version 1.0 is pretty incredible & he’s hotter than ever as a single.
**He said the drone I believe belongs to Borash who came up with most of the concepts for humanizing it & adding it to the overall act. Then on his cell backstage, he showed MVP and I some footage to air b4 HWeen where they put some kind of sheet over the “family Drone” and it appears to be lit up with a human face from within, moving along I think a hallway. When I asked why they can’t have it fly w/in the “Impact Zone” he said Orlando and the venue itself have some kind of strict rules about no drones allowed inside buildings–so they won’t be able to do it there for however long they’re there. This was filmed somewhere else to air hopefully later but the short video we saw looked cool.
B4 his match he told me to “go with it” and after he pinned Kratos (due to distraction from returning from injury Jeckles who does a freak medieval clown/court jester gimmick & is a local legend/trainer); Matt then went after me, doing the bite thing to my head and neck and “taking me down to the floor” from my ringside area. I played along, screamed and think the crowd who all know me, dug it a bit. Have had Terry Funk go after me at ECW/ringside, Bull Nakano and Chris Benoit nail me by accident ringside in Japan doing topes, Eddie Gilbert go after me with Funk’s branding iron, etc. And of course Sheik (Farhut) eat my tie when I was managing he & Sabu in the Scozzari AWF hot mess in ’91 house show and tv taping back in Asbury Park, Jersey and Lowell, MA.
RESULTS of APW’s 20th Annual Halloween Hell: in San Francisco near the Cow Palace (actually across the street from worldfamous Joes of Westlake renovated restaurant where Pat Patterson used to love eating).
Reno Scum kept their titles beating the opening match last two in the battle royal in Jeff (Matanza Queto of Lucha Und) Cobb a longtime APW face and Karl Fredericks (heel) in Parejas Incredible where they teamed for the first time: Those were the stips – last two guys in the royal would team and challenge for APW’s tag straps
APW’s secondary title, the Global Internet Title was kept by Rik Luxury (now managed by APW’s former ring announcer who trains at Sparky Ballard’s Gold Rush school (the continuation of APW’s bootcamp school) in a great chain match that was very creative (these guys watch Funk, Rhodes, Sabu matches) over Will Cuevas (who works for nearly every west coast group including BTW and Pro W Revolucion.
Shotzi Blackwell (as local fave of all local groups, she does a slightly daft but fun wild woman gimmick in that she’s Japanese-American I believe with green-dyed long hair but she came out in a Gestapo-type outfit and helmet (maybe it was for HWeen, but she’s worn much of it before) getting a pin on impressive newbie in legit Native-American Desi de Rata (who said this was only like her 20th match). Super strong but not freakishly built with loads of potential. Both girls got a lot of clapping and the requisite this is awesome chants which seemed to occur in all the matches on the card. Nicole Savoy is still injured but she was watching at ringside, and the longtime Shimmer great champ lives locally and even started out for Cesar Black’s old long gone Fog City Wrestling S.F. promotion as a valet for APW owner/booker Markus Mac and his managees like Rik Luxury 10 yrs ago.
Desi said her Native-American family friends took a tribal chant and added it or sweetened it up with rap/hip hop which is a very unique musical intro. She had not the stereotypical Wahoo or Strongbow “Indian” feathers and outfit but instead a more subtle Billy Red Cloud 70′s type of headress and entrance outfit. She’s big, super strong, could easily do MMA as she’s had some training and was doing a lot of flying, agile moves besides strength stuff and some good mat and chain. Both worked their butts off and got a standing O.
*Joey Ryan from PWG and L.A. lamented about losing Candice but pinned Matt Carlos, then promo’d his upcoming APW match in Pacifica, CA next month vs Cody Rhodes.
*Sam Fatu’s kid Jacob who had the NXT Tryout teamed w/ Marcus the Lion Lewis and Will “Rude” Hobbs to beat Vinny Massaro, Levi Shapiro and Synn(not Cornette’s Synn from SMW, OVW)
*Matt Hardy pinned JR Kratos after the 2nd twist of fate
*MVP turned heel at the end of a face/face match and took the APW top title: Universal title from Jodi War Pig Kristofferson (Jodi’s famous dad and mom weren’t in attendance for his match like usual) when Cesar Black interfered on behalf of MVP.
AJ Kirsch (Tough Enough) won WWEs/The Rock’s promo artist of the yr award (on Duane’s FBook, etc accounts-our local star
AJ was a Tough Enough finalist a few yrs back when Austin was still host w/ Lita and Booker I think + Hugh Morris.
– Dr. Mike Lano