Cody in 5 star match w/Joey Ryan, best APW card since King of Indies tournament last night here.
– Article & Photo by Dr. Mike Lano
Double-checked results with current APW promoter/class booker Markus Mac (but no followup date announced yet as this was APW/the late Roland Alexander’s All Pro Wrestling promotion’s) very last show of the year. Believe they have 2017′s first show in early January but will forward that when we get that info.
*Show title: 11/11 (which is the Twitter hashtag and what the crowd chanted when they weren’t chanting the usual “A-P-DUB!”
Announce crew: APW might have the tightest, best roster of announce talent on any indie level major league promotion. ICP office major Kevin KGill Gill does streaming commentary with Cheeseburger (the original CB long before the ROH worker) and promoter/former APW booker/heel mgr before Markus John LaRocca oversees the announce crew. Longtime APW and Hoodslam wrestler, color commentator and for Hoodslam play by play and instructor in WWE Tough Enough finalist AJ Kirsch debuted for APW as an awesome ring announcer. One can tell he prepped, planned, did his homework. The audience soon began chanting “one fall to a finish” each time he announced that before most all bouts. This show was at APW partner in APW senior official, Norcal area most professional ref Sparky Ballard’s normal Pacifica major house show location and the crowd was super educated and HOT. No stupid “this is awesome” chants where they weren’t appropriate or deserved. Lots of creative signs and SRO down the block for Cody although the card was loaded with local and non-area talent like the returning Colt Cabana who’s a Norcal favorite. Besides Cody/Joey Ryan being off the charts, Colt was a one man show. As verbally entertaining/talkative as Kevin Steen always was at indies, but you know all the creative, back of the head things Colt does. WWE made a super mistake in not keeping him aboard — he’s better than most all their roster — still.
Notes: Cody was backstage 2 hrs b4 the show even started-the old first to arrive, last to leave type ultra-professional. Yaked w/ him about covering his dad in more places and longer than most anyone since he was there booking for the first NJPW vs NWA/WCW Tokyo Dome show I shot for the mags + WCW magazine on 3/21/91 with Meltz there as well. Cody is one of the nicest guys b’stage (he told me he couldn’t say much when we tried having a conversation b’stage at WMania Axxess last year in San Jose–he was stuck playing Stardust 24/7 pretty much). But he stayed in a snazzy suit and tie the whole time, when he was in ring as the featured polaroid/photo signee guy pre show and during intermission with his own line of cool new Cody tees, and then he put on his suit post show, post match ala Thesz. Carries himself like a total professional, and in talking all things Dusty, one can see he’s dedicated to his dad. When he left the ring the first time, he did an Asai moonsault for fun-in his fancy suit and landing on his dress shoes outside the ring, to exit. The crowd oohed/awed. Cody was also billed as “Grandson of a Plumber” in ring introductions. During his match w/ Joey Ryan, he told one of the better stories in the first 10 minutes recreating all his WWE moves as himself and later as Stardust, put on the clear nose protecting mask to use as a Pat Patterson-like loaded 1971 gimmick, then did all of Dusty’s and Dustin/GoldDust’s patented moves. Meaning a full history lesson in all things Rhodes. It wasn’t subtle and I hope the crowd got it all because it was brilliant. He then reverted to all the moves he’s doing now in present day. Also wore white books replicating Dusty’s boots, complete with tiny American flag on both. This dude prepares big time to the nth degree.
Cody wants my shots of his dad wrestling here in SF those last three cards for Roy Shire who switched first from Don Owens/Portland to Geigel/Kansas City to finally Eddie Graham’s great Florida boys. Shire had a fictitious “US Tourny” that first of said last 3 shows where they claimed Dusty and Ole Anderson were the finalists. Dusty pinned Ole to become Shire’s very last U.S. Champ. I think on card 2 he had a tag with Mike Graham vs Funks (D, is that right?) and was on the 3rd and very last show which was Roy Shire’s last 18 man battle royal classic won by Pat Patterson over Dick Slater, Terry Funk and Dusty as last 4 guys in it. Notable about this card was that it was to my mind, Pat’s only NWA world title match–here in a bloody classic with Harley.
*Jacob Fatu (Sam’s kid aka Tonga Kid/Tama) splashed/pinned Levi “The Unorthodox Jew” Shapiro. Jacob now bills himself as the Samoan Whale (he’s not heavy set yet-pure muscle, great kid) and really, really looks ready for a major promotion after APW training. Again, when Roland Alexander died 3 yrs ago, Markus Mac his longtime booker took over APW the show promotion, while top ref Sparky Ballard took over the APW Bootcamp at his Gold Rush academy and perf center. Anyway, Jacob was in at Orlando 2 mos ago with Shayna Baszler for WWE try out but I guess they’re not quite ready yet. Both would be welcome additions to the burgeoning WWE talent pool, developmental or otherwise.
*MVP & his new heel manager “Cesar Black” (named after the 70′s Blaxpoitation film) introduced two new members of their family in giant monsters Synn and Papo Esco. They destroyed Johnny Dynamo and Derek Slade to prove their worth to MVP.
*Rising area star Karl Frederick won a hard fought match against area young legend/former APW trainer Out of Control Matt Carlos.
*Gold Rush Title Match: longtime APW star Bad Boy Boyce Legrand (he’s Af-American and he says, no kidding, this is his LEGIT real name minus the BBoy) kept his title pinning Colt Cabana who was about as entertaining and a pleasure to watch as anyone has ever been in the last 25 yrs. One can tell from “tagging in” the ref to nearly every nuanced thing he does that Colt still loves wrestling and the biz. I’m not just saying that because several times he had Boyce in a head or leglock then said, “now smile for Dr. Mike’s camera… hold still, Dr. Mike needs the shot!” Steen used to do that at times and although it’s great he’s brought so much to WWE, we miss him on the indies where he’d often steal every show on those loaded PWG masterpieces in Los Angeles. APW is just as great. In fact with SPW (Sacramento), Bushido (in Stockton & Modesto, CA) and other NorCal groups like Gabe Ramirez’ Revolucion, we’re blessed out here.
Legrand kept his title, pinning Colt who was adored by the crowd who chanted his match well before he even came out.
The crowd went nuts when Colt stopped the match, jumped the guardrail & went out to do the Rogers/Fargo/Flair strut with a famous local fan all done up as 80′s Flair complete with feathery gold robe. Colt cleared an aisleway and then he and the fan did the strut for about 30 feet. Crowd ate it up. Colt still a creative genius after all these yrs. Main event/big match feel & this was the only bout(always for Colt) where the ring was totally littered by Japanese paper streamers of every color. Colt always amazin’.
*Patterson/Sarge Bootcamp Match: Money Maker Will Cuevas (who literally works for EVERY West Coast group and can do lucha, any style) finally beat (to end their top promotional feud) great area veteran Rik “wrestling personified” Luxury in a violent match to take the APW Internet title(their #2 top belt) after Will pushed out a New Jack supermarket cart full of weapons like a metal shovel, metal dustpan that was destroyed, nunchucks, whips, bats, a tazer finally using a chain and then handcuffing Rik’s hands behind his back to finally pin him. Outstanding and you can tell they studied Pat/Sarge very well in paying homage to that classic. Rik is a relatively new papa too like APW retired veteran Dave Dutra who came last night with APW original Robt Thompson as well as APW 2nd yr student/1996 Tony Jones who received one of the awards at West Coast W HOFame the other day here. Tony got his award presented by Barry Beyond the Mat Blaustein, Michael Modest by Boyce Legrand, and I presented the legends award to Pepper Gomez huge family: all his kids and grandkids–who additioinally brought his wife Boni’s ashes to HOF since we lost Boni 3 months ago. All the area legends used to love Boni & went to BBQs at the Gomez Alameda home when they weren’t going to them at Lia/Peter Maivia and Pat P/Louie Dandero’s home near San Mateo, CA. Talking Stevens, Pat, Maivia, Rocky Johnson, Tony Rocco, Shibuya and Saito, Colosso Colosetti and of course Bockwinkel, Heenan, Pedro Morales, etc.
*Former APW lead champ/powerhouse JR Kratos won an excellent bout with former APW head trainer, VInnie Massaro who finally came out to new music — that of the Sopranos great tv show. Vinnie helped make this a clinic & he said he didn’t fart for reals, during the skit taping months ago for Lucha Und that aired last Weds night. “They added that in post later…. I had no idea that’s what my character was going to do in that scene.” Vinnie nearly won the ugly husband/hot wife contest a few yrs back on Howard Stern’s show-being flown back to NYC.
*APW tag champs (for some 2 yrs) Adam Thornestowe and Lustor the Legend (aka Reno Scum who remain Jeff Jarrett’s champs) finally lost their tites when Bison Braddock (super@mat/chain plus also strong man moves for a Jr) had to sub for Adam who legit tore up his ankle and was in a hard plastic&metal/boot major cast-like device & couldn’t wrestle). He came/stayed ringside and announced his replacement. Tons of suplexes and STIFF as F moves as Scum always deliver. Will Roode, after doing RAW tv when they were in Oakland last month, now goes by basically his real name of Will Hobbs (short for Hobson). He and first-time partner Flying Lion Marcus Lewis really teared up after winning the straps, first time belts for both long time APW stars. When Thornestowe can work again in 3+ months, look for them to feud with this fellow babyface team in some terrific bouts for APW.
>Marcus Lewis/Will Hobbs take the AWA Tag Titles from Reno Scum’s Lustor the Legend & Adam’s sub in Bison Braddock
*Add’l Main Event: Cody Rhodes pinned King of Sleeze Joey Ryan after a series of his new finishers. Brilliant from start to finish & I urge you to watch this match online (APW was back to live streaming their show thankfully last night). Early on, Joey began yelling at Cody to “touch my dick.” He looked at the crowd like “I know we’re near San Francisco but..” and the crowd loudly chanted in unison “touch his dick!” He didn’t but when Joey began pulling out his baby oil and pouring it all over his chest & down the front of his trunks, Cody grabbed the bottle and began pouring the oil down Joey’s crotch too! Not sure if Joey loads up his jock with a sock but whenever he does this whether it was his other ’16 classic w/ Sean Waltman, etc — he appears to be at full mast/major wood. Mid-match, Cody allowed himself to get caught in Joey’s youtube/Japan “cock-lock” hold which he sold like a mofo. The gimmick is that the opponent grimaces in pain as if it’s an arm lock when it’s just his hand at or near Joey’s supposed dick. Then Joey acts like his dick hiptosses the opponent which Cody sold like a mofo again as the crowd cheered while laughing. Lots of mat and chain credible wrestling, but lots of ECW fun too. Joey pulled out from under the ring what looked like the Abyss bag of thumbtax, but instead gummy bears came out filling the ring almost. They then kept acting like they were going to slam the other on his back, onto the gummy candy, and each acted like they didn’t want that at all, like it would major injure them! When Joey finally got slammed back first onto the canvas of gummies, he writhed in super pain as if he was dead. The crowd wisely chanted “holy shit!!” over and over. Cody and Joey broke character and smiled for my camera, pleased that the audience was smart and so into what they were doing. Cody has to be commended for going thru with anything, everything creative genius Joey had planned out.
After about 2 minutes of this PWG brilliance, Cody also went under the ring and came up with a similar black cloth bag – which this time had real thumbtacks in it. Both ended up going onto the tacks. B’stage, postbout they each told me not one tack ever really nailed their backs thankfully – they were legit, sharp. But… both had a ton of tacks embedded into their boots which they held up for my camera.
After the pin, both got big time reactions to where it was so deafening, it felt like the loudest cheers since American Dragon/Bry D’son won King of the Indies in 2001 over Low-Ki. Chants of thank you Cody, Thank you Joey, the works. The standing ovation crowd continued for several minutes, really thanking the wrestlers for giving them such a classic. AWESOME. Cody might be the hardest-working, most popular (and that’s some great field) guy on the indie circuit I’ve seen across the U.S. at present. Just over like you can’t believe.
He told me he wants to do more of his around the U.S. work and said he had a blast, “so much fun” in his first ever match w/ Joey Ryan. That he doesn’t want to burn out the NEast where he has all the ROH dates. He’d like to work NJPW and more dates in the midwest (like Minnesota last night after I believe Nova Scotia? Thursday) West Coast, etc because he’s having the “time of my life right now.” Super devoted husband I might add, calling his wife before/after his match to check in.
*APW lead title/last main event saw new APW heel MVP (and new heel manager Cesar Black) pinned Jeff (Lucha U’s Matanza Cueto & it’s ok to reveal that since Jeff’s dealer table sells L U shirts) “Mr. Athletic” Cobb after some Cesar subterfuge. The smart crowd first began a few “Cesar Salad” chants when he was introduced as the champs mgr… then some competeting “Cobb Salad” chants were added in by some cool fans. Awesome **** 1/4 match and a suplex clinic since most of us in the back call Cobb the modern day Taz suplex machine — he can do all of them, even w/ zero help from the guy he’s working with. Just pure amazin’ strength. After about 15 Cobb suplexes, for the first time I can recall anyone doing it to Cobb, MVP began doing almost as many suplexes on Cobb, released and otherwise. Just a suplex clinic & the crowd began chanting “Suplex City… Better Than Brock” at both pros. Think MVP was TNA champ once so it was like a TNA vs Lucha Underground champ v champ type bout. Backstage when Cody and Ryan came back after their exhaustive masterpiece, Cobb smiled at them and goes “thanks for having us have to follow that!” Cobb might be stronger than Claudio/Cesaro right now.
The show was listed as having 3 main events (all 3 title matches but the tag title bout was in that great category too). Affiliated Gold Rush Wrestling shows promoted by Sparky upcoming on 1/22, an undetermined March date, then 4/22.
*I quit cohosting the show airing after 5-star (best show out there) in Wrestling Observer Live (Bry Alvarez/Mike Sempervivi). Obs Live remains 3-5 pm Sundays PDT. Same syndicator. Was already troubled by the host/guy having to find sponsors for this new show not knowing or caring about today’s wrestling beyond 1986, who then when I was in hospital 2 wks ago, started leaving demanding/threatening voice and emails telling me to give him Pepper Martin’s contacts. Cohost isn’t a natural role for me, but I worked my ass off, brought a new guest every show, tried to make it relevant even tho said host wanted to dumb the show down perhaps to his level since again, he knows little about today’s wrestling. Beyond that, every show he’d trash WWE, ask my guests like Jeff Cobb (who’s never worked in WWE) if WWE was still “full of steroids,” etc. I had no choice but to quit with all of that crap. If one had Obs Live, the smartest show out there as a lead-in, why would one force the cohost to “dumb down the show to where an 80 yr old granny in Iowa turning the dial might find our show and get it.” My answer was always, no non-fan grandma is going to be tuning into a wrestling/MMA show. If even one Observer Live listener stayed on, they’d soon turn our show right off. It was sad and stupid. I hate leaving that potential, but the host is a real piece of work. I did 15 yrs of radio with Evan Ginzberg, half that with George Schire who just had me on his new podcast and first did wrestling radio cohosting with John Arezzi in 1973 Alan Kaminsky’s wrestling radio show in NYC that had a 7 state reach on a 50,000 watter. I’m not blaming myself for this mess and apologize to anyone who invested even 5 minutes in our show “No Holds Barred” I just can’t stomach working for anymore. The hilarious thing is one of the shows I did 20 yrs before this newish show started using the NHB title, was called NHB. I should’ve trademarked it but it’s just one of many with that name (mostly podcasts) today.
– Article & photo by Dr. Mike Lano