----Larry Goodman and his SAW TV report .
Showtime All-Star Wrestling ran their first ever Sunday afternoon television taping at the Stadium Inn in Nashville. It had to be considered a success on all fronts.
The atmosphere was fantastic. After pushing the event hard on TV for the last two week, they drew a full house of 125. But it was the type of crowd that made it happen. The Stadium Inn draws a young adult element that was missing at the SAW Mill and Buffalo Billiards, the other smaller venues SAW has used for TV tapings. These folks were loud, clever and highly energized and they came to enjoy PRO WRESTLING.
A key to making this event a winner was the pacing. TV tapings with tons of matches tend to drag and inevitably have dead spots. Not so Sunday. SAW really kept it moving. They cranked out 12 matches in 2 and ½ hours with one break.
It was also a good show in the ring. I feared the roster changes SAW has been going through would result in a lower grade wrestling product, but there was no evidence in that direction on Sunday, and the booking had enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.
Reno Riggins and Michael Graham shot an opening segment. They were joined by DKE (Derrick King, Drew Haskins and Sista O’Feelyah). DKE had the title belts. Seems the title change in Cookeville didn’t hold because TV time had expired. Vordell Walker and J-Rod came out wanting a rematch. They were attacked by Picture Perfect and a giant 4 on 2 schmozz ensued. Security, refs and Hot Rod Biggs were all out there trying to break it up. Hot stuff.
Ryan Genesis said he got screwed by Picture Perfect last time and it wasn’t happening again. He was wrong.
(1) Christian Jacobs (with Jon Michael Worthington) beat Ryan Genesis in 7:12. Genesis has Rick Rude abs. Jacobs stepped aside allowing Genesis to run his own shoulder in the post. Jacobs, however, ignored the shoulder and attacked the core of the body. With Worthington providing distraction, Jacobs rolled Genesis up using the tights. Finish didn’t exactly make Genesis look like the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the crowd popped for him on the way out. I think they were responding to his no nonsense kick ass style, and he does have great abs.
Paul Adams and “Nature’s Greatest Miracle” Rick Santel returned. Santel looked like a star. Always does. Adams noted that Reno had been throwing his considerable weight around and informed him that he had retained legal counsel to sue SAW for wrongful termination and unsafe working environment. He said it would be a case of “mind over fatter” and introduced Santel to replace Reno on color commentary.
(2) Derrick King Enterprises (Derrick King & Drew Haskins with Sista O’Feelyah) beat Vordell Walker & J-Rod to retain the SAW Tag Team Championship in 10:22. When DKE feed and bump for Walker, it’s money. Haskins was being lit up bigtime, until a piece of DKE chicanery turned the match in their favor. J-Rod played babyface-in-peril, leaving the house cleaning to the power guy. Walker and King did their thing with the overhead belly to belly suplex. They do they spot in every match and it never fails to get a pop. Haskins made the save. All four in. Haskins got rid of J-Rod and hit Walker. King pinned Walker with a superkick for a surprisingly clean victory for the champions. Walker wasn’t insanely over like he was in Cookeville.
Graham and Santel set up for a ringside interview. It looked innocent enough. Flash Flanagan burst through the curtain and whacked Santel in the head with his kendo stick. One shot and Santel was out cold. The place was quiet. It caught everyone off guard. Plus, I’m not sure how aware this crowd was of their story, because it’s been a few months now. Santel never moved a muscle. They had to carry him out.
(3) Flash Flanagan beat Johnny Bandana in 4:04. I get a kick out of Bandana’s comical bumping style. He pulled the ropes down on Flanagan and got a surprising amount of offense before Flanagan pinned him with the springboard legdrop.
[b](4) Tommy Mercer beat Jake Slater in 3 minutes. [/b]This match could be problematic for TV. The crowd treated Mercer like a babyface star with chants and the whole nine yards. Nobody gave a rat’s ass about Slater, who primarily works Middle Georgia indies and was a complete unknown to the Stadium Inn crowd. Mercer pinned Slater after a pair of Attitude Adjustments and said he was coming for Stevens.
(5) Drew Haskins (with Derrick King & Sista O’Feelyah) beat J-Rod in 8:31. They opened with chain wrestling. It was a nice change of tempo from everything else thus far. J-Rod busted out the aerial attack. He knocked out a ceiling tile coming off the top. Haskins hit a classic Eddie Gilbert hotshot to take over with no outside help. Then came the massive interference. Walker came out to second J-Rod, but that didn’t stop King from interfering. At one point, J-Rod took a killer face bump into the turnbuckle. Finish saw Haskins fall out of the ring to set up a sneak attack by King. J-Rod cut King off. O’Feelyah got involved and J-Rod grabbed her by the wrist. King saved O’Feelyah. In the confusion, Haskins nailed J-Rod with the belt. Walker was powerless to stop it. Walker looked weak here – like he badly needs Wolfie D.
Babu received a hearty “sweep that mat” chant for his efforts.
(6) “King” Shane Williams beat Arrick “The Dragon” Andrews in 8:21. Williams used “Perfect Strangers” as his intro music ala ECW Shane Douglas. An inspired choice IMO. They had another good match. That’s three in a row. Andrews did a slow burn that boiled over, and they were off and running. Williams worked on Andrews’ back. Crowd was big with the chants and signs. Reno had to run over and confiscate one that read “wreck his ****!” Andrews hit a springboard back elbow to spark a comeback. His corner clothesline was stellar. Williams kicked out of a spinning heel kick and grabbed his crown. Ref Mark Herron removed the crown, but Williams also had a chain. Andrews ducked the chain shot and went for Dragon’s Curse. Williams ducked that and connected with the loaded fist for the 1-2-3. Andrews sold being completely out of it and had to helped to the back.
Intermission. Flanagan set up shop the lobby.
Genesis came out pissed. Said he was going to put his fist through the back of Jacob’s skull.
(7) Ryan Genesis beat Christian Jacobs (with Jon Michael Worthington) in 7:56. Genesis was on fire. They almost lost another ceiling tile on his vertical suplex. Genesis hit a tope. Finally, Jacobs hung Genesis out to dry and got a chance to take his vest off. Jacobs hit two big moves for near falls. When Genesis hit a spinebuster slam, there was Worthington with the distraction again. DKE came out and offered to let Jacobs use one of their belts on Genesis. Jacobs declined. Genesis caught Jacobs by surprise with a DVD. Good match. Better than the first one. King and Worthington were having big problems after the match.
(8) Vordell Walker beat Jake Slater via submission in 4 minutes. Walker was closer to the loosy goosey Vordell that was so over in Cookeville, and the crowd responded accordingly. Slater tapped out to a Boston crab of all things.
(9) J-Rod beat Cody Melton in 6:10. A highly competitive babyface vs. babyface affair. Good action. The crowd was totally OK with it. Finish saw Melton duck J-Rod’s Superman knee (as it’s known in Georgia) and get a near fall with a rolling reverse. J-Rod connected the second time, although I’ve seen him hit it a lot better. J-Rod got his best pop so far in SAW for the win.
(10) The debuting Jocephus beat Johnny Bandana in 4:38. Big pop for Bruiser Brody look alike Jocephus, who is well known to the Stadium Inn crowd from his USWO appearances. Some of the University of Dutch training is taking hold based on the back elbow and clothesline Jocephus was dishing out in the opening minute. He still looks green in other spots. Jocephus won it with a great looking chokeslam. Props to Bandana for getting way up for it.
(11) Drew Haskins (with Derrick King & Sista O’Feelyah) beat Nick Iggy in 5:09. Iggy made a hell of a good showing in his first pro match. He had lot of friends in the crowd so the heat was crazy. Haskins was a bumping fool. Iggy scored three quick one counts, so Haskins bailed to consult with King. Fans chanted “kiss him”. Haskins tossed Iggy out and King threw him into the post. The Iggy rooters were livid. They chanted “take his life” and “eat his soul”. Iggy’s comeback was tremendous. King took a bump that got a monster pop. Iggy hit a 615 (Nashville area code) followed by a flying bodypress for a near fall. Haskins pinned Iggy with his feet on the ropes. That got a “bullshit” chant. Very fun match.
Riggins and Graham had to reshoot the opening here.
Reno said Iggy had a bright future. Crowd agreed wholeheartedly. Reno said Iggy had a good teacher (Reno).
(12) The SAW International Title Match between Champion Chase Stevens and Tommy Mercer ended as a no contest (around 15 minutes). Top notch main event. I gained a new level of respect for Stevens’ ability. It also had the best heat. Crowd was about 80/20 for Stevens. His intro got the loudest babyface pop of the day. It was a seesaw battle, pitting Mercer’s aggressive brawling against Stevens methodical attack on the body part (Mercer’s knee). Stevens had Mercer in a leglock with the crowd screaming for the tap out, but it was no dice. Mercer hit a devastating double underhook DDT, and Stevens rolled out to the floor. Stevens was limp. Ref Joe Williams gave the X sign. That was new for SAW. That didn’t stop Mercer from giving Stevens a DDT on the floor. Mercer did a number on Williams. Jess Fields came out. Fans chanted “get Jess”. Mercer gave Fields the Mercy Kill, then gave Williams the same treatment. Mercer surveyed the carnage and left. Just an awesome finish.
Riggins told the fans to clear the building so they could get help for Stevens, who appeared to be in seriously bad shape. Bonnie Baldwin rushed over the scene and was prepared to offer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Chase insisted that the problem was confined to his neck.
NOTES: They taped three hours of television (episodes 145-147) and now have enough TV in the can to last until the Gallatin taping on October 9…A couple of last minute changes to the format were required. SAW didn’t find out until close to bell time that Wolfie D wasn’t going to be there due to some sort of communication breakdown about the date. Santel isn’t quite ready to go coming of the dislocated knee, hence the injury angle with Flanagan…Worthington hopes to be back in the ring by late September, but nothing is definite yet…It was a two camera shoot with NWA Main Event TV editor Andrew Becker on the handheld camera…USWO’s Jimmy Daniel handled the sound…SAW is considering another Sunday afternoon taping during the fall, if something can be arranged that doesn’t conflict with the Titans football schedule…USWO promoter Tony Falk took part in the event. Falk reminded me that USWO is at the Stadium Inn every Friday night, as they have been for 63 consecutive months with nary a missed week…It was a rough week for Jess Fields. His ribs were already messed up from a previous inadvertent kick from Mercer…Michael Graham had been missing from his play-by-play duties due to his radio gig. Graham works for 97.1 WRQQ-FM in Nashville, which is the new flagship station for Vanderbilt football.