Freelance Wrestling hits Chicago’s Logan Square Auditorium for “Don’t Let Me Cave In” on Friday, March 24, 2017, which will be held in a new, much larger venue for the company to run, and is a far riskier, far more ambitious endeavor than running the Bottom Lounge or the Abbey Pub – two intimate venues in their own right. But Freelance usually knows what it’s doing, and its talent works hard, so I’m expecting the turnout to be good and the wrestling to be a touch better. But I’m going to stop babbling and let you read my rundown of the matches.
The match: Shane Sabre vs. Pat Monix vs. Kody Rice vs. Suge D vs. Chris Castro vs. Trey Miguel, Six-Man Scramble Match
The skinny: The Six-Man Scramble is the staple of Freelance Wrestling, a monthly showcase of eclectic talent of varying styles, personalities, looks and body types, and that diversity holds true in this month’s edition. Rice and Castro are both bigger guys, which should give them the advantage over the more fleet-of-foot Monix, Sabre and Miguel. As for Suge, well, he’s the heart and soul of Freelance, and seeing him this low on the card is worrisome. Can the Kang rebound and boost his status, or will one of the other five competitors step up and prove victorious?
My take: While I don’t see this Scramble being any crazier than months’ past due to some of the names in it, it should still deliver the goods in the opening spot on the show. Chris Castro and Suge D aren’t known for their backflips or their corkscrews or their springboards, and these matches have almost become known for that sort of offense. I expect some crazy stuff from Monix, who needs to be booked everywhere starting yesterday, and I expect Suge to eek out the win. Unfortunately, I do not know much of Miguel, and very little of Sabre to make any judgments on their work at this moment, but of course this is a terrific opportunity for me to see what both men have to offer.
The match: The N-Words vs. The Whirlwind Gentlemen, Freelance Wrestling Tag Team Championships
The skinny: Jesus Bryce and Acid Jaz are the two freshest cats around, and their reign of dominance has only gotten stronger every passing month. With recent victories over other non-Freelance tag teams The Carnies and The Smash Mouth All Stars, the N-Words seem to be running out of competition. The Whirlwind Gentlemen, meanwhile, hail from a company called Paragon Pro Wrestling, or so my light, page-one-of-Google research indicates. Is there an upset in the making, with the N-Words caught up in the breeze? Or will the boys straight outta Compton cop them tag titles after yet another victory?
My take: A theme for the night seems to be “I’ve never seen [so-and-so],” which isn’t a bad thing to experience every so often, I don’t think. I enjoy being exposed to wrestlers I’ve never seen; whether these gentlemen become my favorites, or the subject of my mild, occasional heckling, remains to be seen. The N-Words take this one.
The match: Isaias Velasquez vs. Rickey Shane Page
The skinny: Velazquez is a former Freelance Champion and remains a top contender every show he’s on. By and large, he is the best pure wrestler in the company today. Rickey Shane Page is just a big human being, and a tough son of a gun too, having won last year’s Tournament of Death (a CZW production). Isaias is going to have to cut down the big man if he wants to stand a chance here. Can the former champ savvy his way into a win against the deathmatches’ newest star? Or will the Rickey Army invade Chicago and will him to victory?
My take: This should be an interesting blend of styles, with the pure wrestling of Isaias and the heavy-hitting, explosive offense from Page making for a most unique combination. I’m a big fan of Rickey, and I think he’s underrated, so if he beats Isaias here, he instantly throws his name into the championship conversation. If he comes back, I mean. I may be showing my bias here, but I will take RSP to win this one, perhaps with a rematch down the road.
The match: Kobe Durst and Nick Brubaker vs. Rob Matter and Stephen Wolf
The skinny: The team of Brubaker and Durst has an ever-growing chip on its shoulder, and month-to-month, they just want to beat people up. Durst has been injured recently, though, so the pair is reunited here for a match against two of Freelance’s rising young stars, Rob Matter and Stephen Wolf. This matchup is a young boys’ showcase, minus Brubaker, but he can join the party all the same.
My take: Wolf is on the rise, as is Durst up north in Canada, so keep an eye on each of them. Rob Matter has a lot of talent, but due to his size, he faces an uphill battle in the ring against bigger, harder-hitting opponents like Brubaker, though I wouldn’t call him a liability to the team. Expect plenty of evil from Brubaker and Durst, and maybe some flippy-doos on the opposing side. I’ll take the bad lads for $600, Alex.
The match: Team BETA (Craig Mitchell, Kenny Sutra, Matt Knicks) vs. The Hierarchy (Chip Day, Murder-1, Adrian Armour)
The skinny: BETA has been Freelance’s established stable of baddies for the past couple years, and they’re competing against a group of guys that is no stranger to trios action in The Hierarchy. The group, which wrestles for companies like AWE in Georgia, and recently took part in the SCI Scenic City Rumble, is looking to establish a name for itself in the Midwest. But it will have to come at the expense of Freelance’s gatekeepers.
My take: I have never seen anything from The Hierarchy, so I am going into that half of the match blind, and again, that’s OK. You ever watch a movie without seeing the previews for it? Same story here. I want to go into this match fresh. I’ve heard a lot about Chip Day, so I’ll be keeping a close watch on him in this one. I’m also intrigued to see how BETA hashes things out. Will they play things more even-handed or go the rudo route? I pick the BETA boys by an eyelash. Which, I suppose, is the equivalent of kicking out immediately following the 3-count. Like Kane at WrestleMania XIV.
The match: Darin Corbin vs. Arik Cannon
The skinny: Arik Cannon. Just kidding, but boy, he sure has lost a lot of weight! Good for him. Bad for him, and the rest of the audience while I’m at it, is Darin Corbin, the dirtiest, stinkiest, rottenest guy in all of Freelance, and he’s a ginger-bred man to boot. Fans are best served booing him, and loudly at that. Cannon recently appeared on “205 Live” and seemingly has been riding that high ever since. Again, good for him. Both need a win here.
My take: I’m only teasing about Corbin – but he picks on the crowds, so he had it coming. And A Bryan Kendrick, or Cannon, he’s a PBR playboy in a PBR paradise, so he’s over like rover. That considered, the reaction Corbin would get for winning this match would be lovely, so he’s my pick. Sorry, Arik. You look great, by the way.
The match: “The Ego” Robert Anthony vs. Stevie Fierce
The skinny: Anthony called it quits after a loss to Ethan Page at last year’s “Freelance Strikes Back,” but made his surprise return last month to confront Fierce. Young Stevie, meanwhile, is moving his way up the card and looking good while doing it, so what does he care? Unfortunately for Fierce, Anthony has made it his mission to cleanse Freelance of punks like him. After all, that is the reason he came back.
My take: This should be a fun matchup. The hatred Anthony has for Fierce really shined through last show, and if he can keep up that intensity, he is going to win. A total drubbing of Stevie is a possibility, though I feel he might have a trick or two up his sleeve. Give me Anthony in a banger.
The match: Matt Cage vs. GPA (c), Freelance Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
The skinny: Champion GPA looks to extend his time on top of the Freelance mountain against challenger Matt Cage, who has been on a warpath in recent months while employing a “take no prisoners” attitude that has left the likes of Chris Castro and his girlfriend, among others, laid out. Employing the Con-Chair-To as a go-to maneuver, Cage has never been more vicious. GPA needs another victory to add to his already impressive, if young title reign, while Cage wants desperately to win “the most prestigious championship in Chicago.” Well, next to the Commissioner’s Trophy. And his words, not mine.
My take: Cage is set to retire from the ring in June, and he looks better than ever, so a thank you title win here isn’t too out of the question. But the torch passing between Ali and GPA is just too fresh for the move to make any sense, and to establish GPA as a true top dog, he needs victories over established guys like “The Money.” GPA wins in the match of the night. Does Cage shake hands? Hell no, he doesn’t shake hands.
This will be a fun show, no doubt about it. Freelance has established a nice, young core group of talent that is enjoyable to watch, and their monthly bring-ins are usually on point with the rest of the card without ever distracting from it or taking away. I expect Rickey Shane Page to deliver, and I am excited to see what The Whirlwind Gentlemen and The Hierarchy have to offer.