Trevor Lee is one of the best wrestlers on the planet.
Yes, that may be a superfluous claim to make. Especially in regards to a guy some of our readers may have never heard of. Those who have heard of him know him best from his work during the last couple years in Impact Wrestling as a former X-Division Champion and protege to Shane “Hurricane” Helms. Even then, while Lee’s athleticism has always managed to exceed expectations, he hasn’t been cranking out the kind of 5-star matches in Impact that he’s capable of doing on a regular and consistent basis. Perhaps readers have seen such matches in organizations like PWG and OMEGA, but Lee’s star truly shines in the underseen promotion known as the Carolina Wrestling Federation. Or, better known simply as, CWF.
Held in his native land of North Carolina, CWF has weekly episodes uploaded to Youtube every Wednesday night and has been Trevor Lee’s proving ground to showcase the best of his ability. In fact, Lee debuted in the wrestling industry by first entering a CWF ring in 2009. From there, he slowly perfected his craft, rising through the ranks of the promotion. Year by year, Lee found himself winning every title there is to win in CWF. This would include the CWF Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championships (with Chet Sterling), the Rising Generation League Championship, and the Television Championship. By time 2016 rolled around, all that was missing from Trevor Lee’s resume was a CWF Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. That would all change on February 27th, 2016 following a 105-minute slugger of a contest with Roy Wilkins.
Lee and Wilkins wrestled for nearly two hours in a No DQ No Time Limit war. The stakes were high as Lee put his CWF career on the line against Wilkins’ title. Keep in mind that there was a strong belief that Trevor Lee might lose this one. Given he had just started working with Impact Wrestling, people thought that Lee would wrap up with CWF to work full-time for TNA. Plus, the event this title match took place at was called End of an Era. Thankfully for us CWF enthusiasts, we were wrong and by the end of the match, Lee was holding the CWF Mid-Atlantic Championship over his head. It took him 105 minutes to do so, but it was worth it. Not just for him, but for us watching at home.
In 105 minutes, this match had it all. This match gave us an electric atmosphere, run-in after run-in, and a ferocious battle between two gladiators going at it for the ultimate prize in CWF. Above anything else, Lee puts on the performance of a lifetime as he fights, scratches, and claws his way until the end. He endures uneven odds and an absolute beating just so he can call himself CWF Mid-Atlantic Champion. You’re pulling for him every stretch of the way and he not only makes you believe he can win, you hope that he does. And in the end, he earns himself the victory and the championship.
To be quite honest, the match-up between Lee and Wilkins is a hard one to recommend. Two hours is a lot of time to dedicate to a match, especially if you’ve never seen an episode of CWF before. Therefore, this probably wouldn’t be the best way to introduce yourself to CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. However, if you happen to be a CWF fan who is familiar with the wrestlers involved (especially those who interfere), this is feels like a huge treat. If not, then you still have to appreciate the stamina, endurance, and the punishment that these two men prove to handle in the match. Whether you’re familiar with CWF or not, a match that runs one hour and forty-five minutes is a hard sell. Although, if you can withstand the demanding time-frame, I promise that you will not be disappointed.
Shortly after his match with Wilkins, Lee returned to the CWF Sportatorium and handed out an opportunity to 19-year old (then) Rising Generation League Champion, Jesse Adler, in his first title defense. Which, oddly enough, was refereed by current Rising Generation League Champion, Cain Justice, pre-wrestling career, but I digress. Since this match, Adler has stopped wrestling, but that really is a shame because the kid could go in the ring. Adler wrestled like a seasoned vet despite being a novice player. The story of the match showcased Lee belittling Adler whenever he had the chance in order to instill some fire into the rookie, but Adler looked great every step of the way. He helped tell a good story accompanied by some great in-ring skill. As far as Lee’s title defenses go, this one has gone forgotten and overlooked, but this might be his most important defense.
Lee’s match against Adler set the precedent for his string of fantastic title defenses and kicked off Lee’s title reign to a strong start. For that reason, the Adler match should be re-evaluated and given the proper attention, as should Lee’s second defense against Lance Lude. Yes, his contest with Lude is a little more comedic than the rest of Lee’s defense, but that doesn’t mean it is any less entertaining. Right after his match with Lude, Trevor Lee defended his title against Cedric Alexander in a match that I would argue to be the best match to take place during Lee’s reign.
Both Cedric Alexander and Trevor Lee have proven to be two phenomenal competitors and when staring each other down in the middle of the ring, they make magic together. Rarely wasting a second of their time together, the two create almost an hour’s worth of jaw-dropping moments in this magnificent contest. The two compliment each other so well here. Perhaps commentator Brad Stutts said it best when he compared this contest to watching Superman fight Bizarro Superman. These two warriors were mirror images of each other who gave each other the best that they could muster and what they could muster was one epic contest. I love every second of the match and you should too if you were to see it. Go watch it right now. Really, you should watch all of these matches, but especially go out your way to see Cedric Alexander vs Trevor Lee.
Following Alexander vs Lee, Lee would have another series of terrific matches against Andrew Everett, John Skyler, Joshua Cutshall, and Arik Royal. Then, we got the first dud of Lee’s title defenses during his match with Otto Schwanz. It’s not a dud because the match is bad because, trust me, it isn’t. It actually felt like an amateur wrestling contest with some extra intensity. What made the match feel like a disappointing dud was that it ended in a disqualification thanks to a run-in from Brad Attitude. I understand why it had to end that way as it made Lee’s feud with Attitude all the more personal (which, more on Attitude in a minute), but seeing a dud finish after watching so many great finishes to perfect matches just knocks the wind out of you. It makes the overall match feel underwhelming compared to the rest of Lee’s defenses.
As for Brad Attitude, his run-in saw him attempt to cut Lee’s hair. The referee tried to prevent it and got his hair cut instead. Under these circumstances, this is the most heated rivalry Lee has had yet in his title reign. Especially with the odds stacked against him–the stipulations being a 30-minute time limit where the title can change hands on a draw and only Attitude is allowed to use weapons–this was Lee’s biggest challenge yet. At every moment of the match, Lee looks like he’s got his back against the corner. His blood boils just looking at Attitude, but he can’t use weapons to get his point across. Meanwhile, Brad Attitude can do whatever he wants and jumps at the chance to try and get an easy victory. The bad blood between these two men is loud and clear, and so is the blood dripping down Lee’s face.
The match is almost better than Lee vs Alexander for the story told alone. Brad Attitude and Trevor Lee beat the unholy hell out of each other and it was fun to watch during the whole match duration all the way up until the pitch perfect ending. After that, we got another tour de force between Lee and Royal. Then, Lee successfully defended his title in a 6-Man contest, then a one-on-one match with Chip Day. Both matches were equally great. The match with Day in particular inspired CWF newbie, Alex Daniels, to challenge Lee for the title.
Most recently, at CWF’s retro Saturday Night Special, Lee managed to put on an absolute clinic in a title defense against newcomer Alex Daniels. This match really goes to show how capable Trevor Lee is of making his opponent look like a million bucks. For a bit of context here, prior to the championship bout, Alex Daniels was not a familiar face to the North Carolina crowd. His only match in CWF up until this point was his winning debut against Chip Day. Daniels came off as impressive, but not like a legitimate contender to the CWF Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. Daniels still had the presentation and the makings of a young rookie. By time his match with Trevor Lee was over, he looked like a mega-star. A young rookie who received a minor reaction upon entering the ring started receiving a raucous ovation by the end of it.
By the end of the match, the crowd was screaming for Alex Daniel’s name. Even in defeat, when he got his heat back from the crowd, Daniels got a louder reaction leaving the ring in boos than he did entering. Now, of course, a lot of that has to do with Daniels’ ability to rise to the occasion when presented with a huge opportunity, but Lee’s ability to sell to the point that he can make us believe that a complete rookie can take his title also has a bit to do with it.
Now, we are weeks away from Trevor Lee’s next title defense on June 24th, at CWF Absolute Justice against Nick Richards. There is without a shadow of a doubt in any of our minds that Lee is set to put on another classic contest. What remains uncertain is whether or not Lee will leave the ring with the title around his waist as he has before. Whether he retains or not, the fact remains that Trevor Lee is a key jewel in CWF Wrestling and a far too overlooked gem on the wrestling scene.
Looking back at Lee’s many title defenses should highlight just how talented of an athlete this man is. For 468 days of his CWF Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title reign, Lee has put on a must see match with every man he stepped in the ring with. Whether he continues cranking out matches like these in CWF, in Impact, or perhaps at some miscellaneous training base in Orlando, Trevor Lee’s name should be leaving the lips of many a wrestling fan.