El Chupacabra defeats Sheik Khan Abadi
Jeckles The Jester def King Fale via DQ
Six Man Tag: El Mariachi, Lucha Magnifico, & JR Kratos def Suburban Commandos & Will Rood
SWF Heavyweight Championship Match: Dave Dutra vs KUSHIDA went to Time Limit Draw thus Dutra retains
IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura def ‘Old School’ Oliver John
IWGP Jr Tag Titles: Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov) def Alex Shelley & AJ Kirsch
It was a warm day in Gridley but the Butte County Fair was in full swing. I got there about 40 minutes before the show started and there was already a very good sized crowd taking up more than two thirds of the seats available. I had never been to a SWF show before but was even more surprised at being able to purchase NJPW shirts at the merchandise table. The crowd was ready to get into the action as I sat down with my burrito & drink ready to take in the event.
El Chupacabra defeats Sheik Khan Abadi: This was a decent opening match and also was the beginning of a theme that occurred throughout the show. While the area I was sitting in filled up, more and more women & men along with their children were making comments about how fake wrestling was and how silly this match seemed. But as this match picked up towards the end you could hear the audible OOOOHs and AAAAhs coming out of their mouths and eventually they just sat and were commenting on how athletic Abadi was and started cheering for El Chupacabra. This could continue on throughout the show in the various areas I wondered to in order to get a better feel for the crowd and their reactions.
Jeckles The Jester def King Fale via DQ: This was my first time witnessing the fun character of Jeckles. I had seen King Fale a handful of times so I knew what to expect but it was great to see it live. Both of these guys really worked hard to get into the crowd and eventually spilled the action to really get the crowd excited. Fale was tremendous and the crowd who at first laughed at his gimmick were terrified at the end. Even the teenage boys who were whooping and shouting things like ‘steroids’ at Fale began to truly get into it once Fale started destroying Jeckles. The way the match ended in a DQ with King Fale truly demolishing Jeckles got them on to their feet telling the ref to stop the match mere seconds before it occurred and was a real lesson in what pro wrestling truly is, story telling.
Six Man Tag: El Mariachi, Lucha Magnifico, & JR Kratos def Suburban Commandos & Will Rood: This match to me was the most important on the show. The crowd was great and more than %70 were Hispanics who were there to have a good time. El Mariachi & Lucha Magnifico (who really should not have had the Rey Mysterio mask on as he was good enough to stand on his own without having to rely on a famous mask to get over) fed to the crowd and the crowd loved it. Conversely to them were the Suburban Commandos, two big brothers who just wanted to fight and were ready to get into it with the crowd about how huge they were and how strong they were. Think Scott Norton sized guys but with the gimmicks of the High Energy. Will Rood who teamed with the Suburban Commandos was a great talent and I was looking forward to seeing him in action. He reminded me of a freshened up Pope (from TNA) and worked a lot better in my opinion. The greatest part of the match for me was the hope spot of the Suburban Commandos beating down on the Hispanic heroes throughout most of the match. El Mariachi was crawling to get that hot tag in after multiple attempts to pin him to the mat. When he finally tagged it was not Lucha Magnifico but JR Kratos who got the tag and the crowd went nuts as they had not seen him in the match for most of it. This guy was huge, I’m talking Goldberg huge. Very similar look as well and when he came in, he took the Suburban Commandos off their feet with power slams & clotheslines. But that was not the end of it. At one point all the heels were outside the ring and JR Kratos looked at the crowd. They cheered as it seemed they knew what was coming, JR Kratos came off the back rope and flew over the top rope onto all three men on the outside in a spectacular dive. Pictures will be coming soon. In the end it got the crowd really hot for the 3 main events and I had to admit that this first hour of a two hour show flew by a lot more smoothly than some others I have been to.
SWF Heavyweight Championship Match: Dave Dutra vs KUSHIDA went to Time Limit Draw thus Dutra retains: These last three matches were given main event treatment in that they had the ring introductions after both men were in the ring which I felt was a nice touch. Dutra was very snug and I mean that in the best way. Everything he did was tight and well paced. He had a basic heel moveset and used that to it’s fullest advantage. The crowd after the previous match were ready for some ground and pound action and that is what they got. KUSHIDA did everything you would have expected, including a lot of Tajiri-inspired spots with the backspring elbows & short round house kicks to the head, as I’ve been told, “That’s because he was TAJIRI’s protege and top student after all”. It was a great match and one I’m hoping will be put either online or on DVD for everyone to see. KUSHIDA was not known at all, but by the end of the match after a lot of great build had the crowd wanting more time to see him possibly defeat Dutra for the title. Dutra, in classic heel style said it was an open book, that any time KUSHIDA wanted another title shot he could have it… just not tonight.
IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura def ‘Old School’ Oliver John: This match started hard and heavy in the beginning and it really got over. Many male fans around me were shocked at how innovative they felt Nakamura was as obviously they had never watched NJPW and were not expecting his kicks to come out of no where or his running knee lift with Oliver John face down over the top rope turnbuckle. It was a well paced match and several times Oliver John looked like he was going to take the title believably, even to me. I remembered John from his previous NWA challenges and enjoyed seeing him live for the first time. He got several chants of ‘Old School’ going as clearly he was the fan favorite for this crowd. Ultimately he fell to Nakamuras running knee to the face called the Boma Ye and the crowd cheered the ending as both men had proven what warriors they were.
IWGP Jr Tag Titles: Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov) def Alex Shelley & AJ Kirsch: This by far was the funnest match of the night as all four men really were on their game. I was impressed by Kirsch the most as it was him that I had the lowest expectations for and that is by no means a knock but when you’re in there with three talents in Rocky Romero, Alex Shelley, & Alex Koslov it would be hard to tell me anyone could hang with them. This was great from the get go as Romero and Koslov really ripped into the crowd for being farmers, rednecks, and men who cheated on their wives (several wives around me stated that this was a true statement) but Shelley and Kirsch came to win those IWGP Jr Titles and started the fight even before the introductions could be made. They took this all over the place, into the crowd, into the high riser bleachers, and the crowd loved it. I barely had time to take pictures as I was just watching and having fun along with every one else. Koslov and Romero worked over Kisrch and it was obvious that Shelley was waiting to get in there and show the crowd what he could do. In the end though the Forever Hooligans won with their knee drop from the top rope/reverse sit-out suplex combo. They tried to beat down on Kirsch & Shelley after the match which led to KUSHIDA making the save. There were a number of NJPW photographers at the show so no doubt this will turn into something in Japan. A great way to end the show.
Overall: I had a great time and I am looking forward to seeing the main talent roster in action in October. As always you can check me out on twitter at http://twitter.com/CGSTONG but be sure to follow & stay with SWF as they have big things coming. Be sure to also check out http://PuroresuSpirit.com for everything Puro. They’ve been cited by PWtorch.com, 411mania.com, & the Wrestling Observer.
CHECK OUT THE PODCAST I DID WITH JOSH EDLOW, OWNER OF THE SWF AND SWF CHAMPION DAVE DUTRA BEFORE THIS SHOW TOOK PLACE AS BOTH MEN TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP THEY HAVE WITH NOT ONLY NJPW BUT IMPACT WRESTLING AS WELL BY CLICKING HERE.