Freelance Wrestling vs. CZW
July 8, 2016
Watch: CZW Studios, Smart Mark Video
Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
Freelance Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling clashed for a night of action, showcasing the best of their own promotions.
Matt Knicks vs. Brubaker vs. Kobe Durst vs. Rey Furia vs. Austin Theory vs. AR Fox
This is how Freelance always kicks off their shows. The six man scramble is a stable and launches the winner into further contention for the Freelance Championship. This was all fun and games, literally. A few wrenches were thrown in the mix as Austin Theory, arguably the youngest, greenest wrestler with the most potential on the U.S. indies made his Mid-West debut. Theory trains at WWA4 in Atlanta and quickly became their champion. His trainer his non other than the man who came in at #6, AR Fox. The two were anchors of the match, with Theory going from “Who are you?” to “holy shit this guy is awesome” status. I can attest to that. AR Fox was incredible as always in these sprints. Durst is a solid hand to any promotion, seeing him getting bookings in the U.S. and gaining notoriety is awesome. Furia could have gotten more time but he’s a cool looking luchadore. The rest was history, as Fox got revenge on Theory by hitting him with the Lo Mein Pain and the trademark 450 for the victory.
Two out of Three Tables: Robert Anthony vs. Ethan Page
In what is a unique take on both the table match and 2/3 falls match stipulations, these two “Ego” nicknames collided in another grudge match. This was a brawl, headed all over the arena and providing us with a fantastic GIF of staffer Brandon swigging some beer. That’s besides the point. Ethan took the first fall with a cutter through the table. Ego Anthony hit a top rope DVD through a table on Ethan for the second fall. Lastly, the third fall saw both guys fall through at the same time, resulting in a draw. This wasn’t supposed to be a workhorse extravaganza as it was more so storyline advancement with a unique match stipulation. The crowd was into it. I was into it for what it was. It worked.
Bryce Benjamin vs. Stevie Fierce
The clashes between ‘The N Words’ (yes, actually the tag team’s name) and Beauty and the Beast continue! Both charismatic athletic members of the teams clashed in what was a really fun under the radar addition to the card. This won’t be what I remember the show for, but it was a brilliant shoe-in between action. Even CZW fans that tune into Freelance for the first time will be surprised with how good these guys are even if their gimmicks are wacky. The Freelance tag division is great. The stipulation for the match was that if Benjamin won, they got to pick the stipulation for the August 27 show. If Stevie Fierce won, the N Words were no longer allowed to challenge for the tag belts as long as Beauty and the Beast were champs. Benjamin won, but that’s not the last chapter in this novel.
Acid Jaz and Rob Matter, the other two partners had a match. I’m not using a star rating bar for this because it went 5 seconds. It was an extension of the stipulation, so basically a second shot for the cowardly flamboyant heels to try and overcome. Matter lasted 5 seconds. Finish. 1-2-3. The N Words pick TLC as the stipulation for the title match in August. I’m incredibly excited for that and these two matches did a good job to build to then. Just another feather in the cap of what’s been a variety filled card, even to this point.
Arik Cannon, Chris Castro, Sally Stitches & Space Monkey vs. Brittany Blake, Conor Claxton, David Starr & Joe Gacy
This spotlighted all those that didn’t get the stipulation matches or singles matches. This is team warfare. It definitely was … warfare … in a special way! Space Monkey was the main spotlight of the match, getting his tail worked over by the entire CZW team. I find it so cool, that on a show with variety, we get a 4 vs. 4 tag match with a Monkey playing face in peril. I love wrestling. This was more a fun exhibition than anything and that’s completely fine. Castro was impressive in how he managed to bounce around for a man of his size. Sally Stitches (don’t expose her using that other alias!) was tremendous as per usual, putting on a show. She’s better than most guys at this point. She got the fall for the team and Freelance prevails.
Hardcore Rules: Sugar Dunkerton vs. DJ Hyde
I hold nothing back in my reviews except for my co-opted NJPW opinions. Just kidding. But DJ Hyde is quite bad. He’s not particularly a good worker and he’s definitely not what you’d look for in a wrestler. However, Suge D is our lord and savior. He carried Deej to a great match. The two did everything to expose the CZW side of wrestling to Freelance. Brawling up and down the Lounge, Suge D being suplexed on the bar, etc. The best part of the match came when Suge took the bump and got absolutely ripped him. His arm leaked like hell and eventually he gained a beautiful crimson mask. Suge, like a warrior, took DJ and had fans chop him. A united Freelance audience saw Suge D triumph! DJ, thank goodness, is willing to put people over at least. Sugar Dunkerton increased his value tenfold here and showcased why he’s such a unique, compelling professional wrestler; that is capable of telling feelgood stories.
After the match DJ put over Suge on the mic. Damn right he better of. Christian Rose decimated Suge D after that which builds a match between them. He was supposed to only be here for commentary but by god he took advantage of the beat down already given to Sugar. Solid storyline advancement and you can’t help but hate the guy for orchestrating such events.
I Quit: GPA vs. Dominic Cialoni
I Quit matches on the indies are always interesting to examine. At first I wasn’t a fan of this and was questioning why make this the stipulation in the first place. But it turned itself around well and proved to be yet another asset to the card. I won’t have much to say when it comes to this because it followed a standard formula. GPA looked to be on the defense a lot of the time, but managed to pull off a “really fun fired up babyface fighting for his life” comeback. He grabbed two straps and strapped Dominic to the ropes in a legs spread open matter. Shots to the gut, dick and more. He strapped a chain to his boot and went ham. Dominic whined and they had to stop the match before anything got too excessive. Good stuff.
CZW Heavyweight Championship: Matt Tremont (c) vs. Isaias Velasquez
This was such a bizarre match on paper but it turned out to be called, as I liked to call them, a mini hoot! Tremont is the “king of the deathmatches” where as Isaias was most recently Freelance Champ, facing the likes of Jimmy Rave and Sally Stitches. Tremont demanded falls count anywhere because CZ fuckin W. The match picked right up when the bell rang, seeing a tope con hilo from Velasquez in about 3.3 seconds. This match even spilled outside which saw a hilarious Irish whip bump into a dumpster. Through the crowd and back into the ring, this also saw, for the SECOND time that night, a brigade of chairs filling the ring in that ECW-esque fashion. Tremont hit multiple moves including two DVDs but Velasquez wanted to take home the gold. The dynamic of Isaias still being cocky as hell but now being crowd favorite was the best thing about this match. The finish saw Isaias hit the chairs in scary fashion and Tremont pinning him to retain. It was a short but fulfilling match. The perfect appeal of a crossover show, a unique match being played out to see a different dynamic than you’ve ever seen.
More importantly what happened after the match lays the foundation of a future feud. Craig Mitchell revealed himself to be the new leader of BETA after the match, laying waste to Isaias after his hard fought battle. BETA were there the whole way through and nobody expected them to turn on Velasquez. A great asshole promo followed and we have ourselves a whole new story-arch to enjoy. This was a genius swerve/touch on the show, garnering even more sympathy for Isaias. He’ll live up to white meat babyface potential. I love it.
Freelance Championship: Prince Mustafa Ali (c) vs. Jonathan Gresham
This is one of my favorite matches of the year. The invading villain Gresham turned it up to MAXIMUM on the dickhead heel scale. It’s one of my favorite performances of the year. Gresham is not only a perfect base for Ali to work around, but a damn good ring general. Not to say Ali was carried at all, but having Gresham take you through some motions, no matter who you are, will elevate the wrestling match. Ali, on the other hand, had this character all natural. Gresham may not play a dickhead heel playing up theatrics with CZW catered things all the time, but facts formulated Ali’s character. He needed to defy the odds after what happened last show (him winning the opening scramble and beating Velasquez in the main event for the title) as this was also his first defense. He also was trying to bring one home for Freelance as the series was 2-2 and CZW retained their title. The way this match was structured was nothing short of incredible. We went through phases of Gresham out grappling Ali, only for Ali to hold his own. Ali then sold the damage of those periods with his left arm. Gresham had it out for him throughout the match, but Ali balanced the equation when he DID A 450 TO GRESHAM’S ARM. Gresham then put on a selling clinic whilst still getting on top and taunting his ass off, such as a Zandig strong man pose. The two would then battle it out in these long, drawn out sequences, which resulted in the final one of them all. A rolling pin exchange, submission teases with Ali tapping out and more saw it come to an end, where I went “damn I wish these guys could work for 30 more minutes”. Ali got the leverage on a roll-up and finally ended the bout, winning the series and becoming Freelance’s hero once again.
DJ Hyde presented a closing speech and respect was thrown all around. Well deserved. Ali got his moment to end the show in front of the fans with his prestigious title.
Freelance vs. CZW is my show of the year by proxy. I haven’t watched any AWE because it’s their fault for not releasing any shows in full. Not a shot, just reality. All big shows from all the big companies so far this year haven’t reached that level. Maybe that will change during this month with all the big puroresu shows and all other pay-per-views to come. Mercury Rising was the closest thing to my show of the year but there are things that dragged it down. This show was beautifully paced, provided twists and turns along the way, every match advanced a storyline and there was some world class wrestling sprinkled in. Freelance Wrestling isn’t a promotion you should follow. It’s a promotion you NEED to follow. Boot up CZW Studios or Smart Mark Video and watch this bad boy. It’s the entry into maybe the best all around wrestling promotion in the world today. Young, hungry talent with tremendous commentary, production, fans and matches and storylines. This is Freelance Wrestling.