This week we discuss one of the final independent appearances of AJ Styles, the surprising retirement of an area fixture, AR Fox, and a pair of tournaments taking place this weekend.
Going Out with Style(s)
WrestleMerica returned to Barnesville GA with the much-hyped AJ Styles vs Jimmy Rave match being the main draw. Estimates on attendance ranged from 450 to 700. Early in the evening, Rave interfered during a match between Sal Rinauro and Doc Gallows, leading to AJ making the save. This set the table for the main event, which saw AJ and Jimmy wrestle for 4-5 minutes before Rinauro interfered for the disqualification. Gallows came out to help AJ, and it quickly turned into a tag team match, with AJ & Gallows getting the victory after a Super Styles Clash on Rave, who landed on top of a prone Rinauro. By all accounts the match was fantastic, and while there were a few paying customers disappointed in how things went down, the overwhelming majority in attendance were very satisfied. As for the future of AJ and Gallows, there was no LeBron James moment where they told the fans where they would be “taking their talents” next. AJ does have one more match on the books in the area, a 2/5 bout with Corey Hollis in Canton GA for Georgia Premier Wrestling, and as of this writing the match is still a go.
(No More) Wrestling with Shadow
Why We Wrestle held their “official” launch on 1/9 in Cornelia GA (two cards were held in late 2015 under the “Wrestling from the Church” banner, but this was the first card using the new name). In a shocker, the main event between Kevin Blue and Shadow Jackson (which also served as a first-round match in the promotion’s title tournament) had a loser-leaves-the-promotion stipulation added. Blue won the match, and word is Shadow is legitimately retiring. Shadow first wrestled in Cornelia as part of the NWA Wildside Friday night cards, which featured up and coming wrestlers. He “graduated” to the main Wildside roster and began teaming with Nemesis in late 2003. The duo, known as The Urban Assault Squad, wrestled in the midcards as heels for a while, but were turned babyface and given a huge push in July 2005 for NWA Anarchy. They went on to have 5 reigns as Anarchy Tag Team champions, and Shadow won the Anarchy Heavyweight title on 3 occasions. Shadow was an integral part of the feud between Anarchy and The Devil’s Rejects, and has been one of the top wrestlers in Cornelia for most of the last ten years.
1/8 ProSouth Wrestling – Piedmont AL: Logan Creed beat Tyler Gage by DQ … Victoria Ventress beat Dakota Outlaw (with James Hardy) … ProSouth Tag Team champions The Aries Brothers beat Freedbird International in a non-title match … Britt Jackson beat Jed Johnson … ProSouth All-Out champion Donnie Primetime beat Scott Spade … The Chosen Ones (Ace Haven, Dameon Ceretone & Big Tomb) beat The Age of Aeon (Trever Aeon, Charles Zanders & Eli Daniels) by DQ. NOTES: the next card on 1/15 will feature a gauntlet match to determine a #1 contender to ProSouth champion Trever Aeon plus Jed Johnson & Scott Spade vs Donnie Primetime & a mystery partner
1/8 WrestleMerica – Barnesville GA: Fry Daddy beat P-Dogg … NWA World Women’s champion Amber O’Neal-Gallows (with Big John Kap) beat Amy Love … The Faces of Fear (Andy Anderson & Pain, with Merica) beat Billy Jack & Scotty Beach … Doc Gallows beat Sal Rinauro by DQ … In a three-way match, Glacier & Iceberg beat Southside Trash (Razor & Rowdy) and The Wild Cardz (Jason Radatz & Eddie Page, with Tess Valentine) … In a three-way match, WrestleMerica Heavyweight champion Brad Attitude beat Tyson Dean and Ryan Oshun … AJ Styles beat Jimmy Rave by DQ … AJ Styles & Doc Gallows beat Jimmy Rave & Sal Rinauro. NOTES: a more detailed report by Larry Goodman can be found here
1/9 American Championship Wrestling – Boaz AL: Heath Horton wrestled Cody Wild (with Stan the Man) to a double countout … J-Mo beat ACW Lightweight champion Mr. Big in a non-title match … The Trickster beat Melinko … ACW Tag Team champions Master C & Latino Heat beat The Family by DQ … ACW Heavyweight champion Charlie Swinger beat Chris Hardy
1/9 Georgia Premier Wrestling – Canton GA: Jessica Leigh beat Austynn Madison … The Hatter wrestled Cody Roberts to a no-contest … The Movement (Talon Williams & Chip Hazard) beat The Good Ole Boys (Cuzin Shaggy & Cuzin Cletus) … John Skyler beat Ray Ray … Corey Hollis beat Torque … Jimmy Rave wrestled Shane Marx (with DeWitt Dawson) to a time limit draw
1/9 Universal Independent Wrestling – Temple GA: Josh Storm beat Eli Daniels … Bobby Hayes beat Devon Diamond … The Spring Street Suicide Squad (Ken Lee & Chris Crunkk) beat The Beautiful Bald Besties (Michael Stevens & Zac Edwards) … Sylar Cross beat Paul Coldheart … Adrian Armour beat Drew Adler … The Kraaken (Murder One & Chip Day) beat Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa
1/9 Why We Wrestle – Cornelia GA: Slim J beat Troy Alexander … BJ Hancock beat Chris Spectra … WWW title tournament first-round match: Kory Chavis beat Jeremy Vain … Stryknyn & Billy Buck beat Jon Davis & James Drake … Odinson beat Karsan Kase … WWW title tournament first-round match: Seth Delay beat Jeremy Foster … WWW title tournament first-round match: Kevin Blue beat Shadow Jackson; as the result of a prematch stipulation, Jackson must leave the promotion. NOTES: A more detailed report by Larry Goodman can be found here
1/9 WrestleMerica – Ashburn GA: Logan Stephens beat Christian Walker … Stunt Marshall beat Zane Stevens … Pain beat Johnny Ramona … Chris Nelms beat Billy Jack and Buddy Burke in a three-way hardcore match … WrestleMerica Heavyweight champion Brad Attitude beat Ryan Oshun … Doc Gallows beat Pain in a falls count anywhere match
1/10 Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment – Atlanta GA: The Spring Street Suicide Squad (Ken Lee & Chris Crunkk) beat The Dixon Line (Ken Dixon & Joe Keys) … Slade Porter beat Chico Adams … Sylar Cross beat Luscious LaRon, James Dylan and Glenn Matthews in a four-way match … Murder One & Iceberg beat Martin Stone & Owen Knight … Adrian Armour beat Rayo … Adrian Armour beat Paul Coldhard … Ashton Starr beat Gabby Gilbert … Lio Rush beat Aaron Epic … Tomasso Ciampa beat Chip Day … Georgia Wrestling Crown champion Jimmy Rave beat Johnny Gargano. NOTES: A more detailed report can be found on South Atlanta Wrestling here
Included amongst the action this coming weekend is two tournaments, Battlebowl, and Crazzy Steve (!!!). Steve and Eric Young appear for Renegade Championship Wrestling in Chatsworth GA on Saturday. Battlebowl, which like the old WCW event features 20 men squaring off in randomly-drawn tag team matches with the winners advancing to a battle royal, takes place at Empire Wrestling on Saturday in Rossville GA. Twin States Wrestling holds their inaugural event Sunday afternoon in Piedmont AL (in the same venue that ProSouth Wrestling runs) with a tournament featuring Chase Owens, Tank, Jeremiah Plunkett, and more. Peachstate Wrestling Alliance will crown new tag team champions on Saturday in Carrollton GA, as they hold a tournament featuring The Beautiful Bald Besties, Tyson Dean & AJ Steele, and more. The card also features Jimmy Rave vs Sal Rinauro.
Thursday 1/14: WWA4 – Atlanta GA
Friday 1/15: All-Star Wrestling Network – Fort Valley GA … Alternative Pro Wrestling – Royston GA … ProSouth Wrestling – Piedmont AL … Scenic City Wrestling – Ringgold GA … SWF Wrestling – Tullahoma TN
Saturday 1/16: American Championship Wrestling – Boaz AL … American Pro Wrestling – Boiling Springs SC … Athens Pro Wrestling – Athens AL … Empire Wrestling – Rossville GA … Next Generation Wrestling – Newport TN … Old School Wrestling – Thomaston GA … Old School Wrestling Alliance – Cornelia GA … Peachstate Wrestling Alliance – Carrollton GA … Platinum Championship Wrestling – Porterdale GA … Renegade Championship Wrestling – Chatsworth GA … Tennessee All-Pro Wrestling – Morrison TN … TWE Chattanooga – Red Bank TN … Ultimate Extreme Wrestling – East Ridge TN … Underground Independent Wrestling – Chesnee SC … WrestleMerica – Union Point GA
Sunday 1/17: Twin States Wrestling – Piedmont AL
AR Fox will be making a few area appearances in the coming weeks. Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment announced a match between Fox and Jimmy for their next card on 2/21. Rave’s Georgia Wrestling Crown championship will be on the line. Rave will also defend that title on the Mucha Lucha Atlanta card on 3/13 against Chip Day; Fox is scheduled to appear on that event as well. If that wasn’t enough, Fox will appear for New South on 3/12 in Hartselle AL. New South has two events that weekend, with a 3/11 date in Fayetteville TN. Other talent scheduled for those events are Peter Kaasa (3/11 and 3/12), Chase Owens (3/11) and Team IOU (3/12)
The Universal Independent Wrestling women’s tournament we mentioned last week has undergone a formatting change. Instead of a one-night eight woman tournament, it will now take place over the next several months and feature sixteen women. The only tournament match announced so far for 1/23 is Kiera Hogan vs Tiffany Roxx. The change turned out to be very fortuitous, as Tessa Blanchard reportedly was injured in a match this past weekend. Reformatting the schedule will hopefully still allow her to participate.
(DISCLAIMERS: I have worked for WrestleMerica, Peachstate Wrestling Alliance and NWA Atlanta in the last year, and have a financial relationship with the owners of Empire Wrestling regarding the Scenic City Invitational. This column is intended to feature ALL promotions in the region, and I will do my best to remain impartial and cover promotions regardless of whether or not I work for them or are in their “good graces”. For purposes of this column, the “southern U.S.” is defined as cities and towns within 180 miles of Atlanta.)