Friday Indie Spotlight Thing: NOVA Pro Hoppy Place

When I started this series, I wasn’t always thinking it would deviate from recent shows, but IWTV is so chock full of amazing stuff that basically any recently posted show is like catnip. That’s why I hit the 2018 JT Lightning Invitational. However, I kinda knew I’d reserve this weekend in February for my own amusement. I love wrestling in the DMV, and so I’m doing a DMV show from about a year ago. Why this show? It’s the first time I worked as main ring announcer at a recorded event!

Also, this is the first show hosted by the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, which right now is basically the home away from home for CRAB Wrestling. With news that the 2020 CRAB season in Ashburn begins May 2 (and that we’ll be involved in Mania weekend – Saturday show, American Legion Post 5 “USS Tampa”, get your tickets while you can!), I figured I’d go see how Ashburn’s love affair with indie wrestling began. But mostly, I’m here for myself. My birthday weekend, after all.

The PG Era Rant for Nova Pro Wrestling Hoppy Place. Tape runtime: 128 minutes.

From Ashburn, VA. Show date December 15, 2018.

Your host in Jason Heat with a rotating cast of guys helping him out. Your referees are Stephon Smith, Chris Sharpe, Bill Olsen, and Todd Myers. And I, Andrew McHale as I was known, am your ring announcer. I do a little firing up of the crowd (suffering from a voice crack – it happens to me if I try too hard to be loud), and here we go.

Opening match: Bobby Shields vs. John Kermon. These are two DMV mainstays with about 35 years experience between them. Shields is doing a bodybuilder gimmick and is “straight from the gym”. John Kermon is an MMA guy. Kevin Skiffington (who trained under both guys) is on color. Shields back Kermon into the corner and adds a cheap shot. He works him over with stomps. Kermon gets an up-and-over on a whip, then a series of armdrags leading to an overhead suplex for two.

Arm wrench and snapmare leads to a seated dropkick for one. Front facelock by Kermon, but Shields stomps on the toes to get out and tries to send him to the corner. Kermon reverses and chops the bejabbers out of Shields in three different corners. Crowd wants one more corner, but Shields tosses him to the apron (“No more corners!”). Kermont cuts Shields off and gets a sunset flip try, but Shields stomps to break and catapults Kermon into the bottom rope. Shields with a fish hook and he slaps Kermon’s chest hard.

Shields with a straight right and he kicks away on Kermon. Slam and Shields goes up, but a flying fistdrop eats foot. Kermon fires back with fists and a Disaster Kick out of the corner for two. Kermon drags Shields to the corner and goes up, getting a shotgun suplex and floatover for two. Shields rushes Kermon to the corner and lands shoulders to the gut, but a charge leads to a Brisco rollup try by Kermon. Shields holds the ropes and sits down to break (no count obviously), and while arguing with the ref, Shields is caught with a rollup for one. Flying knee by Shields and he looks for a Gory Bomb, but Kermon rolls through it into a heel hook for the submission at 5:41. (*1/4)

THOUGHTS: Just a way to get the new crowd to learn about two long-time wrestlers on the roster. As a primer, it worked. Really, the whole show had a house show vibe to it.

Ariela Nyx (w/Coach Gator) vs. Rebel. Yes, Rebel. Yes, the TNA alum. Ariela Nyx is part of a midcard heel stable called the Gator Pit, and Coach Gator’s gimmick is that of someone born in 1780 instead of 1980. (Think “Ghost of Wrestling Past”.) They get some pretty impressive heat, to be honest. Nyx throws her jacket on my head during her warmup. And for those wondering, Rebel doing the splits on the bottom rope is even more glorious to watch from inside the ring. Skiffington remains on commentary.

The two do a lockup circling the ring that goes nowhere. A second lockup and Nyx grabs the arm, which Rebel reverses. Nyx circles out and reverses back, keeping wrist control, but Rebel cartwheels out and gets armdrags and a Rebel yell. Rebel with a headlock takedown, reversed to a headscissors. Rebel handsprings out of it and returns to the headlock, but Nyx uses the hair to put her in the corner. Blind charge misses and we’re back to the headlock takedown for a quick one-count. Nyx stacks her for one as well, then two.

Nyx goes back to the hair and guillotines Rebel against the ropes. Rebel is knocked out of the ring right in front of Gator, and Nyx asks the crowd to move so she can throw Rebel into the chairs… except she throws her into the ring instead. Ha ha. Nyx with a hip attack on Rebel and she works her over. Cross-corner clothesline is rockin’ Rebel, and a second one follows. Rude Awakening gets two. We hit the chinlock, with Rebel throwing Nyx into the corner to break.

Nyx retains control in the corner, though, but Rebel with the Brisco cradle for two, reversed for two until Nyx is caught holding the ropes. Hey, it worked in the first match and it works here. Rebel does the splits on a drop-down, and then the women exchange shoulderblocks in a “You do it!” “No, YOU do it!” “Fine, we’ll both do it!” moment. Nyx finally wins the exchange for two. Rebel fires up with forearms for a hope spot, then catches Nyx with an elbow and a boot on charges.

Second-rope crossbody leads to a double KO. They slug it out on their knees before getting up, with Rebel landing the rolling elbow to begin the comeback with flying axhandles and a flapjack (sort of) for two. Nyx with a jawbreaker and discus forearm for two. Nyx is ready to end it, but Rebel fights out of the neckbreaker and gets a front suplex (kinda) for the pin at 8:41. (1/2*) Rebel celebrates with another split only for Nyx to knock her off the apron and attack on the floor. Jordan Blade makes the save.

THOUGHTS: Eek, Rebel is very basic in the ring. Her moves look pretty sloppy, too. Nyx did the best she could, but there’s only so much you can do sometimes. Blade’s save was because Blade and Nyx were in a program, but Blade would get injured later in the month and the whole thing fell apart. Like this match did.

Beau Crockett vs. Innocent Isaiah. Hey, a match with history! So Beau and Isaiah were a long-time Nova Pro team called Cutie and the Beast, but Beau wasn’t too thrilled with the team (it didn’t help that Isaiah had a crush on Beau). Beau turned heel, and the two had a Last Man Standing match at the anniversary show in 2017, which Beau won. After said match, Beau gave Isaiah a piledriver on a chair and put him out of action for over a year. Isaiah returned the previous month to this show in an elimination match, scoring a decision to put Crockett out of the match, so here we are. (For the record, Isaiah has pink tights, a pink shirt, is about 5’6, uses his hips for attacks, hails from San Francisco, and comes out to Whitney Houston, adding up to a solid 7 out of 10 on the Effymeter.)

Eel O’Neal, current PTPW Tag Team Champion, is on commentary. Beau holds a headlock to start, but Isaiah breaks when Beau messes with his hair. Isaiah with a waistlock, Beau reverses, and Isaiah twerks to get Beau to break before getting a rear mount on the ground. Get your mind out of the gutter, it’s clearly mindgames. Beau stalls before returning to the lockup and shoving Isaiah to the ropes, adding a cheap shot. Isaiah pirouettes to stop a whip, blows Beau a kiss to distract him, and gets a snapmare and stump puller. Beau freaks out and bails to the corner. Isaiah offers his back to Beau, who refuses.

This match sounds a lot dirtier than it is.

Beau with a big kick, but Isaiah blocks a hiptoss and gets one of his own. Facejam and Beau bails to the outside. Isaiah leaps to the apron, but catches Beau coming in and cradles him for two. He tries a lucha armdrag, but Beau throws him away and lands a stiff right. Another uppercut and Isaiah’s reeling. Blind charge eats boots, and Isaiah comes off the top but gets caught and given an Oklahoma Stampede for two. Isaiah tries to kick away, but Beau stomps him down. Beau with a slam and leaping elbowdrop for two.

Isaiah with a backspin into an STO for two out of nowhere, but Beau retains control with a neck crank. A forearm to the chest adds to the pain and Beau trash talks Isaiah. Isaiah slaps Beau silly to try to come back, but Beau rushes him into the corner and follows with a modified Atlantis Lock. Isaiah fights out, only for Beau to get a release fisherman’s suplex for two. Beau tries for another Oklahoma Stampede, but Isaiah falls out the back and gets an inverted tornado DDT to cue the comeback.

Flying knee, leg lariat, and he gets a palm flurry into a hip check to the head. Reverse broncobuster follows, then a cravate into the corner. Isaiah with a twisting crossbody off the top for two. Isaiah tries to use the knuckle lock to climb the ropes, but Beau pulls him back into a knee strike and release German suplex. Running knee facewash gets two. Beau dares Isaiah to get up before setting up for a Rainmaker, but Isaiah ducks under it and gets an O’Connor roll for the pin at 11:38 (**1/4).

THOUGHTS: These two have wrestled with and against each other for years, and it’s clear they have built chemistry. Beau played the bully jock heel and Isaiah the plucky babyface, and the crowd being familiar with both of them was hot for Isaiah’s comebacks. The pop for the finish is pretty good, and even after the match the crowd chants “You Deserve It” at Beau in a funny bit. Both guys know what they’re doing in the ring.

Pro Wrestling Freedom Tri-States Championship: Tim Donst (challenger) vs. Sage Philips (champion). So this match was always on the cards, but the night before this show Philips won the title and Nova Pro got permission to host a title defense. Donst is in full Scumbag For Hire mode here, leaving Safety First for special occasions. Boxing intros for this one.

O’Neal remains on commentary. Chain wrestling to start, as they trade wristlocks and escapes. Donst with a headlock takedown, with Philips cradling for two and both men up to a vertical base. Philips tries for his own headlock, but Donst with an armdrag and he goes outside for a brew. Back in, Philips with a hammerlock into a headlock, and we go International, but Philips sweeps the leg on a dropdown and gets La Majistral for two. Philips with a wheelbarrow bulldog and running uppercut, then a mushroom stomp out of the corner as Donst bails. Philips follows with a low-rope tope suicida. Donst goes to the eyes to get the advantage, but Philips finds a pair of safety goggles which block the second eye poke. Crowd approves of the irony. Philips works on the hand outside, and back in, he gets a knuckle lock and lucha armdrag. Wheelbarrow armdrag, but Donst blocks a headscissors and gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Donst chokes Philips on the ropes before chopping him hard in the corner. He sets up another huge chop before calling for a third, but it’s the PURPLE NURPLE OF DOOM instead. Donst clubbers on Philips and adds a back elbow in the corner before getting a stalling suplex, but he holds it up for too long and Philips drops into a DDT for the double KO. Sage cuts off a charge with a kneelift and Codebreaker, getting the Mistico facebuster off the ropes. He holds on to block an O’Connor Roll and lands a release German and enzuigiri for two. Donst bails, so Philips tries a cannonball to the outside, but Donst catches him and gives him Splash Mountain onto the apron! Donst breaks the count at seven and returns outside, throwing Philips in and covering for two, reversed by Philips for two. Donst smacks Philips around and puts him up top, landing a superplex into a suplex onto the turnbuckles. It gets two. Donst pulls a mat away and teases a powerbomb on the concrete floor, but gets talked into doing it to the apron instead. Philips uses the ropes to stop it and pull himself up, then lands the cannonball to the outside. Back in, Donst tries for a tiger driver, but Philips with a rana and enzuigiri. Shiranui is caught and Philips is dumped to the apron, but he returns with an outside-in Complete Shot. Shiranui retains the title at 12:01 (***). The two men hug post-match.

THOUGHTS: Good stuff from two gifted wrestlers here. It was interesting in the buildup, because it wasn’t obvious how the match would play out (both men are faces), but Donst is so comfortable as both face and heel that he was able to take the dark role. It helps that Donst is 60 pounds heavier. Both men did their part in another good big/little match. If you get a chance to see either one, do so.

Isaiah Frazier vs. Tito Santana (w/Coach Gator and Mikey Banker). Yes, Tito Santana. Banker is the young lion of the Gator Pit and accompanies Gator and Tito to ringside. The story here is that Frazier was the former Wrestler-in-Chief of the Pit, and under Gator’s tutleage he won the CRAB title and challenged Nick Aldis for the NWA Title. However, Gator was mad that Isaiah didn’t check in on him every day and kicked him out, forming a new stable of wrestlers under the Gator Pit name. He then said he would punish Frazier with a Gator Pit alumnus – in this case, Santana. For the record, I consider Frazier my mentor and Santana was my favorite wrestler growing up, so you can imagine how excited I am to announce this match. Crowd is AMPED for this one.

Lockup, and Santana gives a clean break. Frazier is distracted by Gator and Banker ripping up signs at ringside before another lockup, and Frazier gives the clean break and handshake this time. Santana with a headlock and he knocks over Frazier. Gator asks for Santana to do something to follow up, but he doesn’t. Another headlock, and Santana blocks a hiptoss and gets one of his own. Now Santana is getting annoyed by Gator on the outside. Frazier boxes Santana against the ropes, but a whip is reversed… and Gator trips Frazier. Banker pulls him out and beats on him for the DQ at 2:46. (1/4*)

Gator and Banker get mad at Santana for objecting, with Gator poking Santana in the chest. Banker slaps Santana, who punches both men out of the ring. Frazier pulls himself back into the ring and demands a mic… and as luck would have it, the batteries get dislodged on the mic and it doesn’t work. Crowd gets quiet so they can hear Frazier yell.

Frazier says he’s sick of all the interference from the other Gator Pit members. “Especially you, you overweight 2Pac!” (He means Mikey.) He then challenges them to a tag match as I frantically shake the batteries back into operation. The match is official.

Coach Gator and Mikey Banker vs. Isaiah Frazier and Tito Santana. Gator wearing a dew rag to the ring is insane. Frazier and Gator start, but Gator bails and Banker tags in. Crowd chants Three-Pac as Frazier gets a headlock and holds on. Takedown to Banker, who tries to use the hair to break. Banker works his way up and gets his own headlock, but Frazier with a pair of leapfrogs and a crossbody for one. Banker suckers Frazier into the corner and gets a back chop, then a double-hook overhead suplex out of the corner after some arm-trap headbutts.

Frazier fights back and gets a springboard rana out of nowhere, but Banker avoids a blind charge and gets a release German suplex. Forearm shiver by Banker and Gator comes in as the duo chops away in the corner. Banker returns with a back elbow for two. Banker clubbers away on Frazier but gets tripped on a run off the ropes. Frazier’s slingshot elbow misses, and Banker gets two off of it. Banker goes up top, taking his sweet time to leap off, and the frog splash misses.

Hot tag Santana, and he fires off with kicks and punches. Big clotheslines and he calls for the flying jalapeno, but Gator kicks him in the back (in theory) and they double-team. Frazier pulls Banker away and the teams fight in opposite corner, with the heels being whipped together. Figure-Four by Santana gets the tapout on Banker in 5:42 (*3/4). After the match, Santana does a wishbone stomp to both heels.

THOUGHTS: This was all about giving Frazier the big rub of being in the ring with a legend. Santana can barely go – at his age, we’re not surprised – but Frazier and Banker were able to wrestle for four. Gator is barely trained and has health issues, so his involvement was thankfully minimal, Crowd loved it, which is what matters.

So coming back from intermission I’m going over some future dates for shows when this loudmouth New Yorker interrupts me. It’s John Washington (one of my fellow CRAB guys), who introduces himself and his friend Ethan Cross. But then they’re interrupted by music playing as the Capital Vices (J-Sin and Money Greene, chief operators of CRAB) look for a fight. I take the hint and run for the hills, and we have…

John Washington and Ethan Cross vs. Capital Vices. So to sell that this match is right out of nowhere, Jason Heat calls me over to do color because everyone else is still getting drinks at the bar. Cross gets thrown into the Vices, who get a powerslam/DDT combo and then launch Cross corner to corner. Washington is on the outside and gets chased by Money around the ring until he asks for time. Sin comes up behind Washington, and it’s time for a tandem powerbomb on the outside! Holy Shit chant, then Money races into the ring to start the match proper. Cross dives onto Sin to no effect, then gets a springboard crossbody on Money. Step-up enzuigiri sends Money to the apron, and Sin arrives for a reverse uranage. Money adds a slingshot legdrop, and it’s a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo (Seventh Circle) for the pin at 2:30 of action but only 58 seconds of match (NR).

THOUGHTS: Total squash to get the Vices over, and I approve. The Vices are crazy over in the DMV and a great hoss tag team, but of course I think that – they taught me how to wrestle. Washington’s best weapon is his mouth, and it got the heat needed to make the squash that much more welcome to the fans.

Gemma Cross vs. Sahara Seven. Sahara is Maryland-based and does a Cleopatra gimmick. She’s just back from Japan at this time. Cross – not even remotely related to Ethan – is a New Jersey based wrestler. Skiffington is back on commentary. Cross bails out on a lockup at first. She ducks under another try, but Sahara catches a third dodge and gets a waistlock. Cross reverses, only for Sahara to ripcord out with a right hand. Cross-corner whip and avalanche, then a running hip attack and running falling uppercut for two. Cross with a head kick from her back and she drapes Sahara on the middle rope. Clothesline gets two. Cross kicks around on Sahara and gets a suplex for one and a half. We hit the chinlock,with Sahara elbowing out only for Cross to do something resembling a headscissors for two and two. Cross with a surfboard, adding an elbow to the head to maintain control. Sahara fights out, hooks the arm, and gets a Rocker Dropper for the double KO. Sahara with some great rights into a Rampaige DDT for two. Austin straddle and double knees in that position follow, then a suplex gets two. Clothesline to a seated Cross gets two. Sahara removes her hair extensions (!!) and picks Cross up, but Cross sneaks out of a fireman’s carry into the Edge-O-Matic for two. Low superkick gets two. Bind charge by Sahara eats boot, and Cross with a Thesz press out of the corner for two. Spinkick misses, Tomikaze by Cross is blocked, and Sahara shoves Cross off into a superkick. Samoan Drop gets two. Cross with a jawbreaker, but Sahara ducks a clothesline and nails with Widow’s Peak for the pin at 7:53 (*1/2).

THOUGHTS: Sloppy in a few spots, but picked up nicely near the end. Sahara is someone that fans were glad to see back – her previous Nova Pro appearance ended in a medical emergency – and this was just a way to return to action in Virginia. However, you could kind of tell that Sahara was struggling at points near the end. All the same, she gutted it out and the crowd cheered her on, which sometimes is all you need.

Josh Fuller vs. Swoggle. So Josh Fuller (another CRAB guy and usually a manager) is 5’7, 145, and Swoggle is, well, Swoggle. So my intro is this:

“Ladies and gentlemen, throughout history there have been matches that people have called the biggest of all time. This contest… is set for one fall.”

Fuller, who just turned 20, would like everyone to know he bought his first pack of cigarettes, leading to a Check His ID chant. On top of that, Fuller comes out to Finlay’s 2006-08 music just for the mind games. Swoggle retaliates by coming out the opening bars of HIS WWE music which transitions into his indie entrance theme. And he’s drinking a beer on the way to the ring.

Innocent Isaiah joins commentary. Swoggle does a posedown to start, and Fuller offers a test of strength… then remembers it’s Swoggle and drops to his knees for the test of strenght. Swoggle wins it handily, stomping on the hands. Swoggle mocks Fuller’s pain before delivering the PURPLE NURPLE OF DOOM and BUTT BITE OF DEATH to send Fuller ot the outside. Fuller grabs a beer from ringside and threatens to drink it (Crowd: Please Don’t Drink!), but Swoggle snatches the beer away and drinks it for him. Swoggle chugs at the crowd’s behest, then it’s the AMBER MIST to Fuller’s face.

Fuller uses the ring skirt to clear his eyes, then rolls under the ring to hide. Swoggle asks Sharpe to go under the ring to get Fuller, who crawls out the other side and gloats. Swoggle is waiting for him – really, you’re gonna pull the ring crawl trick on HIM? – and chops away before throwing him into a support beam. Swoggle steals a walking cane from ringside, distracts the ref with the “Hey, look over there” trick, crotches Fuller, then throws the cane back with precision. Fuller rolls back in and tries to catch Swoggle returning with an elbow, but mistimes it.

Fuller has finally had enough and superkicks Swoggle before stomping away. He chokes Swoggle against the ropes, then in the corner, then with his boot. He sends Swoggle’s head into the middle buckle and kicks away, but Swoggle fights back. A strikefest breaks out, with Fuller winning it with a Ruff Ryder for two. Fuller goes outside and finds a Mysterious Bag (TM), and inside it is… LUCKY CHARMS! (Isaiah: “He is a psycho! That man has a son!” Heat: “And a moon, and a rainbow…”)

Fuller throws some cereal at Swoggle, but he fires back and goes to Suplex City on the Charms! Swoggle with the folding superkick and a Celtic Cross on the Charms for two. Would have been three if he didn’t do the Undertaker cover. He tries it again, but Fuller goes to the eyes, and a Shining Wizard ends it at 8:06 (a million billion stars). Fuller tauns Swoggle and climbs the turnbuckle to celebrate, at which point Swoggle powerbombs him off the buckle into the cereal. Swoggle plays to the crowd as Fuller heads back.

THOUGHTS: There are some matches that just defy star ratings, and this is one of them. Swoggle is never about a scientific wrestling match; he’s about having fun and getting the crowd into the contest, leaving with a match they’ll love. And boy did they ever. Fuller has told me this is his favorite match he’s ever had and that he loved planning it out. If you absolutely need to know the star rating, here, watch it for yourself.

So anyway, after that match I ask around where the custodians are or if anyone has a broom and dustpan so we can sweep up in the ring. I see Wes Rogers (one of Donst’s friends and a lower carder within Virginia) near a broom and ask him if we could get a sweep up… and he hands me the broom. Oh, fine, be that way. So I’m trying to sweep everything into a neat pile so I can dustpan it up – I’ve done custodial work before – which leads to the Jeopardy think music playing as two Old Ox employees come in and just sweep it all out of the ring. Oh, you don’t mind if it gets on the crowd? Okay.

I bring this up because we’re still sweeping as Logan Easton LaRoux’s music hits for the main event. The other people bail while I get in a few extra sweeps and go for the microphone. Logan cuts me off and begins to chew me out in the corner before slapping me across the face! I bump to a seated position and he grabs at my shirt… and in one of those great moments, the shirt pocket rips off in his hands!

I slowly pull myself up as Logan continues to berate me, but I’m actually kind of shocked over the shirt thing and it looks like I’m having a staredown with him (and given that I’m bigger than he is, when I back down it says something). I eventually tell him he owes me a new shirt and go to intros, but as Logan is being introduced he picks up some leftover cereal bits and chucks them in my face! Now the crowd is FURIOUS at Logan and already chanting for his opponent and we have a hot main event.

Main event: Logan Easton LaRoux vs. Allie Kat. Isaiah on commentary about Logan: “What an entitled jerk.” Allie plays with some streamers (because cat) before the match begins. Lockup, and Logan tosses Allie and poses. Waistlock takedown by Logan and he poses again. He taunts Allie with claw hands, but Allie with a headlock into a hammerlock into a snapmare and she claws right back. Logan with a headlock, but he gets bowled over on a shoulderblock. Logan reverses a headlock to an armlock and kicks away at Allie, but Allie catches him with a pair of slams and a BACK body drop.

She Batistas in the corner, but walks into a big boot from Logan. He taunts the crowd, which allows Allie to recover with a clothesline and senton for not even one. Allie then clotheslines Logan to the floor and gets ready to dive before stopping herself and panicking (since cats aren’t good with heights). She psyches herself up to try again, but all the time taken allows Logan to return to the ring with a dropkick. He slingshots himself out of the ring to go after Allie, who picks him up and spinebusters him into the ringpost. Big chop on the outside, then another. Allie scratches the back of Logan before trying an apron hip attack, but Logan dodges and flips Allie back-first onto the apron – which, as you know, is the hardest part of the ring.

Logan with a back suplex onto the apron before taking a victory lap and posing on a chair. Back in via the top, and Logan with a shotgun dropkick. Allie claws away at Logan, who easily avoids them and chops Allie down. Another chop in the corner as Logan makes sure the whole crowd hears it. This finally fires Allie up as she scratches away on Logan’s chest, but a blind charge is caught with an elbow for two. Logan slaps around Allie, which torques Allie off and she chases him out of the ring only to get thrown into the ringpost on the outside. Logan throws his wrist tape at Allie before going back into the ring.

But he takes too long and his charges get caught with elbows in the corner. On the third try, Allie gives Logan a seated senton and corner clothesline. Hip attack follows, and she teases a chokeslam, but Logan blocks it only to run into a chokeslam for two. Ripcord by Allie, but Logan charges in with a knee and a Mizline in the ropes. Logan returns, but gets turned around by Allie and given a Northern lariat. Logan tries to fall out of the ring, but Allie won’t let him. Logan begs off, so Allie tries a piledriver, but Logan jack-knifes the cover for two. Gentrifier (cutter) gets two.

Logan is furious and begins to chew out Stephon Smith (the referee), so Smith takes matters into his own hands and chops away! Allie charges the chaos, and wrestlers collide for a double KO. They pull each other up and begin slugging it out (boo, yay, boo, yay) until Logan goes low on Allie only to get mauled. Piledriver tried again, but Logan with a backdrop and superkick for two. Logan removes the rest of his wrist tape and is ready to end it, and Logan spits in Allie’s face! That’s his last mistake, as Allie delivers a ripcord headbutt and the piledriver connects for the pin at 15:08 (***1/4).

THOUGHTS: Reasonable main event. The two played the crowd expertly and hit the right notes with pacing. Logan is one of the most unlikeable people in the Mid-Atlantic and is every bit as good at being the rich scumbag as MJF is (okay, almost). Allie is someone the Northern Virginia crowd has fallen in love with, and she’s taken her act around the east including a very nice run in CHIKARA. Both people in this match deserve a lot of love. Logan, in particular, is someone I consider a friend in the business and was the first area wrestler to learn my name. He’s been a big help, and honestly I’m glad I was able to get him some heat before the match.

WRAP-UP: This had the feel of an impromptu house show. And that’s fine – the crowd was hot, the wrestlers didn’t overstay their welcome, and everyone was enjoying themselves. That said, I imagine that sometimes You Had To Be There is a legitimate statement, and this may be one of them. Even so, Swoggle helping Fuller have a marquee match is one of my favorite things, and being able to be involved – even tangentially – in a Tito Santana match is something Kid Me would’ve been in awe of.

So this show meant more to me than to independent wrestling in general, but that’s the point: why does independent wrestling need to be this huge landscape of dream matches? Sometimes, you’re just putting on a show in a bar in front of 180 people and everyone’s having a good time cheering the faces and booing the heels. Granted, having both is great – something Beyond and other top-flight indies can do – but I’ll take a good crowd and average matches over an average crowd and good matches.

Most of all, it was great to find a place that loves wrestling and loves to have it. The Old Ox Brewery was receptive to big shows in the future, and even after Nova Pro fell apart, they were willing to host CRAB for a few shows in 2019. There were some bumps in the road, but both sides love the arrangement and we were able to get back for 2020 with a few dates. Like I said, the first one is May 2, and we’re hoping to build off of our WrestleMania momentum.

As for this show? If I’m honest, it gets a SKIM IT. Tito Santana in the ring is a treat, of course, and Donst/Philips and Logan/Allie are both very good matches. Beau/Isaiah is a slow start but picks up, and the rest is basic house show stuff. If you do have IWTV, give it a look for me. Consider it a birthday present.