Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – XPW Freefall (23rd February 2002)

Happy Xtreme Saturday Everyone!

We’re back with another Stinker Review today, as I take a look at a show that has a reputation for being bad and decide whether it’s being treated fairly or not. This one was a reader request from candygram for mongo.

If you want to request some shows of your own then please feel free to mention them down in the comments section and I’ll add them to the hat.

For those not au fait, Xtreme Pro Wrestling was a company run by porn baron Rob Black that tried to do an ECW styled product but with more graphic violence and more overt sexual content courtesy of some of the adult film stars from Black’s movies.

This show has a Main Event of Vic Grimes Vs New Jack, which stemmed from a real life botch where both men fell off a scaffold in ECW and Grimes ended up landing on New Jack’s face, causing New Jack permanent damage in the process. New Jack was never known as someone to bare a grudge though, so I’m sure he’ll be entirely professional against Grimes on this show right?

Right?

Why are you looking at me like that?

The event is emanating from Los Angeles, California on the 23rd of February 2002

Calling the action are Kris Kloss and Larry Rivera

Someone has uploaded the DVD cut of the show to YouTube, which is what I’m watching for the purpose of this review.

Opening Match
Scott Snott Vs Vinny Massaro

Snott looks like if you crossed IRS with Eric Young and Bubba Ray Dudley, wrestling in a suit with Dudley style glasses. Massaro is a hefty bloke who looks a bit like a cross between Toru Yano and Hack Meyers. Massaro’s gimmick appears to be that of a Mafioso character. I’m not really sure what Snott’s gimmick is supposed to be, but he does a lot of chops and takes the fight to Massaro from the off so I’m guessing he’s the babyface?

Kloss keeps doing an annoying gimmick where he keeps getting Massaro’s name wrong by saying different types of pasta and it gets tiresome fast, especially as Kloss is supposedly the play by play guy. Leave nonsense like that to your colour commentator Kris. This match isn’t that good, with it being sloppy. Snott does make a decentish comeback at least after Massaro works some heat and the crowd seem to be into him, even though they are mic’ed pretty badly.

Massaro snaps off a nice back drop driver at one stage, with Snott taking an impressive bump off it, and it gets him a two count. Snott has decided to blade here in the opener it seems, even though the match hasn’t really called for it. Snott gets the Tomikaze but Massaro gets his foot on the ropes to break and then follows up with Greetings From Asbury Park for the three count.

WINNER: VINNY MASSARO
RATING: *1/2

Some nice moves sprinkled in there, but it wasn’t an especially good match, with a few sloppy moments dragging it down

Massaro antagonises the crowd following his victory, whilst Snott is frustrated that he lost and stumbles around ringside.

Preston Ascott III and Kevin Kleinrock join us to confirm that Ascot III will not be wrestling tonight, so they’ve brought in Evan Karagias to wrestle in his stead. Ascott III, as his name would suggest, is a stuck up old money rich guy whilst Kleinrock is just a dude in an XPW shirt.

Match Two
Evan Karagias w/ Preston Ascott III and Kevin Kleinrock Vs Psicosis

Karagias actually gets EZ Money’s “Down On Me” entrance music here. Both Evan and Psi had wrestled on national TV for WCW, so they should hopefully be a bit more polished than the two lads in the opener were (although that wasn’t always the case in their WCW days).

This match is spotty but mostly entertaining, although it feels flat due to how the crowd has been mic’ed up. Evan busts a move out of the Billy Kidman playbook at one stage by countering a Psi powerbomb attempt into a face buster, leading to him working some heat and gyrating in an attempt to rile up the crowd. Evan’s offence looks okay and Psi does a good job bumping and selling for it all.

There’s a sloppy moment where they botch a pinning sequence, but Psi follows that up by giving Evan a nice looking spin kick before sending him out to the floor for a Guillotine Legdrop. That was nuts of Psi to take a bump like that on his tailbone out there on the concrete. Psi misses a twisting body press back inside though, which allows Evan to get a flying forearm (sold wonderfully by Psi) for a two count. Psi just went inside-out there and it looked awesome.

Evan gets a neck breaker and heads up top, but Kleinrock ends up distracting his own man by trying to give Evan a chair when he doesn’t need it. This allows Psi to recover and then head up to the top rope for a lovely looking Guillotine Legdrop for the three count.

WINNER: PSICOSIS
RATING: **

This was okay, although there were occasions where they weren’t on the same page and the poor sound quality when it came to the crowd led to the match feeling flat. I did like the finish, as it gave Evan a way to lose without looking weak as he had things in hand before his manager bungled it up for him

Kleinrock apologises to Evan following that, but Evan isn’t interested and lays out Ascott III whilst Kleinrock bails. I guess that’s a face turn for Evan?

Match Three
D Vs Pogo The Clown

D also wrestled as “Dynamite D” and looks like a cross between Jason Knight from the late 90’s and Ric Blade. I’ve never actually seen him wrestle but he usually had good stats on EWR and Promotion Wars, so whoever made those stat packs clearly liked him. Pogo The Clown is a big angry clown who beats people up (think One Man Gang in a clown get up). D cuts a promo where he says he wants this match so he can finally impress Rob Black after months of trying.

Pogo actually does some arm drags to start, which I wasn’t expecting, which leads to D kicking him right in his Big Top before getting a flurry of offence in. D’s offence doesn’t look bad but it doesn’t look great either. Pogo manages to dodge a splash off the top and gets a nice looking back suplex, with D taking a good bump from it. Pogo destroys D with a Lariat following that and introduces some chairs into things.

A group called The Jobbers Union come down to the ring and distract Pogo, allowing D to work him over with a chair. The Jobbers all get into the ring (I don’t know who they are and the commentators never bother to give them individual names) and they help D put the boots to Pogo whilst D talks about how he used to run a company prior to XPW. Black apparently came in to back it, but since then he’s frozen D out, so D is now going to leader the Jobber Union going forward.

NO CONTEST
RATING: *

This wasn’t much of a match to begin with, and the non-finish just annoyed me. They could have done the angle and still had D get a pin first

D and The Jobbers continue to beat Pogo up a bit more before leaving. Pogo then gets his heat back by chasing off the ring crew when they try to come and help him.

The Sandman comes down to the ring with a mic, working as a Heel no less, cutting a promo on XPW Deathmatch Champ Supreme. It’s actually a really good promo, where Sandman essentially renounces hardcore wrestling because he’s a superstar who doesn’t care about entertaining the fans. Supreme counters by saying that Sandman hasn’t got any balls and challenges Sandman to a Deathmatch right now for the belt. Sandman says that superstars like him don’t wrestle in prelims, so they’ll have the match later on instead. Sandman was a very effective Heel there.

Match Four
Gauntlet Match
XPW Television Title
Champ: Kaos w/ GQ Money and Veronica Caine Vs Nosawa Vs Chris Hamrick Vs Angel

Koas has the cocky blond haired moneyed guy gimmick going on, a bit like Kazuchika Okada, although I doubt he’ll be as good in the ring. Angel is a really skinny dude who has the gimmick of the “Hardcore Homo”, which should tell you all you need to know about his character. He can wrestle a bit though, as he and Kaos actually do a decent segment together. Kaos has decided to wrestle whilst still wearing the belt, which was a gag Chris Jericho used in WCW as well I believe.

Kaos controls most of this, and gets a nice Spicolli Driver for two at one stage. This is some of the best actual wrestling we’ve had all night thus far. GQ ends up throwing something into Angel’s eyes when it looks like Angel is going to make a comeback, but Angel just shrugs it off and does a dive out onto Kaos anyway, so I’m not sure what the point of it was. GQ could have cued it up too early I suppose. Kaos gets a wild Canadian Backbreaker into a Piledriver move back inside though, and that’s enough to eliminate Angel.

Angel Eliminated

Hamrick is out next, and he apparently had a feud going on with Kaos at the time, so their segment has a bit of extra needle to it. Kaos and Hamrick do a lot of quick counters into the Central American stand-off, although some of it wasn’t executed entirely cleanly. Hamrick of course takes a couple of wild bumps onto the concrete, because he’s Chris Hamrick, with the second one being an insane flip dive off the apron that looked like it SUCKED to take.

Man, Chris Hamrick would just destroy himself on these indie shows and he never got a chance in WWE or even really TNA/Impact off it either. All that punishment taken with so comparatively little to show for it. Wrestling will make you its bitch. Hamrick keeps coming though, and they do a pretty contrived spot where Hamrick rests a chair against Kaos’ face before going coast to coast. That’s probably why RVD would have Fonzie hold the chair in place when he did stuff like that.

Big bumps from Hamrick aside, this one hasn’t been that good, with Kaos and Angel probably doing a better bit together. It’s not been terrible but it’s also kind of meandered a bit, whilst the first segment was a bit more focused. Hamrick gets some near falls, including one off a Legdrop from the top and another from a superplex. Hamrick gets a modified Osaka Street Cutter, but the ref is being distracted by GQ and can’t count, which leads to Kaos recovering and getting a Gourd Buster off the top for three.

Chris Hamrick Eliminated

Kaos finally decides to take the belt off for this one, but then puts it back on again anyway in a funny bit. Kloss thinks Kaos has been set up here, as Nosawa is a member of Rob Black’s faction and has received the plum seeding. Nosawa stalls a bunch here, possibly because Kaos is knackered after those two other falls and he’s trying to buy him a bit of time. Once they get going its decent action for the most part, although the pace has notably slowed now due to Kaos being goosed.

Nosawa has a manager with him whose name I think is Paul Tee, and he tries to come in and help, leading to a spot with GQ. Nosawa gets a belt shot following that, but doesn’t make the cover and instead sets a chair up in the corner. Nosawa ends up going into it himself though, leading to an O’Connor Roll from Kaos for two. Kaos gets an Over Castle following that though, and that’s enough for three and the big gutsy win.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: KAOS
RATING: **1/2

I think this might have gone on for a bit too long, especially as Kaos was sucking wind at the end, but the action was generally decent and it was some of the best wrestling on the show up to this point. Kaos did get gassed, but I thought he had a good showing besides that and I was impressed with his in-ring ability. Angel wasn’t bad in there either, even though I’m not an especially big fan of the gimmick

The managers brawl following that, whilst Nosawa attacks Kaos and spits on the belt.

Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, El Mosco de la Merced, Damien 666 and Halloween join us for some promo time. They would appear to be a faction called La Familia. Juvy says that their stablemate Konnan isn’t here, which he seems to blame on Rob Black, leading to him calling out Black and his faction for a fight. Black, Angel, XPW Champ Johnny Webb, Lizzy Borden, Preston Ascott III and Nosawa join us, with Kloss swooning over two of the ladies they’ve brought with them. Black says he’s going to send La Familia back to Tijuana, which leads to Juvy going rudo and joining up with Black’s group, which leads to Vic Grimes running down to clobber Halloween with a chair. This all leads to Mosco and Juvy having a match with one another.

Match Five
Juventud Guerrera Vs El Mosco de la Merced

Juvy teases a handshake to start, but of course it’s a ruse and he jumps Mosco at the bell. Mosco looked dumb for falling for that considering that Juvy had only just gone rudo on him IN THE PREVIOUS SEGMENT. Juvy controls a lot of this in the early going, working Mosco over with a chair and then taking things to the outside of the ring. Mosco fights back out there though, giving Juvy a Stun Gun onto the metal railings before following with a flip dive to the floor.

This is another sloppy match in a series of them tonight, as both men don’t seem to have much in the way of chemistry and some of the work is pretty bad and done at quarter speed. There’s a notably awful moment where they fight over a chair and Juvy this long winded wind up shot that looks like crap. Juvy follows up with a Juvy Driver following that, which is thankfully the finish.

WINNER: JUVENTUD GUERRERA
RATING: ½*

This was pretty bad, with neither guy really being on the same page and some of the action being executed horribly. It felt like they took it home early because they knew it wasn’t going well

We don’t even get any post-match after that and the tape quickly cuts to the next match.

Match Six
Lumberjack Buck Naked Match
Lizzy Borden Vs Veronica Caine

Wait, this stipulation was actually real?! I thought it was just included as an Easter egg in the EWR games if you happened to run a company with a high risk level. This would seem to be a more aggressive Bra & Panties match, where you have to take off all of your opponent’s clothes, which seems to suit this trashy product pretty well. It says a lot about XPW that it was capable of making ECW look sophisticated sometimes.

Rob Black cuts an obscenity laden promo before the match starts so that he can ban Caine’s friends from ringside. The lumberjacks then end up being Black’s allies, which means the odds are stacked against Caine. Once the wrestling starts it’s pretty awful, as neither of these ladies come across as having much in the way of training. They do at least try and do a few wrestling moves in amongst the cat fight spots though.

Borden eventually gets some help from some of the women from Black’s group, leading to Caine getting attacked three on one and stripped down. The lights go out just as Caine is about to be stripped naked of course, so not only did we get a terrible wrestling match but they also screwed the fans over on a finish. Apparently Caine arranged the lights going out so she could get away without being seen naked.

WINNER: LIZZY BORDEN
RATING: DUD

This was embarrassing and I like how XPW, despite its bravado, ended up being absolute wimps and refused to deliver on the stipulation. Look, I think stripping a woman till she’s naked in front of a wrestling crowd is a stupid and disgusting thing to do, but if you’re a company that revels in being “Xtreme” then you either need to go through with it or not book the match, because all this finish did was make the company look cowardly as well as disagreeable

Black rants about Caine getting one over on him as Borden is helped to the back. As far as I can tell, both Black and Caine’s crew seem to be Heels here. I’m certainly not inclined to want to cheer for any of them.

Caine’s buddies GQ Money, Steve Rizzono and Kaos come out to cut a Heel promo on the crowd, which reasserts my belief that they are bad guys.

Match Seven
Steve Rizzono Vs Monkey

Rizzono looks like a cross between early 90’s Tommy Rich and late 90’s Barry Windham, whilst Monkey is some dude in a monkey suit. Kloss and Rivera annoy me by acting like it’s an actual wrestling monkey instead of some guy in a suit, which just makes XPW look even lamer than they’ve already looked on this show, which is pretty lame indeed.

Monkey runs wild on Rizzono to start, getting moves in such as Raven’s drop-toe-hold onto a chair, whilst the crowd seems almost offended by this absolute dreck they’re being forced to watch. Rizzono manages to use a chair to cut Monkey off and works him over for a bit. His stuff doesn’t look that bad to be honest, but this match is absolute death.

The fans aren’t buying that this is a real monkey and demand that Rizzono take the mask off. Monkey bites Rizzono to make a comeback and hits a DDT followed by a Complete Shot, which are Raven moves as well and makes me think this Monkey character exists to take cheap shots at Raven for whatever reason. The Complete Shot is enough for three and Monkey wins.

WINNER: MONKEY
RATING: *

Some nice moves but the crowd didn’t care and the commentators acting like it was a real monkey in there wrestling when it was clearly some guy in a monkey suit just made them come across as the stupidest people in all of Los Angeles. There are probably actual monkeys that could do a better job commentating on this show than they could. Someone does need to send this match to Karl Pilkington though, he’d love it

Some dude in a mask and jumpsuit runs into the ring and beats up Rizzono for good measure, with the masked guy getting a Burning Hammer. He pulls out a knife and slices at Rizzono’s face with it, before wiping the blood on his mask and running off.

Match Eight
XPW Title
Champ: Johnny Webb Vs GQ Money

GQ Money reiterates that they switched the lights off in the Buck Naked match. Black cuts an angry promo where he bans Kaos from ringside. GQ looks a bit like Keith Flint crossed with Lodi from The Flock, whilst Webb looks Jimmy King from the Ready to Rumble movie that WCW made. Webb asks Black to leave so that he can defeat GQ on his own.

Webb is wearing a karate gi here, and does some spinning kicks and wacky submissions, whilst GQ seems to be more of a spot monkey. It’s not like it’s a terrible match or anything, but it’s a pretty sorry World Title bout when you consider that both guys aren’t especially good in the ring, aren’t especially over with the crowd and aren’t especially impressive from a cosmetic aspect either. I think I might honestly have seen backyarders with better looks than these two.

These guys would be lucky to be in the opener on most high level indies, let alone fighting near the top of the bill for the top belt in the company. The crowd chants that the match is boring, as Webb has some chances to win it but pulls GQ up so that he can lock in the Tazmission for the tap out victory instead.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JOHNNY WEBB
RATING: *

This match would have been a barely passable opener, but it did not pass muster as a World Title bout

Webb won’t release the hold following the match, as Kloss says that Webb winning has now magically led to XPW getting back on TV. I’m not sure why exactly, but I’m guessing there was some kind of storyline going on. Black’s crew comes down and cuts off GQ’s hair (well, what’s left of it) as I’m still confused as to who I’m supposed to be cheering for in this feud between the Black and Caine factions.

Semi-Main
XPW Deathmatch Title
Champ: Supreme Vs The Sandman

Sandman enforces his Heel character by refusing to use his Enter Sandman entrance music, which is actually pretty clever but also robs us of the best part of his act, and it’s usually always downhill following that. Supreme looks a bit like a shrunken Bam Bam Bigelow, but he seems over with the crowd at least (as far as I can tell due to how poorly mic’ed the crowd is).

The ring has traditional Deathmatch weaponry in it such as thumbtacks and barbed wire boards etc, but Sandman instead works holds and whatnot, not unlike Mick Foley’s anti-hardcore gimmick from back in ECW. Supreme of course wants to use all of the assorted weaponry, so the match becomes a kind of cat and mouse scenario, with Sandman trying to keep it as a wrestling match and fleeing whenever Supreme tries to use the Deathmatch stuff.

It’s not like it’s a great match or anything, but it tells a story that’s easy to follow and makes sense at least. Supreme eventually manages to bust Sandman open by ramming him into a bed of spikes in the corner at one stage, but when Supreme tries to elbow drop Sandman through a barbed wire wrapped table Sandman is able to dodge it and then rubs some of the wire into Supreme’s face for good measure, finally indulging in some Deathmatch antics himself.

Sandman ends up getting dumped into a tub of thumbtacks, but Kaos and the rest of Veronica Caine’s group run down to rescue Sandman and then give Supreme a Diamond Cutter onto the thumbtacks, which leads to Sandman stealing the three count in order to win the belt.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: THE SANDMAN
RATING: **

By this show’s standards, this was an actual proper match with a story and everything, so I’ll be somewhat lenient

Sandman joins up with Caine’s “Enterprise” group following that whilst Tylene Buck comes down to chastise Sandman for his behaviour and help Supreme. I’m guessing she was aligned with Sandman in some form prior to this?

Main Event
Freefall Match
Vic Grimes Vs New Jack

The deal here is that there’s a 40 foot scaffold (which probably is legit based on how big it looks) and you have to throw your opponent off to win. There are tables in the ring to break the losers fall, but we’ll get into that in a bit. New Jack cuts a promo prior to the match, saying he’ll walk away from wrestling if he can’t beat Grimes tonight and puts the crowd over for sticking by him for all these years. Well, at least it’s clear he’s supposed the babyface I guess.

This is your typical New Jack match, although in a sizable downgrade they don’t wrestle with his music playing in the background. It’s pretty much what you would expect in the early stages, with both guys hitting each other with weapons and bloodying one another up with things like pizza cutters and a rake with barbed wire on it. They eventually climb up opposite sides of the scaffold, which leads to the moment this match is infamous for.

New Jack pulls out a tazer and tazes Grimes, leaving it on for way too long. Grimes apparently told New Jack at this stage that he couldn’t feel his legs due to the tazer, to which New Jack replied “It’s okay, you’re not going to need them” before flinging Grimes off the scaffold. Grimes of course can’t ensure he lands properly without control of his legs, which leads to him falling down and bouncing off the ropes on the way down to the mat. Thankfully he didn’t die as a result of this.

WINNER: NEW JACK
NO RATING

I can’t rate this because it crossed the boundary from being professional wrestling to being something bordering on an attempted murder. To say New Jack was outrageously unprofessional here would be an understatement, and his consequent bragging about the incident leaves a very sour taste in the mouth when watching this back. As I mentioned, it’s a miracle Grimes got out of this one reasonably unhurt in relation to how dangerous this whole situation was

A slew of medical personnel run into the ring to check on Grimes following that, whilst the fans lose their minds at what they’ve just seen. The ring announcer asks people to leave the building because they’re going to need an ambulance for Grimes.

Is It Really A Stinker?

Yeah, this show really sucked outside of a couple of passable bouts. The stuff in the Main Event really pushed it over the edge for me, as it was plain scary and New Jack should have faced prosecution for what he did there, as it crossed the line from being a pro wrestling beef to putting someone’s actual life at risk.

The rest of the show was full of sleazy angles and gimmicks, terrible production and just a general air of unpleasantness. Both ECW and CZW were capable of going too far or feeling overly questionable at times, but XPW’s entire product was just really seedy and I’m amazed they were able to find as big an audience for it as they seemingly had.

Final Rating: Stinker