BAM! This is happening. First, a quick introduction. I am the Stranger in the Alps, and I have been a long time reader of the BoD, and just recently started contributing to the comments section several months ago. I want to thank Mr. Keith for the opportunity to bring a fresh column onto the blog. Hopefully, it works out, and I can turn this into a weekly gig. We’re all a little tired of WWE and it’s directionless direction, so I’m taking a different approach to reviewing, and I’m going to focus on a little known indy fed with a TV show. TCW – or Traditional Championship Wrestling. They are focused mainly in the southern US like Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee. They have a weekly TV show that I found on The Pursuit Channel on DirecTV (ch. 604) Fridays at midnight CST. Here is a link to their various TV stations, categorized by state: http://www.tcwwrestling.com/tvinfo.shtml And if you don’t have any of those channels, they have a Youtube channel, and new episodes are uploaded every Tuesday. Here’s the link for that: http://www.youtube.com/user/TCWWrestlingOnline/videos So you have the intro, now let’s review this weeks episode. Much like WWE, TCW warns you to NOT try this at home. Funny thing is, it looks EXACTLY like WWE’s font for their warnings, with TCW’s logo splashed above it. Taped from the Frank Cochran Center in Meridian, MS. Your hosts are Matt Rhodes and Brian Thompson. Thompson plays the heel announcer. TCW chant from the crowd. Rhodes announces a match between former New Orleans Fight Club partners John Saxon and Steve Anthony. You see, Anthony turned his back on his friend Saxon and joined the dominant stable in the company, The Empire. That match goes down on this episode. Then they flashback to a few months ago to a match between the TCW International Champion Titan and Tarver (the former Nexus member Michael Tarver in WWE). They are having a rematch for the title TONIGHT! Opening video and credits. Match #1: John Saxon vs. Steve Anthony – Saxon makes his way to the ring first, then after a quick break, Anthony makes his way out with mic in hand. Anthony wants to thank the fans for coming out to see Saxon in his last match of his career. Crowd with, I believe, a “Saxon’s gonna kill you” chant. Anthony, sarcastically, says that Saxon is like a brother to him and he loves him. He goes on to say that because of the love he has for Saxon, he can’t get in the ring tonight. Saxon used to be full of aggression, now he’s just full of depression. Crowd: “You’re a pussy!”, Anthony: “No, I’m not. I’m a good friend.” Anthony keeps going, saying that Saxon is in his 40’s, and he’s lost a step and it wouldn’t be fair for Anthony to beat him. As a friend, Anthony has to walk away. Now referee James Beard has told the timekeeper to ring the bell, and the bell rings, but Anthony keeps talking, now disparaging Saxon’s parenting skills. Now Anthony just does a 180 and says that because of the rude fans, he’s going to kick Saxon’s ass. Anthony stalls, of course. The bell rings again, and Anthony slides out of the ring, and grabs the mic AGAIN. He tells Saxon he loves him, and flips him the bird and slowly backs down the aisle. The referee counts to 10, and awards Saxon the match by countout. WINNER: John Saxon via counout at 1:03. This gets NO RATING. Backstage, Col. Tom Parker is the figurehead for the company. He’s talking to someone, telling them that they have done a lot of underhanded things in the past, and what do they have to say for themselves? The camera pans to show he’s talking to Boyd Bradford, head of another stable in TCW, The Bradford Family. He complains of an attack on him by another manager, Rich Rude, during a match. Parker gives Bradford until the end of the day to produce Rich Rude, as Bradford and his Hounds of Hell (Cerebus and Roosevelt) abducted Rude a couple of weeks back, and Rude has not been seen since. Parker threatens them with termination. Bradford states that the only way anyone will see Rude is via satellite, unless Bradford and his men get what they want. They want Genetic Perfection striped of the TCW Tag Team Championship, and have them awarded back to the Hounds of Hell. Parker is adamant with his HELL NO. Instead, Parker grants Bradford’s guys a title shot later in the show. Match #2: Tarver vs. Titan – TCW International Heavyweight Championship. Tarver out first, because champs enter second, baby! Tarver is over pretty good with this crowd. Titan is accompanied by Lily, who is almost a Sunny lookalike. Sunny 1996, not Sunny 2013. Titan is billed as being 7’2″ tall. Your referee is DJ Pitre. Tarver with fist combos to the body to start. Titan with a knee to the gut to counter. Slam attempt reversed by Tarver, and he drops down to take out the knee with a chop block. Tarver with more rapid fire fists to the head this time. Tarver going up top, but Titan meets him there with a fist to the head. Tarver on the apron now, and Titan grabs him by the throat, talks a little trash, and hits a head butt. Tarver with his head in the ropes, so Titan comes off the ropes and butt butts Tarver to the floor. Down on the floor, Titan follows and hits a disoriented Tarver with some fists. Titan takes Tarver’s arm and places it inside the hole on the steps, and then rears back for a kick to that same arm. Tarver, in pain, gets back in the ring, favoring the hand. Titan stalks him to the corner and slaps him around. Now Titan wraps the injured hand around the ropes, as they hit a break. Back from break, with Titan still in control. To the corner, and Tarver unleashes a chop, to no effect. Titan wraps Tarver in the corner, and does The Big Show’s “Sssshhhh” corner chest chop. Basically, Titan is Paul Wight when he was slimmer. Now Titan drapes Tarver across the middle rope for some slaps from Lily. Titan holds Tarver steady with one hand, then nails him with a knee to the jaw. Tarver down to one knee, and Titan comes off the ropes with a kick to the head. Titan standing on the injured hand now. Titan holds Tarver down for a pin attempt, but Tarver gets the shoulder up. Tarver with shots from underneath to attempt a comeback. Irish whip to Tarver, but he ducks under and comes back with a punch. Another duck under, and another punch. Titan is staggered. Some body shots now from Tarver, selling the injured hand. Tarver off the ropes and Titan with a BIG clothesline. Titan drops the knee to the injured hand a couple of times, then switches to an elbowdrop to the chest. Titan presses Tarver’s injured hand into his own chest. Tarver trying another comeback with elbows to the gut. A big forearm from Tarver. Tarver off the ropes, but Titan shoulderblocks him down. Titan talking trash with Tarver down on his back. Titan picks him up, and whips him to the corner and follows with the corner clothesline. Titan with the thumbs down, grabs him by the throat, but Tarver with elbows. Another forearm from Tarver. Forearm again, followed by punches. Tarver off the ropes, Titan with a big boot to put him down. Now Lily distracts the referee, and she has something in her hand that she tosses into the ring while the ref is still trying to get her down off the apron. Tarver grabs the object and it’s brass knuckles. Tarver ducks under a clothesline attempt, and HITS TITAN WITH THE KNUX! Titan is down! Tarver with cover, the referee counts 1…2…and LILY JUMPS ON THE REFEREE TO STOP THE COUNT. She is gouging the ref’s eyes! Now she DDT’s the ref! Lily goes over to the timekeeper’s table and rings the bell herself. Tarver, Titan and the referee are all down in the ring. Lily collects the title belt, and Titan and they are gone. WINNER: No official decision, but assume it was a DQ win for Tarver at around 10:28. Tarver didn’t show much offense outside of punch/kick, and Titan “carried” the match. Screwjob finishes always suck. Call this match * (one star). The announcers verbally recap last week’s doings when The Empire offered #1 contender Lance Hoyt a spot in their group, but when he refused, of course he was jumped. Hoyt’s on his way to the ring right now. Hoyt has a mic and someone covered in a black sheet. He’s excited about something. The Empire is about to get what’s coming to them. He says he can’t be paid off. It’s four on one, but one on one, none of them stand a chance. He has brought The Empire a surprise, and calls out The Empire. Here they come, led by their leader Matt Riviera. (The Empire are Riviera, Steve Anthony, Greg Anthony and the TCW Heavyweight champion, Tim Storm. Hoyt is the #1 contender for that title.) Hoyt asks Riviera if he likes surprises, and then says he has brought someone along that he can trust, a former TCW Heayweight champion. Someone that has had similar problems with The Empire. Hoyt says he won’t tell who it is. Riviera comes back with the old “it’s your mom”. Steve Anthony, in a funny spot, gropes the front of the sheet-covered person and says “Nope”. Hoyt dares him to lift the sheet and see who it is. Instead, Riviera and company decide they want none of it and start to leave. Hoyt pulls out the “chicken” card, and they come back. Hoyt counts down from 10, and The Empire tease the reveal, but start to leave AGAIN. Hoyt makes fun of Riviera’s Arkansas edgucashun. Riviera FINALLY pulls the sheet off and it’s Shane Williams! Now the brawl is on! Shane Williams is a former member of The Empire, by the way. Hoyt and Williams take on all four guys, and The Empire retreats to the back. Williams grabs the mic and proclaims that “The King is back in TCW, and The Empire is going down!”. Hoyt and Williams mock The Empire salute, and we hit the break. When we come back, Jason Jones, the backstage interviewer, is with Vordell Walker. He wants Walker to comment on his feud with Sigmon. He states that Sigmon has been after him since day one. Walker goes on to say that he has met guys like Sigmon all across the globe and none of them have been able to get the job done. He wants to know if he looks like a loser (Sigmon’s thing is that he calls himself a winner, and everyone else losers. Just for context, folks.) Jones interrupts Walker to state that Col. Parker has made a match between Walker and Sigmon for next week. Walker is going to finish the job next week, and they’ll find out who the real loser is. Match #3: Genetic Perfection (Michael Barry and Alan Steel) (c) vs. The Hounds of Hell (Cerebus and Roosevelt) – TCW Tag Team Championship – The Hounds hit the ring first, then the champs enter and rush the ring. All four men in the ring to start. Double whip to Cerebus, and a double back body drop. Roosevelt alone in the ring now, as Barry heads back to his corner. A series of right hands keeps dropping Roosevelt. Steel tags in Barry now. Steel holds Roosevelt for some shots from Barry. Barry takes Roosevelt to the corner and does the 10 count head to buckle, with 10 hitting the mat. Tag to Steel and there’s a Hart Attack! Roosevelt kicks out at two. Roosevelt pokes the eyes and tags out to Cerebus, who promptly walks into a clothesline from Steel. Steel mounts Cerebus and gives him some punches to the head and breaks at five. To the corner, and Steel hits post and falls to the floor. Cerebus out after him with boots. There are two officials for this match. Steel brought back in, off the ropes and a back elbow puts hm down. To the corner, Steel sidesteps and rolls him up, but Roosevelt has the referee’s attention. The second referee, James Beard, comes in for the count, but Cerebus is out at 2. Cerebus puts Steel down with a clothesline. Tag to Roosevelt, and they send Steel to the buckle headfirst, then double chop him down. Roosevelt with the knee across the throat. Roosevelt picks Steel up off the mat then puts him back down with right hand. Tag to Cerebus who spits on Barry to cause a distraction, as Barry is held back by the ref, and The Hounds do some doubleteaming on Steel in their corner. Cerebus cinches in the chinlock. The crowd is trying to rally behind Steel, as they take a break. Coming back, Steel is trying to come back with elbows to the guy, but he is put down by a big forearm to the back from Cerebus. Tag to Roosevelt, who comes off the middle rope with a double axehandle. Neckbreaker from Roosevelt. Cover, and kick out at 1. Now comes the headlock from Roosevelt. Barry trying to get the crowd behind Steel, who hits a jawbreaker on Roosevelt. Steel off the ropes, but he meets a knee from Roosevelt, who then tags in Cerebus. Double team whip to the corner, but Steel goes up to the middle and comes off with a double back elbow to put everybody down. The announcers question the whereabouts of Boyd Bradford and Rich Rude. Hot tag to Barry! Back elbows for everybody. Cerebus gets in a kick to the gut, and a double whip attempt is reversed on Cerebus, who then goes over Barry and into his own partner. Barry with the Samoan Drop on Cerebus. Samoan Drop for Roosevelt. Barry has his whip reversed by Cerebus, but Barry goes for the Sunset Flip. Roosevelt tries to grab Cerebus’ arm to prevent the flip, but Steel comes back in for a Sunset Flip on Roosevelt. Double pin attempt and double kick out at 2. The Hounds recover and each hit a clotheline on their opponents, putting both Barry and Steel down. Cerebus whips Steel, but Steel goes under and comes back with a Superkick that puts Cerebus to the floor. Roosevelt whips Barry to the corner, but Barry gets the boot up and Roosevelt collides with the referee, Rashard Devon, who goes down. Barry powerslams Roosevelt, and now Boyd Bradford and Kincaid (another Bradford family member) wheel out Rich Rude, who is bound and gagged to a dolly, making sure Genetic Perfection see them. Then they promptly wheel him to the back. Barry leaves the ring to go after them, leaving Steel alone with The Hounds. Steel is on top, when Cerebus comes from behind to take him down. Cerebus puts Steel over his shoulder, and Roosevelt grabs a chain, and comes OFF THE TOP, DRIVING THE CHAIN INTO STEEL, as Cerebus drops him. The second referee comes in and makes the count 1…2…3! NEW CHAMPS!! Barry comes running back in with a chair, and The Hounds take their leave, raising the belts high. WE’RE OUT OF TIME!! WINNERS: The Hounds of Hell at 8:01. *** (3 stars). A solid tag team match. I didn’t mind the distraction finish too much, but at least we had match finish on this show. Plus, having a title change hands in your first review isn’t too bad. So, there you have it. An indy fed, with a TV show, and a guy to review it. The slogan for TCW is “Wrestling is Back”. I wouldn’t go that far with it just yet, but I will say that this was a refreshing change of pace, and DIFFERENT IS GOOD, as a wise blog owner recently said to me. I appreciate ALL comments and criticisms. I might be back next week. Rich Rude may not.