By Ryan Clark on July 30, 2012
Credit: Larry Goodman and: Pwinsider.com
NWA Alternative Pro Wrestling presented Freedom Fight 2012, the peak show of the year on the APW calendar, featuring a role reversal rematch from last year between NWA Southern States Champion Stryknyn and former champion Anthony Henry plus a special appearance by Ricky Morton. Attendance at the Pops Horton Gym was close to 200. With few exceptions, they were hot all night long, although I could have lived without the “Yes!” chants.
It was encouraging to see a promotion do their biggest show of the year and for it to be so well received without any gimmick matches, no blood, minimal use of foreign objects and all clean finishes. APW is doing a stellar job of developing stories that are compelling enough to stand on their own merit.
Untouchable Talent (Jeremy Vain & JT Talent) came out to a big pop. Vain said the ladies match wasn’t happening because the women had issues. Vain said he had one woman to deal with and if he could avoid the others for the rest of his life that would be a good thing. Vain added that management had hired a ring girl and introduced lovely Laura. Talent said he had no problem with Laura whatsoever. Vain didn’t either. This was an entertaining way to open the show. The chemistry between Vain and Talent was fun to watch.
(1) Don Matthews pinned Kevin Blue with the lariat at 1:13. Blue Introduced hisself as a beacon of light and the only hope APW has, and said he could beat any APW star past or present. He got past in the form of the Matthews, who is carrying more weight these days but he still moves well for a big guy.
(2) Dustin Knight defeated “Alabama Ambassador” Jacoby Boykins in 8:22. Knight is so over here that he’s like a completely different wrestler than at NWA Anarchy. There was no need to know the back story to understand this match because they made it clear it in the ring – Knight was out for payback for Boykins injuring his shoulder. Boykins used his massive size advantage to destroy Knight with power moves, using a bear hug to take the air out of Knight’s comeback. Knight got the crossface but Boykins powered out of it with a Samoan Drop. The finish saw Knight slip out of Boykins’ grasp for a jumping neckbreaker and hit a top rope leg drop for the pin. Good match. It’s tough to suspend disbelief with such a huge size difference, but they work so well together that they were able to pull it off.
“Unstoppable” Shadow Jackson addressed the crowd. Jackson said for weeks they had been listening to Yasir Akbar and his crony, Brandon Parker, talk about how no American could stand up to them, and he was going to whip the foreign thugs. The heels attacked Jackson and Morton ran down to make the save. Morton said some fans were probably wondering who that man from the old days is. Morton said he was the last one with a wrestler’s mullet and he loved it. Morton asked the fans if they wanted to see him team up with Jackson. That was a no brainer. Morton said it wasn’t about the old way or the new way, there was the right way and they were going to show it to the fans.
(3) Scott Mayson pinned Kameron Kade with his feet on the ropes at 5:40. This stuck out like a sore thumb on an otherwise totally respectable pro wrestling show. Fans took the opportunity to head to the concession stand. Mayson stunk it up with bad timing, weak strikes lousy ring positioning, and that’s not the half of it. Did anybody train this guy? Kade had a good look, but he’s facing a severe vertical challenge, and he wasn’t up to carrying Mayson.
Heavy Metal (Shane Hexxon & Calli Cannon) defeated APW Tag Champions Precious Metal (Ballenger & Revolution) and Just 2 Dudes (Jamie Cruz & Chris Spectra) and Untouchable Talent (Jeremy Vain & JT Talent) in an elimination match to regain the APW Tag Team Title in 16:51. Interesting back story to this match with trust issues across the board. Vain was having doubts about Talent because of the way they lost the titles. However, Talent appeared to be innocent of any intentional wrong doing. The heels had problems of their own. Revolution and Ballenger were lackey members of Heavy Metal, but they lucked into the titles and declared themselves to be Precious Metal. Early on, there was a cheesy looking four way collision of heels that looked pretty ugly. The metal teams worked on Cruz. Dudes did a cheesy battering ram routine. Vain brought his moonsault out of the mothballs. Revolution used a belt shot on Cruz and he was pinned by Ballenger. Talent immediately pinned Ballenger with the Bail Out. Vain was in peril at the hands of HM and when he finally got a chance to tag, Talent walked out on him. The crowd didn’t react much to this. Evidently they were too stunned by the swerve. Hexxon then pinned Vain with a piledriver. This was a good match when Vain, Talent or Hexxon were in the ring. Hexxon has major upside as a heel. He’s got the size, the look of a psychopathic felon and he can work.
(5) Seth Delay defeated James Boulevard to retain the APW North Georgia Championship in 9 minutes. Boulevard previously held the title and the contract of Skirra Corvus. He used and abused Corvus before firing him, then lost the title to Delay. This was a see saw battle. Boulevard did some comical selling when he came off the top and ate Delay’s boot. Delay busted out the bolo punch. The pace picked up down the stretch. Delay kicked out of Boulevard’s superkick. Boulevard capitalized on a ref bump with a mule kick to the nuts. Boulevard then hit a german suplex with a bridge, but Delay got his shoulder up and Boulevard didn’t. The fans were surprised when Delay was announced as the winner, but that was nothing compared to the state Boulevard was in.
Boulevard demanded a rematch. Delay said he had twice proven who the real king of Royston was, but since Boulevard liked playing king to Corvus, he was the one demanding a rematch – his title versus Boulevard’s contract. I marveled at how smooth and relaxed Delay was on the mic. He had the people eating out of his hand.
(6) Ricky Morton & Shadow Jackson defeated Yasir Akbar & Brandon Parker in 9:40. Parker and Akbar did a good job as the hapless heels and they fed Morton well on the hot tag. Morton’s big move was a high kneelift. Jackson took the heat. Best thing here was a crisp combo of strikes by Parker for a near fall. A strong “let’s go Shadow” chant signaled it was time for the 1031 and the hot tag was made. All four in. Akbar missed the straps down fist drop on Ricky and Jackson pinned him with the stunner. So simple and it worked like a charm.
(7) Stryknyn defeated Anthony Henry via submission to retain the NWA Southern States Championship in 20:29. Stryknyn is more over as the babyface champion than Henry ever was. Brutal back and forth to start. Henry spit water in Stryk’s face to gain the advantage. Stryk did a twisted version of the Garvin stomp. When Stryk tried to use his belt on Henry, Byers took it away, but Stryk was wearing two belts. Stryk did an insane long distance dive to the floor. He was lucky not to blow his knee out. Stryk damaged his leg tumbling over the ring steps. Henry went after the injury with Stryk trying to protect it like a wounded animal. Henry tortured Stryk with leg submission. Stryk’s selling was tremendous here. At 12 minutes in, Stryk mustered up a spinebuster and launched a comeback. Henry tried for the cloverleaf but Stryk reversed into an Anaconda Vise. Henry snapped Stryk’s neck of the top rope and went up for missile dropkick, but Stryk planted him with a powerbomb for a near fall. Stryk’s leg was giving him fits. Henry got the cloverleaf fully applied. Stryk twice reached the ropes only to have Henry pull him back to ring center. The third time Byers made Henry release the hold. The fans started a “crybaby Henry” chant. Stryk hit an Alabama Slam and tried for the spear, but Henry cut him off and dropped him on his head with a german suplex. Stryk kicked out for a great false finish. Henry kicked out of the spear for another falsey. They battered each other with stiff blows, until Stryk hit a uranage and locked in the Anaconda Vise. Henry tried to roll through but there would be no escape, and he was forced to tap.
Comparing this match to the one last year is comparing apples to oranges. Last year’s match was surprisingly great. This time greatness was expected. The 2011 match was blood and guts inside a steel cage and they did a smart thing by not trying to top it. This was a wrestling match with more nuance, which was just fine in its own right, because both are better wrestlers than they were a year ago.
NOTES: APW is on the verge of restarting AFTERSHOCK, their highly acclaimed 30 minute weekly internet show… Ricky Morton was out before the show doing photos with the fans and autographing merchandise and appeared to be enjoying himself..Scottie Wrenn aka Jason Justice, who appeared on APW show in June has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Wrenn’s doctors have told him that he needs to lose weight and do it now…July 27 has NWA North Georgia Champion Seth Delay defending against. James Boulevard, and if Delay wins he owns Boulevard’s contract…On top of being one fine ring announcer, Jonathan Feltner has a pretty decent singing voice. It takes guts to sing the National Anthem a cappella and Feltner did an admirable job…APW’s next major show is Nightmare on Cherry Street set for October 26.
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