Larry Goodman sent this in:
I think we?re onto something.
Credit that understatement to Reno Riggins. Showtime All-Star Wrestling outdid themselves last night. The sequel to ?SAW: The Next Level? succeeded beyond the company’s wildest expectations, drawing over 1000 fans to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Sports Arena.
Beginning to end, it was as good as any event I?ve attended over a 14 year span at the Fairgrounds (that excludes the TNA era. I somehow never made it to the Nashville for one of their PPVs). None of them had a crowd as large or as hot. I thought the NWA Charlotte debut was damn impressive, but last night blew that show off the map.
It was fairly astonishing that SAW was able to draw a substantially larger house than their first event, and do so on the solely on the strength of their talent roster. They?re building their own stars. They?ve got prime time Saturday night TV in Nashville(on CW58), but very little TV time was spent specifically on building up this show. Only the Last Man Standing between Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas and the Hammerjack/Anthony angle got any TV time at all. Fans are coming out to see the SAW product.
Who would have thought it possible? It’s 2009. The economy still stinks. The Fairgrounds Arena is a building burned out and killed dead beyond all hope. Pro wrestling is getting pounded by MMA. And yet, a local product gets hot, and for two months running, the Nashville fans have turned out in droves. You know you?ve got something special when a packed house is chanting ?S-A-W? (like they do on the TV show) in anticipation of the opening match.
Ring announcer Dan Masters opened the show by introducing WSMW sports reporter Brad Hopkins (a former pro bowl tackle for the Tennessee Titans) and smoking hot Natalie Van Eron (who worked briefly for SAW as a ringside interviewer). They were pumping up the Make-A-Wish fund raising aspect of the event. Couldn?t understand a word they were saying. The sound system sucked. It was the weak link of the evening. Masters was struggling to make himself heard all night long, and it rendered the mic work by the talent pretty useless.
(1) Arrick Andrews beat Chris Michaels in 8:55. Great pop for Andrews. And he’s barely been on TV lately. Crowd was unbelievably hot. A flurry of offense by Andrews built to a clothesline over the top. Michaels gave Andews a hotshot and took over with a power drive side slam. Andrews did a nice up and over reverse roll up, but Michaels cut him off. Michaels worked on Arrick’s back. There was a weird looking spot where Andrews had problems with his footing on a plancha. Michaels hit the double shot for a close near fall. Andrews nailed him with the Dragon’s Curse (tornado kick) for the pin. Good opener.
(2) Rick Santel (with Paul Adams) beat Jamie Dundee in 3:46. Adams got a ton of heat on the mic, but again, it was impossible to make out what he was saying. Reno Riggins came to the ring to explain that Dundee was subbing for Wolfie D, and TV footage would be forthcoming to explain this. Santel was bumping lie mad for Dundee, who looked a might rusty. Santel got sent into the rail right in front of the Make-A-Wish kids. Dundee started after Adams, and Santel got him from behind. Dundee made Santel miss with his Nature’s Greatest Elbow. As Dundee was making his comeback, Kurt Herron stepped in to block him from using a closed fist. Adams tossed a stick to Santel, and he popped Dundee with it for the three.
Crowd popped when Dundee said he was coming back to SAW. Could a PG13 reunion be in the offing?
(3) Drew Haskins (with Derrick King & JT Stahr & Sista O?Feelyah) beat ?Boogie Woogie Boy? Gary Valiant (with Miss Boogie) in 4:41. Haskins has quite the commanding presence for such a tender age. You would think he?d been working in front of crowds like this for years. The pop for Valiant was mind blowing. He boogied it up with the crowd before entering ring. Haskins jumped him for an instant ?Go, Boogie, Go? chant. Boogie rallied with Haskins taking major bumps. While Stahr distracted the ref, King pulled the ropes down to dump Boogie. Miss Boogie got upset. O?Feelyah got physically involved, and for the first time showed a streak of viciousness. Boogie hit a nasty looking neckbreaker. One by one, DKE got up on the apron to cause trouble. Boogie decked Stahr and King. Miss Boogie pulled Sista down. But Haskins capitalized on the shenanigans with a jumping DDT, and pinned Boogie as King held his feet over the rope. Finish was well
executed. Match was just what it needed to be. Boogie clocked ref Joe Williams in frustration.
(4) Kevin White (with Su Yung) beat Jesse Emerson in 6:30. White was playing pure chickenshit heel. He cowered behind Yung. Emerson got a good pop for smacked the crap out of his face. Emerson hit a spinning slam for a near fall. Yung distracted the ref, allowing White to gain the upper hand. That made three consecutive matches with ref distraction from ringside. White missed a swanton bomb. Emerson started blocking White’s punches and tagging him with big right hands. Emerson powerbombed White but crashed and burned on a top rope elbow. White hit a high knee and pinned Emerson clean with a folding press. I couldn?t fathom Emerson losing here. On TV, Emerson has been involved in a long running program with Jon Michael Worthington, who beat him at the Fairgrounds the last time. White hasn?t been on TV at all. Presumably, there will be something on TV to explain this.
(5) ?Maniac? Marc Anthony vs. Hammerjack was ruled a no contest at 8:09. A super heated brawl. Best stuff I?ve seen from either one of these guys in SAW. Hammerjack caught Anthony by surprise, and the action spilled out of the ring with Hammer in charge. They briefly brawled out of view into the dressing room. Anthony was channeling Bruiser Brody. Hammer was pounding him. Anthony bled but it didn?t faze him. He dumped Hammer and hit a psychotic suicide dive ala Hotstuff Hernandez. Anthony fired Hammer into the rail. Kid were shrieking. The whole thing had that wild, out of control feeling like back in the day. Anthony took a backdrop on the concrete floor. Hammerjack was beating the hell out of Anthony. Just drilling his forehead with punch after punch. Hammer decked the ref, and Senior Official Mark Herron waved off the match.
What followed was the best pull apart brawl I?ve seen in years. Like a real freaking fight. It took six guys to separate them the first time. Anthony staggered to the back with the crowd chanting like crazy for Hammerjack. Just when things were settling down, Anthony came back out. They went at it again. Various SAW wrestlers and such entered the fray. This got wilder than the first time. Hammerjack was pushed back into the dressing room. Meanwhile, Anthony was living up to his name. He proceeded to decimate three guys. Hammerjack came back out and they went at it AGAIN. More security came out. It was hotter than ever ? the peak heat of the show. Huge chants of ?let them fight?. This segment ruled.
(6) Derrick King Enterprises (Derrick King & JT Stahr with Sista O?Feelyah) defeated Scarboni Brothers (Handsome Vinny & Southpaw Sonny) to retain the SAW Tag Team Championship in 9:18. Scarbonis don?t do much for me. They look green compared to most of the SAW roster. If DKE coudn?t quite make them look like gold, it wasn?t for lack of trying. I?m thinking DKE can get an entertaining match out of just about anybody at this point. It was comedy of errors for DKE in the early going. There was one mishap where King gave Stahr a diving headbutt to the baby factory. Stahr’s nursing of his ?wound? was hilarious. Stahr started kicking the bejeezus out of Sonny. He speared Sonny in the back, and King followed with a superplex. Off the hot tag, Scarbonis got DKE in stereo figure four leglocks. O?Feelyah jumped up. Scarbonis confronted her. In the ensuing confusion, King superkicked Sonny, who was pinned by Stahr. I don?t think Sonny
was the legal man.
People started leaving at this point (2 hours), so neither of the last two matches had the benefit of the insane heat like the rest of the card.
(7) Kid Kash (with Melody) beat Vordell Walker to retain the SAW International Championship in 14:52. Kash did long mic work insulting the crowd. Up in the balcony where I was sitting, it was unintelligible. They went nose to nose. Crowd broke out the ?Kash sucks? chant. Lots of Kash’s usual stalling tactics. In the only MMAish sequence of the match, Kash shot for a single leg. Walker fought it and tried for a submission. Kash reversed and pounded Walker from the mount. I expected them to do more MMA style, because if Kash wanted to push the shootfighting gimmick, there was no better opponent to do it with than Walker. When Walker took over, Kash bumped bigger than he has for any of his previous SAW opponents. Kash bailed. Walker followed and took a flip bump into the rail for his troubles. Back inside, Kash used a standing suplex and a series of kneedrops for a near fall. Walker hit a back suplex and it was both men down. Walker tried to
climb. Kash kicked the ropes to crotch him, but Walker recovered to hit a superplex. Walker blitzed Kash with high impact offense. An STO got messed up, but the crowd reacted because it looked painful for Kash. Kash busted out the double jump moonsault for the first time in SAW, but Walker kicked out of it. Kash tried to pull something out of Melody’s purse. She wasn?t down with it. Walker got suckered into the mess, and. Kash rolled him up using the tights while fully exposing the crack of his ass (same as he did to Snow last month).
(8) Chase Stevens beat Andy Douglas (with Paul Adams & Rick Santel) in a Last Man Standing Match (27:49). I thought this was every bit as good and dramatic as the table match, but it didn?t feel like it because the crowd was past peak. And of course, there was no way top that finish. Stevens had done a great promo on the go home TV show (episode 114) that tied directly into the match story ? he was still suffering from the bump off the balcony and could barely stand to begin with, but he was going to keep standing up no matter what Douglas did. Adams and Douglas also did a classic gloating heel promo where they dropped a watermelon off an overpass and watched it splat on the parking lot below. Douglas jumped Stevens and destroyed his injured back. Stevens rallied but his back was killing him. Santel tossed a chain to Douglas, who clocked Stevens for the first pinfall of the match. Referee Marcus Pastorious caught Santel red handed and banished
him to the dressing room. Masters announced the rules as a 15 second rest period and then the count would start, but Marcus Pastorious started to count immediately. It didn?t matter, because few heard what Masters said anyway. Stevens was bleeding from the forehead. Stevens took a sick thudding bump to the floor. Douglas slammed Stevens on the concrete. Back in the ring, ate a kick to the face and collapsed. Stevens caught Douglas flush with a wild lucky punch. Douglas got major color. Blood was streaming down his face. Douglas hit the Harley Race knee but was in no shape to follow up. He was covered in blood down to his belly. Douglas pinned Stevens with a bulldog. Stevens got up. Douglas leveled Stevens with a lariat, then accidentally leveled Pastorious. Stevens hit the fisherman suplex. Adams entered the ring and stomped him. Stevens punched Adams. Santel tried to interfere and got speared by Stevens. Douglas capitalized with the Natural Selection
for the three count. Stevens got up. Douglas gave Stevens a DDT onto a chair. Stevens was up at the count of 13. Douglas blasted Stevens with an unprotected chair shot. The crowd went silent. Stevens again got up at 13. Douglas wedged a chair in between the turnbuckles. Stevens reversed and Douglas went in head first. Stevens pinned Douglas with the TKO. Stevens got to his feet just before the 15 count, and Douglas couldn?t make it. Another epic match in this epic feud.
Santel came back out and attacked Stevens until the Scarbonis made the save.
Masters announced a return date at the Fairgrounds for February 13.
NOTES: Jerry Jarrett was not in attendance and reportedly was out of town for the weekend?Michael Shane was backstage?Among other things, Mantell directed the pretaped segments and was heavily involved in the staging of the Hammerjack/Anthony brawl. Michael Shane was backstage?Jason James and Hot Rod Biggs were there in the role of SAW officials?NWA Main Event TV editor Andrew Becker was among those sent out to break up the fight between Hammerjack and Anthony?Brian Tramel reported on [url=http://rasslinriotnews.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-11-15T14%3A37%3A00-06%3A00&max-results=5]rronews.com[/url] concerning Wolfie D’s relapse (as posted by Wolfie’s girlfriend, Lizzie). Wolfie is not in rehab, but he is on hiatus from SAW?Mike Porter’s NWA Main Event ran a free show just 3 miles away from the Fairgrounds. That show reportedly drew 200 with Matt Boyce vs. the returning Shawn Shultz in the main event. Mike Posey vs. Steve-O
opened as Posey had to make the second half of his double shot for the NWA Top Rope show in Lebanon