Wrestleview.com’s own Josh Boutwell sent this in.
WrestleView Road Trip: SWA WrestleMania of the Gulf Coast ’14
Crestview, FL (Crestview National Guard Armory)
May 31, 2014
By: Josh Boutwell of WrestleView.com
-DARK MATCH: Santos & Joey Mayberry def. Victor Cru & Johnny Ramado
1) Super 6-Way: Christopher Slade def. Ox Haynie, Chris Tighe, Shane Gibson, Dunham, & Cali Kid
2) Dan Delicious def. Minotaur
3) The Arrogant Americans def. Asphalt Cowboys
4) Aaron Epic def. A-Solo
5) 2/3 Falls Lucha Rules Match: Lince Dorado def. Lucha Locura (2 falls to 1)
6) Cameron Frost def. Sirus Levay
7) Paul Jordane def. Kyle Matthews
8) Bob Armstrong, Steve Armstrong, & Mr. Fantasy def. Dr. Tom Prichard, Mr. Olympia, & Waylon Barley
For the past several years I have said every single year “I am going to the WrestleMania of the Gulf Coast” show this year, and every year something has seemingly come up. I’ve been hearing about these shows since 2007 and every year it seems that they get bigger and more stacked. Every year the Southern Wrestling Alliance holds just one card, sometime in April or May, which has become known by fans as the “WrestleMania of the Gulf Coast” and has truly become a “supercard.” Legends like Marty Jannetty of the Midnight Rockers, the Armstrongs, and Tom Prichard along with former WWE and TNA stars like Road Dogg and Hurricane Helms along with the absolute best of the best talent in the gulf coast area descend upon Crestview, FL one time every year.
Finally, this year I made it, in fact I got the very first ticket sold (numbered 001) the very first day they were up for sale. The minute I heard the first couple of matches announced this year’s card I knew that I HAD to be there and experience by far the biggest independent wrestling event that the gulf coast sees every year. This year it may be the biggest of the biggest.
I was at “Bullet” Bob Armstrong’s “retirement event” in Dothan, Alabama along with my dad. That was back in 2009 and I’ve seen him wrestle live at least a half dozen years since then. The Bullet has retired about as many times as Terry Funk. This year though will be a pretty special match for the south coast legend. Back in the territory days the territory here was a group called Continental Championship Wrestling (or Southeastern Championship Wrestling) which based out of Dothan, Alabama and I heard many stories from my dad and uncle about seeing Ric Flair and Bob Armstrong doing “broadways” in the muggy Houston County Farm Center. One of the more heated rivalries during the Continental years was between the villainous Stud Stable faction and the Armstrong family.
Steve Armstrong got his start in Continental as a part of the tag team known as the Rat Patrol with Johnny Rich feuding with the Stud Stable’s Jerry Stubbs and Arn Anderson. The two teams feuded over the NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championships for well over a year before Steve left for Florida Championship Wrestling to form the Southern Boys team with Tracy Smothers.
Around this time Bob Armstrong, who is one of the most popular southern stars of all time, suffered an insane weight lifting injury where a weight fell on his face ripping his nose completely off. As he needed tons of surgery to repair the damages he began wearing a mask and donning himself “The Bullet.” As The Bullet he too feuded with The Stud Stable, most notably “Mr. Olympia,” the masked persona of Jerry Stubbs. This feud resulted in many violent brawls including cage matches but in the end it came down to a Mask vs. Mask Match between The Bullet and Mr. Olympia. Eventually Armstrong unmasked Olympia revealing him to be Stubbs. Now these old rivals will once again step in the ring together as Bob and Steve Armstrong will team up with a mystery partner against the reuniting Jerry Stubbs and Dr. Tom Prichard as The Stud Stable and the monstrous “Scarface” Waylon Barley in what should be a wild Six Man Tag Team Match that is sure to fire up the old school wrestling junkies.
Speaking of masks, the match that sold me on this card more so than anything else features two of the very few luchadors that compete in the gulf coast. Luhca Locura and former CHIKARA star Lince Dorado will face off in a “Lucha Libre Rules Match” that will was sure to be unlike anything that fans down here have seen, high flying and fast paced. I’ve run my trap enough about what I was expecting from this card, let’s get down to the show itself!
This years “WrestleMania of the Gulf Coast” opened up with a dark match. Earlier in the day the legendary Tom Prichard held a wrestling seminar and he chose four wrestlers from that seminar that weren’t already booked on the card to wrestle in a tag team match to open the show. He sat at ringside and seemed to be taking notes. The heel side was Victor Cru and a small wrestler I had never seen before in Johnny Ramado (I think that’s how you spell it) against Santos and another wrestler I was unfamiliar with called Joey Mayberry. Mayberry was a old fashioned country boy type of character even wearing cowboy style wrestling boots and coming out to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” as his theme. The dude even had a “farmers tan” going on. Cru and Santos I’m very familiar with because they wrestler at the local independent where I live. Both are very good. Eventually Mayberry rolled Johnny up for the pin to finish the match.
As the event officially opened up with Mr. Fantasy, the promoter and ring announcer for the card, welcoming us and then his daughter signing the National Anthem beautifully. Tom Prichard, Mr. Olympia, and Waylon Barley then walked out and demanded to know who The Armstrong’s mystery partner would be in the main event. Fantasy said he had no idea who it would be and then Steve Armstrong walked out. He said that they had a partner lined up but the person was unable to make it tonight so they were without a partner. The Stud Stable began to bully around Fantasy and trash talk him saying that he retired two years ago because he was a coward. Fantasy said he’s out of shape and hasn’t wrestled for two years but he would be happy to team with the Armstrongs to get his hands on them!
The opening match was the exciting mesh of styles of the Super Six Way, but it was also the first disappointment of the night. Not because of anything that happened in the ring but the high flying Billy Rayz was advertised for this match but did not appear. The match saw “Shogun” Shane Gibson, “The Technician of Perfection” Chris Tighe, Christopher Slade, Ox Haynie, Cali Kid, and Dunham doing battle in a one fall match up. Shane Gibson stole the show early with by far the best entrance of the night, and by the way they had different entrance ways for the heels and babyfaces. As his music hit the lights dimmed and he came out wearing a hoodie that blinked neon lights in a really cool moment that everyone seemed to enjoy. The action was fast and all over the place from the jump. Cali Kid hit a nice Slingshot Corkscrew Plancha at one point that looked pretty nasty as it really seemed like his back slammed into the apron on the landing. Cali really bumped his tail off for the bigger guys and they seemed to enjoy tossing him around with ease. They teased a Tower of Doom spot early but then actually hit a wild six man Tower of Doom that sparked the first “this is awesome” chant of the night. After everyone pulled out their finishers Slade rolled Dunham up for the pin. Slade is getting really, really good.
Before the next match could even get going a fan at ringside ended up stealing the show as the “flamboyant” Dan Delicious’ entrance music hit. A very, ummm “interesting, woman began dancing and putting it all into her dancing t the music. People all around me starting filming her at this point and you couldn’t hear much of anything over the laughter. Delicious even walked over and started dancing with her as well. The early parts of his match with the monstrous Minotaur were very entertaining with Delicious pulling out all the usual antics like jumping in Minotaur’s arms and kissing him, slapping him on his ass, and showing him is his own ass. Eventually Minotaur began to take control with his power but after a big lariat spot Delicious landing extremely bad on his shoulder. It looked to me immediately that he dislocated and possibly separated the shoulder. He was visibly hurting for the remainder of the show and gutted it out but the match clearly ended early after he hit a Superkick on Minotaur to get the pin. He was helped to the back but did none of his usual celebration still grasping at his shoulder.
In a terrific tag team match the team of The Asphalt Cowboys (Justin Overstreet and Zane Stevens) faced off against The Arrogant Americans (Michael Facen & AJ Strokes). This match was interesting because not only is it a match pitting two of the best tag teams from the gulf coast over the past few years, but Overstreet and Facen are currently top singles wrestlers on the gulf right now as well. Overstreet is currently the AIWF World Heavyweight Champion while Facen is the NHW Heavyweight Champion. Stevens is also getting more and more noticed as a singles wrestler, recently winning the NHW Pride Championship. Both teams worked extremely well together with double team after double team. Overstreet was able to catch Strokes with a Spinebuster but it wasn’t enough as Facen broke up the pin. Stevens was taken out on the floor when Facen rammed his head into the ring post. Facen then lifted Overstreet in the air and Strokes dove off the top with a Diving DDT for the pin!
Aaron Epic faced off against A-Solo (I think that was his name) in another match where one of the Rayz Brothers was replaced. Scotty Rayz was originally scheduled to face Epic in a match I was really looking forward to. Despite that the match was really good and Epic seems to be naturally an annoying person which makes him a great heel. He was able to play to the crowd easily and messed with them throughout the entire match. He ended the match with his finisher. I never heard why Scotty or Billy Razy weren’t on the show.
During intermission Mr. Fantasy auctioned off massive cardboard posters of the event poster as well as posters featuring Bob Armstrong and Tom Prichard which were autographed. They seemed to make some pretty good money off of these, especially one that featured autographs from The Armstrongs and Stud Stables on the same poster.
Opening up the second half of the show was a 2/3 Falls Lucha Libre Rules Match! I have to say at this point that it was my suggestion to Mr. Fantasy that it be a 2/3 Falls Match, not that I would take credit or anything. This match pitted former CHIKARA star Lince Dorado against the gulf coasts favorite (and only) luchador Lucha Locura in the match that I was most anticipating! They went back and forth early and Lince was able to score a quick pin with a hurricanrana, but in the second fall Lucha answered with a rollup for a pin of his own. In the third fall they went all out flying all over the place and going back and forth with nearfalls. At one point Lucha hit a beautiful Plancha over the top but shortly thereafter Lince answered with a gorgeous Springboard Asai Moonsault to the floor. The fans were solidly by the local boy, Lucha Locura, so Lince decided to play it up and he began to do some heel/rudo tactics like ripping at Lucha’s mask and making cocky pinfalls using just one foot. Eventually Lince connected with a Super Rana off the top and then he blocked a Superplex attempt from Lucha and followed up with the Shooting Star Press to win the match. It was the match of the night for me and one of the best matches I’ve ever seen live, just an incredible match by both guys.
Next up was the fan favorite Cameron Frost against the former “Omega” Sirus Lavey. Side note, I once was at an Indy show in Andalusia, Alabama a few years back where a guy was so big of an “Omega” fan that he had the dudes name tattooed on his arm (and was bragging about it). This was another solid match up but more old school to bring the fans down from the high paced action that we just saw. Frost got the pin with a nasty Spinning Sit Out Front Slam.
In the Semi-Main Event former NHW Heavyweight Champion and WWE developmental wrestler Paul Jordane against Kyle Matthews in what ended up being a really good, but kind of awkward match. I say awkward because Jordane was probably twice the size of Matthews yet played the cowardly heel role in the match, and played it well which was surprising in that type of match. Jordane cheated regularly including his manager helping out. Eventually Matthews hit a Suicide Dive through the ropes onto Jordane and his manager that seemed to turn the tide, but in the end the numbers game got the better of Matthews and Jordane hit his Fireman’s Carry Buster for the pin.
In the Main Event The Armstrongs got everyone in the arena on their feet as they joined up with Mr. Fantasy against The Stud Stable (Mr. Olympia & Tom Prichard) and “Scarface” Waylon Barley. The fans went nuts for the Armstrongs and the newest Armstrong in the wrestling business was accompanying them. Stevie Armstrong, son of Steve Armstrong, was in the corner of the babyfaces while Dandy Jack was in the heels corner. Prichard and Scarface worked the majority of the match for their team while Fantasy and Steve worked the entirety of the match for theirs with Bob never getting tagged into the match. The funniest spot of the entire match was what seemed like an accident. Fantasy knocked Mr. Olympia off the apron but Dandy Jack was standing behind him so he fell smack on top of Jack landing with a huge thud right in front of us. I could hear Olympia appoligizing and asking Jack if he was okay, which he was. Eventually Fantasy pulled off Olympia’s mask and then Bullet put Olympia in the Sleeper while Fantasy hit a Flying Elbow Drop on Scarface for the pin.
It was entertaining finish to an entertaining night. SWA goes out of its way to make sure these annual shows are entertaining and enjoyable for everyone, and they truly have something for everyone if you love wrestling. It was by far the best experience I’ve had at an independent wrestling event and it’s not even close. Lince and Lucha tore the house down in the ring but really every single match was entertaining its own way. If you’re in the southern Alabama/Georgia or northern Florida area this time next year do yourself a favor and make the “WrestleMania of the Gulf Coast.”
Follow me on Twitter: @BamaBoyJosh