LIVE from The Rahway Rec Center
For the first time in my life I made the trip to see a Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) show, a promotion that has given rise to a large number of notable wrestlers throughout the years. For this show they were not only celebrating their 19th Anniversary, but also honoring the memory of one of their founders “Fat” Frank Iadeavia. With a whole host of well known stars set to appear the Rahway Rec Center was filled to capacity and fans were ready for some wrestling.
Best of the Light Heavyweights 6-man Elimination match: Archadia vs. Lio Rush vs. David Starr vs. Lance Anoi’a vs. Deranged vs. Steve Scott
Once the match begin it quickly turned in to the usual 6 man match with competitors wrestling one on one in the ring while others remained laid out on the floor. For his part David Star was able to draw the most heat when he refused to take a group selfie with the other competitors (I greatly enjoyed it when he took the phone and stepped on it). Lio Rush was an absolute workhorse in this match with his lightening quick exchanges. JAPW alum Deranged was wrestling for the promotion for the first time in years and his energy was very apparent; he and Anoi were both on opposite top turnbuckles and Anoi leaped for a Splash but Deranged intercepted him with a beautiful Cutter. From than on the eliminations starting coming one after another in quick sequences. The final two came down to Archadia and Steve Scott who had an insane spot when Scott hit Archadia with a Dudebuster on the apron! Archadia managed to battle back and win the match with a Pumphandle Buster.
Great type of match to kick off the show, especially since the crowd was in a somber mood following the tribute to Fat Frank to begin the show. The eliminations were a little too quick for my liking and I’d have preferred less of the one on one dynamic. Good match otherwise.
Shelly Martinez vs. Kimber Lee
Kimber was in control for most of the match, hitting Shelly with a nice Brainbuster during this period. Shelly came back with some hard and quick slaps that left Kimber very red in the chest area. Shelly ended up winning out of nowhere and it really left me at a loss for words. Match ended in just about 5 minutes, no exaggeration.
Very quick/anti-climatic match. Kimber is one of the better female workers on the indy scene (not sure about Shelly, first match I can recall I have seen her in) so to see such a quick match was shocking. This wasn’t helped by a disinterested audience, which it became very apparent most in the crowd were only there to see the Hardyz and Rey.
Winner: Shelly Martinez
EC Negro vs. Danny Demanto
If anyone has seen the movie Ready to Rumble than EC Negro will remind you of a cross between Jerry the King Lawler and Jimmy King! Seriously, this guy is so over the top with his King of NY gimmick, pretty entertaining. During the match Demanto used his size to flatten Negro at every turn, giving his opponent little chance to take control. However, with two chairs set up on the outside of the ring, Negro was able to toss Demanto from the top rope on to chairs! Demanto almost lost by count out because of this and found himself on the receiving end of Negro’s offense for the remainder of the match. But Demanto was able toss Negro off the tope rope and connected with a Low Down Frog Splash for the win.
Seeing a man the size of Demanto connect with a Low Down Frog Splash is such a sight and one of the most credible ways to end a match. Respect to him for take such a rough bump and being able to move around the ring as he was able to do. Not to be outdone, after the loss Negro made it a point to put his crown back on and flaunt to the crowd while selling the pain he felt from Demanto’s splash. Surprisingly entertaining match.
Winner: Danny Demanto
Intergender Tag Team Match: Worlds Cutest Tag Team (Joey Ryan & Candice LaRae) vs. Chris Dickinson & Heidi Lovelace
I popped big for this match since it was my first team seeing Joey and Candice live. Candice and Dickinson started things off with Dickinson using his power to push Candice around. But always the tough girl, Candice fought back with a string of reversals that kept putting Dickinson on his back. Joey and Heidi mixed it up a lot, with Heidi pulling on the chest hairs of Joey to show she is just a tough as Candice. Joey being the sleaze he his caught her with a Breastplex as retaliation. The action was back-and-forth and very entertaining. Big moments included the Ballsplex by Candice to Dickinson and the assisted Headscissors by Candice to Lovelace on to Dickinson. Joey and Canidce would pick up the win after Candice delivered a Swinging Neckbreaker from the top rope to Heidi.
Really fun match. Most in the crowd had never seen Candice and Joey, and when they saw how they worked in the ring they were instant fans. The knock I have on this match is the striking of Heidi, which came off as very soft on Joey Ryan. She’s a tough woman, would have been better served giving him some stiffer hits.
Winner: Worlds Cutest Tag Team
Light Heavyweight Championship Match: BLK JEEZ (Champion) vs. Joey Janella
Both men spent a lot of time exchanging chops since it seemed as though that was the only way to get a reaction out of the crowd. Scary point in the match was when JEEZ Chop Blocked Janella on the apron and Janella landed on his neck. Janella got back up and continued with the match, never once favoring the neck luckily. Hard-hitting Irish Whips along the outside along with a number stiff strikes. Unfortunately I’d be lying if I could add more to the match, the rest of it seemed rather generic and uneventful (I left my notepad at home so was unable to take notes on any of the matches tonight). JEEZ ended up winning after hitting Janella with a Death Valley Driver off the 2nd rope.
It took a while for this match to get going, the crowd was very dead (this matched followed intermission and an additional Fat Frank Tribute). Most of the match was filled with back and forth chops, and it was rather difficult to gauge who was suppose to be the heel and who was suppose to be the face. Rough spots here and there during the match but the match never really seemed to have a proper pace or emotion to make people invested in such spots.
Winner: BLK JEEZ (Champion)
Matt Hardy w/Jeff Hardy vs Azreal
In 2015 the Hardyz are still over. I have not kept up regularly with TNA, so to witness how excited fans were to see them was a surprise. A good couple minutes were spent in the match with Matt pandering to the crowd, and the audience ate it all up, they loved him. Azreal got a lot of heat whenever he was able to cut off the offense of Hardy and keep him down for a prolonged period of time. A section of fans were anti Hardy, and when Matt noticed them he started to troll them by beating on Azreal close to them and taunting near them. That’s the kind of heel work I love from Matt, who knows how to get under the skin of people so easily. But in this case he was the clear face so it did throw things off a bit for me but not the casual fan. When Azreal stepped on the hand of Jeff at ringside the fans booed him like he was going to be attacked outside! When the ref was distracted Jeff got his revenge with a strike to Azreal, this allowed Matt to hit him with a Twist of Fate for the win. Jeff celebrated with Matt in the ring and stomped on Azreal for good measures.
Very interesting match. I naturally see Matt as a heel; I haven’t considered him a face since his last WWE run. This is not a knock on his good guy work in TNA, he is just so good at being a bad guy it’s hard to see him as anything else (ROH Matt Hardy will live in infamy). Your basic match, nothing special to it outside of the fans waking up for Matt’s match and making it feel like a really big deal.
Winner: Matt Hardy
Monster Mack w/Dan Maff vs MVP
This match was all about who was the toughest guy. Both men began the match trashing talking back-and-forth and exchanging Shoulder Tackles to try and knock the other down. Problem is this went on for much too long, and I cant even call a single wrestling move that happened in this match. Maff of course interfered and got some shots in on MVP, with the match including some hard hits at ringside. Very slow pace that was not about ring psychology, more catching one’s breath. MVP won the match with his Drive By Boot to Mack (I hope that’s what he still calls it).
Nothing much to this match, easily the weakest one on the card. After the bell it looked like Maff and Mack were going to double team MVP but LAX came to the ring to protect MVP. Mack and Miff walked away making a money sign, as if to signal they wont fight LAX until they are paid to do it.
Tag Team Match: LAX (Homicide & Hernandez) w/ Shelly Martinez vs EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik)
EYFBO came in through the crowd and started the match with a sneak attack on LAX. LAX regained control and took the fight in to the crowd and up the bleachers. This got the crowd hot for the match, as it was reminiscent of the old hardcore style the promotion was founded on. When the competitors finally got the match back in the ring EYFBO were able to take control and work over Homicide for a while. After being white hot for the outside brawl the crowd got really quiet. Sensing this the competitors kicked it up a notch with a Hernandez hot tag and a lot of back-and-forth high impact moves that brought the crowd back to life. Hernandez connecting with a pounce and a Sit-out Powerbomb had the crowd on the edge of there seats, as did Homicide flying outside of the ring as if it were 2005. EYFBO more then held their own against LAX, coming up with near falls that almost put them away. In the end however Homicide would score the win for his team via a CopKiller.
MOTN, easily. The brawl through the crowd was exciting and when it seemed fans lost interest these teams were able to flip a switch and pull them right back in. It’s 2015 and LAX looked better than they did in their initial TNA run, a testament to the in-ring development of Hernandez and the veteran prowess of Homicide. Really good match a great show of respect at the end when LAX shook hands with EYFBO.
Winners: LAX w/ Shelly Martinez
Main Event: Low-Ki vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Big ovation for both competitors as they made their way to the ring. Low-Ki got some fan hate as people were jeering him and calling him Kaval (ouch). First couple minutes they let dueling fan chants have it out as they got in to some quick exchanges. Low-Ki played the villain role perfectly simply by countering well known Mysterio moves like the 619 on multiple occasions. For a guy wrestling on bad knees Mysterio looked to be in great shape with is speed working well for him. Low-Ki however was faster and able to keep him down. Mysterio took some hard spills to the outside, with Low-Ki repeatedly roughing him up with a methodical approach. Mysterio was able to make the big comeback and win after a 619 and a Frog Splash.
Good match to close out the night. This was the first Low-Ki or Mysterio match I have actually seen in a while, so was refreshing to see them in the ring. Loki looked like an absolute predator in the ring; his movements were quick, decisive, and impactful. Mysterio worked from behind and hung in there tough with him, making the comeback win all the more rewarding in the end for fans. After the match an Eddie chant broke out and Mysterio couldn’t help but perform Eddie’s signature rope taunt that is utilized regularly by Tyler Breeze these days.
Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.
On a night were seemingly every promotion in the world had something going on JAPW were able to put on a more than capable show. The tributes to Fat Frank were very well done; I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for his family who were in attendance. The late start and ending to the show likely played a role in the restlessness of the crowd, but this was more so caused by a large portion of the audience knowing little about the promotion and only there to see the Hardyz and Rey. A number of matches were too quick, and others did not have a lot going on in them. What worked well worked very well, but the match quality was very inconsistent throughout the night.
MOTN: LAX vs EYFBO
Wrestler of the Night: Low-Ki
Personality of the Night: EC Negro
Show Rating: 6.25/10