The show marked the 6th anniversary of TJ Weatherby promoting wrestling at the SAW Mill.
There story surrounding the SAW name is so convoluted that you can't tell the players without a scorecard. The Showtime All Star Wrestling version of SAW, a collaboration between owner Reno Riggins and booker Paul Adams, basically faded away during 2012. Riggins decided to take the TV show back to its roots by renewing his collaboration with producer/editor Tim Thomason and Weatherby's Southern All Star Wrestling, which had continued to run at the SAW Mill after Showtime departed. Before Reno contacted him, Thomason was making preparations to tape TV at the SAW Mill for cable access. He had joined the NWA and was getting help from NWA Top Rope promoter Mike Sircy. With Reno on board, the TV show inherited the time slot formerly occupied by Showtime on CW58 in Nashville (Sundays at 10pm).
What captivates me about the TV show is how it captures the sound and feeling of a bygone era of TV studio wrestling, and does so on a barebones budget. The way the building is set up and the way it is shot disguises how tiny the venue actually is. But I digress...the plan is that the anniversary show will not air on TV.
The title matches ranged from good to outstanding. Overbooked? Sure. Entertaining? Absolutely. The shocking finish of NWA World Heavyweight Title match did an awesome job of heating up situation surrounding the SAW Title (currently held by Wolfie D). In the best match of the night, Chris Michaels defeated Vordell Walker to win the SAW International Championship in controversial fashion when Riggins lost his mind and turned heel. The Untouchables became the new tag champs unseating Team IOU in a heated three way match via nefarious means. Chase Owens retained the NWA Junior Title with a solid win over Kevin Weatherby. There's not much good to say about the first half of the show. We were treated to the redundancy of three consecutive cage matches, only one of which had any storyline significance for TV.
The SAW Mill was jam packed with a standing room only crowd of over 200. Michael Graham (subbing for Jason James) and Nitros had to stand up to do the commentary. There's no room for a desk.
Announcer Nick Nitros opened the show by whipping the crowd into a frenzy -- "SAW MILL, I...CAN'T...HEAR...YOU! MAKE SOME NOISE!" Nitros is so over the top it's ridiculous, but there's no arguing with the results. The building was on fire all night long. The band Notion played one song. I usually hate band at wrestling shows, but this was kick ass.
(1) Chris Bomb won a cage match battle royal at 4:12. The other participants were Bryan Casanova, Justin Grandberry, Johnny Moore, Sheik Sa'Luk & Lightning Bolt Kid. This was a changed to a battle royal because Bomb's scheduled opponent Damien Payne canceled. Bomb was far and away the fan favorite. Casanova had no business being in there with the curtain jerkers. He's involved in one of the top angles, and if had to be there at all, he should have gone over strong. Good thing this won't be on TV. The rules were never explained. Moore (Johnny Bandana in Showtime) went for the door, so evidently it was escape rules. When LBK tried to escape, Bomb tossed him back in by the seat of his pant and walked out.
(2) Jocephus Brody defeated Hammer Jack in steel cage match #2 at 6:15. They've been having impromptu brawls and the like. Beyond that, the cage match pretty much came out of nowhere. This match was ugly. Jocephus covered Hammer, so pinfalls must count as well. After taking repeated shots into the cage and a big clothesline, Jocephus was down. Hammer was crawling for the door when Abriella ran out and sprayed something in his eyes. Jocephus then chokeslammed Hammer for the win.
(3) Jason Nation defeated Hot Rod Biggs in steel cage match number three at 5:23. Biggs did mic work before the match. A group of fans came to the show specifically to see these guys wrestle, so Nation was way, way over. He's big, strong and unrefined in his wrestling skills. Nation wrestled wearing a t-shirt and lime green parachute pants. They battled standing on the top rope. Nation slammed Biggs' head into the cage and he gigged like a real pro. It was instant crimson mask. Nation pinned Biggs with a flying bodypress. The blood should have been saved for the main event where it meant something.
Postmatch, Biggs intimidated the bejeezus out of referee Chris Garrett.
Intermission - They deconstructed the cage (supplied by NWA Top Rope promoter Mike Sircy) in less than five minutes. Notion blasted out more tune. There was a meet and greet with Team IOU, Kevin Weatherby, Hammer and Nation. The grand prize was a replica Stone Cold championship belt fashioned into a clock. There was a true party atmosphere, the likes of which I rarely seen at a wrestling show.
Nitros sent out happy birthday wishes to photographer Sarah Bush. Nitros said that she had shot over 10K photos at the SAW Mill, and hasn't missed a show in over a year.
Commissioner Brewster presented TJ Weatherby with a promoter of the year plaque. It was an emotional moment for TJ. Brewster then presented an award to "Krull" (producer/booker/editor Tim Thomason) put SAW on TV, decorated the place, brought in talent, kept the old talent, and yet his name never showed up on anything. Thomason said he the coach, and said SAW was a team and a family. Brewster said he wanted to give a fan of the year award, but couldn't because "you are all fan of the year."
(4) In an elimination match, The Untouchables (Drew Haskins & Jeremiah Plunkett with Jimmy Street) defeated Washington Bullets (Jon & Trey Williams) and the defending champions Team IOU (Nick Iggy & Kerry Awful) to become the new NWA Southern Tag Team Champions in 16:19. Haskins has gotten himself in better shape and has the look of a real professional wrestler. No two ways about it, The SAW Mill loves Team IOU. They had Untouchables' number until Haskins slid out of danger by tagging to the Bullets. Plunkett made a blind tag and clipped Iggy's knee. Untouchables destroyed Iggy's leg for a good long while and got a ton of heat. IOU was eliminated when Awful tried to suplex Haskins back into the ring. Street grabbed Awful's leg and held on while Haskins fell on top for the three count. The Bullet hadn't been a factor until this point in the match, but the crowd got into their high energy attack on Untouchables. Street interfered again and Untouchables isolated Trey. The match broke down after the hot tag. Referee Garrett lost complete control of the match. Garrett was a late substituition, bu the refereeing at SAW is subpar in general. All four were in forever. Bullets thwarted Untouchables' double team finisher and hit one of their own. Street got up on the apron to distract and got clocked by Jon. In the ensuing chaos, Plunkett clocked Jon with Street's shoe and pinned him.
(5) Chase Owens defeated Kevin Weatherby to retain the NWA Junior World Heavyweight Championship in 11:07. Owens isn't blessed with a physically imposing presence or an overabundance of athletic talent, but he's clearly working hard to master his craft. He gets the nuances and the details and carries himself like a champion. Owens was all business, displaying confidence bordering on arrogance. Weatherby looked nervous at first, but he settled down and it wasn't a bad match at all. The storytelling was clear. Weatherby showed fire on a nice offensive flurry, and was able to evade Owens' vaunted discus elbow. Owens dissected Weatherby's knee to rob him of his mobility. Weatherby ducked the discus elbow, hit a DDT. Both men down. Weatherby was a bit shaky on how to sell the knee during the comeback. The finish saw Weatherby block a superplex, but his knee gave out when he vaulted off the ropes, and Owens KOed him with the discus elbow.
Owens said he was all about competition and he founds some in Weatherby, and would be happy to return to the SAW Mill for Owens/Weatherby 2. Weatherby wouldn't make for a compelling challenger outside the SAW Mill, but he did well enough to make a rematch work on his home turf.
Arrick Andrews told Sircy he didn't care who won the match between Kahagas and Wolfie D because he had the winner Saturday night in Lebanon (for NWA Top Rope) and was walking out of the Wilson County Fairgrounds as the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
(6) Chris Michaels (with Victor Van Glorious & Tasha Simone) defeated Vordell Walker to become the new SAW International Champion in 18:20. Sircy was the special trouble shooting referee. Walker drew on that deep reservoir of intensity and brought his A game. Michaels knew he was overmatched. It was going to take massive distraction and interference by Simone and Van Glorious to save him. At one point, Simone choked Michaels with her leg (while wearing a very short skirt and very high heels) While Simone distracted Sircy, VVG distracted Walker. Michaels kneed Walker in the back and VVG blasted Walker with his briefcase. Special trouble shooting referee #2 Brewster Fetter (one of three authority figure types along with Sircy and Riggins that habitually argue amongst themselves) tossed Simone and VVG. Riggins came down to ringside to ensure that law and order would be maintained. Michaels said he could handle it himself. I should hope so because Walker was still in bad shape from the briefcase shot. Michaels gave Walker a beating at ringside followed by a spinebuster onto the ring frame. Ouch. Michaels took a flying leap, landing crotch first on the middle turnbuckle. Walker hit his somersault cravate or whatever the hell that is. It's quite a move in any case. Michaels blocked the uranage slam and hit the Double Shot but Walker kicked out. Michaels called for the superkick. Walker countered and hit a Michinoku Driver for two. Michaels connected with the superkick and Walker kicked out. Walker planted Michaels with the uranage slam. Sircy counted three but Michaels had his foot on the bottom rope.
Reno argued that Michaels' foot was on ropes. Sircy said he didn't see it. Reno got so vehement that Sircy tossed him out. Tried to anyway. Reno clubbed Sircy in the back of the head and kicked the crap out of him. Reno then DDTed Walker and put Michaels on top of him. Turns out Reno was wearing a ref shirt under his street clothes and made the three count.
Riggins launched into a passionate tirade, claiming that he was the man that brought all this to the SAW Mill and busted his ass. He said the fans were nothing but nimrods. But the best was yet to come. Riggins was the proud owner of Sircy's false teeth up, holding them up for the irate fans to see. This was a classic moment. As Reno headed up the ramp, the infamous Chicken Hat Charles went after him and had to be wrestled down to the floor by security. A crazy scene ensued with Michaels, VVG, Tasha celebrating at ringside while at their feet, Charles was having a full blow meltdown.
Adrian Longoria raffled off furniture from Madison Furniture Depot -- just mention you're a SAW MIll fan for some great deals...living room suites start at $495.
(7) Kahagas (with Lacy) defeated Wolfie D to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 11:53. One of the things I admired about the many of the wrestlers back in the day was their ability to reinvent themselves. Wolfie has done so again, and the new gimmick works. Kahagas is a good brawler. Beyond that, I don't see where he has a lot to offer as the NWA World Champion, and the incident in Florida with Bruce Santee hasn't exactly enhanced his reputation. It was wolf cries and USA chants early as Wolfie took it to the champion. Ref Doug Markham got bumped, allowing Kahagas to crack Wolfie over the head with his kendo stick. Wolfie bled heavily. Wolfie with a neckbreaker and it was both men down. Wolfie fired back with Memphis style punches. Wolfie used a DVD to set up a top rope elbow drop. Lacy, dressed in all black, her facial expression a perpetual scowl, jumped on the apron to distract the ref. Casanova ran down and nailed Wolfie with a sick chairshot to the head. Hammer Jack ran down and forced Casanova to retreat. Kahagas pulled a stick out his tight and jabbed it in Wolfie's throat. Kahagas brought a table in and propped it up in the corner. The ref got bumped again. Wolfie hit a rack drop on Kahagas. Lacy jumped in and Wolfie gave her the rack drop, and did that ever look great. A Wolfman looking guy in a trenchcoat came out of the crowd, clubbed Wolfie, and put him through the table with a piledriver. Match over.
The mysterious figure removed the wig and fake beard, revealing Wolfie's arch nemesis "King" Shane Williams.
NOTES: Sircy's NWA Top Rope promotion is in action at the Wilson County Fairgrounds tonight (January 9) with Kahagas defending against Andrews and Owens vs. Dyron Flynn...There is likely to be a DVD release of the show. Clips of the major angles will appear on SAW television. SAW typically tapes one hour of television at the SAW Mill every Friday night. The current show is uploaded to southernallstar.com every Sunday night.,.Walker and the Bullets will return on March 1.