WWL: IDOLS OF WRESTLING
All the hype, expectation and anticipation regarding the newly formed wrestling company, World Wrestling League (WWL), finally came to an end as they presented their debut event “Idols of Wrestling” this past Sunday April 21st at the “Coliseo de Puerto Rico” in San Juan, PR. I have to say that the show delivered on every production and performance level. The producers definitely made good on their promise that they would give the fans an experience unlike anything they had been presented in the past by any other promotion locally.
As advertised, doors opened at approximately 1:00PM for fans that had purchased Red Carpet and ringside tickets. At 1:30PM these fans had the opportunity to be a part of a “meet and greet” with pretty much all the talent that was going to participate in the show. Fans had a chance to get autographs and take pictures with anyone they wanted. The organization was key for the session to be a success and it showed. There was a specific order in which each and every fan was able to visit with their favorite wrestlers and the crowd enjoyed this type of access quite a bit. The session lasted for about 45 minutes and then the fans were asked to take their seats for them to enjoy the three exclusive dark matches.
The first dark match saw Strong Vigilante taking on Guapo Torres and “License to Thrill” Nick Romano. This was an entertaining match to warm up the crowd. Vigilante came up with the victory. Out next was Panama-Jack Daniels who faced Monster Pain w/ Mistress Glenda Lee. Panama-Jack was accompanied to the ring by his tag team partner “Mega Star”, who caused a DQ after they double-teamed on an attack against Pain. “Los Mamitos”, Sexy B. & Mr. E., came out for the save, thus furthering their feud for later in the evening. The last dark match saw King Voodoo and Mark Spectro facing Joseph “El Profeta” and his disciple Havok. The match started a bit slow but made progress. Unfortunately the match ended when Joseph received the hot tag and tried to jump over the ropes to come in to the ring, only to land very awkwardly and dislocating his knee. He was in pain the building just went silent for a few minutes as the ref stopped the match giving the dreadful “X” sign to the back. After that, Havok was attacked by Ash, Spectro and Voodoo while the refs tried to help Joseph. Finally they cleared the ring and Joseph was helped to the back. I cannot express how bad the knee looked as he was being taken out to the back in order to be rushed to the hospital. Our wishes for a speedy and full recovery go out to him.
After the 3 matches were over, there was a good 20 minutes before the main show would start. All of the sudden Colt Cabana and Adam Pearce came out to the ring side area to take pictures with the fans and interact with them. Because of their travel schedule they had not been able to make in time for the meet and greet and they wanted to make sure they fans had that opportunity. Great effort on their part to give fans that little extra they were not expecting.
It was then time for the show to begin. And begin they did… A play of lighting and full display of pyro gave the audience the first impression of what was to come throughout the evening. The following is a complete rundown of the card with comments regarding each match:
Cruzz retained his MidWest USA title after defeating “License to Thrill” Nick Romano. Really good match to begin the show, as it set the pace for the rest of the card. As soon as Cruzz’ music hit and he appeared on the ramp the crowd popped. Even though he has been away from Puerto Rico for a while, he is still very well liked by the fans in the island.
“La Real Fuerza Aerea de Mexico” (Hombre Sin Miedo, Stelaris & Laredo Kid) defeated Noriega, Lince Dorado & “Mr. 450” Hammet in what was a match set up that people were interested because of all the high flying spots that all the talent involved have been known for. All of them had their moment to shine. Unfortunately, Hombre Sin Miedo was hurt while receiving a diving “Mr. 450” on the outside. He was bleeding heavily from the mouth and was taken to the back before the match was over.
Hercules Gomez retained the Pennsylvania WXW Heavyweight title when he defeated “Face of Fear” ASH. Good showing from the big men here. Gomez showed potential, as even with his size (the guy is big!!) he has agility and moves very well in the ring. Looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. ASH also worked a good match. King Voodoo and Spectro interfered after the match, but were dispatched fairly quick by Gomez.
S.A.T. (Spanish Announce Team) w/ Hugo Savinovich defeated Michael Tarver & Erick Scorpion via countout after putting Scorpion through a table. S.A.T.’s and Savinovich had a mic and were making comments throughout the match, even yelling at the referee in a couple of instances. Entertaining to say the least.
In a “Fatal Four Way”, for the Zero 1 Mexico Title: Sicodelico Jr. retained the title after defeating Hijo de Rey Mysterio, Octagon Jr. and Axel - “El Nieto del Santo”. This was the much expected spot fest with a few blown spots at the beginning of the match, but picking up the pace as the match moved along. Sicodelico, Mysterio and Octagon Jr. show their experience. Axel, although he had a nice showing, still shows a bit green. I have to say that they all did a good job of giving the crowd what they wanted in the match.
DWE Heavyweight Title Match: Rico Cassanova retained after defeating “Tokyo Monster” Kahagas. Not much to write home about on this one.
The mini’s in action, when Mini Pierroth defeated Mini Chupacabras via submission. This was a really fun match where kids were very entertained by these two performers.
Colt Cabana defeated Steve Corino in what was a very fun match with a lot of comedy spots at the beginning on the part of Cabana. Corino and Cabana are really good in this type of environment. Both men worked hard and had the crowd eating every move they made.
Monster Pain w/ Mistress Glenda Lee defeated Giant Dementus. This was billed as “the battle of the giants” and indeed it was. A little slow but definitely served its purposed as both men work a hard hitting match, which was expected by the fans.
“Mega 10” Panama-Jack Daniels & Mega Star vs “Los Mamitos” Sexy B. & Mr. E. went to a double countout. This storyline has potential and it seems that they will continue to build on to it. The finish was not what people necessarily wanted, but again, the story is just starting and they looked really good here.
Blue Demon Jr. became the new PWR champion after he defeated “El Patron de la Migra” Oliver John in a very well fought match. Personally, this was one of the matches that I was very interested to see. I had seen some Oliver John matches online and he seemed good. Well, apparently if you pair him up with Demon Jr. and he is an even better worker. Both men worked really hard and were able to get the crowd behind them. Oliver John created such heat with the fans through his character, that even some of the fans that did not know who he was were hot. The outcome of the match was completely unexpected and the crowd popped for it.
PWR Women’s Title Match: Ivelisse Velez became the new PWR champion after defeating Alyssa Flash. This match was one of the better women’s matches I have seen live in a very long time. Ivelisse was in front of her home crowd and she had them in the palm of her hand since the moment she came out carrying the Puertorican flag. Flash had the match won at least twice, went for the pin only to break the count herself both occasions. Ivelisse locked her into a small package for the win. The crowd counted with the ref 1-2-3 and immediately erupted in a loud cheer for Ivelisse. What a surprise it was for the fans. Ivelisse was very emotional after the match. Really cool moment.
Battle Royal to crown the first WWL Heavyweight Champion: Bobby Lashley, Jacob, Mr. 450 Hammet, Lince Dorado, Sexy B., Mr. E., Mark Spectro, Ash, Hercules Gomez, Colt Cabana, S.A.T.’s, Giant Dementus, Mega Star, Panama-Jack Daniels, Joe Don Smith, Kahagas, Noriega, Michael Tarver, Akbar Farat were the participants. The end came when Bobby Lashley eliminated Hercules Gomez with the “finger poke of doom”. Gomez was standing on the apron posing for the crowd after eliminating someone himself. Then it was Lashley and Pain alone in the ring, until Mistress Glenda Lee interfered by jumping on and then kissing Lashley, thus distracting him for Monster Pain to be able to throw him over the top rope for the win. That way Monster Pain becomes the first ever WWL World champion. Lashley and Pain got into a brawl after the match while the referees tried to keep them apart. This may have been the beginning of a feud going forward.
The main event of the evening was “The Rematch of the Century”, when “El Texano Jr.” retained AAA’s Heavyweight Mega Championship after defeating “El Mesias” Ricky Banderas in what without a doubt was the match of the night. These two gentlemen literally stole the show. The crowd was hot all throughout the match. At one point Texano was on the outside and Banderas went for a running dive over the top rope. Banderas barely connected Texano and actually landed on the second row of ring side. He stood up immediately and the crowd went into a loud “holy s#&%” chant. They kept going back and forth, at times brawling and mixing in some cool high spots. Towards the end of the match there was a ref bump. Banderas was able to connect the “x factor” on Texano Jr. He went up to the top rope and hit his version of the “frog splash”. He had the match won but there was no ref to count. He went to check on the ref, which gave Texano a little bit of time to recuperate. He hit Banderas with a low blow and then hit his finisher for the win. Again, just a well rounded match that delivered on all fronts. This match sent off the iPPV audience, but there was still more action in store for the live crowd.
TNA Impact stars “Cowboy” James Storm defeated Bobby Roode via DQ after interference from Bad Influence – Christopher Daniels & Kazarian. Out to make the save were Samoa Joe and Adam Pearce, which led to our last match of the night…
“Cowboy” James Storm, “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce & Samoa Joe defeated Bobby Roode and “Bad Influence” – Daniels & Kazarian in a very fun match. Great back and forth with really good tags and action in and out of the ring. The end of the match saw Samoa Joe pin Kazarian after a muscle buster to send the fans home happy.
Overall, I have to say it was a great evening of fun and exciting wrestling matches and a very good showing. It seems the foundation for what could potentially be in the cards for the future of this new company was well placed with this event. Yes, there were mistakes made and things that they have to work with in order to correct for the next shows. However, they are very much aware of those weaknesses and have already started to focus on those things already.
Some of the things that they will need to work on for future shows:
Unfortunately they were not able to fulfill their expectations with regards to the amount of people attending the event. The crowd was estimated between 1,500 and 1,800, which for any other medium size arena in PR can be a good attendance. However, this was not what they anticipated when they booked the largest and most impressive venue in the island.
There were several miscues with the entrance music and videos. I have not seen the iPPV feed and do not know if it was noticeable on it, but live it was very obvious and at times confusing. In speaking with someone close to the production crew, this is something that can be fixed right away.
The show ran very long. 16 matches was a lot to take in for one evening. Add to that the three exclusive dark matches before the show and the total goes to 19 matches. I can tell you that I was exhausted when the show was over. I would suggest no more than 10 matches for future shows.
Ticket pricing may have been too expensive for it being the first event. Unfortunately the venue in which they were presenting their show kind of dictates how tickets will be priced. Believe me when I say, the “Coliseo” is not cheap to rent; plus you have the amount of talent that participated in the show and that also impacts what you charge.
Positives coming out of the event:
In talking to people in the crowd, everyone seemed to be very pleased with the show. Those who were present enjoyed the show in its entirety. Those that did not show up truly missed on a great experience.
The pyro, stage and ramp gave it a big time feel and the crowd had not seen that in a very long time. There were a lot of people in the crowd that were amazed by the environment that was created just by adding these elements to the show. Also, the fact that most of the talent had their own music and entrance video contributed to that feeling too.
The talent worked really hard all throughout the show, which in turn helped maintain the crowd alive even though, as stated earlier, it was a very long show.
They left the fans wanting more… To me, this was the best part. It was a long show, but at the end the people were talking about it and already making plans to attend the next event.
No return dates were officially announced, although in talking to company officials, there are plans to run another show in the summer at a different venue. Also, San Antonio, Sacramento, Chicago and NYC were mentioned as areas they are looking to run shows in the very near future. More details as soon as they are made available.
On a last note… I want to take a moment to thank WWL officials for the attentions they had, not only with me personally, but also with all the press that was present at the event. The organization was really good backstage and the access to all the talent was praised by everyone.
Overall, a really good effort put forth by this new promotion during this debut event. Only time will tell the fate of this venture, but I do believe there is potential. If they take this first show as a starting point, they could continue to build on it going forward. The people that were there enjoyed it quite a bit; and those that were not there and were criticizing from the outside now know that everyone is talking about it. Lets see where they go from here.