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By Larry Goodman on 2017-04-24 08:52:00

Bullet Proof Wrestling’s debut event in Barnesville, GA was an unqualified artistic success. With a star-studded lineup including Cody Rhodes, Jimmy Havoc, Brandi Rhodes, Bobby Fish, Donovan Dijak, and Tempura Boyz, Bullet Proof planted their flag on the Georgia wrestling landscape with an event that was the furthest thing from your typical Georgia indy show.

Cody defeated Jimmy Havoc to become the first Bullet Proof Champion in a mind-blowing main event.  The promotion flew Havoc in from London for the most absurd and most talked about match in Georgia this year. Havoc and Rhodes went balls-to-the-wall and put on a no DQ brawl that was pandemonium from the word go.

The match between Donovan Dijak and Drew Adler was a show stealer. Dijak defeated Adler to win the Wrestlemerica Championship. They went 24 minutes with both men showing that they belong in Orlando.

Paid attendance at Academy Gym was 355 paying an average of $12. The promotion reported a total in the building of 500 due to 2 for 1 ticket offer. A May 13 return date was announced with Cody promising more big names to come.  The financial viability of such an ambitious project in a town an hour South of Atlanta remains to be seen.

Bullet Proof is a collaborative effort between Rhodes, Luke Gallows and Joey Mercury. Along with being the top star, Cody is serving as talent recruiter per his April 19 interview with Sports Illustrated.  Gallows has been running shows in Barnesville for the last two years under his WrestleMerica banner bringing in an incredibly wide array of stars -- AJ Styles, Tommy Dreamer, Chavo Guerrero Jr. , X-Pac , Rock ‘n Roll Express and many more.  Mercury recently came on board as the head trainer of the Bullet Proof Dojo and booker.

Mercury did a tremendous job of laying out the show. The match order was pretty much perfect, saving all of the really crazy stuff for the main event.  The show ran three hours but never dragged and had the crowd into it all the way.

(1)Odinson defeated Ryan Oshun in 7:03. This was a solid opener featuring two big men with big league looks.  Oshun came out all bad ass to set the tone.  Fans were into Odinson’s early display of power and agility. Oshun got heat with his down and dirty tactics. Odinson sparked his comeback with a standing dropkick that popped the crowd. Odinson picked up the win with the F10 (F5 with a spin).

Tyson Dean said scheduled partner Jax Dane (now Wilcox on Impact) couldn’t make it so CB Suave stepped up to allow some of Dean’s greatness to rub off on him.

(2) Tempura Boyz (Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu) defeated Tyson Dean & CB Suave in 8:55. Tempura Boyz were over in Barnesville.  Dean had been a big time babyface here but not anymore. Dean and Suave got heat on Komatsu.  A fun sequence built to the Boyz getting Suave and Dean in stereo single leg crabs.  The heels appeared to have things well in hand after a double flapjack on Komatsu.  But Dean mistakenly slugged Suave.  The Boyz then executed a modified package piledriver/superkick combo on Suave, who was pinned by Tanaka. Good match minus some crossed signals due to the language barrier.

The postmatch was off the chain. Dean was pissed about losing and attacked Suave, hammering him with punches. It took a squad of five refs to pull Dean off and Suave was busted open. Dean went back after Suave and had to be pulled off him again. Suave recovered and jumped Dean in the aisle. Crowd was going nuts at this point chanting “let them fight.”  The segment had the element of surprise and a stellar build of intensity. It set up a first blood match for the return date on May 13.

(3) Bobby Fish defeated Pierce in 9:18. Pierce replaced JT Dunn who canceled due to a concussion. With Pierce at 6-5 and ripped, it visually looked like a mismatch.  Chants of “let’s go Bobby” for Fish and “who are you?” at Pierce.  Fish paid Pierce back for his disrespect and dished it out with stiff strikes. When Fish went for one aerial move too many, Pierce planted him with a spinebuster slam. Nice rallies and cut offs here.  Fish ducked a bicycle kick and pinned Pierce with the Falcon Arrow. Good match that got over well.

(4) Donovan Dijak defeated Drew Adler to win the WrestleMerica Heavyweight Championship in 24:18. It looked more like an NBA game was about to commence with Dijak at 6-7 and Adler at 6-4. Havoc was watching attentively from the shadows.  Dijak dominated the early going with athleticism and brute force.  Adler took the low road and went to work on Dijak’s back. Dijak was almost counted out after taking a big bump over the top. Dijak got a close near fall with a fireman’s carry sitout powerbomb. The crowd chanted “that was three” when Adler barely kicked out after eating a high boot. Adler came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb and a bicycle kick that sent Dijak out of the ring. The crowd, which seemed restless during the body of match, was on fire now. Adler went for a tope but Dijak goozled him and choke slammed him on the ring frame.  Adler rolled through Dijak’s springboard elbow drop. Dijak kicked out.  Adler nailed him with a tornado kick and Dijak kicked out again. The crowd was going bonkers at this point. They fought off each other’s finishers. Adler went for a diving headbutt and Dijak goozled him again, hitting a chokebreaker followed by a moonsault for another close near fall.  Dijak kicked out of Adler’s Air Raid Crash and pinned him with the choke slam. Just an awesome match with incredible crowd reactions. Adler has been one of Georgia’s best for a while now and he absolutely held his own with Dijak.

Heading into the intermission, Dustin Fordham announced that Dijak and the winner of the Cody/Havoc match would return on May 13.

(5)Aria Blake defeated Kiera Hogan with Brandi Rhodes as the special referee in 9:48. The fans, both male and female loved Brandi.  Hogan carries herself like a star. Blake applied a Muta Lock and refused to break the hold when Hogan made the ropes. Things got heated when Blake took exception to Brandi admonishing her. Hogan surprised Blake with a roll up, but Blake kicked out and scored the upset win with a hammerlock inverted DDT.

It was all about the postmatch. Aria shoved Brandi. Brandi stripped off the ref shirt and speared Aria.  Hogan and Brandi then played ping pong with forearms to Aria’s face. Crowd ate it up.

(6) Beautiful Bald Besties (Michael Stevens & Zac Edwards) defeated Washington Bullets (Trey & Jon Williams) in 12:10. Bullets double teams led to faux dissension and screw ups by Besties. Stevens interfered to set up punishment for Jon. It was a see saw battle down the stretch with both teams big moves for near falls. Both Bullets kicked out of the Besties’ finisher. Guys were getting pulled out of the ring right and left. Edwards pinned Jon while hooking hands with Stevens for extra leverage.  A decent match from two of the best teams in Georgia albeit more typical indy level fare than most of the show. 

 (7) Cody defeated Jimmy Havoc in a no DQ/no count out match to become the first Bullet Proof Wrestling Champion in 18:56. Havoc was in people’s faces, middle fingers extended as he made his way to the ring. Cody was greeted with a monster pop. The crowd chanted “too sweet” for the unveiling of the new Bullet Proof title. Havoc was one of the least physically imposing wrestlers on the show but the guy is an awesome heel, willing to do unspeakable dastardly things. Havoc tried a sneak attack at the bell, taking a spectacular bump when it misfired. Cody hit a springboard dive to the outside. The place was already coming unglued. Havoc used ring announcer Fordham as a shield so he could get a cheap shot in. Havoc set Cody in a chair on top of a guy with a physical disability. Cody moved and Havoc kicked the disabled guy in the face. Cody rang the bell on Havoc’s face.  Havoc cut Cody off by winging a chair at his head. They brawled into the balcony. Havoc teased giving Cody a homicidal suplex off the balcony onto a table below. Havoc teased taking a Nestea plunge of the balcony onto the table.  Havoc paper-cutted Cody between each of his fingers.  Havoc waffled Cody with a chair, then sat down and ordered Cody to get up. Havoc applied a figure four but Cody reversed. Cody ran Havoc into a chair wedged in the corner and hiptossed him onto another chair.  Havoc kicked out of Cross Rhodes.  Havoc clocked Cody with a fist in the face, sending Cody off the apron and through a ringside table.  Cody kicked out of two Acid Rainmakers.  Cody accidentally decked referee Chris Sharpe (OVW) and got a visual fall with a powerslam. The crowd wanted Brandi.  As Cody went to revive Sharpe, Havoc gave him a low blow. Havoc dumped a bag of tack in the ring, then shoved tacks in Cody’s mouth and punched him the face.  Havoc went for the Acid Rainmaker into the tacks. Cody countered with Cross Rhodes onto the tacks, lacerating Havoc’s forehead in the process. This was an unforgettable match with the crowd being whipped into a frenzy like a Sheik match from back in the day. Cody went all out. Havoc was everything I expected and more.

Cody offered to shake hands. It looked like Havoc was going to accept but he gave Cody the finger and walked off instead.

Cody thanked the fans for the warm welcome for himself, Brandi and their dog.  He said the last time he was in Barnesville was 15 years ago as referee for Dusty’s Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. Cody promised more top stars in the coming months, mentioning Jeff Cobb and John Skyler by name.

NOTES: Host Tim Gonzalez and a crew from Man Cave-TV shot footage at the show…Georgia wrestling notables visiting backstage included Iceberg and Scotty Beach and former AWN owner Mike Money.

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