Here’s your EMPIRE Wrestling (formerly Platinum Championship Wrestling) report from the Academy Theater in Avondale Estates, GA for July 6.
As pro wrestling bookers go, Stephen Platinum vibrates on a very strange frequency. Playing it safe doesn’t seem to be part of his vocabulary. The company was coming off the high of drawing their biggest crowd ever in Porterdale on July 4, and this show barely slowed the momentum despite a shallower than usual talent pool. The ending wasn’t as powerful as it could have been, but most segments worked and there were two quality matches.
40 in attendance in a venue that seats 50. There’s no rhyme or reason to the variations in attendance at the Academy.
Casey Kincaid addressed the crowd regarding his victory in the Platinum Classic Tournament one week ago. Kincaid said he didn’t get a beating that bad from his parents. It was gut check time -- the pain left and the adrenaline started pumping. Kincaid said the lead member of DamNation, Dany Only wasn’t there.
Out came EMPIRE Champion Shane Marx and Jacob Ashworth out to break up the party. Marx and Kincaid have major issues. Nevertheless, Marx gave Kincaid prop for a hell of an effort. Marx said Joey Kidman quit DamNation and Fred Yehi had another match (leaving Kincaid without a partner).
The entrance of PCW Champion Mason got a big pop. Mason said he and Kincaid would tear the cute couple apart.
(1) Vandal defeated “Dynomite Soul” Eric Walker via submission in 6 minutes. This was pretty even. Vandal is decent in the ring and he had on OK match with Walker. There was a time not that long ago that the crowd reaction for Vandal was huge. It feels like he’s no man’s land these days.
(2) Sylar Cross (with Jonathan Malik his big fat masked bodyguard) & William Huckaby III & Devlin Valek defeated Witness & Supernatural & Pandora in 4 minutes. Cross eliminated Pandora with a massive sideslam in less than 30 seconds. Matt Sells came out to observe. Supernatural did another of his crazy dives onto Valek and they were both counted out. Witness ran wild until Cross nailed him from the blind side. Huckaby ran distraction while Cross gave Witness a low blow. The finish was a massive senton by Cross followed by Huckaby’s standing moonsault for the pin.
Witness jumped up in nothing flat, pointing at the departing EMPIRE guys and making his mean face. Low blows, 300 pound sentons, it's all fake, right? I'm not feeling this Witness character. He's big but it's not a believable tough guy.
Stephen Platinum said he wasn’t going to have anyone at ringside for his main event handicap match against Rachael and Marty Freeman. He challenged the Freemans to do the same. “Overlord of the EMPIRE” Jeff G. Bailey came to the ring with the Freemans and the bodyguard. Bailey said Platinum was playing checkers, and they were playing chess and the word was check. Bailey said there would be nobody at ringside for EMPIRE…EXCEPT for the sanctioned managers and their bodyguard. Bailey promised there would be no interference. Bailey said Rachael had beaten Platinum on her own on multiple occasions, so this was going to be a massacre. Platinum asked for a no DQ match to give the people the finish they wanted. Bailey accepted.
(3) EMPIRE Champion Shane Marx & TNT United States Champion Jacob Ashworth and Casey Kincaid & PCW Champion Mason (with the Witness) wrestled to a 15 minute draw. Marx said he wanted Mason but tagged out as soon as he got him. Mason and Ashworth had a mat scramble the likes of which is rarely seen in an EMPIRE ring. The technicos worked on Ashworth’s knee. In turn, the heels isolated Kincaid. He made the tag, but Ashworth cut Mason off with a side slam. Marx reversed Mason’s neckbreaker into a Codebreaker for a close near fall. Mason kicked out of Ashworth full nelson slam and the crowd rallied behind him. An awkward neckbreaker by Mason led to tags and the confrontation between Kincaid and Marx. They traded big near falls and Kincaid hit his handspring stunner at the bell. Good match.
The fans wanted five more minutes. Mason and Kincaid were raring to go, but Marx and Ashworth took a powder.
(4) Hayden Young defeated Brandon Kage via submission in 5:45. Young explained his heel turn, saying he was tired of Chip Day’s losing ways. He told Kage his issues were with Day and not to the beating he was about to get personally, and a beating it was. Young is sickeningly obnoxious now. He asks the people to cheer for him and has a huge disingenuous smile plastered on his face. Young was totally having his way with Kage, but he took so much time taunting the fans that Kage got a brief comeback. Young clocked Kage with the spinning enzuirgiri and choked him with a variation of the dragon sleeper.
(5) In a Tag Team Season match, Brian Blaze (representing We Are Three) defeated the Contras (Tempest & Battlezone) two straight falls in just 1:55. Blaze said it looked like he was in for an ass whipping, but he had something to prove. He a double team Burn on Contras, pinned Tempest and made Tempest tap to an inverted cloverleaf.
A deflated Contras challenged Tommy Daniels and a partner of his choosing to a match next week, and vowed to unmask if they lost.
Crown Jewel came to the ring. Quasi Mandisco said the Jewels were no joke and DamNation knows it. Quasi said they were going to get rid of dead weight and called out Campus Strike Force because their services were no longer needed.
(6) Crown Jewels (Marko Polo & Pump Yo Breaks and Morgan Davis III & Nina Monet with Quasi Mandisco) defeated Campus Strike Force in 2:58. Purely for comedic effect. One by one, CSF were decimated by finisher. Davis, who is Crown Jewel’s new lackey, gave Campus Yellow two diamond cutters and did the DDP “Bang!” after each one. Davis wanted to make the pin, but Monet stole the honor.
Quasi said the choices were to get down with the Crown or get beat down with the Crown. Looks like Crown Jewel is being positioned as a more serious force to be reckoned with.
Johnny Danger said the Surrealists recruited him after his second match, and two weeks later, he was one second away from defeating Marx. Danger said it looked like the Surrealists were getting the band back together again until Seth Delay returned last week as part of EMPIRE. Danger said there was method to his madness. He couldn’t beat the best EMPIRE had to offer, but he could expose weaknesses for others to exploit. Danger said he thought he could beat Delay. Danger said he as long as his heart beats, it beats PCW. He tried to generate a PCW chant. It was tepid at best.
Intermission. Ring announcer Robert Drake said Marx had left the building. He also ribbed me about my man crush on Yehi. Guilty as charged. Yehi still has plenty to learn, but he’s got the wrestling skill, athletic ability and instincts most wrestlers would die for.
(7) In an EMPIRE dream match, Fred Yehi defeated NWA Anarchy TV Champion Bo Newsom (with Jonathan Malik) via submission in 11:20. Newsom said he kept hearing about Yehi, and he was going to give him a chance even though he didn’t belong in the same ring with him. It was all Yehi early. The highlight was a hang time basement dropkick to Newsom’s skull. Bo hit a backbreaker to take over. Bo with a stiff chop ala NWA Anarchy, a senton backsplash and two brutal forearms to the back. Somebody brought up Colonel DeBeers on commentary. Yehi sold the back big. Bo was getting frustrated. Yehi came back with a flying forearm off the middle rope and neckbreaker counter, but Bo kicked out of both, and Yehi showed telltale signs of exasperation. Yehi tried for a leapfrog, and Newsom turned it into a powerbomb for a great near fall. In a flash, Yehi outmaneuvered Newsom and locked in the Koji Clutch and it was over. Malik stormed to the back. Match of the night.
(8) Rachael & Marty Freeman (with Jeff G. Bailey & Jonathan Malik & their masked bodyguard) vs. Stephen Platinum was a no contest at 7 minutes. Platinum used “In the Air Tonight” for his entrance music, and you knew he wasn’t bursting through that curtain until the drum part hit. Bailey was hilarious during this. He was losing it waiting for Platinum to get out there. The glory was short lived. Walker ran out and cracked Platinum across the back with his kendo stick. Danger came out to take care of Walker. The bodyguard ran Platinum into the post. Once inside the ring, Rachael tried for a rear naked choke but Platinum blocked it, and the fans started a “let’s go Steve” chant. Platinum dropkicked Rachael in the shins, and she tagged to Marty. The announce team had fun with at Marty’s expense, talking about his ballet lessons and his Harley Quinn gear. Rachael busted out a tarantula on Platinum. The Freemans used a tandem double ax move for a near fall. Platinum delivered stiff chops to both of the Freemans. Rachael came back with a clothesline and a low blow kick. Platinum started a comeback, but Bailey hooked his leg. Rachael applied the choke submission, but there was no quit in Platinum. He gave the Freemans a double DDT. At that point, EMPIRE members including Jagged Edge hit the ring. Lou Thesz was probably rolling in his grave, but the crowd was into the match and it was perversely entertaining.
All hell broke loose. Crown Jewel joined the fray, as did Brian Blaze and a bunch of a PCW contingent including Pandora. There were like 20 people in the ring. Out came Grotesque. He sold nothing and was laying people to waste as he made his way to the ring. Once inside, Grotesque gave Cross a spectacular choke slam. Give Cross credit because he went way up for it. Jagged Edge had a hold of Pandora. He let her loose and got into a staredown with Grotesque. EMPIRE dragged Edge to the back.
In terms of clarity, the final scene left something to be desired. Pandora was reunited with Grotesque (a nod to their past history in PCW), and evidently a new version of DamNation was formed with Pandora and Grotesque joining the group.
The lineup for the July 20 event looks to be one of the promotion's best ever. Davey Richards takes on Fred Yehi in the main. EMPIRE Champion Shane Marx and PCW Champion Mason defend their titles in separate four way elimination matches. Some of Georgia's top stars have received invitations to participate. ROH star Kyle O'Reilly is confirmed. Also on the card: Supernatural vs. Tony Kozina and Pandora vs. Nina Monet vs. Aisha Sunshine...Marx pinned Pandora clean with his finisher in Porterdale last night. Mason got involved in the aftermath. It ended in a catfight between Miss Rachael and Pandora. The upshot is Rachael & Marx vs. Mason & Pandora in Porterdale for July 21 along with the stars of ROH...Shane Mackey and Chuck Porterfield did the live commentary for all three events this week. They are the best announce team the history of the company history that didn't include Stephen Platinum. For some queer reason, Porterfield has now aligned himself with EMPIRE...The refs at the July 4 show were Frank Earl, Luis Chevere and a third individual who for his sake, shall remain nameless. Duke Korey and Chevere reffed on July 6. Washington Bullets were in Texas over the 4th of July holiday. They tried to make it back for their scheduled tag team season match at the Academy, but the traffic conditions didn't cooperate...Dany Only, Chip Day and Corey Hollis appeared on the July 6 Premier Wrestling Xperience events in Charlotte, NC and the July 7 TV Taping in York SC. Hollis and Day retained the PWX Tag Team Championships over 7 Oh! 4 at the July 6 show...Awalin Dance Company brings the Crossroads & Origins Bellydance Show to the Academy on July 14.