Enter Sandman! When you see a legend of the ring, there are certain things you expect to see. If it’s Mick Foley, you want Mr. Socko. If it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, you want a Stunner. If it’s the Sandman, you simply want to see him make an entrance. Sandman milked the full duration of his entrance music, sharing beers with fans around the ArenA. By the time he reached the ring, the ECW faithful had their money’s worth. The kendo stick beat down of Nick Depp was just an added bonus.
Speaking of Nick Depp… The reigning Prince of the Deathmatches cut the promo of his life on Sandman. Depp held the crowd in the palm of his hand while he tried to convince the Sandman he had an alcohol problem. Sandman let him speak his peace. Then, as mentioned above, he broke his kendo stick over Depp’s back.
Maria is Amazing. Amazing Maria continues to prove she’s one of the best heels in independent wrestling. She had an entertaining match against the dark but charismatic Sage Sin, who was led to the ring by a fire eater and two casket-bearing ghouls. Sage walked out of the ArenA the winner. Maria was carried out in the casket.
Sudden Death Tables Match. Kevin Cordell of the Talking the Business Podcast told me to keep an eye on Jake Garvin. Kevin thinks he’s a rising star. I have to agree. He and Calvin Tankman broke four tables in their match. These guys are young, big, and athletic, and they’re only going to get better. The only thing more entertaining was watching them pick splinters out of their arms while they looked over the menu at Spinellis later in the evening.
Mama Bates to the Rescue! The intergender match took a very unexpected turn when Mama Bates, Leva Bates’ mother, leapt to her feet and tried to stop Tracy Smothers’ second Kyle Maverick from choking her daughter on the ropes. Yes, some things in wrestling are staged, but it was very clear Mama Bates was not in on any storyline; she was out to protect her daughter, who came out the winner. Side note: Leva remains one of the friendliest and most down to Earth wrestlers outside the ring.
Lio Rush is the Man. I’ve heard a great deal about Lio Rush in the last year. He exceeds the hype. Rush and Super Crazy capped the night off with a stellar bout that had everything from mat wrestling to high flying to steel chairs. Rush is a mega-star on the rise, and a class act out of the ring as well.
Bottom line: Terry Harper doesn’t promoter wrestling shows very frequently, but he has a formula that works. Harper books people he wants to see in match ups he wants to see. He pairs legends of the past with stars of today in a way that allows casual fans who only came to see guys like Sandman to discover rising stars like Lio Rush and PWF’s Tri-State Champion Tyler Matrix. A Terry Harper show is the perfect opportunity to bring your WWE-loving friends along to see names that they know and introduce them to independent wrestling at the same time. It was standing room only in the ArenA tonight, just as it was for Terry’s last show in November 2016. I can’t wait to see what he does next.