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OVW Delivers Tough Love

The calendar said Groundhog’s Day, but love was in the air at Ohio Valley Wrestling – at least for a few folks in the stands, who took advantage of OVW’s Valentines ticket packages that night. A packed crowd showed up to see some outstanding action, including two great hourly main events and another show-stealing performance by The Derby City Destroyers and The Outrunners.

In the time I’ve been a regular attendee at OVW, one of the most exciting things to see is the growth in the weekly crowd. Granted, Tough Love was the promotions “special event” for the month of February, but the seats were packed from one side of Davis Arena to the other for what had to be the third largest crowd of the year after the two Nightmare Rumble shows in January.

Last night’s crowd was particularly engaged and vocal. Maybe it’s the local brew or the local food now being served at the concession stand courtesy of Gorilla Bob’s Grub Shack, but last night’s crowd would chant anything – literally. At one point they actually chanted, “We’ll chant anything!”

The OVW roster gave them plenty to cheer about, from a frenetic rematch between Blanco Loco and Hy Zaya to the Rush Division Speed Rumble won by Kat Herro, to the first in what’s sure to be a classic series between Ryan Von Rockit and Star Rider.

The first hour ended with a long-anticipated clash between Hollyhood Haley J and the “fallen” Shawna Reed. Reed, who found herself stranded in the UK earlier this week, showed no sign of jet lag as she and Haley battled in and out of the ring in a no hold barred, no DQ match. With OVW Women’s Champ Shaloncé Royal on guest commentary, the ladies endured some wicked chair shots and suplexes on the outside of the ring, and when Haley took a face full of red mist from Shawna, it appeared to be over. Haley persevered, so Shawna tried again, this time misting referee Charlene in the face.

Desperate to steal a win from her foe, Haley grabbed Shawna and kissed her hard at the center of the ring. Dazed and stunned, Shawna then got a taste of her own medicine as Haley hit her in the face with mist and scored the win.

A pair of tag matches dominated the second hour action, including a two out of three falls contest between The Derby City Destroyers, Big Beef Gnarls Garvin and Biz Zo, and The Outrunners, Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd. The Florida boys, most recently featured on AEW Dynamite against The Acclaimed (ahem, Tony Khan, just sign them already!) were taken by surprise before the bell even rang, and the referee awarded them a win for the first fall after Big Beef used a steel chair. A badly beaten Truth Magnum couldn’t even get to his feet after the early attack, and the second fall went to The Destroyers.

Honestly, the quick two falls felt like a cheat, but the action in the deciding fall made up for the quickness of the first two. As I mentioned on Twitter last night, I’ve seen OVW do homage to the famous Eddie Guerrero chair spot before, and last night, as before, they did it with a twist. Turbo Floyd shared video of his clever tactics on Twitter last night:

The Outrunners won the deciding fall, and Turbo scored a huge laugh with his ref massage, but it was Big Zo who got the biggest pop of the match. As Zo waited his turn to tag back into the match, the vociferous crowd taunted Zo about a slight wardrobe malfunction: “Fix your wedgie! Fix your wedgie!” Zo must have had his eye on the monitors because as soon as we went to commercial, he grabbed the spandex on his rear cheeks and pulled his trunks even tighter into his crack. The crowd ate it up. Zo didn’t even crack a smile as he adjusted himself in plenty of time for the feed to go live again. Mad respect to the big man.

The main event of the evening pitted Cash Flo against two members of OVW’s newest heel faction led by the infamous Jessie Godderz. Godderz himself took the ring with EC3 to face Cash and a partner of his choosing. Fans were elated when Tony “Don’t Call Him Mudd” Gunn made his long-awaited return to Davis Arena for the match.

Gunn was force to watch for most of the match as Cash took on both men, though not by choice. Godderz and EC3 cut the ring in half and gave the big man a rough go, keeping Gunn in the corner by refusing to allow the tag. With Shannon the Dude at ringside, the heels employed plenty of dirty tricks to keep the odds in their favor, but Cash was eventually able to spring free and give Gunn a chance to throw hands with EC3 and his bitter rival, Jessie Godderz.

Alas, a happy ending was not in the cards for Tough Love. This new faction, which also includes Mahabali Shera, Luke Curtis, and Adam Revolver, is proving to be almost unstoppable. Right after EC3 and Godderz got the win, Godderz took to the mike to run down the crowd and send them home even angrier. Then EC3 got on the mike, taunting the fans, asking where they were going and why they were so sad.

OVW truly stands out for their ability to tell a long term story, and much as the fans HATE this new alliance, they’re not going away any time soon. They already own three belts, and they’ve got their sights set on claiming all the gold. There are tag team titles to be won, along with the Country Boy Brewing Kentucky Championship. The tale of Haley J and Shawna Reed might – and I stress MIGHT – be over, but this new tale of domination from six dirty, cheating heels is just ramping up.

OVW is live every Thursday night at Davis Arena in Louisville and on FITE.

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The Real Elite Athlete

The wrestling business is filled with men who turned to the squared circle after spending most of their lives on the gridiron. From the early days of Bronco Nagurski to the WWE’s Big E, many football players have found a second career and a second chance in wrestling.

Mike Orlando grew up playing football. He played in college and even got a look from the NFL team. Deep down, Mike was never a sports fan. He got into football for one reason: he wanted to look like a wrestler.

Orlando grew up watching the WWE, idolizing the character of the Ultimate Warrior while admiring the technical brilliance of Chris Jericho and Triple H. Orlando recognized the excellence Jericho and Triple H brought to the ring, so when his football days were over, he went to wrestling school to follow in their footsteps.

Orlando’s first stop was Old Time Wrestling in Glassboro NJ. Under the tutelage of former ECW official Jim Molineaux, he learned the basics of how to work in the ring as well as the etiquette of the locker room. Orlando then made his way to the Sanctuare, Jon Patrick Trosky took him under his wing. “This was the deciding factor of my life in wrestling as he took me from a boy playing wrestler and made me into the worker you see today.”

Orlando has worked with a number of stars in his young career including Mike Verna, Dalton Castle, EC3, Chris Masters, and Matt Macintosh, but ask him to name his best match and he’ll tell you, “My best match is yet to happen.” Orlando carries the college football mentality that you are only as good as your last play. He is focused on learning and improving with every opportunity given to him in the hopes it will lead to the ultimate goal: a match at Wrestlemania.

Ask him to name a dream opponent and Orlando goes right back to his days as a fan. “Jericho or Triple H. I’m going to go on a whim and say Jericho and myself would be out of this world. I admire his work so much inside and out of the ring.”

“Mike is a hard worker, with a bright future,” says Thomas Brewington of the Indy Card Mafia. “He has all the tools to make it to ‘the show,’ and has earned everything he’s been given to opportunity to attain.”

Orlando currently holds the Sanctuary Heavyweight Championship, the UPWA Carolinas Championship, and the IWA Vintage Heavyweight Champion. He’s a regular at Sanctuary, ECPW, UPWA, EVOLVE, and CZW. “People can see me work everywhere. You never know where I will show up next. I pride myself with having as many matches a week as possible.”

Time will tell of his Wrestlemania dream can come true. Orlando knows it won’t come easy, and he remains grateful for everything that has happened thus far. “I hope in the next five to ten years I’m blessed to be doing this amazing job on a main stage. I want to make a living off of this forever. As long as I’m doing so, I’ll be happy.”

Fans can follow Mike on his website, You can also find him on Facebook and see many of his matches on Youtube.