NYWC: Angry Andy Reviews “April Reign”

Welcome back for another Angry Andy indy wrestling review.  Last month, I reviewed NYWC’s Aftermath, available here for just $15.

Tonight is April Reign.  The crowd is way up, and way louder than it was last month.   That’s good news.

The show was also much stronger than last month’s, which is even better news.  Let’s get to the action, shall we?

WELCOME TO THE SHOW

The show starts with a 10 bell salute to the Ultimate Warrior.  Afterwards, NYWC Commissioner Brian Vitko comes out to the ring, and calls out Francis Kipland Strevens.  Vitko says he wants to bury the hatchet, but Kip just wants to know why he doesn’t have a match.  He’s laid out by the debuting Casanova Valentine, and a returning Jamie Van Lemur, who looks WAY different than he did when he last appeared, years ago.

This is when the angle heats up.  Vitko cuts a mighty worked-shoot promo against NYWC management.  He says he has no real power, and says whatever NYWC’s real-life management team wants, is what we get.  He runs down everyone, and a series of angles he wasn’t happy to be part of, including a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors on the biggest show of the year.  He also dumped all over the “meet the Starlets” segment from last month, and buried all three women in the process.  Vitko and his apparent henchmen leave through the crowd when the mic is cut off.

What worked: The passion in the promo was great.  Vitko can talk, and he seemed legitimately heated, which helped sell the angle.  I’m legitimately interested to see what happens next, despite Vitko being a “non-playable character.”

What made me angry: Pot, meet kettle.  The language in this promo was not OK, for two reasons: the amount of kids in the crowd, and future distribution of this and other shows.  Vitko dropped a couple of late-night-only 4-letter words, including an F-bomb.  Half of the crowd is little kids.  The show is also being recorded for DVD release, and possible TV distribution.  If it can’t air, IT CAN’T AIR, and it doesn’t count.  When your promo is left on the cutting room floor, your angle doesn’t exist.

Tony Nese d Grim Reefer

Two of my favorite guys in the company are here to kick off the show.  TV-ready indy standout Tony Nese, and Grim Reefer is about as solid as they come.  I was VERY excited as soon as I realized these guys were squaring off.

This match was a technical showcare. Lots of stiff chops by both men. Reefer hit a sick Orton-esque draping/Impact DDT, which looks great.  Nese wins a 15-minute match with a roll-up.

What worked: These guys complimented each other so well.  Lately, they’ve both done battle with younger guys, which is great.  Here, they both got a chance to just show off, and start the show with some pretty great action.  The ending and post-match handshake leave this one open to rematches (or tag matches), which I’m more than okay with.

What made me angry: Nothing to get upset about here.  It threw me off a little bit to see these guys jerk the curtain, but I wasn’t quite upset about it.  It worked, since NYWC seems to be shifting the focus to new talent.

Chrissy Rivera d Marti Belle

Marti has a great look, and knows how to play to the crowd.  Chrissy may be the shortest non-little person I’ve ever seen in my life.

This was a rematch from last month’s disasterpiece of a hardcore match between these women.  Before the match, Marti makes the ring announcer tell the crowd this is a straight wrestling match, free of LEGOs, thumb tacks, and everything else she suffered through in last month’s clusterkerfluffle.

The women actually have a pretty decent little match, which was much shorter than last month’s encounter. Marti steals the win, but crossdressing/transgender starlet Ricky Cataldo returns to blow up her spot, and the match restarts.  Chrissy Rivera gets the pin seconds later to retain.  Cataldo attacks after the match, saying he wants his Starlets Title back. He leaves after doing the Aksana crawl, and a Velvet Sky “STARE AT MY ASS” ring exit.

What worked: This was a thousand times better and more effective than everything they did last month.  They accomplished so much more, in half the time.  I couldn’t believe I was watching the same women, and I’m actually looking forward to the 3-way they seem to be setting up.

What made me angry: Nothing too bad here.  It was a little bit wrestling 101, and hit more tropes than quality wrestling, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  These girls needed to bring it back to basics.

Reckless & Wasted d “J-Rojo” and Ultimo Mayan

It’s well-established that Reckless & Wasted’s JT Kasin is a friend to the Juice Make Sugar family, and that we love the gimmick.  So does the crowd.  These guys got the first BIG reaction of the night, and tons of chants.  LET’S GET WASTED clapclapclap-clap-clap.

JT Kasin has been studying his Colt Cabana tapes.  Lots of fun spots to open this one, including some Karate Kid moves, and a sumo tackle.  Braydon is crisp as hell.

Ultimo Mayan is a very-well repackaged star.  I’m not going to blow it for anyone, but this was a great re-debut.  J-Rojo was resident skinny wannabe gangsta J-Red, wearing his usual gear, with a generic lucha mask, swearing he was a luchador.  Lots of fun.

Reckless & Wasted win with Beer Money’s finish.

What worked: This match was a ton of fun, and the crowd responded.  There was a fun series-of-dives spot that the crowd loved, which included all four guys, and Reckless & Wasted manager, Forge.  I sincerely enjoyed this.  Mostly well-executed, with the crowd responding exactly when and how they were supposed to.

What made me angry: Watching these dudes pound beers, and not being able to have one myself.  That, and Reckless & Wasted don’t have any t-shirts for sale. Yet. Coming soon.

J-Ro d Stockade

Second rematch of the night.  Since their last battle ended with J-Ro stealing a win via countout, this match is a no-countout match.  +1 for continuity.

Another brutally stiff match between these guys.  Crowd got into it.  J-Ro steals another one, this time with a low blow following a ref bump.

What worked: This was a solid, competitive match.  NYWC seems to be using Stockade here to give J-Ro a rub, and it’s working.  They have a reason to care as he’s rising up the card.  And in the process, they’re building a pretty solid little feud.  Win-win-win.

What made me angry: All my notes are positive for this one.  Only thing making me angry is that it’s KILLING my gimmick…brother.

Rack & Sack d Athletic Inc

Matthew Justice and Jesse Vane come out and announce that they will be choosing their challengers tonight.  They tease Reckless & Wasted and Milk Chocolate, before announcing Rack & Sack in a rematch.

Their plan seems to go pretty well for a while, until Nikki and Dickie get the upper hand.  Justice grabs Vane, throws him over his shoulder, and walks out – content to take the countout victory.  THE BIG O returns with Vane over HIS shoulder, tosses him back in the ring, allowing Rack & Sack to get the pin, the win, and the titles.

What worked: Big pop for the title change. Athletic Inc are great heels, and the crowd was happy to see them lose.  Big pop for the Big O’s return, too.

What made me angry: While I don’t exactly have a problem with them winning, Rack & Sack aren’t the team I would have chosen to take the straps.  I’m hoping they turn heel, since Dickie is so easy to hate—and some in the crowd are giving him a hard time, anyway.  That, and there are more babyface challengers than heels, so the well of challengers may run dry a little too fast.

Also, Big O cut a promo after the match. Couldn’t understand a word he said.  But he is over huge.  And he’s just plain HUGE.  If you’ve only seen him in Zack Ryder’s videos, you don’t even know.  This guy is just SHREDDED.

Intermission.  Lots of fun seeing fans come up to JT, talking about how much they loved his match.  It also made me genuinely happy to see the little kids asking for pictures.  Big time.  Just don’t toss me through the barber shop window when things start getting real, brother.

Aria Cadenza d Debbie Cain

Aria is managed by NYWC mainstay Crusher Doogan. Last month, she attacked Cain and Sammy Pickles, who is ringside with Cain.  This is their first singles match.   Cadenza wins with a sweet Vader Bomb.

What worked: Okay, let me say this – I expected this to be a sloppy squash match, with no crowd heat. It was the exact opposite.  Really good, competitive match-up.  I was VERY pleasantly surprised, especially considering my reaction to their segment last month.  Crowd reacted appropriately.  Some strong future-contenders for the Starlets title, right here.

What made me angry: They were well-intentioned, but you could tell Aria had a few friends in the crowd.  That’s TOTALLY FINE, but she was the heel here.  If your friend is the heel, BOO HER.  Give her the heat she’s supposed to be getting, instead of just blindly cheering.  You’ll help a lot more.  Not just for her, but her opponents, and the whole show.

Jabali Jr. d Alvin Alvarez

Jabali Jr. wins this one with a splash from the second rope.  Nothing bad here, but I’ve got it in my notes that the crowd gave both guys a hard time.  That annoyed me a lot, since both guys seemed to be working hard.

What worked: Even if the crowd didn’t love it, the action was solid. Jabali did his American lucha stuff, while Alvin worked with power moves.  Both guys continue to get better.

What made me angry: The crowd, and just the crowd.  They should have enjoyed this one.  They probably did, too… they just need to put themselves over.  Smart marks are still marks.

Milk Chocolate d Apollyon and Bill Carr

Oh my god.  The reaction to Milk Chocolate?  Oh. My. God.  I don’t know if these guys were supposed to turn babyface, but they definitely did.  And it sure as hell worked here.  Great showcase match for these guys, who got to work fast and show off, while selling like madmen for the talented big guys.  This match featured everything from a flip from the top rope to the outside, to a Eiffel Tower teabag spot.  What more could you ask for?

What worked: Everything.  Apollyon is a work horse.  Bill Carr is intimidating as hell, and talented.  Milk Chocolate are going to be stars.  Maybe not in WWE, but someone is going to snatch them up, and make lots of money with them.  Jeff Jarrett, ROH, TNA, DG-USA… act fast.

What made me angry: People had to follow this.  That’s just not fair.

Rex Lawless d Kriss Stark

Rex looks like a star.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I’d love to see him with some NXT shine.

The last time I saw Stark, I was underwhelmed, mostly because I was never given a reason to care about him.  That hasn’t changed.

What worked: The match itself was fine.  There was a no-sold German suplex that annoyed me, but everything else was pretty decent.

What made me angry: Rex’s “kill the CZW roster” gimmick wasn’t acknowledged tonight.  There really didn’t seem to be any reason for him to face Stark, which hurt the heat of the match – especially as the crowd came down from the Milk Chocolate bout.  Stark either needs a gimmick, a feud, something to help him connect to the crowd.  He’s fine in the ring, but something is obviously missing, and I’m not sure who to blame.

Mikey Whipwreck & King Mega d Mike Mondo & “Flawlesss” Blake Morris

Main event time.  The NYWC Champion and NYWC Fusion Champion are teaming up here, on the losing end.  Wrestling 101 tells me Mikey and Mega are in line for some title shots.  We’ll see.

What worked: Solid match. Good crowd work, especially by Mondo.  A couple of unexpected high spots, including a top-rope double-knee-busting double-closeline by Whipwreck.

What made me angry: Nothing bad here, but I’d like to see some new faces in the main event.  Mondo and Whipwreck were fighting for the NYWC title when I discovered the company (and indy wrestling) 10 years ago.

OVERALL

This was a pretty great show.  It was a huge step up from last month, which I found to be very hit-or-miss. There was a lot of strong continuity, good story-telling, and surprisingly good action in matches that didn’t exactly call for it.  There were also a couple of returns…some more over than others.

It’s worth mentioning that, once again, there were a lot of missing names here.  All the CZW guys were MIA and never mentioned (but, with the exception of Drew Gulak, I’m okay with that.)   What continues to bother me is the absence of John Silver and Alex Reynolds.  Papadon was missing this month, but I THINK he was previously booked for Extreme Rising (angry rant coming soon, also featuring Hardcore Road Trip.)

As a professional working in the television industry, I feel it’s important to note something here.  This show, and the others I’ve reviewed before it, was taped by RF Video for a DVD release.  They’re also being taped for possible use on TV.  But the majority of the workers are not only playing to the crowd, but they’re also, at times, breaking character for specific audience members.  While I get it, and trust me, I get it, this is a big problem.  If you don’t believe me, look no farther than TNA.  God, I hate TNA.

When you watch Impact (not that you’d EVER watch Impact,) it becomes pretty apparent, pretty quickly that there is NO ONE sitting on the hard camera side of the ring.  But the wrestlers still play to the hard camera, because there are a million-plus people watching the show at home.  You need to appeal to THEM, not the thousand or so people who got into your taping for free.  When guys play to the live crowd, with their backs to the camera, they just look stupid.  No one wins.  You want a good TV product?  You want to GET OVER with the TV/DVD crowd?  Play to the camera.  Get your gimmick and your work over on camera.  The live crowd will get it.  I promise.

Anyway, this was a great sho. It left me really excited for the next one.  I’m almost disappointed these guys only run once a month.  If it was always going to be this good, I’d come down every other week.  I wouldn’t be alone, either.

NYWC returns with FUSION on Saturday, May 31.  Tickets will be available soon at NYWCwrestling.com, and at the door.  I may need to miss that one due to prior work commitments, but you should go anyway.

See you at the Sportatorium.

@AndyMillerJMS