By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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Warrior Wrestling 19 on FITE TV
Chicago, Illinois at Cicero Stadium
Report by Dot Net reader Chris Vetter
The venue is essentially a large high school gymnasium, but it was packed. The crowd was a legit 1,500 or more. Some notes on Warrior Wrestling. They have posted on YouTube, for free, the main event of Will Ospreay vs. Brian Cage, from last month’s Warrior 18 show. It is fantastic. They also have several dozen other matches available on YouTube from their prior shows. This promotion is essentially Pro Wrestling Guerrilla of the Midwest — light on storylines, but a really good mix of the top indy talent out there. All but one of the 24 wrestlers on this show have appeared in ROH, Impact, WWE/NXT, PWG, MLW, AEW. On to the show!
Rich Bocchini and Veda Scott were on commentary and they are both very good. I like Veda’s insight. She travels with these guys — she noted she came from San Francisco along with four other wrestlers on this show, telling us at one point how ACH had battered Mike Bailey’s chest a day earlier. The sound is good, the ring is well lit. Also, all the advertised talent made the show; no COVID-related absences!
There were a handful of backstage interviews sprinkled throughout this show as well; I didn’t jot them down, but they were pretty seamlessly folded in between matches.
1. Sam Adonis defeated Lince Dorado vis count-out at 13:48. I saw Adonis while watching Warrior 18; he is the only guy I didn’t know a month ago. Adonis is little taller and more muscular than Lince, but he was able to keep up with the lucha back-and-forth action. Lince looked great and hit all the moves you would expect, including some fun dives. They wound up brawling to the floor, where Adonis threw him over the guard rail into the crowd, and Dorado dove back into the ring a second late, and was counted out! A good match overall, and Lince had his working shoes on.
2. Dalton Castle (w/four boys) defeated Warhorse at 13:36. Fun match. Dalton did his extravagant entrance with the full peacock outfit. Dalton worked heel and he was frustrated with Warhorse’s antics early on. Warhorse (he had that one match against Cody Rhodes on AEW a year ago) has a fun rocker gimmick. Castle eventually won it with the bang-a-rang spinning face plant.
In a fun change, Val Capone replaced Bocchini in the booth for the next match, giving us an all-woman commentary team.
3. Skye Blue defeats Miranda Alize at 8:07. Blue is from Chicago and the crowd definitely knew it. Miranda is far more experienced and had no problem being the hated heel here. Skye hit a spinning face plant to get the pin. Solid match and the right length for these two.
4. Blake Christian defeated Alex Zayne, Myron Reed, and Gringo Loco in a four-way at 12:54. An absolutely fantastic match for this style. You could really tell the familiarity these guys had with each other. Of course, there were a few ‘forced’ spots, such as Reed bending over awkwardly and waiting, so someone else could leapfrog him. But these guys traded all the crazy high spots and flips to the floor you would expect from these four. Christian pinned Zayne after a face plant move.
After the match, Blake Christian grabbed the mic and challenged Warrior Champion Will Ospreay to a future match. The mic is a bit quiet on TV, but I think the crowd is hearing him better than I did.
5. “The Acclaimed” Anthony Bowens and Max Caster defeated Brian Cage and KC Navarro at 14:21. Caster asked for the music to be turned off so everyone could hear him rap. He knocks Brian Cage for not being on TV at all in recent months, and burns him with a comment about how his contract is about to expire. Cage takes the mic and rapped (it sounded more like poetry!) and told The Acclaimed he may be off TV, but he’s still earning more than they are. Cage and Navarro did the “big/little, coach/apprentice” team… think Scott Steiner and Petey Williams, or Bob and Crash Holly; Navarro wore fake sideburns to match his mentor. Navarro was probably the smallest man on the show.
The match was exactly what you’d expect — the Acclaimed work over Navarro much of the match, Cage got the hot tag and cleared the ring. He picked up one of The Acclaimed and spun him, but his legs hit the referee, and the ref was down. Navarro grabbed a medallion he earned at a prior show, but he wound up accidentally striking Cage in the back of the head. The Acclaimed hit their team moves, with Caster hitting the top-rope elbow drop for the pin. The tease of whether Cage was upset at Navarro is pretty subtle; maybe they’ll build on that later.
6. Santana defeated “Speedball” Mike Bailey at 17:54. My pick for match of the night, and I wouldn’t have predicted that heading into this show. Bailey offered a handshake, but Santana pummeled him with forearms. They traded hard shots throughout. Late in the match, the announcers reminded us there was a 20-minute time limit, which planted the seeds for what was to come. Santana won with a devastating piledriver. I felt like this match could have gone either way.
7. Dante Martin defeated Bandido at 10:48. Very good match, with them getting all their big spots in, but mildly disappointing only because it was shorter than expected. I also consider this an upset. Martin wins with his double-jump springboard moonsault.
8. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry) at 14:03 to retain the ROH Tag Titles. Veda Scott reminded us that the Briscoes are on their 12th title reign. Hard-hitting as expected, but the outcome was never in doubt because the titles were on the line. It may have been better for them to leave the tag titles at home and create a bit of mystery in the outcome. Jay hit the JayDriller and Mark hit the Froggy Bow top-rope elbow drop for the clean pin.
The main event was about to begin just before 10 p.m. central time. I don’t blame the women here at all, but the crowd was clearly starting to thin out a bit, as I guess this is bed time for some fans.
9. Warrior Champion Thunder Rosa fought. Athena (f/k/a Ember Moon to a 30-minute time-limit draw at 30:06. I stand by my clock time! Face vs. face early. Someone in the crowd shouted something inappropriate that angered Thunder Rosa, and other fans chanted for the unruly fan to be tossed. At the 6:00 minute mark, Athena landed on her feet and crumbled to the floor, selling an ankle injury. Of course, it was a ruse, and she rolled up Thunder Rosa for a nearfall, then hopped to her feet and did some jumping jacks to show us she was okay. From that point on, Athena worked as a heel. These two had an excellent main-event style match that really didn’t drag. However, when the announcer told the crowd we reached the 20-minute mark, it felt like an acknowledgement we were going to a draw. He told the crowd again when we reached the 29-minute mark.
Athena went to the top rope and nailed her diving stunner, but Thunder Rosa rolled to the floor, as the time limit expired. Both ladies spoke on the mic after the match. The announcers hoped for a future rematch.
Final Thoughts: A very fun show, and much better than the disappointing GCW New York show. Everyone worked hard, and the crowd was engaged throughout. The show went off the air at about 3 hours, 30 minutes even. I’ll take Santana-Bailey for best, the four-way for second, and the main event third, but nothing here was bad.
I highly recommend checking out some of their free matches on Youtube, even though a lot of those matches were before a sparse, outdoor crowd, and others were in a poorly-lit building. This show here topped the older stuff in overall presentation, and the hot crowd really added a lot here.
Warrior Wrestling returns on Saturday, March 12, this time in in Indianapolis. As I noted, this is essentially a super-indy, so quite a different roster for the next show, with Jonah, Lance Archer, Killer Kross, Psycho Clown, Silas Young, Trey Miguel, Jake Something, Brian Pillman Jr., Arez, and Aramis announced, along with several returning talents such as Athena, Brian Cage, and KC Navarro.