By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Deadlock Pro Wrestling “The Carolina Classic”
October 15, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina at the Durham Convention Center
Available via DPWondemand.com
This show features an eight-man tournament, with the winners of the first-round matches later competing in a four-way match. Rich Bochinni and Joe Dombrowski provided commentary. This promotion has great lighting and sound, and I”m a big fan. However, attendance is perhaps 200.
1. Andrew Everett defeated Shun Skywalker in a first-round tournament match at 10:25. Shun is one of several Dragon Gate wrestlers currently touring the U.S., and he wears the tight plastic-looking mask like New Japan’s Bushi. Everett does the Andre the Giant gimmick with a one-strap singlet, thinking he’s seven feet tall. Quick reversals to open. Shun applied a Boston Crab at 3:30. Everett hit a second-rope missile dropkick and a springboard spin kick for a nearfall.
Everett went for the chokeslam, but Shun blocked it. Everett hit an enzuigiri and a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 7:00. Everett went for a move off the top rope, but Shun caught him with a dropkick, and they were both down. Everett hit a springboard moonsault, but Shun escaped another chokeslam attempt. Shun hit a double kneedrop moonsault, and the crowd started chanting “This is awesome!” Everett hit the chokeslam for a nearfall. Everett then hit a pretty top-rope moonsault (he goes straight up and looks like he’s about to come down on his head before rotating at the last moment) to score the pin.
* BK Westbrook cut a promo outside, vowing he was going to win the Carolina Classic tournament.
2. SB Kento defeated BK Westbrook in a first-round tournament match at 7:54. Westbrook is white; he has a passing resemblance to Adam Cole, and he wore ridiculous glasses and a robe, and got loudly booed. The commentators say they are both just 23 years old. I noted this the other day; Dragon Gate’s Kento has blond hair, similar to Kazuchika Okada. They traded quick mat reversals and nearfalls in the first minute. Kento hit a shotgun dropkick into the corner at 2:00. They brawled to the floor. Back in the ring, Kento tied him up in the ropes (think Tajiri’s tarantula.)
Westbrook hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 6:00, and the crowd railed for Kento. Kento hit a snap German suplex for a nearfall. Westbrook hit a second-rope Lionsault for a nearfall. Westbrook went for a chokeslam (sending a message to his nemesis Andrew Everett), but Kento avoided it. Kento suddenly hit a low blow punt kick when the ref was distracted, then a Michinoku Driver, for the pin. That was really good.
* Lucky Ali cut a promo outside, saying he is “what’s next” and he also vowed to win the tournament.
3. Lucky Ali defeated Yuya Uemera in a first-round tournament match at 10:39. Ali reminds me of Rich Swann, or perhaps JTG, particularly how he looks today in NWA. Uemera is wearing the red and white trunks he has been wearing in recent Impact matches. Good standing reversals to open. Uemera grounded him with a headscissorslock, and he switched to working over the left arm. Ali snapped Uemera’s leg over the ring apron, and Uemera sold the pain as he writhed on the mat at 5:00.
Ali went to work on the damaged left knee. Uemera hit a dropkick, and they were both down, with Uemera clutching at his knee. Uemera hit a bulldog for a nearfall at 7:30. Lucky Ali went for a Boston Crab, but Uemera escaped. Uemera hit a back suplex for a nearfall. Ali hit a basement dropkick to the jaw. Ali got mad so he shoved the female referee, who shoved him back. Uemera hit an enziguri, but he missed a top-rope crossbody block. Ali nailed a running clothesline to the back of the head to score the pin. Good match.
4. Mike Bailey defeated Colby Corino in a first-round tournament match at 12:09. Bailey is replacing Gringo Loco, who had to withdraw from the field. They described Colby as 26 but a 13-year pro. Mat wrestling to open. Bailey hit some stiff kicks to Colby’s back. Colby hit his flipping senton for a nearfall. They brawled to the floor, with Bailey hitting kicks in front of the fans. Bailey hit a kneedrop to Corino’s back as Colby was lying on the top rope as they got back into the ring at 3:30.
They traded chops and they are pretty much the same height. Bailey ended the chop sequence by hitting some surprising kicks, very heelish and rather funny. Colby hit a double stomp to the chest, then a top-rope bulldog for a nearfall at 6:30. They traded stiff forearm shots, and they both went down. The crowd was loving this action. They traded blows while on their knees, then from the standing position. Bailey nailed his speedball kicks to the ribs and thighs.
Bailey missed the Ultimo Weapon kneedrop. Corino set him up for a Styles Clash but did a forward roll for a nearfall. Bailey hit a moonsault kneedrop, then his corner moonsault to the floor at 10:00. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Colby hit a forward Finlay Roll, then a running boot for a believable nearfall. Colby hit a second-rope Air Raid Crash for a believable nearfall. This is insanely good. Bailey hit his tornado kick int eh corner, then the Ultimo Weapon second-rope moonsault kneedrop for the pin. Wow that was fun. “I am out of breath after watching that!” Dombrowski said. The crowd chanted, “Both these guys!”
* A video aired with Jungle Kyona, who spoke about wanting a title match against women’s champion Raychelle Rose.
5. Sumie Sakai & Jungle Kyona defeated Janai Kai & Hyan at 13:19. This is Hyan’s Deadlock Pro debut; she regularly competes in Booker T’s promotion in Texas. Kyona competed here in DPW a month ago, and she’s been wrestling a lot in the U.S. in recent months. Hyan and Kyona started, then Janai entered to face Sumie. I love Janai’s look and kickboxing style. Hyan and Janai quickly began working over Sumie. (I wouldn’t describe either team as heels.) Hyan hit a running kneestrike to Sumie’s back at 3:00. Hyan dropped Sumie head-first on the top turnbuckle, and she hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 6:00.
Sumie hit a missile dropkick, and she finally made the hot tag. Kyona hit a series of shoulder tackles and an impressive double suplex. Hyan and Kyona began trading stiff forearm shots; Hyan is taller and appears to have more muscle mass, and these are stiff-looking blows. Janai and Hyan were now working over Kyona, with Janai hitting a series of kicks to the back at 10:00. Sumie, then Kyona, hit sentons on Janai. Janai and Hyan hit a team elbowdrop move on Kyona for a nearfall. Sumie hit a swinging neckbreaker on Janai. Sumie hit a top-rope missile dropkick on Kai, then a swinging neckbreaker. Kyona then nailed a sit-out powerbomb to pin Janai Kai. Really good match.
6. Alec Price defeated La Estrella and Yoya in a three-way at 5:47. Price wore a Boston Bruins jersey for some cheap heat, and he gave the middle finger to the crowd. I don’t know Dragon Gate’s La Estrella; he wore a mask that made me think of Shark Boy. Yoya is the short Cambodian man; like Price, I have seen a lot of him in GCW and Jersey Championship Wrestling. Price towers over both opponents. Estrella did several cartwheels, and he must be about 5’3″ based on being similar in height to Yoya. Price hit an impressive dive over the top rope, going quite a distance from the ring, onto both opponents.
Yoya hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread flipping faceplant on Price, then a tornado DDT on Estrella. Yoya dove the ropes and barreled into Estrella at 3:00, and these guys are going at a break-neck speed. In the ring, Yoya hit a Poison Rana, and all three were down. Price hit a doublestomp on Yoya’s chest at 4:30. Yoya hit a piledriver. Price hit a running Canadian Destroyer and a step-up mule kick to the back of Yoya’s head for a nearfall; Price stood up and jawed at the referee. Price hit a package piledriver to pin Yoya. He glared at the referee some more, then hit a Mafia Kick on the referee! That was a blast of a sprint of a match.
7. Emi Sakura defeated Mei Suruga at 15:47. These two literally just competed as teammates on AEW Elevation earlier this week. Saruga has a peacock outfit much like Dalton Castle, waving it as she danced before the match. Standing switches, and Emi has a height and weight advantage, and she got the better of a test of strength. Mei applied a leglock around the waist and rolled Emi around on the mat until she got a nearfall. Emi whipped her across the ring by her hair at 3:00 and got admonished by the referee.
Emi hit a backbreaker over her knee and was in control. She tied Mei up in a bow-and-arrow. Mei hit some double stomps on the back, and she ran around the floor, giving high-fives to fans in the front row. However, Emi attacked her and hit some stiff chops in front of the fans. Emi dragged her back in the ring and hit another backbreaker over her knee at 8:00. Mei applied a full nelson, then she hit another double stomp on the back. Emi hit a Cody-style swinging faceplant. Emi nailed a Vader Bomb for a nearfall at 10:30.
They traded more chops, with Emi getting better of the exchange. Mei hit a bodyslam and a springboard Vader Bomb for a nearfall, and she tied Emi up on the mat. She turned it into a cross-armbreaker, with Emi scrambling for the ropes at 13:00. Emi hit a clothesline that absolutely leveled Mei. However, Emi missed a top-rope moonsault. In a neat spot, Mei jumped on Emi’s shoulders, did a spinning Victory Roll and got a nearfall. Emi hit a running dropkick. Emi hit a butterfly backbreaker over her knee. She then hit a Ospreay-style Stormbreaker off her shoulders for the clean pin. That was absolutely fantastic. Too bad AEW never gives her a chance to show off these skills. They went for a handshake, but Emi pulled back, twirled her hair, and left the ring.
8. BoJack, Donnie Ray, and Mason Myles defeated Jay Malachi, Diego Hill, and Labron Kozone at 19:11. BoJack is the 350 pound beast and has been a good champion here. Donnie Ray’s wild curly hair reminds me of young Chuck Palumbo. Myles looks like Tyler Bate but with a huge tattoo on his chest. Diego Hill is the star here, reminding me of a mix of Cedric Alexander and Wes Lee. I would describe all these guys as babyfaces, or at the very least, fan favorites. Myles and Diego started with quick offense and neither man able to hit a major blow. Heel manager Chris Danger emerged from the back and took notes.
Donnie Ray entered to face Malachi and they traded stiff forearm shots. Malachi is really good, but just a step below Diego Hill in being a polished in-ring performer. Kozone, also a Black man, entered to face BoJack at 5:30. All six brawled to the floor. Diego and BoJack beat on each other in front of the fans. Diego hit a running knee on the ring apron on BoJack. Back in the ring, BoJack hit a huge running Stinger Splash at 10:30, and his team began working over Kozone.
Malachi hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Myles. BoJack tagged in at 14:30 and he flattened Malachi with a running senton for a nearfall. Diego hit a nice enzuigiri. BoJack fired back with a pop-up forearm shot. BoJack and Kozone traded clotheslines. Kozone hit a Mafia Kick. They hit simultaneous clotheslines and both went down. Donnie Ray re-entered and hit a slam on Malachi. Diego hit a handspring-back-spin kick. The camera keeps panning over to heel manager Danger, as the ring announcer says we have two minutes remaining at 18:00 even, and the crowd immediately booed. Malachi hit a leap over the top rope that went deep into the crowd and onto two opponents. Myles and Donnie Ray hit a team bulldog move on Malachi for the pin. Wow, they tricked me; I thought we were headed to a draw.
9. Lucky Ali defeated Mike Bailey, SB Kento and Andrew Everett in a four-way elimination match at 17:47 to win the Carolina Classic. A large trophy was shown that will be given to the winner. WrestleMania IV taught me trophies that big are going to get destroyed. The crowd was hot before these guys locked up. All four are in, so they brawled to the floor. Ali hit a senton onto both Bailey and Kento in the ring at 3:30. Ali was just in control of the ring, working over Everett while keeping the others out of the ring.
Kento and Bailey traded hard kicks and chops mid-ring. Bailey hit his speedball kicks to the ribs. Everett hit a missile dropkick onto both of them at 7:00. However, Ali hit a running clothesline to the back of Everett’s head to pin him at 7:14. The match continued immediately with them all trading punches. Kento and Bailey traded blows in the corner, and Kento nailed a top-rope superplex for a nearfall at 9:30. Kento hit a German Suplex for a nearfall on Bailey, then one on Ali. Kento hit a low blow on Bailey for a nearfall. Bailey hit a running powerbomb to pin Kento at 10:32, leaving two men. Ali immediately seized control.
They traded rollups and Bailey hit his standing double-kneedrop moonsault, then a spin kick to the head for a nearfall at 13:30. Bailey hit his tornado kick in the corner, but he missed Ultimo Weapon. Ali put Bailey on his shoulders and hit a faceplant. Bailey hit an Asai Moonsault to the floor, and they were both down. The crowd was hot for this action. They got on the ring apron and traded stiff forearm shots. Bailey hit his moonsault kneedrop on the apron. In the ring, Bailey naileld the Ultimo Weapon kneedrop for a believable nearfall. He went for the Flamingo Driver, but Ali rolled out of it. Ali got a rollup with a handful of tights for a believable nearfall. Bailey hit a superkick, and he set up for the tornado kick. However, Ali nailed his running clothesline to the back of the head for the clean pin. That was great.
* Ali was handed the trophy. He dropped it on the mat, not seeming to care about it. By winning the tournament, Ali has earned a title shot. He picked it up, only to indifferently toss it away as he left the ring.
Final Thoughts: I’m a sucker for tournaments, and while I prefer having three rounds, I don’t mind the four-way finale if it means each first-round match gets enough time.
I feel it’s too bad we saw a lot of a scrawny, young Colby Corino when he was a teen, getting beat up frequently. He’s really developed into a good wrestler, and that match with Bailey is the best I’ve seen him look.
Janai Kai is the female version of Mike Bailey with her focus on a variety of kicks; they even both wrestle barefoot. I am just impressed with her and her unique look.
The show clocked in at about three hours.
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