By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Warrior Wrestling 26
December 17, 2022 in Chicago Heights, Illinois at Marian Catholic High School
Replay available on Pro WrestlingTV.live
Matt Rehwoldt and Val Capone provided commentary, but Warrior Wrestling acknowledges they had technical difficulties with the early matches. This show was held in the Marian Catholic High School gym in suburban Chicago, and attendance is maybe 300-400.
* Frank the Clown hit the ring and got on the mic and berated the crowd. I find Frank highly annoying with a “go-away heel heat.”
1. Trevor Outlaw (w/Frank the Clown) defeated Mance Warner via count-out at 10:32. Outlaw looks a lot like a taller Josh “the Goods” Woods, with short brown hair and a decent-length beard. Because of their technical difficulties on the original live broadcast, we are watching this match with no commentary, but we do have multiple cameras. Outlaw keeps rolling in and out of the ring and refusing to lock up. Eventually, Mance rolled to the floor and hit some chops in front of the crowd. In the ring, Outlaw (with Frank’s help), worked over Mance with fairly basic offense.
Warner hit a Mafia Kick at 8:00, then a clothesline. Frank pulled the ref out of the ring before he could count to three. Mance chased Frank to the back and got counted out. What a lame match with an awful finish. Mance returned to the ring to (recklessly, needlessly, dangerously) throw a chair at Outlaw’s unprotected head. Just stupid. Mance helped a boy, maybe six years old, into the ring. The boy hit Outlaw. Mance then chokeslammed Outlaw across two open chairs in the ring. Because these are PG shows, Mance didn’t bleed.
* A humorous ‘ad’ ran for the tag team Slime Szn, purposely looking like a bad local TV ad. I saw them have one match in NWA in the New Orleans area a couple months ago.
* We flip to a backstage interview with Tootie Lynn, who said she feels stuck and like everyone else is passing her by. She feels like she could turn things around if she can beat KiLynn King. We then flip to KiLynn, who said that this was going to be her year.
2. Tootie Lynn defeated KiLynn King at 16:02. Commentary is now working. Obviously, King has a huge height advantage, and she grounded Tootie early on. King nailed a kneestrike to the head at 4:00. Tootie hit a dropkick and applied a cross-armbreaker. They brawled to the floor. In the ring, King hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall at 8:30. Tootie went back to the cross-armbreaker.
Tootie hit a leg lariat and was fired up, and she hit a second-rope crossbody block. KiLynn fired back with a kick to the side of the head, then a standing powerbomb for a nearfall at 14:00. Tootie hit a mule kick to the back of the head. KiLynn nailed a Death Valley Driver for a believable nearfall. KiLynn set up for an Implant Buster faceplant, but Tootie escaped, got a rollup, and the surprise pin.
3. “Technical Difficulties” Moses and Rahim De La Suede defeated “Slime Szn” J. Spade and Bu Ku Dao at 12:24. J. Spade is Black and wears a purple headband, giving off Velveteen Dream vibes. Rehwoldt is butchering Bu Ku Dao’s name, saying “Boo Doo Koo.” The Technical Difficulties duo are both Black men with dreadlocks and matching gear, and I can’t tell them apart; they are from the Team Ambition school in St. Louis. TD worked over the diminutive Bu Ku Dao, who is listed at 5’0″ and 152 pounds. Spade finally made the hot tag at 8:30 and he hit a flying knee. Slime Szn hit a team Flatliner move. Team Ambition hit a running Shooting Star Press, and the other applied a Boston Crab, but Dao made the save. One of Team Ambition hit a German Suplex on Dao for the pin. Decent match.
4. Jordan Kross defeated EC3 via count-out at 10:15. Kross is quite slender with Mike Bailey’s haircut; he’s the same height as EC3 but nowhere near the muscle mass. He looks like he isn’t even 21 years old. When EC3 came out, the cameras switched to black-and-white, like during Killer Kross’s entrances. Cool look. He wore black jeans, not wrestling gear. They opened with standing switches. EC3 hit a back suplex at 3:00. He worked over Kross with some hard chops and was dominating the action.
EC3 hit a Razor’s Edge overhead powerbomb at 5:30, but he didn’t go for a cover. (History says he will regret this!) EC3 hit a bodyslam. EC3 missed a Stinger Splash in the corner. Kross hit a running elbow into the corner, then a top-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall at 8:00, then a Fame-asser legdrop for a nearfall. The kids in this crowd are really into this. Kross shoved something in EC3’s mouth; EC3 began choking, rolled to ringside, and spit it out on the floor, but he was still struggling to breathe. He couldn’t get back in the ring before being counted out. Lame finish to an entertaining David-and-Goliath matchup. EC3 really sold his disbelief that he didn’t win, taking his time walking through the crowd before heading to the back.
5. Zachary Wentz defeated Mike Bailey at 13:43. Quick reversals to open and a standoff. In a nice spot, Bailey went to dive between the ropes, but Wentz caught him with a stunner at 2:30. Bailey draped Wentz over the top rope, hit some kicks to the chest and then a doublestomp on the back. Bailey applied an anklelock on the mat. They got up and traded chops, first to the chest, but then to each other’s backs. Wentz hit a stunner at 7:30.
Bailey missed the Ultimo Weapon second-rope summersault kneedrop. They hit simultaneous enzuigiris, and were both down at 9:30, and the crowd began chanting, “Fight forever!” Bailey nailed his speedball kicks to the thighs and ribs, then his triangle moonsault to the floor on Wentz at 11:30. In the ring, Bailey hit a moonsault kneedrop to the chest, then a spin kick to the head for a believable nearfall.
Bailey went for his tornado kick in the corner, but Wentz blocked it. Wentz hit a doublestomp to the back. Bailey hit some mid-ring kicks, then the tornado kick in the corner. Bailey again missed Ultimo Weapon, and Wentz immediately hit a kneestrike. Bailey hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly. Wentz hit a top-rope stunner to score the clean pin. A mild upset, considering the year Bailey had. A fantastic match, far better than any of the first four on this show.
6. Max Caster defeated Storm Grayson (w/Frank the Clown) at 12:19. The heels came out first. Max came out, but no mic in hand! In the ring he did a free-style rap with no music; nothing all that biting. Grayson jumped Caster from behind to start the match. Caster hit a standing neckbreaker at 2:30. Frank distracted Max, allowing Grayson to hit a dropkick and punches to the face. Grayson choked Max in the ropes while the ref was distracted, and Grayson hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 5:00.
Max clotheslined Grayson to the floor, then he hit a plancha to the floor, pausing to scissor with the crowd. In the ring, Max hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 7:00. Grayson bodyslammed Max off the top rope, and he hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a believable nearfall. Max locked in a Figure Four Leglock, and the crowd taunted Storm to tap out.
On the floor, Max teased hitting Frank, but Grayson stopped him. In the ring, Max nailed a Fame-Asser for a believable nearfall, but Frank pulled the ref from the ring. The ref sent Frank to the back. Trevor Outlaw snuck in the ring and hit Max with a title belt, allowing Grayson to get a believable nearfall at 11:00. They traded rollups. Outlaw hopped in the ring, but Max hit a low blow punt kick on him. Max nailed the top-rope elbow Mic Drop for the pin. A fun match.
* Backstage promo with Warhorse. He said to get “Tony on the phone and tell him Eddie isn’t coming home!”
7. Eddie Kingston defeated Warhorse at 14:04. The crowd was hot at the bell. Eddie hit some hard chops and an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Warhorse fired back with a pair of German Suplexes, and he choked Eddie in the ropes. Eddie hit some chops, but sold being dazed by the German Suplexes. Val Capone made the point that both Kingston and Warhorse got televised AEW tryouts, but Kingston got a contract out of it, and Warhorse didn’t. They brawled to the floor at 4:00, and Warhorse whipped Kingston into the guardrail.
In the ring, Warhorse hit a top-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall at 6:30. Kingston fired back with more hard chops, then a clothesline, and they were both down. Eddie hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall, then a sliding clothesline. Warhorse nailed a flipping dive between the ropes, barreling onto Kingston, at 10:00, and they were both down on the floor.
In the ring, they traded forearm shots while on their knees. Warhorse hit a top-rope elbow drop for a believable nearfall at 13:00. Kingston nailed a T-Bone Suplex and a Saito Suplex, then a spinning back fist. He applied a mid-ring Octopus submission hold, and Warhorse tapped out. That was really entertaining.
* Backstage promo with Sam Adonis, who vowed the Lucha Title would be staying with him. We headed to another backstage segment with Frank the Clown and his lackeys.
8. Sam Adonis defeated Johnny Warrior (a/k/a John Morrison) to retain the Lucha Title at 14:39. Johnny used his dripstick to spray the crowd with water. Val Capone said this was a first-ever singles matchup, but these two are familiar with each other. They traded mat reversals early. They traded shoulder tackles with neither man budging. Johnny grabbed the mic and said he wants to settle this with a “quick-draw contest.” Sam cheated with the drip stick, so Johnny hit a low blow kick for a nearfall at 5:30.
Johnny grounded Sam on the mat. They traded punches while battling on the ropes in the corner, and Sam hit a Blockbuster at 9:30. Sam bit Johnny on the forehead. They went to the floor, and Johnny poured the water from a bucket onto the plastic sheet covering the floor. However, Sam tossed Johnny, who did a belly flop slide on the water.
Finally back in the ring, they traded some rollups, and Johnny hit a kneestrike to the forehead for a nearfall at 12:00. Sam nailed a Death Valley Driver. Morrison hit a top-rope Spanish Fly, then a mid-ring Shooting Star Press for a believable nearfall. Johnny missed Starship Pain/corkscrew Arabian Press. Sam immediately hit a top-rope 450 Splash for the clean pin.
* Sam Adonis got on the mic and said he would be defending his title in January against El Hijo Del Vikingo at the next Warrior Wrestling show and got a huge pop. (They added a backstage segment, where Adonis bowed out of the match AND forfeited the title, so the match never took place.)
Final Thoughts: To absolutely no surprise, Bailey-Wentz stole the show. A really entertaining back-and-forth match with a surprising outcome. I quite frankly wouldn’t be surprised if Zack is back in Impact Wrestling at some point in 2023. Kingston-Warhorse topped all expectations and earned second-best.
Johnny Warrior Morrison Hennigan Del Mundo frustrates me. He’s so talented, but he likes his cartoonish juvenile humor. To me it’s what has kept him from being a mainstay on top of the card. All those complaints aside, I’ll still give the main event third-best.
I have really enjoyed Warrior Wrestling, but they’ve definitely made cutbacks. They went from having stellar shows last winter headlined by the likes of Will Ospreay, the Briscoes, Thunder Rosa, Athena, Brian Cage, Lance Archer, and a lot of other top AEW/Impact wrestlers, to suddenly switching the title to midcarder KC Navarro in late spring, then they canceled all their summer shows. I quite frankly thought they ran out of money and were done. Instead, they’ve returned with what is clearly a much smaller budget. In the past year, two champions have forfeited their belts rather than come back and drop them, which also really hurts the promotion.
That said… I enjoyed a family-friendly show, with lots of kids in the crowd. It is such a noticeable difference from the GCW shows with R-rated chants from the crowd, or coming from the wrestlers on the mic. You can see how the wrestlers interract with a crowd in a totally different way at a family-friendly show.
This show is now free for anyone to view. I highly recommend checking out Warrior Wrestling 18 and 19, as those had stellar matches and large crowds that really made this promotion feel special at the time.
The show clocks in at about three hours even.
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