By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Warrior Wrestling 27 “Back to the Bend”
January 25, 2023 in South Bend, Indiana at Bendix Arena
Replay available on ProWrestlingTV.Live
This show was recently released on ProWrestling.TV, and is available for free (however, there are commercial breaks, including mid-match. It’s the price you pay for a free show).
* The show opened with a nice montage to honor Jay Briscoe. This venue is a nice in-the-round auditorium with the ring on the stage. We then go to footage of Sam Adonis backstage, where he announced he was vacating the Lucha title. Joe Dombrowski and Rich Bocchini provided commentary. The crowd is about 500.
1. Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Beast Man at 8:36. Beast Man is perhaps 350 pounds, and Pillman immediately kicked at his legs to knock him down. Beast Man hit some chops and was in control early on, hitting a Samoan Drop at 4:00. Beast Man went to sit down on Pillman’s chest, but Brian moved before getting squashed. Pillman hit a top-rope crossbody block at 6:30. Brian charged at Beast Man, but BM caught him and hit a sit-out powerbomb. Beast Man missed a top-rope legdrop. Pillman hit a kick to the face, then he applied a half-crab, and Beast Man tapped out. Standard match; what you’d expect here.
* A video package aired with comments from Christopher Daniels (standing in front of an AEW screen) and Eli Knight. Daniels said he has experience, which will trump youth and speed. Knight is a thin Black man, taller than Lio Rush but similar build. Good promos from both.
2. Christopher Daniels defeated Eli Knight at 13:26. Mat reversals to open. Daniels hit some deep armdrags. Eli hit a running dropkick off the ring apron to the floor. In the ring, he hit a top-rope clothesline for a nearfall at 4:30. Daniels took control, and he slowed Eli down with a head submission hold. Eli hit a running neckbreaker at 8:00, then a Stinger Splash in the corner, but he was selling a neck injury.
Daniels hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. They traded punches. Daniels missed a Stinger Splash and Eli hit a jumping knee to the chest. Eli went for a Shooting Star Press, but Daniels got his knees up to block it at 13:00. Daniels hit a uranage, then the Best Moonsault Ever for the pin. Entertaining match; while I never thought Eli was winning, he put up a good fight.
* Fun backstage segment with Beast Man, who disputed that he lost. Then we flip to footage from Warrior 4 and 7 and a few other prior events, showing past matches Zach Wentz has been here.
3. Konosuke Takeshita defeated Zachary Wentz at 13:51. They shook hands to show they are both babyfaces, and they immediately traded quick reversals. Takeshita worked the left arm, and he hit a DDT onto the ring apron at 4:00. He cranked on the head and kept Zach grounded. He hit a series of elbows to the back of the neck at 6:30. Zach fired back with a German Suplex and a running knee in the corner, then a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall at 9:00, and they were both down.
Takeshita hit a dive to the floor. In the ring, Takeshita set up for a Razor’s Edge, but Wentz turned it into a huracanrana. Wentz nailed a Swanton Bomb for a nearfall at 11:00. Wentz hit a handspring-back-knee strike. Takeshita applied a crossface on the mat; Wentz rolled him over for a nearfall. They charged at each other and collided knees. Takeshita hit a clothesline for a nearfall. They got up and traded forearm shots. Takeshita hit a running knee to the jaw, then a second one while Wentz was on his knees, to score the pin. That was just fantastic.
* A video package aired with Tootie Lynn talking about scoring a big singles win over KiLynn King at the last Warrior Wrestling show.
4. Max the Impaler defeated Tootie Lynn at 6:41. Tootie wore a boxer’s robe with the hood pulled up as she entered the ring. Max overpowered Tootie at the bell and hit a bodyslam. Max went for a gorilla press, but Tootie climbed on Max’s back and applied a choke. Tootie hit a series of Yes Kicks at 4:30. Max fired back with a spear, and they were both down. Tootie applied a Fujiwara Armbar, but Max reached the ropes. Max nailed a short-arm clothesline for the pin. What you’d expect here.
* Frank the Clown hit the ring with his faction. I find him highly annoying and turned down the volume while he spoke. He gets “go away heat” from me. Perennial mid-carder KC Navarro, who is somehow the Warrior champion, also spoke.
5. Storm Grayson and Trevor Outlaw (w/Frank the Clown) defeated “The Bang Bros” Davey Bang and August Matthews at 12:17. Grayson and Davey Bang started. Outlaw reminds me of Josh “the Goods” Woods or Marty Scurll in his height, frame and tattoos, and he worked over the scrawny August Matthews. Davey made the hot tag at 4:30, but the ref missed it and ordered him back to the corner. Bang finally made the hot tag and cleaned house on the heels. Bang and Matthews hit simultaneous dives to the floor at 8:00.
In the ring, the Bang Bros. hit a team swinging slam on Outlaw. Grayson hit a piledriver for a believable nearfall on Bang at 10:00. Grayson hit a powerbomb for a nearall, but August made the save. Bang hit a double Pele Kick, then a double spear. Frank hopped on the ring apron to distract August, allowing Outlaw to crotch August in the corner. Outlaw hit a Stomp on Bang’s head for the pin. Solid match.
6. Calvin Tankman defeated Warhorse at 16:53. At perhaps 350 pounds, Tankman has a height and significant weight advantage. They immediately traded forearm shots. Warhorse hit some headbutts. They brawled to the floor and up the stairs at 3:30, as it appears we have 15 to 20 rows of fans in this auditorium. They brawled into the concourse, far from the ring. Tankman pushed Warhorse down the steps at 7:00, drawing a “holy shit!” chant.
They finally got back in the ring, with Tankman in complete control. Warhorse went for a plancha at 9:00, but Tankman caught him. Warhorse dove through the ropes and barreled onto Tankman, and they were both down on the floor. They fought on the ropes in the corner, with Warhorse hitting a sunset flip powerbomb to the mat, then he applied a Sharpshooter at 11:00, but Tankman quickly reached the ropes. Tankman nailed a spinning back fist.
Warhorse hit a headbutt and Tankman was stunned. Warhorse hit a Saito Suplex and the crowd rallied for him. Warhorse hit a clothesline for a nearfall. The crowd chanted “Warhorse rules ass!” Tankman nailed a pop-up spinning back fist and a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 14:00. Warhorse hit a Frankensteiner out of the corner and they were both down. Warhorse nailed a top-rope elbow drop to the chest for a believable nearfall. Tankman nailed a low blow mule kick with the ref out of position, then a Hidden Blade forearm to the back of the head, then a Rikishi Driver piledriver for the pin. Really good match. Tankman is just a beast.
7. Queen Aminata defeated Kylie Rae at 13:01. Aminata is so much better than we’ve seen in her handful of AEW Dark matches. They shook hands at the bell before locking up. They traded standing reversals, and Kylie applied an STF at 6:30. Aminata hit a running knee to the side of the head for a nearfall. They traded forearm shots. Kylie hit a stunner at 11:00 for a nearfall, and she applied an STF hold, but Aminata reached the ropes. They traded rollup attempts. Aminata hit a series of kicks as they were tied up on the mat, and Kylie tapped out. Good match.
* Val Capone interviewed Tootie Lynn backstage. Tootie said she was a bit disappointed in herself. She wants a title shot against Athena. (She just lost! Why would she get a title shot?)
8. KC Navarro (w/Frank the Clown) defeated Buddy Matthews via DQ to retain the Warrior Heavyweight Title at 13:00. Throughout the show, the commentators have wondered if Buddy Matthews was going to make it to the building. Navarro got on the mic and proclaimed Buddy wasn’t here, and he demanded the ref count out Buddy. However, Buddy emerged from the back and got a huge pop. Dombrowski said Buddy beat KC in a prior match at ECW Arena in Philadelphia, and the crowd chanted “Buddy’s gonna kill you!” KC tugged on Buddy’s beard; Buddy shoved him away. Buddy hit a hard knee strike that sent KC to the floor at 2:00.
They brawled up the staircase to the top. They got back in the ring. KC dove to the floor, but Buddy caught him and slammed him onto the ring apron. Buddy hit a top-rope double knees for a nearfall at 5:00. KC jumped off the ropes, but Buddy again caught him. KC dove between the ropes onto Buddy. Back in the ring, Navarro hit a frogsplash for a nearfall. Matthews held KC, ran across the ring, and dropped him head-first on the second turnbuckle at 9:30, and they were both down. The crowd chanted, “both these guys!”
Navarro hit a super-kick. Buddy hit a pop-up knee strike to the jaw. Buddy hit the pump-handle “Murphy’s Law” Angle Slam for a pin at 9:51. New champion! Everyone celebrated the title change. However, the ref waved it off, saying that KC’s foot was on the bottom rope, and he ordered the match to continue. The fans chanted “bullshit!” The ref got bumped. Buddy hit another Murphy’s Law for a visual pin. A second ref hit the ring, but Frank the Clown pulled him out of the ring and punched him. Buddy set up for a Murphy’s Law on Frank, but Outlaw and Storm hit the ring and beat up Buddy Matthews. KC hit a mid-ring Slice Bread.
The Bang Bros hit the ring to make the save, and they hit planchas on Outlaw and Storm and fought them to the back. KC had the title belt. Buddy hit an F5 and he applied a crossface on the mat. Frank distracted Buddy. KC tossed the title belt at Buddy and collapsed to the mat (a.k.a., the “Eddie spot”). The ref got up, saw Buddy holding the belt, and called for the bell, disqualifying Buddy. Matthews hit KC with the belt after the bell, and he hit a third Murphy’s Law.
9. El Hijo Del Vikingo defeated Rey Horus and Flamita in a three-way to win the vacant Warrior Lucha Title. Vikingo held his AAA Omega title belt. We saw just two highlights of this match, with Vikingo hitting an insane dive off the wall of the building onto Rey and Flamita. Because this was a free stream, Warrior Wrestling was only able to show the two highlights, as per AAA rules that Vikingo’s matches are only allowed allowed to be streamed on paid sites.
Final Thoughts: I admittedly had forgotten that rule about Vikingo match not being allowed for free, so I was startled when they just showed the two quick highlights. So, I’ll go with Takeshita vs. Wentz for best match. Yes, I understand why Wentz was let go by WWE, but I really am surprised he hasn’t reappeared in Impact Wrestling at this point. He’s so talented.
While I would not have KC Navarro anywhere near the heavyweight title picture, I am such a big fan of Buddy Matthews, and that earned second-best of the night. I don’t care for the ‘Dusty Finish,’ but at least Buddy wasn’t cleanly pinned by a mid-carder. Tankman-Warhorse impressed me and earned third-best, with the Daniels-Knight match earning honorable mention.
Watch this, and all Warrior Wrestling shows, at video.prowrestlingtv.live
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