By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Black Label Pro: “Observe This, Brother”
Streamed on Fite.TV
March 25, 2023 in Crown Point, Indiana at RDS Gym
This is the gym that BLP routinely uses for shows. The crowd is roughly 80-120. Percy Davis provided commentary along with a woman I didn’t recognize.
1. Alec Price and “Violence is Forever” Kevin Ku and Dominic Garrini defeated Isaiah Moore and “Twist and Flip” Darren Fly and Nate Kobain at 11:16. Moore and Twist & Flip hit dives to the floor in the first minute. Price hit a snap suplex, and they worked over one of the Twist & Flip kids. Ku hit some hard chops. Moore made the hot tag at 4:00 and he hit a DDT on Price for a nearfall.
Garrini entered and beat up the Twist and Flip kids with chops. Garrini applied a Triangle Choke. Moore hit a doublestomp on Price’s chest. Ku hit an Angle Slam. Garrini hit a Samoa Joe-style Muscle Buster at 7:30. Price slammed a kid into the corner. Ku nailed a standing powerbomb on Fly for a believable nearfall. Price hit a dive over the top rope onto everyone.
Moore hit a rolling Death Valley Driver. Fly hit a running Shooting Star Press for a pin at 9:55. However, the referee restarted the match because we clearly had a kickout. (Pretty sure the ref just screwed up.) Garrini hit a hard clothesline. Price hit his step-up mule kick to pin Moore. The more established guys really dominated the youngsters here; this was practically a squash, except for that weird pin spot late in the match.
2. Tre Lemar defeated Leyton Buzzard at 11:47. I don’t think I’ve seen Buzzard before; he has shoulder-length blond hair and he carries himself like a young Dolph Ziggler, or Gangrel without the vampirism. Lemar has appeared in AEW and Warrior Wrestling and is regular here; he’s a Black man with a splash of brown hair. Leyton hit a dropkick at 3:00. Tre hit a series of chops in the corner. Leyton hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 6:00.
Lemar hit a roaring forearm, then a stunner, dropping Leytonn throat-first over the top rope. Lemar hit a top-rope twisting crossbody block for a nearfall at 8:00. Lemar hit a slingshot Flatliner move into the ring. Nice. Buzzard hit a uranage for a believable nearfall; he went for a top-rope moonsault but Lemar got his knees up. Lemar nailed a brainbuster for the pin. Good match.
3. 1 Called Manders defeated Brian Pillman Jr. at 17:00. Pillman has put on a bit of weight around the middle, and he also has a splash of red in his hair; he’s not “fat” but looks bloated. An intense lockup to begin. Pillman is a bit heelish tonight. They went to the floor, with Pillman running from Manders, and doing a Jarrett-style strut. In the ring, Manders was in charge. They brawled back to the floor at 5:30 and traded chops in front of the fans. Pillman dropped him knee-first on the ring apron.
In the ring, Pillman was now in charge, working over the damaged left leg. He applied a half crab at 7:30, then a rear-naked choke, then a superkick for a nearfall. I am really thrown off by the size of Pillman’s gut. Pillman hit a hard kick to the back, which just angered Manders. Pillman hit a Yes Kick at 11:00. Pillman rammed the knee repeatedly into the mat. Manders fired up with a series of chops in the corner and a DDT for a nearfall at 13:00.
They traded chops and forearms. Pillman nailed a dragon screw leg whip and went back to a half-crab, with Manders reaching the ropes. Manders nailed a standing powerbomb for a nearfall. Pillman put his hands behind his back and let Manders chop him. Manders nailed a decapitating clothesline for the clean pin. Good match and far better than the first two matches here.
4. Joshua Bishop defeated Mance Warner to retain the BLP Midwest Title at 18:33. Again, Bishop is the Sid Vicious clone with his short, curly blond hair and gigantic frame. This feels like this should be the main event. An intense lockup to begin, then they traded chops and punches. They rolled to the floor and kept trading blows. In the ring, they just kept trading punches. Mance hit a Bionic Elbow that dropped Bishop at 3:30. Back to the floor where Mance (needlessly, recklessly, dangerously) threw a chair at Bishop, and they brawled out an exit door.
They came back in traded more blows with chairs. Mance threw more chairs in the ring. (I will never like seeing a chair leave a hand and be whipped at a person, where it could chip a tooth or cause a severe injury.) Warner hit a roaring clothesline to the back of the head for a nearfall at 8:00. Mance hit a chairshot to the back, and he put Bishop in a crossface. Bishop was bleeding on the top of his head; that isn’t a blade job. Mance put Bishop’s head through a chair and choked him with it.
Bishop fired back with a side slam onto an open chair for a nearfall at 10:00. Bishop set up several chairs in the ring. However, Mance nailed a second-rope superplex onto the half-dozen open chairs for a nearfall at 12:30. Mance hit a running knee; he flipped a chair at Bishop, who caught it, but Mance hit a running knee onto the chair for another nearfall. Bishop hit a chokeslam, then a Razor’s Edge onto an open chair for a believable nearfall at 15:00. (That really should have been the finisher. Insane move, as Bishop really tossed him across the ring.) Bishop again set up several chairs. However, Mance hit a piledriver onto the open chair for a nearfall.
Bishop nailed an Abyss-style Black Hole Slam, then a Death Valley Driver onto an open chair for a believable nearfall. They tossed chairs at each other’s head. Bishop nailed a sit-out Razor’s Edge-style powerbomb onto a pile of folded chairs for the pin. These guys absolutely beat each other up in this match. Surprisingly, the only blood was on the top of Bishop’s head. Fans of hardcore matches will really like this one.
5. Skye Blue defeated Cole Radrick in an intergender match at 6:56. Radrick is the Gomer Pyle-meets-James Ellsworth nerd. I just watched the Warrior Wrestling show, and I kept waiting for Skye Blue’s match; I forgot she was on this lineup. They shook hands and traded standing reversals to open. She is only a bit shorter, but it is truly absurd to think she could hang with this dork in a real fight; right on cue, she tried an Irish Whip and he didn’t budge. She hit a huracarana that sent him to the floor. She tried a huracarana to the floor, but he caught her and powerbombed her on the ring apron at 2:00.
In the ring, Cole hit a gutbuster over his knee, then a back suplex for a nearfall. Skye hit a kick on his knee to knock him off his feet, then a few more kicks, and Cole bailed to regroup. Skye dove through the ropes at 4:30. In the ring, she came off the ropes, but he caught her with a spin kick. Cole then nailed a springboard stunner for a nearfall. She fired back with a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Radrick nailed a roaring forearm and a Blue Thunder Bomb for a believable nearfall at 6:30. She hit a superkick and got a rollup for the clean pin. My reservations aside, they had a good match and got a lot in for a seven-minute match.
6. Tom Lawlor and Bryan Alvarez defeated “The Bang Bros” Davey Bang and August Matthews (w/Trevor Outlaw) at 14:50. The Bang Bros are the tag champs. Yes, this is Alvarez from The Wrestling Observer. Of course, Lawlor removed his tiny jean shorts to reveal an even smaller pair of shorts. Bang and Alvarez started; this has the feel of a comedy match. Alvarez hit a shoulder tackle that had no effect, and they tied up in a knuckle lock. Alvarez removed his shirt and he is more scrawny than I imagined.
Lawlor entered at 3:30 and he tied up Bang. Alvarez got back in but was quickly beaten down. Lawlor got in and hit spears in the corner on each opponent. Lawlor tossed Bang to the floor onto Matthews at 9:00. In the ring, Lawlor hit a top-rope diving headbutt for a nearfall on August. Bang hit a rolling Death Valley Driver on Lawlor for a nearfall at 11:00. Bang went for a Swanton, but Lawlor caught him and applied a rear-naked choke. Nice.
Lawlor and Alvarez both hit a series of chops in the corner on an opponent. The Bang Bros hit a team flipping slam on Alvarez for a believable nearfall at 13:30. Bang hit their team spear move on Lawlor, and Tom rolled to the floor. Lawlor got in the ring and hit a piledriver. Alvarez hit a Swanton Bomb to pin Matthews! That was unexpected. New champions! Alvarez and Lawlor grabbed the tag title belts and celebrated! But wait… the commissoner got in the ring and told them it was a non-title match.
* Alvarez got on the mic; even with my laptop at full volume I couldn’t fully understand him. He headed to the back. The commissioner offered to give Lawlor a tag title match right now, and Tom agreed. However, Trevor Outlaw hit Lawlor from behind.
7. “The Bang Bros” Davey Bang and August Matthews defeated Tom Lawlor and Bryan Alvarez to retain the BLP Tag Titles at 0:09. The Bros hit a Swanton Bomb and pinned Lawlor. Alvarez returned to the ring, upset that they had lost before he had even returned to the ring.
* Intermission. The ad on the screen says BLP is headed to Berwyn, Ill., on April 29, in the building used by AAW. I don’t pretend to know the politics of booking venues, but I have to wonder if AAW is okay with this. When we return to live action, Tom Lawlor is still lying in the ring after being pinned 15 minutes ago.
8. Levi Everett won the BLP Rumble at 39:07. Trevor Outlaw ran into the ring and tried to eliminate the prone Lawlor to start the match. The female commentator said there are 35 wrestlers in the Rumble. Arthur McArthur, dressed like a carnival strong man, is #3. Adam Slade, partying with a beer in his hand, is #4. The Gotch Brothers are #5 and #6. They tried to eliminate Lawlor, but Tom clotheslined them both over the top rope; Lawlor immediately collapsed back onto the mat. OK humor. Slade gave Lawlor a sip of his beer, and that revived him. Tony Adams is #7; I don’t know him and he might be wearing a flesh-colored mask.
Kevin Blackwood (#8) entered at 6:00. Several people were eliminated. Blackwood eliminated Trevor Outlaw. Gary Jay is #9, and he brawled with Blackwood. Only Tony Adams was also the ring. Hailey Dillon got in the ring at #10 and she traded offense with Blackwood. This is her BLP debut; I haven’t seen her before. Aniken Murphy is #11; he’s the scrawny emo kid I’ve seen in St. Louis-based Glory Pro Wrestling. Steph De Lander is #12, and she brawled with Aniken and eliminated him in seconds. (She is taller, thicker, stronger than that skinny kid.) ZDP is #13. Steph eliminated Hailey Dillon.
Sam Halloway (#14) entered at 12:00; he might be 6’8″ and wore a singlet, and he hit a massive chokeslam on ZDP. Regan Lydale is #15; I don’t think I’ve seen her before. Steph immediately picked up Regan and threw her from the ring. Ezio Orlandi was #16; he’s another rookie who is from Glory Pro, and Steph quickly eliminated him, too. Braydon Lee is #17. Indy veteran Trik Davis is #18 at 16:00. We have just six in the ring, notably De Lander and Blackwood. The heavyset Chase Holliday is #19, and he traded forearm shots with Steph, and she immediately tossed him too. (Steph has racked up a lot of eliminations.)
Shazza McKenzie from Australia is #20; she just announced she is moving permanently to the U.S., and she traded shots with fellow Aussie De Lander. Shazza ducked and Steph flew over the top rope and was eliminated at 19:00. Damian Chambers is #21; he is the guy who is routinely beat up by Jon Moxley or Sam Callihan at Pro Wrestling Revolver shows, but he has a great look and physique. Blair Onyx is #22 and she hit a DDT on Shazza. Myung Jae-Lee is #23; I’ve never seen him before; he’s a young Asian man.
Matt Knicks is #24 at 22:00; I think I’ve seen him once. Rachel Armstrong is #25, and I’ve neveer seen her before either. She traded blows with Shazza, and she eliminated Shazza. Megabyte Ronnie was #26 and he is tall and muscular. Kevin Blackwood eliminated Gary Jay at 25:00. Dan the Dad is #27 and he immediately brawled with Blair Onyx. Matt Brannigan is #28 to join his tag team partner Megabyte Ronnie. Dan the Dad did his juvenile humor offense on the tag team. Kobe Durst is #29 at 27:00.
The massive Calvin Tankman is #30; why didn’t he also have a match before this? Tankman immediately clotheslined someone to the floor. Chase Oliver is #31; I don’t think I have seen him before. Tankman tossed Dan the Dad, and suddenly we have just four left. Tankman and Blackwood traded hard chops. Space Monkey entered at #32 at 30:30. The massive Crash Jaxon is #33 and he leveled everyone with clotheslines. Jaxon and Tankman traded mid-ring forearm shots; there are three others lying on the mat. Alice Crowley is #34; Jaxon leveled her with a vicious-looking headbutt! Darius Latreil, the tall, Black guy who looks like a basketball player, is #35. Latreil tried to pick up Jaxon but he couldn’t.
Percy Davis, who served as commentary most of the show, is #36! (I think Tom Lawlor was technically not in the match; he was just lying on the mat when we started.) Tankman and Percy traded chops at 36:00. Levi Everett, the Amish butter-maker, is #37; I thought we had everyone out. Alice Crowley hit Tankman from behind with a uni-cycle, and Space Monkey hit Tankman with a low blow! Tankman writhed on the mat; how are you going to get him up and toss him? We are down to just these four, as Everett punched Tankman, then speared him, as Crowley and Space Monkey helped, and they all eliminated Tankman!
Crowley and Space Monkey eliminated themselves (why?), and Levi Everett celebrated his win. However, music hit, and out of the back came Frank the Clown, who was not at the Warrior Wrestling show a few hours away. Space Monkey and Crowley got back in the ring. Frank got on the mic and he was making himself the manager of Everett, Crowley and Space Monkey. He said each of these misfits should be stars here and aren’t.
Final Thoughts: A very “indy” Royal Rumble. The well-known names (Blackwood, Tankman, De Lander) dominated the match and tossed a lot of green newcomers. Several of the wrestlers I’d never seen before had less than 30 seconds in the ring. It wasn’t a particularly good Royal Rumble, but it wasn’t terrible, either. I guess the good it accomplished was establishing a new heel faction. Beside the established guys I mentioned, the “ones to watch” from that Rumble are the tall Sam Halloway and Damian Chambers.
I did a quick Google Map and I see that this BLP show is only a two-and-a-quarter hour drive from the Warrior Wrestling show in Grand Rapids, Mich., held at the same time, and many of these BLP wrestlers have appeared there, too. So, now we know why Frank the Clown wasn’t at that Warrior Show. (I also point this out because eight or more wrestlers from this BLP show and the Warrior Wrestling show are making the trek to St. Louis on Sunday for Glory Pro Wrestling. I’ve said it before, but the travel schedule for indy wrestlers is just insane.)
Bishop vs. Mance was a good brawl for that style. While I hate the chairshots to the head, and particularly tossing chairs, the match didn’t cross over into dangerously violent territory. Manders vs. Pillman also was really good, but I am concerned that Pillman has put on noticeable weight in a short period of time; again, not ‘fat’ but a bit bloated. This show is available on Fite+.
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