By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Warrior Wrestling 28
February 18, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois at Thalia Hall
Replay available on YouTube.com
Warrior Wrestling typically releases its shows — for free — a month or so after they occurred, and Warrior 28 debuted on Youtube.com on Sunday. El Hijo Del Vikingo has a match here, but WW was upfront and told viewers that they didn’t have the rights to air his match in its entirety, so instead it will be a highlight reel.
* Val Capone and Rich Bocchini provided commentary. This is a night club/concert hall venue, and it appears the crowd is maybe 250-350. The hard camera is placed over a corner of the ring, giving us an unusual view of the ring. As the show began, Frank the Clown hit the ring. I find him highly annoying with ‘go-away heat.’ Storm Grayson, who is managed by Frank, told Frank he could “have the night off.”
1. Sam Adonis defeated Storm Grayson at 11:44. Bocchini said this is Adonis’ 22nd Warrior Wrestling match. I noted recently that Grayson recently wrestled a squash match in WWE against Veer; these guys are both pretty talented. Grayson stalled early. I think Adonis is a good heel, but he’s a full-fledged babyface here. Grayson hit a dropkick at 6:00, and he slowed the action down with a headlock. Adonis hit an enzuigiri, and they were both down at 9:00.
Adonis did an Old School tightrope walk and got a nearfall. He missed a top-rope doublestomp, and Grayson hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall at 11:00. Adonis hit his top-rope 450 Splash for the pin. Decent match; it was slow going early but picked up nicely.
2. Queen Aminata defeated Max the Impaler (w/Frank the Clown) via DQ at 10:32. Max attacked during the ring introductions, and they immediately brawled to the floor. Val Capone, who is doing ring introductions, returned to the booth, breathless and terrified, after witnessing that attack up close. Back in the ring, Max was dominating the action. Max went for a spear but Aminata moved, and Max rammed her shoulder into the corner at 6:00.
Max missed a senton. Aminata fired up and hit a series of forearm shots. Max hit a mid-ring Stomp at 8:00, but sold lower back pain. Max hit a running buttbump in the corner and a running Facewash for a nearfall. Max suplexed Aninata at 9:30. Max hit a spear; Max climbed on top and hit a series of clubbing forearms until the ref called for the bell. Max kept up the assault until Skye Blue hit the ring to make the save. The official word is the ref disqualified Max, perhaps for the post-match assault.
3. Jordan Kross defeated Carlos Romo at 11:34. Kross is the scrawny kid who EC3 destroyed on a recent Warrior show; he has dark hair and a Mike Bailey-style haircut. Romo is from Spain and has been touring the U.S., and he’s solid in the ring; with his wavy, colored hair, he reminds me a bit of Kip Sabian. Basic reversals early on. Romo hit a series of chops at 3:00. Romo hit a Russian Legsweep and tied up the left arm. Romo hit a piledriver for a believable nearfall at 7:30.
Kross missed a top-rope dropkick. Romo hit a top-rope moonsault for a believable nearfall. Kross finally hit the top-rope missile dropkick. He went for a Clout Cutter, but Romo caught him with a sleeperhold. They traded more forearm shots. Kross hit a back suplex. They collided heads, with Kross falling onto Romo for the ‘accidental’ pin, as both men seemed knocked out. Adequate. Romo awoke and was incredulous that he lost.
* A video package showing the Brian Cage-KC Navarro feud.
4. Trevor Outlaw defeated Beast Man at 9:46. Again, Outlaw is a short with a long goatee and looks like a mix of Marty Scurll and Josh Woods. Beast Man is the cave man with his large bone; he looks like a Viking Raider is size. Outlaw stalled early, as he is much shorter and lighter than BM. They brawled into the crowd. We suddenly had the graphic for the Joey Janela-Mike Bennett graphic on the screen; this is embarrassing because this show isn’t live. How did they not catch this in post production? This was on screen for several MINUTES, but we could hear the commentary by Capone and Bocchini. Unfortunately, the match actually ended with us not seeing the finish. Just embarassing. Outlaw apparently hit a low blow to score the pin.
5. Mike Bennett defeated Joey Janela at 18:27. Bennett wore the AEW memorial Jay Briscoe T-shirt. An intense lockup to begin. Janela bailed to the floor and sold a hand injury. In the ring, Janela won a test of strength, but of course, Bennett wound up getting up to his feet and overpowering Janela, and Joey scrambled to the floor again at 3:00. Bennett followed to the floor and he chopped Joey in front of the fans; we have a lot of little kids in the crowd here, and they are loving watching Janela get beat up.
Back in the ring, they traded forearm shots. Janela hit a diving forearm to the back and got a nearfall at 6:00. Bennett hit a series of punches in the corner; Janela hit a standing powerbomb for a nearfall. Bennett hit a Divorce Court armbreaker and switched to a Fujiwara Armbar. They brawled back to the floor. Back in the ring, Janela was in charge and hit a back suplex at 12:00. Janela hit a Razor’s Edge for a nearfall.
Bennett hit a spear and they were both down. Janela applied a Boston Crab. Bennett nailed a Death Valley Driver for a believable nearfall. These guys are working hard. They fought to the ring apron, where Janela hit his own Death Valley Driver at 16:00. In the ring, Janela hit a doublestomp to the chest for a nearfall. Bennett went for a piledriver, but he clutched his lower back in pain. They traded German Suplexes. Bennett hit a clothesline, then a piledriver for the pin. That was an enjoyable match from two pros.
* A promo aired with KC Navarro, showing off his pink Warrior Wrestling title. I always write this, but heel Navarro and heel Ace Austin are almost interchangeable. Hard to believe that Warrior Wrestling went from having Will Ospreay as their champion to this mid-carder…
6. KC Navarro (w/Frank the Clown) defeated Brian Cage via count-out at 10:12. Cage also is a former Warrior Wrestling champion and was a mentor to Navarro, and they tagged here frequently. Of course, Cage is much stronger and bigger and he could break Navarro in half. Navarro stalled at the bell. In the ring, he went for a huracanrana but Cage blocked it. They went to the floor, and Cage let the kids in the front row take turns chopping Navarro as Cage held back KC’s arms. Navarro hit a frogsplash for a nearfall at 3:30.
Cage took control of the offense. Navarro hit a Tornado DDT for a nearfall. Cage hit a gorilla press into the corner, then a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 7:30. Navarro went for a crucifix takedown but Cage blocked it. Cage hit a Weapon X/modified Flatliner, then the Drill Claw sit-out powerbomb; Frank rolled KC out of the ring before Cage could go for the cover. Storm Grayson and Trevor Outlaw came to ringside and Cage began hitting them. The bell rang… and we have a count-out? The crowd booed. Navarro apparently got back in the ring as his goons distracted Cage.
* KC Navarro got on the mic and said “this is why I’m still the world champion.” The crowd loudly booed him as he declared he is the youngest champion in the company’s history its the best champion. Cage came up behind him and powerbombed him off a short balcony onto a table.
* A video package aired for El Hijo Del Vikingo, featuring him hit an insane dive off a wall in an auditoriumm. Lots of comments and quotes from him, with it captioned into English.
7. El Hijo del Vikingo defeated Aero Boy, Black Taurus, and Aramis in a four-way (highlight reel; complete match not shown). If you’ve read my reviews, you know I think highly of Taurus for his ability to be in the right spots and make the high-flying luchadors look like stars. The three babyfaces shook hands, but Taurus rejected it. We saw some quick offense and Taurus tossed Vikingo to the floor on the other two, and we shifted to a highlight reel of top moments from the match. We then saw a series of clips of some great highlights of the match. Aramis dove through the ropes and BARRELED into opponents deep into the crowd. The background music got slowly louder and louder to drown out the commentary team.
Vikingo hit a second-rope corkscrew press. Taurus hit a pop-up Samoan Drop. All the young kids in the crowd came to ringside and pounded on the mat. Aero Boy hit a top-rope crossbody block to the floor. Vikingo hit a springboard 630 to the floor. In the ring, Vikingo hit a Poison Rana on Taurus. Vikingo hit a top-rope 630 Splash on Aero Boy for the pin. The entire highlight reel was 5:39. Fans pelted them with crumpled-up dollar bills.
Final Thoughts: First and foremost, this is a free show. The highlight reel package was much longer than I expected and was a satisfying way to show top moments from the match, considering they couldn’t share it in its entirety. I’m sure if I saw all of it, that would be best match. So, I’ll give the Janela-Bennett best match of the six shown in full, followed by Cage-Navarro.
I’ve written this before, but I was so high on Warrior Wrestling when they had Ospreay as champion and were regularly mixing in Lance Archer, Jonah and other top free agents on shows. They canceled all of their summer 2022 shows, and I was starting to think this promotion has folded. However, they returned with what is clearly a scaled-back roster with only a handful of big names. Check out this promotion at warriorwrestling.net, and their prior shows, for free, at Pro Wrestling TV.