By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Hoodslam “The New Hoodslam”
June 2, 2023 in Oakland, California at the Continental Club
Replay available via Fite.TV
Venue Notes: This was the same location that Hoodslam used two shows ago when I attended. It’s a “speakeasy” night club setting. A lot of people like the gritty warehouse-ish setting that Hoodslam usually emanates from. Personally, I like this more formal setup as I can see the matches clearly from the 2nd story balcony area. On top of that, there were bar setups all over the place for easy access.
Initial Thoughts: In-ring and “Workrate” wise, this was the best Hoodslam show I’ve ever been too. I’ve been to a good amount of these shows, even pre-pandemic, and it’s usually a good split between comedy and in-ring. For some reason, everyone stepped up their in-ring game tonight. The matches to go out of your way to see are the Jake Cartwheel match and the main event Drugz Bunny match. The tag team match was also very exciting, leading to a good culmination of a storyline.
Commentary Team: AJ Kirsch (Under his Broseph Joe Brody persona) as the MC, ring announcer, and solo commentator.
The show started a little later than usual as it took them longer to get the ring and merch table set up. AJ does his usual storyline recap and customary pouring of the whiskey down the throats of the fans.
1. “The Emo Heads” Alan Angels, Brutal Emo Rob, and Brooke Havok defeated Joe DeSoul, Matt Carlos, and Laura Fraizer. Really good six person tag team match. Not to familliar with Joe DeSoul or Laura Fraizer. Matt Carlos is someone I’ve seen a lot of via Hoodslam, and more frequently at All Pro Wrestling. He’s a very good bump machine and solid bell to bell. The best in-ring parts of the match were when Matt Carlos and Alan Angels were in the ring.
Someone to look out for and someone I would like to see in Impact or NXT is Brooke F’n Havok (It’s tough to hope for any women wrestler to join AEW until they get their women’s division fixed). For some reason, Havok decided to go all “Stone Cold” Steve Austin tonight, even having a knee brace as a part of her Austin cosplay. She’s a marketable complete-package.
Good in the ring, good “emo girl next door” look, good selling. Haven’t really seen her talk, so that’s something I can’t evaluate. She also has really good chemistry with Alan Angels, a wrestler I’m also very high on and want to see do well on the TV shows he gets featured on. I get a kick out of Brutal Emo Rob who’s this old lanky guy who likes to cut poetry during matches. The Emo Heads win after Havok went ham and gives everyone Stone Cold Stunners.
2. Allie Katch defeats Vipress (w/Dark Sheik) to retain the “Best in East Bay” Championship. This was the first really well worked match of the night. I’ve mostly seen Allie work in stiff or death match style matches, so it’s refreshing to see her worked more of a controlled match. She’s really good and you can see why people really like her work. Vipress is someone who’s TV ready in terms of in-ring and gimmick.
She’s sorta a dominatrix covered up in lace. What really works is she keeps a cold demeanor to play into her dom look. The lingering storyline in the match was Dark Sheik being conflicted because she’s teamed up with both women on different occasions. Ultimately Sheik decided to play it down the middle. There was a good Michinoku Driver spot leading to a nearfall for Vipress. Katch wins after a small package.
3. El Chupacabra and Juice Lee defeated “The Stoner Brothers” RickScott Stoner and ScottRick Stoner to become the new Intergalactic Tag Team Champions. Wonderful spotfest. El Chupacabra is half man, half chupacabra (comedy promotion, remember). What I do like is he’s Hoodslam’s version of Surfer Sting, where he always runs in to save the babyfaces, but always gets betrayed by his friends. He’s been in a long feud against James C and The Stoner Brothers. Juice Lee is a talented guy. He has the face of Wheeler Yuta and the body of Blake Christian.
Great athlete, but what Lee might want to do to progress in the business is add a little bulk to him. He had the two biggest bumps. A Stoner Brother gave Juice a Military Press onto the stage outside of the ring and he bounced (it looked rough) on the hard stage floor. Juice got his revenge by diving on the Stoner Brothers from the 2nd story balcony back to the ring.
The Stoner Brothers are the local pro wrestling trainers and it showed. What I thought really made the Stoners stand out were their simple punches looked really good. Many people do a ton of flips these days, but less people can throw a great worked punch. Chupacabra picked up the win after a Code Red to end a chapter of his current story where he finally gets a win against James C and The Stoners.
4. Dark Sheik defeated Jack Cartwheel. I’ve heard the name Jack Cartwhell through the grapevine. He’s one of those guys everyone says is the next big star. This is the first time I’ve seen him. He’s not that tall, but everything else fits the bill of big star. He’s jacked (no pun intended), charismatic, and very athletic. In-ring and look wise, he reminds me a lot of PAC. The guy has good crowd awareness and does a good job hyping up doing simple “cartwheels” to live up to his moniker.
Dark Sheik, I just learned, is Sam Khandaghabadi, the founder and promoter of Hoodslam. Sheik also wrestles a lot for Game Changer Wrestling, which is what I think led to why we’re seeing a lot of GCW talent get booked here. This match was spectacular and a good first impression for me of Jack. Sheik sold very very well. The finish was also a surprise.
WWE Hall of Famer Lita showed up out of nowhere and gave Jack Cartwheel a kick in the balls! I had to squint and ask myself “Is that actually Amy “Lita” Dumas?!?” (and I had to think that because Hoodslam has a lot of cosplay wrestlers). Vipress did also get involved on Sheik’s behalf. Sheik picked up the win after Lita’s low blow on Jack.
5. Anton Vorhees defeated Sonico. Anton Vorhees gets extra points from me for coming out in a Legend of Zelda jacket. That series is one of my top 10 video game series of all time. This was Sonico’s Hoodslam debut. They dubbed him “The Lucha Ghoul” and he was spitting Green Mist all over the place (Thank God I was hanging around the 2nd Floor balcony). This was interesting, because visually I thought we were in for a spotfest from both wrestlers. Interesting enough, we got a well-worked methodical match where Sonico did a good job turning the crowd against him. Anton Vorhees picked up the win after hitting Sonico with Bloody Sunday.
6. Brittany Wonder defeated Mylo, Sandra Moone, and Trish Adora to retain the Glam-pionship. Again! Another strong in-ring performance. Yes, each match started with a comedy segment or two, but they all got serious once the comedy was kicked out of their system. ROH’s Trish Adora continues to impress me with her raw strength. Just tossing around everybody. Brittany Wonder is someone who has a good connection to the crowd.
Someone who has really impressed me over the past 3 months is Mylo. I heard she was a regular on AEW Dark and Dark Evolution. She’s someone who would do extremely well on TV. She has a great look. What makes her stand out is her selling. She bumps and sells well, but when she’s selling she’s totally into it. I also feel like she really gets into her character and looks like she’s well into her character, a party girl. Sandra Moone, I didn’t get much from, but it’s a four way, tough to assess everybody. I forget on who, but Wonder won via rollup.
7. James C vs. Drugz Bunny ended in an apparent No Contest. This match blew my mind in terms of giving a surprise instant classic when I went in totally expecting comedy hi-jinks. When you see the name “Drugz Bunny” and see James C being hammy with a zoot suit, I honestly expected clownshoes. You guys KNOW I see too much wrestling, and this match captivated me in terms of quality.
Drugz Bunny’s gimmick is that he’s a crack addicted 1920s gangsta that dresses like Bugs Bunny. Funny side note, while doing his pre-match routine, my friend got (Kayfabe) cocaine blown in her face. Drugz is extremely good at selling. He’s Hoodslam’s El Generico, and even has the same body type as El Generico. I looked up his Cagematch profile and I’m surprised that after all these years he’s never found his way out of Hoodslam. He’s really good.
The person who surprised me the most out of everyone was this James C. Why haven’t I heard about this James C guy! After all these years. People always hype up JR Kratos, and I’m like “he’s ok, but yeah”. James C should be getting all the hype. He’s WWE TV ready. The guy is jacked. He can do all the springboard stuff. He’s strong as hell. He can do all the holds (Unfortunately, I don’t think a big company would pick him up because he’s north of 40 years old). The guy did a move I never saw before. It set up like a Styles Clash, but his opponent tucks his head in, and he turns the move to a leg assisted sit-out power bomb.
It was the closest thing I’ve seen to a real life version of the Kinniku Driver (a.k.a. Muscle Buster Lvl. 2). Samoa Joe would love this move. The comedy stuff was done extremely well in a serious kayfabe way. Drugz hit James with an X-Factor on top of a random “bag of cocaine” in the middle of the ring that randomly fell out of Drugz’s pocket earlier in the match. This caused James to get “high on cocaine”. “High on cocaine” in a wrestling context means constant no selling.
Both men then traded very beautiful looking finishers and completely no-selling it. You’d think that I’d hate it based off the type of wrestling I like, but these guys made it work in the context of their kayfabe. The no-sells were a nice twist on the whole “false finish” concept. Match ended in a No-Contest because Cerealman, and his evil cult, beat up both men.
Post-match angle: Cerealman, a man who wears a cereal box on his head, turned heel. He apparently now hangs out with dark cultish figures. There was a gimp and someone in a Valkyrie cosplay. Long story short, The female valkyrie “Killed” Drugs Bunny. Bunny sold it well because they were attacking him afterwards and he wasn’t moving. Great sell.
AJ Kirsch didn’t do his post match whiskey pour because there was a “Dead” bunny in the ring. The merch lines were as popular as usual. Crowd popped hard for El Chupacabra because of his long term story.
John’s Thoughts: Hoodslam has really won me over as the go-to indie that I go to every few weeks (not like I have much of a choice, a lot of the larger indies are still closed down via the Pandemic). I always went to All Pro Wrestling in Daly City due to it having the better stars and in-ring quality. That said, Hoodslam’s in-ring quality has really stepped up it’s game recently. There also seems like a lot of crossover with Game Changer Wrestling, which only helps.
What really astonishes me in a positive way is that it draws a large group of non-wrestling fans, people there for the nightclub experience, but at the end of the show, everyone falls into the same things that brought us into pro wrestling as fans. The melodrama, the storytelling, the over-the-top characters, and even the strong in ring effort. If you’re ever in the San Francisco Bay Area, drop by Oakland the first Friday each month for a really fun wrestling experience (though I recommend parking your car at a parking lot, as seriously, it’s in the hood).