By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Wrestling Open “Episode 79”
Streamed on IndependentWrestling.TV
July 6, 2023 in Worcester, Massachusetts at White Eagle
Paul Crockett and Alyssa Marino provided commentary. Attendance is in the 200-300 range; the commentators said it is extremely warm in the building tonight.
* The show opened with footage of Ichiban defeating Pedro Dones last week to retain the Wrestling Open title. We then went to footage of Brian Milonas and Mortar winning some matches.
1. Brian Milonas and Mortar vs. Rex Lawless and RJ Rude ended in a double count-out at 4:18. This feud has been brewing for a couple months. Congrats to former ROH wrestler Milonas, who has dropped some weight, but he still has to be 350+ pounds. Mortar is the Rhino clone. I’ve seen Rude a few times now and I compare him to a young Chuck Taylor. Lawless has a good physique and reminds me of John Skyler. All four fought at the bell. The brawl went to the floor, and the ref eventually announced a double count-out. Lawless and Rude challenged them to a street fight for a future bout.
2. Shannon Levangie defeated JC Storm at 4:37. I noted this the last time I saw her, but Levangie looks like a younger, smaller Rachel Ellering. JC Storm has long blonde hair, a deep tan, and she “channels the elements;” I don’t recall seeing her before. Storm sat on Shannon’s shoulders and got a forward Victory Roll for a nearfall at 3:00. Shannon hit a basement dropkick to the chest and her top-rope twisting frogsplash for the pin.
3. El Jhonny Santos defeated Andy Brown at 2:52. Brown got on the mic and made an open challenge. He is a thick Black man; think Bad News Brown. Santos does remind me of Santos Escobar, and the crowd chanted, “welcome back!” at him; he apparently hasn’t appeared here since last fall. I don’t think I’ve seen either competitor before. Brown nailed a spinebuster at 2:30. Santos got an inside cradle for the pin out of nowhere!
* Footage aired showing the feud between our next two competitors. Wrestling Open does a great job with these video packages.
4. Joe Ocasio defeated Gal Barkay at 6:16. Barkay is the tall, slender Israel native with a great physique. Ocasio is shorter with short black hair on the top of his head, and he has a passing resemblance to QT Marshall. An intense lockup to begin, and they rolled to the floor while still tied up. Barkay dove through the ropes onto Ocasio at 1:30. In the ring, he hit a buckle bomb. Ocasio suplexed Barkay into the corner and hit a running knee for a nearfall, then a spinebuster for a nearfall.
Gal hit a second-rope missile dropkick and a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 5:30. Ocasio hit a hard running back elbow in the corner, then he hit a second-rope Bulldog Powerslam for the pin. Good, hard-hitting action, particularly for the time given.
5. Dan Barry and 50 Cal defeated Channing Thomas and Sidney Bakabella at 6:41. Thomas wears a Hugh Hefner-style robe to the ring, and he has a bit of a Rick Rude look and persona. Bakabella is aging, bald and wears a black singlet with one strap. 50 Cal has a mullet and wears tye-dye. Barry and Channing started. The heels worked over 50 Cal. Barry made the hot tag at 4:30. 50 Cal peeled off his shirt like Hogan and beat up Bakabella. He hit a frogsplash to pin Bakabella. Meh; that just wasn’t that good.
* A video package aired of Ray Jaz beating up Ichiban. Jaz hit the ring and was loudly booed. He’s the stereotypical Jersey Shore meathead.
6. Ray Jaz defeated Stanley Dragowski at 3:36. Stanley wore a red singlet and lucha mask. Dragowksi hit a full nelson slam and a fallaway slam at 3:00. Jaz applied a drop-toe-hold, cranked back on the head, and Stanley tapped out. Short and to the point.
(When I looked at the lineup for this show, I chose to watch it because of the final four matches. Some of the first six were solid, but they aren’t why I opted to tune in.)
7. Gabriel Skye defeated Brogan Finlay at 4:54. Skye is a rising star and he’s the No. 1 contender to Ichiban’s title. I think Finlay is now 20 and he’s vastly improving from wrestling multiple times every weekend. They brawled to the floor early on, and Finlay trapped Skye in the ring apron. (The commentators ignored that this was a Fit Finlay staple.) In the ring, Finlay hit a half-nelson suplex and a decapitating clothesline for a nearfall at 2:30. Skye fired back with a Northern LIghts suplex for a nearfall. Finlay hit a superkick; Skye returned with his own; Finlay hit a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Skye hit a standing powerbomb and applied a Lion Tamer/vertical Boston Crab, and Finlay tapped out. That was so good and I wish they had gone much longer. Skye got on the mic and called out Ichiban. Ichiban hit the ring holding the Wrestling Open title; I’ve said this before, but his mask reminds me of El Generico. Skye said he waited patiently while Ichiban finished his business with Pedro Dones, but he’s ready for his shot. He said he wants his title match on July 20. They shook hands.
* A video package aired of a four-corners chain match last week between Dezmond Cole and Tyree Taylor. Cole won the match, and he came to the ring here to be interviewed. He thanked the fans for supporting him. “Big Business” TJ Crawford and Brad Hollister hit the ring and belittled Cole. They nearly came to blows, but the heels bailed. Wasted Youth hit the ring to make the save.
8. “Big Business” TJ Crawford and Brad Hollister defeated “Wasted Youth” Dyln McKay and Marcus Mathers in an eliminator cup match at 10:43. Hollister is short and thick (think Brian Cage meets Sami Callihan meets Taz.) WY are definitely rising stars and getting booked all over the Northeast and Midwest every weekend. McKay and Crawford started. Mathers hit a missile dropkick. Crawford beat up McKay on the floor at 2:30, and the heels kept Dyln in their corner in the ring. McKay hit a neckbreaker over his knee on Crawford at 5:00.
Mathers got the hot tag and he hit a Mafia Kick on Crawford and a spin kick and a springboard stunner, then a deadlift German Suplex for a nearfall. Hollister hit a second-rope superplex on Mathers, then a powerbomb on McKay for a nearfall at 8:30. McKay hit a jumping knee on Hollister’s jaw. Mathers hit a lungblower. McKay hit a Lionsault, then a dive to the floor on Hollister. McKay missed his Shooting Star Press at 10:30. Hollister hit a clothesline, then an assisted Bulldog Powerslam to pin McKay. That was really good. “Damn, that was a tag team match,” Crockett said.
9. Megan Bayne defeated Billie Starkz at 7:58. This is actually Billie’s debut here, and Alyssa Marino listed off all of Starkz’ accolades. Bayne is dressed like an Amazon warrior, including the headdress. Starkz hit a dive through the ropes at 2:00, then two more. In the ring, Bayne hit a belly-to-belly release suplex, tossing her across the ring. Bayne hit a delayed vertical suplex, showing off her strength. Starkz nailed a Gory Bomb for a nearfall at 6:00.
Bayne nailed an F5 faceplant for a nearfall. Starkz hit a German Suplex, then her top-rope Swanton Bomb for a nearfall. Bayne hit a running boot and a tombstone piledriver for the pin. That was really good.
* A video package of Miracle Generation beating JGeorge and Max Caster.
10. Max Caster (w/JGeorge) defeated Richard Holliday (w/Dustin Waller) at 12:31. Max is a heel here, and he recently announced he is running for Worcester mayor; we’ll see where this goes. Max got on the mic but he was loudly booed. He apologized for missing last week’s show (he was sick). He said the “Caster campaign is expanding.” He vowed that once he becomes mayor “this place will be bulldozed to the ground.” The commentators belittled Max for having his ribs taped when he was out with a stomach bug, not an injury. This is a first-time-ever singles meeting. Waller wore his tag title belt; his partner Kylon King is still out with an injury.
Holliday kicked Caster in the stomach at the bell, and Caster sold it like he had been shot, cowering in the ropes and talking to JGeorge. Caster worked the left arm. Holliday placed Caster along a top turnbuckle and hit repeated blows to the stomach at 4:00. JGeorge tripped Holliday. Caster got brass knuckles and swung, but Holliday cut him off and gave them to the ref. As the ref put them down, Caster hit a low blow kick at 6:30. Caster removed the wrap around his stomach and he choked Holliday with it, until the referee intervened. “That is conduct unbecoming of a mayoral candidate,” Alyssa Marino said.
Caster hit a back suplex, but he missed the Mic Drop top-rope elbow drop at 8:30, and the crowd rallied for Holliday. Holliday fired back with a spinebuster for a nearfall. Holliday set up for a suplex, but JGeorge grabbed Caster’s ankle to prevent Max from being hoisted up. The referee saw it and finally ejected JGeorge. We had a double clothesline and both were down at 10:30. Sidney Bakabella appeared at ringside. Caster and Holliday got to their feet and traded punches; these guys are drenched in sweat as you can tell how warm it is in this building.
Holliday hit a swinging neckbreaker for a visual pin, but Bakabella hopped on the ring apron and distracted the ref. Channing Thomas jumped in the ring and hit a leg lariat on Holliday! Caster crawled onto Holliday for the cheap pin. Max was announced as “the next mayor of Worcester.”
* Thomas and Bakabella jumped back in the ring and beat on Holliday some more. Waller got in the ring to help, but the heels beat him down, too.
Final Thoughts: I really like that every time I drop in on a Wrestling Open show, there is someone new that I hadn’t seen before. They seem to constantly be rotating the lineup, giving a lot of wrestlers an opportunity. I didn’t watch last week’s show, but I glanced at the lineup, and only a handful of those wrestlers were back this week. It is certainly keeping the promotion fresh.
I’ll go with the Wasted Youth/Big Business tag for best match, ahead of the main event. The strong Bayne/Starkz match earns third. I really liked the short Brogan-Skye match; if that had been given 12-15 minutes, it probably would have been best match. Of the six undercard matches, the only one truly worth checking out was Ocasio-Barkay. These are fun shows and it feels like a party atmosphere there with the same fans coming week after week.