Fight Life “Hot AF 2023” results: Vetter’s review of Masha Slamovich vs. Joey Janela for the Fight Life Championship, Ichiban vs. Mortar, B3cca vs. Jimmy Lloyd, KC Navarro vs. JT Dunn, Richard Holliday vs. Ricky Smokes


By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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Fight Life “Hot AF 2023”
Replay available via FITE+
July 23, 2023 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts at Hillside Country Club

The venue is a nice ballroom with chandeliers visible in the background. Unfortunately, the crowd appears to be perhaps 150-200. Troy Nelson and Chris Sanders provided commentary.
1. Ava Everett, Mike Graca, ABBS, and Ken Powers defeated Gal Barkay, Paris Van Dale, Joe Krule, and Abed Arroniz in an eight-person elimination tag at 10:55. ABS is rotund and wears a ‘Blue Meanie half-shirt’ so his gut hangs out; his ring name isn’t an accurate description. The women started. Barkay is the thin, muscular Israel native who worked Thursday’s Wrestling Open show, and he’s clearly the best worker of the six men in this match. Paris pinned Ava at 6:30 and the match kept rolling.

Graca wears dark facepaint under his eyes; I’ve seen him here a couple of times. He pinned two opponents in a row, and we were suddenly down to PVD and Barkay versus Graca. However, Barkay hopped off the ring apron at 9:00 and headed to the back! Paris was livid! The ref ordered her into the ring, but she bailed, too. However, Ava threw Paris back into the ring. Graca hit a Mafia Kick and a basement dropkick for the pin. That was really, really… ugly.

* Graca got on the mic and he called out Akira (who isn’t here, as he’s at the Prestige Wrestling show in New Jersey) for a future match.
2. Danny Miles defeated Mike Montero at 6:58.  I don’t know if I have seen either before. Miles wore a blue shirt with short dark hair and a beard. Montero wore a backward baseball cap with blond hair and a darker beard. Miles is a bit shorter but thicker. Miles hit a German Suplex for a nearfall at 5:00, then a spinebuster for a nearfall. Montero hit a DDT out of the ropes for a nearfall. Miles applied a sleeper, and Montero tapped out. Okay action.

3. AJP defeated Love Doug, Steven Lust, Bobby Buffet, Big Juicy, Kellan Thomas, and Sara Jade in a seven-way at 4:13. We have five men and two women in this scramble I’ve seen Doug a few times and Lust at least once but I’m doubtful I’ve seen the others.. Buffet is a heavyset Black man. Lust has features like Elias. Juicy is a redheaded woman in a green one-piece. Thomas is taller and more muscular, and makes me think of Curtis Axel. Jade is thin and has some Deonna Purrazzo arrogance oozing off her. AJP has long, stringy hair and makes me think of David Finlay. They started with some comedy and this is off to a worse start than that opener. Buffet hit double uranages for a nearfall. Four wrestlers headed to the back. AJP jumped on Buffet and pinned him; Lust was standing there and could have broken up the pin and didn’t. AJP and Lust hugged, so I guess they are united. This was brutally bad.
4. Richard Holliday defeated Ricky Smokes at 10:30. Smokes has a good physique and short dark hair; I’ve seen him a couple times now. Smokes attacked before the bell. Good reversals and this match is light years better than the first three matches. They hit double clotheslines and were down at 6:00. Smokes hit a Lungblower to the chest for a nearfall. Holliday hit a backbreaker over his knee. Smokes hit an RKO stunner for a believable nearfall at 8:30. Smokes applied a mid-ring Figure Four Leglock, but Holliday eventually reached the ropes. Holliday nailed a Superkick and a swinging neckbreaker for the pin. Good match.

* A ridiculously long intermission. They showed a match from a prior Fight Life show featuring Buddy Matthews defeating JT Dunn at 12:42, then another match I skipped, then Lio Rush defeating Aaron Rourke at 11:02. That intermission had to be 30 or minutes.
5. JT Dunn defeated KC Navarro at 14:54. Navarro is a last-minute replacement for Martin Stone. These two agreed to fight over the “What! Wrestling” title from the defunct promotion (Navarro joked that he is the longest-reigning champion of all time.) Dunn is bigger and he grounded Navarro early on. Navarro hit a release German Suplex at 700. Navarro hit his modified 619, then a Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall. Dunn hit a Stunner for a nearfall at 9:30. Navarro nailed a superkick and a facewash in the corner then a frogsplash for a believable nearfall and he was stunned that didn’t get him the pin.

Dunn nailed a tombstone piledriver for a nearfall at 11:30. Clearly, these two are familiar foes. JT hit a roaring elbow for a believable nearfall. The ref checked KC, and the commentators think KC is knocked out. (If he was KO’d, wouldn’t the ref call for the bell?) JT bent over to help Navarro to his feet, but KC got a small package for a believable nearfall. Dunn set up for a piledriver, but Navarro hit a huracanrana for a nearfall and a superkick for a nearfall. Dunn rolled him over and scored the pin out of nowhere. That was really good.
6. Dustin Waller defeated Trigga the OG at 9:51. These two have fought before, but apparently it is three years ago. Trigga is bald with a thick beard. Waller always reminds me of a young Trent Berreta, and the commentators say he is just 21. Waller hit a 619, then a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 3:00. Trigga hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Waller hit a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall at 9:00. Trigga hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly for a nearfall. However, Dustin got on Trigga’s shoulders, did a forward Victory Roll, and scored the pin! Good match.
7. Alec Price defeated TJ Crawford at 12:35. Standing switches to open. Price hit his springboard crossbody block for a nearfall at 4:00, then a kneestrike in the corner. Crawford grounded Price on the mat. Price hit his series of kneestrikes in the corner, then a second-rope flying legdrop for a nearfall at 9:00. Price nailed his dive over the top rope. In the ring, Crawford nailed a swinging faceplant for a believable nearfall. He hit a brainbuster move and was livid he didn’t get the win. Price nailed a superkick. Crawford hit a pop-up punch to the jaw. Price applied a double-arm leglock. They traded rollups. Price nailed his step-up mule kick to the back of the head for the pin. That was really, really good.
8. BMT and Ariel defeated Marcus Mathers and Shannon Levangie in a mixed tag match at 7:52. Mathers is a top rising star, and I like what I’ve seen from Levangie; I always compare her looks to a smaller, less muscular Rachael Ellering. BMT and Ariel wore identical black-with-pink stars on their outfits, and they attacked before the bell. The heels worked over Shannon early. Levangie slammed BMT at 4:00. Ariel hit a German Suplex on Mathers, then one on Shannon. BMT suplexed Mathers for a nearfall. Shannon made the hot tag and she hit kicks on both opponents, then a sit-out powerbomb on Ariel for a nearfall at 6:30. Mathers hit a stunner on BMT. Mathers and Levangie hit stereo Helluva Kicks on Ariel. Mathers nailed a moonsault. Shannon went for a frogsplash, but Ariel got her knees up to block it. Ariel immediately got a rollup, hooked the tights, and pinned Shannon. Decent for mixed tag action.
9. B3cca defeated Jimmy Lloyd in an intergender match at 9:36. B3cca was decked out in pink like Barbie; she wrestled the ROH taping a day earlier. He caught her with a Mafia Kick to the face at 1:00 and was booed. (This is the problem — she is such a great heel but the crowd can’t help but cheer for her because she’s smaller and the underdog.) She hit a running boot to the face in the corner. Lloyd hit a running neckbreaker at 3:30. He placed her feet on the top rope and hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall.

B3cca fired back with a missile dropkick at 5:00; she dove through the ropes, grabbed his head, and hit a tornado DDT onto the floor. Lloyd hit a piledriver onto the ring apron, and she slumped to the floor; he tossed her into the ring and got a nearfall. she hit a tornado DDT for a nearfall. She hit a running knee at 7:30 but only got a one-count. She hit a Canadian Destroyer. She leapt off the ropes, but Lloyd caught her and hit a piledriver for a believable nearfall. Lloyd hit a superkick. She shoved the ref and hit a low blow mule kick, then a second-rope stunner. B3cca then nailed a top-rope 450 Splash for the pin. Despite my objections to intergender action, that was supremely watchable.
10. Mortar defeated Ichiban at 8:50. Mortar reminds me of Rhino and Ichiban’s mask reminds me of El Generico. Mortar and Ichiban were brawling outside on the grass as the cameras found them, and they fought into the ballroom and through the crowd and empty chairs. They entered the ring at 3:00 and the ref called for the bell to ‘officially’ start the match. Ichiban hit a missile dropkick. Mortar nailed a decapitating clothesline and they were both down at 5:30. Mortar hit a backbreaker over his knee and a brainbuster for a believable nearfall. Ichiban hit a top-rope crossbody bklock at 8:00. Mortar begged for the match to stop, but then he shoved Ichiban into the ref and hit a low blow. He stole the mask! Mortar rolled up Ichiban and got the pin as Ichiban covered his face. Dustin Waller ran to ringside to cover Ichiban’s face with a towel. Good while it lasted.
11. Masha Slamovich defeated Joey Janela to retain the Fight Life Title at 17:54. Janela competed in Japan mid-week and just got home in the last 48 or so hours; he has fresh wounds on his back from a series of death matches over there. She hit a hard clothesline for a nearfall at 3:00 and was in charge early. Janela hit a German Suplex and a running boot, and he kept her grounded. She hit a Helluva Kick at 7:00. Janela hit a Razor’s Edge overhead powerbomb for a believable nearfall. She hit a spinning back fist and a series of kicks, but he grabbed her and hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall at 9:30.

Masha nailed a roundhouse kick to the head for a nearfall, and she set up a door in the corner. Janela hit a piledriver, then he nailed a Death Valley Driver through the door in the corner for a nearfall at 12:30. He nailed a top-rope doublestomp onto the door debris on her chest for a nearfall. He had a trickle of blood on his forehead. He was in charge, playfully kicking her and hitting forearms. They began trading forearm shots and simultaneous clotheslines, and they were both down at 15:00. Janela hit a fisherman’s brainbuster for a nearfall. He got another door from under the ring. However, she hit an Air Raid Crash through the door bridge for a believable nearfall. Masha immediately applied a rear-naked choke, and Janela tapped out. Good match.

Final Thoughts: The first and third matches were terrible and the second match was mediocre… but then the show got really good! I would advise skipping those first three and just watch the last eight. I don’t watch indy shows to ‘bash’ them, but I can’t pretend those were good, either.

So, I will go with Price-Crawford for best match, Waller-Trigga for second, and Dunn-Navarro for third, with the main event for honorable mention. I made this observation a week or so ago after seeing KC Navarro work on the West Coast, but he is just a far, far better babyface. This match here was really good. I just haven’t enjoyed his heel work, as he’s just too undersized, and that just works better as a plucky underdog.


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