By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Hoodslam “U Up?”
August 4, 2023 in Oakland, California at the Continental Club
Replay available via Fite.TV
Venue Notes: They were at the Continental Club again. They bounce back and forth between this place and a random parking lot near Jack London Square. Only difference atmosphere wise is summer has hit California, therefore it was hot and stuffy this time. Hanging out either next to the various bars or under the air conditioning unit is the way to go (just beware of condensation dripping). I prefer the balcony area because the views are best and it allows me to take notes for these in-person recaps.
Initial Thoughts: This was a match-heavy show. Yes there were the usual Hoodslam comedy antics, but Hoodslam decided to do two tournaments that night. Meaning matches, matches, and more matches. Less GCW presence this week, meaning more home grown Stoner University wrestlers (Stoner U is Oakland’s most well known pro wrestling school. Some Stoner U alum include Mansoor and Shotzi Blackheart).
I liked that it focused on local talent because it shows how strong the Stoner U/Hoodslam system is in producing high quality, high work rate talent. I’ve been to a bunch a low budget indie shows and I tend not to return if the quality isn’t good. I keep coming back to Hoodslam is because the matches are as good as you would see on WWE, AEW, NXT, or Impact. I also like it’s wide range appeal and very welcoming atmosphere of people of all backgrounds.
Commentary Team notes: AJ Kirsch (under his Broseph Joe Brody alter ego) was the MC, Ring Announcer, and Play-by-play commentator. The injured Anton Vorhees joined on as Color. I didn’t know if AJ and Anton would make a good team. Of course they play things for laughs, but the laughs ended up very fun and funny. I personally like Anton’s many video game references, especially from Legend of Zelda. Tough Enough alum AJ is someone who I can see do well on one of the big wrestling companies. As we saw through his work in MLW, he’s very versatile and knowledgable. I honestly think he’s a “better” Matt Striker when you compare apples to apples.
Referees: Referee Nuk Nuk (neutral ref) and Referee Wiggles (heel ref).
1. El Chupacabra (w/Okami) defeated Trish Adora. ROH’s Trish Adora is a mainstay in Hoodslam. This was a nice and short match. Adora locked Chupacabra in a really cool submission. Looked like an upside down Gory Special, sorta like the Dead Eye, but in submission form. Adora’s raw power is what stands out about her.
El Chupacabra’s character is half-man half Mexican Werewolf. A lot of matches are intergender, but they don’t focus on that aspect, similar to Lucha Underground. El Chupacabra wins after a Sliced Bread to advance in the tournament.
2. RickScott Stoner (w/ScottRick Stoner) defeated Bay-Area-Rapid-Trainsit Man. I’m not sure if I’m just noticing now. I’ve been watching Stoner Brother Matches for years in Hoodslam and APW. I think RickScott has started to slim up? Either that or he’s just rocking his singlet better these days. He looked great! The Stoner Brothers are the local wrestling trainers in Oakland. In the ring, their gimmick are being “Stoner Steiner Brothers”, simple as that. They cut promos like Rick and Scott Steiner.
With all the experienced talent at these shows the crowd always pops the hardest for “Local Hero” BARTman. He’s that tiny, heroic, plucky hero that tends to lose a lot, but show a lot of heart (If you’ve ever watched One Punch Man, BARTman is like Oakland, CA’s version of Mumen Rider). The crowd really resonates with this guy because everyone here takes the BART subway. As for the match, fun David and Goliath story with Goliath going over. I like that BARTman’s finisher is the Trainmaker (which is Okada’s Rainmaker). Stoner hit a nice looking top rope chokeslam, and followed up with a sweet looking Swanton Bomb for the win.
3. Cereal Man defeated Matt Carlos. Ok, here’s the sports entertainment match. It was solid sports entertainment and the crowd vibed with it. I learned that there’s a heel Cereal Man, and a babyface Cereal Man. This was the face one (It was the heel one that “murdered” Drugs Bunny). There was a REF BUMP and a nice twist on the thumbtack spot. Instead of Thumbtacks, Cereal Man used Apple Jacks. That’s not to say, with all the antics, there was some good in-ring.
Matt Carlos is one of the underrated in-ring workers in the Bay Area. I’m pretty sure he has appeared on WWE TV on a few occasions as a jobber when WWE makes the bay area rounds. Carlos hit a really good looking Dudley Dog during this match. In a spot that Jim Cornette would hate, Carlos started shooting invisible Hadokens which Cereal Man sold. Carlos ended up losing because somehow Cereal Man reflected one of those invisible Hadokens. The Hadoken here was a reference to one of Carlos’s old gimmicks being Ryu from Street Fighter.
4. Brooke Havok (w/Emo Rob) defeated Alpha Zo. Havok was cosplaying as Poison Ivy from Batman. This is one of the first times I’ve seen Zo work singles as he’s usually a part of Da Squaad tag team in Hoodslam. I didn’t get to see too much, but we got to see him throw some good suplexes. He threw one of those Jeff Cobb twisting suplexes too. Hoping to see more from Zo in the future because a lot of people are hyping him up as a top talent in Northern California. Brooke won with the power of the horny. She took advantage of Zo’s horniness to deliver a low blow for the pinfall.
5. Dark Sheik, Joe DeSoul, “The Berkeley Librarian” Richard Shinary, and Vipress defeated Brittany Wonder, Hip Hop Daddy, Juice Lee, and ScottRick Stoner in a “Lethal Lottery” match. This match is very similar to Impact’s “8-4-1” match. The teams are random babyface and heel combinations. The winning team then moves on to a tag team match against each other. The highlight here was a ton of dives to ringside. In fact, one of my close friends decided to hang out ringside, and ended up eating a dive from Vipress. Speaking of which, Vipress’s team won
6. Dark Sheik and Joe DeSoul defeated Richard Shinary and Vipress. This is the 2nd part of the Lethal Lottery Match. This was much more methodical than the last. Part because a lot of the high flyers were on the other team. Part, this was also the 2nd match in a row they had to work. Sheik picked up the win after everyone knocked each other out due to teams imploding from rivalries.
7. Dark Sheik defeated Joe DeSoul to win the Lethal Lottery Match. The third part of the 8-4-1’ish match. Not much more compared to the other components of this match.
8. RickScott Stoner defeated Brooke Havok via forfeit. They did a comedy angle where Brooke got “arrested” by the emo police for being too Emo. The segment ended with Emo Rob Hands rolling on the ground crying.
9. El Chupacabra defeated RickScott Stoner to win the “Hoodfighter” Tournament. Good match. A bit methodical because both wrestlers worked multiple matches during the night. Chupacabra worked from behind most of the match with Stoner dominating with big man offense. Chupacabra was selling being “poisoned” by chocolate he was forced to eat earlier in the night (He’s supposed to be a “Werewolf” and dogs are allergic to chocolate). ScottRick would interfere. Chupacabra made his comeback by hitting multiple Slice Breads on both Stoners. Chupacabra won after hitting RickScott with a Code Red.
10. Battle Royal for “Supremacy”. Wrestlers involved included D-Torch, Joey Gonzo, Joey Smoak, Johnny Butabi, Lara Frazier, Mighty Mayra, Myro, Emo Rob Hands, and James C. I did step away during the beginning of the match to get some fresh air. The venue was stuffy and it was 11:30pm at that point. As you would expect, the battle royal, from what I saw, started off with the usual walking and punching.
One of my favorite moments of the night was Emo Rob having his hope rally by invoking the power of Last Resort by Papa Roach. Last Resort is on of my must-play karaoke songs list, so I approve of Emo Rob’s music selection. I also apologize to Rob for thinking he was an older dude, only for him to tell me that he’s 33. My bad. Just one of those situations like Matt Hasselback or Alex Caruso who look more mature than they are.
Speaking of older, I was disappointed that James C was relegated to the multi-person battle royal because I’m a huge fan of his overall work. This James C guy hasn’t really worked anywhere else, but he’s a hidden gem in wrestling. Only drawback is he’s north of 40 (But hey, older “rookies” are on the come-up like Damian Priest or LA Knight. Watch Bobby Roode end up getting a push once he gets back). The final two were Lara Frazer (who was in a old school Harley Quinn jumpsuit) and James C. Lots of skinning the cat by both. James C won the battle royal.
John’s Thoughts: While there was the usual Hoodslam goofiness, having two “tournaments” and a battle royal meant that the night was going to consist of a lot of in-ring focus. That’s a two edged sword for me. On one side, I like the in-ring, but on the other, too much in-ring can be exhausting. I noticed that the crowd was starting to get worn out (but the event was 3 hours and ended at midnight too). I’ve had friends who started watching wrestling come to the show and they felt the fatigue (on top of my homie taking a flip dive from Vipress). I feel like Hoodslam’s focus on solid in-ring has made the product feel better now than pre-pandemic.
Or maybe they’ve always been this strong and I was just too focused on All Pro Wrestling in Daly City to overlook what has been happening in the hood (It was tough not to focus on APW because of their stacked roster. A roster that had Cody Rhodes at the top). As I said earlier, I’ve been to a ton of crappy indie shows that I won’t go back to. Dis ain’t crappy. This is solid sports and entertainment all in the organic environment of the hood. If you’re in the Oakland area, the first Friday of the month, make sure to check out this unique and fun experience. Just make sure you’re 21+.