By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Wrestling Open “Episode 110”
Streamed on IndependentWrestling.TV
February 8, 2024 in Worcester, Massachusetts at White Eagle
Wrestling Open is holding a 24-man Jumbo Grand Prix tournament, and this show features the four quarterfinal matches. The crowd is about 300 to 350; this is larger than usual. Paul Crockett and Brother Greatness provided commentary, and they’ve really gelled as an announce team.
1. TJ Crawford defeated Bobby Orlando in a quarterfinal tournament match at 9:40. Orlando is the dork with his stuffed goat, and I’m truly surprised he has made it this deep into the tournament. Orlando hit a jumping Rude Awakening. Crawford has taped ribs, but he stomped on Orlando and was in control. Orlando got a backslide for a nearfall at 5:00, then he hit a shotgun dropkick, then a Lungblower for a nearfall. TJ hit a backbreaker over his knee and a swinging slam for a nearfall at 7:30. He hit some penalty kicks to the chest. Orlando hit a dive through the ropes. As they got back into the ring, TJ shook the ropes and Orlando got crotched in the corner. Orlando hit a sunset flip powerbomb, then a second-rope flying stunner for a nearfall at 9:00. TJ hit a blow to the throat, then a spin kick for the pin. This winner was never in doubt.
2. Aaron Rourke defeated Griffin McCoy at 7:22. Rourke’s whole look is similar to Malakai Black. McCoy is the tall heel and he got on the mic and was booed; he has appeared on MLW TV recently. Rourke just challenged Wrestling Open champion Brad Hollister so I presume he wins here. Griffin backed him into the corner and slapped him in the face. Rourke hit an STO uranage. Griffin hit some basement dropkicks in the corner at 3:00 and he kept Rourke grounded. He hit a doublestomp to the back for a nearfall at 5:30, then he applied a Camel Clutch. Rourke fired back with a leg lariat and a German Suplex. Rourke hit a Helluva Kick in the corner at 7:00, then a cannonball into the corner. He nailed a moonsault for the pin. Good action. Crockett called it a “statement win” for Rourke.
3. Paris Van Dale and Shannon Levangie defeated Kennedi (Copeland) Hardcastle and Gabby Forza at 7:56. Wrestling Open has been calling her “Kennedi Hardcastle” ever since her AEW TV match, and Kennedi has changed her Twitter/X feed to that, too. Gabby and Shannon opened, and Forza immediately hit a Gorilla Press, showing off her power. Kennedi entered at 1:30 and repeatedly chopped Shannon. She hit a hard clothesline on Paris, then a senton for a nearfall. Gabby picked up Kennedi and used her as a battering ram. Paris hit a Splits Legdrop on Kennedi at 4:30 and the heels began working Kennedi over.
Kennedi hit a swinging neckbreaker, and she made the hot tag to Gabby, who hit some hard clotheslines, then a German Release Suplex on Shannon that folded her like a proverbial accordion. Gabby hit a Bulldog Powerslam for a nearfall. Shannon raked Gabby’s eyes, and Gabby accidentally speared Kennedi. The heels tossed Gabby to the floor and Shannon covered the prone Kennedi for the pin. Exactly what I expected here. Gabby profusely apologized to Kennedi in the ring, and they hugged.
4. Tyree Taylor defeated Kylon King in a quarterfinal tournament match at 10:24. Again, I describe Tyree as Willie Mack-meets-Shane Taylor, and he’s much bigger than Kylon. Kylon went for a head-scissors takedown but Tyree showed off his strength by blocking it. Tyree hit a spear into the corner that cut Kylon in half, then a huge hip toss at 2:00, and he remained in charge. Tyree nailed a Pounce that absolutely sent Kylon flying, and he go a nearfall. Kylon rolled to the floor, and he barely got back in before being counted out at 5:00. Tyree kept Kylon grounded and this has been complete domination so far.
Kylon fired back with a huge T-Bone Suplex and they were both down at 7:00. He hit a jumping knee to the chin and an enzuigiri, then a clothesline and a dive through the ropes, then an Asai Moonsault. This has been really good stuff. They got back in the ring. Tyree hit his own enzuigiri, and he tossed Kylon off the top rope to the mat. Tyree hit a uranage for a believable nearfall. Kylon hit a release German Suplex at 9:30, then a slingshot brainbuster for a nearfall. Kylon nailed a top-rope frogsplash, but he missed a moonsault. Tyree immediately hit a decapitating clothesline, then an overhead sit-out powerbomb for the pin. Really good action and the crowd chanted “Both these guys.” They shook hands after the match.
* Brother Greatness hopped in the ring and got on the mic and he put Tyree Taylor over. BG called out Ichiban, who hesitantly walked to the ring. Crockett said Ichiban has been “spiraling” with his recent string of losses. BG again asked Ichiban to join the Church of Greatness. They shook hands, and BG enthusiastically bear-hugged Ichiban.
5. Brad Baylor defeated Dezmond Cole in a quarterfinal tournament match at 11:40. Dezmond is the Ricochet clone who should be the next breakout northwest talent. Baylor is the teen heel who I always say looks like every villain in 1980s teen comedy movies. I’m a big fan of both of these guys. Pedro Dones walked to the ring with Dezmond, but then Cole sent him to the back. Interesting. Cole hit a dropkick and Baylor bailed to the floor at 1:30. In the ring, Cole hit a head-scissors takedown, a stunner and a Stinger Splash. Baylor tossed him throat-first on the top rope and hit a hard clothesline.
Baylor hit a powerslam for a nearfall at 4:00, then a shotgun dropkick for a nearfall. He remained in charge and jawed with the fans. Cole finally hit a big back suplex at 6:30. Cole hit a Michinoku Driver and a guillotine legdrop for a nearfall. He hit Baylor with a spin kick to the nose. Baylor hit a Spinebuster, then a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall, and he jawed at the ref. Cole hit a German Suplex, then another spin kick for a nearfall at 10:00. Cole hit a second-rope superplex, then a regular suplex, then a flip dive to the floor on Baylor. In the ring, Baylor got a rollup, placed his feet on the ropes, and scored the cheap pin. I really thought Cole was in the finals, so this is an upset in my eyes.
6. Ryan Clancy defeated Steven Stetson in a quarterfinal tournament match at 10:27. Stetson slapped Ryan in the face; Ryan responded by tackling him and hitting a series of punches. They traded chops; Stetson is maybe three inches taller and thicker too. They fought on the ring apron, and Clancy was flipped to the floor at 2:30. In the ring, Stetson was in chage and he worked over Clancy. He hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 5:00. They did the suplex spot against the ropes where they both tumbled to the floor. In the ring, Clancy hit some back body drops and he was fired up. Clancy hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 8:30. He went for a Russian Legsweep but Stetson blocked it. Stetson hit a powerbomb for a believable nearfall. Clancy hit a dropkick for the pin!
* A livid Stetson got on the mic and shouted “Someone is going to pay for this!” Crockett wondered what he meant by that.
* A highlight package aired of Brad Hollister beating Jermaine Marbury last week to retain the Wrestling Open title. We then headed backstage, where Hollister boasted about retaining his title. He made a handshake agreement with Steven Stetson to team up with Stetson Ranch members.
7. Jermaine Marbury (w/Benny the ball) and Bryce Donovan and “Waves & Curls” Jaelyn Brandyn and Traevon Jordan defeated “Brick City” Julio Cruz and Victor Chase “Stetson Ranch” Danny Miles and Hammer Tunis at 14:50. Again, Benny is the life-sized mascot that really completes Marbury’s basketball gimmick. Cruz and Jaelyn opened. The tall Jordan suplexed Cruz. The heels began working over the tall Bryce in their corner. Marbury entered at 4:00 and he ‘broke Tunis’ ankles’ with his quick moves. Jaelyn splashed all the heels in the corner, and they did a fun sequence where Marbury launched off his teammates’ backs. “This is basketball!” Brother Greatness shouted. “This is wrestling!” Crockett responded. Funny.
The heels began stomping on Marbury, and the crowd chanted “defense!” Jaelyn finally got the hot tag at 9:30 and he hit a double dropkick on Brick City. W&C hit a Team 3D stunner. Jordan hit a spinebuster and he peeled down his singlet straps. Jaelyn hit a frogsplash for a nearfall. Donovan got in and hit a chokeslam. We had a big power spot out of the corner. Jaelyn hit a top-rope dive and suddenly all eight were down on the mat at 12:00. They all got up and traded punches. W&C hit stereo dives through the ropes. Steven Stetson came to the ring and he distracted the ref. Graceson and Westfield Kelly came out and they brawled with W&C to the back!! Julio hit a rolling forearm on Bryce. Marbury applied an anklelock on Cruz, dropped to the mat, and Julio tapped out. That was fun.
* Jermaine got on the mic and he asked for one more shot at Hollister. The semi-finals next week are Brad Baylor vs. Ryan Clancy and Tyree Taylor vs. TJ Crawford (I thought Tyree-TJ would be our finals.)
Final Thoughts: The Church of Greatness have been heels, but Tyree Taylor is on such a roll, looking so good, the fans have really started cheering for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the tournament and is loudly cheered in a title match against Brad Hollister. Tyree-Kylon earns best match, just ahead of a really good Baylor-Cole match. The main event had its slow spot during the Marbury beatdown, but then it got really hot for the finish.
This promotion is just really dialed in right now and on a roll with great shows. Their roster is a best-of-the-best of the northwest indy scene; this is now several weeks in a row where I’ve known every wrestler on the show. I do love tournaments and this has really worked for me.