Fight Life “Lead the Charge” results: Vetter’s review of Mustafa Ali vs. JT Dunn, Masha Slamovich vs. BMT, Richard Holliday vs. Mortar vs. Ace Romero in a three-way, Janai Kai vs. Ariel

By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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Fight Life “Lead the Charge”
Streamed on the TrillerTV+
March 26, 2024 in Milldale, Connecticut at Kinsmen Brewing Company

This show was held in a brewery and I’ve seen shows from here before. The crowd is maybe 250-300 but this room is packed and the crowd is HOT. Alec Price was on color commentary for the first match. I find his thick Boston accent to be hilarious because for a Midwesterner like me, it sounds like a caricature because it’s so exaggerated.

1. Dustin Waller vs. Kylon King ended in a double-pin/draw at 15:02. These two are the Miracle Generation and have been teaming up and down the East Coast for a couple of years, so intriguing to see them square off. (The commentators said they have fought before.) They shook hands and had a feeling-out process. They went to hug, but Kylon kicked him in the stomach! King hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall at 3:30. Dustin fired up and hit some flying forearms, then a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall at 7:30. Kylon nailed a Canadian Destroyer, then a German Suplex with a bridge for a believable nearfall, and they were both down. Dustin hit a second-rope Spanish Fly and a Lethal Injection for a believable nearfall at 11:00.

Waller hit a hard Buzzsaw kick, and this is no longer a friendly fight between two friends! Waller went for another Lethal Injection, but Kylon caught him with a stunner. Waller rolled through, hit a brainbuster, and they were both down, and the crowd chanted “Holy shit!” then switched to “this is awesome!” They got up … and hugged it out! But then they traded punches. Waller hit a DDT. King hit a Dragon Suplex. They traded Helluva Kicks and rollups for nearfalls. King nailed a top-rope superplex, but as they came down, all four shoulders were down on the mat, and we had a double pin, and a draw. I loved this match. (Being as we had just hit the 15-minute mark, for a second I thought they were going to announce it as a time-limit draw.) They hugged again afterwards.

Seabass Finn hit the ring. He wears his fishing gear; he’s scrawny and just doesn’t do much for me. Mortar jumped in the ring and beat him up! Mortar got on the mic and demanded his match take place RIGHT NOW!

2. Richard Holliday defeated Mortar and Ace Romero in a three-way at 8:36. Mortar is the Rhino clone with some facepaint on half his face, like Thunder Rosa. Ace was listed at 357 pounds but he looks even bigger than that to me. (Calvin Tankman was listed at 354 and Romero seems a lot bigger than Tankman.) Holliday tried a shoulder tackle on Ace but couldn’t budge him. Ace dropped Mortar with one punch. Holliday went for a bodyslam, but of course he couldn’t lift Romero. Mortar finally knocked Romero off his feet at 3:00. Holliday hit some running back elbows on each opponent. Holliday hit a stunner on Ace and everyone was down.

Mortar went for a crossbody block but Ace caught him. Ace hit a bodyslam. Holliday again couldn’t bodyslam Ace. He finally did it on a third attempt. Mortar hit a springboard moonsault for a nearfall. Seabass Finn jumped back into the ring, attacked Mortar, and they brawled out of the ring and out the door at 7:00! The commentators reminded us there is no disqualifications in a three-way. Holliday and Romero traded forearm strikes. Holliday got a rollup for the pin. A commentator said he had his feet on the ropes but I didn’t see it. (And I’m not trying to be a heel commentator; the cameras just didn’t show it.)

* Next up is a tag team gauntlet match with six teams. Thus, five mini-matches. I generally don’t like gauntlets because inevitably one or two of the matches is cut really short. And of course, kayfabe, it is inherently unfair to start a match and have to win five consecutive matches.

3a. “Young Dumb and Broke” Patrick Dynamite and Charlie Tiger defeated “Core Power” Ken Powers and Abs at 1:53. Dynamite is formerly known as Ellis Taylor; I really don’t get why you change the name after you’ve established yourself with it. Abs is a heavyset guy who wears a shirt with fake abdomen. Pat hit a plancha; this ring is much shorter than a typical ring, which I’m sure has to affect wrestlers’ dives. In the ring, Tiger hit a spear. He picked up Abs and hit a Death Valley Driver for the pin. I don’t mind this being short, as the right team won.

3b. Marcus Mathers and Shannon Levangie defeated Patrick Dynamite and Charlie Tiger at 2:49. Marcus and Shannon have teamed here several times, and their gear has matching pinkish purple. All four brawled immediately. Shannon and Marcus hit a team suplex on the heavier Tiger. Pat hit a cheap shot on Shannon’s face. However, Shannon rolled up Tiger with a jackknife cover for the pin! (This is what I was talking about; if this was a regular tag match between these two teams, no way does it end in under three minutes.)

3c. Marcus Mathers and Shannon Levangie defeated “Counter Strike” Nolan Pierce and Mark Alexander at 2:51. I don’t know the CS team; Nolan’s blond hair is halfway down his back and Mark’s black hair is nearly as long, and they wore pink-and-black gear. The CS team worked over Mathers early on. Alexander hit a Spinebuster for a nearfall. Mark accidentally bumped Nolan to the floor! Marcus hit a springboard crossbody block. Mathers and Levangie hit team Helluva Kicks in the corner. Shannon hit a top-rope twisting frogsplash for the pin!

3d. “The Haven” Shawn Knyte and Jay Onyx defeated Marcus Mathers and Shannon Levangie at 2:02. The Haven are Black men in identical yellow pants; I’ve seen them in the Northeast a few times. Shannon hit some forearms and a dropkick. The Haven rolled up Levangie with a handful of her tights for the cheap pin.

3e. “The Unit” Danny Miles and Trigger the OG defeated “The Haven” Shawn Knyte and Jay Onyx to win the tag team gauntlet at 4:16. Onyx is the heavier one in a singlet; think Angelo Dawkins, while Knyte is like Kofi Kingston. They hit dives to the floor. Onyx splashed teammate Knight onto an opponent. Onyx hit a frogsplash. All four got up and traded punches. Miles hit a rolling cannonball in the corner. They hit a team neckbreaker move to pin Knyte. All these matches were much shorter than I anticipated; it really doesn’t allow anyone to stand out.

4. Ariel (w/BMT) defeated Janai Kai at 9:23. I’m a big fan of Janai’s overall look and kick-boxing style. Ariel has the weight advantage, and she stalled in the ropes at the bell. Kai tied her up early. Ariel hit a snap suplex at 3:00. BMT (Ariel’s real-life husband) choked Janai in the ropes, and Ariel kept Kai grounded. Kai hit her own snap suplex at 6:00. Kai hit a hard kick to the head and they were both down. They got up and traded forearm strikes. Ariel hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall. Kai applied a rear-naked choke; BMT tripped Kai, and Ariel fell backward, flipped over, and got the pin as BMT held down Kai’s feet! Nice variation on this heel finish. Kai kicked BMT in the head after the match, then hit a Buzzsaw kick on his head.

5. Ichiban and Sammy Diaz defeated Alec Price and Jimmy Lloyd at 7:16. Lots of talent here. Again, I always compare Diaz to Trey Mguel. All four brawled at the bell. Price battled Ichiban in the ring. Ichiban hit a dive to the floor, so Price hit one. Diaz hit a top-rope flip dive onto all three, and we got a “holy shit!” chant. In the ring, Diaz hit a dropkick on Lloyd at 1:00. Ichiban hit a dropkick on Lloyd. Price nailed a Rebound Lariat on Ichiban. Diaz got a hot tag at 4:00 and he hit a release suplex on Price, then a springboard stunner on Lloyd.

Diaz hit a second-rope moonsault on Price for a nearfall. Ichiban accidentally hit a Canadian Destroyer on Diaz! Lloyd and Price piled on Ichiban for a nearfall, and everyone was down at 6:00. They traded forearm strikes from their knees. Lloyd hit a stunner on Diaz. Price hit his springboard Blockbuster. Ichiban nailed his leaping Flatliner on Price. Diaz immediately hit a frogsplash to pin Price. That was a sprint and a lot of fun.

* The ring announcer said Akira is sick and couldn’t make it tonight, so his match against Masha Slamovich is off. Masha headed to the ring, holding her Fight Life title. (Again, this is a title that can be held by men and women; this is not a women’s belt.) She is dressed to wrestle; she made an open challenge! Ariel hit the ring, and the announcers said she is likely the No. 1 contender after her win earlier. BMT came to the ring, too, and pulled her aside, and the crowd booed.

6. Masha Slamovich defeated BMT (w/ Ariel) at 7:57. BMT has crazy uncombed black hair; I’ve seen him at Fight Life before. He attacked Masha from behind. Ariel choked Masha in the ropes and BMT kept Masha grounded. Masha hit a Helluva Kick at 4:00, then her rolling kick for a nearfall. BMT hit a stunner for a nearfall. BMT hit a second-rope fadeaway stunner for a nearfall at 6:30. Ariel hopped on the ring apron, but BMT accidentally punched Ariel. Masha immediately hit a spin kick to the head, the White Knight Driver/snap piledriver, and scored the pin. It stayed in second gear but it was fine.

7. Mustafa Ali defeated JT Dunn at 14:56. With his dark hair and beard, I always compare Dunn to Tony Nese. Ali wore both his TNA X Division Title and his Chicago-based Dreamwave Wrestling Alternative Title around his waist, and he shook hands with all the fans in the front row. We got a “holy shit!” chant before they even locked up. An intense lockup and a feeling-out process to open. Ali knocked JT down and ‘kicked sand’ at him, so JT did the same sequence back at Ali. They worked each other’s left arms and had a standoff at 4:30. Ali backed JT into a corner and hit some loud chops, so JT got in his own chops. Dunn shoved Ali off the apron to the floor. They traded chops in front of the fans.

Ali crashed on an open chair and he began selling his lower back. They got back in the ring at 7:30, where JT hit a decapitating clothesline for a nearfall. JT hit a DDT for a nearfall. He set up for a second-rope superplex, but Ali blocked it, and Ali hit a clothesline. Ali hit his rolling neckbreaker at 10:00, then running double knees to the chest. JT came off the ropes but Ali caught him with a dropkick for a nearfall. Ali hit a Tornado DDT, but he missed a 450 Splash. JT hit a rolling stunner and both men were down. JT hit an enzuigiri for a nearfall at 12:30. Ali hit a superkick; JT nailed a Death By Elbow strike for a believable nearfall. They traded forearm strikes on the ropes, and Ali nailed a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, then the 450 Splash for the pin. Good match.

* Ali got on the mic and said that JT “hits as hard as f—!” He said the greatest thing to happen to him was having the “privilege and honor to come back to the indy scene.” He held the X Division belt above his head and listed off some prior champs, from Samoa Joe to Amazing Red. He then showed off the Dreamwave Alternative Title and said the first time he won that belt was against Dunn, seven years ago, right before he went to WWE. He said when Fight Life called him and asked him to come in, Ali said he requested the match be against Dunn. Ali turned to JT and said “the ring is yours” and he left, allowing the crowd to chant “JT!”

Final Thoughts: This show was bookended by two very good matches. I’ll go with King-Waller for best match, just ahead of Ali-Dunn, but I have no quarrel with anyone who liked the main event for best. Even though it was short, Ichiban’s tag match earns a distant third. Unfortunately, illnesses happen, but I was looking forward to seeing Akira-Masha, so that cancellation was a disappointment.

I stand by my dislike of gauntlet matches. They could have just had three separate tag matches from those six teams, or maybe 1 regular tag match and a four-way tag scramble, and that would have gotten everyone more minutes. I consider Marcus Mathers on the verge of breaking into the top tier of indy talents, so he should have been given more minutes in the ring than this.


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