Friday night was the big first anniversary show for Resistance Pro Wrestling, the federation co-founded by Smashing Pumpkins leader, Billy Corgan. Billy also serves as the creative director for the federation, one that got off to a strong start and has been improving and growing with each show they’ve done. To celebrate their first year the federation pulled out all the stops and put on their version of Wrestlemania which featured not only the usual array of home-grown talent but some bigger name stars as well as three title matches. It also drew a huge crowd and was easily the biggest and most successful show to date.
Two dark matches started the evening and got the crowd warmed up. First up was Chris Castro/Matt Knicks vs. Dustin Rayz/Remi Wilkins. This was a very fast paced match that lasted about five minutes and was easy-going fun. Some cool double team moves from Castro/Knicks and they got the win, further cementing Castro’s “king of the dark match” status.
Da Cobra took on Dangerous Axl in the second dark match. The two had somewhat similar styles with Cobra being a little more flashy with his moves. This was another fast-paced match that really got the crowd going, especially when Da Cobra won. Da Cobra has worked a few matches for RPro and has been very entertaining every time.
The Baron Brothers came to the ring to give a brief speech about RPro and to humbly thank everyone for their continued support. They also asked Billy Corgan to come to the ring to say a few words which he reluctantly did. Billy introduced the new champion, The Ego Robert Anthony and when Ego came to the ring, Billy told him that as the new champ he gets to pick his first opponent. Ego called out Lonesome Jay Bradley to the ring and proceeded to dress Jay down for always blaming everyone else for the reason why he wasn’t the one who has the title. Jay had plenty to say on the matter and then much to his surprise, Ego said that he’d like Jay to be his opponent for the evening. The crowd popped big at that announcement as these are the two top guys in the company and a few shows ago tore the roof off the place when they faced each other.
Jesse Corgan (Billy’s brother) came out to the ring dressed a little like the heel version of Sargeant Slaughter and carrying some sort of riding crop. He was accompanied by big Chris Hall who Jesse said was his new client. Jesse was bad-mouthing his brother until he noticed Chris Nowinski in the crowd and then called him out. After Jesse hurled a lot of insults that were a little too heavy on the profanity at Nowinski, he walked over to the other side of the ring to watch and support Chris Hall in his match against Ruff Crossing. Ruff came at Hall fast and furious but foolishly tried to pick the big man up a couple of times to slam him which he was unable to do. This gave Hall openings to turn the tables on Ruff and deliver a good pounding. Jesse tried to interfere as Ruff was making a comeback but Nowinski grabbed his riding crop and started swatting him with it, chasing him away from the ring. The distraction helped Ruff as he was able to continue a comeback and even get the big man up for a couple of big moves before he was able to roll him up for a pin. Jesse and Chris were furious with their loss and the fans were happy that Ruff Crossing won.
The ladies of RPro got some time in the spotlight as Thunderkitty took on D’Arcy Dixon. Thunderkitty took an early lead in the match and as she wore down D’Arcy she attempted to get her in the sleeper hold to finish her off. D’Arcy was able to counter it which just pissed off Thunderkitty who would charge her and try again. After failing to finish her off with it a couple more times she was beyond livid and went to bounce off the ropes to attack D’Arcy yet again and was countered which led to D’Arcy winning the match. D’Arcy then took the mic and said she was tired of managing people who failed her and decided that if she wanted things done that she’d have to get in the ring and do them herself. She also was so proud of herself for scoring her first victory that she said she wasn’t satisfied and wanted to wrestle another match immediately against anyone. She got more than she bargained for when Awesome Kong came to the ring and proceeded to destroy her. Kong choke slammed her, splashed her and then covered her for a pin. When the referee got to a two-count, Kong picked up D’Arcy and then flipped her upside down into a spinning slam that pancaked D’Arcy so hard it was surprising she didn’t go through the ring. Kong covered her for an easy win and the crowd went nuts.
It took the entire year to whittle down all the entrants in the tag-team tile tournament to the final four and they were placed in a fatal four-way to determine who would be crowned the first Resistance Pro tag-team champions. P Dawg Millionairz (aka: the Daivari brothers), Jocephus/Steven Walters (filling in for an injured Almighty Sheik), Lockup, and Rising Sun each took a corner and the rules stated that if one member of a team was pinned, they could stay at ringside to watch their partner continue as a team didn’t get eliminated until both members were beaten. The action was chaotic at first with four men inside fighting each other but once things got spaced out it was a little easier to follow. There was a ton of double team action and P Dawg Millionairz came off the most dominant for the first part of the match, eliminating a member of Rising Sun quickly. Jocephus and Walters soon took over the top spot of the match and destroyed everyone who came near them. Rising Sun. The tables were turned on P Dawg and the rest of rising sun as they were out and it was down to Lockup and Jocephus/Walters. One member of Lockup got eliminated which left Sugar as the only hope for Lockup becoming champions. After taking quite a pounding he was able to beat Walters and it was just him and Jocephus left. Jocephus threw everything at him but Sugar would not stay down. Fighting out on the prison yard must have given Sugar the testicular fortitude it took to keep kicking out and then getting pounded some more for his trouble. In the comeback of a lifetime, Sugar was able to squeak out a victory much to everyone’s surprise. It was a real “feel good moment” when he fought back against all odds to win and he gave a heart-felt speech to the crowd which went over well. This match was solid action from start to finish and the last few minutes of the match had a lot of drama and really well done. Excellent work by all four teams who put together an excellent match that could easily have become a big mess due to how many people were involved.
Former WWF/WWE star, Funaki, came to the ring to become “Resistance Pro #1 announcer” and he did the honors of introducing Jake the Snake Roberts. Jake is an absolute legend in the wrestling business and in his prime he was one of the best of all time. Sadly in more recent times Jake was more well-known for battling his “personal demons” and losing as was well documented in Beyond the Mat. Jake got his act together, is getting back in shape and showed up looking better than he has in over a decade. He got a huge ovation from the crowd as he walked to the ring carrying a bag containing his live snake. Jake seemed truly humbled by the reception he got and he thanked everyone for it as he said he felt lucky to not only be there but to be on track of getting his life back. Raven came out to interrupt and the two did some amusing insulting of each other before they were both interrupted by Ashton Vuitton and Eric St. Vaughn. Ashton took the mic and fumbled getting it to turn on which gave Raven the opportunity to get a real zinger in which got the whole crowd laughing. Ashton was disgusted that he came all the way to the arena only to not be given a match because these two “has-beens” were given the time that should have been his. Ashton insulted both of them and then challenged the two to face Eric and him. Raven laughed and said he could do it alone and the two had Raven pinned in a corner at which point he admitted to Jake that he could actually use a hand. Jake pulled Ashton off of Raven which gave Raven enough slack to fend off Eric and lay him out. Jake grabbed Ashton and DDT’d him which got a gigantic pop from the audience. Raven then took the two unconscious men and piled them on top of each other in a compromising position as Jake unbagged the snake and draped it over them as he pulled open Eric’s trunks for the snake to slither inside! The crowd went crazy for this as Jake grabbed the snake and exited the ring, as did Raven, leaving the other two shell-shocked.
After an intermission where fans had the opportunity to have their picture taken with Jake the Snake, Mr. 450 took on BJ Hancock and Marshe Rockett in a three-way dance. BJ and Marshe formed a short-lived alliance to double team Mr. 450 that lasted as long as the first opportunity for someone to try to cover him for a pin which led to the two fighting each other over the chance to win. As the alliance fell apart, 450 made a huge comeback and took control for nearly the rest of the match. The action spilled outside and after some brawling near the merch tables, Mr. 450 went up in the balcony and then dove off of it onto his opponents on the main floor! The crowd went completely insane at 450’s death-defying leap. When the action returned to the ring, 450 maintained control and hit his namesake finisher to get the victory. He then took the mic and declared that until he can become RPro champion he is going to wear his mask from now on and never take it off.
In an “I quit match”, Melanie Cruise faced Nikki St. John to determine who would be the Women’s champion. The title was held up two months ago in a controversy that stemmed from a match the two had that morphed into a mixed tag match. Last month the two-faced each other for the held-up title but were both disqualified when they kept beating up the referee that tried to maintain order in their match and Nikki got help from Lou E to administer a post-match beating. This time Lou was banned from ringside and there was no DQ’s and the only way to win the match was to beat the other person up enough that they say that they quit. The match started and the two immediately took it to the crowd and were brawling back and forth. Nikki got an advantage and threw Melanie so hard into a wall that the wall broke! When Melanie emerged from the crater she left in the wall she was infuriated and started beating on Nikki even harder and they made their way over to the concession stand where cookie sheets were used as weapons and so was a sign that a fan had made on a dry erase board. When the action returned to inside the ring it didn’t take long for a chair to be introduced as well as a chain that Nikki found near the ring. Nikki wrapped the chain around her hand and punched Melanie in the head repeatedly with it until she drew blood. Melanie was busted wide open but she wasn’t going to let a little blood stop her. A lot of back and forth action followed and both ladies refused to quit. During a spot where the referee was temporarily knocked down during an airplane spin, Lou E emerged from under the ring to try to lend a hand. Melanie wasn’t about to let him ruin things for her again and she knocked him on his ass, set up a table and piled both Lou and Nikki on it. Melanie climbed to the top turnbuckle and jumped off and hit the two with a huge leg drop but the table didn’t break! Some more fighting led to Melanie finding a huge extension cord and using it to hang Nikki over the top rope which finally was too much for her to take and Nikki gasped that she quit with her near-dying breath. Melanie once again is the champion and the crowd loved every minute of it. Her celebration was short-lived as Awesome Kong returned to the ring and got right up in Melanie’s face and stared her down. The Referee did his best to keep the two ladies apart but it appeared as Kong challenged Melanie for the belt which will hopefully lead to these two ladies doing battle. Resistance Pro has done a really great job showcasing women’s wrestling since its inception and the angle leading up to this match and this match in particular gives a legitimacy to women’s wrestling that the WWE and TNA seem incapable of. The women of RPro are workers and not just eye candy and this match was really the hottest thing going into this event and it really paid off in a satisfying way.
In the main event, Lonesome Jay Bradley challenged The Ego Robert Anthony for the title. The two worked a very old school match that was heavy on the story telling. Jay got the advantage and worked Ego’s legs trying to cripple him enough to score a victory. Jay was absolutely relentless in trying to break Ego’s leg and every time Ego would try to mount a comeback Jay would do something to cut him off and go right back to further damaging his leg. This match was wonderfully crafted and the pacing was excellent. They slowly built to a very exciting and emotional finish that had Ego retain the belt despite being hit by a boomstick so hard it sent him spinning out of the ring (which was the only thing that kept Ego from being pinned at that moment), a frustrated Jay using every thing he could think of including ring posts to try to destroy Ego, and an exciting comeback by Ego that climaxed with a moonsault that scored him the win. The crowd ate this match up and it was another match that showed what is missing in a lot of modern wrestling and that is psychology and story telling. This match was everything that is good about pro wrestling and the reason why people pay money to come to the shows. An excellent match by these two guys that are the future of the industry and an amazing way to end a show that was red-hot from start to finish.
Check out additional photos from this event here! Prints will available for purchase here starting Tuesday!