Pizza Party Wrestling
April 3 2019
We’re in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey ahead of Mania weekend. This show is on YouTube.
This does fall into Mania weekend action so when it’s done I will add any recommendations into the overall Mania wrap up review.
Faye Jackson vs. Brad Rush
They actually have pizza. And it’s a party. People are wearing hats. I’m all over this concept. There’s no hard cam here and only one ringside. It’s not ideal and it feels very small time. It doesn’t help that some of the shots are out of focus. The structure is basic. Rush is a dick about wrestling a woman whereas Faye is just having a nice time. As a match it’s not very good and it goes way too long. Faye takes it with the Michinoku Driver.
Final Rating: *1/2
FEST Tag Team Championship
Ugly Ducklings (c) vs. East Coast Bastard Crew vs. Atlantic City Scoundrels vs. StepDads
There’s some…interesting gimmicks out there. The Ugly Ducklings are a good team. Rob Killjoy and Lance Lude in that pairing. I also know Jeremy Leary from the Bastard Crew but everyone else is new to me. The FEST promotion runs out of Florida so the chances of any of these North East teams winning is fairly unlikely. The match has a rolling rotation of guys. So two guys do some stuff, both bail out and we get something else instead. The StepDads have some fun ideas even if the execution is merely ok. The newspaper reading bit could have been an absolute home run without people getting in the way of the shot. The match is a total mess and largely disorganised but largely a good time is had by all. The Ducklings hit the best moves and take the best bumps.
Jeremy Leary gets a surprising amount of heat for adding pineapple to a pizza. It’s a divisive issue in the United States it seems. Hitting a superplex on a pizza gets one of the biggest reactions of the match too, which goes to show that gimmicks usually get more over than Movez. The Launch Pad counter spot is all kinds of great. Shame the cameraman doesn’t get in position for it. They do some interesting spots but again the cameraman can’t pick up on most of it. The Launch Pad into everyone finishes. From what I saw this was mostly a good time at the graps.
Final Rating: **3/4
Tony Deppen vs. Ezekiel James
James is billed as the “Tyrannosaurus Flex”. He’s a big green guy who likes to pop the double bicep pose. Deppen, who spent most of the weekend as an asshole heel, works babyface here. At one point he charges James wearing a party hat and uses it as a stabbing weapon. Big Flex is the winner in double time here. Probably for the best. Squashes are useful.
Final Rating: NR (basically a squash)
Pizza Cat vs. Ophidian
Pizza Cat is Shotzi Blackheart’s masked gimmick.
Ophidian refuses an offer of pizza and says it’s disgusting. Pizza Cat screaming “eat it” and countering into a position to try and force it into his face is good stuff. Snake vs. cat is an interesting inter-species battle. It should probably be taking place on Inter Species Wrestling. It’s a solid match. Ophidian is great and Shotzi is rapidly improving.
As the match progresses it falls apart a bit. They lose themselves a bit and it takes a few sequence before they get back on the same page. Pizza Cutter off the top wins it for Pizza Cat and obviously that’s a big home town victory for pizza enthusiasts globally.
Final Rating: ***
Alex Zayne vs. Robbie Eagles
Eagles was on a lot of shows this weekend. Including this he wrestled six times. Zayne is less experienced but he’s quick and they wrestle a similar style. Eagles gives no shits and goes 100mph and flies out of the ring with reckless abandon. Zayne is clearly more clunky and he’s overly careful due to how green he is. When he’s in the zone and actually hitting moves he looks good but the set ups are weak. Where is the struggle Alex?
Robbie Eagles clinging onto a balloon to keep his balance on the top rope is cool. He tries really hard to get Zayne’s spots over and I’m sure Alex is giving it his all here but there’s a lack of experience that causes the set ups to look awkward. Eagles has all his timing down but he frequently has to encourage Zayne to time stuff right. Everything that’s great about the match is about Eagles turning into Zayne’s spots on time or positioning his opponent. Zayne clearly needs time to get better. He wins here with the Spiral Tap and it looks wild as fuck. Definite potential in Zayne and the crowd loved this but he’s got a lot of smoothing out to do.
Final Rating: ***1/4
East London Street Fight
Rory Gulak vs. Jay Freddie vs. Sam Jude vs. KTB
Remember when Kyle the Beast was supposed to be a big break out star? Had that match with Sami Callihan? Now. Sam Jude is English but I guarantee you that almost no one on the UK scene knows who he is. He dredges up a healthy supply of jingoism by coming out here in an England shirt. KTB looks decent here, which makes his fade into the background all the more mysterious. This is my first time seeing Jude wrestle and I have to report that he looks terrible. He’s in a poor condition and his work reflects his abysmal conditioning. Freddie is fine. He adopts a brawling approach here and he can throw some passable worked punches. Gulak adapts well to a scrappier match type to what he’s used to.
They clearly want to put on a fun match so stuff like this happens. I can’t overlook Jude essentially dragging the match down. They have a big spot where he ‘injures’ his leg jumping off the stage.
Which would have been more effective if he’d not ‘injured’ himself right next to the EMT’s. Also they pull his boot off with him gesticulating that his ankle is injured. It might be the worst fake injury angle I’ve ever seen and if Jude was actually hurt doing the spot then he’s an embarrassment. “He’s really not in good shape” pipes up the commentator. Ain’t that the truth! This is an abject shit show. I am glad I wasn’t at this show because I would have been screaming abuse at him. He’s an embarrassment to the concept of British Wrestling. Nobody should book this fucking clown.
We find his level with the violent shit. They drop him barefoot into thumbtacks and stab skewers into his head. It’s an example of bad wrestlers getting over by doing dumb shit because that’s the only way anyone will pop them. The others try hard to work around his useless carcass. KTB mercifully puts the match out of its misery with a moonsault.
Final Rating: DUD
^ this is in no way a slight on everyone else in the match. This is a prime example of one wrestler, or in this case non-wrestler, dragging everyone with any kind of ability down.
60 Second Ironman Match
Johnny Cockstrong vs. Dick Justice
Justice falls on top at the start. 1-0. Cockstrong levels the falls 1-1. Sunset flip blocked by Justice. 2-1. Countered back into a pin 2-2. The crowd literally count the time as the match progresses. “We forgot to set the timer” say the Pizza Party guys and they’re going one more minute! They do the same match again! Only slower. I’m in bits. Gearl Hebner doesn’t even bother getting down to count the pins. Them struggling to get through the same spots a second time as they’re so gassed is incredible. This is 100% going on the recs list. Dick Justice pulls a gun out!
Cockstrong has one too! We get another time limit draw. Five more seconds! Cockstrong cannot move Justice and there’s no dramatic roll up! Another draw. Five more seconds! Justice still won’t go over. Another draw. Five more seconds! Justice sits on Cockstrong and finally we have a winner. Dramatic failure from Cockstrong. He just couldn’t get that roll up.
Final Rating: “This will go down in the record books”.
Ezekiel James Open Challenge
Jimmy Wayward has Tyrannosaurus Flex call out fans and happens to select the guy who’s wearing boots and tights under his Pizza Party t-shirt. What are the chances that the random fan would happen to own wrestling gear and be wearing it in the crowd at a show? I am stunned. The wrestler in question has a weird background story about how he was born in a petri dish.
Pizza Party is a wild show. Here Tyrannosaurus Flex challenges a fan to a match and this is how it starts. pic.twitter.com/1Y0EHVG8ke
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) April 19, 2019
He keeps doing freaky bridges back to his feet and it doesn’t seem to matter how much he stretches him he’s so flexible. Standing SSP out of nowhere and Oswald Project wins the match. What!
Final Rating: This is also going on the recs list.
Champagne Douglas vs. Everett Cross vs. Matt Vertigo vs. Russell K Best vs. Van Valley vs. Zacky Strutts
There are some wacky looking dudes in action here. I saw Everett Cross over Mania weekend but I don’t remember where (I did see 38 shows). This is a messy scramble with inexperienced wrestlers hitting a bunch of spots in the semi-main. Matt Vertigo popping all the kids in the building. Did he bring a bunch of kids from his neighbourhood or something? Some of the spots look ok in this but it’s clearly a bunch of guys trying to do a crazy match and coming up short because they’ve not learned the execution on any of this yet. The timing isn’t right. Van Valley is big enough that he can just throw people around but a lot of the other interactions don’t look good. Vertigo ends up picking up the win and all the kids are happy.
Final Rating: *3/4
Fred Yehi vs. Daniel Makabe
This is my main reason for watching this show. Yehi is a very good mat wrestler and he’s facing one of the best unknown technicians in wrestling; Dan Makabe.
They come out of the blocks here eager to showcase that mat skill and the difference between these guys and all the jamokes in the last match is remarkable.
It feels like a game of chess, which is what you want from a big technically driven main event. I’m a big fan of Makabe having a switch up, which is the baseball style punch and the way he sells the effects of that on his own body. The damage it does to the fingers to throw a punch. The pros and cons of using big strikes. It’s attention to detail like that which makes wrestling feel more realistic and legitimate. They utilize the ring here too. Makabe sliding Yehi’s arm through the buckle cover, Yehi responding by jamming Makabe’s arm into the top of the ring post, which is hollow. Great work in using the environment to tell a story.
The best tribute I can pay here is that almost everything in the match feels like a struggle. It feels legitimate. One of the big complaints I hear from traditionalists is that modern wrestlers don’t get this aspect of wrestling. Here is proof to the contrary. Even the spots that Yehi does that are a little showier are set up the right way. Wrist control is maintained to set up the running kicks he does. There’s no getting away from the spot. The match is so technically good I can’t take my eyes off it. I don’t want to miss anything. Like when Yehi has a Figure Four, I can’t look away because there’s positioning and selling and trading of strikes to the knee as both guys look to do additional damage. It’s a match loaded with detail. To the point where I’m so drawn in that I actually get annoyed with Makabe for slapping his thigh where he doesn’t need to. Because I’m so invested and paying such close attention that it actually stands out. Something you see a million times in other matches of different styles.
At around 15 minutes they decide to loosen up a bit and the match loses some of that rigid focus that made it so incredible for three quarters of the run time. It’s a necessary evil as the fatigue selling is needed to make the match feel closer to conclusion. They still have some incredible counters here at the finale and the way they go into the Koji Clutch and out again into a roll up pin is sensational. Great mat wrestling during this. Makabe didn’t get the submission he wanted but what a match! One of the best of the weekend.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Pizza Party was a show that alternated between fun matches and not good matches until an outstanding main event. An absolute must-see. Especially if you feel like wrestling has changed for the worse over the past decade. It’s a total throwback between two very gifted mat wrestlers.