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    Pubcrawl Podcast

Black Hand Warriors Back on Top at WLW

Posted by flairwhoooooo on March 25, 2016

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By Patrick Brandmeyer
Photos Brian Kelley

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WLW Ring Announcer Dan Gier

Justin D’Air vs. Mike Outlaw, Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament: WLW hadn’t created a new championship since 2001(!) when the Tag Team Titles were started. At the previous show, Jon Webb defeated Danny Adams and Ace Hawkins pinned Kyle Roberts to advance in the tournament; Webb vs. Hawkins will be one semifinal and this night’s matches would determine the other semifinal. This was the first meeting between these two in the St. Louis area, though they had faced each other in other parts of the country.

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Outlaw was oddly reserved in his entrance and then went into full rulebreaker mode once the bell rang…it was the first time I had seen him in that role in person. Notably, Outlaw turned on D’Air after they lost the High Risk Wrestling Tag Team Titles to Logan & Sterling Riegel, so there was some backstory even if it was on the other side of Missouri. D’Air looked really good with several impressive aerial moves, including a ropewalk into a plancha off the top rope. D’Air rallied and went for the 450 Splash, but Outlaw raised his knees to block the move and rolled up D’Air with his feet on the ropes for the cheap pin in 11:51. Afterwards, Outlaw told the ringside fans that it was just what “outlaws” do.

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Jon Webb vs. Karim Brigante (w/ Miss Monica Passeri): Good to see Brigante and Monica again…they had gone back to Italy for a little while, but recently returned to the Harley Race Dojo. Webb is an odds-on favorite in the Jr. Heavyweight Title tournament and has been expanding his arsenal in recent months; he pulled out an impressive rana counter to a vertical suplex in the match with Leland Race that just aired on their YouTube show. These guys have a really solid matchup; Monica did a fine job of jawing with the fans and interfering when the referee’s back was turned. She has wrestled in Italy (saw a few clips on YouTube) but I don’t think she’s competed in the States yet; I can only imagine the Missouri licensing headaches. Monica’s interference prevented a few chances for Webb to close things out, but it finally backfired as Webb knocked Karim into his valet, knocking her off the apron.

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A few exchanges later, Webb finished with a superkick and Sliced Bread #2 in 8:39…woo.

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Trevor Murdoch (w/ Tag Team Champions Steve Fender & Mark Sterling) vs. Roy Lewis for the Heavyweight Title: Per General Manager Matt Murphy, Murdoch has contractual freedom to hand-pick his challengers…notably, former champion Leland Race did not wrestle on this show (though I’m pretty sure I saw him in attendance).

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Murdoch gave a big verbal buildup for his challenger (he’s WLW’s first Eagle Scout!), but it was obvious that he had picked the inexperienced Lewis with the expectation of an easy night. Lewis was psyched just to get the opportunity to be in the ring with the former WWE Tag Team Champion, but the enthusiasm went away in a hurry as he took a serious beating. The “welcome to wrestling, kid” initiation is continuing for Lewis, obviously. The fans chanted “We Want Leland”, prompting Murdoch to ask “What about Roy?”…heh. Lewis got a late rally, but Murdoch rolled through a cross-bodyblock for the win in 5:36…I think he was in the ropes and may have had a handful of tights as well, but I had trouble seeing from my vantage point.
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The post-match beatdown ensued…all three Black Hand Warriors ran in to brawl with Murdoch and company, but they got the worst of the exchange and were a bit dinged up heading into their matches later in the night.

Heather Patera vs. Stacey O’Brien vs. Lucy Mendez for the Women’s Title: There was an altercation at the previous show that set up this match. Miss Natural and Stacey had battled for the past year or so, but Lucy is also a former WLW Women’s Champion and started her wrestling career with this promotion. In contrast to Dynamo Pro’s alignments, Miss Natural was the rulebreaker in this match while both challengers were fan favorites.

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I was honestly disappointed that this match didn’t get more time; the match was good for what it was, but I think they’re capable of doing even better. Lucy and Stacey started fighting before Miss Natural was even introduced, kick-starting the bout as the champion bide her time and let the challengers fight it out.
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There were some really good triple threat exchanges, including the obligatory Tower Of Doom spot with Miss Natural powerbombing Stacey as she superplexed Lucy. The finish saw Stacey hit the backcracker on Lucy, only for Miss Natural to toss Stacey out of the ring and steal the pin on Lucy in 6:15.

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Jayden Fenix vs. “The Yoga Monster” Mike Sydal, Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament: The winner would move on to face Mike Outlaw in the semifinals. With Sydal in rulebreaking mode for the night, the winner seemed obvious; the Black Hand Warriors have built a pretty strong fanbase in Troy since even before their official turn to fan favoritism. There were a few scattered “Derek Jeter” chants for Fenix but they didn’t last. I haven’t seen Sydal in the heel role as often in recent years, but he’s very effective at it as he focused his attack on the arm. Sydal never had an opportunity to go for the Yogasault; Fenix won with a flying knee strike(a la Mr. Brie Bella) in 10:41.

They played a video on the TV monitors in the building to announce the special guest for the May 14th show: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat! Very cool…will need to check the schedule and see if I’m free for that.

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Elite Aggression (Superstar Steve Fender & “The Fittest Wrestler On Earth” Mark Sterling)(w/ Trevor Murdoch) vs. The Black Hand Warriors (Michael Magnuson & Dave DeLorean) for the Tag Team Titles: This feud stemmed from Fender and Dangerous Derek McQuinn cashing in Fender’s Harley Race Invitational Tournament opportunity after DeLorean and Jayden Fenix had won a four-team tournament for the vacant tag titles; Fender & McQuinn defeated the worn-down champions for the belts immediately after the tourney final. McQuinn suffered a recent injury and Sterling was allowed to substitute as Fender’s tag partner; I had honestly forgotten that Fender & Sterling had been Tag Champs in their own right in the past. Magnuson only recently returned to action, reuniting the original Black Hand Warriors tandem for this grudge match.

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The match was clearly going long as they did the slow build, starting with a lot of quick tags on the Warriors’ side. While Fender & Sterling would seem to be the less-experienced duo, they had teamed in the past so their own continuity was on point as well. The champs were able to isolate DeLorean(disposing of his ever-present T-shirt) and then Magnuson, but the challengers finally regained control and cleaned house. They were able to get Sterling out of the game long enough for Magnuson to hit a Codebreaker on Fender, followed by DeLorean dropping Fender with a superkick and getting the pin in 25:12! We have NEWWWWW Tag Team Champions…Jayden Fenix came out to celebrate with his partners.

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