By Patrick Brandmeyer
Photos By Brian Kelley
Jojo Bravo vs. Sammy Guevara: Young Texas standout Guevara was making his SLA debut here. Jojo had been frustrated in his recent outings as officiating miscues had led to several losses. While the traditional face-vs.-heel structure often falls by the wayside in Anarchy(more on that in a bit), Sammy was decidedly the arrogant punk as opposed to the longtime favorite Jojo.
After a fine opener, Jojo won with a modified backslide in 9:33 and proclaimed “I still got it!” Good for him.
Angelus Layne made her first SLA appearance in quite some time. I’m a fan…she’s a cool person with a unique look compared to a lot of female wrestlers. Would like to see more women’s wrestling in the area in general, but I seem to mention that approximately once a commentary. At any rate, she said that her goal was to win the St. Louis Anarchy Title as she only had one prior title shot(when Gerald James was champion). That prompted an interrupted by The Cause(minus Adam Caster) and words were exchanged over who truly deserved a title shot(Angelus or Mr. Gelistico), setting up Angelus vs. Mr. (Everett) Connors for the following night’s show. Gelistico officially took up Heavyweight Champion Mat Fitchett on his open challenge for the evening.
“The Outlaw” Ken Phoenix vs. Kevin Lee Davidson: Phoenix has made a handful of appearances on Ring Of Honor television and this was his St. Louis-area debut. He had a rough time of it as he was attempting to be the fan favorite against K.L.D., who was decidedly the heel of the match but gets a lot of fan support in this area.
The match was good otherwise, but it had to suck for Phoenix as he did his best to play to the fans only to get a lot of boos from the K.L.D. supporters. Davidson won with his signature spinebuster in 6:25; that move tends to disrupt ceiling tiles in low-clearance buildings such as the Alton venue.
Heavyweight Champion Mat Fitchett came out to set the ground rules for his title reign. (Previous Gerald James had set it up that his defenses would be best-of-three-falls.) Fitchett’s rules were simple: No countouts, DQs, or time limits so a decisive winner would be established. Okay then…SLA has relaxed rule enforcement anyway, though they do have time limits(as established in the Gerald James-Davey Vega sixty-minute draw).
Paco Gonzalez, Mike Outlaw, Nick Cutler, & Jason Roberts vs. The Cause(Tag Team Champion Mr. (Evan) Gelistico, Mr. (Danny) Adams, Mr. (Everett) Connors, & Mr. (Austin) Blackburn): I don’t think co-Tag Champ Adam Caster was specifically advertised for the SLA weekend, but Blackburn probably saw more in-ring duty than anticipated. This was advertised as Paco recruiting a team of “upstarts” to fight The Cause; Outlaw was the only other known quantity on that side. I think I had heard Cutler’s name in the past(central Illinois guy?) but hadn’t seen much of him; apparently he and Roberts are both trainees of Michael Elgin.
The match was more competitive than I would have guessed and Blackburn tagged into the match out of a desire to prove himself…but that backfired as Paco pinned him after a Death Valley Driver in 10:40. Paco’s teammates left ringside as Paco confronted Gelistico, saying HE deserved a title shot(having given Gerald James a good fight recently)…that prompted a gang attack by The Cause until Jojo Bravo made the save.
Jojo and Paco challenged The Cause to a tag match for the following night’s show.
Roscoe Eat Lisa(“Zesty” Zakk Sawyers & “The Big Mustache On Campus” Mikey Mcfinnegan) vs. The Viking War Party(“American Viking” Alexandre Rudolph & “Littlest Viking” Jake Parnell), Tag Team Title Contenders Tournament:
This was part of a mini-tournament to determine the next challengers for The Cause with four fan-favorite duos competing for that right. While Sawyers has done week in recent months for both SLA and PWCS, he and McFinnegan were probably the underdogs in this matchup against the Vikings. The Vikings were their usual rambunctious selves, throwing chairs into the ring before the bell…Parnell headbutted the top turnbuckle until the pad fell off, then he threw the pad into the crowd and they played keep-away with it…heh.
Parnell tried to hide the pad in his tights…um, no. When he pulled the pad out of his tights, his driver’s license fell out…har har. (Do Vikings drive?) The Vikings tried to bum a smoke from Zakk before things officially got underway, to no avail. I’ve only recently seen more of the Sawyers/McFinnegan tag team, though they’ve been working together for quite a while now. They had a lot of false finishes between them, ending with McFinnegan getting the surprise pin on Parnell after an assisted Air Raid Crash in 12:40.
“The Leader Of The Pack” Stephen Wolf vs. “The Lone Star” Curt Stallion: Wolf was scheduled to face Trik Davis who was M.I.A. for the whole weekend as far as SLA was concerned. (This wasn’t directly addressed until the following night’s show.) All things considered, this show was pretty good about having face/heel matches as Stallion was in rulebreaker mode. This was a solid bout, though fans weren’t too familiar with either guy; Wolf won with a Blue Thunder Bomb in 12:40.
Gerald James(w/ Dorian Victor) vs. Jonathan Gresham: This was a battle of fan favorites as James has effectively turned face in SLA. Gresham has been getting a lot of attention in the Midwest in the past few years and also made a few appearances on Ring Of Honor television, upsetting Cedric Alexander and wrestling Roderick Strong for the T.V. Title. This shaped up to be a good battle between two smaller strikers, with Gresham having a slight edge in the technical aspect of the game as he focused his attack on James’ arm.
After the standard fighting-spirit exchanges and near-falls, Gerald got the win after a kick to the knee followed by a sliding forearm smash in 12:18. That seemed oddly short, all things considered. Cue mutual respect and all that.
Ricky Starks vs. Alex Castle: Starks made a lone appearance on NXT several months ago(as an unnamed-on-TV enhancement talent), so he’s gotten the big head and believes he’s inevitably WWE-bound. However, he competes on the indies FOR THE FANS~!…he’s clearly disingenuous, but he’s entertaining enough that the fans like him anyway.
That set him up as the fan favorite against the more traditional heel Castle. Starks blatantly copped a few familiar-looking moves and sequences, even saying “I’m sorry, I love you” before a superkick attempt(which missed). Starks won clean with a ropewalk DDT in 9:26, but the highlight was the post-match promo: Starks told Paul, err, TRIPLE H that his return to NXT would have to wait because he wanted to wrestle FOR THE FANS OF ST. LOUIS ANARCHY! He wants to continue to compete for the fans…wait for it…then, now, and forever. Forever…forever…forever…forever…forever…etc. Tremendous.
The Hooligans(Devin & Mason Cutter) vs. Team I.O.U.(“The Down-South Dandy” Nick Iggy & “The Music City Mutt” Kerry Awful), Tag Team Title Contenders Tournament: These teams have gone around the proverbial horn with each other on the Midwest independent scene, but this was my first time seeing one of their battles in person. This was the all-out brawl that you would expect, complete with one of the Hooligans’ favorite sequences:
They sit in chairs in a circle with the opponents and they just punch each other in the face as hard as possible. I know some people look down on the fighting-spirit sort of exchanges(“I’m going to let you hit me!”), so your mileage may vary on stuff like that. The exchange took place on the floor, leaving poor Brandon Tolle in a quandary about whether to count them out.
I.O.U. have worked as rulebreakers in St. Louis Anarchy despite being fan favorites in other promotions(which was how they competed in High Risk Wrestling last year), but then the Hooligans are likely to get cheered either way. I always joke that I lose track of which Hooligan is which, so I have to rely on the Bella System to figure it out: Wait for one to yell out the other’s name. (This was before the Bellas became distinctly different-looking.) This eventually got back into the ring and they traded the standard high-impact offense, ending out of nowhere as Devin pinned Awful with a sunset flip off the second rope in 11:31. The Hooligans were set to face Roscoe Eat Lisa on the following night’s show for the next shot at The Cause.
Mat Fitchett vs. Mr. (Evan) Gelistico for the Heavyweight Title: Gelistico seemed to play it straight for a while, despite being the obvious rulebreaker in the match, but SHENANIGANS~! were afoot in the big picture. Fitchett appeared to be on the verge of victory after a piledriver but Mr. Adams and Mr. Connors distracted the ref. Brandon Tolle ejected them from ringside, to the point that he physically chased them out the front door! In the meantime, Fitchett tilt-a-whirled into a DDT and went for a pin; that prompted Mr. Blackburn to make his entrance in a referee’s shirt to count two before stopping short. Gelistico decked the champion with the Rulebook and Blackburn nearly made the three-count, but Angelus Layne pulled him out of the ring and dealt with him in short order. Evan brought in a chair, but Fitchett turned the tables and hit a cradle piledriver on the chair…OW. Tolle returned to the ring just in time to make the three-count in 15:42…woo. Fitchett would go on to face the winner of the night’s main event…and he crossed paths with his longtime friend and tag partner Davey Vega in the aisleway.
Davey Vega vs. T.J. Perkins: TJP’s career has taken some interesting paths in recent years…he competed for Anarchy a handful of times, but TNA commitments took precedence as he held their X-Division Title as Manik(formerly Suicide). Since departing from that company, he has competed for EVOLVE and recently qualified for WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic…cool for him. Vega currently holds the All-American Pro and Metro Pro Tag Titles with Fitchett and recently made his Ring Of Honor debut in a dark match. However, the SLA Title has eluded him…he hasn’t held singles gold in quite a while(he’s been Lethal Wrestling Alliance Champion and NWA Missouri Champion in Dynamo Pro). Vega’s recent track record against national stars has been pretty good as he holds wins over such names as Chris Hero, Roderick Strong, and El Generico(whatever happened to THAT guy?).
It was a really good competitive battle between fan favorites and the audience wasn’t as invested in the match as I would have thought…hmm. In what came as a surprise to some in attendance, TJP got the tapout win with a modified heel hook in 16:14 and earned the title shot at Fitchett the following night…leaving Vega frustrated once again.