All Photos by Brian Kelley
A standing-room-only audience packed the East Carondelet Community Center for Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling’s biggest show of the year. Fans flooded the building to honor the memories of both the anniversary of “Wrestling At The Chase” and the late King Kong “Bruiser” Brody.
The special guests were out in force. Along with Director Of Affairs Cowboy Bob Orton, the visitors in the house included Brody’s widow Barbara Goodish, Brody’s former tag partner Stan “The Lariat” Hansen, Larry Matysik’s wife Pat, and former AWA announcer Mick Karch. Promoter Herb Simmons acknowledged his guests at the top of the show before ring announcer Drew Abbenhaus kicked off the action.
In the opener, “Dirdey” Jake Dirden joined forces with Bobby D and “Dead Sexy” Daniel Gunner to take on the trio of Brandon Espinosa, “Volatile” Curtis Wylde, and Bubba Troll.
It was a chaotic bout, as one would expect with so much humanity in one ring…as everyone brawled, Wyldefyre accidentally tripped her own man and that led to Bobby D finishing off Wylde with a Pedigree.
Two tough guys did battle as Big Jim Hoffarth locked horns with Ax. The two had crossed paths a few times in recent months without a decisive conclusion and were looking to settle the score on this meaningful night.
The battle spilled to the floor in the early minutes and Hoffarth went for a clothesline, but struck the ringpost when Ax moved out of the way. Ax pounced on the injury and targeted the bad limb with no mercy…Big Jim attempted to fight back, but had trouble defending himself and the referee finally stopped the bout out of concern for Hoffarth’s physical well-being. Ax was the winner…but Hoffarth still wanted a piece of his rival.
“The Old School Warrior” Chaz Wesson was out to make a statement and he did so at the expense of the masked man Waco.
Wesson unleashed a flurry of offense from the opening bell, pinning Waco in about a minute with a cross-bodyblock off the top rope…proving himself worthy of being in the thick of the Classic Wrestling Championship picture.
“Night Train” Gary Jackson(w/ Big Daddy) had a literally huge task ahead of him in the form of the 300-plus-pound Barackus.
Jackson was attempting to rebound from his April loss of the Classic Title to Flash Flanagan, but he had trouble dealing with the size disadvantage. Barackus crushed the veteran with a huge Samoan Drop, but experience was the deciding factor as Barackus took his time on the pin attempt.
That allowed Gary to crucifix his shoulders to the mat for the pinfall, using the big man’s own size against him.
Herb Simmons interviewed Stan Hansen and Barbara Goodish about the night’s main event: The Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal. As noted, the bout held special significance for them due to their respective connections to its namesake…many contenders would be in the ring to earn that trophy, but only one could walk away with it.
Midwest newcomer Paloma Starr went one-on-one with “The Queen Of Chaos” Lucy Mendez…the two had a wild fight in a mixed tag the previous month, but this time there would be no tag team partners to hold them back.
Starr had the power advantage, but Lucy’s experience would play a pivotal role in this one. She managed to outmaneuver Paloma and deliver a hanging DDT for the victory, continuing her run of success in the St. Louis area.
Two men at career crossroads faced each other as Keith Smith Jr. collided with “Ironman” Ken Kasa (accompanied by Travis Cook). Kasa was hoping to get back on track toward the Classic Wrestling Championship while the upstart Smith had his sights set on his first one-on-one victory.
Kasa established his early dominance with his signature shotgun dropkick right after the opening bell…he could have ended the match at that point, but chose to dish out more punishment. Chaz Wesson came out to root for his protege and that drew the ire of Travis Cook…however, the manager accidentally distracted his own charge and Keith Jr. was able to fire back with a football-style leg dive.
With Kasa down on the mat, Smith hooked his father’s signature figure-four leglock and Kasa was forced to tap out!
After the match, things broke down between Kasa and Cook…Kasa was able to leave the ring without his manager, but caught him in the act of attempting a cheapshot with a chain around his fist. Kasa cornered Cook and prepared to lower the boom, but his stablemate Chris Hargas clipped his injured knee from behind. Hargas and Cook dished out a two-on-one beatdown on the wounded competitor, essentially downsizing Ken Kasa from the Travis Cook Organization.
Travis Cook had a full evening as Hargas teamed with the Mongolian madman Attila Khan against the unlikely duo of Ricky Cruz and Ron Powers. The longtime rivals had common enemies and worked surprisingly well against Cook’s team, but underhanded tactics made the difference in this match.
As the referee’s attention was diverted, Khan stunned Cruz with a low blow before jabbing him in the throat with a foreign object passed into the ring by Travis Cook. After that, Khan scored the tainted pinfall on the former Classic Wrestling Champion.
The Classic Wrestling Championship was at stake as two-time titleholder Flash Flanagan defended against “The Man Of Tomorrow” Daniel Eads. Eads had received MWR’s “Future Star Award” and hoped to carry that momentum into a big victory, but Flash’s years of experience were too much to overcome.
A missed move caused Eads to land painfully on the second turnbuckle and Flanagan followed up with a double-stomp from the top rope as Eads was hung up on the ropes; that allowed the champion to retain his title.
The ring filled with powerhouses at the end of the night, all competing for the honor of being the first holder of the Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal trophy.
In the midst of all the battles, Travis Cook pulled down the top rope and caused Ron Powers to tumble out of the ring. He seemed to be eliminated at that point, but Cowboy Bob Orton would allow him to re-enter the fray. The match came down to Hargas, Khan, Cruz, and Powers…Cruz eliminated Khan only to be pulled to the floor himself. Hargas charged at Powers, but Ron pulled down the top rope and Hargas fell out of the ring…leaving the former Brody protege as the winner of the battle royal!
After Barbara Goodish presented Powers with the trophy, Herb Simmons congratulated him on his win…but he had a bit of news regarding the June show. Travis Cook had been badgering him to settle the Red River Jack controversy and Herb finally had a solution: On June 20th, Ron Powers would face two members of the Travis Cook Organization…and Powers’ tag team partner would be Red River Jack. The news seemed to catch Powers off guard, but he promised that he and R.R.J. would come out on top.
On a night set up to celebrate Wrestling At The Chase and Bruiser Brody, the action in the ring told its own story and set the stage for a tumultuous summer in Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling!