The first thing that dawned upon me is how unprecedented this event was. To explain, an ability to gather over four-dozen independent professional wrestlers – from 16 different promotions…and for a charity event…is incredible.
Sure, indy wrestlers logically attack regional promotions like ants at a picnic table, as they very well should. Efficient booking allows these great talents to keep doing what they love, while bringing it to a very fortunate group of fans in waiting.
Fallout 15 would never occur, however, if said promotions/talent weren’t such a wonderful community. It also speaks volumes about the outstanding WWN crew, notably Trevin Adams and Rob Naylor behind the scenes doing their thing. We saw teams from New York, Maryland, the Midwest and Atlanta all converge onto our beloved Ybor City Orpheum Theater.
Hurancanrana and I likewise had the fortune of being next to a college kid at a ‘true’ indy venue for the first time. I only wish the indy wrestling athletes and talent on hand could see this event through his eyes. It would then be obvious why you they do what they do. Well, except for the part of the dangers of downing a giant Red Bull too quickly (eek!). For those keeping score: it makes you louder and more profane. But also unabashedly emotional.
Logistics aside, Fallout 15 – Night One was a masterpiece. The decision to hold (for the most part) a 3-man tournament was brilliant. The extra two bodies opened up countless partner movesets, also an ability to naturally work exterior ring area without losing match spacing and momentum.
Toward this end, the referees did an outstanding job in keeping things on pace. It’s easy to overlook good pro wrestling officiating; bad officiating, however, slows a match to a crawl. The always-brilliant Frank Gastineau had a new partner in crime, D.A. Brewer, the latter definitely up to the challenge. Equal kudos to Adams and Kyle Schneider for the professionalism and enthusiasm needed to keep a 3.5-hour marathon chugging along. Ditto Brandon Asahina and the camera crew for always following the action but never being obtrusive. Online reports are the PPV captured the event perfectly.
In the ring, work was maestro. I don’t even know where to begin describing almost 50 wrestlers – nearly all champions from regional promotions – doing their thing. Thus, consider these select moments versus comprehensive (noting Huracanrana is the site star in this area, among others):
Tier 1 Wrestling opened the evening, and quickly dropped jaws. The tactical diversity displayed by this wonderful trio invoked a ‘this is awesome!’ declaration barely 10 minutes in. Sonny Kiss, Rudeboy Riley and Alex Mason produced numerous, much deserved standing ovations in tow.
Then the pillaging. To describe Viking War Party, is reckless chaos mixed with unbridled enthusiasm. We’ve already written up their terrific DVD, but seeing them live is a whole new level. After nearly 15 minutes of eating and tossing chairs, screaming war chants with excited fans…the match finally starts. When these fans demanded a leap from the second floor balcony, the Littlest Viking was only happy to oblige.
As the night continued, so did the incredible moments. Local favorite and Team I Believe In Wrestling’s Rhett Giddins literally flipped an opponent over 10 feet into the air…into a subsequently swinging disco ball. Not to be outdone, ACW’s Jason Cade answered ‘Fly, Cade Fly’ requests by using the upper level stage as a launch pad. FIP’s own Gary Jay chopped the bejeebuz out of anyone who crossed his path.
Nuclear Kaasarole returned to Tampa with an earthy vengeance. Peter Kaasa executed perhaps the most incredible 450 degree, external ring flip I’ve ever seen. Their dazed opponents ending up victims to a top rope splash featuring a cauliflower bed below. The venue smelled like a veggie isle for the next hour. No one was complaining, Chase Brown.
Team IOU (Iggy and Awful) and Jake Dirden brought a threesome of sneaky brilliance and excellent crowd interaction with them from Atlanta. I couldn’t help but gaze with admiration at three wrestlers who clearly know their craft. And well.
The same can be said about Freelance Wrestling’s finest. Chicago’s appreciation of humor-injected wrestling and crowd interchange is a formula pro wrestling sorely needs more of. These guys served as terrific examples, with Chris Castro having the Orpheum in stitches.
Maryland Championship Wrestling’s Lio Rush, Ken Dixon and Joe Keys were accompanied by a loving legion of Old Line State followers. Seeing them work is witnessing what true professionals bring to the sport. MCW is a promotion that clearly teaches highest quality professional wrestling.
Perhaps the greatest part of the indy pro wrestling experience is seeing the next great thing. And we did in Stitch Osiris, accompanied by a very game Team World Wrestling Alliance trio. Osiris is the type of athlete with a seemingly endless arsenal, and the focus to be stellar. Thank you once again, Atlanta.
The night closed with a literal bang, that coming from smashed laptops, kendo sticks, chairs, bar stools, garbage cans, and a referee needing to direct traffic as the chaos rolled to Ybor City streets. The Hooligans and Bull Bronson won’t have it any other way. This main event featured nearly 30 minutes of raw mayhem, a clear homage to the extreme wrestling genre we rarely see today…let alone this well executed. Seeing Team Outlaw Wrestling’s stars in action is arguably worth the price of admission alone.
Finally, I would be remiss to skip mention of an impromptu title match-slash-treat featuring FIP Champ Caleb Konley versus Jody ’Warpig’ Kristofferson (with legendary dad in attendance). The two went to battle, a vicious back and forth, power move exhibition. Konley again proved why he remains FIP’s highest profile star.
I can’t believe there’s a night two to this…one we’ll have to see on WWN Live.