AYO! What's popping everybody? As the Road to WrestleMania drew ever nearer we knew that this might possibly be one of the last stops along the road before we take flight and head to the 30th anniversary of the Showcase of the Immortals. And what a night it turned out to be...
Date: 15th March, 2014
Venue: York Hall, Bethnal Green
City: London, England
Now we were running late, which people who are close to me know that is nothing out of the ordinary, but this time it was Anuj's fault. We had planned to get a few things signed by 'The Icon' Sting, who was doing an appearance before the 'High Stakes 2014' show started. It was a shame I couldn't take the WWE Encyclopedia to get signed because... well, he's the most successful wrestler to never work for Vince McMahon, in case you didn't know. However, that also looks like it may change very soon, with his recent addition to Wrestlecon's Sunday session in New Orleans at WrestleMania weekend, but we'll get to that.
What we did want to get signed were; The Clash of Champions DVD, a custom Sting photo card Anuj had designed, the infamous 'Nervous' Sting Sign from Wembley Arena as seen on TNA TV, a Sting mask and we decided to take the signed Sting black baseball bat as well. If I hadn't mentioned it before, I am in possession of a limited to 100, special signed Louisville Slugger, black baseball bat that was released after Sting's TNA Bound for Glory 2008 match against Samoa Joe, where he had won the World Heavyweight Championship. I remember watching that match and feeling like a kid again! A priceless piece of merchandise. The greatest item I could own, considering that Sting is probably my favourite Wrestler of all time, and the single reason why I started watching WCW on a regular basis. You can imagine the mental dilemma of whether or not i wanted to bring it out of the house...
After a long journey, on a packed couple of trains, we reached our destination and queued up when I got a phonecall. It was Perry. I asked him where about he was, and he told me that he was behind me! A few places back, Perry was indeed there waving at us. We spoke briefly and he still hadn't had his tickets sorted out just yet, and was taking the risk of leaving it till last minute!
As the queue got shorter, we started to arrange who was going to get what signed, and started fiddling around with all the items we had on us - Our hands were pretty full! Once our tickets had been checked, we walked to the merchandising table, where I bought the Sting 'Nervous' T-shirt and threw it over the Sting T-shirt I was already wearing. It was almost Showtime Folks.
And then it happened. A lifelong dream became an immediate reality, I walked up to Sting and shook his hand. Now bear with me as I try and recall the conversation we had.
Anuj was up next, and he had the infamous 'Nervous' sign with him. Sting signed it as Anuj asked him if he remembered it, and remembered coming up to Anuj who sitting sitting front row at TNA. "It was from the first time I came over here, right?" Indeed it was. Anuj asked him if he liked it, and he said he did, and that it was pretty cool. He signed the custom photo card Anuj had made and they shook hands. Anuj thanked him.
Perry was a few people behind us, and he was marking out, I just knew it! I know him too well and I can see it in his face, but he held it down well!
We walked through the area where Perry had purchased a ticket for the fan slam and he was off to meet Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal, Young Bucks and Colt Cabana. Rihan was no where to be seen, and Anuj and I used this opportunity to get a picture with the ring:
The phone call from Rihan finally came and he told me that he was here. We walked back through the main corridor towards the entrance, when a door swang open and Colt Cabana was on the other side. "BOOM BOOM! Colt Cabana!" escaped my mouth as we walked past and he said, "Right here!"
We met Rihan at the front entrance, who was well excited to say the least. He was hoping that Sting would be appearing for the photo op today in his facepaint, but it wasn't the case! How awesome would that have been? I mean more so than it already was. Ok, let me back track for a second. After we had met Sting, I saw someone else with a baseball bat that wasn't part of the original 100 that I had, but was customized with the owner's name on it. Customization. Something I hadn't thought of at the time we met Sting. But that's where Rihan comes in to save the day. He didn't have anything else he wanted to get signed, so I entrusted him with the greatest weapon I have ever had. The Black Bat. So he could get it customized for me, and have a picture with the bat and 'The Icon' himself.
- WE WERE LIVING OUR DREAM -After this was all done, we walked through that same door that I had seen Colt Cabana through earlier, and standing to my left was non other than 'Black Machismo' himself, Jay Lethal! He was eying up the Black Bat and I'm pretty sure he was slightly marking out for it, as I recall him saying something like, "Oh man, look at that signed by Sting Oh Yeaahh!" and I let him carry it and have a closer look. It was at about the same time that the Young Bucks were dazzled by Anuj's 'Nervous' Poster - and he continued to show off the other signatures all along the back of it, including Hulk Hogan's!
Now I almost always hear Colt Cabana mention "The Wrestling Road Diaries", or have heard him mention it enough on his podcast to make me at least a little bit curious about it. That's an understatement. I jumped at the opportunity to buy it when I saw it on Colt's merch table. Can't wait to watch it.
The Young Bucks were also pretty great to talk to, and we managed to get a group picture with them. Throwing them up with the Young Bucks:
The 'High Stakes 2014' Card
We spent a good amount of time outside between the 4 of us just sharing our experiences and just talking wrestling, and educating Anuj on the fact that there was a time that CM Punk had a match against Raven in Brent Town Hall once upon a time! We still had a fair bit of time before the show itself started, we we decided to get our tickets and then head to a local pub and grab a few drinks since we had some time to kill - Wrestling fans are the best fans in the world!
When we did make our way back to the venue, it had turned out that someone else had taken our seats! But I guess that worked out in our favour, because now we were sitting right next to the ramp, front row view for all of the night's action!
The opening contest was already underway as we got to our seats as 'Black Machismo' Jay Lethal was set to take on Josh Bodom. I had never really seen Bodom wrestler before, but as Anuj pointed out, he looked like the teenage version of Brock Lesnar. Bodom would kick out of a top rope elbow drop by Jay Lethal and then find a way come out on top with the victory! A great opening match, with Bodom receiving the boos as the heel, and Lethal being cheered as the face. The way it should be /-)
The second contest of the night was a singles match and was set for one fall. Sha Samuels (wearing the red and yellow colours of Hulkamania, but being booed for his heelish ways) would take on Mark Andrews. Samuels was a lot bigger in size in comparison to the lightweight Andrews who seemed to be more of a high flier. Samuels dominated this match, with Andrews building somewhat of a comeback near the end of the match but to no avail. Samuels was out at ringside when Andrews decided to run and attempt a suicide dive through the ropes, only to be hit by a thunderous steel chair shot to the head from Samuels. I mean that chair shot could be heard from anywhere inside in the building, it was nasty! Holy Shit chants followed soon after if I'm not mistaken and that's when it seemed like business had picked up for the night. Samuels was indeed disqualified, but continued a post match beatdown on Andrews with the Steel chair when his former tag team partner hit the ring. For a moment it looked as thought he was about to stop him, but instead he used to chair to further punish Andrews! Was this team re-united again? It certainly looked that way, as they walked away dominant and left Andrews laying, to be checked out by the medics.
The next match was scheduled for one fall and it was for the Revolution Pro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship. The Swords of Essex (c) were set to defend their titles against The Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann). Now I don't think words will do this match justice, but in a word, if I had to describe this match, it was "Mindblowing." The Inner City Machine Guns came out to Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" with everyone in the crowd singing along!
It has to be said that Rihan is Ricochet's biggest fan /-) After they got into the ring, Ricochet did some very impressive break dancing and worked the crowd into a frenzy before the Swords of Essex made their way to the ring. I'm not going to do a play by play of this match because you need to have either been there or watch it for yourself, which is why I suggest you buy the 'RPW: High Stakes 2014' DVD when it comes out. What I will say is that during this match, we were privileged to seeing moves and flips, ring psychology that I have never been exposed to before. They knew what they were doing and when to do it. The match went on for what seemed like 20, 30, maybe even 40 minutes with everyone in the crowd going absolutely nuts for these 4 men, and literally everyone in the building was standing before this match was over. False finish, after false finish, high risk after high risk. The greatest tag team match I've witnessed all year. The Inner City Machine Guns would eventually pick up the win to the applause of the entire building. Both teams would shake hands and hug as a sign of respect, they had truly created some magic.
We had to be a part of that magic so as soon as the match was over, we took our opportunity at getting a picture with the NEW Undisputed British Tag Team Champions!
After the brief break, The Young Bucks were set to take on Project Ego - billed as the 'Tag Team Dream Match'. They had a lot to live up to as the Swords of Essex and Inner City Machine Guns had most definitely raised the bar for the night. The pace of the match was great, and picked up as it went on with both teams getting great ovations from the crowd. I could say it was a slightly more technical match than the one before it, and this match would come to an end when one of the Young Bucks would hit a Tombstone Piledriver, assisted by the other as they leaped off the top rope, WHAT A MANEUVER! Young Bucks picked up the win.
International Challenge Match: El Ligero was set to take on Sonjay Dutt, and the crowd were chanting for both men again, with the "Si!" chants for El Ligero. At one point, the "All Night Long" chants started to be sung again, with Sonjay being receptive and dancing for the crowd. El Ligero soon followed and they both eventually convinced the referee to break a move too! Fun match to watch, El Ligero was the one coming out the victor. Both shook hands at the conclusion of the contest.
Right before the main event, we were all treated to a special appearance by 'The Icon' himself, Sting.
In the main event of the evening, 'Party' Marty Scurll would challenge the current Revolution Pro Wrestling Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion, Colt Cabana in a 30 minute Ironfist match.
Colt Cabana on the other hand decided to pay tribute to one of the greatest, and most well known British Wrestling legend possibly of all time, Big Daddy:
This was the first time that we had ever seen Colt Cabana in a non-comedy, serious match and it was awesome! Some great spots in this match, including Marty getting a cheap fall over Colt right near the closing 10 minutes of the match by handcuffing Colt to the security rail. Followed by Scurll taping himself to the middle rope with a one fall advantage. Colt would go over to the first aid kit and retrieve a pair of scissors and cut Marty free, hit him with a GTS and even things out! The time would eventually run down with both individuals tied at 2 falls a piece. The crowd were chanting for 5 more minutes and it's what they got. However in this 5 minutes, Sha Samuels and his tag partner would come down and put a beating on Colt. Cabana tried to fight back but to no avail and eventually had to tap to a cross face chicken wing. 'Party' Marty Scurll had just become the new Revolution Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion.
Anuj wanted to get a picture with Colt right after that match because I think he had a new found respect for him after that performance, from superplexes to moonsaults - Cabana had it in his arsenal!
|Being held hostage by Darth Scurll's Stormtroopers|
High Stakes 2014 Moment: 'Party' Marty Scurll's Entrance
Move of the Night: Colt Cabana's Moonsault
Match of the Night: Undisputed British Tag Team Championship: The Swords of Essex vs. The Inner City Machine Guns
When it was all said and done, so much had happened in the past 48 hours. We attended a Q&A entitled, "An Evening With The Stinger", Rihan had asked him the question that was on everybody's mind, we broke the news world wide and before you knew it was on every wrestling website, we met Sting again and had our pictures taken, I got the baseball bat customized, we got to hang out with and talk to a great group of wrestlers, and to cap it all off we had just witnessed the best wrestling show to date, all year long. It was such a phenomenal card and I remember telling Ricochet's tag team partnet, Rich Swann that my mind had been blown! Every match delivered, and dare I say that in terms of WRESTLING I'd witnessed and been part of something better than WrestleMania, but time will tell.
Everything from the building, the people in the crowd and the wrestlers were extraordinary. The atmosphere was off the hook! I remember asking Rihan hours prior to this, "Who's Ricochet?" simply because I'd never seen him in a match before, but after being a part of High Stakes 2014 I don't think I'll ever be able to forget who Ricochet is! Although we had pretty much lost our voices, and drained of energy, I can say that it was well worth it! If this is the last wrestling show stop before WrestleMania, I'm glad it was - because the action was indescribable. This may be the last time we go to a Revolution Pro Wrestling show before WrestleMania, but it most definitely will not be the last time we go to a show of theirs... SummerSizzler 2014 - I will be there.
The Road to WrestleMania gets shorter and about 2 weeks remain...
There's plenty more still to come! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (18/03/14) 22:15