A Look Back: 2016 Year in Review
Happy New Year, PWX faithful! Just days into 2017 and Premiere Wrestling Xperience is already on the 'Road to Rise of a Champion' but 2016 was a very memorable year for the fans, performers, and everyone involved. 2016 provided star making and breakout performances, a fond farewell to a PWX icon, worldwide acknowledgement and great shows each and every month. With the help of many PWX fans sharing their favorite memories from 2016, let's pause and reflect before we crank up for an EVEN BETTER new year!
2016 saw the end of an era for PWX Icon Cedric Alexander, now a part of World Wrestling Entertainment and credited with one of the top 5 matches in the biggest wrestling company in the world this past year Cedric provided many memorable moments before his curtain call with Premiere Wrestling Xperience earlier last year. Alexander began his final year with his "home promotion" defeating former ROH Champion Michael Elgin, and had classic matchups while preparing for his next step with WWE against Chris Hero and Ethan Case. Cedric also had two international matchups testing himself against the best of the UK in singles matches with both Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. all in all 2016 was a continuation of Cedric's 'Dream Series" from years past. The final moment in a PWX ring came in August of 2016 for the former PWX World Heavyweight Champion challenging his friend, mentor and current Champion "Manscout" Jake Manning for the title. Alexander and Manning put on a very memorable main event with Manning getting the big win over Cedric. Following the battle the two embraced, Alexander addressed the live crowd in his hometown of Charlotte and embraced several of his colleagues and friends mid ring, in what goes down as one of the most memorable moments not only of 2016 but in PWX history.
From a bittersweet goodbye to a door crashing coming out party we'll take a look next at what may be the most impressive performance in the mid-atlantic in all of 2016, that of The Lethal Lovers Anthony Henry and Amber Young. For years Henry has been an unsung talent who left his mark on any show he was on but after reuniting with his "better half" Amber and adjusting his priorities Henry has himself poised to be the next breakout star from the area in 2017. Henry notched wins this past year against Will Ferarra, Roderick Strong, Sami Callihan, Matt Riddle, Zack Sabre Jr and more. One very memorable match for many fans came as part of a bitter feud with one half of the current WWE NXT Tag Team Champions Tommaso Ciampa. Known now as "The Lost Show" 'Believe the Hype' 2016 saw a brutal battle between the two athletes eliciting a 'Fight Forever' chant from the raucous crowd in attendance that night. Arguably this match could be looked at as the tipping point for Henry's breakout year yet he still wasn't (nor is he at the time of this publication) satisfied with his success. Henry and Amber make it no secret they want to be known as the King and Queen of PWX, and winning X-16 was yet another goal that the devious duo reached this past year. Henry defeated Martin Stone, Trevor Lee, Zack Sabre Jr and 2015 X-16 winner Ethan Case to add the X-16 trophy to his growing list of accomplishments in 2016. 2017 will take Henry to many new places to try and top 2016 but there is still plenty of unfinished business in the New Year for Henry and Young.
Moving on from a breakout singles performance to what has to be considered the hottest trio in professional wrestling this past year. It started organically with a tag team pairing of Rob Killjoy and Lance Lude, then the addition of Colby Corino and all good teams need a Coach like Mikey, you put it all together and you have THE UGLY DUCKLINGS!! This trio thrilled the PWX faithful in 2016 with trios matches against The Lucha World Order (Los Ben Dejos and Lince Dorado), The Carnies (Nick Iggy, Kerry Awful, & Trip Cassidy), Oi4k (Sami Callihan, Dave Crist, & Jake Crist) and still managed to find time to win the PWX Tag Team Championships in a tremendous year to be an "outcast'. Prior to their formation The Ugly Ducklings were also a part of one of the most memorable matches of 2016 a 5 man ladder match at Rise of a Champion 2016 and from that point on 'Duck-A-Mania' has been running wild in Premiere Wrestling Xperience. Killjoy, Lude, and Corino had an amazing year whether it is tag matches, trios’ matches or singles matches this trio of misfits with their doting Coach created a host of memorable moments this past year for the PWX faithful. Once again "The Lost Show" (Believe the Hype 2016) gets a lot of mentions here at 2/3 of the Ducks Rob Killjoy and Colby Corino had a tremendous tag team match with the team of Chip Day and Joseph A'Gau and who can forget 'What Lies Beneath' when the ring was littered with rubber ducky’s a moment many look back on as the true initiation of The Ugly Ducklings into the hearts and minds of the PWX faithful. With tag team titles to defend in the New Year and still plenty of trios and tag teams out there yet to step into the pond 2016 may just be the beginning of all the quacking.
Perhaps some of the most shocking moments of 2016 surrounded current PWX World Champion "Manscout" Jake Manning as well as his former friends Caleb Konley and Zane Riley The Revolt. If you're judging by the crowd reaction, nearly no one saw it coming when Manning (notoriously known for taking three second naps mid ring for some of the biggest names in the business) defeated John Skyler in a brutal revival of their feud (which is another favorite moment of PWX fans from 2016) to become the top man in Premiere Wrestling Xperience. Unfortunately for The Manscout, he too would be a part of another shocking moment during a "This is Your Life' celebration with longtime friends and partners The Revolt, Manning was blasted from behind with a champagne bottle having his crowning moment ruined. Konley and Riley's mission has always been to "right the ship" in PWX but exactly what that means is becoming less clear as we enter the New Year. The Revolt continue to do what they want when they want to do it including interfering in many of Manning's title matches effectively tainting the championship reign of The Manscout. The Revolt also had a very heated feud with their other two partners from War Games back in March of 2016 culminating with another of the most brutal matches we've seen in PWX, a 'Final Confrontation' between The Revolt and The Bravados. The final event of 2016 saw tables, chairs, chains, ladders, and trash cans used in a bitter end to one chapter of this story yet the careers of the PWX World Champion and The Revolt remain closely intertwined as we go into the new year and it's safe to assume that things aren't over between the former friends now bitter rivals.
Premiere Wrestling Xperience has always been committed to not only providing the best of the best local talent but also bringing in elite talent from around the country (and the world) to be a part of the show, in 2016 we saw many of these talents become regulars with the promotion in some truly memorable matches and moments as the PWX family continues to expand. "The Death Machine" Sami Callihan was a part of several PWX events this year including memorable matches with Anthony Henry, and another fan favorite moment being his 'cosplay' in the semifinals of X-16 with Ethan Case, and a six man tag with Oi4k just last month. Callihan even briefly became PWX World Champion this past year in a big time AAW vs. PWX title match over the summer with a win over two time PWX World Champion John Skyler. Another man that left his impression not only worldwide but in PWX over the last year is "The Product" David Starr. Starr immediately became a favorite with the PWX faithful after a few performances in PWX the year before in 2016 Starr challenged for the ITV Title and defended his newly won wXw Shotgun Championship. Another frequent guest of PWX in 2016 was former WWE NEXT star "The Governor" Martin Stone, Stone brought his unique World Of Sport approach from Florida (by way of The UK) to PWX several times this past year including matches with Corey Hollis, Anthony Henry, and a very entertaining match to end the year with Ethan Case at Seasons Delete-ings. PWX gained one of the best young high flyers in the business this past year as well in Jason Cade, Cade wowed the crowd with his high octane, high risk offense in 2016 with a very memorable moment at 'Battlefield X' climbing to the highest accessible point in the building and diving off in an X-16 showcase match. Not only did 2016 see an influx of "outside" talent making their mark in PWX but also some breakout performances notably from "The New Age Enforcer" James Drake and Tracer X. 2016 was a year that saw both these men really step up their game and elevate their profile with Drake ending the year as Innovative Television Champion and Tracer winning some big matches en route to a very impressive X-16 performance, the careers of these two rising stars seem intertwined as they ended the year on opposing sides of an excellent ITV Championship match. The talent pool continues to get deeper and deeper in PWX and with these new additions as well as established talents such as Dezmond Xavier, Matt Riddle, and Zack Sabre Jr, and more making appearances over the past year; Premiere Wrestling Xperience is becoming a destination for the best and brightest in professional wrestling.
Long before the chaos that the second half of 2016 brought for former friends, now bitter enemies the 10th anniversary event for Premiere Wrestling Xperience saw a return of one of the most lethal matches in mid-Atlantic history...WAR GAMES! On one side, The Xperience (John Skyler, Adam Page, Corey Hollis, Gunner, & CW Anderson) masterminded by Steve Corino held all the gold and opposing them were The Revolt (Caleb Konley, Manscout Jake Manning, & Zane Riley) who had recruited The Bravado Brothers for war. It had been nearly 20 years since this region had seen a true War Games match, two cages, two rings; no rules and what transpired was a lasting battle that still remains in the minds of PWX faithful nearly a full year later. On this night in March of 2016, The Revolt stood tall at the end of the night, battered, bloody, beaten but victorious, we now know things aren't exactly chipper between either of these factions now but for one night, on one HUGE show THE MATCH BEYOND was returned to its former glory.
No one entered 2016 hotter than the man now known as "Mr. PWX" Ethan Case, having just won the inaugural X-16 tournament Case was the #1 contender and primed for championship gold but that never came to fruition for one main reason...his former best friend and tag team partner Elijah Evans IV! Elijah took every chance he could to make Case's 2016 miserable costing him a string of losses to PWX World Champion John Skyler while ramping up the vicious attacks every time we saw him. In a heinous attack over the summer, Evans attacked Case with a sledgehammer and cut his trademark blonde locks in the middle of the ring pushing his former friend over the edge. Case demanded a match with Evans, no rules, one final battle to end it all. That epic conclusion came at the aptly titled 'Redemption' show in Gastonia and what followed was pure carnage. The former PWX tag team champions battled throughout the venue, Case was driven through a table, Evans piledriven on the bleachers and still in the end the two foes literally tore the ring apart before Case finally got his redemption with a brutal 'Case Cutter' on the exposed wood planks of the ring.
These and so many other personal moments for each and every person involved with Premiere Wrestling Xperience add up to a banner year for independent professional wrestling in the mid-Atlantic. As we officially kick off the 'Road to Rise of a Champion' and a brand new year THANK YOU! for a tremendous 2016 and we look forward to sharing even more memorable moments over the next year with you! A special thank you to the members of the official PWX Fans Page on Facebook for sharing your personal favorite memories of 2016. Get in on the discussion for 2017 at the link below.
Contributors: Emannuel Matkins, Tracey Knotts Russell, Matthew Acosta, Jamal Talley, Mark De Gruchy, William W. Kubicz, Jarred McKinney, Kassie Zohn, Patrick Treadway, Doug Forbis, Samantha Schipman, Nikki Schipman, Jeffrey T. Capo, Andy McDaniel-Milliken, Jeremy Maestro, & David E Houston II.
Premiere Wrestling Xperience kicks off 2017 on January 15th in Gastonia, North Carolina with 'Road to Rise of a Champion' Get your tickets on the main page and be sure to 'like' us on Facebook and follow @PWXWrestling on twitter as well as our editor @The1andonlyJer for all the latest information leading up to the event and throughout the year.
Photo Credit: John Moses Photography