Rise of a Champion XI Full Recap
PWX Wrestling celebrated 11 years this past month with our annual event Rise of a Champion featuring the return of War Games to the Carolinas pitting The Revolt vs. The Xperience and while the main event delivered EVERYTHING else on the show did as well. In the end Rise of a Champion XI: War Games is being called one of the best independent wrestling shows of 2016...ANYWHERE! From the craziness of a 6 way ladder match, to technical warfare, and onto some of the best pure wrestling from some of the most gifted athletes in the sport let's take a look at this 11th Anniversary extravaganza that took place at Johnson C. Smith University's Brayboy Gym and brought PWX Wrestling to a whole other level.
Juniors Division 6-Man Ladder Match for a shot at any title in PWX
Mason Maddox defeated Rob Killjoy, Lance Lude, Colby Corino, Jett Black, and Smith Garrett
PWX has a way of kicking off events in grand fashion with some of the best matches in history happening directly following the opening bell, the opener for Rise of a Champion XI exceeded that mark as six men put their bodies on the line in an intense, fast paced and brutal ladder match. From the opening bell it was clear The Ugly Ducklings (Lude, Killjoy, & Corino) had a strategy all for one and one for all. Amidst the chaos that unfolded in this match that didn't exactly work to their advantage but ROCXI saw the true assembly and realization of 'The Quack Pack" The Ugly Ducklings are here to stay! At one point Corino took the lead climbing the ladder but making sure to have a hand on each of his fellow ducklings so they could claim the prize together, the attempt ended in a hard crash to the canvas (not the last one of the night for either man) later on Killjoy and Lude walked the ropes side by side in an effort to secure the contract but again the ducklings took a hard fall. Smith Garrett used his size and strength to be the ring general dumping his opponents left and right before suffering a brutal double stomp on a ladder from Killjoy injuring his ribs. The PWX faithful were clearly behind Mason Maddox from the beginning of this one and the young man seemed to feed off the energy of the screaming crowd and continuously will his way back into the matchup. Newcomer to PWX Jett Black impressed the crowd with his athleticism and agility before being taken out by a Tbone suplex on the outside of the ring. 2016 Manager of the Year The Tommy Thomas showed his dedication to Mason Maddox getting himself involved in the match and pushing Mason out of the way of a sandwich of ladders which Thomas himself took the impact of, this provided the opening Maddox needed to climb the ladder and secure the contract earning himself a future shot at any PWX Championship he chooses. The celebration was shortlived as The Ugly Ducklings had the last laugh attacking Maddox viciously following the match and sending a clear message to anyone who was watching. This was a huge win for Maddox who recovered, and walked out on his own aided by his new manager and clutching the biggest opportunity of his professional career. It will be interesting to see how Mason Maddox chooses to cash in on this potentially life changing contract.
Elijah Evans IV defeated Ethan Case
Former best friends and very successful tag team partners finally collided 1 on 1 next as the implosion of Worst Case Scenario reached its end...or possibly just its beginning? Since parting ways Case has won the X-16 tournament, and spent a considerable amount of time as #1 contender to the PWX World Heavyweight Championship, his last shot at the title ended with Evans costing him the match-up and the title. In that same period of time Elijah Evans IV has enjoyed less success in the singles ranks but if you ask him it all has to do with opportunity, something EEIV feels he hasn't been favored with as much as his former friend and partner. As Case waited in the ring for Evans to make his entrance he couldn't contain himself any longer and met his former partner in the aisle way as the brawl started immediately. The former WCS battled throughout the arena and around the ring for five minutes before making it into the ring where the bell signaled the official start of the match. It was very clear throughout the match how well these two men knew one another and that created a back and forth matchup with both Case and Evans nearly earning the victory on several occasions. Also, the usual "bag of tricks" wasn't working for either man as their former partner seemed to be one step ahead, EEIV went for 'Finito' and it was blocked, Case went for the 'Case Cutter' and it was side stepped and then Ethan Case made his comeback and looked to pull out another big singles win hitting the suplex bomb, then going back to the 'Case Cutter' which Evans sidestepped and with the referee distracted EEIV kicked Case where no man wants to be kicked and covered him for the 1-2-3! Elijah Evans IV scores the HUGE victory, maybe not in the most honorable way but he proved he could hang with his former partner. The ending of this match definitely didn't sit well with Case who (after he recovered) was LIVID! Chances are there will be another meeting between the former PWX tag team champions down the road.
JT Dunn defeated Lio Rush
Two of the fastest rising wrestlers in the sport today came to PWX next to go 1 on 1, JT Dunn making his return and the 2016 ROH Top Prospect Tournament Winner Lio Rush making his debut, and neither disappointed. This was a clash of styles with Rush going 99 miles per hour the whole match, and Dunn taking the more methodical (and extremely hard hitting) route to victory. Dunn looked for the dragon sleeper submission several times throughout out the match but Rush fought out of it and kept Dunn on his toes by picking up the pace of the match while scoring some nice strikes via ensuguiri and leg lariats himself. Dunn responded with some stiff elbows (more of those to come later) and the power struggle between two of the best rising stars in the business continued with neither man able to secure that three count. In the end you live and you die by the elbow and Dunn hit a picture perfect discus elbow right on the money to get the win in an outstanding matchup.
Lethal Lovers Open Challenge
Drew Gulak w/ DJ Hyde defeated Anthony Henry w/ Amber Young
It was only a few days prior to Rise of a Champion XI that Anthony Henry and Amber Young, The Lethal Lovers issued their open challenge to anyone for the 11th anniversary event. It wasn't long before the challenge had been accepted by Combat Zone Wrestling's master ring technician Drew Gulak and Gulak promised he wouldn't be alone and he delivered on that promise as well as accepting Henry's challenge. DJ Hyde accompanied Gulak to the ring and helped to keep Amber Young as much of a non-factor in this match as he could, but the story of this one without a doubt was the impressive technical display put on by not only Gulak, but Anthony Henry as well in a losing effort. Henry showed extreme versatility at ROCXI, following intense wars with Tommaso Ciampa and Sami Callihan this was a whole different challenge for Henry who has been on as big a roll as anyone in indy wrestling lately. Gulak stretched and pulled Henry every direction, laid in vicious European uppercuts and brought a different style that had every eye in the crowd glued on the ring to see what came next, and what that was is Henry responding, adapting his game and bringing the fight right back to the best technical wrestler on the planet. Henry found ways of escaping the grasp of Gulak and locked in holds of his own, then took the action to the outside with a dive but when going for a second dive he was caught and Gulak locked in a standing boston crab right on the floor! Back in the ring Gulak had Henry tied up again and Amber Young had seen enough, Young got involved but DJ Hyde was right behind her and he did quite a job of controlling his temper after being slapped and spit on by Amber! Hyde controlled the situation and amongst the chaos Gulak pinned Anthony Henry putting at least a temporary stop to the win streak of The Lethal Lovers.
Cedric Alexander defeated Chris Hero
This was a highly anticipated rematch from PWX's past pitting two of the very best in the game, on PWX Wrestling's biggest stage and once again it did not disappoint. Hero vs. Alexander was a slugfest from the opening bell to the final three count, Hero made a statement early taking Alexander outside the ring asking the crowd to prepare themselves and then LEVELING Cedric with an elbow that echoed throughout Brayboy Gym (and likely halfway across the campus of JCSU) which crumpled the 'best in the world' into the VIP front row seats (and laps. The former WWE NXT Superstar, Hero was in lock step with the much faster and agile Alexander throughout the whole match proving that 'The Knockout Kid' can still go toe to toe with the best of them. Alexander entered this match in his hometown of Charlotte to a raucous ovation and seemed to have a renewed energy about him which always translates to a tough night at the office for any opponent. Cedric absorbed some of the hardest strikes in all of professional wrestling while dealing some back of his own yet even after a C.O.D. he couldn't quite put away the well-traveled veteran Hero. In an instant, Cedric switched to another gear and delivered the Lumbar Check to pick up the big victory and put everyone on notice that the former PWX World Champion still has plenty left in the tank. Following the match in a very classy show of respect, Chris Hero went into the stands getting fans up on their feet to give a standing ovation to his opponent. This was simply but elegantly two of the very best performing their craft to perfection in another fantastic match on an absolutely insane night of professional wrestling.
As the double steel cage structure was being completed a familiar voice filled the venue, King Corino walked to the ring with one singular thought on his mind, calling out Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat!!! Corino talked about his career, titles, and where his career has taken him but paused saying one place he never got the opportunity was WWE because "Vince never called me!.” Corino then pointed out all the excitement surrounding a WWE Hall of Famer being in attendance at tonight's show and since he never got that call the only way he could earn his spot is to take Steamboat's!!! Former World Champion, WWE Hall of Famer, and Professional Wrestling legend Ricky "The Dragon Steamboat" came to the ring and quickly told Corino that he wouldn't sacrifice all his years in the business, all his accomplishments and waste any more time giving Corino any of his time. The Dragon turned to leave the cage, Corino grabbed him and without missing a step Steamboat whipped him into the ropes and delivered picturesque and legendary back elbow as the crowd roared seeing The Dragon back in action even for a quick second. This was one of those special moments in professional wrestling you'll always remember and yet another thing that puts Rise of a Champion XI: War Games one of the best wrestling shows of the year. And now it was time for WAR GAMES! The Xperience vs. The Revolt 5 on 5, 2 rings, double cage, submit or surrender... THERE MUST BE A WINNER!!!!
War Games- The Match Beyond
The Revolt (Caleb Konley, "Man Scout" Jake Manning, Zane Riley) & The Bravado Brothers defeated The Xperience ("The Southern Savior" John Skyler, Corey Hollis, Adam Page, CW Anderson, & Gunner) w/ Steve Corino
The newest member of The Xperience "The Enforcer" CW Anderson started things off for his side and Jake Manning entered first for The Revolt. Anderson and Manning took turns running one another into the unforgiving steel cage wall and before the initial 5:00 opening period was up The Man Scout was already bloody. As was decided at 'Road to Rise of Champion’ The Xperience would have the numbers advantage as The Enforcer was joined by PWX World Champion John Skyler. Skyler hit the ring quickly to maximize the 2 on 1 advantage hitting a spear through the ropes as he and Anderson pounded and put the boots to the bloodied Manning. Skyler pulls his belt off and begins whipping Manning across the back but the time is up and Caleb Konley joins the War Games match up evening the odds back at 2-2, Konley, the freshest man in the match is on fire taking out both The Southern Savior and The Enforcer allowing Manning a bit of recovery time and The Revolt take back control but it's short lived as 1/2 of the PWX tag team champions Adam Page enters the ring with a bull rope, Next The Revolt send in Lancelot Bravado who appears ready for war and he at least temporarily neutralizes the attack of The Xperience. Corey Hollis enters next followed by Zane Riley and the ring is filling up with combatants as well as weapons such as belts, bull ropes, boots, and chairs. The final two men for each team are PWX ITV Champion Gunner representing The Xperience and Harlem Bravado for The Revolt but Harlem is caught by a kendo stick shot from King Corino while entering the ring as "The King of Old School" ensures that his men keep their numbers advantage. As the battle rages on inside the cage Ethan Case's music hits and he comes out taking out Corino and running him to the back. Inside The Match Beyond has officially started and Corey Hollis is being brutalized with heavy chair shots, and Harlem Bravado scales the side of the cage making a grand entrance with a high cross body off the top of the cage taking out The Xperience!!!! The Revolt single out Adam Page and tie him up in a double boston crab, crossface and for good measure Zane Riley finishes it off with a "Thumb to the Bum!" but The Xperience reach Page just in time to extend the match and prevent a submission. What happened next can only be explained as ALL HELL BREAKING LOOSE, the ropes were untied from the ring posts and used as weapons, chair shots continued to ring out and bodies collided with the steel cage. The Revolt tied up the PWX World Champion in the ring ropes choking him to try and force a submission or leave him unable to continue but the champ hung on only to have Caleb Konley drive a screwdriver repeatedly into his head and at that point Corey Hollis gave up the match and The Revolt struck a huge victory in the war against the gold flushed brotherhood of The Xperience. Following the match each faction retreated to a separate ring with The Revolt celebrating victory and The Xperience tasting (and certainly feeling) the unfamiliar taste of defeat.
Rise of a Champion XI: War Games over delivered from start to finish, the reviews are unanimous "One of the best shows I've ever seen live" "Show of the year contender for sure" and "Absolutely perfect top to bottom" are just a few of the comments that have come out in the last week. PWX Wrestling continues to assert itself as one of the Premiere indy wrestling promotions anywhere and ROCXI is a prime example of why every professional wrestling fan should be keeping their eyes on the Charlotte Metro area. If you haven't already go check out 'Heightened Xperience' The Top 5 Moments from ROCXI (it was tough to choose just five!) and check back on the main page for more content in the coming days as PWX now focuses on April 17th and 'What lies Beneath' LIVE from Escapade in Charlotte!