The Road to Rise of a Champion found PWX in Gastonia, North Carolina for the first time ever on February 20th and that road was a VERY traveled one! 700 fans packed into the Gastonia National Guard Armory to witness a thrilling return of fan favorite, an INSANE match between Anthony Henry and Sami Callihan, The Xperience strengthening their ranks headed into War Games and much more!
As fans continued to flood the building, King Corino led PWX World Heavyweight Champion "The Southern Savior" John Skyler and Adam Page to the ring. Corino took shots at the fans still filing in the door and of course at The Revolt who his "brotherhood" will face at War Games in Charlotte on March 13th. Corino promised a preview of what's to come later tonight.
Juniors Division 6 Man Tag Team Match
The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude, Rob Killjoy, & Colby Corino) def. Mason Maddox, Tracer X & Ian Payne
Once again the opener offered a chance for these young, talented and quick guys to take center stage and open the show with intensity and it seems no matter the combination these guys are always up to the task. The team of the very popular Maddox, tremendously talented Tracer X and the debuting Ian Payne got out of the gates quickly and had their opponents on their heels for much of the match. Bodies were flying, kicks being thrown and the dives and flips were already off the charts! The team of The Ugly Ducklings who we saw 2/3 of at the last PWX event bring a unique attitude and charisma to PWX and they didn't miss a beat with their honorary member Colby Corino in Gastonia. It's just the kind of thing you aren't sure you should be watching yet you can't look way and on top of that THEY WIN! Despite a tough effort from Maddox, & Payne the more experienced and unorthodox team of Lude, Killjoy, and Corino picked up the victory and this trio could be a handful to deal with for some time to come.
"Cauliflower" Chase Brown def. Timmy Lou Retton
Timmy Lou Retton sashayed his way to the ring, twirling his ribbon and we all knew what came next as "Wrestling's only Olympic gymnast" landed a picture perfect split to enter the ring, what we didn’t' know was coming was the familiar tune of "CAULIFLOWER!" Chase Brown returned to face Retton after nearly a year away from PWX! The crowd came unglued and immediately welcomed Brown back with his signature chant. It would not be an easy return for Chase as he was looking to reestablish himself amongst the PWX elite; Timmy Lou is still fighting to secure his position. Chase kept the pressure on Timmy Lou from the opening bell sending the 'tumbler' screaming to the corner but Retton is a gifted athlete and he gave every effort spoil this homecoming. In the end, Timmy Lou missed his Gold Medal Moonsault and Chase was able to cinch in the double wristlock and pick up triumphant return victory.
Ethan Case def. AR Fox
PWX's inaugural X-16 winner Ethan Case and the returning AR Fox have a long history dating back to the WWA4 school in Georgia however the two had never faced off 1 on 1 until Road to Rise of a Champion. The two would have to wait just a little bit longer for that encounter as Case's former partner and best friend Elijah Evans IV made his way to the commentary table after jawing back and forth, once EEIV was settled at the commentary table it didn't take long for things to get WILD between Case and Fox. Minutes into the match Fox showed why he lays claim to being one of the best unsigned talents in the world hitting multiple suicide dives and a flipping senton that sent his opponent flying into the fourth row! These two never slowed down, even for a second taking every opportunity in this battle of old friends over bragging rights. Case's strikes were dead on all night and they both showed their familiarity with one another either blocking or reversing each other's signature moves. In the end it was Ethan Case proving he is still a viable contender to being "the man" in PWX picking up the hard earned victory, following the match both men expressed their mutual respect while Case kept a steady eye on his former partner who seemed less than impressed.
As Elijah was leaving the arena Case asked for the microphone and told the crowd he had pulled himself out of March 13th's ultra-violent War Games matchup for personal reasons but there was also one more key reason he made that decision. Case laid out a challenge for Rise of a Champion XI himself vs. Elijah 1 on 1! Worst Case Scenario finally collides!
Anthony Henry w/ Amber Young def. Sami Callihan
The fans of PWX always make their voices heard as to who they'd like to see compete in the promotion and overwhelmingly a name that has kept popping up is "The Callihan Death Machine" Sami Callihan. Circumstances didn't allow Callihan to make his PWX debut prior to leaving for WWE NXT but since asking for his release and reclaiming his spot atop the indies it was at Road to Rise of a Champion that Sami Callihan finally made it to PWX. Awaiting 'The Death Machine' was another PWX regular who is arguably on as big a roll as any wrestler in the world today, Anthony Henry. Henry has racked up victories against Tommaso Ciampa, Jake Manning, Will Ferarra and many others in his recent climb up the PWX ladder. It was obvious from the opening bell that Henry was once again in for a fight with Sami Callihan, maybe even his biggest fight to date. The Gastonia National Guard Armory fell silent several times as Henry & Callihan exchanged brutal kicks and strikes finding counter after counter for each devastating move thrown at them and more impressively coming back from high impact maneuvers. At one point Callihan hit a T-Bone Suplex on the outside that could've easily ended the match in a count out, Henry was able to get himself back in the match and go kick to kick with a man who is very well known for his strikes, even locking in a Kimura that nearly forced Callihan to tap out. In the end the other half of "The Lethal Lovers" Amber Young got involved and she ended up feeling one of The Death Machine's kicks for herself, this provided an opening for Henry who rolled Callihan up grabbing the tights and picked up another huge win to continue the momentum. This match must be seen by as many people as can see it, and perhaps even warrants a rematch down the road but the story stays the same here Anthony Henry is on a roll and at this point you have to wonder who if anyone can stop that momentum?
The Bravado Brothers (Harlem & Lancelot) def. Cedric Alexander & Chip Day
On paper this was an exciting tag team matchup and in the ring it delivered even more so. The former PWX tag team champions faced two of the hardest strikers in professional wrestling in Day and Alexander teaming together for just the second time ever. The experience was obviously in the favor of Harlem and Lancelot while both teams were fighting for advancement, The Bravados looking for one more shot at those PWX tag team titles and Alexander & Day looking to establish them as a team to be reckoned with. I think it's fair to say both teams achieved those goals over the course of this match, The Bravados teamwork is so good and oftentimes underrated, they make tag team wrestling look quite easy most of the time and controlled the early going. Alexander and Day worked out the kinks early on, withstanding everything the former champs threw at them and mounting some offense including a double team move that nearly earned them a big victory. In the end The Bravados went high risk hitting a Suicide Dive Doomsday Device to the outside (which must be seen to be believed) and isolating Chip Day in the ring where they hit the "Gentleman's Agreement" to pick up the win.
Following the match Harlem and Lancelot showed respect to their opponents particularly Chip Day who they said showed why he should be counted amongst the best in professional wrestling not only in the southeast but anywhere. Despite the loss, I think Chip Day and Cedric Alexander could be players in the PWX tag team division going forward.
"The Man Scout" Jake Manning def. PWX World Champion "The Southern Savior" John Skyler w/ King Corino by DQ in a non-title match
The Man Scout and The Southern Savior renewed their rivalry on the Road to Rise of a Champion and this one was for bragging rights, no title on the line just bragging rights and the advantage going into War Games on March 13th. This one didn't last long as King Corino and The Xperience always seem to have an ace up their sleeve and that may have been a blessing as it looked like Manning may have had Skyler's number in this one. The Man Scout as always was having fun but the careers of he and Skyler have been intertwined for a couple years now so once the bell rang it was all business. The PWX World Champion battled back but Manning looked to have him beaten until King Corino saved Skyler his first pinfall loss in PWX in nearly a year by pulling Referee Charles Culler out of the ring just before he could count 3. Manning then turned his attention to Corino and went for the piledriver but "The Enforcer" CW Anderson rushed the ring hitting Manning with the "Shotgun" Superkick as the bell rang to signal the DQ. The Xperience had a 4 on 1 attack assault of Manning but only briefly as his Revolt teammates hit the ring to even the odds a bit and the warring factions brawled all throughout the building. The action got so out of hand that the locker room emptied and just added to the chaos and confusion. Once some semblance of control was gained and The Xperience and The Revolt were separated a 6 man tag team War Games preview was made.
The Xperience (John Skyler, Adam Page, and CW Anderson) w/ King Corino def. The REVOLT! (Caleb Konley, Zane Riley, & Jake Manning)
Tensions were boiling in this one as these six men have been looking to get their hands on one another for many months now and with War Games looming in just 3 weeks this would be a small appetizer before the 2 ring, double cage INSANITY that will take place in Charlotte, NC. Manning and Skyler continued their previous matchup to start this six man tag, but it was more than a challenge to keep the other members of each group off one another and it didn't take long for this one to break down into a 3 on 3 melee! Amongst the craziness and fists flying the newest member of The Xperience CW Anderson was able to hit his "Shotgun" Superkick on Riley to pick up the win for his team paying immediate dividends to his old friend and running buddy King Corino.
The battle between these men is far from over and did not stop with the ringing of the bell as the brawling continued until The Bravado Brothers hit the ring to run off The PWX Champions and their crew. Caleb Konley talked about the numbers disadvantage then he & Riley extended REVOLT! armbands to the former PWX tag team champions who immediately accepted them. Konley then took a recount and announced one more time, March 13th in Charlotte The Xperience vs. The Revolt AND THE BRAVADO BROTHERS in WAR GAMES!!!!
Tickets are available NOW for Rise of a Champion XI: War Games in Charlotte right here at pwxpro.com including SUPER VIP which includes a 1 hour meet and greet with pro wrestling legend Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat!!! Get your tickets now and don't miss the long awaited return of War Games to the Mid-Atlantic!
Elsewhere on the PWX website you can check out 'Heightened Xperience' The Top 5 Moments from Road to Rise of a Champion as well as lots of other great content including free matches, a poll which allows you to pick YOUR side in War Games and much more. The Official PWX website is your destination for all the latest info leading up to ROCXI: War Games including upcoming EXCLUSIVE interviews with The Bravado Brothers and CW Anderson as well as a feature on the return to PWX of "Cauliflower" Chase Brown!