The alternate title for this article is “why independent wrestling is better than WWE and TNA.”  I just got back from Empire State Wrestling’s “Reckoning Day” event.  This is my fifth ESW event, and I’ve never been to a bad show.  This one featured a World Tag Team Championship match with the team of Famous – Will “Mastiff” Calrissian and Chris Cooper – defending against Brandon Thurston and Mike Radski, and a Casket Match for the ESW Championship as Kevin Grace defended against Ryot.

Photos, thoughts, and a half-assed results list, after the jump!

Tonight’s show started off a little differently from typical ESW shows – it actually started with backstage promos.  First, “The Western New York Icon” Johnny Puma proclaimed that he planned to use tonight’s match against Tommy Caliber as the first step on his way back to the ESW Championship.  Then, Caesar’s Legion cut a hilarious promo (Tommy Mandrake acting up, Superbeast devouring a cake) saying that Kevin Grace’s last birthday will be just that – his last birthday.  A video package followed, which you can check out on (be sure to look for me in my bWo shirt), and then they took the projector away.

Ring announcer Jordan Olivencia performed “The Star Spangled Banner,” and as he went to announce the first match, he’s interrupted, as has quickly become tradition in ESW.  This time, the interrupters were Mastiff and Cooper, the World Tag Team Champions, Famous.

Now, you may recall a few months back, I wrote about ESW and talked about the serious injury that Mastiff suffered, a fractured skull from slipping off the ropes on an Asai Moonsault attempt.  At the last show (which I didn’t write about), Mastiff made his return to action.  Cooper pushes him out for this promo in a wheelchair.

Mastiff in a wheelchair

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The Champions insult the crowd, then invite their opponents, Brandon Thurston and Mike Radski, out to the ring for a face to face.  Thurston and Radski’s music plays but they don’t come out.  Cooper decides to go in the back and get them.  He comes out with two very poorly made, but oddly realistic cardboard cutouts of the challengers.

Famous talk to "Thurston and Radski"

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The Champions run down their challengers and then beat up the cardboard cutouts, Mastiff running over one in his wheelchair on the way out.

Olivencia finally gets to announce our first match.  Curtain jerking this evening is one half of the tag team Bigger and Badder, the guy who could give Mark Henry a run for his Kool-Aid Man money, Brett Mednik.

Brett Mednik prepares for his match.

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By the way, Mednik’s usual partner (and the guy accompanying him to the ring this evening), Chance Taylor, kinda looks like a mini Big Show.  My girlfriend likes to call him “The Sort-of Big Show.”  Mednik’s opponent this evening is one half of the tag team Southern Hospitality, Curtis Lee Walker, who’s partner Cassius Cutcher is nowhere to be found.

Curtis Lee Walker - the fans like to call him Hootie.

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Mednik picked up the win in this one with outside help from Taylor.

Next up, it’s “Coverboy” Cade Cassidy, accompanied by his tag team partner Tommy Caliber and bodyguard Mean Mike.

"Coverboy" Cade Cassidy

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I didn’t get a picture of Cassidy’s opponent, an ESW newcomer by the name of TKO.  I probably would have tried to, but as he made his way through the curtain, TKO knocked down the lighting rig that adorns the entrance, sending it nearly crashing into the crowd.  I spent most of this match watching the crew scramble to fix the rig, and the referee must have been watching that too, because he wasn’t paying attention to the interference of Mean Mike and Tommy Caliber that led to Cassidy’s victory.

Mean Mike escorts Tommy Caliber and a victorious Cade Cassidy to the locker room

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Colin Delaney isn’t the only member of his family to be a professional wrestler.  His brother wrestles in ESW under the name Freddie Midnight, who is often accompanied to the ring by his valet Helena, who helps him out with keeping his hair in place during matches.

Freddie Midnight arrives

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Last month, Midnight scored an upset victory by disqualification over indy star Pepper Parks, who has an ECW appearance to his credit – though, in his words, “if you blinked, you missed it.”  Parks looks to avenge the loss he suffered in his ESW debut.

Pepper Parks is set for action

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This match ended in a no contest when Midnight brought in his can of hair spray.  Parks avoided being sprayed in the eyes (last month, he’d been sprayed in the eyes and inadvertently hit the referee), then sprayed the hair spray into Midnight’s eyes.  Originally the referee was going to award the match to Midnight, but upon further thought, ruled it a no contest.  Parks can sure go in the ring, but I personally have yet to see him actually win a match.

The Tag Team Championship match was next.  Keeping with the WWE’s trend of damning tradition, the Tag Team Champions, Famous, made their way out first – with Mastiff still being wheeled around.

Chris Cooper, set to defend the Tag Team Championship

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Their opponents and challengers aren’t cardboard cutouts, but the real thing, Mike Radski and the ever popular Brandon Thurston.

Thurston and Radski make their way to the ring

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The Champions strategy in this one was simple – take out Thurston, who hasn’t been pinned in over a year, and work over Radski.  The plan worked beautifully at first, but Thurston finally managed to get himself involved in the match.  After several near falls, Thurston finally nailed the Suplee for the victory – and the Tag Team Championship!

Thurston and Radski with their new ESW Tag Team Championships!

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At this point, there was a 15 minute intermission.  Looking across the venue, we noticed Pepper Parks out mingling with fans, so we took the opportunity to meet him.

Pepper Parks with occasional bWf contributor, Paint Fingers

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Pepper Parks with yours truly, ThinkSoJoE!

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Why yes, those are “bWf” logo t-shirts we’re wearing in these photos – get yours today!

Mean Mike escorts Cade Cassidy and Tommy Caliber back to the ring as we come back from intermission.  This time around it’s Caliber in action.

Tommy Caliber, sporting ski goggles for some reason

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Caliber’s opponent tonight is known as the Western New York Icon, but the only time I saw him face anybody with name value, he got his head shaved by Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.  True story.  Anyways, his Caliber’s opponent is the extremely popular Johnny Puma.

Johnny Puma - I wonder if Beefcake lent him those tights.

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It almost looked as though Caliber would pick up the win thanks to interference from Mean Mike and Cade Cassidy – Mike distracted the referee as Cassidy nailed Puma with a wicked superkick.  The referee turned around to find Caliber covering Puma with one foot, but opted not to count.  Turns out that not all referees are as dumb as they look – he proclaimed that Mean Mike and Cade Cassidy had 10 seconds to return to the locker room or Caliber would be disqualified.  The duo complied, and it wasn’t long before Puma hit the Johnny On The Spot for the victory.

After the match, Cassidy and Mean Mike returned.  Cassidy called Caliber an embarrassment, then he and Mean Mike put the beatdown on him.  Fans chanted Caliber’s name as he finally managed to leave the ring.

I got lazy when it came to taking pictures at this point – besides, the next match featured my buddy “Inferno” Johnny Adams!  Adams teamed with Danny Danger to take on Caesar’s Legion members Tommy Mandrake and “The Abomination,” Superbeast.

The match started off hilariously as Adams played patty-cake and did the Hokey-Pokey with Mandrake, whose character is that of a man who thinks he’s a little boy, before clotheslining him.  Danger played tag and red-light-green-light with Mandrake, nailing him every time he stopped at the “red light.”  Superbeast finally yelled “GREEN LIGHT!” at Mandrake, and the tide turned into the Legion’s favor.  Danger was destroyed by the much larger and much more experienced tandem of Mandrake and Superbeast – and interference from Purple on the outside didn’t help his cause either.  Finally, Adams had seen enough, getting involved, and nailing both Mandrake and Superbeast with the Brain Kick, but Danger covered the wrong guy.  In the end, the Legion were victorious.

Following the match, Superbeast and Mandrake continued to assault Adams and Danger.

Up next, another newcomer to ESW stepped into the ring, but sadly I missed his name.  His opponent is a guy who, at the last show, looked like this…

Primal Warpath on 1/17/10

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… and had a theme song that proclaimed “They call me Warrior.”  I called him on it – I said “I call you gimmick infringement!”  I know he heard me – because he posed on the top rope for that picture immediately afterward.  This time around, he came to the ring dressed like this…

Primal Warpath takes gimmick infringement to a whole new level

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The guy’s name is Primal Warpath, and he beat the new guy with, what else, a Warrior Splash.  I ran into Warpath after the show and asked him if the new look was because I called him Gimmick Infringement at the last show – he said it was, and that he decided to kick it up another level.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, we come to our main event of the evening.  Ryot has been a thorn in the side of ESW Champion Kevin Grace as of late, and it’s come to this – a casket match for the ESW Championship.  Caesar and Purple accompanied the challenger to the ring.

Paint Fingers thinks he's scary.  I think he looks like a 7 foot mime.

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The Champion came to the ring next – and I must apologize for the quality of these pictures – Grace’s outfit simply did not photograph well with a flash, due to the reflective nature of it.

ESW Champion Kevin Grace's awesome ring gear doesn't photograph too well.

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I want some clothes like that, actually.  That would be awesome!

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It was a battle.  It was hardcore.  Tables, ladders, chairs, traffic cones – yes, traffic cones, not that I’d imagine getting hit with one of those would hurt much.  That said, please don’t hit me with a traffic cone.  Ryot thought he’d had the championship won as Grace attempted a senton splash, but wound up putting himself through the lid of the casket.  The referees told him no – the lid has to be closed on the competitor for the match to be over.  Caesar went to the back and returned with a new lid, but it was too late, Grace was able to battle back.  After hitting the Perfect Stranger not once, but twice, Grace tried to cover Ryot in the casket, but he wouldn’t stay down.  Grace finally decided to put the monster away for good – by beating the holy hell out of him with a steel chair.  The lid was finally placed over an unconscious Ryot, and Grace retained his title!

I don't think I'd include the handprints on the crotch or ass in my outfit like this though...

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Another great show put on by the folks at Empire State Wrestling.  If you’re in the Western New York area, make sure you clear Saturday, April 10 on your calendars and head up to the St. Johnsburg Fire Hall in North Tonawanda to catch the next amazing night of ESW action!

Post by thinksojoe

The founder of and it’s parent company, Fropac Entertainment, ThinkSoJoE has been a wrestling fan since he first saw WWF television in 1986 at the age of four. His first wrestling memory was Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event talking about getting King Kong Bundy in a cage at WrestleMania 2. Sixteen years later, he met Hulk Hogan on the eve of WrestleMania X-8. On December 9, 2013, he legitimately won a Slammy Award (Best Crowd of the Year). ThinkSoJoE currently hosts the weekly BWF Radio podcast.

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  1. very good indy…i like the way you talked through the match. it was a teriffic show and i was glad to be a part of it. hope all the future shows are that good!

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