Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
Thursday, October 25th was the BOOT CAMP SUMMIT at the APW Garage in Hayward, and what a great night it was. These are truly some of the best wrestlers in the world. The guys worked in the ring Thursday in front of the fans in attendance, and they taught each other a few things. Doug Williams, Low'Ki, Spanky, Chris Daniels, American Dragon etc. They displayed some fantastic wrestling maneuvers, counters, takedowns etc. Some things that we've have never seen before. it was very cool to see them all working together, as it seemed that each guy had something to teach the others, and they weren't afraid to ask questions or assistance in improving their game.
All of the wrestlers were very friendly to all of the fans, we saw Spanky taking pictures with some lucky fans, that was very nice to see. APW also provided food (pasta, salad, drinks etc.) for the fans in attendance, and it was just a very well put together event. Lots of fans from out of town, and I think they all felt very welcome being at the Garage for the Boot Camp Summit. it was really a great way to start KOI weekend, and get everyone ready for the tournament.
We also got to see all of the wrestlers cut promos for tomorrow night's 1st round in Vallejo. They even let some of the fans practice cutting promos, and if you weren't there, you missed an oscar-winning performance by Christopher Daniels who did impressions of all 16 men in the tournament! This was classic! it was lots of fun, and I think this tournament is going to great! They sure started off on the right foot.
Day One - Pacific Sports Center - Vallejo, CA
This is it, the show we have all been waiting for. Without a doubt the biggest show in APW history, and quite possibly the biggest show in the history of indie wrestling. 16 of the brightest stars from around the country competing in a 2-night tournament to crown the new King Of indies.
8-Man Tag Team Match - "Big" Maxx Justice, Moondog Moretti, Sean Patrick & Billy Bricks vs. "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson, Chico Alvarez, Tommy Blaze & Bobby Quance
This was a dark match that opened up the show. A 4-on-4 tag team encounter, that got pretty wild. it was a pretty good match for what it was, as it got the crowd ready for the rest of the nights action. Moondog was his usual crazy self, and the fans kept getting on him for his cheating tactics. This was also the pro-debut of rookie Bobby Quance, who looked pretty good with some lightning quick high-flying moves during his brief time in the ring. Chico Alvarez looked very good, and I am looking forward to seeing him compete in the Battle Royal tomorrow. This match was a back and forth battle that ended when Justice chokeslammed Tommy Blaze in the middle of the ring while the other 6 wrestlers battled on the outside. Justice got the 3 count and was victorious in the dark match.
Winners: Justice, Moretti, Patrick & Bricks ( * 1/2)
Cauliflower Alley Legends introductions - APW President Roland Alexander was introduced, along with VP Jason Deadrich. Alexander gave some very emotional introductions to all of the CAC legends, and each man came into the ring to the cheers of the crowd. The legends that were on hand for the first night included Red Bastein, Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer, Nick Bockwinkle, Pepper Gomez & Kenji Shibuya. Bockwinkle and Bastein both talked a little about joining the Cauliflower Alley Club, and told the fans about the non-profit organization, it's history, and what it is all about.
King Of indies Participants introduced - All 16 of the participating wrestlers for the KOI tournament were brought out to the ring, after a promo was shown on the big screen, telling the fans why they thought they were going to win the tournament. The official 16 wrestlers who were in the ring were:
King Of indies Opening Round - "Scrap iron" Adam Pearce vs. "Anarchist" Doug Williams - King Of indies 2001 was underway, and this match just blew me away! What an amazing opening match, that saw two very polished wrestlers working with each other. Pearce taunted the fans at ringside, and they immediately took to the side of Doug Williams. Williams may be one of the best mat technicians I have seen live. He tied "Scrap iron" up in so many different holds, I could never begin to name any of them. Pearce used a few cheats, but other than that he displayed some technical wrestling that APW fans hadn't seen from him before. it seemed that every time "Scrap iron" would lock Williams in a hold, the Englishman would come up with some sort of never-before-seen counter to get out of it. The most impressive came at the end of the match, when Pearce went for a submission hold, and Williams escaped with ease, turning it into a belly-to-back suplex. Doug Williams put Adam Pearce down for the count, and got 3. This was a fantastic opening match, and what a way to start off the tournament. it would easily have been a main event during a normal show, and after this amazing opener, I knew I was in for a very special night.
Winner: Doug Williams advances to quarter-finals ( * * * * )
King Of indies Opening Round - "Shooter" Tony Jones vs. "Baby Bull" Bison Smith - Two of APW's "big boys" went at it in this first round match-up. Jones, who was Modest's last minute replacement wrestled one of his toughest opponents ever in this match. Nobody usually matches Jones' power, but Smith did that, and then some. The two of them displayed some fantastic mat wrestling throughout the entire match. This would be a greco-roman fan's dream match. Smith did a good job of catching Jones off guard with some very stiff clotheslines, and Jones' offense included some hard hitting suplexes from just about every position possible. Jones even hit the 290 pound Bison with a rolling german suplex! The fans really seemed to appreciate this rematch from the NOAH tryout earlier in the year for Mitsuharu Misawa. Back and forth the momentum of the match swayed, and the final factor was Bison's huge arm, as he wrapped it around Jones' face with a lariat that almost took the Shooter's head right off! Bison went for the pin and got a 3 count, and the "Baby Bull" would be the man advancing to the quarter final round.
Winner: Bison Smith advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * 1/4)
King Of indies Opening Round - "Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews vs. "Future Legend" Donovan Morgan - A rematch from earlier in the year, when these two put on a 4-star match in Pacifica. They know each other pretty well, and they know how to counter each other a little more this time, and this one was yet another great technical match, which was kept on the mat for a good portion. This one had some very good chain wrestling as well, as Scoot showed that he is a veteran of tournaments of this nature, and really laid a beating on the Future Legend. Morgan kept teasing his finisher, the chicken-wing piledriver, but Scoot would always seem to sneak out somehow. Morgan even hit his spinning fisherman's neckbreaker, but Andrews escaped at the count of 2. Finally, with Scoot off guard, Morgan was able to nail the chicken wing piledriver, dumping the Nature Boy right on top of his head. Donovan Morgan got the 3 count and was victorious in a very good opening round match. Great psychology to this one.
Winner: Donovan Morgan advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * 1/2)
King Of indies Opening Round - Samoa Joe vs. Frankie "The Future" Kazarian - Two of UPW's biggest superstars would face each other in the first round of the tournament. Joe & Frankie know each other very well, and they gelled together greatly here. A little blood in this one, as it got pretty stiff at times. it seemed like both men had bloody noses. Some stiff kicks throughout the match by both men, but mainly Joe, who sent Kazarian over the top rope with one of them! Joe also kept trying to lock on the submission holds, working over the arm. Finally, after a hard fought battle, Joe locked on a cross-face arm bar that sent Kazarian tapping out. Samoa Joe was victorious and would advance to the next round tomorow night.
Winner: Samoa Joe advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * 1/4)
King Of indies Opening Round - Spanky vs. American Dragon - This was the match I was most looking forward to, as I had heard so much about how well these two work together. What I saw, was quite possibly the finest match I have ever witnessed live. These are two fantastic workers who work best when they are in the ring together. I thought Spanky's match last month against Jardi Frantz was good, this was ever better. I haven't seen the other matches they had with each other, so I am not sure how this compares, but if you have seen them, then I am sure you know what these guys are capable of. A stiff, hard-hitting, psychological match that never slows down, and never gives you a chance to catch your breath. Dragon's kicks and chops are WAY too hard, and Spanky is right there with him, selling and bumping all the way. These two are the future of wrestling, and this match totally summed up the entire night. The match was so amazing, it was hard to keep up with it, but in the end with a great dragon suplex, American Dragon got the pin, and was victorious in an excellent match that could have went either way.
Winner: American Dragon advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * * * )
King Of indies Opening Round - "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs. Super Dragon - The amazing matches just keep coming, and Super Dragon did very well for himself in this match against last years KOI winner. Dragon hit some amazing high flying moves, including a sick dive through the ropes onto Daniels who was on the floor. He also went for a Shooting Star Press, but Daniels was able to move out of the way and send Dragon crashing to the mat. Daniels charisma was turned on tonight, and he was the great entertainer that he has been known to be over the past few years as the top wrestler in the indies. Quick paced match that never really slowed down a bit. Lots of counters by both men, with Daniels coming out of one exchange in "last rights" position. Daniels nailed his finisher and got the clean pin on Dragon to advance in the tournament.
Winner: Christopher Daniels advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * 1/2)
King Of indies Opening Round - AJ Styles vs. "Kamikaze Kid" Jardi Frantz - After a brief intermission, the next match was ready to begin. Former WCW wrestler AJ Styles might be the most polished worker in the tournament, and he blew the fans away with some amazing high flying moves, as well as some good mat wrestling. Jardi, who always seems to be getting better, was right there with him all the way. Early in the match Frantz hit a dive over the corner post and down onto Styles. There were a few wild spots like that, including Styles missing an Asai Moonsault, and getting spin-kicked into the guard rail! Unbelievable! This was just a fantastic all-around match, with a little something for everyone. The end came when Styles caught Frantz in the middle of a hurricarana, and locked him in some sort of standing boston crab, in which he proceeded to jump straight down, dropping Jardi flat on his face. This was enough to put the Kamikaze Kid away and give Styles an impressive victory after an absolutely unreal match, that showed just how far Jardi Frantz has come in the past year. if it wasn't for the amazing Dragon/Spanky match, this one would have been match of the night...so far.
Winner: AJ Styles advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * * 1/4)
King Of indies Opening Round - "innovator" Vincenzo Massaro vs. Low'Ki - The final match of the first night opening-round matches, and what a way to end the show. I think the order of the matches were so well put together, and it made the fans appreciate the individual talents of each of the wrestler even more. This one was the icing on the cake. Both men totally shocked me with their knowledge of amateur mat-wrestling, as I have never been so glued to a match full of ground work like this one. These guys did an amazing job on the mat, and just blew me away with their escapes, counters, takedowns etc. The match built itself to a faster pace, as Vinny tried to steer away from the mat wrestling, which Low'Ki was amazing at, and more into his power game. However, anytime Vinny would go for one of his innovative finishers, Low'Ki seemed to escape by slipping out of his grasp. I thought American Dragon had the stiffest kicks, until I saw this match. Low'Ki is just unreal, and his timing, intensity, skill and ability make him a lethal force. He even did a submission I had never seen before, which can only be described as an upside-down dragon sleeper in the corner (tarantula style)!
The match went back and forth, and finally came to a close with Low'Ki slipping out of Vinny's grasp, and tossing him into the corner. He hit an amazing cartwheel kick, sending Massaro to the mat, and then perched himself up on the top rope. Low'Ki then hit an absolutely insane phoenix press from the top rope, and put the innovator down for the 3 count. Low'Ki becomes the final man to advance to the quarter-final round, after this amazing victory over Massaro to bring the tournaments first night to a close. The show comes to a close with Low'Ki in the middle of the ring, bowing to each side of the appreciative Vallejo crowd.
Winner: Low'Ki advances to the quarter-finals ( * * * * 1/2)
Quarter Final Matches Announced...As this amazing show came to a close, ring announcer Joseph Lee announced the four quarter-final matches that will take place tomorrow night. They are...
By Earl Oliver
Saturday morning started with what was billed as an Amateur Clinic with Dick Beyer (who wrestled most of his career as the Destroyer - from the WWA promotions in the 1960's and others around the world), but really consisted more of Mr. Beyer relating fascinating stories of his career in the ring. In any case it was a great morning, and very educational, with about 50 in attendance, including many of the APW wrestlers and young fans with an interest in getting into the game.
I remember seeing the Destroyer wrestle many times in LA when I was a teenager.
Beyer started out by mentioning that he first broke into the business in 1954 in Ohio under the tutelage of Don Leo Jonathen and had about 8500 matches during his 39 year career. He laid out some of his philosophy of the business. For instance, he thinks that audiences prefer to see the face out wrestle the heel. The heel should demonstrate that he has some wrestling knowledge, so that when he takes cheap shots and so forth, the audience thinks, "He didn't have to do that." He mentioned that he was very encouraged to see operations like APW because too many of today's wrestler start out in the majors without coming up through the feeder system, and so they don't gain the respect for the business they need to survive and have a successful career.
He also made the curious statement that it is better at the end of a match, if the loser is on his feet and the winner is on his back. He explained this by saying that the fans want to see that the winner really earned the win. He should have expended his last ounce of energy in order to secure the victory. On several occasions he brought up the subject of demonstrating wrestling knowledge - he put forth the opinion that if you know how to wrestle, you can always keep the brawler down.
According to Beyer, standard operating procedure for Nick Gulas, who ran the Tennessee Territory in the 50's and 60's, was to pay the loser of a match - the person "who was willing to do the job". He considered that winning matches were "their own reward", more or less. When Beyer first went to Tennessee, Gulas told him that he was "too small" (Beyer was 5' 10" - 210 lbs) and demanded that he "guarantee the house" to the tune of $6,000! What this meant was that Beyer would have to put up half that amount to get his first big match. Beyer mortgaged his house to make the payment! The card ended up drawing $12,000, so Beyer got his money back, but not much more.
Later, Beyer worked for Giant Baba's All Japan promotion for six years. He wrestled under his own name and was usually a face in those days. He was what the Japanese called "gai ji" a foreigner, and he said Japanese fans loved him. later he returned to Japan as the Destroyer, and earned a whole new reputation as a hated heel. He talked about how the Japanese wrestlers work closer (more mat grappling) and work harder. He mentioned that often the Japanese workers on a show would arrive early and be out running laps before the program started, while the Americans sat in their dressing room and played cards. Beyers said that he was always out the running with the Japanese wrestlers. He advised the young wrestlers in the crowd to go over to Japan to learn about the proper work ethic, and mentioned that he personally takes about 10 youngsters over there each year.
He related how it was that he first donned the mask and became the Destroyer. He was working in Hawaii in 1963 when Fred Blassie saw him work and invited him the Los Angeles where Blassie worked for the WWA promotion. Beyer felt he had a good thing happening in Hawaii and turned down the offer, but it got him thinking about changing his character. At that time he was the clean cut all American college boy type - a face wrestler. One night he got on TV and started a subtle change. He announced that Fred Blassie was coming to Hawaii to wrestle Peter Maivia, and the he (Beyer), who was East Coast college educated, was going to coach Maivia, "...who is nothing but a coco-head." The coaching sessions didn't go well because Beyer began abusing his charge. Eventually, in the storyline, Maivia fired his coach - so then Beyer announced that he had decided to be in Blassie's corner for the big match!! The original angle for the match was that Blassie was supposed to win, but during the match, Beyer learned that some of the Samoan fans were blocking the exits and vowing to do some bodily harm toe Beyer and Blassie! So Blassie lost the match so that he and his corner man could get away with their health intact!
Blassie was so impressed with Beyer's performance as a heel that when Beyer did go to LA later that year, Blassie handed him a mask and said, "Put this on - your going to be the Destroyer."
From them on for the rest of his career, Beyer wrestled as the Destroyer and was one of the most hated wrestlers around the world. He related the incident that made him famous in Japan. Of course the Japanese fans didn't connect the Destroyer with his previous personna as Dick Beyer. In one of his earlier match in Japan as the Destroyer, he was put into a tag team match with "Killer" Kowalski. As he entered the ring, he walked over to Kowalski and was about to take his hand when Kowalski leaned over and whispered to him. Kowalski said, "Don't shake my hand. Take a step back and then slap me across the face as hard as you can." Beyer didn't question the order - Kowalski was, after all, a long established international star. So e did as he was told. The slap so shocked the audience that it made him famous. Beyer says he never was able to get Kowalski to tell him why he had told him to do that. In fact, when he mentioned to Kowalski years later, Kowalski claimed to not even remember the incident!
He told a funny story about how he wrestled Bruiser Brody early in the latter's career. At that point Brody was wrestling as a heel and had already established himself in the personna in several promotions, but this was his first tour of Japan. They met before the show to discuss their match and Brody insisted that he would play the role of the heel. Beyer tried to tell him it wouldn't work, because the Destroyer was already a top heel in the country. Brody wouldn't listen and so when they got to the ring, Brody found himself immediately upstaged - wrestling against the Destroyer, he couldn't get the crowd to hate him for love or money. Of course, Brody would go on later on his career to wrestle as a face all over the world.
All in all, it was a great morning session. Something I will never forget.
In the early afternoon, there was an APW Boot Camp demonstration during which, Boot Camp instructors put Some of the current crop of students through their paces. It was very interesting to watch a drew a pretty good crowd.
At 5 in the afternoon, about an hour before the doors were open for the wrestling card, they held an autograph session with the legends in attendance. Fans got the chance to mix and mingle with Beyers, Fritz Von Goering, Kinji Shibuya, Pepper Gomez, Ann Calvella (who was a rollar derby star), Red Bastein and former four time AWA World Heavyweight Champ, Nick Bockwinkle. This was a another great session. The Legends were very gracious and friendly. It was quite a thrill to get my picture taken with Red Bastein standing on one side of me and Nick Bockwinkle on the other.
During the session I got a chance to speak to my old acquaintance, "Dr. Mike" Lano. While we were talking, longtime Bay Area wrestling announcer, the "voice of San Francisco wrestling", Alan Bolte (another acquaintance) joined us, then a moment later I was introduced to Ed "Moondog" Morretti. Also, for the first time, I met J. Michael Kenyon, to whom I owe such a great debt for his research in uncovering numerous historic wrestling articles (The WAWLI Papers) that have appeared in this newsletter over the years.
A little later I ran into APW promoter Roland Alexander, who has secured for me a pass to attend the after-card party at Chevy's in Vallejo.
Finally, it was time to start the action. For this part of the report I will turn you back over to Jermz (with an occasional aside by yours truely).
Day 2 - Pacific Sports Center, Vallejo, CA
Saturday October 27th 2001
Day two of the 2001 King Of Indies Tournament started out much like the first night, with opening ceremonies by APW President Roland Alexander and VP Jason Deadrich introducing the Cauliflower Alley Legends one by one, as well as the final eight competitors in the KOI Tournament. The great fans of Vallejo, in which the attendance was almost doubled from last nights show, gave a standing ovation to all of the legends. Alexander made a very good speech, talking about how they put on such a great show last night, and tonight they would finish what they started...the greatest tournament in the history of wrestling.
King Of Indies Quarter Final Match - "Future Legend" Donovan Morgan vs. "Baby Bull" Bison Smith - The fans were ready for a hard hitting match here, but very sadly, Bison Smith had injured his left leg, possibly having to do with his brutal match against Tony Jones last night, and limped out to the ring. (Editor's Note: As I saw it, it appeared to me that Smith was only slightly injured before he entered the ring, but did the real damage during his entrance, when he vaulted over the top rope and landed wrong. He fell over and had to scramble back to his feet. He was really limping after that. At one point, early on, Smith was flung into the ropes and fell again - it was obvious that his leg was unable to support his weight). The match began, and there wasn't much to it, as after a few lock-up's, followed by a single-leg takedown, Smith's leg was in such bad shape, he couldn't continue. Morgan rolled up the Baby Bull in a small package, and got the pinfall victory in just over a minute.
Winner: Donovan Morgan to advance to the Semi Final round ( 0 stars )
King Of Indies Quarter Final Match* - "Anarchist" Doug Williams vs. American Dragon - This was a very good match, as both men, who impressed the Vallejo fans last night, were back to give them some more. Lots of great submissions and counters by both men here. Williams is an absolutely unreal mat technician, and he tied Dragon up in some very cool submission holds. Dragon would counter with a few of his own, and was able to get the submission victory after locking on some kind of inverted surfboard hold, in which both men's arms were enter twined like a backslide, that forced Williams a to submit. Dragon was victorious, and got a loud ovation from the crowd, as he advanced to the final four.
Winner: American Dragon to advance to the Semi Final round ( * * * 3/4)
King Of Indies Quarter Final Match - Samoa Joe vs. Low'Ki - This was one of the stiffest matches in the entire tournament. Bone-jarring, teeth gritting, hard-hitting action from beginning to end. The fans ate this one up, as most were behind Low'Ki, since they loved all of his stiff kicks and chops. This guy is totally amazing, and he worked pretty good with Joe, who is much larger than he is. They stuck to the mat most of the time, not a lot of big bumps in this one, but the mat psychology was awesome. Head butts, chops and kicks that were all stiff as hell! Low'Ki came out on top in the end with a submission hold that forced the big Samoan to call it quits. Low'Ki and American Dragon were now 2 of the final 4.
Winner: Low'Ki to advance to the Semi Final round ( * * * 3/4)
King Of Indies Quarter Final Match - "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles - Awesome match here! This one built and built at a good rate, all the way to the big final climax. Styles is a very polished worker, much like Daniels. The two of them gelled nicely, and this was a helluva match, the best of the night at this point. Lots of false finishes also, that really got the fans into the match. Daniels charisma always helps out a lot with that as well. The highlight of this match for me came when Daniels went for a top rope rana, but got caught in the move that gave Styles his first round victory over Jardi Frantz last night, the Styles Clash...off the 2nd rope! Sick, sick move!!! Daniels ended up making a pretty good comeback, and nailed Styles with his Angel Wings finisher (sit down pedigree). Daniels got the three count, the victory, and a standing ovation from the fans. (Editor's Note: This was, in my opinion, the match of the night.)
Winner: Christopher Daniels to advance to the Semi Final round ( * * * * )
19-Man Battle Royal - This Battle Royal was there to break up the tournament rounds, and give the final four men some time to rest. This match featured everyone from KOI weekend, along with some others that hadn't been used yet such as The Snott Brothers & Boyce LeGrande. Very good Battle Royal that had the fans on the edge of their seats. Lots of stiff action too from guys like Tony Jones, Maxx Justice & Adam Pearce. APW rookie Bobby Quance also took quite a beating throughout the match, needless to say, he didn't last too long. Spanky, Vincenzo Massaro & Robert Thompson were the final three men in the ring, and Spanky & Vinny were working very good together, trying to wear Bomber down. However, it didn't last long as the ego of each man really got to them. Spanky didn't want Vinny making the pin, and vice versa. Bomber looked at this as an opportunity, and hit a devastating new finisher on Spanky (an inverted brain buster), that laid out the youngster, and left only Thompson & Massaro in the ring to battle each other.
The two of them worked a pretty good match for the couple of minutes they were in there to close out the match. Bomber looked very good, as he took it to Vinny, who had impressed everyone last night during his KOI match. This was great, as it was like a whole new singles match between two great wrestlers. The fans were behind Thompson, and he hit a perfect looking Frog Splash to put Vinny down for the 1...2...3, and record the victory. Thompson was victorious in a pretty good Battle Royal. After the match, "Bad Boy" Boyce LeGrande came out to celebrate the victory with the man he is now teaming with again, Robert Thompson.
Winner: "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson ( * * * )
King Of Indies Semi Final Match - "Future Legend" Donovan Morgan vs. American Dragon - Not a bad match here in the semi-final round, but nothing spectacular. Morgan didn't seem himself, as he took things to the outside, and tossed Dragon from one side of the ring to the other. Into the barrier, into the steel post...Morgan was doing anything he could to get himself into that final match. Amazingly enough, the fans were not your average American crowd, as they booed Donovan for his cheating tactics, and cheered him whenever he did some good wrestling in the ring, some good submissions, or nailed some nice suplexes. Finally, after a few minutes of going back and forth, Morgan dragon suplexed Dragon, and went for the pin, however Dragon's shoulders were up, and Morgan's were down...1...2...3! Dragon had pulled one over on Donovan Morgan, and was victorious. He would move on to the final match to face the winner of Low'Ki/Daniels. This match was rather short, i believe maybe 6 minutes or so. (Editor's Note: We learned later that Morgan was really concerned about his Quarter Final opponent, Bison Smith, and ended up accompanying him to the hospital after losing this match.)
Winner: American Dragon to advance to the KOI Finals ( * * * )
King Of Indies Semi Final Match - "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs. Low'Ki - What an awesome match this was. These are without a doubt two of the best wrestlers in the indies today. Over the last 3 years, it has been Modest & Daniels number one and two in the states, well Low'Ki & American Dragon are sure giving them a run for their title as King Of The Indies. Daniels worked very stiff against Low'Ki, but couldn't seem to match him in his martial arts ability, or his mat techniques. Low'Ki just blows me away, and this match is really something you will not want to miss. Counters, chain wrestling, matwork, high-spots, psychology...this match had it all. It will be hard to top this match, as it was almost as good as last night's Dragon/Spanky 5-star affair. Totally amazing match that ended when Low'Ki hit the Ki-Crusher '99, and then locked on a submission hold. Daniels almost got to the ropes, but just as he was about to grab them, he tapped out and gave Low'Ki the victory. Low'Ki would now move on to the finals to face American Dragon to crown the 2001 King Of Indies.
Winner: Low'Ki to advance to the KOI Finals ( * * * * 1/4)
8-Man Tag Team Match - "Innovator" Vincenzo Massaro, "Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce, "Kamikaze Kid" Jardi Frantz & Frankie "The Future" Kazarian vs. "Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews, Spanky, Super Dragon & "Shooter" Tony Jones - This was a very fun 8-man tag match, that had a lot of everything you wanted to see. Good teamwork, the heel team did a good job cutting the ring in half and working over their opponents on their side of the ring. One of the top spots all night came in this match, when Frankie Kazarian & Spanky both hit top rope dives over the corner post down onto everyone...and then Jardi Frantz followed with a moonsault from the top to the floor, and then Super Dragon did one of his own, a twisting corkscrew moonsault that nailed everyone on the floor. The fans even cheered for Tony Jones to try one, but it's not his forte', and after running to the ropes and teasing it, Jones slowly climbed out of the ring and began to brawl. This was a very good tag match, lots of fast paced action, and false finishes. For a "filler" match, this one sure had the fans on the edge of their seats. Scoot Andrews pulled off the victory for his team finally, after a vicious Pink Poodle Driver on Jardi Frantz to get the pin.
Winners: Scoot Andrews, Spanky, Super Dragon & Tony Jones ( * * * 1/4)
King Of Indies 2001 Championship Match - Low'Ki vs. American Dragon - The most amazing match I have ever seen live and in person. The pace was good, the mat wrestling was good, the amount of high spots and how they were used were good. American Dragon & Low'Ki put on a helluva match tonight in the finals of the tournament. I was thinking "how are they going to outdo what they have done in their other tournament matches", well they did it in this one. I haven't seen their Super 8 final yet, but if it is anything like this one, you people saw the match of a lifetime. This match was just the icing on the cake of a successful show, and it helped clinch the title of "Best Indie Tournament Ever". Enough good stuff can't be said about the two of these men, and the heart & skill they displayed for us on this night. This was a nail-biting, cliff-hanging bout that kept everyone glued to the ring. This may have been the match to totally turn the Vallejo fans around, and teach them to appreciate real wrestling, over the storyline infested drama we get every Monday night. The fans were really into this one, and it was after a long hard grueling tournament, in which they all really seemed to enjoy.
Anyway, the match was amazing. Sort of a UFC style shoot-fight, which is the direction I hope to see APW going more towards in the future. Even a Ki-Crusher off the top rope wasn't enough to finish off the amazing American Dragon. The close to 30 minute final match was brilliantly executed by both men, and the end came when Dragon forced Low'Ki to tap out to a submission hold, and become the 2001 APW King Of Indies. 5 star match, what a way to close a 5 star show! After the match I had a chance to talk to the Dragon, and asked him how he felt after his victory: "It was the greatest day of my career!" he enthused, "I want to thank Roland Alexander and the APW staff for putting on this amazing event." Back to Jermz...
2001 King Of Indies Coronation Ceremony Afterwards, all of the wrestlers came to the ring to congratulate Dragon on becoming the new King Of Indies. He gave a short speech, thanking everyone in APW from the production team and volunteers, to each and every wrestler involved in the tournament. This was a great moment, as the fans gave a long standing ovation to everyone in the tournament. APW President Roland Alexander awarded each wrestler involved with a medal, and gave them each individual recognition. The fans chanted "APW...APW" as American Dragon was held on the shoulders of the other wrestlers, holding his beautiful KOI trophy over his head.
Thanks, Jermz. Just to wrap this up, I want to say that this was one of the best tournaments I have ever seen, and also one of the greatest wrestling events I have covered in the last ten years. Roland Alexander and APW really outdid themselves on this one. At least that's the way I see it... Earl Oliver
Winner: American Dragon to become the 2001 APW King Of Indies ( * * * * * )
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After the match I had a chance to talk to the Dragon, and asked him how he felt after his victory: "It was the greatest day of my career!" he enthused, "I want to thank Roland Alexander and the APW staff for putting on this amazing event." Back to Jermz...
2001 King Of Indies Coronation Ceremony
Afterwards, all of the wrestlers came to the ring to congratulate Dragon on becoming the new King Of Indies. He gave a short speech, thanking everyone in APW from the production team and volunteers, to each and every wrestler involved in the tournament. This was a great moment, as the fans gave a long standing ovation to everyone in the tournament. APW President Roland Alexander awarded each wrestler involved with a medal, and gave them each individual recognition. The fans chanted "APW...APW" as American Dragon was held on the shoulders of the other wrestlers, holding his beautiful KOI trophy over his head.
Thanks, Jermz. Just to wrap this up, I want to say that this was one of the best tournaments I have ever seen, and also one of the greatest wrestling events I have covered in the last ten years. Roland Alexander and APW really outdid themselves on this one.
At least that's the way I see it...
for great wrestling discussion.
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