World League Wrestling in Lebanon, MO (April 25, 2008)
by Joshua Ray
It was a first for me on two counts. First of all, April 25th would be my very first World League Wrestling show. Secondly, it would be my first wrestling show in my hometown of Lebanon, MO, the home of Missouri Wrestling Revival. After doing my best to help the Laclede County Shriners promote the show during the week prior, I would now hold my breathe and hope for great pro wrestling action and an even better turnout. I wasn’t disappointed on either count.
I did my best to tally the crowd, eliminating those who wore red Shriner shirts, security/staff, and wrestlers. My count stayed between 130 and 140. This was a solid number, considering some of the problems the Shriners had with venue changes, ticket outlet cancellations, and lack of promotion until a week prior. These reasons are no slight to the Shriners or WLW, as these problems were mainly due to forces outside of either organization’s control. Another factor affecting attendance was that country music singer Jo Dee Messina had a show at Cowan Civic Center in town that same night.
As for the action, all I can say is that I was blown away. The show was solid from top to bottom. More about the matches later on.
I brought my wife, sister and my sister’s boyfriend to the show to check out one of my passions in life. All three are not big pro wrestling fans, so my main concern was for them to be entertained. At the end of the night, all three were happy to have come out to the show. It’s important to note that my sister looked like she had the best time of all, and that might have something to do with two pictures she had taken of her through the course of the night. The first was of her sitting on Professional Wrestling Legend Harley Race’s knee, giggling like a little school girl (I don’t think I’ve ever officially heard a school girl giggle, but I assume it sounded something like my sister). The second was of her and my wife, Sara, with their favorite wrestler of the evening, “The Vietnam Phenom” Bao Nguyen.
The show was ran efficiently, professionally, and with more than just a touch of class. Things seemed to run smoothly from top to bottom, and the fans were treated well by both the Shriners and WLW. WLW was treated, in return, with fans that were really on top of things. I thought that the crowd was every bit as loud as most crowds ten times larger.
I am a firm believer that a knowledgeable wrestling fan should cut loose at a wrestling show. Wrestlers are there because they want to entertain, which means that wrestlers want a reaction. They want to be cheered or booed. They aren’t looking for somebody to yell out insider comments or prove that they are the smartest wrestling fan in attendance. I followed up on my belief by giving a generous dose of both adoration and disdain in various situations. I sincerely hope that my contributions added to the experience and did not take away. I asked my wife (my most honest critic and supporter) and she told me I didn’t go overboard, so I’m satisfied!
Yet another positive for the night was Harley Race’s wife, BJ. Of anyone involved in a wrestling show, I can honestly and truthfully say that she was the nicest, friendliest and most genuine. In the Army, we called non commissioned officers the “backbone of the Army”. For WLW, I have a hunch that she’s their “backbone”. That is a sincere compliment. Of the many positives I took away from the night, that was my fondest.
Before I get too much further into my personal observations, let’s take a look at the show. I believe I have the match order correct, so on with the results.
Superstar Steve vs Marc Godeker
I’ll come right out and say it: Steve is one of my favorite wrestlers to watch live. I say that knowing that even though I haven’t watched him wrestle on DVD (yet), he will be one of my favorites there, too. He’s just got a style that I enjoy, with a mix of stiff shots, aerial moves, and a solid ground game. He had a formidable opponent in Marc Godeker, one half of the WLW Tag Team champions, though. Godeker was thick, strong and more than able to hold his own against Superstar Steve. After receiving some crowd-pleasing punishment to his shoulder, Godeker mounted an underhanded comeback before falling victim to WLW’s Hollywood, CA native.
This was a great opening match. Each of these guys wrestled their style of match, and it was such a great way to get the crowd fired up at the very beginning of the show. While I was already a fan of Superstar Steve, I have to admit that despite the “rule bending” by Marc Godeker, I was very impressed with him as well.
Brian Breaker vs “The Vietnam Phenom” Bao Nguyen
As far as the overall enjoyment of my group, this match was it. For most of the match, Bao looked like he would be embarrassingly defeated at the hands of the larger Brian Breaker. Fortunately for Bao, he proved to be very resilient. “The Vietnam Phenom” got a surprise pinfall victory over Breaker, getting a great reaction from the crowd in the process. I know that my wife and my sister were very happy for him!
The match was a very good one, and was underscored by the fact that both competitors are relatively new to a professional wrestling ring. Bao informed me that the match was the fifth in his career! It was a very impressive showing! Brian Breaker did an excellent job as well, but in his own words referred to his showing as “not good enough”. Better luck next time, Brian!
Darin Waid vs Dinn T Moore
Here’s a word to the wise: when you want to pit two wrestlers against each other who couldn’t be more opposite in appearance, wrestling style or crowd reaction, look no further than Darin Waid and Dinn T Moore. Darin attempted to keep Moore off balance, and succeeded in doing so at the beginning of the match. Moore wanted to power his way to victory, and finished the match by doing so. He didn’t receive any of the wrestling fans’ approval for the win, but I doubt he either expected or desired it.
WLW Ladies Championship Match -
Ms. Natural (C) vs Stacey O’Brien
The women were next up. I would receive a harsh dose of reality at the hands (or trash-talking mouth) of Stacey O’Brien when she was introduced and made her way to my location. She started yelling for me to stand up, and I’ll admit that it reminded me of a female drill sergeant I had back in basic training. Guess what? I stood up. If she would have told me to sit my nervous butt down, I’d have probably did that, too. She was loud, cocky and ready to fight.
She was followed by the champ. Looking ever so graceful in her robe, Ms. Natural had the crowd’s approval and was prepared to shut the mouth of her feisty challenger. After the two gave everything they had to give, it looked like Ms. Natural was ready to finish O’Brien off. In fact, I even shouted out that it was over. Boy did I eat my words. Seven seconds later, Stacey O’Brien reversed Ms. Natural’s maneuver and pinned her shoulders to the mat for the three count.
I was speechless as O’Brien held the title above her head in celebration.
WLW Tag Team Championship Match –
Steve Anthony & Marc Godeker (C) vs Superstar Steve and “Wild” Wade Chism
Superstar Steve and Marc Godeker were back in action. This time, each had tag team partners. In Godeker’s case, it was the other half of the WLW Tag Team Champions, Steve Anthony. Superstar Steve’s partner was one of my favorites, “Wild” Wade Chism.
Anthony started the match in stall mode, primping his hair and basically being too afraid to get involved with “Wild” Wade. Wade took care of it, though. He made sure that Anthony gave the fans their money’s worth! Wade and Steve dominated for most of the match. Most of that domination came at the expense of Steve Anthony, a man I’ve dubbed “Princess”. Godeker managed to get involved, however, and the tables briefly turned. Shortly later, all four men jumped into the ring and brawled, with Wade catching Anthony and looking like he was going to lead his team to tag team championship glory. Superstar Steve, meanwhile, lined Marc Godeker up for a superkick. He missed, catching Chism (who had Anthony over his shoulders) with the kick instead. This inadvertently led to Anthony picking up the pinfall victory, meaning he and Godeker retained the titles.
After the match and much to the delight of the fans in attendance, Chism and Superstar Steve shook hands clearing up any misunderstanding before it ever became an issue.
Harley Race -
A Class Act
Next, pro wrestling legend Harley Race was introduced by the ring announcer and given a standing ovation by the citizens of Lebanon. This part of Missouri still respects pro wrestling history even though we haven’t had a show in some time. Harley Race is a big part of that history! He came to the ring and spoke to everyone about the years of experience he had and the toll that wrestling had taken on his body. He told the young fans in attendance that they should never, under any circumstances, try any of what they see in pro wrestling at home.
“When you are old enough, if you still want to wrestle then come talk to me and I’ll train you on how to do it properly.”
I don’t think I can ever say it enough. Harley Race. Class act. Give respect where respect is due.
WLW Heavyweight Title Match -
“The Masterpiece” Chris Masters vs Dangerous Derek McQuinn
At first, it looked like Derek was going to be too frustrated to continue his quest for the gold. Masters won the test of strength and it wasn’t making Derek very happy at all. Derek rebounded, though, wearing the champ down with chin locks, sleepers and other wear down and submission holds.
Masters retaliated with his power and will to remain the World League Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. Pinning Dangerous Derek in the corner, he unloaded with vicious chops and shoulders to the gut.
Aware of his surroundings, Derek desperately used his legs to push out of the corner. He rolled backwards over Masters, who still had his hold locked in and seemed to be unable to let go. Dangerous Derek McQuinn pinned Chris Masters and became the WLW Heavyweight Champion!
Due to my photo-taking frenzy, I missed the part where Masters had his nose busted open. When he lifted himself off the mat, his nose and mouth were covered in blood. Chris was okay, but it was definitely a sight to see!
My Final Thoughts -
I can’t say enough about this show. I had a great experience, my friends and family had a great experience, and those from the town who made the trip had a great experience. I hope to see WLW in town in the near future, and I hope that Missouri Wrestling Revival can be a part of it all!