During the start of MWR, we looked around at promotions and wrestlers to find out who the very best in the Midwest.
One team that stood out was the team of Eric Ruffington and Blake Steel otherwise known as Feature Presentation.
Feature Presentation had been among the top of the central Illinois tag team scene at one point along with the Hybrids, the Phoenix Twins and Zero Gravity including some great matches at New Breed Wrestling. They finished a strong 8th in Josh Rays MWR’s 2008 Wrestling Revival Cup for Tag Teams.
In 2009 they challenged for the PWE Tag team titles during the show titled Damnacrocy but came up short against Zero Gravity.
The duo looked to come back at NMW recently to challenge Attitude Inc for the tag titles but struggled to see eye to eye, then unfortunately ,Ruffingtons health derailed the return to the glory.. Blake Steel continues to be one of the top stars in the area including a run with the PWE US title, currently there are the rumors spreading that he may make his way to the STL in the near future .
The Nose Bleed Seats have a new episode this week. Their guest is central Illinois wrestler Blake Steel as theytalk about his upcoming appearance for Pro Wrestling Epic.
Take the chance to listen in as Host Chris Lee, Crimefighter and MOAV5706 speak with Blake Steel on his actions against PWE US Champion Brandon Aarrons during his big match against the ROH World Champion Tyler Black.
Steel also discusses the taking the opportunity to try out at the MMWA-SICW open door policy, his feud with former Feature Presentation partner Eric Ruffington that escalated after his title match against Jonathan Magnus at New Midwest Wrestling this past July.
This and much more and all you have to do is click here.
Pro Wrestling Entertainment returned on June 20th with some of the biggest stars in the Midwest. The PWE Champion “Bloody” Harker Dirge was set to defend his title that he had won from former ECW/WWE Superstar Al Snow against the Red Hot Kahagas.
Kahagas who just the night before was invited to IWA’S Ted Petty Invitational looked to take the title back to Florida. Also on the line was the PWE Tag team Champions Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza) putting the belts against Feature Presentation of EricRuffington & Blake Steel.
The PWE US title was vacated so we were treated with a three way between some of the youngest stars in the sport with Krotch, Mark Sterling and Hunter Matthews.
If you are a fan of the BIG men, they do not get any bigger than the battle of the Mississippi Madman and Keith Walker. Two of the most powerful men in the Midwest went toe to toe. The match was a dream match that had to be contained by another giant of the Midwest “The Future”
Speaking of a dream match a personally one of mine was at PWE when the 2008 MWR Wrestler of the year Jeremy Wyatt was in action taking on the young and exciting Shane Hollister.
Other of my favorites was in action too. Curly was there, Mike Sydal, Matt Cage, Nick Brubaker and more showcased the Midwest.
With a star studded card from top to bottom the crowd PWE was set though the attendance was small A problem arose and they had to put the ring on the parking lot but that didn’t stop all the wrestlers from going out in the heat and having a great card.
MWR Fans I give you a photo essay of PWE.
Professional Wrestling Entertainment results from Lincoln, IL on 6/20 –
*PWE Tag Champs Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza pinned Eric Ruffington & Blake Steel
The pro wrestling season typically heats up in the Spring and into early Summer. May is a time to look at what has happened thus far in the year, and make educated predictions as to what is yet to come. On that note, the April 2009 Awards should serve as a measuring stick when playing fortune teller. Here are the winners, as voted by the MWR Awards Committee:
Simply put, a Midwest wrestling show isn’t a show without Sterling, who wrestled in eleven matches for nine companies (MWA, PWE, SCW, PWP, 3XW, AAPW, LWA, MECW, NWA Dynamo) in April. Sterling is also one half of the tag team champions at 3XW with Gage Octane (Gentelmans Club). A student of the game Sterling rarely gets outwrestled.
1st Runner Up – Jeremy Wyatt (LWA, PWP. 3XW, AAPW, PWE, DPW)
2nd Runner Up –Tyler Cook (3XW,LWA,DPW)
3rd Runner Up – Jimmy Rockwell (3XW, MECW)
Others receiving votes: Jerry Lynn, Shane Rich, Zach Thompson
April 2009 Tag Team of the Month
Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya and CJ Esparza )
( PWE, HVW, NGW)
Zero Gravity became the first ever PWE Tag Team Champion by defeating The Northstar Express in exciting fashion. At NGW defeated Feature Presentation proving that they are one of the top teams in the Midwest.
1st Runner up – The Gentleman’s Club ( Mark Sterling and Gage Octane) 3XW
2nd runner – The NorthStar Express (Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz)(3XW,PWP,SCW,PWE,LWA,PWE)
3RD Runner up – (tie) Ax Stevens and ”Thunderbolt” Brandon Walker (AAPW), Money Makin Jam Boyz ( Mississippi Madman and K.C. Jackson) (AAPW, MPW)
Others who received voted: Knights of Fire (Jaysin Strife and Vic Victory), Sexy and Smooth (”The Canadian Sex Icon” Ryan Slade and A.J. Smooth), Dustin Lane and Darin Waid
April 2009 Female Wrestler of the Month
On April 4th MsChif defeated one of the most talented female wrestlers today Sara Del Rey at LWA. MsChif is widely considered one of the top wrestlers not the Midwest but around the World.
1st Runner Up – Rain 2ND Runner Up- Mia Martinez (3xw)
One Vote: Mike Sydal?? The crazy MWR Awards commiteee.
April 2009 Promotion of the Month
All American Pro Wrestling
The quality of the AAPW show in Nashville on April 25th was possibly their best since last year. Our first time in this town, they had a paid attendance of 155. Not too shabby. The crowd was HOT. Yes, it was a bit warm in the Community Center, but not that kind of hot. The card was solid top to bottom. The crowd was so happy that The Nashville Moose Lodge, who raised $1,000 from the event, asked AAPW to set aside 4 more dates for fall and winter of 2009/2010!
1st Runner Up – MMWA-SICW
2nd Runner Up – IWA Productions
3rd Runner Up – All American Wrestling
Others receiving votes –Rampage Championship Wrestling
April 2009 Personality of the Month
Josh Ray and Brian Kelley
(Missouri Wrestling Revival)
One of our awards committee members wrote, “The two main men behind MWR. They do a lot of work, research & writing to help promote independent wrestling across the Midwest. They also log tons of hours in driving time to personally attend shows and support various companies around the Midwest”
(On a personal note, although we appreciate the gesture from the MWR Awards committee, both Josh and I abstained from voting in this category out of respect to the rest of the hard working men and women in the Midwest pro wrestling scene. We would also like to include Kari Williams who is a wonderful writer and the true talent of the three of us.)
1st Runner Up- JJ Merrick
2nd Runner Up – The Mad Conservative Crimefighter 3rd Runner Up – Travis Cook
Others receiving votes: Mark Storm
April 2009 Match of the Month
Lethal Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Title vs Career Match:
“The Rebel” Jeremy Wyatt vs Jordan Lacey
April 18, 2009 in House Springs, MO
No match could match the emotion that flowed through the building as the fans wanted the hated Wyatt to lose the belt and didn’t want the loveable Lacey to lose his career. The controversial finish had fans throwing beer into the ring, with Wyatt retaining his title and officially retiring Jordan Lacey.
1st Runner Up:
3XWrestling Cruiserweight Title Match
Part of the MWR Midwest Best Series
Jimmy Rockwell (c) vs. Mike Sydal April 17, 2009 in Des Moines, IA
2nd Runner Up:
All American Pro Wrestling
All American Pro Wrestling Tag Team Title Match The Money Makin’ Jam Boys (c) vs. Ax Stevens and “Thunderbolt” Brandon Walker
April 25, 2009 in Nashville, IL
3rd Runner Up:
All American Pro Wrestling Mike Sydal and Rebel Lucha vs. Mark Sterling and Eric Fantabulous
April 25, 2009 in Nashville, IL
Others receiving votes:
Gary Jackson vs. Phil E Blunt (MMWA-SICW ,April 11, St Louis, MO) The Prestige Rumble, (SCW/PWN Davenport Iowa) (Mississippi Madman vs. Issan Hadeev (PWE April 4, Springfield Illinois ) Jaysin Strife and Vic Victory – Arik Cannon and Ryan Cruz (PWP April 11, Council Bluffs Iowa)
One of the hot young tag teams in the Midwest are the Feature Presentation- Eric Ruffington and Blake Steel. They were ranked #8 in the MWR’S Wrestling Revival Cup Tag Team of 2008. With their great team work and cocky attitude they are a team to look out for in 2009
At the end of October, Missouri Wrestling Revival reported on the emerging tag team scene in the Midwest. There are great tag teams out there that need no introduction in most regions of the MWR coverage area: Northstar Express, Phoenix Twins, Zero Gravity, Windy City Classic and LONRs are a few of the teams that fit in this category. Other strong teams include the Hybrids, Marc Godeker & Steve Anthony, Abuse of Power, Feature Presentation, Midwest Ground & Air, Gentlemen’s Club and Team W.A.R. These teams are a representation of the depth of tag team wrestling in the Midwest.
The real testament to the depth of Midwest tag team wrestling, however, comes in the form of a tag team powerhouse in a promotion with no tag team championship: “Blackheart” Johnny Vinyl & “Spitfire” Davey Vega. As the undisputed top team of the tag title deficient Lethal Wrestling Alliance, Vinyl and Vega have struggled to get the recognition each deserved. That all changed at the end of this past month when not only did they square off against arguably the best team in the MWR coverage area and the entire Midwest, The Northstar Express (Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz), but they managed to defeat them! The victory moved Vinyl & Vega into 9th place in the 2008 MWR Tag Team Wrestling Revival Cup standings.
Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to sit down with both Vinyl & Vega and talk about the match. We also discussed the LWA and their future. Here is the interview in its entirety:
The Lethal Wrestling Alliance (LWA), Missouri Wrestling Revival (MWR), and even many of the wrestling fans hyped the match between you two and The Northstar Express before the October 24, 2008 face off. Leading up to the match, did you feel it was being overly hyped?
Vinyl: No, I didn’t think so. It was going to be our first opportunity to prove ourselves on a national stage.
Vega: Yeah. On one hand you have the well-traveled tag team (Northstar Express). On the other, an up and coming team that a a few people know about but just needed that one high profile match to step it up.
Vinyl: It was our coming out party as one of the top teams going today, so I felt the hype was justified.
How did you prepare for the match?
Vega: I was in the gym five days a week for the two months leading up to the match. I also trained at Dynamo Pro Gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. It was the most I have ever prepared myself for one match. The week before the LWA show I slowed it down a bit so that I didn’t overwork myself.
Vinyl: I did everything I normally do, but doubled it. I don’t lift weights often, preferring a more cardiovascular workout. I turned my cardiovascular conditioning up a notch because I knew Corbin and Cruz were going to be well-conditioned. I wasn’t going to let them wear us down.
What was the atmosphere like in the back on the night of the match?
Vega: I’m not going to lie. I was nervous.
Vinyl: For me it was a mixture of nervousness and being psyched.
Vega: Well, my main goal was to walk out there and have a great match. I wanted to give the fans something to remember. I knew I needed to step up my game to hang with The Northstar Express.
Vinyl: I had full confidence in our team and I knew how good Corbin and Cruz are, so I had no doubt that the match would be good. It was all a matter o just how good. For me, it all just sort of washes away once our music hits, though. When it’s game time, it’s game time.
Did Northstar Express live up to the hype?
Vinyl: In my opinion they did, but that was never a doubt. They are incredibly talented and gave us the fight of our careers thus far.
Vega: They are seasoned wrestlers with years of tag experience under their belts, so of course they did.
Do you feel that this match puts the two of you on the map?
Vinyl: Boy, I hope so. The LWA website (www.lwawrestling.com) said that this was LWA’s best tag team match since the Motor City Machine Guns versus Dingo & Nick Tyson. That’s pretty high praise. I think that if nothing else this match has helped us turn a few heads.
Vega: I don’t think it will immediately pu us on the map, but as people begin recognizing how well both teams performed and that we aren’t a joke as a tag team the we’ll emerge as one of the best in the area.
Did you go into this match 100% sure of a victory?
Vega: If you haven’t noticed, Vinyl and I are very confident individuals. We go out there every time with the attitude that we are going to win.
Vinyl: There weren’t going to be any free rides in that match for the Northstar Express.
Have you received any more interest from outside promotions since your victory over Corbin and Cruz?
Vega: All American Pro Wrestling (AAPW) has a poll on their site (www.allamericanprowrestling.com) for the fans to vote on who they want to wrestle the LONRs for the AAPW Tag Team Titles. I’ve heard that we are ahead in the voting.
Vinyl: I’ve never worked for AAPW and Vinyl has only worked there once. I can only assume that some of this notoriety is from our victory over Northstar Express. I would love to work for AAPW because they have a great tag team division and the audience is radically different than what I am used to with LWA. It would be fun.
Vega: Outside of AAPW there hasn’t been much interest, yet. I think the shock will need to wear off from our big win and then more offers will roll in.
What are your thoughts on the LWA creating a tag team championship?
Vega: There have been some talks about tag titles in LWA for a long time, so hopefully it comes to fruition soon.
Vinyl: What would be the point in the LWA creating a tag team championship when there is only one team with the talent to hold it?
Vega: The belts already have a place reserved around our waists.
Vinyl: There is a list of companies we’d love to work for, like CHIKARA, IWA Mid South, American Luchacore, All American Wrestling, All American Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Phoenix, 3XWrestling, and more. If we continue to have matches like this past one with the Northstar Express, then we’ll be wrestling for them all sooner or later.
Any words for tag teams in the MWR coverage area?
Vinyl: I think the Midwest right now is in a strange state. We have one of the most shallow single wrestler pools, yet the tag team pool is very deep. We’d love to get in the ring with the LONRs, Phoenix Twins, Hybrds, Zero Gravity, B.A.B.E.WATCH, Osirian Portal, Cheech & Cloudy, Windy City Classic and anybody else we haven’t faced before. We’d love to keep wrestling talented teams like Northstar Express and Ego Express. If you’re a fan of tag team wrestling and you live in the Midwest, I believe right now is an exciting time and it’s only going to get better.
Vega: I can’t really add much else other than to say that I look forward to stepping in the ring with any tag team in the area.
With Halloween just weeks away, MWR and Midwest wrestling fans move into the fourth and final quarter of 2008. The third quarter is over and done with, so let’s reflect on the biggest winners of July, August and September as voted on by the MWR Awards Committee:
Wrestler of the Quarter
“Delicious” Devin Carter [3XWrestling]
1st Runner Up – Hunter Matthews
2nd Runner Up – Tyler Black
3rd Runner Up – “The Future” Donovan Ruddick
Others receiving votes: KC Karrington.
Tag Team of the Quarter
Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza)
[Scott County Wrestling]
1st Runner Up – Northstar Express (Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz)
2nd Runner Up – Feature Presentation (Blake Steel & Eric Ruffington)
3rd Runner Up – Gentlemen’s Club (Gage Octane & Mark Sterling)
Others receiving votes: LONRs (Darrien Sanders & Mark Sterling).
Woman of the Quarter
Stacey O’Brien [World League Wrestling]
1st Runner Up – Alexis Lightfoot
2nd Runner Up – Amy Hennig
3rd Runner Up – MsChif
Promotion of the Quarter
1st Runner Up – Lethal Wrestling Alliance
2nd Runner Up – World League Wrestling
3rd Runner Up – Pro Wrestling Phoenix
Personality of the Quarter
Gary Giaffoglione [Pro Wrestling Phoenix]
1st Runner Up – KL Snow
2nd Runner Up – The Mad Conservative Crimefighter
3rd Runner Up – Tiffany LaFane
Others receiving votes: Todd Countryman.
Match of the Quarter
8-Man Survivor Series Streetfight:
Submission Squad vs Ego Express & Bearded Men from Space Station 11 [Lethal Wrestling Alliance]
(July 12, 2008 in O’Fallon, IL)
1st Runner Up -
AAW Heavyweight Title Match:
Jerry Lynn vs Tyler Black [All American Wrestling]
(July 12, 2008 in Berwyn, IL)
2nd Runner Up -
Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Keith Walker & Oliver John [World League Wrestling]
(September 19, 2008 in Eldon, MO)
3rd Runner Up -
Cage Match for the SCW Heavyweight Title:
Shane Hollister vs Marek Brave [Scott County Wrestling]
(September 12, 2008 in Davenport, IA)
Others receiving votes:
Nosebleed Seats Undisputed Heavyweight Title Match:
Mississippi Madman vs Bobby Houston
[Mid Pro Wrestling]
(September 27, 2008 in Decatur, IL)