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Title changes hand twice and WWE star makes appearance during wild ROW event

The Pride sets up for a splash from the top of the cage this past Saturday at Booker T's Reality of Wrestling. It was part of a huge night that also included WWE star Rob Van Dam making an appearance.
Phillip Barnard

This past Saturday night, it seemed everyone in south Texas had converged on the Clear Lake Sports and Rec Center. Booker T's Reality of Wrestling held a television taping, and the phrase "standing room only" was a mere understatement.

The first match of the night saw Rockstar Robbie, who has undergone a major attitude change as of late, go up against Bryan Keith. This was a very fast-paced encounter to kick off the show. Keith missed a crucial missile dropkick from the top rope, which allowed the Rockstar to go to the top and hit a big elbow drop to pick up the win.

Up next, former ROW Television Champion Kid Ransom was set for action against Shawn Hendrix. They locked up, with Ransom getting an early back elbow to take control. Moments later, he attempted a power bomb, but Hendrix was able to escape and take him down with a series of kicks. Ransom would fight his way back into control, and eventually put Hendrix down with a big spinebuster to get the victory.

Current and reigning ROW Television Champion Sergei Volkov came out and addressed the crowd. He said there is a new era for Team International. People saw his group as weak and threatened by defeat, but he said he proved everyone wrong and would defend his championship by laying out an open challenge to anyone in the locker room. That brought out "One Man" Mike Dell, who was making his ROW debut. Dell opened up with a quick offense , but the champion drilled him with a big forearm to the back to turn things around. ell started to fire back, connecting with a powerslam that earned a big reaction from the capacity crowd. But when he tried to follow up with a suplex moments later, Volkov countered with a Northern Lights suplex to get the pin and retain his title.

The always tough Alex Reigns was in action at ROW, squaring off against Javier Vega. Reigns started of by overpowering Vega to the mat. But he wouldn't stay down long, using a high-speed offense to take Reigns down. However a vicious clothesline from Reigns took Vega nearly out of the match. The two would go back and forth for several minutes, until Vega went to the top rope. He attempted a high cross body from the top, but Reigns caught him and would go on to hit a full nelson face buster for the win.

The next match featured the ladies of ROW, as Stryke faced off against Hollywood native Cinema. They locked up, and Stryke sent her crashing to the corner with a quick arm drag. Cinema brushed it off and locked up again, taking a side headlock on her. Stryke shot her off the ropes and scored with a hip toss. She tried to stay in control with a sleeper, but Cinema backed her hard into the corner. She followed up with a sidewalk slam that earned a two-count. From there, Cinema began showboating to the crowd, but Stryke caught her offguard and rolled her up with a pin attempt. Stryke then delivered a codebreaker to polish her off and get the win.

In what has been a brutal series already, "Ruthless" Ryan Davidson and The Mysterious Q collided in the third match of a Best Of Five series. Davidson hit the ring full of arrogance and confident to pick up a win. But Q was ready for the challenge. They locked up, but Davidson scored with an early chop. He then took a cheap shot when Q was trying to back him to the ropes. This turned into an evenly matched contest, as both men battered each other all around the ring. Q was able to lift up Davidson for a Torture Rack submission, but Davidson was able to counter out of it and deliver a big driving slam. Sensing victory, Davidson went to the corner to try a move off the top. But Q was able to recover and cut him off with a power bomb. Q then went to the top and scored with a beautiful 450 splash to get the win.

Abel Andrew Jackson hit the ring next, followed closely by Paula Tix. He was set for action against the ultra-popular American Eagle. This was expected to be a fast-paced match and it delivered. Abel taunted Eagle throughout the match, slapping him and verbally degrading Eagle at every opportunity. Eagle was able to connected with a sit-out slam during the match, but his offense would be short-lived. Abel delivered a corkscrew neckbreaker and had his hand raised in victory.

After the match, Abel and Paula campaigned around the ring in mock fashion. Answering some questions about possibly running for office, Abel was borderline obnoxious with his actions. He returned to the ring to address the crowd, but was stopped almost immediately by WWE star Rob Van Dam. The crowd nearly came unglued as RVD made his way to the ring. The two had a brief verbal exchange in the ring, before Abel decided he wanted nothing to do with "Mr. Monday Night." However as RVD turned to play up the crowd, Abel grabbed a chair and tried to sneak back into the ring. He was stopped by Jasper Davis, who sprinted to the ring to make the save. Jasper laid out Abel and positioned him in the corner, before handing the chair to RVD for a running dropkick. RVD kicked the chair straight into Abel's face, and brought an eruption from the crowd.

Sergei Volkov then returned to the ring, and issued another open challenge. However this time, it would be for a NON-title match. This brought out Steele to answer that challenge. They locked up and fought for control around the ring. Steele got the early advantage, and brawled his way to the corner. Volkov was able to regain control, but shut down several offensive attempts from his opponent. But Steele was able to get back into match, hitting a big suplex. The champion battled his way back to his feet, but Steele dropped him face-first to the mat. Steele got the pin and picked up what has to be considered an upset victory, albeit in a non-title situation.

Tag team action took center stage next, as The Pump Patrol (AJ Summers and Jared Wayne) took on The Brothers Lockhart. Before this match could get underway, Ayden Cristiano and X (from Team International) made their way to the ring to observe the match while doing commentary. Jared started off with Andrew, as they locked up and tested each other to start the match. Andrew hit a rolling side headlock takeover to get the early advantage, as Alex Reigns and James Claxton were also spotted watching the match as well. This was a solid outing from both teams, as they utilized double-team moves and isolation techniques to keep one member of the opposing team out of his own corner. But it would be Andrew and Erik that would pull off the win, giving them some much-needed momentum in the ROW tag team division. Afterwards, they challenged the two other teams at ringside, but neither team wanted to get into the ring.

Prior to the main event, ROW Founder and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T hit the ring to address the crowd while a steel cage was set up around the ring. He first thanked the fans for their support and had a couple of announcements. First, ROW would be debuting on Houston’s Channel 57 The Kube on February 1. He made a joke about the time slot, but noted that everyone has to start SOMEWHERE. He then made the huge announcement that after having Rob Van Dam as a special guest earlier in the night, he was bringing another longtime friend to ROW. On February 15, Reality of Wrestling will be joined by multi-time World Champion and nWo original, Kevin Nash.

Booker then went on to introduce the next match, which was a Loser Leaves ROW contest between ROW Heavyweight Champion Gustavo Mendoza and The Pride. He said that these two were two of his first graduates from his wrestling academy, and that he would be proud of them no matter the outcome. The fans then encouraged him to get into the cage and deliver a spinaroonie, which he was more than willing to oblige. From there, it was time for the much-anticipated main event.

Gustavo came to the ring surrounded by Team International, but surprisingly sent them to the back. Pride was ready for the match, and hit an early Thesz Pres and took the champion to the corner. Both champion and challenger took turns brutalizing each other all over the cage, often using it as a weapon against the other. Multiple times, the two found themselves on top of the cage, battling for supremacy and in hopes of delivering the big highlight blow of the match. That move would belong to The Pride. After connecting on a Death Valley Driver, Pride stood perched on the top turnbuckle with Gustavo. As they were trading punches, Pride shoved Gustavo to the mat. Pride then brought the crowd their feet, as he delivered a thunderous splash from the very top of the cage! He was able to make the cover and end Gustavo’s reign of terror as champion. The victory also ended Gustavo’s ROW career.

However, before the new champion could celebrate his big win, he was interrupted by the appearance of Stevie Ray. He came to ringside and informed Pride that he had secured a new client fo his consulting business. That client turned out to be The Samoan Beast, and Stevie then announced that his new client would receive an IMMEDIATE championship match. Pride could only stand in fear as he knew his night was about to take an abrupt hard turn.

The challenger went to work on Pride, battering him all over the ring. Pride was able to turn things around, but went high-risk again and paid dearly. He went to the top of the cage and missed a crucial moonsault from high above. It opened the door for The Samoan Beast to hit his own signature 300-pound moonsault, and shock the crowd by pinning Pride to become the brand new ROW Heavyweight Champions. Fans stood in shock, as they had just witnessed the title change hands twice in just a matter of minutes. Pride would need ROW officials to help him to the back, but he left to a tremendous ovation from the standing room only crowd for his efforts.

Don’t forget, ROW returns to the Clear Lake Sports and Rec Center on Saturday, February 15 for another live taping of their upcoming television show. Joining them that night will be former WWE, WCW, and TNA World Heavyweight Champion “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash. Tickets for that event will be available soon, so make sure to check out the ROW website by clicking HERE for more information.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the Houston Pro Wrestling Examiner on Facebook as well as follow along on Twitter.

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