Two of the most exciting professional wrestling shows this year were presented by the Wrestling Cares Association under the “Race for the Ring Tournament.” Each Wrestling Cares event is highlighted with some of the nation’s best wrestling talent as well as a charitable contribution to a worthy cause. Like a bodyslam that gives back to the community, Wrestling Care’s first efforts raised $1000 for the Scott L. Schwartz Children’s Foundation and $500 for the Simi Valley Boys and Girls Club of Simi Valley. Fernando Pullum Community Center will be the benefactor of this the third installment for the Race for the Ring Supercard that will be highlighted by the Quarter-finals of the Race for the Ring Tournament as well as a Huge Mixed Tag Team Match featuring Matt Hardy with Reby Sky taking on Shawn Divari with Ryan Shamrock. The show will also feature a “Beat The Champ” adies match between Katarina Leigh Vs. Candice LaRae. Katarina was known as Winter in TNA. The show will be hosted for the first time by former Women’s World Champion and GoDaddy Spokesmodel Candice Michelle.
Saturday marks the 3rd show for Wrestling Cares with more promised for in the Fall. This will be the first show for Wrestling Cares at the Sheraton Gateway LAX at 6101 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles. The VIP Front Row Tickets are selling for $25.00 and the General Admission for $15. With 8 tournament matches along with the special featured matches, Wrestling Cares could potential have the Best Show of 2013 on their hands.
Jamin Olivencia, the current Ohio Valley Heavyweight Champion, had a very dominant showing against Ryan Taylor in the first round matches that took place in April. Taylor who was subbing for Sami Callihan scored the first pin with a roll up. Olivencia would go on to dominate the rest of the contest with Implant DDT that look like it collapsed Taylor. Olivencia would score his next two falls with a backslide pin and a wicked top rope splash. His opponent is no stranger to Southern California, being the reigning Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Champion, Adam Cole. Cole’s first round match was against Anthony Nese and the match was a spectacular finale to the first Wrestling Cares show. Cole had got the first pinfall on Nese with the Florida Keys... Nese would come back with a Tombstone Piledriver to tie it up. But Cole would get the victory in Overtime whe reversed a cover from Nese. The fans were on their feet giving both men a well received ovation. Olevencia vs. Cole, could steal the entire show.
June 29th BJ Whitmer defeated Shaun “The Temptation” Tempers in Gardena California 2 falls to 1. Whitmer scored a submission with a modified headscissors hold. Tempers was able to counter with a Butterfly Suplex for his first fall. However Whitmer would score his last fall with a belly to back suplex. The winner of this match was scheduled to face the winner of the match between “The Greek God” Papadon who defeated Micah Taylor at the Wrestling Cares offering at the Mid-Atlantic Fan Fest Weekend. Papadon is the reigning ECWA Heavyweight Champion and won the 2012 Super 8 Tournament. Micah Taylor is probably best known as being a part of the African Tour with Luke Gallows and Cliff Compton that introduced the world to The Great Uti, as told on the Art of Wrestling Podcast with Colt Cabana. Micha competed in ZERO1 previously and works GCW in the South East. Unfortunately, during a Ring of Honor show in Toronto, BJ Whitmer suffered a severe stinger in a match with Mike Bennett. The injury occurred when Bennett gave Whitmer a piledriver on the ring apron. This left Papadon without an opponent for Saturday’s event, to remedy this, WCA will be offering a mystery opponent as the Race for the Ring Continues.
Also during the Mid Atlantic Fan Fest, Cassidy Riley defeated Corey Hollis for the second spot. Riley was a regular in TNA for some time, these days he’s a regular for the Florida based Ring Warriors, who will be taping their first Television show this weekend. You might know Hollis for teaming with Mike Posey as Alabama Attitude. They’ve worked some matches for ROH but mostly known for working Anarchy wrestling in Georgia. Riley will now take on Antonio “The Promise” Thomas who is the reigning New England Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. Thomas earned his way into the Quarter Finals by defeating Alex Reynolds of FWE and Pro Wrestling Syndicate. Their match ended in overtime 3-2, the fans were definitely into this one as the crowd chanted the names of both men in favor of showing support. Reynolds scored the 1st fall with a rollup. Thomas was able to get the next two falls using his side headlock armbar combination hold. Reynolds tied up the match with a lung blower. Thomas would secure his spot in the next round by tying Reynolds up in the submission hold one more time.
Another match that shouldn’t disappoint the Los Angeles fan base is Willie Mack vs. Adam Pearce. Both men qualified for the second round at the June show. Mack defeated Brandon Gatson 2-1, in one of the most highly contested matches of the night. The two agile wrestlers exchanged strikes, suplexes and aerial assaults until Mack was about to catch a flying Gatson and execute his Chocolate Thunderbomb. It wouldn’t take long for Gatson to even the score with a Slingshot Ace Crusher that popped the crowd on to their feet. Willie would gain the second and final fall with another Chocolate Thunderbomb. Gatson’s attempted to force Willie into submission with an armbreaker failed to secure him another fall and the match ended with Mack as the victor. Pearce, a 5 time NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion was caught off guard by his opponent Adam Page. The smaller and faster Page was able to score 2 pinfalls against Pearce in the first minute and a half. Eventually the flabbergasted Pearce would end the match with his patented “Last Ride” Lariat that nearly decapitated Page. The match was ruled in favor of Pearce when Page was no longer able to compete. Pearce, who wasn’t satisfied with the results of the match vowed to show Los Angeles what he’s all about Saturday Night. Unlike most of the other match ups, Mack and Pearce have a long storied history from the rings of Mach-1 to Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. These two know each other so well, that Saturday Night both men will have to come up with unusual tactics to defeat the other.
No doubt about it, the match that impressed me the most in the first round was Timothy Thatcher vs. Oliver John. The two NorCal wrestlers both representing All Pro Wrestling featured ring work and submissions that were of the highest caliber, both men really gave it their all. John scored the first fall with a back breaker. Thatcher retaliated with an Ankle Lock Submission. Ultimately, Thatcher would re-use that Ankle Lock to force John to tap out in overtime. The man that will face Thatcher will be Pepper Parks. Parks a former NWA National Champion and currently wrestling in Ring of Honor defeated Vordell Walker. Nor Walker or Parks are regulars in Southern California, Walker years ago made the headlines of the Wrestling community when he and Rick Steiner got into a fight backstage at a show. Walker who is no stranger in to MMA style of fighting was able to subdue the former WCW Tag Team Champion. Walker scored the first fall with a leglock submission and would focus on the lower back and legs of Parks. Park would tie it up with a Fisherman’s Corckscrew neckbreaker, he’d later take the final fall with another spinning neckbreaker. Both men looked excellent, but it would only be Parks who would move on to the next round.
Kyle Matthew’s victory at the inaugural Wrestling Cares Tournament was probably the biggest shock in the tournament thus far. His 2-1 victory of Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana in overtime silenced the Los Angeles based crowd in April. Cabana, who wrestles all over the world, had been a regular for Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and is well established in Southern California. Matthews, who is more prominently known in the South, gave up size and weight to Cabana. Colt’s playful attitude might have cost him the match, after forcing Kyle Matthews to submit to the Billy Goat’s Curse, would lose the next two falls, the last one with a super kick. Colt was respectful in his loss and Matthews parlayed his big victory on a series of victories and is currently the AIWF World Champion. B-Boy brought a new found intensity to his match with Jeff McAlister. B-Boy firmly held the crowd in his favor by winning the first fall with a Shinning Wizard. McAlister answered with an Indian Deathlock Submission, but it would be B-Boy’s NAP Time that would make him the victor and push him forward in the Quarter-finals. Matthews and B-Boy will be very unpredictable.
Steve Anthony and Caprice Coleman post match proclaimed they were the oldest men in the tournament and they just wanted a chance to show these young bucks how it’s done. Both men really put on a fantastic show with Anthony’s high flying and Coleman’s swagger in the ring they really did show how it was all done. This is the only match up in the tournament that ended with only one pinfall, Anthony’s 450 splash. Caprice was very classy in defeat. Anthony’s opponent Dru Gulak the CZW World Heavyweight Champion defeated CNWA’s Bobby Sharp. Sharp landed the first fall with a maneuver that resembled an F5. Gulak would use a pair of sleeper hold submission to come back and win this one. It was said to be one of the more technically proficient matches, Gulak was the only wrestler to take advantage of the brief rest period and apply the same submission hold to score the second fall. Gulak impressed many on his West Coast debut.
Johnny Gargano and Drake Younger aren’t strangers to each other. The last time these two faced off was at a Dragon Gate USA show back in 2010. Gargano was the victor. Both these men advance at the June Wrestling Cares event. Younger took DJ Hyde who was representing CZW. Younger won this round, but not without controversy. A lariat from the much bigger Hyde would put Drake Younger down a fall. However the quick thinking Younger was able to get that fall back. And enraged Hyde went on the offense. He began to beat on Younger, even while in the corner. This was the first time a referee was forced to disqualify someone in the tournament. Hyde’s refusal to acknowledge Referee Jay Stone’s orders resulted in Hyde being DQ and in the Race for the Ring Tournament, each Disqualification results in a point loss. Gargano took on Chase Stevens. Stevens known from his work with TNA as a tag team champion had a tremendous match with the Dragon Gate “Open the Freedom Gate” Champion. To say this match was back and forth would be an understatement. Gragano would go on to win 4-3 against Chase but both men took their fair share of punishment. Gargano would gain the 1st fall with a Tornado DDT, Stevens would answer with a Wheelbarrow Slam. Gragano would score the next two with a Superkick and a Full Nelson into a Facebreaker. Stevens would answer with 2 falls of his own, one a Death Valley Driver, the other with a brainbuster. It would be the small package rollup that would give Gargano the victory. Younger and Gargano, two scrappy competitors who had crowd firmly behind them, will be squaring off to move to the next round.
With so much talent on one card, you don’t want to miss the next Wrestling Cares Association event, taking place this Saturday Night. General Admission tickets just $15, this could be the show of the year.