I was in New Orleans for about 50 hours this weekend. It was good, it was definitely an experience. It’s all fading away from my mind like a dream already, so I might as well type what I remember while I still do.
I knew the hotel I booked was close to the WrestleCon wrestling venue, the Sugar Mill. I did not grasp the hotel and the Sugar Mill were literally across the street from each other. My room gave me a great view of the back door, where wrestlers were hanging to get out of the the locker room and get some fresh air. I only made it over to the WWN venue once, because it just didn’t make sense to pay for a $30 Lyft ride crosstown by myself to see stuff I wasn’t totally excited to see, when I could see about the same stuff literally across the street. I really liked how it worked out; I could walk to the Sugar Mill, I walked in the rain to get to NXT, I walked around the French Quarter and the riverfront a bit, it was all no big deal. Beside the occasional homeless encampment underneath the highway, it all felt safe. The only times I had to sit in a car where to and from the airport. The venues themselves had no special appeal but it’s not hard to see why New Orleans is home for events like this, it’s an exceedingly easy city for tourists.
I suspect it’ll be a different story in New York next year. Even if everything somehow ends up in walking distance, it may not be a pleasant experience walking around on the east coast in early April.
The Crash (FRI) 04/06/2018 The Sugar Mill, New Orleans, Louisiana [Superluchas, thecubsfan]
1) Black Danger & Lacey Lane b Ángel Fashion & Christi Jaynes and Barbie Hayden & Joey Ryan and Douglas James & Thunder Rosa
Thunder Rosa replaced Diamante.
2) Daga b El Bandido
Added match. Daga won after a double suplex into a backcracker.
3) Laredo Kid b Rey Horuz, Flip Gordon
Laredo got the pin on Horus.
4) Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz b Aeroboy & Black Diamond and Dave Crist & Jake Crist and Curt Stallion & Jason Cade
Xavier & Wentz, as the Rascalz, beat Jake Crist for the win. Black Boy was announced as Black Diamond. Stallion, Cade & Aeroboy were added to this match after the scramble opener was eliminated.
5) Willie Mack b Sami Callihan, Brian Cage
6) Rey Fénix (US) b Flamita
about a six minute match.
7) Damián 666, LA Park, Nicho el Millionario b Bestia 666, Garza Jr., Mr. 450
Damian’s team came out as the LWO, wearing the shirts. Nicho (as Psicosis) took a powerbomb onto cement in the opening brawl. LA Park was the star of the match. The LWO beat all three members of Rebelion Amarilla
8) Austin Aries b Penta Zero M
Aries won clean.
I got in about an hour or so before this show. In the half hour before this show started, I think this lineup might have changed at least three times. It was a lot of work from a number of people to make this show happen and that work was going on to the last minute (and a little beyond.).
It was a little crushing to see all that work end up with a show that wasn’t on the level of the ones they’ve had in Tijuana or they could’ve had here. It was as if the idea that the show had a hard time limit didn’t really sink it until they were in New Orleans and then they got so concerned about it that they went too far the other way. That hard time limit was 2:30pm, and they actually finished up around 1:50. It might have been the shortest show of the weekend at that venue. A lot of the matches had endings that felt abrupt and premature. The matches weren’t crippled by the time, but I keep thinking about how much better a match would be if they gave it a couple more minutes.
Fenix/Flamita felt the most that way, like it was five minutes away from being really special. The story going around is they weren’t given a short amount of time, but simply might have thought they were out there for a longer than they were. The main event was hurt by Penta losing, by Aries winning when people weren’t really ready for it, and by it just being an OK match. Aries is an obviously talented guy who seemed to be in cruise control in the matches I saw this weekend. His current bit is being a guest wrestler in other promotions and winning their titles, but he didn’t really fit well as a guest opponent for Penta, and Penta was a bit in exhibition mode.
This show was still overall good and had positives. There was concern about what LA Park would do, and LA Park gave everyone what they wanted out of the match without any commission person getting upset. Daga/Bandido was a fun bonus match. The multiman tag matches were craziness as they tried to give everyone a moment when they didn’t have many to give out. Mack/Callihan/Cage was good And the Crash drew better than they were expecting going in. All the shows at The Sugar Mill seemed to draw as well or better than expected. Axxess was on the other side of the Sugar Mill, and people who weren’t even aware there was non-WWE wrestling walked up. I think there were also a lot of wrestling fans who were just looking for something to do and waited until the day of the show to decide.
This show is up on the Highspots Wrestling Network for $5/rental or $10 if you buy a month of their video service.. Como Estaz co-host Rob is the announcer for most of the show. I haven’t listened to yet and he’s concerned about how much I’m going to bury him if/when I watch the show. I’m going to bury him so much! It’s going to be a grand time. (In total truth, if it sounds like he was thrown in at the last moment, it’s because he was.) Highspots definitely talked to The Crash about putting other of their shows up on the same streaming service. We’d all be thrilled if it happened, but I’m not going to get my hopes up for it.
I checked in to my hotel room, then decided to go to the Revolution Pro‘s show. Here’s the first set of results I could find. Not on the same page of the grades though. David Starr & Martin Stone was good, Cobb & Suzuki was good. Tanahashi & Robinson versus Aussie Open didn’t do much for me, but it was clear how the fans were thrilled to see Tanahashi do anything at all. Likewise, I understood why they did what felt like too much comedy early in the trios match – Ospreay/Ibushi had to be saved for the big moment in the match and Ospreay could use an easier match that weekend – but it took it down just a bit for me. ZSJ/shii was a really big thing, and one where the crowd exploded when Ishii got a win they were not expect it to be.
Mostly, I was watching RevPro as a comparison to what The Crash was doing, or not doing. The UK indie had six matches (and an intermission, which The Crash did not), and got done where the crowd left happy because someone they wanted to see won the big match at the end. They had 18 wrestlers total on the show, The Crash had 16 people in two matches alone. The Crash ran a basically non-canon show with some of their regular names. RevPro did a changed their big title, presumably feeling safe that the people involved were well known enough by the fans that the moment would give over, and that their home base of fans would still be able to experience it digitally later. (They also might have done it because ZSJ appears to be less available going forward.) Nothing everything is transferable; the RevPro shows are marketed to people who are going assiduously keep track of the best matches they’ve seen that year and they want to make sure some of those matches are listed as happening in RevPro. That culture does not exist in Mexico at all. There is a culture of fans being into long personal rivalries, and there wasn’t a lot of that either.
The final show Saturday was the Impact versus Lucha Underground show.
- Matanza beat Caleb Konley, Jack Evans, Chavo Guerrero, Moose and Matt Sydal
- Allie beat Taya Valkyrie to keep the Impact Knockouts Championship
- Teddy Hart & Scott Steiner beat Dave Crist & Jake Crist
- King Cuerno, Aerostar, Drago beat Dezmond Xavier, Andrew Everett, DJZ
- Trevor Lee beat Marty the Moth (w/Famous B)
- LAX defeat Killshot & the Mack to keep the Impact Tag Team championship
- Brian Cage beat Eli Drake
- Jeremiah Crane beat Eddie Edwards in an I Quit match
- Pentagon Dark beat Austin Aries & Fenix
The show is still free to watch on Impact’s Twitch account, where it apparently did very strong numbers. Voices of Wrestling has a review.
The biggest news was Alberto el Patron skipping out on the show and subsequently being fired from Impact. He hasn’t said much about it; he seemed to be back to RT-ing stuff on Wednesday but his last self written tweet was on April 6th, complaining about how promoters make wrestlers look bad by canceling shows. No one’s done more damage to Alberto than Alberto has over the last few years, and people were largely over him on this show. If there was any one upset about Alberto missing the main event, they were drowned out by the loud negative Alberto chants.
The Lucha Underground Season 4 reveal was a little bit lost by happening in the first match. I didn’t really understand when Chavo was going when he was setting up the announcement. The timing of it made sense – there were more people paying attention to Lucha Underground with this show than any other moment – it may have just worked better as something before the main event.
Still, the LU side was lucky to get in it at all. This crowd was there to see Lucha Underground, but it was an Impact show cannily using LU to market a live show in a way the actual LU promotion hasn’t even been able to be there. There’s some LU related strangeness – the three LU reps in the opener all might have been having their match with anything related to LU, and LU’s Dragon Azteca & Kobra Moon were on the The Crash show hours earlier but not booked here – but the only reason we got any Lucha Underground at all is because it was something Impact pushed for. Gotta be grateful for the group giving me something when the other one gives me nothing. It totally worked for Impact – this show seemed to sell out – it seems like something that should obviously be repeated next year if both promotions are around the same level.
The fourth match & the tag title matches are the ones I’d suggest watching. Other stuff was good, but those stood out the most. In my relentless comparison to mainline lucha matches, I couldn’t help but think of the TripleMania four way tag match, where AAA stuffed the Traidor Clowns & Cuervo & Scoria in a match with many of these same guys, and then the match itself was overshadowed by Aerostar’s biggest dive yet. This time, they just had only the good wrestlers, they limited it to a reasonable amount of them so they wouldn’t be crowding into each other’s spaces, and they gave them the chance to do a really good match, and it worked out great. It’s not that hard to put together, if putting together good matches is actually the goal. LAX had moments go not great for them near the end, which they were obviously annoyed with, but the action leading to it was really great. Killshot wrestlers everywhere nowadays and deserving so, and it’s just a shame the same isn’t happening for the Mack. He got over on every show I saw him on.
Teddy Hart is now a 00’s nostalgia act. That’s the most painful part of seeing Hart wrestle, a reminder of how old we’re all getting that he too now can be wacky nostalgia, no different as 90s nostalgia act Scott Steiner and his nWo shirt. Neither of them have much wrestling appeal beyond the novelty of them existing.
The main of this show turned out better than The Crash one. Some of it was Fenix & Penta being Fenix & Penta. It’s kind of a shame they’re not running that match out one more time to wow a new audience in Impact Wrestling. Aries seemed to be doing more in this match, maybe because it was his home promotion or because they felt more pressure to have something good with no Alberto. It was good, it didn’t leave me with a great need to see it again, but I’d guess they had no idea this would be their replacement PPV main event when it was happening.
I somehow made it from there in to Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2. It was the only show I got to the WWN building for, which felt much more like a high school basketball gym than the WrestleCon show. What it lacked in aesthics it made up in size; I watched most of the show from high up in the bleachers, feeling far removed from the ring and the ringside crowd. JJSB was probably the perfect show for that in some ways. The people who wanted to be at a show in the early morning hours enough to buy reserved seats well ahead of time really really wanted to be there, seemed to love everything, and were worth watching as much as the match. People out in the bleachers seemed to more think it was a cool idea that was less cool as the (intentionally awful?) Clusterfuck royal rumble lingered on forever and ever. The weirdness of that match exactly felt the show, but it also seemed to push the fans and the show itself past their breaking point, and the reactions to the Sasuke/Janela match weren’t what I think they were hoping for given the build up. You could hear the frustration of the moment in Janela’s voice in his post match promo, wanting to build up to the big karaoke spot to end the show while watching people stream out of the building and into the night before he could get it there. It turned out even New Orleans has limits.
I missed the opener, which sounds like something I would’ve wanted to see. PCO/Walter was an experience. I’d bet Quackenbush/Starr in a techinical match is a lot better watching it at a normal time/context, and perhaps not after you’ve seen a 50 year old Canadian man try to kill himself via moonsaults and chops and then Penta & Gage try to break stuff. Janela/Sasuke might work better too, but maybe next year’s Janela dream match shouldn’t be the main event. It’s still going to be the biggest one of the show, it’s just that maybe the card order needs to be changed when you’re running to four am.
Somehow, now sure how or why, I was up by 10 AM the next day to go the Pancakes and Piledriver show. That one was a combination of three indies – AAW, Wrestling Revolver, and Fight Club Pro – which felt a lot like a generic indie showcase card lacking a strong personality. Eddie Kingston continued an AAW bit by coming out to David Starr’s entrance (and totally confused guest announcer Matt Striker by doing so), but Jeff Cobb was a smiling tecnico earlier on instead of doing his AAW rudo gimmick. I did get to see Meiko Satomura for the first time, and she was obviously great in an exhibition feeling match. The ladder main event had some big spots, with Aussie Open impressing me more there than they had the night before. The Trevor Lee/ACH title match was disappointingly brief. I’m shocked wrestlingdata has it 3 minutes because it didn’t even feel that long. Maybe the bell ran before Lee’s promo? I can not recall. The mixed tag had me questioning what I was going with my life. It was an alright time. It was something to do at that time of day. After this, I decided I really needed to do something other than going to another wrestling show. This show did give me David Arquette blaming WWE for the death of WCW, so there’s that, but it felt not as memorable as the other shows I went to.
(I had two pancakes. They only gave you one pancake at a time, and then you had to get back in line. I wanted about like six, but I wasn’t going to ask four more times.)
Instead of sticking around for CZW, I walked to the river. (Or at least I thought I was doing that; after about 10 minutes, I turned around went the actual direction. That was somehow the only time I got lost the entire weekend.) I’m iffy on the idea about anyone cares enough my wrestling adventures to read 3,000 words about them, and probably even less so about the non-wrestling ones. I walked thru the French Quarter, I chilled next to a fountain, I saw workers set up a for a wedding in a park while the bride and groom took photos, I saw teens playing catch with a football some how throw the football into a pond, and then nearly get their jacket taken by a homeless man while they were trying to fish out the football. I regretted not bringing my earbuds to catch up on podcasts as I walked, and then heard a band playing and remembered there are other things to listen to besides podcasts. It was a good break.
NXT Takeover was great. That show as one of the reasons I wanted to make this trip. The NXT Takeover in May was good, but Sombra didn’t make it on it. Eleven months later, he was champion of the whole thing. I hope he keeps rising up from here, but it was a reminder of how quickly it can all change, and how it was best to take advantage of the good times while they last. Sombra lost the title on the show, while also continuing his stream of having one of the best matches on the show. The ladder match was outstanding, and the main event event was excellent in the building even with some forced bits with crutches. This was a long feeling show, especially since I got there in time for the dark matches, but easily the best show I saw that weekend.
The set up for NXT was weird though. Most of the concession areas were shut down during the show, or shutting down. It was long lines to get pretty much anything. I walked around two levels and found only one merchandise stand, staffed by only a couple people. It was as if they didn’t expect anyone to leave their seat once the show began, and I don’t remember that being the case when I went to the Chicago show. I still lived, and ate a bunch of fries later on to compensate.
The final show of the weekend for me was House of Hardcore. I remember very little about it. That show had a strong turnout though also one that started check out before the end of the show. What they were going wasn’t for me. It did seem for plenty of other people. Willie Mack winning their title was something I did I enjoy. I enjoyed hanging out with people and stealing their fries more.
And that was it. I had some beignet related travel drama the next day – Sunday morning with 70,000 extra people in town isn’t the quickest time to get breakfast, it turns out – but the one and half I did get to eat were really good and made me want to be a little more quick about getting them next time. I didn’t want to stick around for WrestleMania itself, and felt even stronger about that decision after nearly falling asleep during it later that night. It still was a lot of wrestling and a tiring experience. That just seems like the way i go with any trip. I’m not sure I could manage going some place on vacation to just relax. I’m not sure if I’ll do this again next year in New York, but it was strongly pointed out to me I wasn’t as negative at the end of a trip as usual. We’ll see.