Northeast Wrestling’s Wrestling Under the Stars V – An On-the-Scene Report & Review
On Saturday, August 27, 2016, Northeast Wrestling was hosting “Wrestling Under the Stars V” at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, New York. I was one of the several hundreds of people that got to attend the event, as well as it was my very first time attending a Northeast Wrestling event, especially an event hosted in a baseball stadium. Now, I will be honest by saying what drew me to the event was the outsourced talent, the big name draws such as Kurt Angle, The Hardys, Jushin “Thunder Liger”, Velvet Sky, Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Cody Rhodes along with the dream match, Cody Rhodes vs. Kurt Angle. The other thing that brought me to the event was Cody Rhodes himself, after he noticed a tweet I made about not being able to get there without a travel partner, because issues easily rise when being in a wheelchair and having other medical issues. Cody, himself then put out a tweet about whoever could help me or wanted to go with me, that both of us would receive signed event t-shirts. Several answered the call, but for some it was not a set in stone deal or it was simply out of the way for the individuals to help, and others shared the post suggesting a Go Fund Me. Even Katie Linendoll attempted to help, but schedules and missed messages delayed that support (no bad feeling though, she is a real good person) however one of my parents, my mother, finally decided to tag along, after hearing about the free autograph and having the chance to meet an Olympic Gold Medalist since I bought tickets to the autograph session. When we got there the wait was actually a long one, not just because we arrived early to ensure we’d get into the arena right behind the VIP’s, but because the promotion was seemingly running behind setting stuff up as well as did not divide the lines between the packages until minutes before the doors opened. That was personally the worst experience I found with event, since due to the confusion my mother and I got pushed more into the middle of the line waiting for autographs than being within the first 30, or so to be behind the VIP goers. Since we got pushed back the wait on line was nearly 90 minutes to two hours long till we got to the talent, where it became a splintered line attempting to divide up who pre-ordered what signatures in the order of the nearest table. That however began to block off a few of the talents, who did not have autographs for pre-order such as Velvet Sky, and loosely Jerry the King who had both options to obtain a photograph/ autograph combo. Luckily being in a wheelchair had some perks since Velvet came over to me after I snagged my pre-ordered stuff, she’s also a highly huggable person for those who have yet gotten the chance to meet her.
The first pre-ordered autograph I obtained was Jushin “Thunder” Liger where we briefly discussed his liking for Godzilla and how he hides his collection in the NJPW Dojo. Next I met Kurt Angle, and at first he literally mistook for being a little kid before seeing the wheelchair which led to some laughs. He seemingly was highly amazed at my knowledge of his work in Japan during his run in TNA, as well as his thoughts on the talent coming to WWE. The best part was when he was interested that this website sought to interview him, but why wouldn’t we? He is a real American Hero/Icon! Following Angle was the Hardy family to which I was surprised that when I introduced myself and gave them my business card, Matt recognized me from Twitter having asked in advance if he would sign my wheelchair. This was the only moment where Matt loosely broke character having lost the accent and mannerism, to simply ask if I truly was the TaJa Doyle on Twitter. After that exchange his character was in full swing as he caressed the ‘Chair on Wheels” and asked if it had name like Vanguard One, to which I replied it has an A.I. known only as Chairington! The interesting part was Jeff Hardy dropped me some spoilers about ‘Delete or Decay’ before it had aired, but it was all cryptic as hell to fully understand without seeing the full segment. Then finally I came to the man of his word, “Prince” Cody Rhodes, where I revealed to him my identity via my business card. Cody’s reaction was something special seeing that I actually made it; he even exclaimed to the others that I was the guy he had told them about during the Northeast tour leading up to the event. It was a great time meeting him, specifically how I told him my father raised me on watching the NWA and WCW specifically Dusty’s rivalry with Flair and the Horsemen and his upcoming role in CW’s DC Universe series. Shortly after meeting him I met some of the promotion’s main talent, and went to find my seat.
When the show itself, finally began the crowd received an unexpected Dark Match due to the fact it was promoted for the main card. The match was a basic tag team match featuring Adrenaline Rush vs. Wrecking Ball Legursky & Big Ang, which originally could only be view when in attendance however I learnt it was preserved for the DVD release of the show. The crowd was not entirely into this match, but I personally hate it as I enjoyed the old school vibe the match gave me. It heavily felt like a match out of the 80s or early 90s, due to the in-ring work and moves/holds applied. Wrecking Ball Legursky and Big Ang eventually won the match via a double pin-fall with both members, which I did not entirely expect since I thought Legursky was originally setting up Adrenaline Rush to be pinned solely by him. Now, the actual first match for the show was 4-Man Elimination Match featuring Travis “Flip” Gordon, Vinny Marseglia, Caleb Konley, and TK O’Ryan; originally it was promoted as 5-Man match featuring NJPW’s Kamitaichi but he was later worked into another match. The elimination match used the 4-Way Dance or 6-Pack Challenge rule where two would start the match and the others would be on the outside like a tag match, and would have to tag in or out to legally wrestle. I did not expect that style of match to occur, and highly sought it should have been using basic tornado rules from the start especially due the talent’s light-heavyweight builds, and high flying styles. Flip Gordon easily stood out to the crowd due several risks he took in the match, with his suicide dives and leaps to the outside area. Yet, TK O’Ryan was still highly favored being one of the promotions better known talents, and it eventually came down to both faces as the final two men. I easily expected O’Ryan would win the match due to the crowd’s pop for him, and by his entrance theme alone, “You’re the Best!”, so I did not doubt he’d lose. This match is probably my second most favorite match from the card, and could have been tie with number one for me if I had seen the finish of the match clearly due to the referee standing in the way. I had to use Instagram the following the day to catch up on the missed ending.
The second official match on the card was an interesting matchup featuring Dan De Man being accompanied by his tag team partner, and “The Army of One” Brian Anthony; also too note Brian Anthony was one of the few interesting entrances as he drove himself into the stadium via a bright green hummer. Dan and Brian were very agile in-ring, and attempted to make use of several counters into holds, before brawling in and outside of the ring. Dan’s partner would interfere in the match any chance he could get such as providing a distraction, sneak attacking Brian, and making a few saves for Dan, yet was never ejected from the match. A few highlights that stood were some of Brian’s suicide dives to the outside, and when Dan managed to acquire a good footing due to the distractions such as when he performed a RKO-like cutter on Brian which nearly allowed him to pick up his second near pin-fall victory in the match; that shocked Dan along with a majority of the crowd when Brian kicked out cause it looked as if everything was over. Following this near pin-fall for Dan, Brain began taking back the match with needed reversals, and what lead people to believe there’d be an “insane” spot heavy finish we were met with Macho Man like elbow drop to secure Brian’s victory. Our third match at the event finally featured Kamitaichi teaming up with Sumie Sakia and “Manscout” Jake Manning against NEW Tag Team Champions So Over (Mark Shurman & Jimmy Preston) and Velvet Sky accompanied by Swoggle (former Hornswoggle). The match was filled with hilarious spots and an on-the-spot storyline where Kamitaichi was easily enamored by Velvet’s beauty, seeking to have her as his through the match. This also led to a loose double turn since Manscout was viewed as a face, and So Over were promoted as the heels, however due to their partner in Velvet Sky things obviously changed. Now, two of the hilarious spots featured Kamitachi “stink facing” Velvet Sky and Velvet drop-toe holding Sumie head first into Manscout’s crotch. I honestly felt this was a match where Santino Marella was needed to add to the insanity. The team of So Over and Velvet Sky won after every member hit several splash onto the entire opposing team, and Velvet caught Sumie with a spear soon following. Next up was the match that several in the crowd were highly displeased to see, where as for me I did not find as terrible as my section made it out to be as it was Jerry “the King” Lawler squaring off with the Brooklyn Brawler. I originally expected the match to mostly be slightly more technical with a mix of pure brawling than it was; however the match was more like a game of cat and mouse filled with Brawler resorting to several cheap shots. The best highlight in the match was when the crowd showed their displeasure for the match by chanting for the need of tables, and then they loosely got it when Brawler gave Jerry a hard bump off the apron onto the announce table with Brawler shouting, “There is your god damn table!” The match would all conclude with Brawler attempting to hit Jerry with what seemed to be brass knuckles, only to be rolled up into a pin-fall. Jerry won, the crowd seem relieved and then awaited for the upcoming ‘Public Deletion’!
The Public Deletion was seemingly a highly promoted match for the event aside from its main event, as Matt Hardy released a few video packages hyping the match up especially due to the fact Sami Callihan is huge indie-draw in the area. I did not even know how big Callihan was until his initial run with WWE in NXT, so it was interesting to see Hardy take time to put their match over before it could even occur. Now as entrance took place, Callihan entered wearing a cat mask while Hardy soon followed being accompanied by his wife, Reby Sky and Señor Benjamin. Matt then cut a promo on the crowd and on his opponent which lead to an interesting shouting match between the two, as Matt would shout DELETE and Callihan would scream MEOW up until Callihan bit Matt. Callihan proceeded to attempt to obtain a quick victory however he was unsuccessful. The two began brawling about and lead to them getting into the ringside crowd as well over to second base. This is where the match became terrible for several in the stands because as the brawl spilled further away from the ring, the ringside crowd would follow and block off all sight of the action. The only way to see what happened was to actually be following the action via the promotion’s Instagram the next day (I wish I was kidding about this part). Then the fight began to return to ring, but before that they tried to get into at least a dugout. Once returning to ringside and the ring, Matt bit and choked out Callihan a lot which made for a vicious scene. Yet, Callihan’s comebacks were simply impressive especially when he tried to mouth off on Hardy with a live microphone, calling him washed up and etc. That only led to him deep-throat the microphone, as Hardy forced him to swallow it. It was probably one of the highest spots in the match, as it soon became more street fight-ish as Señor Benjamin proceed to get Matt weapons, such as a few folding chairs and the shovel. The was minor use of the weapons since the ref was either down or distracted during the portion, and it lead to Matt successfully hitting the Twist of Fate on Callihan to acquire the victory. I honestly believe this match could have stolen the show, had I been able to actually see the fight in full during the actual event. I hope in future events Northeast Wrestling attempts to either keep ringside fans seated or further away from the action, so other paying fans can enjoy more of the environmental brawls that can take place at a baseball stadium.
Then before the co-main events, the crowd was treated to another tag team match feature two of NEW’s top teams, the Battle Brothers and The Now, Hale Collins & Vik Dalishus (who I had seen as an on-screen “security guard” in other promotions). This match here is a mixed bag for me, because the in-ring work was really good and great tag team action occurred. Yet, there were parts that felt like it dragged on especially when it focused on the typical heel team trying to cut member of the face team off from tagging in the other member, but was interesting in moments where the crowd would flip sides on who to cheer for. Some of these instances were either due to the impressive tag work done, or the specific spot attempted as well some who thought “The Now” were not what they were hyped to be. A lot of the most impressive moments during this match occurred when Vik Dalishus hit power moves on the Battle Brothers, or when he would take to the sky; seemingly Dalishus was most over wrestler with the crowd during the entire. Eventually the Now picked up the win after both men hit several impress dives on one of the Battle Brothers, and after the match the Battle Brothers “fired” them even though the correct wording would have been he quit on them for being “The worst Tag Team he ever worked with!” That then lead to a special appearance by Ryback, who Shellshocked the guy for belittling his former team. This then brought us to the first main event, for the first time ever it was Jeff Hardy facing off with Jushin “Thunder” Liger! It was a dream match that several talked about and seemingly expected a lot more from it than there really was to it. However, what the crowd wanted and what the crowd got did differ, but did not disappoint as what we received entertained the crowd, and keep us guessing what would happen next as well as questioned the choice for its pacing. Yet, before the match begun Jeff entered the ring with Liger seemingly was very cautious of him, as if he was not sure how Jeff would perform for the night; as in was Jeff going to work as a face or work as a heel especially due to his current work in TNA along with the choice he made for his attire for the event, as Brother Nero. Luckily Hardy, seeming put aside the character of Brother Nero for the night as before the bell rang he addressed the crowd and publicly thanked Liger for the opportunity to face him, which assured the crowd that this dream match would be face vs. face! It started with basic impressive technical wrestling and counters that eventually lead to Hardy knocking Liger out of the ring. This was then followed up by running senton off the apron onto Liger out, as well as Hardy hitting his leg off the barricade. This was then where things shocked me, because Liger being the veteran became very methodical, and targeted the hell out Jeff’s leg. The way he worked the leg specifically made me and others I talked to think that Tanahashi was actually out wrestling Jeff, as the way he’d hit off shin/knee breakers, and dragon screw leg whips. Hardy would attempt to make several comebacks throughout the match and would fail every time he’d go for the “Whisper in the Wind” however he eventually would win the match by reversing Liger’s chop with a Twist of Fate followed by the Swanton Bomb. Following the conclusion of the match the two shacked hands, and bowed to one another for their performance.
Thus we come to the true main event of the evening, Cody Rhodes vs. Kurt Angle, the match that had everyone talking and was a huge reason for why several that I talked to had chosen to attend the event! This was a dream match for several, shortly after Cody Rhodes came into his own at WWE as “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, as well as following his departure from the company when it seemed like this made was a real possibility; let alone that it became a reality as it was booked shortly after his departure! Being able to attend their first team meeting one another in a match was truly an honor, as well as I completely lost time of the match durations that every time I retell this story the length of the match seeming gets exaggerated due to how well the match turned out and the overall enjoyment from the crowd. When I say the crowd was into this, by god it was so into it several were either chanting “This is awesome!” or simply shout “This is Glorious!” which had both men take a moment to take in the crowd’s gratitude. We were met with splendid match where both attempted to be very technical however Angle’s overall strength gave more of a lead in the match. Angle was effective in counter out several of Cody’s holds, and would target a mostly his chest in an attempt to loosen him up for German Suplexes. Cody would then attempt to make various comebacks from the match with pure brawling, and hitting his iconic Disaster Kick; with his speed, Cody then match the made go back and forth between the two. Yet, once Angle managed to counter one of Cody’s springboard moves into a Powerbomb that transition into the Ankle Lock things seemingly felt like Angle had easily won the match, but Cody countered and was eventually met by Angle’s Triple German Suplex barrage. This is where Cody took a heck of a beating, yet luckily kept coming back even managing to kick out an Olympic Slam and countering out of a second to hit Angle with Crossrhodes to secure an amazing victory! The crowd erupted, and honestly I still do not how I managed to keep as calm as did when shooting the match however this point I lost all control and was marking out… Thank God, my camera survived the moment! With the main event over, Cody briefly celebrated his victory, thanked Angle and then gave him the spotlight for being the legend that he is. Then on the way out fans were greeted by members of NEW’s roster who thanked the audience for attending the event, and welcome us back for future shows.
Overall I heavily enjoyed my time at Wrestling Under the Stars V, and already consider attending next year’s if it is possible. Having the chance to meet Legends, modern day pros, and in-house/indies talent is great especially if future events feature new/different members each year. I overly enjoyed that the talent I had met was very humble, kind, and gave fans a few moments of their time to seemingly get to know a small piece of us, and possibly remember each and every one of us in years to come. Now, I will be highly biased that at the event Cody Rhodes, was my M.V.P. due to the gracious support he provided for me in trying to find a ride. Yet, everyone I met was still incredible in their own right including the staff of Northeast Wrestling who one could tell easily each member enjoyed their job. Another thing that I personally enjoyed was the subtle admiration I received from the staff and wrestlers for turning a personal excursion into something for work here at Herotaku and Hero Club! Hopefully from all that I can get some of those interviews. Anyways, for the event’s card and matches I could easily compare to an amalgamation of different wrestling eras, with each match loosely featuring a style from a different decade or two while attempting to innovate the current product known as professional wrestling. I do think the promotion should have easily changed the outcomes for matches, as all matches were won by face wrestlers; that alone was probably one of my largest concerns with the entire show. Luckily thought from it all I now have brand new indie talents to follow on social media. Hopefully this is not the last time I will attend a local indie promotion and be able to provide some on-scene coverage. Below one can easily look at my scores for a particular match on the card which was scored out of 5 however the total for the event’s card is scored out of 10 for its overall average.
- Dark Match: Adrenaline Rush vs. Wrecking Ball Legursky & Big Ang – Score: 3 out of 5
- 4-Man Elimination Match: Travis “Flip” Gordon vs. Vinny Marseglia vs. Caleb Konley vs. TK
O’Ryan – Score: 4.5 out of 5
- Dan De Man vs. “The Army of One” Brian Anthony – Score: 3.5 out of 5
- 6-Man Intergender Tag Team: Kamitaichi, Sumie Sakia, Manscout Jake Manning vs. So Over (Mark Shurman & Jimmy Preston) & Velvet Sky with Swoggle – Score: 3 out of 5
- Brooklyn Brawler vs. Jerry “the King” Lawler – Score: 2.5 out of 5
- Sami Callihan vs. BROKEN Matt Hardy – Score: 4 out of 5
- The Battle Brothers vs. The NOW (Hale Collins & Vik Dalishus) – Score: 3.5 out of 5
- Main Event 1: Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Jeff Hardy – Score: 4 out of 5
- Main Event 2: Cody Rhodes vs. Kurt Angle – Score: 5 out of 5
Final Score: 7.3 out of 10 – A fine score for a first outing to Northeast Wrestling event!
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