Empire State Wrestling presents 20. When examining the course of independent wrestling over any two-decade span, many changes are abundant in various aspects. Promotions start and fold. Wrestlers’ careers rise and fall. Venues open their doors and then close down. Anything that can stay consistent within independent wrestling for that long is worth memorializing.
That is why Empire State Wrestling’s event on Saturday is being considered not just another show in its ongoing history, but a celebration of its past and present successes over the last 20 years.
Empire State Wrestling presents 20
Empire State Wrestling (ESW) aptly named this event simply as “20” to commemorate its 20th anniversary since its beginnings at an Elks Lodge in Niagara Falls, N.Y. However, it is fitting that 20 will take place at Buffalo RiverWorks, one of Western New York’s premier entertainment venues, as it properly reflects the growth the promotion occurred over its 20-year legacy.
“ESW has come a long way since its humble beginnings in various fire halls and legion posts throughout Niagara County,”
said ESW promoter Brett Stymus.
“We have consistently produced a quality product that fans keep coming back to and that’s still attracting new ones as we further grow as Buffalo’s top promotion. 20 isn’t just a celebration of ESW but also a ‘thank you’ to all the fans that have supported us over the years. This show won’t disappoint.”
The headlining match for 20 will feature a pair of the hottest wrestlers on the indie wrestling scene today. ESW Heavyweight Champion “The Aesthetic Crippler” Kevin Blackwood will face ex-IMPACT Wrestling star Jake Something. The match was originally scheduled to occur in March 2020 but did not occur because of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At last, the match will go down with the added bonus of being for the ESW Heavyweight Championship. This will be Something’s ESW debut, while Blackwood is coming off a stellar victory over “Blue Thunder” Jay Freddie in June.
ESW’s longest running Interstate Champion Frankie Feathers will look to continue his historic streak versus one of indie wrestling’s fastest rising stars. “The Prize” Alec Price will look to dethrone Feathers after the two had a backstage confrontation in May.
Feathers retained the belt in a four-way match against Brayden Lee, Gavin Glass and Keenan Moore in June. This will be Price’s third match in ESW after facing “Invincible” Vince Valor for the Ilio DiPaolo Memorial Cup in May.
Valor is scheduled to defend the DiPaolo Cup versus returning ex-Ring of Honor star “The Ace of Space” LSG. However, there are doubts about Valor’s availability for the match after sustaining an injury while training. Valor intends on making the decision on whether he can take part in the bout himself.
“By now, it’s no secret that I’m not at 100 percent,” Valor said. “I’m injured. The fans know it. My opponent LSG knows it and everyone’s telling me I’m too hurt to compete, telling me to cancel and live to fight another day. The only person that’s going to make that decision is me.
If LSG hopes to take the cup I’ve fought so hard for, he’s going to have to kill me for it. ESW’s 20th anniversary is a time to celebrate memories of the past. Saturday night, it’s time to create memories that will be talked about 20 years from now.”Valor successfully defended the DiPaolo Cup in June versus Ace Perry. The last time LSG stepped foot in an ESW ring was in March when he took part in a three-way match with Atticus Cogar and J.T. Dunn.
The ESW Tag Team Championships will be on the line when High Seas defends the belts against the returning MSP. High Seas defeated the Rad BoyZ in June. MSP ventures back to ESW for the first time since their debut against To Infinity & Beyond last year.
To Infinity & Beyond will be back in action against the debuting Mane Event. Mane Event are regulars at Beyond Wrestling and are substituting for the originally scheduled fellow Beyond tag team Waves & Curls. To Infinity & Beyond will look to return to the ESW Tag Team title picture after failing to win the belts in a ladder match against High Seas in May.
After making their colorful, energetic debuts in June, The Rad BoyZ will look to score their first ESW win against another young and upcoming tag team in Edge of Hope. The team of Cerin Rahne and Jeremiah Richter rolled through their competition since becoming a duo including beating CXR and Vinnie Moon & Gregory Iron in June.
“At the last show, the Rad BoyZ took the ESW Tag Team Champs High Seas to the limit and we expect the same this Saturday,” Richter said. “Except this time, you’re going to see a more dominant side of Edge of Hope.”
The team of Moon and Iron was created by ESW management after Iron took issue with his previous tag team partners. Even with the appointed partner, Iron still walked out on Moon. It will be a lot harder for Iron to abandon the ring on Saturday when he faces Moon in a lumberjack match featuring ESW alumni from throughout its 20-year history.
“Being a part of ESW has been a dream of mine, so to be featured on the 20th anniversary show is super cool,” Moon said. “I grew up watching ESW as a young fan so it’s only fitting that the ESW alumni are a part of my match against Gregory Iron this Saturday.
I’ve had too many people think they can step on me, so this lumberjack match is a perfect way to show not just Greg, but all of the ESW roster why Vinnie Moon isn’t just a goofy kid with goofy hair.”
A match featuring a pair of ESW’s modern era roster staples is set between “The Remix” Kevin Bennett and James Sayga. The two ESW stalwarts started 10 years ago together on ring crew and grew into two of the promotion’s most well-known stars. Bennett is fresh off a victory over Levi Everett in June while continuing to demand an ESW Heavyweight title opportunity. Sayga comes off a win over Chip Stetson at the same show.
A women’s match is scheduled between ex-Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Champion Rachael Ellering and “Courageous” Christina Marie. Marie will look to build momentum off her last ESW victory against Shazza McKenzie when she squares off against the debuting “Queen of Strong Style”.
After being unsuccessful in capturing the ESW Interstate title in June, “A Cut Above the Rest” Gavin Glass will look to return to the win column against Space Monkey. The intergalactic primate returned to ESW in victorious fashion in June with a win over “The Big Bang” Jerk Cockins.
Front and second row tickets are sold out. General Admission pre-sale tickets remain for $20 while event day tickets are $25. Tickets can be purchased at ESWTix.com. Doors open at 5 p.m. with bell time set for 7 p.m.
The day after 20 on Sunday, August 14, ESW will host open tryouts for new students at the ESW Training Academy in Niagara Falls. The tryouts begin at 3 p.m. For more information and to reserve a spot, email ESWtraining02@gmail.com.