For several years, Brawlfest served as Empire State Wrestling’s hallmark event of the spring. This year’s version continues in that vein.
Headlining Brawlfest 2023 will be one of the hottest names currently on the independent wrestling circuit: “The Indy God” Matt Cardona. The former World Wrestling Entertainment star exploded across the indie wrestling scene since his release from the company, winning several championship belts along in numerous promotions.
Empire State Wrestling presents Brawlfest 2023
Cardona will look to add another title to his collection this Saturday at Buffalo RiverWorks when he challenges ESW Heavyweight Champion “The Remix” Kevin Bennett for the gold. Bennett’s crew might be Cardona’s biggest obstacle in his quest to take the belt from Bennett. Since winning the ESW Heavyweight Championship last year, Bennett utilized a lot of outside help from the likes of the Oliver Street Express and “His Royal Freshness” Frank Feathers to best each of his opponents.
Matt Cardona spoke out about his upcoming match with Bennett in this video:
I’m coming to @ESWWrestling this Saturday!!! https://t.co/FNGOmln2yy pic.twitter.com/Rsnoa3upIG
— Matt Cardona (@TheMattCardona) May 8, 2023
The ESW Interstate Championship will also be defended at Brawlfest. The current holder, “The Prize” Alec Price, will put the belt on the line against “The Holy Hand Grenade” James Sayga. Price last defended the title in January when he beat “The Gift” Jason Kincaid. Sayga is undefeated this year, with his last win in April when teaming with “Big Time” Bill Collier and “Invincible” Vince Valor against Edge of Hope.
“This year makes 15 years that ESW has been a part of my life,” Sayga said. “It’s about more than winning a title for me but cementing myself as one of the best in ESW, capturing my first singles title and beating one of the best wrestlers in the country to do it.”
ESW Tag Team Champions High Seas will be challenged by To Infinity And Beyond for the titles. These teams faced off in a ladder match a year ago at RiverWorks for the vacated straps. Since winning the belts last year, High Seas defeated every opponent in front of them, with their latest being Greed in April. In March, To Infinity And Beyond teamed with Starboy Charlie to beat Second Gear Crew.
Another marquee matchup set for Brawlfest is a dog collar match between Valor and Feathers. They faced off in March in a match that resulted in a no-contest. Valor then issued a challenge with this stipulation to Feathers to settle the score in their bitter feud once and for all.
In the tag team division, Bang Bros will return to ESW and face CXR. Bang Bros last appeared in November, taking on To Infinity And Beyond in a T4 Tag Team Tournament match. CXR bested American Strong Style last month.
“It’s a match T.J. Epixx and I have wanted to have since we first saw Bang Bros against To Infinity And Beyond late last year,” said CXR’s Chael Connors. “It’s a great opportunity to climb the ranks in ESW’s tag division and have a memorable match while doing it.”
“Courageous” Christina Marie will be in action. Her last ESW match was a win over Veda Scott in March. She will face the debuting Ray Lyn who also wrestles for Women of Wrestling as Chantilly Chella. This is a first time ever match between the two competitors.
The biggest slugfest on the card might be when Collier squares off against “Raddy Daddy” Cole Radrick. In March, Radrick faced “Blue Thunder” Jay Freddie who is now out of action due to a leg injury.
A four-way scramble match will feature prominent indie wrestlers from across the U.S. Chicago’s Trevor Outlaw, Washington D.C.’s “The Cambodian Dragon” Yoya and Pittsburgh’s “Sky Prince” Anthony Young will make their ESW debuts in the bout. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s Alex Daniels will make his return to the promotion for the first time since 2017.
Other wrestlers in action will be “Rock Star” Robby Vegas, “Buck Wild” Tommy K and the return of “The Inspiration” Gregory Iron. After taking several months off from wrestling, Iron comes back to ESW with a refreshed sense of energy.
You can read about Iron’s decision to return to wrestling in this Twitter post here:
Long Post] I never said I "retired." Plus, it's hard to "retire" from a job with no 401k…
Also, shout out to Mike & JB for having my back, too. pic.twitter.com/rVDmzUP3FZ
— Gregory Iron (@GregoryIron) April 7, 2023
Front and second row tickets are sold out, but General Admission and balcony seats remain available at pre-sale prices on ESWTIX.com. All ticket prices rise by $5 on event day. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the opening bell set for 7:00 p.m. Out-of-town fans can catch the event live on IndependentWrestling.TV.