A match nearly a year in the making will finally occur this Saturday when Empire State Wrestling presents Overdrive 2022. After “The Aesthetic Crippler” Kevin Blackwood won the Empire State Wrestling Heavyweight Championship in November 2021, his former close friend “The Remix” Kevin Bennett demanded a match against him for the title. About 11 months since issuing that initial challenge, the two Kevins will square off for the promotion’s top title at Overdrive at Buffalo RiverWorks.
Blackwood originally was set to put the Heavyweight title on the line against Bennett in March at Spring Breakdown. However, Bennett suffered an injury training for the match which pushed their eventual bout in the future. With Bennett out of action, Blackwood successfully defended the belt versus Rickey Shane Page as a substitute opponent.
Empire State Wrestling presents Overdrive 2022Bennett was cleared to compete by May at Brawlfest 2022 as a surprise entrant in a 6-person scramble match. After hanging outside the ring for the majority of the match, Bennett snuck in and scored a quick, cheap pin to win the bout much to the fans’ chagrin.
Despite getting the green light to wrestle, Bennett did not regain his title shot at ESW’s next event, Black & Blue, in June. After beating Levi Everett, Bennett made it aware to everyone in attendance that he felt cheated out of his opportunity. Meanwhile, Blackwood defended the Heavyweight title successfully against “Blue Thunder” Jay Freddie – in what may be a Match of the Year candidate.
At 20 in August, Bennett faced a fellow ESW stalwart in James Sayga. Bennett picked up the win in a devious manner by getting assistance from his old friends, the Oliver Street Express and bumping into the referee toward the end of the match. In the main event, Blackwood scored a win over ex-IMPACT Wrestling star Jake Something.
Bennett and OSE confronted Blackwood about still not getting a title shot and assaulted him. Blackwood agreed to put the belt on the line at Overdrive, where the long-brewing feud will come to a head.
“I think it’s ridiculous that I had to wait as long as I did just because of an injury,” Bennett said. “The broken foot was totally out of my control. But I guess that’s how life goes. If you lose your spot, you get pushed to the back of the line.
Despite getting screwed, I’m still going to make happen what was supposed to happen back in March and that’s take the ESW Heavyweight Championship. It’s going to feel great winning that title but it’s going to feel even better taking it from Kevin Blackwood.”
Check out this video recap of Blackwood and Bennett’s feud below.
“The Prize” Alec Price captured the ESW Interstate Championship from Frankie Feathers in August, ending the longest title reign in ESW history. His first title defense will be against former Impact Wrestling X-Division Champion Jake Crist. The last time Crist wrestled in ESW was in March against Vinnie Moon.
After dropping the title to Price, Feathers was jumped by Matt Lawson and Troy Cooper, a.k.a American Strong Style, who caused havoc on the last few ESW events. A chair wielding “Invincible” Vince Valor chased them off. Valor then called out the duo to face him and Feathers in the ring at Overdrive. That match is now set as Feathers and Valor will look for retribution against this vicious, young team.
“Believe it or not, I like Lawson and Cooper,” Valor said. “They’re young, talented, and hungry. But with that hunger, they’ve bitten off more than they can chew by attacking my brothers for the past two events.
Frankie Feathers and I are considered by many to be some of the gatekeepers here at ESW. At Overdrive, Lawson and Cooper will soon understand the importance of having respect as they enter our home.”
The ESW Tag Team Championships will be on the line when High Seas defends the belts against CXR. High Seas defeated The Rad Boyz in their previous defense in August. CXR’s last match in ESW was in June in a three-way tag team match.
Ex-Ring of Honor Television Champion “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams will be in action versus the returning Freddie. These two are no strangers to each other in what looks to be a very hard-hitting matchup.
Freddie believes a win at Overdrive can boost his chances for another shot at the Heavyweight title.
“Tracy is one of the best in the world at this game and losing to Blackwood has put me back at the bottom of the pecking order for the ESW Heavyweight title. But this is a huge opportunity against ‘Hot Sauce’ and if I’m able to win, it puts me right back into contention.”
Click here to see highlights from their previous encounter:
— Jay Freddie • ジェイ・フレッディ (@jay_freddie) October 3, 2022
A match previously scheduled for August is now set for Overdrive. Beyond Wrestling stars Waves & Curls will make their ESW debuts against To Infinity & Beyond. In August, To Infinity & Beyond was victorious against their substitute opponent in The Mane Event.
Since forming this year, Edge of Hope annihilated any person in their way. They will look to continue their brutal ways with their newest member Mattick. The trio will face the team of “Tasty” Keenan Moore, Sayga and Moon.
Rahne sees this match as just another obstacle in Edge of Hope’s way toward its end game of overrunning ESW.
“We have been on a path of utter destruction within ESW and on October 8 that path will continue,” he said. “It’s nothing personal. It’s just collateral damage. They are just in the way of our message. Time to step out of your darkness and into my light.”
Moore, Sayga and Moon will be looking to get into the win column against Edge of Hope, after Sayga and Moon both lost their matches at 20 and Moore still yearns for his first ESW victory since debuting last year.
In singles action, Space Monkey will take on Gregory Iron. Space Monkey beat “A Cut Above the Rest” Gavin Glass in August, while Iron pulled off a win in the ESW alumni lumberjack match against Moon on the same night.
ESW ring announcer Chris Gullo previously bickered with Iron regarding Iron’s matches over the last several months. Gullo made a bold prediction on the outcome of the Space Monkey-Iron match that might not sit well with Iron.
“Though Iron is a great competitor, I think he got lucky against Vinnie Moon,” he said. “I am predicting a Space Monkey victory.”
Also in action will be “Courageous” Christina Marie. She will look to build momentum off her win over ex-Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Champion Rachael Ellering in August.
Front row tickets are sold out, while VIP/balcony, second row and general admission remain available. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the opening bell set for 7 p.m.