Empire State Wrestlings Overdrive 2022 | The Jarkaster Journey

Hello, everybody!

Welcome back for another entry in my time as an independent wrestling referee! This blog is about my experiences at Empire State Wrestling’s Overdrive event on Saturday, October 8, at Buffalo RiverWorks with Empire State Wrestlings Overdrive 2022.

Let’s jump into this exciting show!

With roughly a two month gap in between bookings, I went to the Buffalo Wrestling Academy in the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, N.Y. (a quick drive from my house for me) to keep some ring rust off and chat it up with some trainees. ESW recently began partnering with BWA to be its training affiliate.

The facility is within Quantum Conditioning and Wellness and is a true gem. Vince Valor came over from the ESW school to partner with Robby Vegas and Delsin Alekzander as the head trainers and are doing a nice job with their students. I highly recommend anyone looking to train for any wrestling position to come here. I previously worked a lot with all three head trainers and think the school possesses a lot of potential in their hands. 

Frankie Feathers attended the training session also and afterward I interviewed him for the feature story I wrote about his wrestling career and Interstate Championship run in particular. You can read the article here.

My daughter and I showed up the Friday before Overdrive to help with setup at RiverWorks. Shout out to everyone that arrived (especially the out-of-towners) and gave a hand – it was the biggest turnout we saw in a long time.

Empire State Wrestlings Overdrive 2022
[Photo: Hrycych Photography]

Empire State Wrestlings Overdrive 2022

My usual pre-show dinner consists of a Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie plus some kind of vegetable from home. They are pretty easy to come across in grocery stores and gas stations around me. However, I managed to stop at three different places en route to RiverWorks that did not sell any.

I settled for a turkey sausage breakfast sandwich from the Dunkin Donuts inside the Seneca One Stop near the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo (tax free, too).

It was nice to see Referee Ronnie Haun back in action. Him, Senior Referee Richard Head and I were the officials for the night.

I was assigned three matches for the night. My first was Gregory Iron versus JP Grayson. Iron was originally scheduled to face Space Monkey, but a travel issue prevented him from coming to the show. Iron came out to “Higher” by Creed and it took all my strength to keep from cracking up in the ring.

I always enjoy working an Iron match with the usual comedy spots that are involved with it – even if it involves him screaming bad names at me right into my face. This was my first Grayson match and it was also his unexpected debut in ESW. I think the fans were taken a little off guard by him coming out but he worked hard to establish himself as a baby face. If he returns in the future, I think he will be over with the fans.

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[Photo: TMK Photography]
My second match was ESW Interstate Champion Alec Price defending the belt against Jake Crist. As I walked out to the ring, ESW cameraman Zak Warner told me to have fun. He was right – the match was a blast. The quick-moving action kept me on my toes the entire time.

My last assigned match was Edge of Hope (Jeremiah Richter, Cerin Rahne, and Mattick) against Vinnie Moon, James Sayga, and Keenan Moore. With all the moving parts in this match, this was another one where I was extra nimble. The big spot of the match occurred when Richter gave Moore a double-handed chokeslam on the outside.

I ran out the ring to check on him and called for help to get him into the back. I helped usher him out of the ringside area before continuing to ref the match. Apparently, the crowd went dead silent during this portion of the bout – I guess we blurred the lines of work and shoot with this spot.

I was not involved in the main event, but the match was too big to not be mentioned. Kevin Blackwood defended the ESW Heavyweight Championship against Kevin Bennett in a feud that was brewing for nearly a year. Valor cashed in his title opportunity with the Ilio DiPaolo Memorial Cup Trophy during it, making it a triple-threat match.

Bennett won the belt after interference from his good buddy Randy P plus Feathers shockingly hitting Valor over the head with a beer bottle (ironic after all the nice things I said about Feathers in his feature!) to the shock of everyone in attendance.

After we cleaned up from the show, I ventured to The Dome Stadium in Tonawanda, N.Y. with some people. My wife was away in Florida and my children were with my parents for the day so I had some extra time that night. The Dome was a place my wife and I went to regularly when we began dating so it was a nice trip down memory lane for me. The kitchen was closed, so we picked up some chow from Colosso Taco down the street.

My next booking will be when ESW holds its final show of the year on Black Friday, November 25 with WrestleBash XII at Buffalo RiverWorks. Ticket information and match announcements will be posted on ESW’s social media outlets soon. Announced so far are ESW Tag Team Champions High Seas defending the titles against Waves & Curls and the ESW debut of Jordan Oliver.

If you missed Overdrive, it will be uploaded to IndependentWrestling.TV in the near future.

Once again, thanks for reading!