With a ring full of what the late Dusty Rhodes would describe as plunder last Saturday, March 26, AJ Smooth captured the Madhouse Wrestling Heavyweight Championship as it’s A Mad World. Smooth, his body beaten and bruised after a war with One Called Manders, reveled in the fact that he had just become the inaugural Madhouse Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.
The two had just finished a “Match of the Year” front runner featuring broken doors, chairs, and barbed wire. Smooth’s brief celebration didn’t last long as a bloodied Manders dropped him with a vicious clothesline. The battle between AJ Smooth and One Called Manders – ultimately won by Smooth after he power bombed Manders through a door covered in barb wire – put the emphatic exclamation point on a historic night in Iowa independent wrestling.
This show, for the brand-new promotion that came from the minds of Malice and Luke Raven, was the culmination of two years of planning. The two long-time friends and avid wrestling fans brought in a crew they believed in, and this crew delivered a show that will live forever in Iowa independent pro wrestling lore. Embracing the spirit of the original Extreme Championship Wrestling, Madhouse Wrestling started their era not with a whimper but with a bang.
The opening contest was the first semifinal match of the Madhouse Wrestling Heavyweight Championship Tournament. Featuring long-time Impact Pro Wrestling foes James Jeffries and AJ Smooth, it was a great way to start the night. From the minute Jeffries theme “Party in the USA” echoed throughout the Countryside Wedding and Events Center in Knoxville, Iowa, the crowd was hooked.
Smooth and Jeffries went back and forth, their knowledge of each other very apparent throughout the contest. Jeffries got a huge pop from the Knoxville crowd after adding a little something extra to his patented back rakes by using an actual rake. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be for Jeffries on this night as the crafty Smooth picked up the win utilizing the ropes for extra leverage during his final pin attempt.
It’s A Mad World – Styles Make Fights
One Called Manders and Jeremy Wyatt are two of the most respected wrestlers on the independent wrestling scene. Both bring their own style of toughness to any card they are booked on. With Wyatt being the expert technician and Manders the consummate brawler, there was no way this match wouldn’t deliver. And this Madhouse Wrestling Championship semifinal delivered the goods.
After some early one-upmanship from both men, the intensity in this match began to rise. Manders attempts at using his power and brute force countered by Wyatt’s technical savvy. The crowd support continuously inspiring Manders to fight through the various holds and submission attempts by Wyatt.
Meanwhile, the disdain from the fans fueled Wyatt’s anger. After running Manders shoulder first into the ring post, Wyatt began his assault on Manders injured shoulder.
All seemed lost when Wyatt had Manders locked in a crossface. But, the Cornbelt Cowboy, in an amazing show of grit and strength, powered his way out of the hold. However, Wyatt escaped Manders attempt for his patented running power slam and locked in a sleeper hold.
It was quite the impressive sequence between these two ring generals. With the crowd at a fever pitch, Manders earned his spot in the finals after hitting a clothesline from hell that would make JBL proud. After the match, AJ Smooth tried weakening his future opponent, attacking Manders before being sent to the back by the Madhouse staff.
It’s A Mad World – Knuxville Street Fight
The “King of the Cosmos” Gable Galileo picked up a huge win Saturday night, defeating Justin Decent in a Knuxville Street Fight. With his BFF Max Chill by his side, Galileo wasn’t affected by the hatred of the fans. Decent and Galileo used brass knuckles, kendo sticks, garbage cans, chairs, and even a princess play set in efforts to destroy the other.
Max Chill played a vital part in this match; in fact, the finish came after Justin Decent hoisted him up for a Decent powerbomb. With Decent’s focus on Chill, Galileo was able to procure some brass knuckles from his BFF.
The brief change of focus allowed Galileo to level Decent with a brass-covered right hand. After the match, Chillileo, as they are collectively known, continued assaulting Decent. Leading to Madhouse promoter Malice coming out for the save.
Malice dished out a pair of kendo stick shots to Chillileo, sending the nefarious duo scrambling to the locker room. Malice then laid out a challenge for Madhouse Wrestling 2 on August 6. The pair of Decent and Malice versus Chillileo to crown the first-ever Madhouse Wrestling Tag Team Champions.
It’s A Mad World – Absolute Chaos
If you are a fan of non-stop action and chaotic multi-man matches, then the Madhouse Scramble Match is right up your alley. Six men from various parts of the Iowa independent wrestling multiverse, all with the same goal: Earning a future Madhouse Wrestling Championship opportunity.
Clay Cooper, Jimmy Wylde, Saint, Dustan Moseley, Augustus Draven, and Ricky Bronson all had something to prove. From the opening bell, all hell broke loose, with all six men fighting around the ringside area. Jimmy Wylde seemed to have suffered a knee injury amidst the chaos. Here’s to a quick and full recovery for Wylde.
At one point in the match, Saint and Augustus Draven hatched a dark alliance. The two mysterious figures worked together to dispatch the other competitors. But the man who stole the show was Clay Cooper. His death-defying leap from the venue balcony will be an iconic Madhouse Wrestling moment for years to come.
The move elicited the loudest reaction of the night. He followed it up with a shooting star press from the top turnbuckle onto his foes to the outside. Cooper picked up the win with a picture-perfect 450 splash.
First Time Ever
Anyone who has seen Matty Star in the ring knows his ability to get under the fans’ collective skin is unmatched. Coming out Saturday night, he was immediately met with a chorus of boos, something he relished in. Saturday night, the fans had the perfect weapon of destruction to face Star in Lars Metzger. This was another hard-hitting affair between two savvy veterans. At one point, the fight spilled to the outside.
This is where Star hit a superkick to Metzger, whose head was placed against the ring post. Star introduced a door into the match that ultimately led to his downfall. But, before the finish, Star hit a beautiful moonsault to the outside on Metzger.
However, Metzger wouldn’t be deterred, hitting Star with a massive side suplex off the top turnbuckle. Once both men were back to their feet, Metzger speared Star through the same door Star was introduced to the match. A simple three count later, and Metzger had his first victory under the Madhouse Wrestling banner.
Any debuting promotion wants their first show to be memorable. One that sets the tone for what the promotion can be. The chance to thoroughly entertains their fans and have them wanting to come back for more. Madhouse Wrestling did that in spades last Saturday night. It was a show jam-packed with iconic moments, hard-hitting matches, and wild and crazy brawls.
It truly is a Mad World, a Madhouse world.