Hello, everyone! Here is another edition of my journey as a referee in the independent professional wrestling scene. My latest booking was a few weeks ago at Empire State Wrestling’s “Sky Is The Limit” in North Tonawanda, N.Y. This was my first event back at ESW’s stomping grounds in the St. Johnsburg Fire Hall since last fall and was pretty pumped going into the event as it was highly anticipated among the fans and everyone involved. These are my thoughts as Sky was the Limit.
The event featured All-Elite Wrestling signees The Lucha Bros and Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF). With such big names on the card, tickets were purchased at a much quicker rate than normal and prompted ESW promoter Brett Mednik to get in touch with everyone on the roster to see how many spare tickets were still unsold and announce that the commentators table and merchandise tables were being removed to fit as many people as possible into the venue. Thus it came to no shock that a week later, it was announced that “Sky Is The Limit” was sold out beforehand – a first for the promotion. Alas, everyone involved was super optimistic leading into the day.
This was also my second show post-cholecystectomy. As I mentioned in my prior blog entry, I was experiencing some heavy fatigue on a daily basis and needed to prep my body differently on show day than usual. Upping my Vitamin D intake helped a bit, but I was still dealing with this exhaustion everyday.
I did something similar on this day, as well and I packed a sizeable lunch to take with me to the show to make sure my body was still full of nutrients throughout the night. I also brought a bottle of orange juice and cherry limeade ice water to keep my fluids up. On the drive to the show, I stopped at Rite Aid and bought two Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookies to further supplement my dietary needs.
Overall, it seemed to work for me. The peanut butter Complete Cookie I think irritated my missing gallbladder area but the snicker doodle one felt fine. I felt relatively well for the most part and unlike the Rochester show, I did not feel increasingly lethargic as the night went on. It looks like I figured out a successful dietary formula, at least for show days.
When I arrived, I greeted everyone backstage and am very grateful for everyone that checked up on how I was doing from the last show. We did not need to do a whole on social media during the first few hours before the event started since it was already sold out. Even the line to get inside started super early. When my wife pulled up to drop me off around 3:30 p.m. There were people already lining up (doors were at 5:00 p.m.). However, I did need to help with some of the lighting before the show began.
The first match I reffed was between Atticus Cogar and Gavin Glass. This bout was recorded exclusively for our streaming partners such as Powerslam.TV. This was my third show in a row that I reffed one of Glass’s matches, so I can officially say I am on a “Glass Streak”. Unfortunately for Glass, this one, just like the other two, resulted in a loss. But regardless, this was a fun, fast-paced match-up that I encourage everyone to check out. It also tested about my agility and quick feet which I was a little concerned about seeing how I am not in the best of health lately, and thankfully I passed it.
The second match I was assigned was the ESW Tag Team Champions Vince Valor and James Sayga against Jerk Cockins and his landlord. It was a quick bout with the champs getting in the majority of the offense. Everything went pretty smoothly for the most part that I could tell.
Intermission then came up a few segments later and I ventured out in the crowd to see who I knew. I slithered through easily the biggest mass of people I ever saw in the St. Johnsburg, but really did not get a chance to talk to anyone too long. It was hard to do with about 580 people crammed inside this hall and I was concerned about making it backstage in time for the start of the second half.
My third and final match of the night was the battle of former tag team partners Randy P. versus Andy C. Together they were known as the Oliver Street Express and held the tag team belts for an extended amount of time. But now they were against each other in a bitter feud that would culminate on this night in a “Loser Leaves ESW” match.
Andy was the face in the match as Randy turned on him a few months ago. After missing the January event, this was my first time seeing Randy as a heel and I quite enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this may be the only time I will get to witness heel Randy in-person, as he lost the match via submission. Then in a swerve, Andy took the microphone and cut a promo announcing that although he won the match, he also was leaving ESW. They proceeded to both thank the crowd for supporting them other the years. They were joined by Kevin Bennett, who is one of their childhood friends.
It was a real honor to ref the last match for those two. It is often said to “never say never” in regards to wrestling retirements, but as it stands today, this would be their final match. I remember the first time seeing them on a show in a tag team battle royale, thinking “who the hell are these kids?” But over the years as I got to know them and work with them, I came to find out that they were both good dudes that had a passion for wrestling and on the best performances possible.
Being my last match of the night, I also felt fairly good about myself. Like I said earlier, I did not become more lethargic as the card progressed through the night. Thus, my in-ring work I felt remained on point throughout the show and overall just felt nice to be in comfortable wrestling confines and in a relatively good state of being at that moment.
I talked to them both afterward about what their futures hold. Randy is going to be a father soon and will be totally focused on his parental duties. Andy thinks he will start traveling aboard and get more involved with the local music scene. Either way, both of them will always be considered part of the ESW family and would be welcomed back warmly.
After the show concluded and we tore down the ring and equipment, Big Jake, a fellow referee who was at the show, gave me a lift to the after-party at Mooney’s. We hung out with ring announcer Chris Gullo and talked about a variety of topics ranging from sports memorabilia to the Haitian Revolution before heading home.
So that wraps up my night at “Sky Is The Limit”. Keep checking out Post Wrestling Post for some future articles I will be doing including a preview of ESW’s next event “Fairground Fallout: Return of the Empire” featuring Shannon Moore, plus a continuation of “A Brief History of Empire State Wrestling”. This was Sky is the Limit.
As always, thanks for reading!