Last night at the St. Johnsburg Fire in North Tonawanda, N.Y., “Red Death” Daniel Garcia made his long-awaited return to in-ring action at ( ESW ) Empire State Wrestling. The 20-year-old upstart from Buffalo, N.Y. managed to make his comeback in the most dramatic way possible: by winning the Empire State Wrestling Heavyweight Championship.
In the main event of Empire State Wrestling’s (ESW) “Temperature Rising”, Garcia defeated reigning champion “The Patron Saint of Professional Wrestling” Brandon Thurston to capture the title via submission.
The match was originally supposed to take place at ESW’s “Night at the St. Johnsburg” in January as a follow-up to the pair’s battle between each other for the Ilio DiPaolo Cup in November 2018. The singles bout was highly anticipated considering the excellent in-ring work Garcia and Thurston exhibited together in the DiPaolo Cup match.
However, the match did not occur after Garcia suffered serious injuries in the “Buffalo Brothers” automobile accident that happened before the scheduled fight.
Despite being out due to his injuries, Garcia continued to be present at ESW events keeping a close eye on Thurston’s matches. This allowed their eventual confrontation to remain fresh in the fan’s eyes.
The two wrestlers were highly active on social media before the fight calling each other out. The tension could be contrived as more heightened than usual due to the “teacher versus student” element that was involved as Thurston played an instrumental role in Garcia’s training.
Although often times heavily hyped up matches do not live up to the build up, this bout in all likelihood did so based off the audience’s emotional investments and subsequent reactions to the path both competitors took them down.
The fight itself went back-and-forth with each competitor nearly scoring the victory on several occasions. Garcia would ultimately prevail though by locking in his cranking sharpshooter and forcing Thurston to submit that was preceded by a Somba-style roll that he learned from his mentor.
“I trained him and he beat me with a move I taught him, so I beat myself,” Thurston said in a post-match interview on ESW’s Facebook Live stream.
After the final bell rang, the emotions flowed in the squared circle after Thurston ceded the belt over to his student and Garcia cut a promo expressing his gratitude and how meaningful this win was to him. He ended the night by once again proclaiming himself to be “the best wrestler in Buffalo” as he previously did throughout most of the last 12 months.
“I’ve always thought I’ve been the best of Buffalo, N.Y.’s wrestling scene, now I have something to prove it,” Garcia said in a post-match interview on ESW’s Facebook Live stream.
Garcia’s first title defense is already set. “Blue Thunder” Jay Freddie beat “The Walking Weapon” Josh Alexander last night to become the next No. 1 contender for the ESW Heavyweight Championship. The match is scheduled to take place at ESW’s next event in August at the St. Johnsburg Fire Hall.