The Battle of Lake Erie 2022
This blog entry is on my latest referee booking for Revenge Pro Wrestling’s The Battle of Lake Erie 2022, which took place on Saturday, February 5. Normally, I push out event blogs within a week of the show, but my workload at my full-time job increased recently, and outside of work, my family life schedule is busier than before.
Regardless, I am glad to write about this event that was a real physical experience for me. Let’s jump in!
This show was in Erie, Penn. If you are unfamiliar with the city, it is about a 1 hour and 45-minute drive south of Buffalo, NY. Erie is also roughly the same distance from Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Penn. Erie’s city characteristics profile fairly closely to its aforementioned Rust Belt counterparts, albeit on a smaller scale.
Erie is home to a AA minor league baseball team, the Erie Seawolves, which are an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and an Ontario Hockey League team called the Erie Otters. Notable people from Erie include Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Billitenkoff, Train lead singer Patrick Monahan and American Revolutionary War general Anthony Wayne.
There were wrestlers booked on the show from all four cities I previously mentioned. To me, that makes Erie an interesting wrestling town as it is a melting pot for independent wrestling that will feature matchups of wrestlers from different areas that might not normally work together.
The Battle of Lake Erie 2022
I was unable to link up to ride with anyone from Buffalo for this trip, so I drove there myself. I took a positive perspective with this as it allowed me to listen to all my own music on the drive and leave at the end of the night whenever I felt like it & I parked inside a ramp a few blocks away from the Avalon Hotel – a wrestling road trip first for me – as the snow piles were still abundant from that week’s snowstorm.
This was my fourth time refereeing in Pennsylvania, my third time in Erie, and my second time with Revenge. The last time I refereed for Revenge was in November 2018 in which I arrived right when doors opened after attending a podcasting event. This time, I came around the normal call time and met some new faces and caught up with some familiar ones without being rushed for time.
Referee George Ross & I
There were eight matches on the card, so Referee George Ross and I split the card alternating matches. My first match was the opener between To Infinity & Beyond and The Philly Marino Experience. I refereed To Infinity & Beyond a couple of times since returning last summer and PME at the last Empire State Wrestling event in November so it felt good getting my feet wet in a city I was not as comfortable as usual in with two teams I worked with before.
The ring was an 18-footer which is bigger than most of the rings I regularly ref in. A larger ring for tag team matches is always a good thing, in my opinion. Although you need to be quicker to get into positions with the extra room, the added space provides more area to stay out of the action’s way, which I feel is more beneficial for ring work purposes.
My second match was an open challenge issued by Zander Gabriel. It was answered by “Invincible” Vince Valor, who made his Revenge debut and received a huge pop from the crowd that did not expect him to be there. This was a fairly straightforward match that saw Valor pick up the win to the Erie crowd’s delight.
Erie Elite Invitational Four-Way Match
My third bout was the Erie Elite Invitational Four-Way Match. The winner of the match received the Erie Elite Invitational Trophy and earned themselves a future title shot. The announced participants were Jaxon Argos, Rex Brody, RC Dupree, and Jack Pollock. However, Elijah Dean jumped Brody during his ring entrance and knocked him out, which forced me to rule Brody out for the match.
The Battle of Lake Erie 2022
By default, Dean took his spot. A match like this is one of the big reasons why I try to take out-of-town bookings when I can. I had never worked with three of the competitors in this match before, and it brought me out of my comfort zone. By doing that, it helped me learn and grow as a referee in slight but significant ways.
To everyone’s surprise, Brody came back out during the match and reinserted himself to turn it into a five-way. At the end, Argos grabbed my collar, and I needed to pull away and adjust myself. After I finished getting sorted, he quickly scored the pin-fall and won the trophy. This would be the first instance where things got physical for me during the night.
My last assigned match was between “Big League” John McChesney and Jock Samson. Prior to the match, Jamison Hixenbaugh and Emily Matson from Erie News Now interviewed Julia Lynn, who announced her neck healed. They were interrupted by Samson. McChesney came out to a huge pop to confront Samson in response. McChesney is super popular in his hometown of Erie.
“Big League” John McChesney
Several of us joke that he could win a mayoral run. The match was a basic brawl but was a little more complex than I am used to since returning from the pandemic hiatus. It made me more nervous than usual, even though I refereed both these guys several times before at a different promotion. Samson, at one point, pulled me in front of a McChesney superkick attempt which led to him getting a scolding.
Eventually, McChesney started punching Samson in the corner while on the second rope, and I pulled him down, tried to stop him from throwing another, and got hit in the eye. I rolled to the corner and rolled back to count a pin-fall attempt by Samson. Then I rolled back until I noticed McChesney pinned him, and that scored the win for Big League. The newscasters and Lynn were also in the ring for some reason before I headed to the back.
During the main event between “Big Time” Bill Collier and “The Man of Tomorrow” Daniel Eads, Ross got hit in the face, and I ran out to count a pin-fall and check on my fellow zebra. After turning my attention back to the action, Collier grabbed me, and suddenly I fell victim to a superman punch from Eads. I was out like a light. Thankfully, Ross and Ring Announcer Chris Gullo helped me to the back to finish off my night.
600 Strong in Attendance!
The show drew an impressive crowd of 600 and was possibly a record draw for Revenge. Due to taking that punch at the end, I chilled out in the locker room until the fans left before I chipped in on tearing the ring down. It was fun to catch up with some people during this time, too. I wished I stayed longer for the afterparty, but I tried getting home around my kids’ bedtimes. I also stopped at one of Erie’s Sheetz for some food on the way back and shared it with my wife, who was pleasantly surprised.
The next Revenge show will be in May once again at the Avalon Hotel in Erie. However, my next booking will be back with ESW on March 5 at the Frontier Fire Hall in Niagara Falls, N.Y., in what is shaping up to be an impressive lineup. I cannot wait to report back on my times at that one and hopefully will with a better turnaround time.
As always, thanks for reading the battle of Lake Erie 2022!