Hello, everybody and thanks again for checking out another entry on my journey as a referee on the independent wrestling scene this time with ESW and Madmar Entertainment. In this blog, I review my first ever double-shot booking (reffing on two wrestling shows in one day).
My first booking of the day was for Madmar Entertainment at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville, Penn for “A Fair Amount of Insanity 18”. With having to go from our meeting spot at the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga, N.Y. (a town just east of Buffalo), then head just south of Erie, Penn. before bouncing back up to North Tonawanda, N.Y. for Empire State Wrestling for “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” that evening (which is just south of Niagara Falls), there was a good amount of driving ahead of us.
My travel crew consisted of Referee Nolan Evans (“The Nolantaker”) and the wrestler with two names as the driver. In Meadville, he was known as Jet Rebel, but in North Tonawanda, he was known as Jerk Cockins.
We were running a bit behind on our way down to Meadville, but we made it with a few minutes to spare before the opening bell. It would have been tough to start the show anyway since Rebel/Cockins was driving both of the referees.
The venue was exactly how you would picture a rural fair show to be in your mind. It was an older wooden ring, setup under a farm pavilion with wood chips scattered around the floor. There were few barricades so there was much fan interaction, which bled over into how the matches were performed. It was a contrast from the normal settings at ESW but that was fine. It was still a very fun and ambient experience.
Despite the somewhat stressful drive, the show itself went smoothly. I ended up refereeing four matches with my first being Rebel against Lumberjack Leroux. I was glad to get this match because for me it represented different generations of wrestlers that I worked with over the years. I last reffed Leroux back in 2008 when I was working in Ohio and Rebel is from the newer class of wrestlers coming up in New York that I work with regularly now.
My second match was between Zoey Skye against Katie Arquette. This was sort of similar to the first match in that one of my first singles matches I ever refereed was with Skye in it. There was an added stipulation in which if Arquette could not beat Skye, she would have to kiss this gross farmer. Well, it did not go well for Arquette at the end, to say the least.
My third match was Vince Valor and Marcus Knight against Gregory Iron and the event’s promoter Rocky Reynolds. This was a good tag team match that the crowd enjoyed.
The last match I refereed was the main event featuring Gangrel against Shawn Blaze. I was a little nervous going into this bout considering I got lectured by Bushwacker Luke the last time I refereed a match with a wrestling legend. This time, everything went well (even when a torrential downpour caused a hole in the roof that leaked into the ring) and Gangrel was super cool to work with.
We could not stay very long after the final bell rang. We and about half of the roster from the show needed to drive up to ESW. So we ran out to Cockins’s car and through the marshy grass to where he needed to park and went on our way.
Our feet got soaked from just those 5 minutes of walking. As we went down the highway, Cockins and I hung our socks out the window to try and dry them since making an extended pit stop was not possible. The method worked out well to my surprise and we made it to St. Johnsburg Fire Hall with 15 minutes to spare before the start of the event. Alas, everything worked out, again.
As I said my greetings through the locker room, Frankie Feathers told me to get ready now since I was reffing the opener. I checked the ref assignments and the second match was still open for a referee because it was moved from the pre-show to the main card. I asked Referee Richard Head if he wanted it, and he was indifferent, so I did back-to-back matches.
Time flies when you are getting organized, and the next thing I knew I was out the curtain and reffing Feathers versus Cheech. During the opening sequence, I thought to myself “this is kind of a weird feeling. I just reffed a show. Just arrived at another one and now right back at in a different state.” This was my first double-shot, so it was a different feeling. I also absorbed some of the aura from the atmosphere. I came from earlier working within essentially a barn, to now a hall with a high production value consisting of video screens and professional lighting. Although it was a different feeling from earlier that day, I felt comfortable being back in my familiar confines.
The match itself was good. It got the crowd going and saw Feathers retain his ESW Interstate Championship.
The next match was a tag match between James Sayga and Valor against Slade and the debuting Nick Sullivan. These guys really laid into each other and unleashed a lot of hard hits throughout the match. Although there were some moments I was a little concerned, it was a fun match to ref.
My third match was between Brandon Thurston and the debuting “Dark Horse” Anthony Musso. Thurston was looking to get back on the winning side after dropping the ESW Heavyweight Championship to Daniel Garcia and Musso was looking to make an impact in his first ESW match.
Musso did not get much reaction when he first came out since the crowd did not recognize him. However, that changed after he did not back down to Thurston (who was wrestling like a high-tuned machine that night) as he quickly won over the audience. Thurston picked up the win though via brainbuster in two minutes (the last person Thurston defeated with a brainbuster was current World Wrestling Entertainment star, Luke Harper). Even though the match was fast, I felt it accomplished what it was meant to do: get Thurston back on the plus side of the column and establish a new character to the fans in Musso.
My final match was the first one right after intermission. Anthony Gaines faced Jonny Puma as the feud between ESW’s up-and-comers against its old guard (now called “The Empire”) intensified. After some shenanigans in the opening of the fight that saw Will Calrissian and Chris Cooper thrown out of ringside by Sayga and Valor, plus a video of Gaines handcuffing The Caesar in the back, Gaines jumped Puma from behind before Puma could even take off his entrance gear. The two then brawled with Gaines bleeding from his mouth at the beginning leading me to break out my latex gloves. Eventually, they started fighting on the apron and Puma hit a “Jonny On The Spot” onto the floor. I then did my 10 count and Puma squeaked in before the end, winning the match by count-out. He also was bleeding by that time, which led to another first for me: both combatants in a single match “getting color”.
After the show wrapped up, we helped tear-down, clean up and made our way to Mooney’s like we do for the after-party and then I walked down the street to meet up with my wife like usual. I must give a shout out to Feathers for providing me with my dinner that night too, who ordered too much food and gave me his chicken fingers.
That concludes this edition of my journey. Doing a double-shot was fun and although something I might not want to do regularly, but would be something I would consider doing again. I woke up the next day without a voice, and it did not fully come back until Tuesday.
My next one will be just one show, I promise. My voice box will thank me most of all. As always, thanks for reading!