Empire State Wrestling (ESW) will present “Wrestlebash” at the Frontier Fire Hall, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. on Saturday, November 24. As ESW’s biggest event of the year, it will feature former World Wrestling Entertainment talents Papa Shango, The Godfather, The Spirit Squad and Collin Delaney plus Impact Wrestling’s Kongo Kong among numerous other top national and local wrestlers. We present our preview of Wrestlebash.
Booking “Wrestlebash” at the Frontier Fire Hall is now an annual tradition for ESW. Frontier Fire Hall is relatively close to ESW’s regular host venue at the St. Johnsburg Fire Hall in North Tonawanda, N.Y. but can hold a larger audience.
“Wrestlebash has always been our big year-end event in which we step it up a notch further,” said ESW promoter Brett Stymus. “We also give a little teaser and taste of what to expect in the upcoming year. Every year we also feature major first-time debuts in ESW.”
ESW will also continue the tradition of holding its annual Ilio DiPaolo Cup match. The six-man elimination match will feature Ring of Honor star Rhett Titus, Kevin Blackwood, Brandon Thurston, Daniel Garcia, and Sean Carr. There will also be a “last chance” battle royal at the start of the event, with the winner earning the final spot in the match. The winner of the Ilio DiPaolo Cup can cash in the cup at whatever time the wrestler wants for a shot at the ESW Heavyweight Championship.
Thurston sees the DiPaolo Cup match as an opportunity to continue growing his vision of changing wrestling for the better.
“Ilio DiPaolo is one of the best-known wrestlers local history,” he said. ”He was known not only for what he did as a wrestler but for what he did outside wrestling to help the community. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to do that too, but for now, I’m trying to help wrestling.”
Thurston also sees the match as a way to test himself against a new crop of ESW competitors and a chance to eventually regain the ESW Heavyweight Championship.
“In this year’s match I have to compete with five of the best ESW could bring to Western New York,” he said. “Every time I get in the ring with them will be a test to see if I can still survive. I have to upgrade my wrestling. I have to make sure I’m moving as fast as they are so they don’t pass me by. We’re all pushed further by this competition. In that way you could almost think of the match, the level of competition it will show, as a group effort.’
“I would like to become the ESW champion again. The cup is the ticket to that. I’m a far better wrestler now than I was when I was champion before in 2011 and 2012. I would like to see what kind of champion I would be in this new, more challenging era.”
After teaming with Andy Williams as the “Butcher and The Blade” in October against Kevin Bennett and Puf, the current ESW Heavyweight Champion Pepper Parks will be challenged by Combat Zone Wrestling star Rickey Shane Page.
“On November 24, I’m going to continue to prove that I’m levels above everything pro wrestling in Buffalo, N.Y.,” Parks said. “I can adapt to any style and I’ll do so against the world-traveling ‘King of the Deathmatch’ Rickey Shane Page.”
Puf is slated to tag with Dick Justice against Handcrafted, the team of R.J. City and Gregory Iron.
“I think it’s just gonna be a boatload of fun,” Puf said. “There’s not really any bad blood going into it. I don’t necessarily have any problems with R.J. and Greg, so I think it’s just going to be a battle of which team can entertain the crowd more because that’ll be the advantage needed to get the upper hand and get the win.”
Former WWE Tag Team Champions The Spirit Squad will challenge the current ESW Tag Team Champions Vince Valor and James Sayga for the titles. The title defense comes after the tag champions of James Sayga and Vince Valor teamed with Frankie Feathers at the last event and picked up the win over the High Seas and Mike Skyros in a six-man tag team match.
“It is an incredible opportunity to be able to compete against a super talented team in The Spirit Squad and it is the icing on the cake that I also grew up watching them on the WWE,” Sayga said. “However do not expect us to get starstruck. We will be out there with two things on our minds: retaining our tag team title belts and proving we are the best tag team in ESW.”
At “Overdrive”, Anthony Gaines relinquished the ESW Interstate Championship due to injury. As the No. 1 contender to the title, Feathers was set to challenge Gaines for the belt prior to the announcement. However, ESW management decided to determine the new champ by having Feathers face Delaney for the vacated strap.
“It’s unfortunate that Gaines got hurt because I was really looking forward to hitting him in the face. But I’ll give him props, the kid is a hell of a talent and was a great champion,” Feather said. “I’m very eager and excited to step in the ring with one of the best wrestlers around in Colin Delaney. I know he’s going to bring his best and I’m ready and willing to fight with everything that I have to walk out the new Interstate champion.”
One half of High Seas, Captain Nick Ando, will square off against the returning Mr. Brickster. At “Summer of Sleaze”, Mr. Brickster defeated Ando’s tag partner Cloudy.
“I respect Captain Nick Ando and all the hard work he put in over the years,” Brickster said. “He has traveled many miles in his journey but this Thanksgiving, he will embark on a voyage he has never seen before to the island of Bricks.”
Also in action will be “Big Time” Bill Collier versus Terrell Kenneth.
This matchup is months in the making, as Kenneth stalked Collier and repeatedly used various mind games to attack him.
When pressed for comment, Kenneth snarled and declined in a very begrudged manner.
General admission tickets are available for $15 and increase $5 on the day of the show. Doors open at 5 p.m. with bell-time at 6 p.m. “Wrestlebash” will be broadcast over live streaming service Twitch, with select matches being recorded exclusively for Powerslam.TV.