Hello, everyone! I hope the Yuletide season went well for all of you. Mine started in a major way a few weeks ago when I refereed at TID the Season as I closed out my calendar year for bookings.
For those of you unfamiliar with TID the Season, the event is a Christmas show put on by hardcore band Every Time I Die (ETID) in its hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. It started several years ago and since turned into an annual tradition that seemingly grew in scale year-after-year.
The first one I attended was in 2008 when I was still covering events for Buffalo.com. It was held at a bowling alley in one of Buffalo’s northern suburbs in front of several hundred people. Now, the Christmas show takes place downtown at Buffalo RiverWorks across two days. Both nights are sold out, with over 3,000 fans in attendance for each show.
The City of Buffalo even honors the band by naming a day after them around this time of year. It was incredible to be a part of such a cool event and to go from covering it as a journalist to being a part of the show itself.
For this entry, I am going to break it down into separate bullet points. I used to do something like this on my old LiveJournal in college and I think this is a good time to try it again. So here it goes!
- Before heading to the show, I swung over to my good friend Andrew Mollon’s house to pick him up. This was the last show he planned on reffing on before retiring from wrestling. I wanted to make sure my best friend in the sport did not need to worry about transportation without any issues so I took care of that.
The wrestling portion of the show opened the second night of the event on Saturday, December 14. With a sold-out show the night before, the ring crew needed to be done the next morning, so we arrived at the show much earlier than normal.
- During setup, I got to catch up with a lot of people. It was good to talk to Rob Sanderson who I worked with extensively in Rochester, N.Y. years ago. He is a die-hard ETID fan and was pumped to be doing commentary for the show.
- “The Sparkle Hunter” Kate Carney told me about the punk rock-style wrestling shows she was on in the Pacific Northwest. The idea of doing an alternative-style event intrigues me. Hopefully, someday I could be a part of one.
- Ring announcer Chris Gullo and I both want to see old Combat Zone Wrestling star Ruckus on a show. I am not sure if he is a true bucket-list guy for me, but I think he is close. Either way, somebody please book him that I ref for!
- I also talked with Jeremiah Richter, an Empire State Wrestling rookie. We started talking about the local heavy metal scene from over 10 years ago. I found out he was in a band that played shows with one of my friends’ old bands that I used to travel around and watch. Proof again that everyone knows everyone in Buffalo.
- Wrestling has been featured on the show for three consecutive years now. I refereed on the first one in 2017 but just helped with ring crew in 2018 when it was produced by Blackcraft Wrestling. When I was asked to be on the 2019, I was excited but also humbled to be welcomed back. You certainly appreciate things after you lose them. And I do not take for granted this opportunity that returned to me.
- Actual catering backstage at independent wrestling events is rare. So the chance to get buffet-style lunch and dinner provided to us is something we all appreciate. Even just the opportunity to drink some hot tea at a show is a small thing that I enjoy.
- The show was allocated 90 minutes from start to finish. This meant there were only 6 matches with all of them featuring multiple combatants (no singles). Mollon and I were the only referees with us splitting the card. I took the odds and he took the evens.
- The opening bout was Danhausen, Effy, Matthew Justice and “Hacker” Scotty O’Shea against “Big Time” Bill Collier, “None of a Kind” Anthony Gaines, VSK and Orange Cassidy. This was a fun match that featured everyone’s big spots to pop the crowd and get them warmed up.
The last time I refereed an Orange Cassidy match was at the Great Galaxian Bash in Jamestown, N.Y. in 2014. A portion of the show took place 100 years in the future. Cassidy defeated Chuck Taylor to save the Universe from evil while I worked the match in a pair of steampunk goggles. Yeah….haha.
- I want to give a quick shout out to my old friend Jake Schneider. He used to wrestle on the indies as Martin Prescott III of the Rich Kidz. Him and his girlfriend were standing right in the front row and I talked to him here and there. It was nice to see him at a wrestling show again. It will be even nicer when I retake the Jarkaster Fantasy Football Championship next year after he won it this season, but I digress…
- My second match was a four-way between “The Remix” Kevin Bennett, Curt Stallion, “Unkillable” Kevin Blackwood and Tony Deppen. This match was very fast-paced but also included a long chop-off between everyone. The finishing sequence was incredible. If this card ends up on a streaming service, I strongly recommend checking this out.
- My final match involved Puf coming out with Santa Claus (Brody King) and asking to take over the role. Then Tommy Dreamer approached the ring and said he should be the extreme Santa. Next came out Gregory Iron and a host of elves. Iron claimed he should take the job for all the time he put in working at Santa’s workshop. Chaos erupted as Puf and Dreamer started battling all the elves before Kyle the Beast ran out to Iron’s aid. I then hit the ring and started the match. Dreamer and Puf came up with the upper hand. I called the match over after Santa approached the ring and indicated that they were the successors.
I tried to keep track of how many doors were broken throughout the night, but it was impossible to stick with it. There was a friendly bet backstage on the amount and I am totally certain the over won.
- The final match of the night was The Butcher & The Blade against The Best Friends. This was Mollon’s final match. I started gathering people around the entranceway to get ready to hit the ring immediately for tear-down but also to greet Mollon on his way back from the ring. After Pepper Parks and Andy Williams put Mollon over to the audience and put him on their shoulders, Gullo, Gaines and I both came out to ringside and gave him hugs. I admit I broke down when I hugged him and he pushed me back and said: “Don’t tell me you’re actually crying over this?” That got me to stop immediately. So yeah, I can also admit I cried in front of over 3,000 people, too.
- I am super glad Parks and Williams put Mollon over like they did. I am not just saying this because he is my friend, but Mollon is the best referee I ever worked with. And I firmly believe he is talented enough to make it big. He also traveled all across the eastern Great Lakes area on many different shows. He’s the most in-demand referee in Western New York. On top of it, he is the epitome of a “good brother”. Wrestling shows going forward for me will feel a lot different with him not being there.
- Tear-down was immediately after the wrestling was over. I jumped on it while still wearing all my referee gear. We got everything packed in the trailer in 20 minutes. Which is like moving in light-speed in-ring crew terms.
- Dinner was next and it was nice to sit down right away and enjoy a good meal. Kick back a bit with several people on the show. I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I also enjoyed listening to some live hardcore bands too. I used to go to many concerts in a year, but I last attended one in the fall of 2018 so I relished the beats.
- My next task was to get Mollon to his secret going away party at the Buffalo Taproom, his favorite bar near his house. Hardcore and metal bands are not Mollon’s music of choice by far (he’s a big boy band and 90s pop fan). So it was a little surprising that he wanted to stay and chill a bit. Eventually, we made our way over there while some of those waiting for him were getting antsy.
- Mollon’s party was a nice way to end the night. The Caesar, Jonny Puma, Frankie Feathers, former Empire State Wrestling (ESW) wrestler J.P. Hawke and several others were there waiting for the retiree. Mollon’s parents even showed up later. We continued the shenanigans the following week at the ESW Christmas Party. But that’s a story of its own.
That wraps it up for my time at TID The Season. I was able to work with several of my Buffalo comrades, a number of national indie wrestling stars, a childhood hero from Extreme Championship Wrestling. AND see one of my best friends get an amazing send-off. There is not much more to a wrestling show that I could ask for. I cannot stress how thankful I am to be a part of something as cool as this event. If you ever get the chance to attend one, you will not regret it.
Also, I am sorry for the lapse in entries and overall writing within the last month. I recently started a new day job that caused me to readjust my schedule. I am not fully in the swing of things on top of the Holiday Season and some lingering health issues. In 2020, I am hoping to continue putting out some ESW previews in line with the press releases I put out for each event. There are also a few feature story ideas I want to take on once things get settled down for me in my life outside of wrestling. So stay tuned right here for Pro Wrestling Post!
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed your Saturnalia!