“Welcome to the Mount Rushmore of Central Empire Wrestling”
With those words, last Saturday, March 4, former CEW Champion Storm Thomas passed the torch to current CEW Champion JT Energy. The two had just engaged in a physically taxing, nearly 25-minute classic, bringing an end to CEW’s first show of 2023. As Iconic Moment Begins, the Road to Bridge City Slam V.
On a night CEW welcomed back legends from their past, their newest legend and longest reigning champion of all time, JT Energy, achieved one of his grandest accomplishments within the promotion. He defeated what some consider the greatest CEW Champion of all time, Storm Thomas.
This was a full circle moment for the “Unsolved Mistery,” as Storm Thomas was the very first opponent he had in CEW back in 2017.
Back then, Storm Thomas was the face of Central Empire Wrestling. He proudly carried the banner of the promotion that has now been in business for close to two decades. If Storm Thomas was in a match on a promotions card, he was going to try and steal the show.
That night, he defeated Energy, who was beginning to find who he was in the world of pro wrestling as the 6-Star Booty. Since that time, Energy has carved out his own legacy within CEW, a legacy that rivals the man he defeated Saturday night in front of a standing-room-only audience.
Iconic Moment Begins the Road to Bridge City Slam V
At over 1,000 days, his reign as CEW Champion is a statistic that makes him a deserving inductee into the Mount Rushmore of Central Empire Wrestling. As for the man who welcomed him into that elusive club, Storm Thomas, Saturday night’s show was a moment of clarity.
You see, a year ago, Storm Thomas decided it was time to hang up the boots and step away from the life of a pro wrestler.
He stole the show with CEW promoters Austin Bayliss in a retirement match at Bridge City Slam IV and was content with riding off into the sunset to spend more time with his family and focus on his personal training business.
But as pro wrestling fans know, retirements in wrestling aren’t always a finality. That itch to step back in between the ropes is always there under the surface, waiting to be scratched. Storm Thomas wasn’t planning to step into the ring during CEW: Past, Present, Future.
He was content with seeing old friends, partners, and rivals put on an exciting show. Thomas even sat in the audience with the fans. However, JT Energy had other things in mind.
During his promo about being champion and facing the winner of the Legends Rumble, Energy addressed Storm Thomas. After paying respects to the former champion, Energy invited Thomas into his ring.
With Energy stoking the fire, that itch for Storm Thomas began to rise, and once the fans got involved with a Storm’s House chant, the itch had reached the surface. Storm Thomas then made a game-changing decision and decided to enter the Legends Rumble and possibly earn a championship opportunity. Much to the delight of JT Energy.
Entering second, Storm Thomas battled for nearly an hour in the Legends Rumble and made his title opportunity a reality when he last eliminated Evan Jordan. On this night, there was no rest for the weary as the Championship match began immediately after the Rumble ended.
Showing just how deep his engine is, Storm Thomas started the match with a pair of arm drags, something that stunned the long-standing champion. Quick to respond, Energy delivered a pair of arm drags of his own.
From here, the two engaged in a back-and-forth, tightly contested championship match. The fans were behind both men with chants of “Energy” and “Storm” ringing throughout the Nelson Pioneer Farm Convention Center.
Storm Thomas hit his patented spine buster, the best since Triple H, in my opinion, something I thought for sure I’d never photograph again. Energy pulled off a beautiful backslide roll-up reversal that was arguably the closest near fall of the night.
Both men even hit their finisher, but even that wasn’t enough to keep the other man down. After nearly a half hour, JT Energy finally put Storm Thomas down for the three count with his devastating scissors kick.
With both men lying on the mat from exhaustion, the sold-out crowd showered them with applause in appreciation of the iconic CEW match they just witnessed. Grabbing a microphone, Storm Thomas praised Energy for his hard work and thanked him for pushing him to get back in the ring.
Energy responded in kind, thanking Thomas for taking him to his limits during their match. After which, Thomas announced that he planned to return to CEW in the future to work with the current crop of wrestlers in the locker room.
It was then announced that Storm Thomas will be the headlining inductee into the CEW Hall of Fame Class of 2023. It was an iconic way to end Central Empire Wrestling’s final show before their biggest event of the year, Bridge City Slam V.
Speaking of Bridge City Slam V, the main event for CEW’s biggest show of the year is now set. It will be JT Energy defending the CEW Championship in a triple-threat cage match against Niles Plonk and the Buns of Steel J Fowler.
Plonk was the first to punch his ticket to the main event by defeating Jared Thumb in a qualifying match to open the show.
The win for Plonk continued his momentum since returning to CEW last year, he now has his sights set on becoming CEW Champion. As for Thumb, his journey to becoming CEW Champion took a slight detour when his old nemesis Damien Saint made a shocking return to the promotion.
Saint’s distraction caused Thumb to take his eye off the ball for mere seconds, and Plonk capitalized for the win. In the second qualifying match of the night, Buns of Steel J Fowler defeated the Candyman Willy Sweet.
Fowler, who made his long-awaited return to CEW last year, made it very clear on his return that the CEW title is what he had returned for. This match brought the intensity as neither man was willing to give an inch.
Candyman Willy Sweet, a long-time tormentor of CEW fans, brought everything he had to Fowler, but in the end, the Buns of Steel prevailed.
After qualifying, Buns was attacked by Plonk, who brought a piece of the cage into the ring, but his plan was foiled when Fowler backdropped him onto the piece of the steel structure. Another match for Bridge City Slam V that came to be during CEW: Past, Present, Future is the CEW Tag Team Championship Match.
Current CEW Champions “Big N Ript” Big Bad Wallace and Ript Studwell are full of confidence and bravado. Led by the “Manager Supreme” Axel Greece, the two find ways to win, sometimes in the most nefarious manner.
In their latest title defense against the veteran team of “Pop Icon” Donnie Peppercricket and the Iceman, those shenanigans reared their ugly head once again. Late in the match, Wallace struck Peppercricket with Axel Greece’s cane causing a disqualification.
So even though Peppercricket and the Iceman were victorious, “Big N Ript” remained champions. The fallen challengers were quick to challenge the champions for another rematch on CEW’s grandest stage, Bridge City Slam V.