Tough Luck Presented by Empire State Wrestling

Several weeks ago, the Buffalo wrestling community was devastated upon hearing of the passing of one of its own – “None of a Kind” Anthony Gaines. The sudden news deeply affected many people and the impact continues to reverberate to this day.

Tough Luck
[Photo: Empire State Wrestling]

Tough Luck Presented by Empire State Wrestling

His passing was felt especially hard for those involved with Empire State Wrestling. ESW was Gaines’s home promotion through the bulk of his wrestling career. Gaines created many memorable moments in its ring.

His talent and uncanny charisma shined in matches against the likes of Jimmy Jacobs and Zachary Wentz, throughout his feud with The Empire that capped off with a remarkable war games match, during his reign as ESW Interstate Champion and in the unforgettable viral “Pounce” video with Ace Romero.

Yet, his connections with people outside of the squared circle may be his most lasting of memories. His outspoken personality made him genuinely authentic which naturally attracted others.

It led to Gaines forging strong brotherhoods with many of his roster mates who became his best of friends and created special bonds with fans not just in ESW but in every promotion he worked in. 

At Tough Luck on Friday, ESW will come together in light of this tragedy and attempt to take another step forward in the healing process.

ESW is requesting everyone in attendance to wear purple in his honor. Gaines was fond of the color and used it heavily in his ring apparel.

There will be several Gaines tribute items available at the event. Proceeds from these sales will go toward covering his memorial service. Special t-shirts will be $25, with 8x10s and key chains priced at $10. Shipment orders for t-shirts will be taken at a later date.

A GoFundMe page was set up for anyone that wished to donate directly to his family. You can access it here:

A truly unique character that was loved and respected by many, Gaines certainly lived up to being “None of a Kind”.


Along with the scheduled eight matches, a pair of wrestling legends will make a special appearance. Premier Talent Relations will host a meet-and-greet featuring three-time World Wrestling Entertainment Champions Demolition.

This will be Demolition’s second ESW appearance, as they previously teamed with Ryot against Will Calrissian, Caesar, and Chris Cooper in May 2015.

In January, CXR dethroned High Seas for the ESW Tag Team Championship in a two-out-of-three falls match. Their first title defense will be at Tough Luck against PME. The last time PME competed in ESW was in November 2021 against High Seas.

Spencer Slade also captured ESW gold in January by winning the Interstate title in a scramble match from Alec Price. Slade requested that ESW management search far-and-wide for the best talent it can find for him to defend the title against.

His first challenger will be Sean Legacy. A Georgia native, Legacy made waves internationally last year while working for Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan and touring in the United Kingdom.

After Bill Collier assaulted an already injured Vince Valor, took the ESW Heavyweight Championship from him and proclaimed himself the new titleholder, Gregory Iron called out Collier to match later that night.

Iron stood his ground but Collier came away with the win. Both competitors will lock horns again as the ambiguity continues to swirl around who is the rightful belt holder.

Kevin Blackwood will return to action. He last appeared in ESW in September 2023 defeating Isaiah Broner. Blackwood will square off against debuting TNA Wrestling star Jason Hotch.

The first ever ESW all-women’s tag team match will occur at Tough Luck. Katie Arquette will team with Adena Steele versus Christina Marie and Haley Dylan.

Marie defeated Arquette in a singles match in January while Dylan’s last ESW match was a victory in a triple threat over Marie and Vanna Black in November 2023. Steele’s previous ESW match was against Arquette in November 2022.

James Sayga came up short again in his quest to capture the Interstate title in the scramble match in January. He will attempt to return to the title picture when he faces High Seas’s Nick Ando on Friday.

Vinnie Moon and Frank Feathers were also in that Interstate title scramble match. They will take each other on in singles action at Tough Luck. Moon remains under the tutelage of Calrissian, similar to how he took a young Feathers under his wing several years ago.

Matt McCoy and Tommy K received beatdowns from Edge of Hope in January when the pair refused to join the stable. After brutalizing the pair, EoH’s leader Cerin Rahne told them to find two more people to team with to face them all at once at Tough Luck. 

McCoy and Tommy K chose to align with Channing Decker and Robby Vegas for this 8-person tag team match versus Edge of Hope.

Vegas was an easy choice as he trained them at the Buffalo Wrestling Academy. Decker exhibited his talents in an impressive performance against 2 Cold Scorpio in January.

Premium tickets are sold out, but general admission is still available. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the opening bell scheduled for 7 p.m. For out-of-town fans, Tough Luck will be streamed live on IndependentWrestling.TV.