WrestleBash XIII presented by Empire State Wrestling | Jarkaster Journey

Hello, everybody!

This blog is on my time at Empire State Wrestling’s big year-end event, WrestleBash XIII. Let’s dive right into the details on how we ended 2023 in a major way.

WrestleBash XIII
[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]

Going into WrestleBash, we sought to increase our sponsorship and vendor opportunities. I led this effort and think it turned out well.

We brought in Crush-It and Next Level Nutrition, who provided healthy drinks; Universal Chiropractic, who gave adjustments to the wrestlers after their matches; Jocifer Exotic Drinks; McKinger’s Collectibles; Buffalo Frenzy, who sold Buffalo sports gear; Roc City Rewind, which sold some vintage collectibles, Buffalo Brews Podcast, Catalyst Fitness plus our every event staple JWS Homemade Jerky.

WrestleBash XIII presented by Empire State Wrestling

We also played commercials for Picasso’s Pizza and T-Shirt University. I am very thankful that all these businesses partnered with us and gained increased brand exposure in front of our fans.

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[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]

Universal put this cool video together of their procedures:

We also held a canned food drive for Hearts for the Homeless at WrestleBash. This was an important cause for me as I aspired for ESW to give back to the neediest in our community at the cusp of the holiday season.

The night before WrestleBash, I picked up signage from one of the Picasso’s locations to place at the meet & greet tables. I worked at Picasso’s when I attended high school and caught up with Marc Jr., who worked with me at a different location.

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[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]

It was great to reconnect with my past while incorporating my present venture. I dropped the signage off at Buffalo RiverWorks that night and helped with setting up chairs with the rest of the crew.

WrestleBash landed on a Friday. I took the afternoon off from work and headed back to RiverWorks earlier than normal to begin setting up for the vendors.

Ring Announcer Chris Gullo and I directed the vendor table setup. We were amazed about how much space we needed, which was an excellent sign of things to come.

After getting the vendors going, putting on my referee gear, and making the referee assignments, I stood at the front entrance and helped with the food drive collection. Each fan who donated was entered into a drawing to win a pair of tickets to our January 2024 event.

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[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]

Soon enough, the 20 most stressful minutes of my referee career occurred. Minutes before our scheduled bell time and going live on IndependentWrestling.TV, the ambulance still was not there.

One of the requirements for New York wrestling events is that an ambulance must be onsite during the in-ring action. If not, the promotion is subjected to a potential fine/and or license suspension.

I informed Gullo, our production team, and some of the members of the locker room to stall as much as possible while we waited as our promoter, Brett Stymus, reached out to the ambulance company.

A promo scheduled for later in the event was bumped up to the beginning to fill time. We also aired the sponsorship commercials. I went back to where Brett and the athletic commission inspector stood to get an update as soon as possible.

Once the ambulance company told Brett they were en route and the inspector approved, I ran back inside and signaled Gullo to start the matches.

I cannot imagine what would have happened if the event was shut down. Once again, we drew around 700 people, and that would have been a massive disappointment for this huge audience and everyone working on the event.

Thankfully, everything worked out, and we put on one hell of a show.

Referees Ryan Rice and Richard Head were the main referees. Referees Austin Spatorico and Kyle S. Edwards refereed on the battle royal that opened WrestleBash.

During the ESW Tag Team Championship match, Rice took a cutter and was laid out. I ran out and immediately counted a pinfall by Chael Connors and thought CXR captured the belts.

However, Rice also counted to three on a different pinfall by Cloudy. We were confused afterward but since Ryan was the match’s original referee and recuperated enough to count, the victory went to High Seas and they retained the titles.

After I returned to the back, Jeremiah Richter was pummeling Matt McCoy backstage, grabbed me, and dragged me through the entrance. He pushed me toward the ring and demanded to start a match between him and McCoy.

Richter showed off why he is the dominant force that he is during this impromptu bout.

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[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]

My last assignment was literally an Impact Wrestling match. Heath, fresh out of his IMPACT contract, took on current IMPACT star Crazzy Steve. This match was fun. Although both acted like faces, the crowd was still entertained.

Steve was a wrestler I saw wrestle at ESW when I was a fan. He also tagged with my trainer years ago when I was still trying to break into the wrestling business. At last, working a match with him felt sentimental to me.

Intermission was not held until right before the main event, considering it was a cage match between ESW Heavyweight Champion Kevin Bennett and Vince Valor. This gave me an opportunity to relax a minute and converse with my friends and family as well as some of our business collaborators.

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[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]

I missed nearly half the show due to handling a number of things, but I watched most of the cage match. It was a blast, and the crowd exploded when Valor won. Afterward, several people approached me and said that it was the best wrestling show they ever attended and that it was even better than a WWE event.

I’m not BSing you. When I hear that from folks, it definitely makes all the hard work worth it.

After the ring crew, we headed to Cook’s Bar and Grill for the afterparty. My wife and I arrived just after the kitchen closed but it seemed like everyone else enjoyed themselves.

Since I missed a good chunk of the event, I watched it on IWTV on-demand. You can watch WrestleBash XIII on there, as well as the rest of our events from this year.

That wraps up my time at WrestleBash XIII. I picked up one more booking before the end of the year with Off the Ropes Studio last Saturday in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. I was pumped to head across the border again and cannot wait to tell you all about my experience there.

As always, thanks for reading!

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[Photo: TMK Ringside Photography]