This weekend I attended Pro Wrestling Syndicate’s Bombshell event at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville New Jersey. The Bombshell Division features some of the most talented wrestlers in the entire world, that just so happen to be women. Pro Wrestling Syndicate is an attractive promotion for many, because it combines upcoming local talents with internationally-recognized superstars. The all-female card wasn’t any different, as we—the live audience—were privy to wrestlers from TNA, Ring of Honor, Shine, Shimmer, and beyond! In addition, I was happy to see lesser-known talents positioned accordingly throughout the card, for what amounted to an incredibly enjoyable few hours.
I arrived at the building with my colleague—James Thorpey of “It’s Still REEL to Me” on iTunes—around 6:30, to find the Starland Ballroom filled with rabid wrestling fans. It’s been three months since the last Pro Wrestling Syndicate event, this being the first since the departure of Pat Buck. Fans were eager to feast their eyes on some live action, and were even more excited to meet the most recognizable names in ladies’ wrestling. Ring of Honor’s Larry Mercer was in attendance, serving as both the ring announcer and play-by-play analyst. His somewhat reluctant partner was Raven, who greeted the audience by exclaiming the broadcast booth wasn’t big enough. I spoke with New Jack for a few moments—perhaps the scariest few moments of my life. I’ve had a few interactions with New Jack in the past, and it never gets any less terrifying. We also had Monster Island in the house, or—at the very least—three demonic clowns that sat down right beside me. They looked evil, but couldn’t have been more cordial. The tall skinny one even wished me a Happy Easter. The show started right on time, with very little downtime throughout the overall event. Now—full disclosure—some of these matches might be out of order. I take casual notes on my phone throughout the show, but really do my best to absorb my environment without looking down and typing too often. So—if I cheat someone by claiming they were lower in the card than they actually were—I apologize.
Kelly Klein vs Kennadi Brink
Now—needless to say, I’m not an expert when it comes to women’s wrestling. I’m not Jim in Virginia or Ryan from Cumberland Maryland over here. So there were certainly a handful of performers I wasn’t already aware of, one of whom was Kelly Klein. The opening contest featured Klein in one-on-one action against Kennadi Brink—a student of the Dudley Boyz’ Team 3D Academy. I thought both women worked hard to kick the show into top-gear right out of the gate, but struggled due to an underwhelmed audience still in the process of finding their seats. A simple headcount revealed a house of more than 100 paid wrestling fans, all of whom were ready by the tail end of this match. Regardless of reactions, both Klein and Brink set the stage for what was to come later in the night. Klein pulled out the victory over the far more imposing Brink, by forcing the Florida-native to tap.
Winner: Kelly Klein
Rating: 2 Stars
“Darth Veda” vs. “Princess Leva”
It’s safe to say Veda Scott and Leva Bates are among the most recognizable talents on this show. Veda currently works with Ring of Honor, whereas Bates is most widely known as “Blue Pants” in NXT. The bout was billed as a Star Wars-inspired contest, wherein Darth Veda would face Princess Leva. Veda entered the venue in her usual ring-gear, unwilling to partake in the festivities, or—as she put it—not looking to “impress nerds.” Leva, however, was more than willing to enter into the spirit of the occasion, and arrived—alongside BB8—dressed as Princess Leia circa 1977. Leva controlled BB8 using her smartphone; the segment was so much fun that I’m willing to overlook the contextual errors made by Bates. Seriously, Leva—Princess Leia and BB8 don’t have that kind of relationship. I’m just now realizing how hard it is to convey sarcasm in a written review. The match was a lot of fun; Veda used a force choke to subdue her opponent, while Leva punctuated impactful maneuvers with Star Wars one-liners. Veda Scott picked up the win, thus proving the power of the dark side.
Winner: Darth Veda
Rating: 3 Stars
Annie Social vs. Deonna Purrazzo
Annie Social looks different every time I see her, and tonight she looks like Heidi Lovelace. Which is confusing because Heidi Lovelace will be featured later on. Annie wrestled Deonna Purrazzo, a New Jersey native who fans might remember for her work with TNA. Deonna has most recently been featured as a part of NXT; she’s wrestled the likes of Nia Jax, Asuka, Emma, and even competed in a number one contender’s battle royal. Deonna was especially impressive this evening; at just 21 years old, Deonna already has an intermediate concept of ring awareness. More often than not, veterans and active performers will espouse the importance of psychology. But mindfulness is the result of wakefulness, and being aware of what’s around you is the first step toward reaching pro wrestling nirvana. Annie Social—the veteran—squeaked by with a win, but not sans any and every attempt made by Purrazzo.
Winner: Annie Social
Rating: 2 ¼ Stars
Karen Q vs. Candy Cartwright
I never thought I’d chant “Let’s Go Karen,” because every Karen I’ve ever known has been an elderly white woman. Karen Q is a Brooklyn girl, and a student of the nationally accredited Damian Adams right here in New Jersey. Her opponent was Candy Cartwright. If you do a Google-search for Candy, you’ll find the pickings are slim—aside from her personal Twitter. Which, by the way, is set to private. Here’s a tip for professional wrestlers trying to get their name out there—don’t have a private Twitter. What sense does that make? I’ve got literally nothing to report on this match. I envision great things for Karen Q, who appears to be a hard-working, goal-oriented professional wrestler. Her mere position on this Bombshell Show speaks wonders to her abilities and constitution, both in the ring, and behind the scenes.
Winner: Candy Cartwright
Rating: 1 ½ Stars
Kimber Lee vs. Mia Yim
If you’re only familiar with Mia Yim’s portrayal of “Jade” on Impact Wrestling—then you don’t know Mia Yim. Mia entered the Starland Ballroom—flipping the bird and crotch-chopping as she made her way down the aisle. Audience members reached out for high-fives, but Mia wasn’t interested in playing to the independent crowd. She removed her entrance skirt, and stuffed it in the front pocket of ring announcer Larry Mercer. Her opponent embraced the New Jersey fans to a much greater degree; the rainbow haired Kimber Lee made her grand entrance to a chorus of cheers and chants. This was—without question—one of the best matches on the card, and definitely the best bout up until this point. There are only a handful of female wrestlers capable of turning heads toward the opposite spectrum of the industry. It’s still hard for the majority of wrestling fans to appreciate women’s wrestling in the same context that they view standard men’s competition. Lee moves with an uncanny finesse that’s easily a likened to her fiery personality; at just five years in the business, her championship accolades speak for themselves. Mia Yim, on the other hand, is—all hyperbole aside—one of the greatest women’s wrestlers working today. Period. Everything about her was mesmerizing, including her crowd work and interplay with Larry Mercer at the top of the match. Mia Yim’s experience—and violent tendencies—won the day for the TNA Knockout, but it seems Kimber Lee is far from finished with Yim.
Winner: Mia Yim
Rating: 3 ½ Stars
Pinky Shortcake vs. Marti Belle
We go from Mia Yim—AKA Jade—to her Dollhouse partner-in-crime, Marti Belle. Marti looks—different in person. Her hair is perhaps her most defining feature, and makes her look larger-than-life—with all due respect—on television. Her hair isn’t nearly as overwhelming in person, and I was shocked to see how short Marti Belle actually was. Especially in comparison to her opponent for the night. Pinky Shortcake is one of a kind. Absolutely one of a kind. Turned down for what? For Pinky Shortcake, of course. I’m having trouble finding an exact height for Pinky, because I’m not sure about Larry Mercer’s claim that she’s seven feet tall. The pint-sized Pinky—who’s about the same size as El Torito—twerked her way into the ring, accompanied by DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What.” This wasn’t any sort of technical exhibition; Marti spent the vast majority of the match attempting leg-based submission maneuvers, but to no avail. She went for a Texas Cloverleaf, but after struggling for several seconds, exclaimed: “This doesn’t work!” Pinky is all about having fun, whether it’s with the audience, the referee, or her opponents. She managed to pull out the upset over the nationally-recognized Knockout, and continued her dance party well into the rest of the evening.
Winner: Pinky Shortcake
Rating: 1 ½ Stars
PWS Bombshell’s Championship
Missy Sampson (c) vs. Terra Calaway
The Pro Wrestling Syndicate Bombshell’s Champion Missy Sampson was scheduled to defend against another competitor, but the match was cancelled due to injury. Missy was at a loss for any opponent, but soon encountered an alternative thanks to Raven. The former ECW Champion left the broadcast booth to present a female competitor worthy of claiming Missy’s hard-fought title. The woman entered wearing a Leatherface mask—prompting several fans to chant “Lady Leather.” But the menace behind the mask was none other than Terra Calaway, a 5-year professional from Sin City. The match began promptly, as Missy raised no objections in regards to defending her championship. Raven maintained his presence at ringside, offering words of encouragement to the challenger along the way. Members of the live audience spent the first potion of the match talking amongst themselves, in a vain attempt at discovering the identity of Missy’s opponent. Sampson, by the way, is unequivocally over in front of the hometown crowd. In addition to being the face of the women’s division, Missy is an integral part of Pro Wrestling Syndicate, and a familiar part of every single event. Raven had plenty of opportunities to chuckle, but it was Missy Sampson who enjoyed the last laugh. She defeated her opponent in definitive fashion, retaining her title and establishing her throne atop the Bombshell Division. For the record—Bombshell sounds way better than Diva and Knockout, and it’s not nearly as offensive.
Winner: Missy Sampson
Rating: 2 ¾ Stars
PWS Bombshell’s Majestic Championship
Santana Garrett vs. Heidi Lovelace
The main event on the card was not for the PWS Bombshell’s Championship, but rather—for the brand-new PWS Bombshell’s Majestic Championship. In 2008, Pro Wrestling Ilustrated began listing the Top 50 Women in Professional Wrestling. The most recent list features Nikki Bella at the top, with WWE Divas occupying several of the top spots. But number four is an independent wrestler, who is currently at the top of her game, and considered to be the best unsigned ladies’ wrestler in the world. That, of course, is Santana Garrett. While Santana had several stopovers with both TNA and WWE, her greatest success has been a part of the indie circuit—most notably as Shine Wrestling Champion. Santana is most certainly worthy of being crowned the first-ever Majestic Champion, but her chances of wearing the strap hinge on toppling a rather tall order. Heidi Lovelace—who, for the sake of consistency, was recently ranked #41 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated—is also eager to become champion and has her eyes on the prize. This was the best match on the card, bar none. I mentioned earlier that your average wrestling fan might still be weary when it comes to fully embracing women’s wrestling. Throughout the night I heard sexist, borderline racist comments hurled toward the ring by some of the most disgusting people I’ve ever had the dissatisfaction of sitting near. But the main event silenced the haters, and all you could hear was the roar of the crowd. Santana fought valiantly, but it was Heidi that won the championship to become the first-ever PWS Bombshell’s Majestic Champion. After the match, Santana embraced Heidi, and raised her hand toward an audience of fans standing on their feet. Congratulations Heidi, and to all of the women—and men—who helped produce this highly entertaining few hours of wrestling. I will definitely be back for more Bombshell action in the future.
Winner: Heidi Lovelace
Rating: 3 ½ Stars
Pro Wrestling Syndicate will return to the Starland Ballroom on June 11th 2016 with Super Card 2016. The event will feature appearances by: Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Stan Hansen, Mick Foley, Teddy Hart, and more! The event will also feature Necro Butcher’s retirement match! For more information, check out ProWrestlingSyndicate.com
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