Post by Ross Report on Jul 3, 2020 23:08:57 GMT
The Ross Report is back, and as promised, with a brand new monthly format! That's right, folks...whereas yours truly would previously recap SLAM! each week, I'll now be previewing the card for the latest EWA Pay-Per-View spectacular, starting with the 17th annual Red, White & Bruised!
And what better way to kick things off than by taking a look at the grudge match between "One-Eye" Lorcan and Zack Sabre Jr! "The 21st Century Pirate" made his EWA debut in early May, quickly becoming a firm fan favorite in the process. After some mixed early success, Lorcan found himself up against Zack Sabre Jr. three weeks ago on SLAM!, in what was "The Technical Wizard's" first EWA match. That one proved to be a real contrast in styles as Lorcan brought his "smashmouth" offense to the fray while Sabre attempted to use his proficient submission skills to force his opponent to quit. Ultimately though, "One-Eye" seemingly had the contest won, only to have Taka Michinoku interfere for the disqualification! Post-match, Sabre and his mentor would then viciously continue their assault on Lorcan before repeatedly stomping on his, uh, "buried treasure." However, while "One-Eye" was down, he certainly wasn't out! And when Zack Sabre Jr. faced off with Kenny Omega the following week, just coming up short to the revitalized "Cleaner," Lorcan would blindside "ZSJ," nailing him with the Timber Shiverer before setting him up in the corner to return the favor from their last encounter! Before he could score a field goal with "The Submission Master's" gonads however, Taka Michinoku attempted to rush to the rescue, only to get caught with a drop toehold right into Sabre's precariously hanging fruit! Still, one has to believe that only brought partial satisfaction for "The 21st Century Pirate," and with tensions still running high between these two hungry newcomers, I'm sure the matter will be settled once and for all this coming Sunday!
"Dark Peach" Momo Watanabe stunned the EWA Universe by revealing her true colors.
Moving on, and the rivalry between Momo Watanabe and Daizee Haze has certainly been one of the most intense we've seen all year! You can trace the origins of this one all the way back to Insurgency, where "The Haze" took advantage of Kelly Klein hitting Momo with a K-Power to win that wild Six Pack Challenge and confine "Dark Peach" to the number one spot at Civil War! To add insult to injury, Daizee Haze then turned down her prize of entering Civil War last, effectively meaning she'd ruined Momo's chances of becoming Women's Champion for no good reason, at least as for as Watanabe was concerned! It's fair to say no one guessed quite how much this affected the Japanese superstar however, who still seemed friendly enough even when the language barrier proved an obstacle. Things soon took a strange turn though when Daizee Haze found herself in a match with Leva Bates, inspiring Momo to head down to ringside for a closer look. Towards the conclusion of the contest, Daizee attempted to roll her opponent up, only for Momo to reach into the ring and reverse the pin, costing "The Haze" the victory! However, Momo would repeatedly claim that her part in that result was nothing more than an accident, suggesting she saw the former "Blue Pants" trying to use the ropes, hence trying to stop her. Daizee obviously wasn't too happy with this explanation, causing Watanabe's "best friend" Kelly Klein to stick up for her, soon setting up a match between the two! "Dark Peach" once again found herself in the thick of the action, as she hopped onto the apron in a mirror scene from her Civil War elimination, grabbing Kelly by the hand while Daizee looked for her patented German suplex. Much like she slipped through Kelly's fingers at Civil War, Kelly slipped free in this instance as well, allowing Daizee to dump Klein and score the win! Now Momo found herself with both Klein and Haze questioning her motives, with the waters muddied further still when she tried showing an alternate angle of the Leva Bates incident that did little to settle the debate. Eventually, Momo versus Daizee was made official for Mayhem in Miami with Kelly Klein brought in as the Special Guest Referee, setting up quite the intriguing prospect! After a hard fought battle, a steel chair was introduced into the action, only for "The Haze" to refuse to use it. However, Momo Watanabe had no such compunctions, blasting both Daizee and Kelly with the chair in a relentless assault, before finally revealing (in perfect English, I might add) that she'd played them both for fools! I've seen some double crosses in my time, folks, but nothing quite like this! Poor Kelly Klein looks as if she's had her heart broken after Momo betrayed her trust, but while "The Final Girl" has taken a step back to compose herself, Daizee Haze has tapped into a side of herself we've never seen before. While she's usually the epitome of "happy-go-lucky," "The Haze" is now intent on revenge, leading to Daizee attempting to attack Momo with a lead pipe two weeks running, as well as getting into a wild backstage brawl with her sworn rival! And to top it all of, Daizee threw down the gauntlet in a major way, demanding a Last Woman Standing Match at Red, White & Bruised, which I believe will be an EWA first between two female superstars! Given how long this rivalry has been going on and all the vitriol between them, there's no doubt in this old Okie's mind that it's gonna be every bit the barnburner we're expecting as well!
When Pete Dunne returned to the EWA in early April to save his sworn enemy Samoa Joe, nobody could quite believe their eyes! However, it soon became apparent that Dunne had only saved Joe from the attentions of "The Standard" just so he could eliminate "The Samoan Submission Machine" himself! And boy, did he make sure of that, placing a cinder block over Joe's skull before smashing it with that damn sledgehammer which has since become his weapon of choice! Indeed, it soon became apparent that no one was safe from Dunne's venom as he even turned his back on his fellow "British Strong Style" members by shattering the hand of Trent Seven and then doing the same to the ankle of Tyler Bate as well! Heading into Mayhem in Miami, it seemed nobody was safe from the newly-dubbed "Career Killer," who demanded someone show up and give him a fight at last month's Pay-Per-View. Little did Dunne expect to see that challenge answered by the legendary "Undertaker" however! That's right, after an in-ring absence of almost a decade, "The Last Outlaw" shocked the world by showing up in Miami and sending Dunne packing! And since then, "The Undertaker" has consistently been in "The Bruiserweight's" business as he looks to restore order to the EWA ranks! Unfortunately though, just as "Taker" was preparing for his first match back, Dunne finally got his man, breaking "The Undertaker's" hand and seemingly ending his highly-anticipated return before it even had a chance to get off the ground! Or, at least, that's what we all assumed anyway. Yet, when Dunne found himself in a handicap match against Joey Abs and Rodney of "The Mean Street Posse" on last week's SLAM!, "The Undertaker" would rise from the proverbial dead once more! And even with his hand in a cast, "The Undertaker" showed he was still a force to be reckoned with, taking out both Abs and Rodney before challenging the former World Heavyweight Champion to a match this Sunday! That means it's going to be old school meets new school, "The Dead Man" versus "The Career Killer"...and if their past interactions are anything to go by, this should be a fight for the ages!
"Rhino" has been damn near unstoppable since returning to the EWA and setting his sights on the Television Championship earlier this year. He ended Jacob Fatu's undefeated run to capture the gold and has since defended it three times, including in a chaotic fatal four way bout at Mayhem in Miami! However, "The War Machine's" run has since drawn the attention of Jeremy Wyatt, the brash young upstart from Kansas City who has quickly made some major waves during his brief EWA tenure thanks to several somewhat controversial wins over the likes of Tom Lawlor, "Ryback," and "One-Eye" Lorcan. "The Monarch" soon found himself the victim of a vicious GORE from the TV Champion at Mayhem in Miami, who'd clearly grown sick of Wyatt's bragging, setting these two on a collision course! Still, while one might assume that someone as confident in their abilities as Jeremy Wyatt might want to take the fight right back to "Rhino" after that inciting incident, that's not exactly been the case. In fact, despite ample opportunities to do so, Wyatt has chosen to play numerous mind games with "The Man Beast" instead. From giving "Rhino" the runaround on Fury, to tricking him into Goring a plastic mannequin, to then challenging him to a match on last week's SLAM! only to refuse to show up, Wyatt has been thwarting "Rhino" and his obsession to hit another GORE at every turn! Folks, let this be a life lesson for you...it's always a terrible idea to poke the bear, and an even worse one to poke the "Rhino!" Well, Wyatt might have his championship match set in stone for this Sunday, but "The Monarch" has also got himself a riled up opponent as well! Could Wyatt's strategy pay off by causing "Rhino's" emotions to get the better of him? Then again, maybe he's just made "The War Machine" that much more determined to break Wyatt in half with his trademark running shoulder tackle? I guess we'll find out soon enough, but one thing is certainly for sure...someone's undefeated streak is coming to an end at Red, White & Bruised!
After all the hype over her signing last year, Toni Storm is finally living up to her potential.
While I may not be a fan of her attitude, nobody can deny the fact that Aliyah has been backing it up in a major way, going on a run that saw her win Civil War in only her third match, and the vacant Women's Championship along with it! It'll be interesting to see if she crosses paths with former champion Sasha Banks at some point in the near future given "The Boss" had to relinquish the gold due to injury, but that's another story for another time. And besides which, it looks as if Sasha may have some issues of her own coming out of last week's SLAM! In the meanwhile though, Toni Storm has been on quite the journey herself in 2020! It's no secret that the Gold Coast native was somewhat unmotivated earlier this year, meaning when her contract came up right before Civil War, she was left with a choice. Either let it expire or put on her damn working boots. Fortunately for us, she chose the latter, something that soon paid off as she got down to the final two at Civil War, only to fall at the last hurdle. Still, Storm quickly bounced back, with Harry Smith awarding her a brand new contract and a shot at Aliyah for the championship on last month's Mayhem in Miami! That proved to be one hell of a match as well, only marred by the fact that "The Boujee Bratz" managed to momentarily blind Toni as she hit her patented Storm Zero, allowing the champion to slither out of the ring and take the countout loss so she kept her title! That felt like a miscarriage of justice to many EWA fans, yet due to those controversial circumstances, Storm was awarded one final shot at the gold at this Sunday's Red, White & Bruised! It's not exactly been plain sailing on the way to sunny San Diego however, with Aliyah bringing in some hired muscle to watch her back in the shape of Kavita Devi! Feeling even more confident now that she had "The Punjabi Powerhouse" backing her up, Aliyah challenged Toni to a tag team match, with the whole world wondering who Storm would pick as her partner! As it turned out, she went with a blast from the past, more specifically Toni's days in Japan, reuniting with old partner Hikaru Shida to score a huge win! Storm unquestionably had plenty of momentum on her side heading into this championship encounter, yet Aliyah still had one more trick up her sleeve, as we saw this past Sunday! Indeed, first the Women's Champion would make sure to assault Shida backstage while Storm was in the ring for a promo. Then, when Toni ran to the back to check on her partner, Aliyah and Kevita Devi would viciously attack the elderly butler in the front row who had helped Storm get into her opponent's mindset heading into last month's Pay-Per-View! There's no two ways about it, folks...this was an absolutely sickening display from Aliyah, who has made it absolutely clear she cares for nobody except herself! What Aliyah wants, she's used to getting...but we've since found out there won't be a repeat of last month's shenanigans, with Harry Smith declaring the title CAN change hands on a countout or disqualification! The odds have been well and truly evened, severely undermining Aliyah's ability to take any more shortcuts! However, even though she has every right to feel confident right now, I would still urge caution to Toni Storm. After all, "The Boujee Bratz" has proven herself to be surprisingly resourceful, not to mention the fact that we've seen she's more than capable of backing up her cocky attitude in the ring as well! Still, there's a lot of different facets to this Women's Championship, making it one you can't afford to miss!
Come this Sunday, "The Honky Tonk Man" and Santino Marella will have been Tag Team Champions for a whopping 189 days, the joint second-longest tag team reign in EWA history! And that's not even including the 35 days extra "Honky" had as champ pre-SuperBrawl XIX when he was paired up with my old pal, Jerry "The King" Lawler! Still, while it's been an incredible run, it's also been an improbable one as well! The Champions have rarely looked as if they've been on the same page, and if anything, things have only got worse the longer they've teamed up. Even after a brief ray of sunshine during their Mayhem in Miami match against "Tokyo Vice," their dynamic went right back to the bitter enmity we've come to expect, heightened by "The Rock 'n' Roll Express'" announcement that they must defend the coveted gold in a four way ladder match at Red, White & Bruised! But who would be their three challengers? Well, it wouldn't take long to find out, as "The Dogs of War" were the first team announced, fresh off of their rivalry with the Anoa'i Family which saw them defeat Jacob and Jimmy Fatu last month! On top of that, "The Shining Colons" and "Best Friends" were likewise announced for the final two spots, having spent the past several months making various appearances on The Ellen Show and just generally not getting along with one another. Thus, with the four teams set in stone, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson would give us a small preview of what to expect on last week's SLAM!, pitting "The Dogs of War" and the Tag Team Champions against the combined forces of Primo, Epico, Chuck Taylor and "Trent?" That proved to be a wild affair, with tensions flaring all over the ring, including between "Honky" and Santino once again! Yet when it was all said and done, "The Dogs of War" made a huge statement of intent when they put "Trent?" away with the Rocky Top and scored the pinfall! Of course, it goes without saying that pinfalls and submissions won't count for squat in a ladder match though. Rather, the only thing that matters is which team can ascend that ladder and claim the championships first! And in that kind of environment, especially with bodies being battered and broken thanks to the multiple ladders in the mix, it's surely going to be anyone's ball game!
Sammy Guevara is one talented son of a gun, and he has no problem letting people know it. Indeed, after capturing the National Championship in only his second EWA match, "The Spanish God" has had no problem backing that up when it counts. Whether teaming with "MJF" or successfully defending the gold against Curt Hawkins at Mayhem in Miami, this 26 year old sensation has quickly established himself as one of the hottest up-and-comers in the business today! Heading into June, it seemed as if Guevara and the prodigious Will Ospreay might have been starting a game of one-upsmanship, something that became apparent when they teamed up against Tom Lawlor and "Ryback," only for Ospreay to take one risk too many and cost his team the win. "The Aerial Assassin" hasn't been seen since then though, leading a frustrated Guevara to instead throw out an open challenge to anyone who feels like they have what it takes to step up and make the National Title mean something again. And lo and behold, for the second month in a row, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan finds himself stepping up to the plate and taking advantage of an opening! Let's rewind a bit back to Mayhem in Miami, where the grizzled veteran from Glens Falls squared off with the undefeated Goldberg. Truthfully, it was a match where I think few expected "Hacksaw" to walk out with the win. After all, Goldberg was on a hot streak while Duggan was in the twilight years of his career and in a questionable physical and mental state. And yet, Jim somehow wound back the clock and shocked the world, albeit by using his broken 2x4 to jab Goldberg in the throat just as he powered his opponent into the air for the Jackhammer! Still, a win's a win, and it was enough to cause Goldberg to step away from the EWA for the forseeable future. With "Hacksaw's" dance card now free, Duggan would answer Sammy's call on last week's SLAM! as he looks to finally wear some championship gold around his waist! And in a way, who could be a more fitting challenger for the National Title on this, the most patriotic weekend of the year, than a true blue American like ol' "Hacksaw!" You could almost say this match was written in the stars (and stripes)!
He's already defied the odds once this year by winning the 2020 Civil War, but can Jamie Noble also capture the EWA World Heavyweight Title?
Last, and by no means least, we come to the big one. I'm sure I don't need to tell you all the ins-and-outs of the past few months between Jamie Noble and Maxwell Jacob Friedman, but I will anyway since that's what they pay me for! "MJF" has been World Champion since defeating Harper at Insurgency, and in order to protect his title, "The Salt of the Earth" would enter himself in this year's Civil War, hoping to take that potentially dangerous "Anytime, Anyplace" contract off the table! And boy, did he come close to doing just that as the match seemingly came down to Maxwell and escaped convict Al Snow, only for "The Dynasty" to save "MJF" from elimination, allowing him to dump "The Snowman!" Little did Friedman realize though that Jamie Noble was still very much in the match as well after, shocking the world when he dropkicked a celebrating "MJF" off the ropes to add his name to the history books! While a veteran of the sport, Jamie Noble had only achieved relatively mixed success back when he was in the big leagues prior to his unexpected return in March. However, he suddenly found the spotlight shining brightly on him thanks to this victory, a fact which obviously had "MJF" worried as he would then offer Noble $100,000 in exchange for the Civil War contract! Given his humble beginnings, it was an offer that "The Redneck Messiah" would be a fool not to consider, with his girlfriend Nidia trusting Jamie would make the right choice, even as he seemed unsure of himself. When "The Top 1%er" demanded an answer to his ultimatum though, Noble ripped up the check and laid "MJF" out instead! With Friedman's girlfriend Mandy Rose getting more involved as well, we soon had ourselves a mixed tag match main event set in stone for Mayhem in Miami that put the two couples against one another! And thanks in large part to "The Dynasty" and Judy Bagwell, who had been doing her best to become the World Champion's new manager, "MJF" and Mandy Rose would emerge victorious after the World Champion laid out Nidia with a South Hamptons Plunge before allowing his significant other to score the pin! They weren't done there though, as "MJF" would show just what kind of a man he is by damn near breaking Nidia's arm with the Friedman Armbar Special! It's little wonder then that Jamie Noble had reached the end of his rope. While "The Salt of the Earth" came out to gloat on the next edition of SLAM!, Noble crashed the party with a tire iron, taking out Richard Holliday and Alexander Hammerstone before announcing he was cashing in his guaranteed title opportunity at Red, White & Bruised! A contract was soon signed to make it official, only for "The Dynasty" to search for some payback as they jumped "The Redneck Messiah" and opened the door for "MJF" to tear Noble's arm out of his socket, just like he did Nidia! However, right before he could do so, Noble's cousin Nunzio made a surprise appearance, alongside Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli and "Big" Vito! The "F.B.I." quickly turned the tables in an instant, sending their enemies running before setting up a six man tag for this past weekend's SLAM! as Noble teamed with Stamboli and Vito to take on "The Dynasty!" And boy, what a match it was, as "MJF" did his damnedest to avoid being in the ring with the Civil War winner! However, Noble and the "F.B.I." finally managed to turn things around, resulting in "The Redneck Messiah" seemingly forcing Alexander Hammerstone to submit! Alas, since Noble wasn't the legal man however, the tap-out didn't count, allowing Hammerstone to clear Noble out of the ring in all the chaos going on both there and around ringside, before taking down Johnny "The Bull" to score a crucial victory for "MJF" and "The Dynasty!" Still, as we'd later discover, this Sunday's slobberknocker of a World Championship bout won't come down to "The Dynasty," Mandy Rose, Judy Bagwell, Nidia or the "F.B.I.", as they've all been banned from ringside upon penalty of never being allowed to appear in the EWA again! One would assume that means it's going to be a straight-up match between champion and challenger, and in that kind of scenario, well, let's just say I think "MJF's" days might be numbered! Still, as history has proven time and time again, you can't take anything for granted here in the EWA! And no matter how fired up Noble is to gain revenge for Nidia and claim that top prize which has always been out of arm's reach, you can bet your bottom dollar that Maxwell Jacob Friedman is willing to do everything within his power to remain atop of the business!
With excitement reaching a fever pitch, it should go without saying that Red, White & Bruised looks like an incredible show on paper! And if the previous 16 events are anything to go by, I'd wager it'll more than live up to the hype as the hottest show of the summer too! Make sure you don't miss out on a single second of the action as the EWA takes over the Pechanga Arena this Sunday, and I'll see you back here next month for the next Ross Report! Until then,