The Memphis Wrestling Saturday morning programme is the best wrestling entertainment hour on TV. I’ve said it before and I’m happy to say it here.
It goes by in the blink of an eye, it comforts, it excites, it makes you smile. And the wrestling ain’t bad either.
So why is it so successful?
It Links Back To Memphis Wrestling Past
NWA at the moment might have a nod to the 80’s, no music, a desk that wrestlers come to talk around, but in Memphis they really go for it.
Dustin and ‘my Maria’ – not mine, I hasten to add, head honcho Dustin Starr’s wife who is introduced this way every week – sit at a large Desk. It is against the back wall, in the middle of the two locker rooms, so every grappler has to pass the Desk to get to the ring.
They are frequently stopped by Dustin who wants a word, at the Desk of course. The Desk becomes a character, a constant in the action, very much like Memphis of the ’70s and 80s. That’s a really warm feeling.
There’s A Team At The Top Who Love Memphis
Dustin and Maria Starr have embedded themselves into Memphis life , Dustin is here, there and everywhere in the area, helping with commentary, holding wrestling charity events, it just seems to be a real family feel.
Talking to Austin Lane a while ago for my podcast – Steve Swift’s Rambling Reviews since you ask – he felt at home there and they do go on the road in the area but there’s a base too.
They’ve turned a building into a wrestlecentre within 1 year of returning to wrestling. It’s a simple building, painted in the United Wrestling Network colours, but it’s home. And the same people come back week in and week out, watching it is to connect with those fans too.
They’re Not Afraid Of Long Storytelling
And they don’t often shout about it. Unlike AEW who I sometimes feel are saying ‘look at us, doing angles that last months’, Memphis can keep it simmering for a year or so, take it off the heat, bring it almost to the boil, take it back down again. Wonderful.
Well, Tiger Joe was around about 6 months ago and left after tasting a Derrick King piledriver. Over the subsequent weeks, the move was banned in Memphis wrestling, Derrick has been distracted and vacillating from good guy to bad guy antics, they just kept it in the mind and now Joe is back.
This week was the main event because Joe wasn’t alone. He brought Rhi(y)no. And the tables turned. Not one but two piledrivers, the banned move, left Derrick lying in the ring, a really good image to end the programme.
Uncle Mikey is over. The fans love him. Brought in as a part of the Skimahorns heel tag team, his energy ignited the patrons. But have Memphis wrestling turned his face? Not yet. We’ve had weeks of Mikey enjoying the adulation, his Skimahorn cousins not enjoying that, them coming out of different locker rooms, Mikey trying to convince them to let the fans in and now the Skimahorns standing up to nefarious and nasty bad guy K-Tooomer. I don’t know where they’d gone with this and that’s great.
Guests Are Used So Well
Rhi(y)no won’t say around for long. But that’s OK, he’s a gun for hire. And that’s what happens with Memphis wrestling, they come in, they give Memphis wrestling the rub, they go; stars like Lance Archer, Marco Stunt, Peter Avalon and upcoming? Two of the biggest wrestlers in the US at the moment; more of that later.
This week? Nyla Rose came to Memphis. And she wasn’t just there to sign autographs.
Memphis wrestling involves their guests, gets them in the ring and they become a seamless part of the show; everyone wins.
There’s Usually Something Special
Recently, the battle royale Grind City Rumble. Last week? The Trios tag tournament. This week? The Cobra Cup final, which the reignited promotion premiered last year, Brett ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’ Michaels winning but being brutalised by Alan Steel, the heel that led the promotion on that bad guy side for so long.
This year, we have an expected finalist and a completely unexpected one. Mike Anthony v Colton Cage. Guess which is which. It didn’t go long. It didn’t need to. Mike Anthony brutalised Cage, who had a little offence but was no match for the Anthony intensity.
What will Mike do now? Bide his time. He can challenge for any title at any time. Some sphincters might be twitching…
The Women’s Division Gets Good Coverage
Now, I’d like to see a few more women in the division, we miss Nikki Lane and Rebel Kell, but the main feud is very well done.
A few weeks ago, Skylar had an issue with Amber Rodriguez and took it out on her in a rather new way; she took an artificial eyelash and false fingernail. Since then Skylar has been rather bigged up and women’s champ Heather Monroe, who is trying to hold onto her belt, palled up with Amber to combat Skylar and Nyla.
Not that it did them much good, despite a stump puller variation when Amber just standing on Skylar’s hair and double DDT on Nyla. The end came with a superb, full extension Skylar roundhouse kick which was a thing of beauty.
This division is buzzing.
The Tag Team Picture Isn’t Bad Either
The Yung GOATS are the champs. But where are their belts? The Posse has them, turning heel at Christmas no less, in a move that surprised even jaded Lil ‘old me.
They’ve been suspended, but that didn’t stop them from destroying a bench in the wrestlecentre they helped build. $5,000 worth of damage, apparently – that bench must have been encrusted with diamonds.
And now they will be allowed back in the building for one match, with the tag team champs.
It’s a great grudge.
And The Heavyweight Title Picture?
For Memphis wrestling, it’s the Heritage title and after a savage series of matches with Mike Anthony, Brett Micheals faces Austin Lane at the anniversary show.
Austin says he’s ‘The Best Of The Best, ring to bell and pillar to post…I can never get that right. But he won the Grind City Rumble, saw off mega threat K-Toomer and is pretty stupendous in that squared circle.
They are trying to keep it respectful, but it threatens to boil over; this week we had an against the clock challenge, Austin posting around 3.5 mins when besting Martin, who hit a stupendous DDT as Austin attempted a spear through the ropes and a double arm DDT too. Brett came out to distract and it helped Lane to hit a nasty snap suplex and STF for the pin.
Michaels faced Jay Smooth and Lane had to help him too, he took a chair away from Martin at ringside, leaving him and Smooth open to a Gunshow Lariat.
And Michaels won. Bragging rights, as Austin reminded him on Twitter. This is going to be a good one and it’s a testament to the way Austin Lane has been allowed to develop over the last year.
Memphis Wrestling Is So Well Booked They Know What’s Coming For Weeks
And they like to tell us. This week we had a control centre, showing us the next few weeks in the lead up to the Anniversary Show.
Week 1 includes the Yung GOATS/Posse feud
Week 2? Guests. And what guests. Nick Aldis and Jonathan Gresham will fight. My word…
Week 3; cake, streamers and that so well-booked Heritage Title match.
Yep, Memphis wrestling was great this week. But I’ve been saying that for weeks…