One of the certainties within professional wrestling is that the show will rarely start on time. Unless it's a live broadcast, the time for doors and show to start are generally wrong but even sometimes when it is live on FITE TV, for example, fans still aren't let in on time. The Facebook page for this Test Of Strength Wrestling event said show time was 5pm so I figured we would get there a little bit before 5, with the doors likely opening at 4/4:30 and then we could go right in. As we drove by the venue we saw a sign that said the show was at 6 and there wasn't a lot of easy parking (we ended up parking a few blocks away)
By the time we parked and walked to the line to get in it didn't feel like we were waiting outside in the heat for that long as the fans were brought in around 5:30. This was the first time Jess had been to a live wrestling show in years so I was excited to not only see Test of Strength for the first time myself but also for her to see it and what she thought about it all. I knew going into this match who a handful of the wrestlers were and others- even in complete match form- I didn't know and hadn't even heard of before. But sometimes that can make wrestling a bit more exciting, having that unknown factor.
Once inside and after buying waters we found our seats as they had my name on them. I really like that Test of Strength gave us actual bracelets that we can keep forever as opposed to the typical ones which are sticky and you have to cut them off after the show. As we waited in our seats, a man with another man approached us and said we were in his seats. I showed him the papers taped to the chairs and asked him if he was "Joshua M". He said he was. I informed him that I was also Joshua M and so these were my seats. Had the roles been reversed- had he been sitting in the seats when we got there- I would have gone to the woman in the white dress who checked us in and asked for clarity. He didn't do that though and eventually found other seats which makes me doubt he is also Joshua M and just made the whole situation weird.
I might not remember all of the matches in exact order, but I still feel like I need to go out of my way to say a little bit about each of them. We opened with Cold Cash vs. The Stepdads and on one side of the ring (not our sides) there was a group of fans with shirts and signs supporting The Stepdads while on the other side of the ring was a group of fans with shirts and signs supporting Cold Cash. Talk about a how opener. There were step ladders in this match as well and I thought on more than one occasion that someone was going to get seriously injured because they just threw them around the ring. It was all of the violence and destruction you could've wanted in an opener and the crowd loved/hated both teams.
In a six man tag match I saw everyone in that match for the first time, I'm not even sure I've heard any of their names before. Jordyn Rowe seemed to be most over on the heel side, taking his time putting the straps of his singlet on, and everyone on the face side was hot with the crowd. Dicky Moon (who is a hippie and got "Peace" chants) came out with a backpack and the heels questioned at one point what was in it. After the match I asked Jordyn Rowe to show us what was in the backpack but he just took it and left.
I've seen Jiggie Sosa once before and he competed in a triple threat here where no one chanted for him and he got upset. We were also sitting next to a father and son who traveled four hours to see Garrett Holiday so that was pretty cool. Garrett Holiday is what would happen if James Storm and AJ Styles became one wrestler and that isn't a bad thing. The crowd was hot for this match but really the crowd was hot the entire night and I feel like that really helped make the show. If this was a show with less fans in attendance or if they were just sitting on their hands all night, this could have been a different vibe. But everyone was so into it that if you didn't know someone it was hard not to get into it because the crowd was just infectious.
Richard E Stone and Dan DeMan teamed up to take on Ichiban, who was to have Gabby Ortiz as his tag team partner but she wasn't there so Ichiban worked most of this match alone before Dicky Moon came out to help. This was a fun match and Ichiban is way over with this crowd as well. I've also seen Dan DeMan once before (same show Jiggie Sosa was on) and this time he was full on dressed like Cruella and I'm going to need him to sell me an 8x10 in that gear because it was so good.
I was looking forward to Mike Skyros taking on Steve Pena because I had seen Steve Pena wrestle the week prior (no spoilers) and I had seen Mike Skyros online but never live before so he was one of the people I came here to see. This was a hard hitting match where they just beat each other up until they couldn't anymore and Steve Pena had to tap. I'm not sure how to describe Mike Skyros to someone who hasn't seen him yet. He's a little bit MMA, he's a little bit Tommy End, but he's a lot of something else and that just makes him a standout because he brings something so unique to him to his matches.
Test of Strength made the interesting choice to take an intermission prior to the final two matches- I thought after three or four matches they'd do intermission to sort of split the show in half as best as they could- but I'm always happy to have an intermission because I usually drink a lot of water.
The co-main event saw two of the best at what they do face off in the ring together. Alec Prize- who I see every weekend- came in to take on Karen Bam Bam for the TOS Championship. This was such a contrast in style but it made for such an amazing match. I love Alec Prize and he will yell at me for cheering him but on this night I had to boo him because I was on the side of Karen Bam Bam. You need to go out of your way to see this match when it's made available to the viewers at home because it was that damn good.
What can I say about Karen Bam Bam? I feel like I'm living in the future. Karen Bam Bam is a star. The rest of the world might not realize it yet because maybe they just aren't aware of her, but she is a star and she will be for as long as she wants to be in professional wrestling. Years from now, someone will look back at these words, at the stardom that Karen Bam Bam has created for herself, and they will think that I am a time traveler.
The main event was a fourway for the tag team championships and with eight men involved it was a long match because there was seemingly always someone there to break up the pin. I'm not going to give my New Age Outlaws take on this match though because it was just too good. Seeing Sean Maluta live for the first time was a great experience. Seeing TJ Crawford for the second Saturday in a row (no spoilers) was also an experience I want to get used to. But man the tag champions are just on another level. Slyck Wagner Brown and Jay Freddie are just two old school wrestlers who look like they will beat the respect out of you (hence why they are Kowalski Guys)
This match- with all eight people- had such a different vibe depending upon who was in the ring. But TJ Crawford vs. Jay Freddie was something else. I want to see those two wrestle one on one and there's money in it for whoever books it. They have a certain chemistry and mindset for wrestling. I love it. I also felt like The Firm spent a lot of the match not participating, which eventually lead to them getting the win. I wouldn't mind seeing the first title defense for The Firm be against The Stepdads but I'm not really sure what the future holds for the tag team division. Perhaps an even better question is could The Firm defeat Kowalski Guys two on two? Maybe we need to settle that in a sort of rematch first.
This was my first time at a Test of Strength show and it was Jess' first time at a wrestling event in some odd years but we both left the show feeling like it couldn't have been better. Test of Strength has their next show also in Connecticut- on July 11th- and we will definitely be in attendance for that. It's funny because I seem to always drive two or more hours to wrestling shows in NJ and MA. I feel like if the quality is there the drive is worth it. Torrington is about an hour from me, so even if you're two or three hours away from Naugatuck (which is where the next show is) you should definitely make the trip. Seeing Karen Bam Bam defend that title is worth the price of admission itself.