All of these matches and more can be found on the Invictus Pro Wrestling YouTube Channel located right here :::
After Invictus Wrestling had their show "In Bloom" (available now to watch on High Spots Network) they announced their next show would be "Empire Rising" and I immediately bought tickets. In between these two shows though it was announced that there would be a tournament to crown a new Women's Champion, airing on YouTube every Friday. I was upset by this news only because these matches were not open to the public because I'd gladly have paid to see this as one show. It gave me what the kids call FOMO.
The first thing that I must say about this tournament is that I predicted it correctly other than I had Valentina defeating Vicki in the first round and then going on to win it all. Oddly enough, you just change my Valentina pick with Vicki and my brackets were correct. Still, Vicki only made it through this tournament with less than honest tactics and as such I think had Valentina made it to the finals and won there would have been a bit more honor in it.
If you're looking for eight of the best wrestlers in the world today- look no further than this tournament. One of the things I don't like about tournaments is that they usually have those early rounds where you go "Oh yeah, no way that guy is winning King of the Ring" and the name is just kind of a means to an end. Any of these eight women though would make for a great champion, not just in Invictus but in any wrestling promotion really. They are all just that good.
On one side of the bracket the first round saw Adena Steele vs. The Notorious Mimi and Willow Nightingale vs. Gabby Ortiz. I've seen Adena Steele wrestle live before and I think she's great, but I just like The Notorious Mimi that much more. It was not easy for me to choose Mimi to win this match and I would've been happy had Adena Steele won, but it was good to see The Notorious Mimi get the win.
As a side note: The Notorious Mimi is young. They'll tell you that during this tournament and almost anyone who talks about Mimi will say that as well. They say things like ~"Oh, if she's this good now when she's this young imagine how good she'll be in five or so years"~ To me, that's kind of dumb. The alternative to The Notorious Mimi getting better as she gets older is either a) She gets worse (and no one should get worse with experience except politicians) or b) She stays the same, which in some ways is worse than not improving. So can we all just appreciate how great The Notorious Mimi is right now and stop worrying about the future?
If you haven't seen Gabby Ortiz yet you're really missing out. She's been a staple in the area here for quite some time, but still hasn't quite made that name for herself the same way that Willow Nightingale has. What can I say about Willow Nightingale? She's having just A+ matches in Beyond Wrestling, she's in AEW, she's in ROH-- she's everywhere and I love it. How can you not love Willow Nightingale?? This match up did feel like if Gabby Ortiz won it would have been an upset, but I still could have seen it happening. This match also set up The Notorious Mimi vs. Willow Nightingale, which is somewhat of a dream match for me (I say somewhat because I never really thought about it happening)
The other side of the brackets had Valentina vs. Vicious Vicki and Mother Endless vs. Abby Jane. I really wanted Valentina to win this whole thing. When I was younger- back in the early '00's- I would write about music and see bands play in front of literally ten to twenty people. I'd interview them, write about them, whatever it took for more people to feel the same way about them as I do. I'm talking bands like My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Thursday and Coheed and Cambria. I feel like if people just knew, if more people just saw Valentina then they would feel the same way I do about her and she's going to be that huge star in wrestling.
I'm pretty sure Vicious Vicki's finisher is a rollup grabbing the tights because that's the most common way I see her win matches. If Vicki won any of her matches fairly, I didn't see it, but one of the reasons why I feel like I give Vicki such a hard time is because I feel like she cheats to win but she doesn't need to-- she could win it on her own, honorably, but she takes the easy way. The work of a true heel.
As soon as I saw the match listed between Mother Endless vs. Abby Jane I thought "Oh that poor soul Abby". To be fair though Abby Jane does tend to surprise me with her matches and if anyone could have pulled out the victory here it could have been her. Abby Jane is also one of those wrestlers everyone talks about being young. Look, even if you've been wrestling for ten years I hope that in five years from now you're better than you were before. That just seems like the way this should all work, yeah?
The semi-finals came down to The Notorious Mimi vs. Willow Nightingale on one side and Vicious Vicki vs. Mother Endless on the other side. I will correct myself here because in my original predictions I did give Mimi the edge over Willow and that turned out to not be the case. The Notorious Mimi vs. Willow Nightingale was just such a great match though- you need to go out of your way to see it- and it almost brought us to another round of Mimi vs. Vicki, which seems to be a dance that they both shall do forever.
Of course me hoping that Mother Endless will defeat Vicious Vicki and it doesn't happen. Mother Endless is someone we need to see more of in wrestling though. Mother Endless can go inside the ring but she is also a character. If you look at a roster photo with Mother Endless in it and a group of twenty or thirty other wrestlers, you're going to easily be able to pick out which one is Mother Endless. That is a quality that all wrestlers should have- and more people should book Mother Endless to collect the souls of those who dare to face her.
I really like that the finals was paired with a tag team match of Adena and Valentina vs. Gabby and Abby. I'm not sure if these tag teams were made because they rhyme or not, but I'm here for it. Let's get the women's tag team division in Invictus going!
The finals is where it all went down. Willow Nightingale, representing everything you would want in a champion vs. Vicki, who is just icky. In professional wrestling right now, the balance between good vs. evil has become quite skewed. On one hand, you can look at a match such as The Notorious Mimi vs. Willow Nightingale. Neither of these characters are what you would call a "heel" and so in wrestling terms this is a "face" vs "face" match, right? And I think wrestling has that way about it right now where it doesn't have to be a "heel" vs a "face" but rather you can just see two of the best go at it, feeling conflicted about who you want to win.
To me, wrestling has evolved past the point of needing to create a good guy vs bad guy scenario. Sometimes when we're at a show if Quentin doesn't know the wrestlers in a match he'll ask me "Who do I boo?" and I tell him to watch the match a little bit and decide who he likes and then decide that way. But the way that wrestling has given us these options to no longer feel like black and white and go into these grey areas is really one of the aspects which makes it so special right now.
Of course I type all of this as we go into the finals with Willow Nightingale- someone it is impossible not to love- vs Vicious Vicki, and we all know that in this house it's "Boo Vicki". Having that "face" vs "heel" match up here in the finals is just so special because as much as Willow Nightingale is that ultimate "face" so is Vicki that ultimate "heel". I can't really say this about a lot of wrestlers so the fact that I can say it about Vicious Vicki just goes to show you how unique she is, but in wrestling there aren't a lot of "heels". There are often times wrestlers who want to be presented as "heels" but then for whatever reason the crowd cheers for them.
For Vicious Vicki to exist in a way which makes it where no matter who she is facing, no matter what the outcome of the match is, you have to boo her just makes this title win appropriate because, yes, she is the best at what she does even if that means being disliked by the fans. But one thing Vicki needs to realize is that by winning this title she has a long list of challengers lined up outside her door. All of these women she's wronged along the way. Just in this tournament alone, I'd say Vicki owes matches to Valentina, Mother Endless and Willow Nightingale.
But let's look at the other side as well. You know it's only a matter of time before Vicki defends that title against The Notorious Mimi. That is, if Vicki can hold onto it for that long. At "In Bloom" Vicki cheated (I know, I know, I'm also surprised) to win a triple threat match against Riley Shepard and Vanity. Vanity can also have a claim as to deserving a title shot, but first Vicki must defend that newly won championship against Riley Shepard at Empire Rising. Quentin and I will be there front row to Boo Vicki. And with Invictus recently announcing they've signed with IWTV, I hope you all soon shall see Riley Shepard becoming the Invictus Women's Champion.