Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Camp Leapfrog
Abby Jane's 21st Birthday Extravaganza
8/8/21
@ H2O Wrestling Center, Williamstown, NJ

https://twitter.com/CampLeapfrog


During the pandemic, Camp Leapfrog began running shows without fans but at a camp and there were segments in between to set up the matches making them cinematic.   Camp Leapfrog has put on some of my favorite shows (they're all on IWTV!) and I wanted them for a long time to have a show with fans or at least a handful of fans which could include me.   When this show was announced I already had tickets for the IWTV 100 show, which would take place in the same venue later in the day, so it was perfect.  

After going to TOS the night before, we got home for a minimal amount of sleep, woke up early and began the drive to H2O, which is either 3 and a half or 4 and a half hours depending upon how traffic getting out of CT is.    We made a few stops along the way but we ended up there in good time.   The first thing we found out about the H2O Center is that while it was about 84 degrees outside it was about 140 degrees inside.  Bless the trainees who use the ring there to learn because I wouldn't survive in the heat.

As usual, being at the show live I felt pretty oblivious to what was happening on television and I didn't read the list of names for who was on commentary until over a week after the show.   There was an Open Swim match and then the show itself started with Masha Slamovich vs BLANK.  I'm not sure the official stats on this or anything, but H2O was packed so if you asked me I'd say it sold out.  Among the chairs, fans were also standing throughout where they could and I don't think you could have fit any more in.

It was loud and it was so much fun.  Masha Slamovich got cheered when she came out- perhaps because the Campers did not like BLANK- but that mood quickly changed when Edith Surreal entered the ring and Masha attacked her.  The crowd added such a level of energy to this show though- I said it afterwards that I stopped thinking about the heat (and how much I was sweating) because I was too focused on the wrestling and yelling at the wrestlers.

The tag team match- a four way- was up next and I think it was really a good representation of what Camp Leapfrog is all about.  I'll see shows on IWTV or even sometimes live and not know who a wrestler is or Quentin will ask me who is who.   This doesn't feel so easy to explain when you have two wrestlers who look similar (and, believe me, it happens a lot more than you think- I just don't write about it as much) but everyone in Camp Leapfrog has their own unique look to where no one is going to confuse Jay Lyon with Killian McMurphy (Well... maybe)

That diverse roster of characters and the feeling that everyone brings something different- yet also so important- to the show is what makes Camp Leapfrog so special.   In the Campground Warfare Ten Man Tag Team Match I had a hard time deciding who to cheer for because I love Jordan Blade and Eel O'Neal, but they were also teaming with Darius Carter who I had to boo.  At the same time, I love Big Callux and I'm a bit too afraid to boo Violence (plus I like how Violence would just come out of the woods and cause destruction) so this was just a fun match for me that shows it's not always black and white with the idea of "good guy vs bad guy".

I was a little surprised to see King Crab win the Rey de Ranas Scramble Match, as I thought someone like Rex Lawless might have had the advantage but the action just kept moving throughout this show.   There was no intermission so I felt tired afterwards because it was just non-stop.   Matt Makowski vs ThunderFrog was a personal favorite of mine because when ThunderFrog appeared during "Frogsport" I never dreamed that the match would happen to where I could see it in person and more so I've just always wanted to see ThunderFrog live so this match made that dream come true.

The Eight Man Tag Team Match was a lot of fun because I do not believe I've seen any of The Colony live before (but don't quote me on that) and I remember being on a specific wrestling figure website back in the early 2000's and one particular user would constantly post custom figures of such wrestlers as The Colony, which then made me get into watching them and just opened up a whole new world for me.  

The Camp Leapfrog Campeonatos de Ranas Title Match was perhaps the best match not only of the night but the best tag team match I have ever seen.  All four of these competitors were just so evenly matched so any combination of them and you just felt like they could fight forever because on some level it was like mirror-wrestling.   Molly McCoy and Janai Kai would be so much fun to see in a singles match.   I thought more than once that YoKai had the win and even though they didn't there is nothing but respect for both teams.

I just felt this certain way about the main event and how it captured the past twenty years or so of professional wrestling and some of the greatest matches and promos I remember from the past including those who have moved onto bigger stages, like Eddie Kingston, and it's just so insane but in the best possible way to think of Abby Jane as being a relative newcomer, teaming up with The Spectral Envoy (who have that history I talked about before with The Colony) for her 21st Birthday.   If you told me this was going to happen twenty years ago I would've thought you were crazy.

Then you add in Dan Champion and Travis Huckabee- two legit forces in wrestling right now- with Sidney Bakabella, who lost his wig during the match, and the whole thing just feels so historic and so right.   Camp Leapfrog posted a thread on Twitter about how this match came about and the history between Abby Jane and A Very Good Professional Wrestler.   There just might not be a better story in wrestling right now and I don't miss long term storytelling in professional wrestling because Camp Leapfrog proves that it still exists.

What I liked most about this show is the familiarity of it.   I've seen wrestlers like Killian McMurphy and Darius Carter in Pro Wrestling Magic.   Abby Jane just recently competed for Invictus Pro Wrestling.   The Mane Event just became tag team champions in Battle Club Pro.  And Masha Slamovich just feels like she's everywhere, but especially in Mission Pro, Beyond and WWR+.   But it wasn't just seeing the familiar faces come together, but rather that this cast of wrestlers, if you will, were all appearing together, as I had only seen them do before on Camp Leapfrog.   

This was something which was all specifically unique to this show and much like Abby Jane's Birthday itself cannot be duplicated.   Afterwards we were able to meet ThunderFrog and buy a print of the comic book art for this show and it just couldn't have been a better overall experience.  

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