It felt good to be back at Pro Wrestling GRIND for their fourth show. Leading up to the show, looking over the card, I realized that one thing GRIND does which a lot of other promotions don't really seem to do is make matches where you don't know who to cheer for or who to boo, but then at the same time you just kind of cheer everyone because in that way it feels more like a sport. I also truly feel like any of these matches could have had the participants switched around and it still would have made for an amazing show.
Before going to this show, however, we stopped at the Holyoke Mall for dinner. In the food court, they had the Easter Bunny set up to take photos. He had these round, large Harry Potter glasses with a long coat and scarf which just made him look like Doctor Who. It was pretty neat. It was also hot in the mall, as the weather was really nice outside so we went to the mall to hide from it.
We got to the Pulaski Club with about ten minutes to spare and were let in on time. When verifying our tickets at the door we were informed that our names would be on our seats, for front row, and that's one of those little touches for the fans that I really appreciate when promotions do it. When you get to a show and are waiting in line, everyone always feels like they're kind of pushing their way in to try to find the best seats and such but this just eliminates all of that worry and they even put us next to Tim! (Shoutout Tim!)
There are very few things that I know- or pretend to know- when it comes to professional wrestling behind the scenes. But from my experience I'm under the impression that most wrestlers prefer to go on earlier so that way they can enjoy the rest of the show, however I also feel like Rip Byson has been opening shows so that way he can also make sure everything else is running smoothly without a pending match in the back of his mind. So this show was opened by Rip Byson vs Brandon Williams, which I thought it would be and I'm guessing Rip Byson will open the show next month as well.
I have seen some Brandon Williams matches because I've watched promotions on IWTV such as New South, SUP and ACTION back when I had IWTV. This felt like a different type of match for Rip Byson as well. Typically, Rip Byson uses his power to win matches but here it felt more like they had to engage in a technical wrestling side of things, in an amateur wrestling way, and that just showed that Rip Byson can out wrestle you just as well as he can out power you. Hats off to Brandon Williams though who just busted his ass out there.
Next up was an interesting match because it had Channing Thomas play the role of the heel and Jaden Newman come out as being cheered. Before the match started, Channing Thomas got right up on the guardrail and began arguing with a fan behind us and that earned him some boos all night. Though when they started chanting "He's not World Class" I had to chant back "Yes he is". Jaden Newman has a lot of energy and just hits like a car wreck. This was a great match where both of these wrestlers looked better coming out of it.
I'm not one to compare things in the sense that I think something such as a wrestling promotion should be awarded based on its own merits and not because it does something better than another promotion. However, what I find interesting about that match as well is that the night before, at Wrestling Open, Jaden Newman faced Alec Price. Alec Price- who has largely been booed in Worcester- was cheered when he won the title from Jaden Newman. Jaden Newman was booed because he is... *checks notes*... from the South.
If this match- Channing Thomas vs Jaden Newman- happened at Wrestling Open I'm not sure the fans would know what to do. Perhaps they would just boo both of them. But Channing Thomas is so good and he gets the job done inside the ring. Jaden Newman is also good and I was excited to see him wrestle in person for the first time, so I was more than pleased as well that in GRIND he was met with cheers rather than a negative reaction simply because of where he is from.
Just further proving why GRIND exists in its own wonderful world, Willow Nightingale took on Delmi Exo next and both were simply loved. Delmi Exo has kind of switched things up since coming back into the ring and in NCW and WWR+ she kind of played it cool, like a heel. But in GRIND it would be impossible for Delmi Exo to be a heel and this was just one of those matches like when Hogan fought Warrior only with two people of higher moral fiber involved.
This match was also really hard-hitting. Usually, Willow Nightingale is all smiles and just having fun out there but this match showed just how tough she is and how if needed she can really do things inside of that ring that other promotions might not have seen yet. On top of that, Delmi Exo is just really coming into her own in singles competition and now has become one of the most dangerous of weapons out there today.
Manders came out next and fans might not have known him but who doesn't love singing some Bon Jovi. Jay Freddie is one of the single most underrated wrestlers in the world today and that same case can be made for Manders (because I feel like he's always overlooked in GCW) so I feel like these two just going out there and beating the shit out of each other just showed how tough both of them are and why wrestling promotions and fans need to stop having them as afterthoughts and start putting them in the main events.
After intermission, Perry Von Vicious took on BEEF in what was just a wild brawl. I absolutely love BEEF because he is completely unhinged and at the start of the match he wanted the turnbuckle pad and who was the ref to argue with him? This match had BEEF right in front of us with Perry Von Vicious, asking Quentin if he wanted a booger and I seriously hope someone makes a GIF of that.
The thing I liked about this match is that it was a really brawl but it also showcased a side of Perry Von Vicious people might not be used to seeing as he not only won but just showed that he could hang in there with BEEF. I'm not sure how anyone can ever beat BEEF because he's big, tough and just seems all around to not care (he's like the Tasmanian Devil) but PVV did it and I hope this match really makes people take notice and see Perry Von Vicious in a new light.
Speaking of seeing wrestlers in a new light, Ryan Mooney and Gary Jay had an absolute war. Right after his introduction I yelled at Ryan Mooney "He's got rabies!", which the fans behind us thought was kind of funny until Mooney fired back "Damn right I do" and they just erupted laughing. Gary Jay is literally one of the toughest human beings alive, sometimes I don't believe he's human, but I wish I could watch him wrestle live every weekend.
This was my third time seeing Ryan Mooney wrestle live but only the second in a singles match. I enjoyed his last GRIND match against Alec Price but was still kind of on the fence about him. If he came back it'd be cool but I wouldn't be sad if he didn't. Let me tell you though, after this match, holy shit Ryan Mooney has all of my respect and he has a fan in me now as well. Several times during the match I kept saying "Look at how red his chest is". This was quite possibly the most violent match I have ever seen that didn't involve weapons. The wrestlers were the weapons.
Growing up, I always loved tag team wrestling but I think that's because I was watching WWE in the time when tag teams really just felt like they had gimmicks. It was tag teams like The Smoking Gunns, The Headbangers, The Godwinns, Body Donnas and even in ECW The Pitbulls and Eliminators. It was just a time when tag teams felt like they belonged together. And that really seems like the case with both The Mane Event and the Saito Brothers. Both of these teams are teams and it shows.
The Saito Brothers... seeing them for the first time in person... they're BIG. They have power, but they also just have this presence about them where they look intimidating. On top of that, one of them got Midas Black in the corner near us and just started landing strikes so fast it looked like a video game. If I saw it on television I might have thought it was sped up. Both of these teams just went out there and showed why tag team wrestling can be great and GRIND has just been doing such an amazing job with that overall.
In the main event, the undefeated Logan Black took on the debuting O'Shay Edwards. Now, I realize O'Shay Edwards has been in ROH but I still feel like he's being slept on because when ROH took a hiatus and AEW seemed to be bringing in some of the ROH wrestlers and signing them to deals, how do you look at O'Shay Edwards and not offer him the world? But, Logan Black has also been doing this a long time and is rather underrated.
During the beginning of the match, Logan Black tried to chop O'Shay Edwards who moved and Logan Black hit the metal ring post. This played into the entire match with Logan Black having a hand injury. It was funny at times though because O'Shay Edwards was arguing with the referee and it felt like that was not something, as a referee, you wanted to be on that end of ever. Logan Black had to channel all of his toughness here and this match should get a lot of people talking about both of these wrestlers.
The thing I love about GRIND is that not only is it this place for wrestlers who are either up and coming (like Ryan Mooney) or just have been overlooked for too long and need to remind the world how good they are, but it's also a place where the fans are super respectful and appreciative of the wrestlers on the show. This show also had the most talent come in from outside of the Northeast area and that was also fun because there are a lot of those underappreciated and overlooked wrestlers everywhere.
On top of the talent inside of that ring and how hard they bust their asses and the fans and the environment that creates, there's just something special going down in Easthampton and I can't explain it. It's just a feeling. When you walk into the Pulaski Club and that bell rings whether you're part of the show as a wrestler being paid or a fan who has paid for their seat, you're a part of it and you'll feel it too.