It speaks to the depth of Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s roster, the complexity of its personalities, and the intricacies of its stories that Athena, rising star and national sensation, being robbed of her hard-earned American Joshi title by Angel Blue is probably only the fifth biggest story to come out of last month’s flagship show, Guilty By Association 6.
There was just so much: Big Willie (name not an exaggeration) hitting a springboard moonsault dive on the outside, Chris Trew getting his beard turned sideways by Scot Summers, Barry Breeze retiring from wrestling then proposing to his girlfriend just before two would-be lovers tried to choke the life from one another, JoJo Bravo trying to convince the crowd he is actually an unmasked Jyushin “Thunder” Lyger before having a small segment of his face detached temporarily (which he was ultimately very chill about thanks to appropriate medication), Darin in leopard print and Khris Wolfe and Khris Wolfe’s beard in a Patriots jersey, Ricky Romida dressed as a villain from an alternate future where Mel Gibson is still cool, Jaykus Plisken’s hilarious pondering about Miss Maulie and the American Joshi Title, Jerry fucking Lynn, Davey Vega winning the Anarchy Televised championship in a match where Jerry fucking Lynn took out at least two fans, writers from Bloody Elbow and Cageside Seats giving themselves a brief respite from the mediocrity they are typically forced to cover, and countless other tales from the sprawling Modern American Tragedy that is Anarchy Championship Wrestling.
The Never-Ending Battle
Pro Wrestling’s superhero savior ACH faced the main villain in his rogues gallery, Submission Squad member Gary Jay. Sporting a large Joker tattoo and a nasty red beard, the “Stiff Robo Ginger” stands at the polar opposite of everything that is ACH. ACH is loved, Gary despised. ACH amazes with uncharted athleticism while Jay, though a fine athlete in his own right, has a gritty style that’s more about chops and cheap shots. The two are destined to be enemies. Last November at the Lone Star Classic, ACH survived three grueling rounds of tournament action to capture the ACW Heavyweight title for the first time. It was the greatest night of his career, and it was ruined by Gary Jay. Jay attacked ACH, then stole the tournament trophy and ACW title before fleeing to St. Louis. He posed with the belt for pictures, taunting fans and ACH with proclamations that he was the real champion.
This was enough to break ACH’s typical cool. He beat and brutalized Gary’s fellow Squad member Pierre Abernathy last December, and promised he’d do the same to Jay for disrespecting the fans and the title. As promised, ACH came in to Guilty By Association with a mean streak he rarely displays. Jay felt every amazing move in ACH’s arsenal, and a few new attacks designed just to punish him. Gary Jay likely regretted bringing ACH’s pisstivity levels to a record high, but perhaps there was some strategy in that. ACH uncharacteristically picked Jay off the mat multiple times, when he clearly had him beat, in order to deliver more pain. Jay briefly was able to use this to his advantage, and overall brought his A-game in a great main event. But in the end the ACW title came back to where it belonged as the sounds of Gary Jay tapping out echoed through the streets of Austin, followed by roaring chants of “A-C-H” from the standing room only crowd.
Predictably, the celebration was short-lived. As it is for super-heroes, so it goes for heavyweight champions: defeat one foe and another rises up. The new look Children of Pain, lead by Shawn Vexx, crashed the celebration. Vexx made it clear he wanted a shot at the young man he once mentored, and attacked ACH, giving him an injury that he limped back to the locker room with.
“Best Friend” Means You’ll Get What You Deserve
2011 was possibly the best year for RAJETT (Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team). Not only did they capture and hold the ACW Tag Team Titles in a historic reign, they also achieved great singles success. Well, at least, Rachel Summerlyn did. While Rachel won the ACW Anarchy Televised title and the Queen of Queens tournament, Jessica James spent most of the year dealing with her personal demon. Yes, Lady Poison began the year by winning the American Joshi title and had several months atop the division, but she was eventually bested by Athena and relegated to the darkest corners of Jessica James’ psyche. After they lost the tag belts at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Jessica wasn’t even a part of the next ACW show, while Rachel competed on it for the ACW Heavyweight Title.
Take that and add in the recent emergence of Machiko, ACW trainee and second for Rachel Summerlyn, and one can only assume that when Jessica James came into Guilty By Association she was not in her normal, care-free state of mind. During the match itself, Jessica yelled at Rachel that she was not her “sidekick” and that she wanted to be wrestled like a “real person.” Rachel bitterly obliged and used her size and strength advantage to overpower her partner. The match was highly competitive, as expected from two of the top women in the sport, but you had a feeling neither had gone completely all-out before the final bell rung. Rachel won after some close calls from Jessica. The two shook hands and embraced, as JJ accepted that Rachel was just the better woman that night. Or so we thought.
As Rachel began to make her way out of the ring, Jessica lay on the mat with her hair covering her face. Rach checked on Jess and tried to help her up, but was pushed off. She tried again, only to be met by the cold, dead eyes of Lady Poison! Poison gave her deadly kiss to both Rachel and Machiko, leaving them spitting up black venom as they were carried backstage. Jessica loved Rachel, but she has chosen darkness. She hasn’t been heard from since January. Which may be for the best, because Rachel wants revenge.
The Death of Romance
Going into last year’s Guilty By Association 5, Portia Perez and Robert Evans ruled ACW. Portia was the reigning Queen of Queens and American Joshi Champion. Evans was the ACW Heavyweight champion and declared he would reign for a 1,000 Days of Glory. The evil, hot pink sporting Canadians and seemed unstoppable together. However, Portia lost her title in a savage dog collar match to Lady Poison, and Evans lost his title in quit match where Matthew Palmer threatened to set him on fire. Then, things really got bad. Love tore them apart. Where Evans saw a potential relationship with Portia, Portia just saw some dead weight she needed to get rid of to reach the next level in her career. She broke the news to Robert by breaking his jaw with a Superkick.
This sent Evans on a downward spiral where he left ACW for several months, but not before delivering a disturbing video detailing his plans for bloody vengeance against Portia. Portia wallowed in her depravity further, openly carrying weapons to the ring and deliberately injuring fellow American Joshi. She did seemed more focused, until Evans made a surprise return and cost her the Queen of Queens Tournament. Then the main event mystery partner tag match and, worst of all, the ACW Heavyweight title. Tired of wrestling in constant fear of attack from Evans, Portia gained some payback by attacking him and serenading him with the most disturbing version of “Don’t Stop Believing” (Evans’ victory theme) possible. This situation would not really be settled, though, until a full year after their separation.
Portia has spent the year telling everyone who will listen that she’s the best in the world. Evans has spent the year showing everyone who will watch that he deserves consideration as well. The added emotion of their personal issue aside, these two former ACW Heavyweight Champions were guaranteed to put on a fantastic match. Portia began by spitting in Evans’ face, a signature maneuver, but the Monarchist kept his composure, hoping to avoid an all-out brawl where Portia has a slight experience advantage. Portia still held an advantage early on, using mat work and semi-legal moves to ground her larger opponent. When things inevitably spilled to the outside, Perez took out a year of fear and frustration out on Evans and seemed to have the match in-hand, until a misplaced step off the stage caused her to sustain an ankle injury.
Evans smelled the blood, glared at the crowd, then assaulted Portia’s injured leg with a chair before locking on an heel hold. Portia was just able to reach the ropes without submitting, and reversed the course of the match with a deep Ninja Choke that all but put Evans to sleep. He was able to crawl to the ropes on the tips of his fingers, just barely earning a break before blacking out. It continued to go back and forth for a few desperate moments before finally Evans pinned Portia after a second Wonder-fall.
What started out as a love story ended as an unforgettable Pro Wrestling match. One would think Evans and Portia could have worked out their differences with a phone call or perhaps a friendly dinner, but having an epic match seemed to suit them better. Where romance is dead wrestling lives.
How To Kill a Monster and Become A Legend The Matthew Palmer Way
For nearly two years the minotauran beast known as MASADA ruled the labyrinthian dungeon of ACW’s hardcore division. Numerous national and international challengers entered his lair to capture the mythical ACW Hardcore Championship; MASADA devoured them all. Then came Matthew Palmer. The former Centerfold turned Son of Anarchy began his quest last spring by saying, somewhat menacingly, “I’m going after MASADA.” The multi-season campaign against the monster saw Palmer mimic, taunt, attack, and damage the nigh invulnerable beast. He even began dressing like the rugged MASADA, and entirely submerging his former playboy persona. Palmer had his setbacks though: in his first direct confrontation with MASADA, Palmer was powerbombed so viciously that he spit blood. That aside, it was clear that each skirmish damaged a plate of MASADA’s armor. When it was time for Palmer to strike the killing blow he challenged MASADA to the most dangerous, all-or-nothing, either-though-or-I-or-both-must-go confrontation in wrestling: a Scaffold match.
To properly capture the sense of fear and dread the scaffold brought, this review would have to be written in German. There aren’t words in English to describe how nauseous the cobbled mass of plywood and steel were when it was known that things of flesh and bone and sweat and blood would be decided upon it. Given the proximity of the structure to the fan seating area, this fear was sustained by more than just empathy for the combatants. A scaffold is a place where epic tragedies are performed and men are hanged; fans at ACW had to be prepared to watch both, and unwillingly take part.
Palmer tried to put everyone at ease with a bit of humor. He began the match by immediately climbing the scaffold. He casually sat on a chair, inviting MASADA to join him. Angered, MASADA tossed a chair at Palmer, which he caught in mid-air and used to prop his feet up. This was the final moment of levity that night. MASADA made his way up and both men began a terrifying brawl with chairs, then their hands, then actual pieces of the scaffold that they ripped off while still standing on it. Minutes later Palmer was hanging from the side of the structure being smashed by that same equipment. Then MASADA was bleeding. Then Palmer was having spikes shoved into his head. Then Palmer was bleeding. Then he was having spikes shoved into his face and mouth and he was bleeding more and idly wondering how it all went so wrong.
The match was absurdly dragged into the ring, but MASADA continued his all-out assault. Palmer showed signs off life, but not enough to convince anyone. He was a dead man. MASADA called on fans to build a grave of chairs in the ring, where he’d bury Palmer once and for all. With a powerbomb. From the scaffold. Palmer somehow gained another advantage and foolishly used it to climb to what everyone thought was his death. Fans, staff, wrestlers on the balcony, everyone, begged Palmer not to do it. He looked back and said, “But I have to.” The unkillable death match god followed. MASADA set Palmer up for his ultimate doom, but a desperate counter from Palmer sent the beast flying to the bed of steel laid out in the ring!
There was only one thing for left for Palmer to do. He took off his boots and removed the khaki cargo shorts he had worn for most of the year as a “tribute” to MASADA. Underneath were a brand new pair of glittering red tights. Then, finally, two years of dominance met it’s bloody and beautiful death as The Centerfold frog splashed from the scaffolding onto MASADA and earned final victory over his nemesis. The J. Geils band acted as the chorus and sung praise of Palmer as he stood on top of the scaffold. And, for at least that night, he stood on top of the wrestling world knowing that did something few dared and none could.
And that was ACW Guilty By Association 6. Needless to say, it’s a must see show for regular or semi-regular ACW followers, as well as a DVD I’d recommend for those who haven’t joined the movement. Evans vs Portia and Palmer vs MASADA especially were timeless matches that no wrestling fan should hesitate to seek out. Shortly we’ll have a report from the most recent ACW event, The Show Goes On. Until then, enjoy a few hundred photos from GBA. Peace!