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Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

WrestleFest XV
Date: January 15, 2011
Location: Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York
Attendance: 1,700
Commentator: Jerry Strauss
Hosts: Jerry Strauss, Reby Sky

This is from Northeast Wrestling and is the latest in the long line of shows I picked up from the big Highspots sale. I’ve looked at Northeast Wrestling before and they have been around for a very long time now, so it could be interesting to see what they had a pretty long time ago. Let’s get to it.

Keep in mind that I am coming into this blind so I apologize in advance for not knowing anything about characters or plot points coming in.

Our hosts welcome us to the show and run down the card before throwing us backstage for an interview.

Romeo Roselli (formerly of the Heartthrobs/breakers) and Max Bauer interrupt an interview and promise to take out Sgt. Slaughter, Private Jeff Star and….a local DJ named Boris?

We’re still in the pre-show so we go to the fan meet and greet for some promos from various people on the card.

Brian Anthony is ready to find Hurricane Helms’ Kryptonite and prove that he is the only lime green superhero the northeast needs.

Roxxi (better known as Roxxi Levoux in TNA) is ready for Mia Yim and can’t wait to show what she can do. Since talking doesn’t seem to be Roxxi’s strong suit, here is Yim to mock her a bit. This was really not good.

Hurricane Helms vs. Brian Anthony

Thankfully Hurricane doesn’t have that weird Hurribelt with him. The fans are behind Hurricane and Anthony isn’t sure about that. Hurricane grabs an armdrag but gets punched in the face coming out of the corner. A shoulder drops Hurricane but he’s right back up with the superhero pose for quite the reaction. The threat of a chokeslam sends Anthony bailing to the floor, only to have him come back in for Hurricane’s leg lariat.

Anthony is sent outside for the slingshot dive but he knocks Hurricane out of the air back inside. Hurricane gets sent hard into the corner and we’re off to the chinlock. With that broken up, Anthony hits a running knee for two and they’re back to the floor. This time it’s Hurricane chopping away against the ropes, only to have Anthony come back with a hard clothesline inside.

The nerve hold doesn’t last long as Hurricane starts the comeback, including something like a reverse Unprettier for two. Hurricane’s Shining Wizard is countered into a spinebuster for two more. The moonsault misses for Anthony though and it’s a chokeslam to give Hurricane the pin at 9:27.

Rating: C+. That’s a good choice for an opener as Hurricane has enough star power to feel like a big deal but he can also wrestle a completely fine match. Anthony is someone I’ve seen before and he continues to show talent, even much earlier in his career. This worked just fine as a way to start the show and it wound up being a rather nice mix for the situation.

Sabu vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Vik Dalishus vs. Ryan McBride vs. Hale Collins

Ladder match (of course) for a title shot later tonight. The fans want tables before anyone even comes out so you might know what you’re in for here. Everyone but Sabu goes outside to start so Sabu hits a baseball slide to start the fighting on the floor. Sabu punches Ciampa as Collins and McBride fight inside. Dalishus and Collins, collectively known as the Now, take out McBride with a Smoking Gunns Sidewinder but Ciampa makes the save.

Ciampa hits the running knee to Collins as we hear about Sabu’s ECW days. Everyone gets back inside and Collins’ Air Sabu only hits ladder instead of McBride. Sabu gets back up to beat on Dalishus with a chair as McBride drops Collins HARD onto the ladder. Another ladder is brought in and Collins drops an elbow onto the ladder onto McBride. It’s Sabu coming in for the save but getting powerbombed off the ladder.

This time McBride comes up for a safe of his own but Ciampa pulls him off the ladder into the yet to be named Project Ciampa. Dalishus hits a big springboard moonsault to the floor to take out McBride as the greedy fans want tables. The Now gets together to throw things at Ciampa but Sabu one ups them by pelting some chairs. An Arabian Facebuster through a table knocks Dalishus silly but Collins cuts off a climbing Ciampa.

The Now loads up the ladder but Ciampa comes back with a rope to hang Dalishus. A big ladder is set up on the floor and Collins uses it to elbow McBride through a table. Ciampa moonsaults off the top onto Sabu and Dalishus to put everyone down. Collins and Ciampa go up but Dalishus pulls Ciampa down, allowing Collins to win at 13:50.

Rating: B-. You had five people, they did a bunch of flips and dives, then one of them won the match. There is only so much that you are going to be able to get out of a match like this and we hit it pretty firmly. Collins didn’t really get to show off or anything, but he can do that later on tonight in his title match. Sabu was the star power here and was just kind of here being Sabu without going too far in any way. So yeah: indy ladder match with one then famous name.

Post match NEW Champion Matt Taven comes out to hold up the belt for the showdown.

Here is MVP, in the show’s main event, for a chat. MVP hits the catchphrases and says this is his first post-WWE show. He asked for his release from WWE and that gets a PG SUCKS chant. MVP says PG does suck but what matters is that there are some talented professional wrestlers in that locker room. Tonight he is here to face Matt Hardy, so how many people remember their feud from Smackdown?

Love him or hate him, Matt is talented and won quite a few titles. One of them was the WWE Tag Team Titles with MVP, who carried him to the gold. They have fought all over the world and tonight it is about respect, but there is no WWE telling them what to do. Instead, they’ll be doing it themselves as they do best, and MVP will be balling. MVP felt like a star here and that is what he should be on this show.

Roxxi vs. Mia Yim

Yim comes out swinging but gets dropkicked down for a quick two. A crossbody (which looked like a botched cartwheel) misses for Roxxi though and Yim slows it down with the clubbing forearms. The front facelock and a pull of the hair put Roxxi down and a kick to the back gives Yim two. Back up and Roxxi gets a boot up in the corner, setting up the exchange of forearms. A fall away slam gives Roxxi her own two but Yim kicks her in the face (simple yet effective) for two. Roxxi gets in another shot of her own though and the Voodoo Drop (arm trap suplex drop, which wasn’t a great finisher) puts Yim away at 4:17.

Rating: D+. This was a strange time for women’s wrestling as there was a level far ahead of the Divas, but this one came off like “hey we have a women’s match”. Yim and Roxxi are talented, but they only got to do so much here. It was a short match and mainly trading strikes, which left it pretty low on the scale.

Sgt. Slaughter/Private Starr vs. Romeo Roselli/Max Bauer

Kurt Adonis is here with Roselli and Bauer and is ready to deal with local DJ Boris, who is nowhere to be seen. Before the match, Roselli mocks the crowd and brags about his abs. They certainly aren’t worried about the Cobra Clutch either, as Adonis has given the Clutch evading lessons. The fans do seem to like Slaughter so the star power is still strong. Slaughter brags about Starr’s “gun rack” and we’re ready to go. Starr (whose first name is Jeff, not Private) is after after a rather long time away due to an injury so the fans are rather happy to see him.

Roselli and Starr, apparently old rivals start, with the fans chanting USA, presumably for Starr. Roselli: “I’M FROM THE USA TOO!!!” I never got that logic from the fans so it’s nice for Roselli have the same line of thinking. Feeling out process to start until Roselli elbows him in the face. Back up and Starr hits a dropkick before handing it off to Slaughter to work on the arm. By that I mean a few arm cranks before it’s back to Starr less than fifteen seconds later.

A slugout goes to Roselli but Slaughter is back with a left arm clothesline. It’s too early for the Cobra Clutch though and Bauer comes in to choke Slaughter in the corner. Adonis gets in a cheap shot like a good evil manager should and we hit the chinlock. Bauer comes back in and elbows Slaughter, who is so out of it that he goes to the wrong corner for a tag.

It’s back to Roselli, who gets punched out of the air so Slaughter can bring Starr back in to clean house. A superkick drops Roselli but Bauer is back in to toss Starr outside. Cue Boris to go after Adonis as Roselli knocks Bauer down by mistake. The Cobra Clutch holds Roselli back as Starr Cannonballs Bauer for the pin at 7:42.

Rating: C. This was a perfectly fine tag match with Slaughter adding the star (not Starr, but star) power to make it feel important. Starr looked good and felt like someone who could be a big deal in the promotion. Bauer felt like a heavy and while it’s weird seeing Roselli as what felt like a singles guy with a monster, he worked well as a heel. They didn’t reinvent the wheel here but what they did worked out just fine.

Jerry Lawler vs. Tommy Dreamer

In a cage (which is maybe six and a half feet above the apron) and this is hyped up as old school/WWE vs. ECW. Thankfully commentary mentions that they had another fight last year at WrestleFest XIV, so this isn’t something entirely based on something from the original ECW.

Before the match, Lawler talks about how he has been asked for years if all of the wrestlers are really friends behind the scenes. It’s true that a lot of the wrestlers are friends, at least to an extent. That being said, it’s like any job: there are people you like and people you don’t like, but then there are people you just despise.

Above all of them is Terry Funk, who is the toughest guy Lawler has ever faced, but Lawler couldn’t warm up to him if they were cremated together. He doesn’t like the Miz and Michael Cole isn’t too far behind him, as Cole cost him the WWE Title. Then there is one guy who he can’t stand, and their problems started back when ECW invaded WWE.

Lawler was never an ECW fan and Dreamer was the one who caused the most of his problems. Tonight is the final battle between the two of them, and no it isn’t the last one until he gets a bigger payday. With that rather lengthy speech out of the way, we’re ready to go. If nothing else, hearing Man In The Box is always worth a smile.

Feeling out process to start with Lawler driving him into the corner for a quick standoff. They trade kicks to the ribs and stare at each other before locking up. Neither can send the other into the cage so they stare at each other again. Lawler takes over with rights and lefts before hitting a Stunner of all things.

Back up and Dreamer blocks a ram into the cage, meaning Lawler can go face first into it a few times instead. Dreamer opens the door and….shoves Lawler out, with the fight heading to the floor. A crutch shot to the back staggers Lawler but he comes back with a chair to drop Dreamer. They fight around the cage with Lawler being sent into the timekeeper’s table, only to come back up with a chair shot. The table is set up against the cage and Dreamer is sent face first but he does the same to Lawler to even it up.

They head back inside with Dreamer putting something between Lawler’s legs and smashing it with a kendo stick. Dreamer misses a dive though and Lawler chokes with the ring bell before having his fist drop hit a chair. A piledriver plants Lawler (apparently a callback to their previous match) but Lawler gets a foot on the rope.

As I shake my head at that working in a cage match, Lawler manages a few shots of his own and ties Dreamer to the cage with some cable. Some kendo shots knock Dreamer free so he grabs the stick and beats the heck out of Lawler. Dreamer picks up a chair but walks into a fireball for the pin at 16:00.

Rating: C+. They did a good job of building up the hatred and anger between the two of them, but I wasn’t wild on the trip outside or the weapons inside. One would think a cage match would be extreme and violent enough, but it felt more like they were trying to have an ECW match and a cage match at the same time. That only kind of worked, but these two have probably done something similar a hundred times (or probably ten times that in Lawler’s case) so they could likely do this in their sleep. And yes, they would wrestle again in this promotion the following year.

Medics check on Dreamer as Lawler celebrates.

Northeast Wrestling Title: Hale Collins vs. Matt Taven

Taven is defending and apparently the two of them are friends. We get the Big Match Intros and Collins is the hometown boy to make this even more interesting. Taven poses to start and the fans don’t seem thrilled with him. Collins poses as well and gets dropkicked, allowing Taven to start in on the heavily bandaged arm.

A DDT onto the arm has Collins in more trouble, with an arm snap across the rope making it worse. We hit the armbar but Collins grabs a rollup, only to get dropkicked right back down. Collins fights up and forearms with the good arm before managing to roll some suplexes. Taven is right back with a cross armbreaker and Collins is in trouble all over again.

The armbar goes on again but Collins fights up and hits a quick Fameasser. Collins’ superkick hits the referee so the second one that hits Taven gets no count. Taven gets up and kicks Collins low, setting up a flipping neckbreaker and a frog splash for….two from a second referee. They get back up and it’s Collins grabbing a small package for the pin and the title out of nowhere at 11:50.

Rating: C-. This is a good example of a match that makes sense on paper but isn’t that good in execution. Instead you have Taven working on the arm in various ways for most of the match before the shenanigansy ending. Collins winning the title in the end is a good way to go and a cool moment that makes the show feel special, even if it came after a pretty lame match.

And never mind as the original referee calls it a DQ and Taven retains. Well that was fun for about ten seconds. Taven leaves so Vik Dalishus and Collins beat up the referee. Collins even gets a pin counted by the first referee.

Matt Hardy vs. MVP

Hardy is looking a bit more muscular than usual. MVP grabs a headlock to start but Matt slips out and they fight over a lockup. A headlock takeover brings Matt down and they trade counters until Matt gets up. MVP grabs an armdrag but has to block a Side Effect. The Twist of Fate is countered as well and we’re at a standoff. They go to a lockup and roll outside without letting it go.

That doesn’t really go anywhere so it’s back inside for what looks to be a bit of miscommunication on a Side Effect attempt. Matt hits the middle rope elbow to the back of the head and we hit the chinlock. MVP powers up and grabs a fireman’s carry drop before kicking Hardy outside. After an exchange of ramming each other into things, MVP takes him back inside for the running boot in the corner and a near fall.

Ballin sets up the Play Of The Day for two and MVP is stunned at the kickout. Hardy fights back up and gets planted with a jumping Downward Spiral for two more. MVP rolls some German suplexes before going up, only to get slammed off the top for two. The Twist of Fate gets two more, meaning it’s frustration/shock time. Hardy tries another Twist but gets reversed into a backslide to give MVP the pin at 14:06.

Rating: B. Believe it or not, two talented, veteran wrestlers who have fought each other a hundred times can have a good match. This felt more polished than anything else on the show and it came off like a big time main event. Hardy and MVP might be a bit past their primes here but they’re names fans will know and they can still work very well with each other. This is exactly what I was expecting and in this case that isn’t a bad thing.

Post match Hardy congratulates MVP and says they’ll meet again down the road. For now though, they can get a beer and celebrate a great match.

Overall Rating: B-. This was a rather fun show and I’ll absolutely take that from an independent event. They had a nice mixture here with star power in the forms of the main event, the cage match and Slaughter, plus young up and comers with local stars mixed in. There were a few weak points throughout but even the worst wasn’t all that awful.

What mattered here was how organized and planned things felt. There was never a point where I was wondering what they were doing or why they were doing it and that is nice for a change. NEW is a company I’ve seen good things from over the years and that was true here too, so you might try the place out, as they seem to know what they are doing.

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