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Night of the Belts

Night of the Belts - Review

Night of the BeltWanganui War Memorial Hall
Saturday 25th July 2009

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A vibrant crowd of the River City's wrestling fans turned out on Saturday night to show their support for Kiwi Pro Wrestling's second show in Wanganui.  With 'Night of the Belts' being the (hopefully!) triumphant return of home-town heroes Chris Delorean, Lazarus Volt and the Kiwi Pro Wrestling Champion himself H-Flame, the fans weren't going to miss out the chance to cheer their favourite wrestlers onto victory!  With both the KPW Championship and the KPW Tag Team Championship titles on the line, the Wanganui fans were in for an evening of the finest in New Zealand professional wrestling.

PURPLE HAZE versus JIMMY VAN der ROLL

Flying solo without his tag team partner Miles D'Rock, this opening bout was Van der Roll's chance to prove he can hold his own in singles as well as tag team competition.  His opponent was the mysterious Purple Haze, whose silence masks a cunning that his opponents often under estimate, at their peril.  Right from the opening, Purple Haze looked to have a master plan of sorts as he offered a test of strength to his opponent.  At first, things went the way of the taller and stronger Van der Roll, but Haze used his speed to counter and reverse the hold, doing his best to tie his opponent in knots.  In retaliation, Van der Roll displayed his knowledge of the basics by clamping a side headlock on the Haze and resisting the Purple One's best efforts to escape.  The two combatants traded headlock takedowns for near falls until a cross corner change from Purple Haze was ably avoided by Van der Roll, who sent the Haze flying across the ring with a hip toss!

Haze attempted to mount a comeback with a sleeper hold but the "Dancing Dutchman" would not be denied and fought back to hit the Haze with his very own Cradle of Love (sit-out pumphandle slam) for the pinfall win.

'The Brute' J.E. O'ROURKE (with SHANE O'ROURKE) versus CHRIS DELOREAN

The second match of the night was the first appearance of a River City native, as "Mister Love Potion Sixty-Nine" himself Chris Delorean danced to the ring amongst the Wanganui faithful, ready to face his opponent.  As living proof of his second generation heritage, J.E's second was none other than his ex-professional wrestler father Shane O'Rourke!

In the lead-up to this match, Delorean had made no bones about doubting the cranial capacity of 'The Brute', and had largely dismissed him.  Such a cocky attitude served only to make the younger O'Rourke all the madder and more determined to unleash "Brute force"!   Right from the get-go, the O'Rourkes made no friends with the Wanganui faithful, arguing with fans on the way to the ring and shredding any signs supporting their home-town opponent.  Shane O'Rourke even went to the lengths of disparaging Blair 'the Flair's' introduction of his son and grabbing the microphone to introduce 'the Brute' himself, further angering the crowd!

On paper, this match promised to be a classic contest of strength versus speed and it certainly didn't disappoint.  Delorean was at a distinct disadvantage strength-wise  and suffered mightily at the claw-like hands of the Brute's punishing power moves.

However, the "Neon Knight" weathered the worst and drew on the energy of the fans to take the fight back to the younger O'Rourke with the 88MPH (swinging clothesline)!  When J.E. O'Rourke bailed to the outside for some tactical advice, Delorean followed up by flinging himself outside the ring with a pescado, J.E. barely had time to pull his father out of the line of fire before Delorean came crashing down on him!

Back in the ring, Delorean went up to the top rope for his Flux Incapacitator legdrop, but Shane O'Rourke made his presence felt by shoving Delorean from his lofty perch as the Rookie Referee Robin was checking on J.E.   Now preoccupied with checking on the Wanganui native, the referee failed to see Shane O'Rourke pass a folding chair to his son.  Working like a well-oiled machine, the elder O'Rourke then ran interference with the referee as J.E. swung for the fences and knocked Delorean senseless with the chair, opening up the Neon Knight's scalp!  Incapacitated himself, poor Delorean was wide open for the tainted pinfall from J.E. O'Rourke.

The O'Rourkes left the ring triumphant, but to a chorus of boos from the fans.   Conversely, Delorean left the ring to the applause of the assembled fans, bloody but unbowed.  Fortunately, his injury was not as serious as it had appeared, though it did require seven stitches to close the wound inflicted by 'the Brute'.

Next, Queen Hollie was interviewed by new KPW colour commentator "The Wonderful" Wilbur Force.  Both she and Force voiced their displeasure at being in Wanganui, not winning any friends amongst the KPW fans.  Hollie outlined her determination to stand by her Team Pretty team-mate Jonnie Juice in the upcoming KPW Championship match!

DR. DIABLO versus LAZARUS VOLT (with Trinket the Clown)

Wanganui native Lazarus Volt romped to the ring with his companion Trinket the Clown, distributing sweets and smiles to the adoring younger fans.  For his part, the angry and bitter Dr Diablo was seeking to re-establish himself in the singles ranks by ending Volt's winning streak.  Volt was able to turn this anger to his advantage, easily avoiding the Doctor's attempts to lock up and even kicking him in the behind!  Frustrated, Diablo charged straight into a drop-toe hold from Volt and was ridden on the mat for his troubles.  Angered, Diablo wasted no time in going for his opponent's eyes and took over the match, beating down the helpless Volt and berating the crowd.  Diablo continued to dissect his opponent with a bodyslam, vertical suplex and even choking the ex-ringmaster on the ropes, but Volt always found the wherewithal to kick out.

With the fans on his side, the hometown hero fought back from a chinlock to mount a brief offence before being shut down by the not-so-good Doctor.  Seemingly confident of victory, Diablo planted Volt in position near one of the turnbuckles,  but a springboard second rope moonsault went badly awry when Volt rolled out of the way!  Fired up, the "little man from the big top" fought back with a flying elbow and bodyslam, setting up the hapless Diablo for the High Voltage (top rope drop kick) for the pinfall victory in front of all his raucous fans!

Inferno and his manager Charlie Roberts came out, and Inferno announced his evil intentions for his upcoming match against Max Damage.  For his part, Charlie Roberts announced his intention to get a closer look at KPW Tag Team Champions The Renegades (perhaps with an eye to managing them) by invoking a clause in his contract that enables the ex-Head Referee to officiate any match he chooses.  KPW CEO Rip Morgan stormed out with myself in tow.  Having no time for Mister Roberts' machinations, CEO Morgan decided to give the Wanganui fans the choice:  who should be the special guest referee for the KPW Tag Team Championship match?  The crown responded definitely on the side of myself, and so the decision was made!

INFERNO (with Charlie Roberts) versus MAX 'the Axe' DAMAGE

This was very much a case of worlds colliding when these former tag team partners clashed in the ring.  At first, the two combatants attempted to out-wrestle each other, trading arm-wringers and go-behinds in the search for the early advantage.  Inferno clamped on a hammerlock but the Motorua Monster powered out.  A test of strength (unsurprisingly) went in favour of Damage, though the fiery veteran used his speed and skill to negate the bigger man's strength advantage.  Damage took Inferno down with a fireman's carry and clamped on an arm-bar, but Inferno eschewed wrestling skill to simply hammer his way out.

With both men back on their feet, Inferno attempted to take the "sharpest tool in the shed" off his feet with clotheslines, but couldn't budge the bigger man.  Running the ropes made no difference and even left the fiery one open to receiving a powerful clothesline of his own!  Damage followed up with a big boot/clothesline combination for a near fall, to the fury of Charlie Roberts.  The pair battled on the ropes and Inferno switched tactics, aiming kicks at the bigger mans quads in order to chop "the Axe" down to size.  A low drop kick sent Damage to the outside, where a brawl went badly for Damage and he was sent into the steel corner post!  Back in the ring, Inferno immoboilised the bigger man with punishing stomps before going up to the top rope for a flying cross body-block for a close two-count!

Switching gears, Inferno sought to wear down Damage with a chinlock.  However, the veteran either hadn't banked on or had forgotten his ex-tag team partner's resilience, as Damage drew on the power of the fans to hammer his way out and hit a side slam for a near fall.  The "Taranaki Taniwha" followed up with a pair of powerful clotheslines, but a third proved to be the charm for his opponent instead as Inferno ducked and proceeded to beat down Damage.  Inferno clamped on a front facelock, again seeking to wear the big man down, but Damage dug deep and hauled his opponent aloft in a bearhug, rammed Inferno into the turnbuckles and then dumped him to the canvas with a spinebuster!  Damage then followed up with a middle rope bionic elbow, but an attempt at a vertical suplex was reversed by Inferno into an Extinguisher (spinning reverse DDT) for a near fall.

Inferno tied up Damage's legs in his Cinderlock hold (Texas cloverleaf), but the bigger man proved to be too powerful and shoved his opponent away.  Meanwhile, Charlie Roberts  had loosened the turnbuckle pad, but had been caught by Rookie Referee Robin.  Irate at the manager's interference, the referee hounded the manager from the ring and even from ringside, as the battle continued in the ring.  Damage had Inferno beat, but the referee was too occupied to make the count.  Inferno fought back and whipped Damage at the exposed steel turnbuckle bolts, but Damage reversed and sent Inferno crashing into the steel instead, allowing him to roll up the fiery one for the pinfall victory!

KPW Tag Team Championship Match: 'The Renegades' (c) SHANE 'The Technician' WHITEHEAD and KADE MORGAN '3G' versus 'The Powerhouse' JADE DIAMOND and WHETU The Maori Warrior.

Yours truly had better than a ringside seat for this championship match, as I was in the ring trying to keep a handle on all the action.  And what action!  I was run ragged just trying to keep up!  Whetu and Diamond were eager to take the fight to the champs on a level playing field this time; they felt that Whitehead and Morgan had had too much of an advantage by receiving a bye to the finals of the tag team tournament whereas they had to battle through two teams.  With the championship on the line, it was Diamond and the Technician and the Maori Warrior trading headlocks, takedowns and near-falls,  keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.  Both teams traded tags and the advantage throughout the grueling match.  To be frank, I was so busy refereeing the action and trying to stay out of the way that the match was something of a blur.

I do recall a Rockerplex (double-team vertical suplex/top rope cross body block combination) on Whetu for the near fall, and a double suicide dive by the challengers onto the champs outside the ring and a punishing "production line" and Whetu and Whitehead somersaulting over each other trying to gain the advantage.  At one point, Whetu was trying to make the tag to Diamond when Whitehead had him by the leg - an enzuigiri allowed him to break free and make the tag.  I was checking on whether Whetu had made it out of the ring when I looked up to see my view of the opposing team was blocked by Diamond and then everything went black.

I regained consciousness to clearly see Jade Diamond squarely strike Kade Morgan with a championship belt and make the cover.  I felt I had NO choice but to disqualify the challengers, allowing the championship belts to remain with Whitehead and Morgan, despite the deafening disapproval of the fans.  Whetu claimed that he'd been struck with a title belt by Morgan first, but as I had not seen that, I couldn't act on it, whether I believed him at the time or not.  Though I've since reviewed tapes of the match and certainly see Diamond's and Whetu's point, I simply had to do my job as special guest referee and call the match as I saw it at the time.

KPW Championship Match:  H-FLAME (c) versus TEAM PRETTY (Jonnie Juice with Queen Hollie)

This was the one that the fans were waiting for, and held nothing back from their joy at seeing their hometown hero H-Flame come to the ring put his coveted KPW Championship on the line against Jonnie Juice of Team Pretty.  The two long time foes tied up and Juice attempted to control things with a side headlock and takedown, forcing the champ to expend energy by kicking out of the pinning predicaments.  The champ even attempted a high-angle backdrop, but the wily Juice shifted his weight and again took the champ down to the canvas.  H-Flame fought out and showed his power to the fans by press-slamming the challenger then went to end the match early with the H-Bomb, but Juice wriggled free and regrouped outside the ring with his co-conspirator Queen Hollie.

Back in the ring, Juice grabbed another headlock but H-Flame made the ropes, rocking the challenger with a shoulder block, again forcing Juice to retreat and try to dictate the pace of the match.  Frustrated, the champ gave chase and a foot-race ensued outside the ring.  Juice made it back in first and caught the champ with a dropkick coming back in.  The two traded rollup pinning predicaments for near falls.  Queen Hollie was overcome with indignation and entered the ring to give H-Flame a piece of her royal mind.  His eye for the ladies perhaps getting the better of him, the champ allowed her to get close to him, deflecting her attempts at slapping him and setting her up for something of a spanking when Juice seized the opportunity and booted the distracted champ in the head!

Juice continued the beatdown on the champ,   using the XTC (leapfrog rocker dropper) for a near fall.  H-Flame fought back, but an attempt at a tilt-a-whirl slam was reversed by the challenger into a massive flying headscissors.  H-Flame showed he was still in the fight by flinging the challenger across the ring with a fallaway slam for a two-count.  Juice attempted to escape the onslaught by hiding on the apron, but the champ brought him back in "the hard way".    The champ then bounced Juice off the corner turnbuckles, catching him with a big back body drop on the rebound for another near fall.  The Wanganui native then hauled Juice aloft with a delayed vertical suplex for a close two-count.

The champ then set Juice up on the top rope and the two battled for the advantage, Juice eventually hitting a desperation sunset flip powerbomb for a very close two-count.  H-Flame regained control with a scoop slam.  He went up to the top rope and came of with a massive flying elbow drop, but Juice managed to roll out of the way and H-Flame badly winded himself as he "crashed and burned"!  Juice covered the fallen champ for an unsuccessful fall then pressed the attack with a sleeper hold.  With the title on the line, the champ drew on the power of the Wanganui fans to battle back to his feet.  He set up the challenger for another H-Bomb, but when winding up to deliver his finishing manoeuvre, any possible win was forestalled by Queen Hollie pulling on Juice's leg from the apron to free him.  H-Flame turned his back to yell at the interfering Diva and then turned around to eat a Starscream superkick from the challenger, almost losing the match then and there.

Sensing the end was near, Juice ascended to the top rope and unleashed a manoeuvre from the back page of his playbook - the Rejuicer (top rope leaping DDT), but a lax cover allowed the champ to kick out of the pinfall attempt.  Going to the well again, Juice climbed to the top rope once more, this time to deliver the Butterfly Effect.  However, the champ had the move scouted and avoided the top rope frog splash.  H-Flame regained control of the match with a vicious clothesline and dropkick off the ropes; the champ proved third time's the charm for Wanganui's favourite son by delivering the H-Bomb to pin the challenger and retain the richest prize in New Zealand professional wrestling!

After the match, the champ's celebrations with the loyal Wanganui fans were cut short as Inferno ran out to beat down his hated foe.  In turn, Max Damage ran out to aid his friend and tag team partner H-Flame, routing Team Pretty in the process.  H-Flame and the Motorua Monster attempted to continue the beating on Inferno, but a  big boot from Damage went awry and H-Flame took the massive boot hard!  This accident seemed to drive a wedge between the two friends, with H-Flame refusing his tag team partner's apologies.  Nevertheless, the evening ended with the hometown hero once again secure as the Kiwi Pro Wrestling Champion!

BLAIR 'THE FLAIR'