Watching Wrestling at the Aquarium

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Local promotions can help reinvigorate your interest in wrestling. PC: Arizona Wrestling Federation

A few weeks ago, inspiration and frustration took hold of this wrestling fan. The WWE product grew increasingly stale and the thoughts of another show in Saudi Arabia resulted in complete apathy toward the promotion. Broken promises left a sour taste. As fate, or some complex algorithm would have it, a tweet from a local promotion showed up on my feed. It was clear as day, it was time to go to a local event!

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The local promotion is Arizona Wrestling Federation. The event was Summer Explosion.

Arizona Wrestling Federation held their Summer Explosion show on Saturday, June 15, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona. PC: Ryan Adverderada

Something New

It was my first time at an AWF show. I showed up with a couple of friends and got in line to get seated. Minutes later, we took our seats in the front row, with the wrestler walkway to our rights. A rowdy crowd settled in as things got underway. The outdoor setting exposed both crowd and wrestler to a stifling heat. It was early evening as the first match began, but the smart phone showed a temperature of 104 degrees. The fact that the sun was hidden below the aquariums west-facing wall, provided at least a slight respite for everyone.

Match after match, the AWF talent put on an exciting show. Visually, there is a noticeable difference in wrestler physique and overall size, when compared to WWE or AEW. However, the wrestlers on display, were no less athletic and arguably more passionate about their craft. Each mach featured something different, whether it was a tag team contest featuring luchadors or a hoss battle, the event had something for everyone. One thing is for certain, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the talent from the show, appear in a larger promotion in the near future.

Exciting from Start to Finish

A perfectly placed intermission allows everyone to refresh. It came about two-thirds of the way through, and allowed us to get a cold drink. After the break, we returned to a very exciting women’s match. The heel champion played her part well and verbally sparred with a few fans at ringside. The night culminated with the AWF champion, Watson, as he took on Alex Hammerstone. For fans of smaller promotions, you may recognize Hammerstone as the MLW’s National Open-weight Champion. He is also a veteran of AWF, who calls Phoenix, Arizona, his home.

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Hammerstone and Watson put on a superb match, complete with the AWF champ diving over the ropes and both wrestlers spilling into the crowd. Hammerstone displayed his typical power and agility, hammering Watson throughout the match. Watson had the last laugh, securing the pin after a sequence involving a knocked out referee. The crowd worked themselves into a frenzy. Hammerstone leaving empty handed left everyone with a smile. Hammerstone delivered his signature Nightmare Pendulum to the referees after the loss. Watson dove back into the ring and made the save. The story would continue.

Let’s Do it Again

The crowd helped add to the experience, often with barbs directed toward a referee’s slow count. It seemed like an even mix of veteran fans, and newcomers like my friends and I. We sat next to a pair of fans who have been going to the events for some time. It tells you something when the people running the event recognizes you by name. It took about two matches for our group to get vocal. What started as light cheering quickly gave way to outright yelling at the referee for missing a low blow. By the end of the night, my voice was hoarse and we had started a chant of the lead sponsor’s name (thank you Coffee Cove).

Overall, the AWF show tapped into the part of me who fell in love with professional wrestling. It was a back to basics experience, one which put the focus on the talent and kept stories simplified. It was refreshing and reignited the flame. The WWE have forced many, including myself, to put a sizable distance between ourselves and the product. Arizona Wrestling Federation may have taken away that need. The next event is on June 29, 2019. The main event is a triple-threat for the top title. Watson defends his championship against Hammerstone, and Sefa Fatu, the younger brother of the Usos. We already have our tickets.

 

– Ryan Adverderada is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Cardinals. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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