There is a lot of attention put on women’s promotions across the US, with groups like SHIMMER, SHINE and Women Superstars Uncensored and others getting a lot of column inches. Meanwhile, there are also outfits like Absolute Intense Wrestling, Inspire Pro Wrestling and Anarchy Championship Wrestling who are giving women a larger platform than most. The thing is that we hardly ever cast an eye over the West Coast – and that’s a horrible oversight considering there are quite a few women in the California area who are making impressions.
To that end, we’re taking a look at Alternative Wrestling Show’s 4th Women’s Tournament which took place back in May. It featured some names which you would likely know and others you may not, highlighted by Cheerleader Melissa and Serena Deeb facing each other in – to our knowledge – their first singles match ever. Seriously, how could this match not have happened before this year?!
Tournament First Round
1. Cole Pistol beat Kikyo Nakamura with a crucifix
2. Christina Von Eerie defeated Kahmora with a back duplex
3. Nicole Savoy bested Datura with the Royal Butterfly
4. Amazona pinned Candice LeRae by countering a sunset flip
Tag Team Match
5. Raze & Sage Sin defeated Allie Parker & Kitana Vera. Raze pinned Parker following a Cobra Clutch Saito Suplex.
Tournament Semi Finals
6. Christina Von Eerie made Cole Pistol tap out to the Tequila Sunrise
7. Amazona defeats Nicole Savoy by submission
8. Cheerleader Melissa pinned Serena Deeb with the Air Raid Crash
AWS Women’s Title Match
9. Hudson Envy (c) beat Brittany Wonder with the Air Raid Crash
10. Christina Von Eerie made Amazona tap out to a Cobra Clutch
12 Person Tag Team Match
11. B-Boy, Hector Canales, Joey Ryan, Lil Cholo, Rick Knox & SoCal Crazy beat Allie Parker, Candice LeRae, Datura, Kahmora, Kikyo Nakamura & Kitana Vera. Knox pinned Vera with a schoolboy
• The commentators did a good job introducing me as a first time viewer to the show, laying out the history for Cole Pistol and Kikyo Nakamura. There were also at least half a dozen gun-related puns for Pistol, which I appreciated. They veered into the cliched sexist commentary from time to time but reeled themselves in when they felt they were going too far.
• As for the match, it was mostly technical with wrist locks and headlocks, but then opened up to allow Nakamura to deliver some more clubbing shots, though I don’t think she needs a standing moonsault in her repertoire if she is working heel. Pistol got the win with a crucifix after Nakamura went for a lazy cover following a pump handle slam. Nothing terrible, but it wasn’t hugely exciting either.
• Christina Von Eerie’s match with Kahmora upped the intensity level, but the kicks to the back after a snapmare is already overdone on this show, and we’re only into the second match. I’m not sure if Von Eerie was working heel, but she was much more aggressive with her opponent and the match-winning back suplex looked pretty scary. Kahmora’s offence was pretty nonexistent.
• Nicole Savoy and Datura had quite a few mis-steps at the start, mostly when the luchadora attempted armdrags that Savoy wasn’t ready for, as well as more kicks to the spine. However, there were plus points like Datura’s smoothness and aggression, as well as Savoy’s released German and Dragon suplexes tied in with her heel swagger. Despite this match not being the cleanest affair, I enjoyed their hard work.
• Amazona pinned Candice LeRae by countering a sunset flip in around 80 seconds. While it was a shocker, it seems a waste for the best wrestler in the tournament to go out in less than a minute and a half.
• Raze is clubbering. She’s aggressive and no-nonsense, which works for her heel gimmick. Sage Sinn’s work seemed to be more flashy and generated excited reactions from the fans, which was all wrong for a heel, and it was highlighted by her going for a tope in the closing moments of the match. I can’t say that I cared too much for Kitana Vera’s selling, and Allie Parker’s hot tag didn’t last long. It just felt like a long squash, and the only one of the four who stood out was Raze.
• More kicks to the back in the tournament semi final between Christina Von Eerie and Cole Pistol, along with some big chops by both women. There was a nice moment where Von Eerie countered a headscissors attempt with a sidewalk slam after falling prey to the same move earlier in the contest, and the contest was set up to make it seem like Christina was too experienced and smart for her opponent.
• Nicole Savoy’s matches do seem to have an increased sense of drama about them, and her battle against Amazona was better than against fellow luchadora Datura in the first round. Amazona kicked out of the Royal Butterfly and locked in a pretty unique submission hold which had elements of the Cattle Mutilation to it for the tap out. I like Savoy, and would be happy to see more of her.
• Please – do you really need me to tell you that Cheerleader Melissa v Serena Deeb was great? With hard-hitting, great chain wrestling and intensity which was far higher than anything else on the show, this was the Match of the Night. While the finish was hot – the referee got wiped out with a Deeb spear so wasn’t there to count when Serena hit the same move on Melissa, only for the SHIMMER Champion to avoid the second attempt and connect with the Air Raid Crash – it was the little things that I liked such as babyface Serena popping the crowd by doing three armdrags. No headdrops, dangerous suplexes or crazy dives – just armdrags. Great stuff.
• Hudson Envy has been generating some buzz over the past year, and it’s easy to see why. With her striking appearance and tattoos, she certainly stands out from most other female wrestlers out there at the moment. It is also evident that she is getting mentoring from LuFisto, as her AWS Women’s Championship defence against Brittany Wonder had a LuFeel about it.
• While the previous contest was a precision outing, this was more like a HOSS FIGHT, and I had a good time watching it. The match spilled to the outside for a considerable amount of time, but it was inside the ring where I saw a couple of moves which really impressed me. One was Envy reversing an Irish whip with a huge Capo Kick, and then turning a monkeyflip into a Tornado DDT. Envy finished the Ultragirl off with an Air Raid Crash – which would look like a booking snafu, considering it was the finish of Melissa v Serena, but it makes sense when you consider that the AWS Women’s Champ and SHIMMER titleholder have been feuding, and saw Melissa come out after the match to deliver an Air Raid Crash to her rival.
• Von Eerie v Amazona in the tournament final completely fell apart. A few miscues aside, things seemed to be going in the right direction until about nine minutes in when Amazona seemed to lose all sense of what she was doing and the match degenerated into a mess for the next seven minutes. After a bunch of moves – broken up by some really weird stand-offs – Von Eerie got the win out of nowhere with a Cobra Clutch. Strange, strange, strange.
• The main event was a 12-person comedy match, with the sixth man on the men’s team being referee Rick Knox, who refuse to officiate the contest because of the harsh treatment he had received from women on previous shows.
• As for the match, it was about 20 minutes of comedy spots and about 10 minutes of moves. The finish came following a series of LeRae Ballsplexes and Ryan retaliating with a Boobplex on Nakamura before Knox got the flash pin with a schoolboy, underlined with a fast count by referee Ray Rosas. The men celebrated as if it was a major victory for their gender, which was a nice role reversal on how many treat women when they beat a man. The show ended with the guys dancing to The Village People’s Macho Man.
• So, to final thoughts. It seems as if the crowd had a lot of fun, though I could have done without the one woman chanting “Amazona” throughout all of her matches. It also seems as if the fans are regular visitors as they were clued up with the characters and their storylines, and they also got into the comedy aspect of the main event. The wrestling was fine for the most part, though there was a definite step-up in match quality when Serena Deeb and Cheerleader Melissa took to the ring. Of the wrestlers who I had not seen before, I liked Nicole Savoy and Brittany Wonder, and also appreciated Raze working heel. Sage Sin would be better suited as a babyface, and I would like to see more of Cole Pistol and Kikyo Nakamura to get a better impression of them. However, I would urge everyone to keep an eye out for Hudson Envy, as she is interesting, aggressive and has earned the confidence of the AWS promoters – evidenced by her working a feud with Melissa. AWS’ 4th Women’s Tournament is not world-beating, though it’s probably worth a look. Interested? You can download the 125 minute show for $12 by clicking here.
– Photos by Larry Carlin/AWS