Bodyslam Wrestling Organization
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
The Devastation event is dedicated to the memory of “Dusty” Don Murdoch, the father of BWO’s Dan Murdoch and in-ring manager. The elder Murdoch passed away suddenly in January, much too young at 55 years old. “Dusty” Don did get to see his son gain and defend the BWO World Title this past summer.
The BWO is a solid indy promotion out of New Jersey, and mixes up with the traditional indy style, with former ‘name’ wrestlers, a roster of locals and a rather creative booking approach.
While the event was held at a local club venue (the Elmwood Park American Legion), with a ring that is uniquely shortened for the low ceilings, the production values and camera work are strong. As with any indy group, there are things to complain about, but nothing that any fan of indy level promotions shouldn’t expect.
We start with a Tag Team Battle Royal of four teams: Young Aces vs Kiladkona & Ness vs Black Hearted Justice vs James Weck & Tim Hughes. The rules are that one person thrown out doesn’t eliminate the team entirely, and if the final two combatants are from different teams, a tag match will determine the winner. If both are from the same team, they earn the title shot.
The lineup does give away the final two.
Of the combatants, the interesting team is Kilakona & Ness, with Kilakona (an interesting name) being a plus size woman with the vibe of being able to handle herself in the ring. Ness is a goth/industrial type, so it’s not quite but similar to the Amazing Race dynamic of Kynt & Vyxsin, with an emphasis on ‘not quite but similar.’
Weck & Hughes are bigger than your average indy teams, the Young Aces are smaller, and Black Hearted Justice surprised me hear as taller than I expected, and acting the heels here as opposed to other promotions.
As a tag team battle royal, it was clever, and the rules were explained and interesting.
The tag match between Young Aces vs Black Hearted Justice ensued, and wasn’t all that bad, but there was a bit of a size clash. Who gets the coveted title shot? How does it all play out? Let’s watch it and find out.
Dan Murdoch vs Crowbar
There’s emotion in the air, and relatives at ringside, but Crowbar isn’t the sentimental type.
Weird how Crowbar has a Marilyn Manson look, with the black gear, back brace and a pasty complexion. But the heel versus face story is strong, and the obvious favorite is Dan Murdoch, the relative rookie taking on the big, bad heel.
Dan needs to remove the tags from his ring gear, and there’s something about calling attention to the short ring, when Crowbar dutifully reaches under for a chair, that may not have been necessary – grab it from the crowd – but it’s a solid match, ignoring also that spot where Crowbar ends up doing a Northern Lights Suplex on that chair, with neither man selling it at all.
That’s not a good visual, and the typical indy level interesting concept but not thinking out the consequences routine.
Other than that, it’s a feel good sort of match, and Murdoch’s handspring stunner type finisher was a great finish.
Arlene (James) vs Aida
Arlene is a pleasant voice behind the mic, even with this odd mix of Southern and New Jersey accents. In the ring, she’s not too shabby, and as the wife of BWO World Champion Preacher, there’s a definite heel announcer take, and yet nowhere near the Michael Cole heat killing level. I loved the interplay on the announce crew and the obvious heel hypocrisy commentary…. Yet toned down enough to keep it enjoyable.
Aida’s ring costume makes her very interesting to look at, and as a match, it was played out well, not too fast, just heelish enough and an interesting debut for Aida (that ring outfit alone!) while maintaining Arlene as the queen of the BWO.
Shawn Sheridan vs Sayga
This was just a weird rematch, with Sayga a masked dude and an obvious and oversold reference to the video game. Clever name, and clever opening of the match, with Sayga sidestepping Shawn Sheridan’s plancha and taking control from there.
The match was fun, and Sayga as a character driven wrestler could be meaningful, but in typical indy fashion there’s far too much emphasis on give and take in the end and extending the match a bit too long.
Richie Rotten vs Michael Blaide
Ah, now this was good.
Richie Rotten is the prototypical indy veteran heel who obviously went where all veteran heels go – to de facto babyface. A bit slower, a bit too heavy, but obviously a capable hand, Rotten does everything – first in a ‘message’ to the fans, and then with Heel Manager Tony Schoff, and then in beating down Michael Blaide, and then in challenging big dudes in the audience, to admittedly overkill but over-emphasize his heel turn.
It’s all about the Dynasty of Destruction, a classic Old School type of heel faction.
World Tag Team Championship
Shooting Stars (Steve Off & Glenn Ulrich) vs Magic & Darius Carter
There’s something about Off & Ulrich that doesn’t allow me to wrap my head around it…. It’s the owner & other wrestler as Tag Champs, but the owner is the jacked up veteran and the other wrestler is sort of the weak link and that just comes across as odd.
Darius Carter has a presence that has been commented upon by other promoters, and is touted as having a level of psychology that cannot be trained. He’s not got quite the size of a Elijah Burke, but that level of charisma and with the prominence of Jon Jones & Phil Davis in MMA, there’s a potential that can be tapped into if the promotion gives this guy the right attention.
Magic is a lot like Richie Rotten, but Samoan. The prototypical family member of that long line of Samoan big guys.
Interesting tag team action here. Carter can definitely work and while there’s something somewhat humorous about “shooting stars” when neither are definitively over as hookers, they are the Champs for a reason.
Ray Ray Marz (Champ) vs Joey Da Bull
Joey Da Bull. How can I describe him other than if you took Andrew Dice Clay, bulked him up with a 100 pound gut, and gave him male pattern baldness? It works in the sense of the Dynasty of Destruction faction, and the presence at Ringside of Schoff (heel manager extraordinaire, with requisite mustache, sunglasses and Italian look) and Rotten make it all work.
Marz has that vibe of a talented athlete, albeit a little on the thin side, who supposedly is taken to another side of his personality by this feud with Da Bull.
Marz, unfortunately, reminds me of John Cena with his punches.
I’d call it a fun match, but they really try. Da Bull gets blown up, Marz just doesn’t scream angry enough to me, especially for a title match.
Who wins, and can Da Bull become another two-time US Championship holder?
That, my friends, is why you need to watch the match!
Tristen Law vs Balls Mahoney
Yes, it’s that Balls Mahoney, with long hair and the same build, and the announce crew touting his New Jersey wrestling prowess, albeit also pointing out that he punched out a referee at an amateur event.
Tristen Law is the stereotypical master of the headbutt, which isn’t saying much about diversity in the year 2011 in the BWO, and worse, Mahoney goes right after him with a headbutt. But that might be a matter of defeating a stereotype, so maybe it is all good in the end.
For the Guest star and veteran local in the match underneath the main event it isn’t bad, and it isn’t long, and for that, it gets a few more plusses.
BWO World Title Match
Preacher (Champ) vs Danny Danger vs Sebastian Cruz
This is the reason three-ways usually annoy me: you need a scorecard to figure out who’s against who, and there’s usually a dynamic thrown in that doesn’t quite make sense until the dust clears at the end and beyond the post-match festivities.
Actually, they did set up connections between the Young Ace’s Ego and Sebastian Cruz that was a nice touch.
Preacher is the husband of the alluring Arlene, and interesting as heel who does show respect in the end. Danny Danger & Sebastian Cruz are prototypical indy guys – they can go, they are a bit on the small side, and they do way too much too soon, but it’s a solid match. Maybe not too fun of a match, but there’s a level of effort and emotion that make it meaningful in the end.
The post-match isn’t exactly out of the ordinary, but sets up future interactions and that’s always a positive.
The BWO has promise, has a solid roster and brings in guest stars for the right reasons and the right results, and does have pretty good camera work and creativity. Can it challenge the top level indies? Well, it certainly tries, but to be established as a contender, a promotion must have its own style and a solid sense of storylines and a packaging that make it stand out. The workrate is fine, and the talent in the ring is workable, but like any indy promotion, there must be a certain something that solidifies it all and makes it a little different, a little more meaningful than the next wrestling promotion.
Perhaps the BWO will find its niche, and it still needs to work some things out. But the enjoyment comes from watching a wrestling promotion reach to higher results.