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Mike Pankow

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Hits keep coming with Warrior Wrestling 3

Hits keep coming with Warrior Wrestling 3

By Mike Pankow

January 9, 2019

It was another banner night for Warrior Wrestling and the hits keep right on coming.

About 750 wrestling fans jam-packed the main gym at Marian Catholic in South suburban Chicago Heights for an electric evening of action at Warrior Wrestling 3, raising around $9,000 for student scholarships.

Brian Cage, the 6-foot, 270-pound machine, defended his Warrior Wrestling Championship with a hard-fought victory over Bandido, one of the hottest names on the independent scene right now.

The main event saw plenty of high-flying moves by Bandido and power moves by Cage. But both men showed diversity in their offense as Cage executed two super monkey flips on Bandido while the Luchador showed off his strength by performing a power slam on Cage after catching the big man attempting a cross-body block off the top rope. 

Cage polished off the match with the Drill Claw and recorded the pin. Cage took the microphone following the match and thanked the fans for coming out and said that Warrior Wrestling was one of his favorite places to work.

Promoter Steve Tortorello, who doubles as the principal at Marian Catholic, announced that Warrior Wrestling 4 will take place on Friday, March 15 with So Cal Uncensored (the trio of Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) being signed for that event.

But Warrior Wrestling 3 created plenty of memories for the crowd in attendance. The stacked card had plenty of variety, including two women’s matches, a “Royal Rumble” style free-for-all, a Lucha Libre-style trios match and a street fight.

The opening match saw former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann defeat Andrew Everett. Everett played the heel here, even proclaiming he was “Andrew the Giant.” Swann capped his weekend by winning the IMPACT Wrestling X Division Championship.

Next up was Jordynne Grace defending the UK-based PROGRESS Wrestling Women’s Championship against Chicago-area native “Smiley” Kylie Rae. Grace defeated WWE NXT UK star Jinny for the title on Dec. 30 in London. Despite being the underdog, Rae scored a few nearfalls and rocked Grace with a tremendous superkick before succumbing to “Thick Mama Pump.”

The next bout featured two IMPACT Wrestling stars in Moose and Ethan Page. Page, the current Black Label Pro Champion (promotion based in Crown Point, Ind.), came to the ring first and lauded the Chicago crowd. Moose, the former NFL offensive lineman, played the heel here. Moose secured the pinfall following a low-blow kick while the referee had his back turned.   

In the fourth match of the evening, Sam Adonis, Dragon Lee and former ECW and WWE star Super Crazy defeated Chicago native Pat Monix, Daga and ex-WCW and WWE star Ultimo Dragon in a Lucha Libre trios match two falls to one. The fans particularly loved the exchanges between Super Crazy and Ultimo Dragon and chanted “You’ve still got it.” Adonis, the brother of WWE commentator Corey Graves, was a heat magnet throughout the match.

In the final match before intermission, IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard defeated Britt Baker. Both women received positive reactions from the fans, though Blanchard played the heel as she usually does. The third-generation star (granddaughter of Joe Blanchard, daughter of Tully Blanchard and step-daughter of Magnum T.A.) pulled out the victory.

After winning the match, Blanchard continued to beat down Baker until Grace ran out from backstage to make the save. Blanchard and Grace had a pull-apart brawl for the second straight Warrior Wrestling show before Tortorello came out and threatened to suspend them. All signs point to a Blanchard-Grace grudge match at Warrior Wrestling 4.

Blanchard ended up losing the Knockouts title on Sunday to Taya Valkyrie at IMPACT Homecoming in Nashville, Tenn.

Following intermission was the street fight between two former IMPACT Wrestling World Champions where Eddie Edwards defeated Milwaukee native Austin Aries. When the wrestlers came to the ring, Aries kept baiting Edwards on the mic before Edwards attacked him.

It was a hard-hitting affair inside and outside of the ring, including plenty of interaction with a kendo stick, plus garbage cans and fighting in the aisle and in the crowd. Aries put the Last Chancery submission on Edwards, but he couldn’t secure the win. Moments later, Edwards turned the tables and put Aries in the Last Chancery aided by a kendo stick and procured the tapout.

The Freelance Free-For-All match was next. The 12-man match began with two competitors and every minute a new participant would join the fray. Eliminations occurred by pinfall or submission. Most of the wrestlers in the match had ties to Freelance Wrestling, a popular promotion in Chicago.

Frank the Clown, the Chicago-based WWE superfan known for dating Noelle Foley, came out to introduce the first wrestler in the match, Robert “Ego” Anthony. Young independent star Brian Pillman Jr., who wrestles mainly for MLW, was second. The other wrestlers involved (in order of entry) included Joe Alonzo Jr., Space Monkey, Kobe Durst, Shane Sabre, Mark Wheeler, Wardlow, Isaias Velazquez, Matt Knicks, Bryce Benjamin and Gringo Loco.

Wardlow displayed his power during the match, eliminating several men. Gringo Loco, who recently appeared on MLW Fusion, came in with fanfare and hit a dive on several wrestlers outside the ring. The match came down to the first two wrestlers in Anthony and Pillman with Anthony scoring the pin thanks to a distraction from Frank the Clown.

The semi-main event was the tag team affair between the Lucha Bros. (Penta El 0M and Fenix) and Team White Wolf (A-Kid and Carlos Romo). There were plenty of high spots and hard-hitting kicks during their high-energy bout, which was won by the Lucha Bros.

Both teams celebrated together after fans heaped praise upon all four men. Fenix and Penta took the mic and thanked the fans while the crowd serenaded “Please come back.”

Cage and Bandido closed the near four-hour show with Cage’s title-match victory.

The matches were the main attraction, but Warrior Wrestling also had a pre-show meet and greet where all the stars of the event met the fans for pictures and autographs.

The longest lines were for the Lucha Bros., Blanchard and Cage. While all of the stars were gracious toward their fans, Blanchard went out of her way to take her time with each fan even engaging in small talk and left everyone with a satisfying experience.

Tortorello had Marian Catholic students assisting at the event with one student even singing the National Anthem. In a classy touch before the first match, Warrior Wrestling gave a 10-bell salute and a moment of silence for Mean Gene Okerlund, the beloved WWE, WCW and AWA interviewer and broadcaster, who passed away last week.

For a photo gallery with over 100 images from the event, go to https://www.windycityslam.com/photos/

Tessa Blanchard comes down the ramp for her match against Britt Baker. Blanchard won the match and then beat down Baker afterward causing a brawl with her and Jordynne Grace.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Tessa Blanchard comes down the ramp for her match against Britt Baker. Blanchard won the match and then beat down Baker afterward causing a brawl with her and Jordynne Grace. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

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