Thanks to for their badass righteous free counters

Steel Domain Wrestling: A Bunch of Episodes of TV
by Digable James Cobo

We here at Ye Olde B.T.M. like to pride ourselves not on being long-winded ponces (since we are), but on being fair-minded, reasonable fans of Good Wrestling (which we aren't). Nevertheless, sometimes factors beyond our control force us to adopt a bias of some sort. It is up to us, then, to tear down these Walls of Unjust Prejudice and erect in their stead Equally Big Walls of Equanimity.

Thus, the Buster Time Magazine US Indy Fed Reclamation Project.

There is, you see a Giant Typhoon of Hype surrounding the indy scene all over this great land at the moment, but as the most vocal indy followers among us (i.e. me and Chris) live in LA, we only get to see a little bit of it. Of course, those of you following MYYYYYY long and winding road of a career know what it's built on: hyping Super Dragon attending indy shows and writing overlong reports. Naturally, I came to think that taken in bits and pieces, the SoCal indy scene's the best in the US.

The BTMUSIFRP, then, is a chance for us to seek out indy feds that aren't normally congruent with our steeze; Chris took the East Side (ergo CZW and ROH and such) and I took the midwest, expecting to ride the rollercoaster through both the highs of the CM Punk vs. Eddy Guerreros and the lows of the Flaming Barbed Wire Loser Gets A Bowling Pin Catheter death matches. But along the way, I somehow borrowed this tape from King of All He Surveys Nate Patrin, and thus I bring it to you. I know absolutely nothing about this tape, these wrestlers, or this fed in general; all I know is that it's indy wrestling from the midwest (with NWA-TNA Superstar Mortimer Plumtree - that's all I know, I swear) and I'm'a review it.

It should also be noted that right now I'm fucking starving, and if/when the matches take a turn for the less-than-excellent I'll probably be bitching and moaning about that.

OPENING CREDITS are set to generic screaming hard rock. It's an indie TV show; you were expecting maybe Kylie Minogue?

Why look, it's NWA-TNA Superstar Mortimer Plumtree and his protege Magnus Maximus to cut a promo at Slick Mick and Ed (?) Hellier. Looks like sommmmmmmmmmmmeone attended the Fat Joe School of Elocution. The actual promo is nothing you've never heard before if one of your non-fan friends ever imitated someone cutting a promo. The upshot is that Magnus Maximus wants a title shot in his streetfight tonight. The champion - Scottie Zappa - comes out and responds that yes, there will be a title shot in the streetfight. Ed Hellier says okay (prompting the World's Most Forced Double Take from Mick), we can have a title shot in the street fight, but in order for there to be a title shot in the street fight, Plumtree is banned from ringside. In that event, the street fight can be for the title. I wish it were half as exciting as I made it sound.

Brent Filmore vs. Gage Octane (w/ Vixen) I have, of course, heard of neither Filmore nor Octane, and it becomes incredibly obvious why pretty early on in the match. Octane blows up really, really early into the match - not Brock Lesnar early or anything, but he fails to kick out of a pin attempt like three minutes into the match (which the ref promptly disregards). And that would, of course, be the most dramatic moment of the match; the rest of it's all spots telegraphed from eight states away and valet interference to high hell.

But watching matches like these expecting early-'90s AJPW quality is, I think, kinda missing the point. I went into this tape looking to get a feel for the wrestlers, and I can say this - Filmore isn't bad. He's certainly not anything I'd call good or anything, but hey, you take what you can get - he sells a cumulative beating pretty well, and doesn't really fuck up executing anything. Octane...he's got a few moves, and he's big, so I'd imagine in a tag match he'd look a LOT better than he did here. Vixen seemed to be Every Lita Clone Ever Plus Twenty Pounds - but to her credit, her interference was a transition rather than the finish, which is EXACTLY what I was guessing from the moment she showed up.

What they both need to work on, however, is their striking. The match itself wasn't anything special, but because they kept it very simple and stuck to the formula (face, heel, valet interference, dramatic comeback, there you have it), it came off as inoffensive (as compared to when incapable wrestlers try to go all high-concept and it just looks like a mess). But their strikes were SO LOOSE (outside of a big boot which, to his credit, Filmore leaned into) that it ruined the illusion of professionalism they were going for; it just ruins a match when you're doing a rollup reversal (no thanks to Octane) and then jump up and start throwing strikes that look like you're playfully throwing laundry at each other. It stands out a LOT, and in a match where it's all about covering up your shortcomings, it's really, really rough when you throw these weak-looking strikes, and throw them a LOT. 1/4*

We go now to the Ubiquitous Indy Cyclone Fence, where Filmore cuts a promo and Octane busts in to get him to reform their tag team ("Adrenaline"? Wow). Filmore accepts. The whole thing comes off like a toned-down-for-no-controversy-allowed-Minnesota-TV Will and Grace segment. I had forgotten how by-and-large worthless indy promos are. Actually, make that pretty much all promos. MODED.

MORE promos - Dale Spear interviews Kevin Krueger (who's a HEEEEEEL - you can tell by his rakish sunglasses) and Adrian Lynch, someone who I've actually heard of. Somewhere in here he mentions that "broads are like tag-team partners - I'll just find another one tomorrow". The reason why I'm not an interviewer for an indy fed is that I know in my heart of hearts that I wouldn't have been able to threatening him with "a little ring-a-ding-ding on behalf of all the skirts in the audience" or somesuch. Yessir, that's why I'm not on TV. That's the only reason. Yep.

Kevin Krueger/Adrian Lynch vs. The Lost Souls Ever seen a match in WCW and said "God daaaaaam, they didn't do ANYTHING except stick to the formula"? Well here you go; outside of a "dive sequence" featuring the shittiest tope con hilo I've seen in a WHILE by one of the Lost Souls and a (neat) counter of an Acid Drop into I Throw You Straight Down to the Floor, there's nothing at all remarkable about this match. It felt like they got three guys who desperately wanted to make WCW's roster as cruiserweights during its final days and added Lynch as the guy who will not be moved, and...yeah. It was fairly fluid for being one of these kinds of matches - Krueger in particular was always doing something, and when you've seen Haystacks Calhoun vs. Big Hardcore Red live, you appreciate that a lot more - but it wasn't focused at all, and the audience sat on their hands except when it was time to chant "S-D-Dub" or "Holy Shit". I will say that thus far, Krueger looks like the best worker in the fed; his selling mettle wasn't ever tested at any point, but his execution's pretty decent, and I guess there's no shame in being the poor man's Christopher Daniels. Still doesn't make the match any more than 1/2*.

Streetfight: Scotty Zappa vs. Magnus Maximus Pre-match, Plumtree protesteth when he's banned from ringside, and expresses his anger by saying - and this is a direct quote - "I am gonna smack you!" How exactly this guy got on the S. S. Minnow and not, say, the guy who moved in across the hall from me a month ago, well - who am I to judge?

The match itself is nothing more than the worst possible ECW match. I mean god damn, if you're going to do a long, long, LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG brawl-through-the-crowd segment, for the love of Jesus, at least have the biggest spot be more than Magnus being Irish-whipped into chairs; it's not possible to overstate how bush league you look when you can't even come close to measuring up to the standards of a fed that's been in the cold, cold ground for two years. The end, of course, is a ref bump predicating the babyface turning the tide and a new character - some dong in a Pic-N-Save Psichosis mask named Samhain - debuting to cause the loss. The only surprise at all with how they did it is that Samhain didn't turn out to be Plumtree; in the end, he was just some dong.

It seems a shame, actually; for all his problems, Zappa showed more in this match than anyone else on the tape thus far. His strikes were pretty good about making contact, but more than that he actually put something behind them. Thus, you get the first half of the match, where it's all about Zappa beatin' on Magnus, and it looks really decent in the context of the rest of the tape. And he played into the end really well, too - as with his strikes, he actually put some oomph into his suplexes and such as the match wore on. The middle...okay, the middle was ass, but the bookends were OK.

Ordinarily, I'd give Magnus the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's got some semblance of a knack for pacing and thus played a sizeable role in these two parts of the match, but my oh my did he ever show me nothing. It's didn't seem like he had nothing to show - he seemed to be a very poor man's Venom/Joey Abs - but the streetfight stips gave him an opening to lazy it up, and he grabbed on with both hands. He telegraphs the SHIT out of spots, for one thing, and THAT is something I am getting tired of seeing in indy matches; add that to his fairly limited moveset (again, why do moves when you can punch in the crowd?) and his absent ability to sell anything more than a cumulative beating and, well, you get this match.

I should say that it wasn't *bad*. I have seen *bad* wrestling live (Matt Sinister vs. The Beautiful People, anyone?) and on tape (Los KKK vs. Konnan, Chyna vs. Jeff Jarrett in a kitchen hardcore match, John fucking Tenta vs. Ray fucking Traylor in a POLE match for god's sakes), and this sure wasn't that. Hell, the first and last parts were actually pretty OK, considering what they were going for. But matches like these are a dime a dozen these days (and weren't too compelling to begin with), and when the best thing about the whole match is Zappa's strikes at the beginning, then, well, that ain't good. *

And now we go back to our Ship of Fools to wrap up the show. Yes, this is the most watered-down Joey Styles monologue ever times three. The most interesting thing is the big black sheet that flaps into view every so often, but even that loses its luster eventually. All stars must fade, they say.

And WHEW. I need a BIG-ASS sammich after that show. Off to Subway wit' me.

Digably Yours,
Digable James Cobo
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