Note: David E Houston II attended the live ASÉ Wrestling event at Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, NC, on December 1, 2023.
In the shadow of the American Legion Memorial Stadium, the site of the first-ever Jim Crockett Promotions’ Great American Bash site in 1985, Darius Lockhart’s ASÉ Wrestling debuted in the historic Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, NC. “Historic” isn’t even strong enough to describe the wrestling history of this venue.
Lou Thesz. Buddy Rogers. Dory Funk Jr. All defended the NWA World title in this venue. Johnny Valentine. Wahoo McDaniels. Bearcat Wright. A young Ric Flair. Thunderbolt Patterson. Blackjack Mulligan (grandfather of Bray Wyatt, youngins) main evented this building.
In modern times, Ring of Honor (ROH) [The Big Bang, 2010], Major League Wrestling (MLW) [SuperFight, 2022], and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) [High Alert, 2022)] have held events there. ASÉ Wrestling added to the legacy of the venue with a fine debut.
I got there late, so I missed the live performance by musical artist Lute. I’m sure it was fine.
Jah-C vs Kevin Knight
In the first match in ASÉ Wrestling history, “The Jet” Kevin Knight beat “The Frontman” Jah-C in an athletic, spirited bout.
Kiera Hogan vs Charity King
Kiera Hogan beat Charity King of the King Bees (with Danni Bee). Solid. Hogan took a tough bodyslam from King, but she was okay. Hogan is a very good heel. The crowd had gotten a little quiet when she had King in a chinlock, and she yelled out, “No one is here for you, Charity!” and it got a good “Charity!” chant going, and they never lost the crowd again. Hogan dodges a King charge into the corner and rolls her up, putting her feet on the ropes for leverage. It’s a very Grady Cole finish.
Darius Lockhart has a moment here where he has a segment, announcing ASÉ will be donating money to a local middle school (Piemont Middle, my son is a former student) and announces he will be returning after over a year of inactivity at the next ASÉ show in February (next show? Nice). He brings out guest Billy Dixon, a trailblazing wrestler in his own right but who’s also taken time off, and offers him the match at the February show out of respect and friendship. Nice moment.
Then the hot angle starts as Mr. Darius Carter, a frequent Dixon foe and a classic heat-seeking heel, comes out and buries the entire idea of Dixon, a man he’s beaten every time they’ve faced (according to him), being Lockhart’s first opponent back, even calling Lockhart “Darius II/Darius Number 2”.
Before he leaves, having secured the match after Dixon steps aside (big “Kick His Ass” chant for Lockhart), Carter turns to the teacher and student in the ring for the donation ceremony and insults them. Damn, son.
Infantry vs TME
Infantry–Carlie Bravo and Captain Shawn Dean–got a good win over the very impressive TME–Ganon Jones Jr and Duke Davis–in the only standard (Australian rules for the old heads) tag match on the card. TME are based out of Pittsburgh and are as complete a package as you can find on the independent scene. Infantry were at their best, showing good wrestling skills and great personalities.
ASÉ Wrestling host Big Swole presented a congratulatory video from “World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry.
Team Georgia vs Team North Carolina
Team GA (Owen Knight, Trevor Aeon, Ashton Starr, and Suge D) vs Team NC (Yahya, Movie Myk, Ian Maxwell, and Rehyan Inteus)
In a Team Georgia vs Team North Carolina 8-man tag team bout, Ian Maxwell, Movie Myk, Yahya, and Rehyan Inteus (once known as “Montana Black”)–Team NC–got a win over Owen Knight, Trevor Aeon, Ashton Starr, and Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling champion Suge D–Team Georgia. Not the smoothest match ever. There was a very good story of most of the participants wanting to have a “friendly” match, but Knight wanting no part of that from the start.
There is some good brawling, but it is a little too chaotic at spots. It might have worked better as just a regular match with the Georgia team working heel and building to a hot comeback. Yahya might have been the MVP of the match with some impressive moves for a man his size and getting the win with a very nice-looking Swanton on Knight, who could not catch a break.
Jonathan Gresham vs Darius Carter
Picking up a huge win, Mr. Darius Carter was victorious over “The Octopus” Jonathan Gresham in another solid bout. Carter is a helluva heel. Near the end of the match, Carter rolled to the floor, confronting the student and teacher from earlier, giving the teacher a HARD shove to the floor. Lockhart races out, and Carter gets back in the ring. He countered a Gresham roll up with one of his own, holding Gresham’s trunks to secure the pin. That particular finish works with Gresham’s current role in Impact Wrestling, being extremely frustrated with constantly being cheated out of wins.
Main Event: Trish Adora vs Aja Kong
In the first women’s main event in this venue in at least 50 years, if not ever, Japanese legend Aja Kong defeated “The Afro Punk” Trish Adora. Kong wasn’t a speedy worker when she was in her prime and even less so now, but the deliberate pace worked with both wrestlers just having a fight.
Kong got away with striking Adora with a folding chair in front of the referee, and when the ref confronted her, Kong told her some business, and she got her ass out of the way and let the wrestlers wrestle. Damn, sis.
After the match, Lockhart and much of the locker room congratulated both women and promoted the February show.
All in all, a good show. It’s rough around the edges in places, but it’s a good way to spend a few hours, and it flew by for me, and that’s a compliment.
The Real Uncle Dave grade: B (89 out of 100)
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David E Houston II he’s attended small independent shows with less than 100 people and large stadium shows with over 20,000 fans and live worldwide pay-per-views.