David E Houston II he’s attended small independent shows with…
Show date: April 24, 2022
Show air date: May 10, 2022
The first-ever BattleSlam: Vendetta event was broadcast for free on FITE from the Oasis Center in Atlanta, and I was thoroughly entertained for the entire show. The way, way late fusion of hip-hop and pro wrestling and done in a wrestling centric way unlike the appreciated but failed attempt with the Urban Wrestling Federation in 2011.
A few non-wrestling points first:
- It looks good on TV for the most part but they should probably add one or two spotlights, particularly on the right (looking at from the TV perspective) side where there was a heavy shadow.
- The commentary team of Gerard Bonner and Suge D had an outstanding showing.
- They were smooth and conversational without talking over each other and still doing their respective jobs: Bonner calling the match, Suge offering insight as the color commentator, and pointed analysis while giving relevant background information.
- BattleSlam does the exact right thing in having a graphic for each match with the participants and having a banner scroll on the screen with their names when they first appear on camera.
- They open with a live performance by the legendary Pastor Troy.
- If I had my way, every wrestling show would open with Pastor Troy.
Lee Johnson defeated Leon Ruff
The first match of the night saw AEW’s “Big Shotty” Lee Johnson get a win over former NXT North American champion Leon Ruff in a very good bout. I do like Ruff. I like him a lot. Easily one of the most impressive showings from Johnson.
KC Navarro defeated Shoot Taylor
After a couple quality vignettes, “Blessed” KC Navarro beat Shoot Taylor in another good match. I was a bit surprised by this. Navarro was so hot as a heel on the mic, in his Dwyane Wade Miami Heat jersey, dogging the Atlanta Hawks, dismissing Taylor, I just knew he was eating the loss on this one. It’s rare to see a heel get that kind of heat and still win. I was surprised. Pleasantly. Both guys looked great in the match.
Adam Priest defeated JDX, Zenshi, and Chad Skywalker
In the first of two Free Four Eliminator matches of the night, Adam Priest picked up the win over JDX, Zenshi, and Chad Skywalker. Of the many multi-wrestler matches, the eliminator is my favorite because it’s a match of strategy and the winner is the one that outlasts everyone else and not just endless saves.
Priest, like Navarro before him, got a lot of heat and was probably the lone heel in the bout and worked like it, avoiding action when he could and often letting the other guys beat the hell out of each other. Everyone was good. But Zenshi! Incredibly impressive. Much improved from when I first saw him in Major League Wrestling (MLW) some time ago.
Shazza McKenzie defeated Ashley D’Amboise
The first women’s match of the night saw veteran Shazza McKenzie defeat Ashley D’Amboise in a very competitive match with both women working tight and aggressively. My first time seeing D’Amboise and my second or third with McKenzie. I came away wanting to see more from both.
C4 defeated The Infantry
For the Prestige Tag Team Championship
Coming in from the Pacific Northwest, C4–Cody Chhun and Guillermo Rosas) successfully defended their Prestige tag team championships against The Infantry–Captain Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo, a pair of guys who have gained a strong following in the Atlanta wrestling scene. The only tag match on the show and another good match with both teams working hard and trading the upper hand several times.
Seeming letdown of a finish when Dean and Rosas were both counted down by the referee (who I still think is NBA coach David Fizdale), resulting in a double pin. Letdown as a finish and because there seemed to be no time when both men’s shoulders were down to make it work. Not to fear, all parties agreed to restart the match with C4 taking advantage of a sportsman-like handshake with a pair of superkicks and a stiff back suplex on Bravo to get the pin. Great finish.
Max Caster defeated Myron Reed
After a rap battle so bad it was funny, “Platinum” Max Caster of AEW’s The Acclaimed got the win over MLW’s World Middleweight champion Myron Reed in a non-title match. Considering how bad their battle was, they owed us a good match and they delivered. Reed looked good as usual, fitting well in his new role as a babyface since his Injustice time and this was one of the times you could see how good Caster is in the ring and not just be a big personality that talks shit in “freestyles”.
Fuego del Sol defeated Alex Kane
Fuego del Sol took a bad beating from MLW National Openweight champion “The Suplex Assassin” Alex Kane before pulling off the surprise small package roll-up for the upset win. A win that only enraged Kane, who took that rage out on del Sol, del Sol’s family who tried to help him, and several referees. Kane lost and won at the same damn time.
Queen Aminata defeated Janai Kai, Angelica Risk, and Robyn Renegade
In the second Free Four Eliminator Match and the second women’s match of the show, Queen Aminata was victorious over Janai Kai (the final elimination), Angelica Risk, and Robyn Renegade (one-half of the Renegade Twins with her sister Charlette, who accompanied her to the ring). Some hilarious shenanigans early with Aninata taking offense to Risk’s twerk game and Renegade showing that for all she does well, twerking ain’t one.
For all the silly, it was some good wrestling. It’s not always safe to put four prospects in the ring with no well-seasoned vet to lead but it didn’t matter here as all four women played to their individual strengths and had a fast-paced, exciting match.
I said “all four” but one of the strengths of the Renegades is some “twin magic” as Charlette would often switch out with her sister in some deft heelwork. Unlike the first Eliminator, this match did have some saves with commentary saying the women were allowing their competitive nature to overcome them and trying to get all the pins. Well done.
Main Event: Lee Moriarty defeated Baron Black
The final match saw Lee Moriarty get the best of “The Emperor” Baron Black in a battle of AEW stars. Great story of Black using his superior size and bone-rattling chops to keep the smaller Moriarty on the defense with Moriarty falling back on his grappling as he fought from behind a good portion of the bout.
Those Black chops, bruh. Damn. The stock of both men should rise off this performance, closing out a fantastic show.
Can’t wait for the next show.
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Reviews by Dave is the best wrestling review on the internet! This review was written by David Houston II, who writes about wrestling shows and pay-per-views.
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.