Prior to the event, I held up in a coffee house a few blocks away preparing notes and fortifying myself with copious amounts of caffeine. As I put my laptop away and began my leisurely stroll towards the venue I could feel my excitement growing. Seeing a 46-year-old man on the cusp of giddiness is rather disturbing, so I’ll spare you the details. As I made my way past the athletic fields of Seattle University, I was passed by a group of young men. I noticed them wearing Progress Wrestling t-shirts. Excitement levels went up a notch. I was little more than a couple blocks away from the venue when another group passed by, wearing Moustache Mountain t-shirts and another with a Jimmy Havoc shirt. My excitement was growing increasingly difficult to contain.
As I approached Washington Hall, I saw something amazing. There was already a line, this was not unusual, however this line went down the entire block, around the corner, and was beginning to extend the entirety of that block.
Once inside you could feel the mood, an excitement that went far beyond the normal anticipation one feels prior to a Defy event.
On loan from Lucha Underground, we were lucky to have the lovely Melissa Santos filling in for the notably absent Steve Migs, our usual master of ceremonies. Despite his preoccupation with some legendary rock group, Melissa managed to fill his shoes with her own brand of charisma; adding a touch of elegance to the evening. She knows how to work a crowd and I have no doubt she could solicit any response from the audience she wanted. It would not be overly generous to say she had Washington Hall eating out of her hands.
Match 1: Tag Team Match
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
American Gunz (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago)
This highly anticipated match features our local tag team, American Gunz, building a name for themselves that is beginning to extend far beyond the Pacific Northwest. Tonight, they face off with Moustache Mountain! They have held tag team championships with Attack Pro-Wrestling, won the Chikara King of Trios, Fight Club Pro, Progress Tag Team Champions three times and former WWE NXT Tag Team Champions. If you are a fan of wrestling, you know who these gentlemen are. To have them here in Seattle is beyond amazing!
As this match begins there is no doubt Trent Seven and Tyler Bate are fan favorites. They enter the ring, flexing, posing and invoked chants from the audience about their degree of sexiness. It was as if they had cast a love spell over the crowd. Even though the American Gunz did their best to evoke a similar response… it didn’t go quite as well for them.
When the bell rang Trent Seven and Ethan HD went at it. The American Gunz have been known to employ some questionable tactics in the ring. Tonight, was no exception. There was some amazing mat work in this match that bordered on feats of tumbling and acrobatics. Both Bate and Seven judiciously chopped their opponents with devastating blows that rang throughout the hall.
The American Gunz wasted no time with paybacks. With a little help from Mike Santiago outside the ring, Ethan HD put a world of hurt on Trent Seven, nearly causing him to tap out early in the match. At one point the action shifted outside the ring when Bate chased Santiago around the hall to prevent his continued interference. This match left the ring on several occasions, solidifying the fact that the first couple rows at a Defy event should always be ready to move!
These two teams were locked in a fierce battle and no one held the upper hand for long. There were several near falls almost evenly shared between them, and the team work these guys demonstrated bordered on the academic. Ultimately, only one team could win, and up until the very end this could have been anyone’s match. After a grueling competition this match ended with Trent Seven getting a pinfall on Ethan HD. Even though Moustache Mountain emerged triumphant, the American Gunz made them earn it the hard way, proving they are serious contenders. With their strong showing tonight, I consider the American Gunz to be in the upper echelon of Tag Teams active in the industry today.
Match 2: Singles Match
Artemis Spencer vs. King Khash
These two competitors are members of Defy’s roster of regulars. Last month, at Defy Loud, we saw Artemis Spencer, steal the show when he dove off the balcony onto MJF and the American Gunz. He is frequently considered one of the best wrestlers in the industry you’ve never heard of… that is, of course, if you reside outside the Pacific Northwest. There is no question Artemis Spencer is a talent who could easily bust out on a national, if not, international level.
His opponent this evening, King Khash, I feel is in a similar position. Mostly known on a regional level, it would be no surprise to me, to see this young man make his mark on the industry. Tonight, however, King Khash has something more to prove. He went for over a year without a single win at Defy until a couple weeks ago at DefyPDX. Have the tides turned for the Persian Prodigy?
When these two opponents face one another, it’s very apparent that King Khash has a strength advantage, but Spencer has experience on his side. Both are incredibly fast and they each have excellent technical skills. It’s nice to see two wrestlers who feel evenly matched. They struggled for dominance and no one appeared to have a clear edge.
Khash eventually got Spencer into a submission hold, but the Canadian managed to escape only to end up in another submission attempt. It was beginning to look like Khash was going to attain another win. But this was not the case. In what was a relatively short match Spencer managed to endure and pull out a win with a pinfall.
The crowed heckled, on an epic scale, Referee Benjamin Roberts every time he stepped into the ring to perform his official duties. Clearly, he has displeased this crowd… It might have something to do with some decisions he made at a previous event… clearly, it isn’t all water under the bridge for Mr. Roberts.
Match 3: Singles Match
Randy Myers vs. Jimmy Havoc
The Weirdo Hero has returned, to face the longest reigning champion in Progress Wrestling history, and the current Defiant Wrestling Hardcore Champion. Who doesn’t remember the days of Havoc’s Army? It was a defining era in the history books at Progress. Jimmy Havoc against Randy Myers! These two are perhaps the most interestingly matched opponents of the evening. Pitting them against one another is like mixing two of the most volatile chemicals imaginable. This is wrestling’s version of a Molotov Cocktail! Going into this match I’m rather concerned if Washington Hall will ever be the same.
When Jimmy Havoc emerges from behind the curtain, he presents as an imposing force, with his face mask and ardent stride. The crowd is more than thrilled to have him here tonight. Per usual, Randy enters the auditorium playfully prancing around the ring, giving kisses and posing for the crowd. When he climbs between the ropes it’s clear Jimmy Havoc doesn’t quite know what to think of his opponent. Randy applied Chapstick to his lips and puckered up for a sweet kiss from our visitor. Havoc stood confused, and when Randy approached, Jimmy made a run for it. After much prompting from the crowd, Havoc eventually came around and agreed to give Randy a kiss. The two came together and locked lips, but it went on far longer than one would expect… then we realize Jimmy Havoc has Randy’s lower lip in his teeth and this beautiful gesture turned into a grizzly horrifying mess! Thus, the Randy Myers versus Jimmy Havoc match began!
Randy’s tactic of keeping his opponent off guard with flirtations and bashful musings has proven effective on many occasions. It was clear he was going to use this tactic tonight, as a result he kept Jimmy on the run in the beginning. But Havoc is a cunning competitor, and should never be underestimated. Everything Randy dished out Havoc returned in kind.
Pulling a chair from the audience Havoc lined Randy up for something big. He ran around the ring gulping down beer and blasted him, and the audience (me included) with a healthy dose of Rainier Beer. Randy managed to take control, throwing Jimmy into the ring and raining down a series of devastating blows. You know Havoc has had his fill when he pulls out the chairs. Over the next few minutes both Jimmy Havoc and Randy Myers used those chairs as weapons and by the end they were little more than broken carnage.
After a few signature moves, eye pokes and what can only be described as battle chaos, this seemingly short match came to an end when Randy Myers got a pinfall against Jimmy Havoc. This was an epic clash between two of wrestling’s most unorthodox figures and was a pleasure to see in person. I was not disappointed in the least.
Match 4: Defy Championship Match
Shane Strickland vs. Brian Cage
This is perhaps one of the most anticipated matches of the evening. Shane Strickland won the Defy Championship back on July 20th, only to follow this up on August 4th with the Evolve Championship. Shane is on a winning streak, and we may have a new ‘belt collector’ on our hands. There are now two great Houses of Swerve. Tonight, Brian Cage, has come to see if he can claim the Defy belt as his own. Cage is the current Impact X Division Champion, and the list of belts he has held during his career is impressively long.
As Strickland enters the auditorium there is no question, the House of Swerve is firmly behind their champion, but Mr. Cage is not without his following in the audience. There is no doubt, the security of Shane Strickland’s Defy Championship is in jeopardy tonight, and his second reign as champion could end only a few short days after winning it back from Austin Aeries. With a championship on the line, this will be a hard-fought battle between two of the industry’s most impressive juggernauts.
I have to say this started right out of the gate as a brutal match. A few chops and a contest of strength and then they went to the mat. Right away Shane gets Brian into an armbar submission and it looked like he would retain with an early victory. But, Brian Cage showed his true strength by powering out. It was clear his strength advantage would push Shane to his limits.
These two went for it, and there were no limits to what they were willing to do to win. One ferocious blow after another; how either of these men could continue to function once this match was over is beyond me. It was a nail biter, both opponents managed to get several one and two counts. That millisecond between the two count and the third count felt incredibly intense. Each time, wondering if Shane would pull out and retain, or would Brian end this night as the new Defy Champion.
This match was so savage, their gear was beginning to rip and fall apart. I feared someone would be leaving the ring in a stretcher! Just when you thought one or the other couldn’t possibly pull out, they did. It was stressful! (In a good, fun way). At this point in the match, after the beating they inflicted on one another, it could only be the reptilian brain that kept them functioning on primal instinct.
It finally came to an end when Shane delivered his devastating finishing move and got a pinfall, successfully defending his title against one of the most serious threats in the business to his reign as champion. With a sense of relief washing over the crowd Shane Strickland paraded his belt around the ring amidst deafening applause. This is still Swerves house!
Match 5: Progress World Championship Match
Walter vs. Schaff
Walter is an enormous brute tearing apart the wrestling world one opponent at a time. He has defeated some of the greatest talents in the world, and few can claim to have defeated this titan of pro wrestling. He is the current Progress Wrestling Champion and his belt is in contention. Tonight, he goes up against challenger, Schaff, a local sensation, a young man new to the scene, and currently enjoying a long winning streak at Defy. Is Schaff our chosen one? Is he the hero who will take local wrestling into the international arena by taking Walters Progress Championship?
It is rare for Walter to face an opponent who is quite possibly his equal in strength and size. When he and Schaff squared off it became quickly apparent to the Austrian giant, he had a real competitor to face in this match. Watching two power houses go at one another is a truly miraculous thing to witness. These two men had the strength to lift one another and slam them onto the mat so hard you could feel the seismic waves rattle in your chest. The entire building shook with every devastating blow, slam, and chop.
Walter put the crowd firmly in Schaff’s court when he picked up his beaten down competitor and yelled, “You are the local hero?” he mocked. Clearly the Progress Champion wasn’t content with wining alone. He wanted to humiliate this local upstart.
To see a panicked look on Walters face as he is being lifted onto Schaff’s shoulders was priceless and something I don’t think I’ve ever seen from the Austrian colossus. With no strength advantage Walter had to adjust his strategy. These two laid it on with everything they had. At one point I was certain the ring was going to collapse. There was a great deal of back and forth with several near falls. Eventually Walter wore Schaff down and retained his title with a pinfall. He did not, however, get his humiliating defeat. Schaff showed the Progress Champion he is not invincible. Even though Walter won, he worked hard for it and walked away somewhat humbled by our local hero.
Match 6: Singles Match
Nicole Matthews vs. Toni Storm
Matthews, a staple in Defy’s roster, has been a headliner in the last two Defy Main Events. She was most recently a part of the Mae Young Classic 2 with the WWE. To say she is one of our most prestigious wrestling luminaries in the region would be appropriate no matter how vile and mean she is. I once thought all subjects of her royal majesty the queen were lovely polite people, then I came to Defy and encountered Nicole Matthews. (I love you to death Nicole, a feeling I have no doubt is not reciprocated.)
Tonight, Nicole Matthews, faces Toni Storm, a woman who is no stranger to any fan of women’s wrestling. She has lived up to her name, storm, is the best word to describe her arrival in the world of Entertainment Sports. She, like many of our guests this evening, is signed with NXT UK (WWE) and a former Progress Women’s Champion. She is currently the wXw Women’s champion. At only 22 years of age, Toni has accomplished more than many achieve in their entire career.
This match was truly incredible and propelled the momentum of excitement Defy United started with from the beginning. There was tension between these two women and they unleashed a fury that made me wonder if these two have some kind of history that I don’t know about!
There was a decent amount of back and forth between them. They stuck to the mat and put on an impressive display of tactical moves and technical skill. Anyone who wishes to disparage the abilities of either women would be hard pressed to find flaws in their performance this evening.
As this match neared the end, Nicole performed her finishing move, the Last Rights and went in for the pin. Toni nearly succumbed, but kicked out to the astonishment of her opponent. At this point both women were exhausted and beaten. Toni rallied and executed a Pile Driver on Nicole and finished her with a pinfall.
Match 7: Main Event
Pete Dunne vs. Brody King
The current and longest reigning WWE United Kingdom Champion is here tonight in Seattle! This is an incredible treat for those of us who are fans of the UK WWE brand. He is an absolute industry favorite and few are more excited than me to see him in our quaint little city. His challenger this evening is no stranger to Defy! Brody King is here once again, to make his mark at Defy.
While Pete Dunne has an enormous following in the audience, this crowd loves Brody King. Even if Mr. King is not a local, he has been here before, and the people here have clearly adopted him as one of their own. Pete began taunting Brody, mocking him, provoking him and quickly moving out of reach. What he lacked in strength over King, Dunne made up with speed and intended to use his wits to antagonize his opponent.
As the match progressed the two ended up outside the ring. King chased Dunne as he slinked around the audience grabbing spectators and giving them chops. Brody quickly came to their defense, saving them from Pete’s nefarious attacks. At one-point Brody got a hold of Dunne and allowed several audience members to give him a chop before throwing him threw three rows of chairs.
For a moment it would seem Brody would win by count out as Pete clawed his way back to the ring only to make it fractions of a second before the tenth count. Despite Brody’s size advantage, Pete seemed undaunted and managed to handle him with the same ease he uses to dispatch every other opponent. It was clear Pete Dunne was willing to do whatever it took to win this match and engaged Brody in psychological warfare from the beginning. Ultimately this worked to his advantage, as the match came to an end with Pete Dunne scoring a victory over Brody King with a pinfall.
Due to the nature of this evening and the previous night, when Progress put on their show, it is becoming apparent that Seattle, once a pro wrestling wasteland, is quickly becoming a place to go if you want to see the best shows the industry has to offer. We are a city that has been starving for this… and now we have it!
Defy United, was a card full of matches worthy of being a Main Event! Any promotion able to bring this kind of talent together is worthy of calling itself a world class promotion.