July 13, 2018
By: Philip M. Jones
When you first walk into Washington Hall you know you’re walking into something unique… special… historical. Your eyes are drawn to the old stone masonry, polished hardwood floors and the kind of stucco interiors one doesn’t typically find in modern construction. The smell of fantastic food, provided by Lunchbox Laboratory, wafts by as you pass merchandise tables. Familiar faces welcome fans to the show where you are given the opportunity to have your picture taken with Colt Cabana, get Johnny Morrison’s autograph or purchase a t-shirt from nearly every performer in the house. It’s all very personal, and you are welcomed like an old friend by perfect strangers.
When you enter the main hall, you see a large auditorium where the ring stands prominently in the center. A balcony hangs over head, and on the far side of the room, is a stage where, no doubt, a century ago Vaudeville acts entertained the residents of Seattle.The first thing I noticed as I settled in for the show is how Defy has a unique look.
With a hint of smoke in the air, and dim lighting, it is reticent of a mid-century boxing parlor. I can imagine the old men smoking cigars and wagering bets. There is a touch of grit that rounds out the scene giving Defy a distinctive aesthetic.
Today, I attended Defy Loud, and right from the start, the show lived up to its name. The audience is, without doubt, LOUD. They could have just as easily called it Seismic, the way the building rattled when the announcer, Steve Migs, stepped in the ring and kicked off the event. It was at that very moment when the excitement of the crowd became an almost tangible force.With the expertise of a seasoned orator, Migs worked the audience into a frothing horde of eager fans. They’re ready for the show, and you can feel the energy moving through the auditorium like an electrical current.
Ricky Starks vs. Schaff
Apparently, Ricky Starks heard about a new wrestler making a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest. I guess he decided to come up here and put the new upstart in his place. When Ricky sauntered into the ring he possessed far more attitude than any one person has any right to possess. The crowd gave him a cold greeting, saving their love for someone else, Schaff! In homage to the date (Friday the 13th), Schaff entered the auditorium wearing a Jason Vorhees hockey mask soliciting a huge response from the crowd. He barely made it into the ring when it became apparent Schaff wasn’t having any of Ricky’s pretty boy shenanigans. Schaff, is after all the “Baddest Motherfucker in Pro-Wrestling.”
The match starts with Ricky attempting to set up some moves, only to have nearly every attempt shut down by Schaff. The match became a contest of strength with Ricky quickly retreating when it became clear, strength was not something he held over his opponent. He fled outside of the ring, but Schaff wasn’t going to let him get away. Upon catching his fleeing opponent, the audience bared witness to Schaff giving Ricky a long string of chops, the sounds of which could be heard in every corner of the building.
It became quickly apparent, Ricky Starks had bitten off more than he could chew. With a look of panic on Ricky’s face, Schaff slammed him into the mat and rolled him up for a pin, which Ricky kicked out of, but not without losing something… Nearly de-trunked Ricky found himself rather… exposed. (Ricky Starks has a nice caboose by the way, but I digress.) Upon regaining his composure, Ricky worked the ropes and smacked Schaff with his… bare butt. Not terribly impressed with Ricky’s improvised… Butt Slam? Schaff had enough! He worked over his opponent and put Ricky away with a pinfall.
LuchaSaurus vs. King Khash
LuchaSaurus came into the Ring making his Defy debut. The crowd was excited to see this ½ man ½ dinosaur luchador. He has a frightening presence, made even more terrifying when seeing him up close and in person. After basking in cheer, he seemed unimpressed when his opponent, the Persian Prodigy, King Khash was announced. The moment Khash entered the auditorium, with his cocky swagger and million-dollar smile, he invoked his own impressive response from his fans in the audience. The crowd seemed almost evenly split between the two.
When the match started the two jockeyed for the edge. At first it was difficult to predict who would get the advantage over the other. As the two engaged in what was a veritable dance with remarkable foot work and impressive tactical moves it was obvious the audience was going to see something special here.
Khash gained the initiative and began working LuchaSaurus’ foot twisting him into a submission hold form which the LuchaSaurus was able to escape. The two jockeyed for dominance through much of this match and it felt visceral. There was a unique tone to this match. Instead of the high-flying tactics of many people in the business today, this one felt more like a competitive wrestling match, with both opponents working strategically and employing mat tactics. I feel this isn’t done as much as it should in Professional Wrestling these days.
These two felt very evenly matched and when two opponents struggle to remain in control, it becomes a nail biting affair. As the two exchanged chops, LuchaSaurus started to gain the upper hand after slamming Khash into the mat. The human dinosaur hybrid continued to wear his opponent down with a German Suplex. Khash tried to recover and it seemed he was unable to position his opponent for the infamous Camel Clutch submission Khash is so famous for. It wasn’t long after that LuchaSaurus defeated the Persian Prodigy, and current reigning Prestige Champion, with a pinfall.
Johnny Defyance vs. Randy Myers
Serenaded by Etta James’ immortal classic “At Last,” chanteuse Miss Kiss welcomed the Ravenous One, the Sexy Beast, the Weirdo Hero, Randy Myers! It was clear from the moment he emerged from behind the curtain he is a crowd favorite. He maneuvered around the room like a peacock initiating a mating ritual with the audience. When Johnny Defyance (Morrison) came out to the ring, it was clear the audience had no favorites. I personally felt deeply conflicted with my own loyalties.
When you put Randy in the ring, one should never expect a conventional match, today was no exception. The bell rang, and instead of a wrestling match we were treated to Randy’s shameless flirtations. Johnny Defyance, like many before him, seemed a bit confused about what was happening. The flirtations turned into a dance off to see who could do the sexiest dance, and a three-way challenge emerged, which included the referee, who in my opinion won this part of the match.
Eventually the wrestling portion of the match began but the flirtations had only just begun. After throwing Randy into the ropes and delivering a devistating power slam, the Ravenous One gave a playful smile and waved bashfully at his opponent. It was clear Randy was more than infatuated with Johnny Defyance. At one point, early in the match Johnny made it very clear he was wearing a wedding ring. Do you think that made any difference to the Weirdo Hero? You would be wrong to think so. Unfortunately for Johnny he made his left hand an enormous target and it didn’t take long before Randy not only pulled that ring off but tossed it into the audience. Well… Johnny’s wife, Taya the Valkyrie, someone who should not to be trifled with, was there and didn’t take kindly to Randy’s antics. She came out of the locker room with her husbands wedding ring and gave Randy a piece of her mind. Johnny then made quite the spectacle of placing the ring back on his finger and it was clear from that point, things were about to get serious.
It’s difficult to describe Randy’s wrestling style. It is the perfect storm of sexual chaos, fluid movement, playful mockery and bashful flirtations. Through the entire match he had Johnny Defyance completely confused and uncertain. This worked in Randy’s favor. Johnny had an incredible arsenal of moves and strikes, but Randy seemed impervious through the entire match. I think Johnny may have even hurt Randy’s feelings a couple times when his flirtations were not reciprocated, but Randy appeared to bounce back quickly.
With just shy of 40 years of wrestling experience between them, this was an impressive match. This is the kind of match that flew by and lasted much longer than it seemed. We saw a few signatures moves from Johnny Defyance but the match ended with Ravenous Randy Myers winning with a pinfall.
Colt Cabana vs. The Catch
I was really looking forward to this match for two reasons, Colt Cabana, who is of course one of the best wrestlers in the business, the other was to see Catch in the first singles match I’ve seen live. He was formerly a member of the tag team, the Cunningham’s and more recently has been working with tag partner Clark Connors. So, this was an enormous treat on both accounts.
Colt Cabana extended his hand in a show of good sportsmanship which the Catch refused. Colt proceeded to solicit handshakes from the audience as Catch stood waiting for his opponent to return to the ring. From that point on Colt had the audience eating out of his hand. When the bell went off the match started, and Colt immediately took control. Every time Catch got the better of his opponent, Colt seemed to bounce back and pander to the audience with his golden smile and a wink of the eye.
With Colt firmly in control, throwing his opponent around with minimal effort, the two ended up outside the ring. Colt held Catch prone allowing an audience member to give him a chop. It was clear Colt Cabana was the audience favorite, and Catch was over it. That is when Catch unleashed his secret weapon, the hair!
As Colt prepared to reenter the ring it appeared he was trying to set something up. Catch reaches up and pulls Colt into a surprise roll up and gets a pinfall, seemingly out of nowhere! It was a surprise ending to a match that had been almost one sided the entire time. Colt was in utter shock, as was the audience! Catch took his win and quickly departed as the audience and Colt Cabana tried to make sense of what happened. I can smell the call for a rematch!
Six Person Tag Team
MJF and the American Gunz vs. Shane Strickland with Spencer & Suede
Last month at Defy Requiem, the American Gunz viciously attacked Shane Strickland after a grueling match with MVP. The aftermath of this attack was an open challenge. Strickland and his locker room buddies, Spence and Suede, versus the American Gunz and any champion of their choosing. We eventually learn the American Gunz attacked Strickland at the behest of Maxwell Jacob Freidman, better known as the MJF. It would seem the MJF intends to steal Strickland’s opportunity to challenge Austin Aries for the Defy Championship on July 20th in Portland Oregon. A deal brokered, according to MJF, with Defy promotor Matt Farmer, no doubt some pay off was made.
The moment MJF came out into the ring he was met with a chorus of boos and hecklers. A shower of toilet paper was aimed and fired covering this would be usurper in steams of white hygiene wipes. It did little to dissuade him from making his claim that Defy is, “My house!” Shane Stickland on the other hand came out to chants of “Who’s House?” “Swerves House!” There was no doubt the audience favored their home-grown star Mr. Strickland.
Before the bell even rang, MJF and the American Gunz laid into Swerve and his buddies, each one taking on an opponent. It was a brutal beat down from the beginning with MJF and the American Gunz pulverizing Swerve, Suede and Spence.
Like many six-man tag team matches, this one collapsed into a frenzy of chaos. Suede and Spence were quickly put out of the ring reeling from a beat down they took from the American Gunz. Ever the opportunist MJF moved in on the former Defy Champion Strickland, with the American Gunz and laid on a brutal stream of attacks.
As expected MJF employed his bedlam tactics, laying on the eye pokes and moving in for opportunistic fall attempts, only achieving one and two counts. Despite the unrelenting barrage Strickland managed to kick out and stay in the match.
The highlight of this match, and perhaps the evening, was Artemis Spencer’s execution of a dive off the balcony onto MJF and the American Gunz. It was an incredible feat to witness and put Artemis Spencer on my radar!
The match narrowed down to MJF and Strickland. They were outside the ring and MJF viciously pushed an innocent spectator out of his chair and took it, obviously preparing to set something up. Not in Swerves house! Shane put MJF in his place and ended his time at Defy with a brutal Swerve Stomp.
As MJF was virtually carried from the auditorium by staff, the match came to an end when Spencer and Suede got a three count on the American Gunz. With Strickland, Spencer & Suede winning, Shane retains his opportunity to challenge Austin Aries for the Defy Championship on July 20th in Portland Oregon.
This was an outstanding match. Even though MJF and Strickland have made a name for themselves in this industry, the star of this match was Artemis Spencer. Ethan HD, Mike Santiago and Billy Suede also proved that our local guys are world class talents. Keep an eye out for these guys, especially Artemis Spencer who may have just proven he’s one of the best and it’s time for you to take notice.
Nicole Mathews vs Taya the Valkyrie
Nicole Mathews was riding high as she came out into the ring. Earlier in the day it was announced she would be one of a handful of women, selected to participate in the Mae Young Classic II next month with the WWE. Then Taya the Valkyrie waltzed in, clearly the crowd favorite soaking in the love as she entered the ring. Never one to lose out on the opportunity to throw shade, Nicole took the microphone and laid out some epic trash talk, before turning on her opponent, “You’ll never be known as anyone but Mrs. Johnny Morrison.” Like many of her ilk, the boos and insults only seemed to feed her dark venomous soul. It was clear the battle between these two Canadian divas was going to be memorable!
Taya took control right from the beginning, throwing chops and taking Nicole outside of the ring where she rained down a flurry of devastating slaps and throwing her into the ring posts. Nicole tried to get away, but Taya was determined to lay it on some more. I think Taya might have taken a few things Nicole said a bit personally. When Nicole managed to get back into the ring she turned on her opponent and took advantage of a moment of distraction as Taya stepped between the ropes. It wasn’t pretty for Taya, as Nicole mockingly returned the beating she received moments before, in kind.
The struggle for supremacy in the ring was unbelievably brutal, neither wrestler held back. At one point in the match Nicole started to chug a can of beer. Then Taya had a can and the two engaged in a chugging war. The conclusion of this rather interesting contest came when the two wrestlers turned into fountains, spitting the golden beverage into the air, raining beer down on the first row. (Seriously, bringing a rain jacket to Defy is not the worst suggestion I’ve ever made.)
It wasn’t long after the brief beer chugging contest when Nicole took the upper hand. After a few body slams Nicole positioned Taya and finished her with her signature move, the Last Rites, and won the match.
I have seen many discussions in social media about the lack of women in wrestling who take their craft seriously. Such detractors would have been invariably silenced after seeing Nicole Matthews and Taya the Valkyrie in this main event. They proved this isn’t about men’s matches or women’s matches, it’s simply about wrestling and this evening Defy served up some of the best wrestling in the business.
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In conclusion, Defy was the perfect mix of comedy, sexy, and serious wrestling. The night had many surprises and shined a light on talent that has mostly gone unnoticed here in the Pacific Northwest. It would seem impossible for anyone to go home feeling unsatisfied. This is the second Defy show I’ve attended. What this show proved to me is that the Defy promoters and owners know what they are doing. They have proven they are consistent and have a good read on the fans. This property has some of the best production values on the independent scene and they have managed to recruit incredible talent both locally and from across the globe. For a wrestling promotion that hasn’t even been around for two years, they have accomplished more than promotions who have been around for decades. Defy isn’t a show you should check out sometime when you’re in town, Defy is a destination and you need to come to Seattle and be a part of it.