Review: DEFY PDXIII City of Thorns

DEFY PDX III City of Thorns
November 24, 2018
Portland Oregon
Hawthorn Theater

For those of you who don’t know, DEFY is a regional promotion. Not content to limit themselves to one venue or city, they have held shows in Tacoma and Portland on a semi-regular basis. Tonight, the DEFYance travels south to the City of Roses, or Thorns in this case, Portland Oregon!

With an incredible line up that includes some of the best talent assembled, between luminaries of the industry and some of the brightest stars on the rise, City of Thorns is the perfect name for this show. Lines were drawn, old grudges breathed new life, and friendships were shattered.

Match 1
Tag Team Match
Carl Randers & “Classic” Cody Chhun vs. The 1% (Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson)

The audience clearly loved the 1% the moment they walked into the auditorium. Royce Isaacs and Jorel Nelson have a swagger that has the audience absolutely devouring them. These two gentlemen possess a certain charisma that allowed them to seduce the crowd in a matter of seconds. It was a truly impressive thing to witness.

When Carl Randers enters the ring there is a mixed reaction from the crowd. He has clearly displeased a large number of people here. Based on some underhanded tactics he’s used in the past, I’m not terribly surprised. Then his tag partner came out, “Classic” Cody Chhun, and the audience loved him! A fact that was not lost on Carl Randers who gave his partner a resentful glare.

Photo Credit: @beastmodemanny

The match started with The Fantastic Dork, Carl Randers and Jorel Nelson. These two went at it and Jorel quickly took control of the match. Carl tapped his partner in. Cody proceeded to shake the hands of his opponents and then hopped out of the ring and shook hands with audience members as his partner Carl watched in disgust. It was very clear, something was going on between these two guys.

The match continued, and the 1% worked in perfect harmony as Chhun and Randers looked as though they were going to throw down against one another at any moment. There were a lot of coordinated moves on the part of the 1%. We saw several near falls and even though Randers and Chhun are both incredibly talented wrestlers, they were too out of tune with one another to demonstrate the coordinated efforts needed to defeat a tag duo like the 1%. The match came to an end with Royce Isaacs getting a pen on Cody Chhun.

Post-Match Betrayal!

Shortly after the match concluded and the 1% had made their way back to the locker room, Carl Randers turned on his tag partner! He brutally put the beat down on an unsuspecting Cody Chhun. But that wasn’t the end of it! Guillermo Rosas entered the ring. He wasn’t wearing his bright colorful gear per usual. He’s changed, wearing all black! He proceeded to help Randers completely obliterate Chhun as he lay defenseless on the mat.

The carnage was interrupted when Tommy Dreamer flew into the ring wielding a kendo stick and chased both Randers and Rosas from the ring. He helped Cody to his feet and the two retreated into the locker room.

Match 2
King Khash vs. Matt Cross

These two men have been in a feud since the foundation of DEFY. In the inaugural match of the promotion in 2017, King Khash broke Matt Cross’ leg. Despite Matt’s victory, the resentment runs deep and a smoldering desire for revenge has taken flame tonight!

Matt Cross enters the ring as the irrefutable crowd favorite. He is a respected and true veteran in the industry. He is here to teach the Persian Prodigy a few lessons on humility and good sportsmanship. King Khash entered the ring to resounding boo’s, which only fed his insatiable hunger to inflict pain and suffering on his opponent. He’s had nearly two years to train and condition himself for a rematch, and there is one certainty… Khash didn’t waste a moment of his time, he has developed into a technical powerhouse, won a championship and there are no sign this young man is going to lose his momentum!

These two men went at it in a brutal contest of strength, technical mat work and complex maneuvers. Matt throws Khash out of the ring early in the match and works him on the hard wood floors. Khash gets Matt back into the ring and starts working Matt’s leg… the same leg Khash destroyed in their match two years ago!

Matt Cross unleashed an impressive arsenal of signature moves off the ropes devastating the Persian Prodigy whose impressive resilience worked in his favor. Matt got several near falls on Khash who pulled out and grabbed Matt’s injured leg and worked it into a terrifying leg bending submission hold. Matt Cross tapped out to King Khash.

Not satisfied with his victory King Khash proceeded to viciously attack Matt Cross. Our visitor was not content to be beaten down after having just lost a match. He dodged Khash’s blows and ended the attack by stomping on the Persian Prodigy off the ropes.

These two are one for one. I smell a tie breaker in the near future!

Match 3
DEFY World Championship Title Match
Randy Myers vs. Shane Strickland

To say Randy Myers has one of the most entertaining entrances in the industry would be an understatement. He sashayed into the audience with his usual flair and proceeded to kiss multiple audience members, after receiving consent of course. He is a staple at DEFY and a crowd favorite.

Shane Strickland enters the ring with his smoldering good looks and a sense of style most performers can only aspire to achieve after years of practice. The House of Swerve is still strong, and the audience clearly loves their champion. It is apparent the DEFYance is split in their loyalties and it would be a difficult task to discern which of these two men was the favorite tonight.

Randy approached his opponent for a kiss and Swerve wasn’t having it… at least not for now. Randy pulled out strong from the beginning getting in a German Suplex almost right out of the gate and throwing a number of devastating moves at Strickland. The Champion wasn’t going to take that for long and eventually turned the tables on Randy with a stomp off the ropes.

The two men dealt devastating kicks, chops and various slams. There were multiple near falls. On two occasions, I was certain we were going to have a new champion, but Strickland was able to kick out milliseconds before the third count. After a relentless and brutal match Shane Strickland managed to pin Randy Myers and retain his championship… and Randy got his kiss from Swerve!

The Wierdo Hero took the microphone after the match and talked about the community surrounding DEFY. The inclusiveness and warmth of the community is undoubtedly one of the things that makes our local promotion particularly stellar! He concluded by saying “I love you all.” I think its safe to say, we love you too Randy!

Match 4
The Devil Drexl vs. Tommy Dreamer

When Tommy Dreamer came into the ring, the audience erupted into applause. He has been at DEFY multiple times and we love him, as we should. This man is truly great to watch in the ring! If you ever have the opportunity to see him perform live, I highly recommend you jump at the chance.

The Devil Drexl came out accompanied by his usual companion Dr. Kleiver. These two men always look like they walked off the set of Rob Zombies latest horror film. They came into the auditorium growling at fans and snarling at those who jeered their entrance. As Drexl entered the ring, Referee Benjamin Roberts, ejected Dr. Kleiver from the auditorium sending him back to the locker room. No doubt the referee was keenly aware of the underhanded tactics of the good doctor.

This match started out with Tommy taking control. There were some head locks and the two worked one another’s arm. At one point, early in the match, several of Drexl’s dreadlocks broke off and Tommy took great pleasure in pelting the audience with Drexlocks! Drexl retaliated with some chops and kicks before working Tommy in the center of the ring.

Tommy takes control of the match again and gets several punches in, before working Drexl in the corner. Tommy then collected something from outside the ring. It quickly became apparent “The Innovator of Violence” had a stapler in hand and ready to perhaps… staple some of Drexl’s dreadlocks back on. Just as he was about to work Drexl over with the stapler, Dr. Kleiver ran into the ring and insinuated himself into the match.

Referee Benjamin Roberts called for the bell and disqualified Drexl for Dr. Kleiver’s interference.

Displeased with being unable to have a proper finish, Tommy took the microphone. He shared with the audience that he received a troubling phone call earlier that day from his wife. His wife and children were involved in a serious motor accident when their car was totaled by a dear running into their vehicle. His family was fine, but it had obviously shaken Tommy up. He didn’t want to be away from his family to work this match only to have it end with a disqualification. Thus the powers behind DEFY approved another match. With it seemingly impossible to keep Dr. Kleiver from interfering, they decided to make it a tag team match. “Classic” Cody Chhun, the young man Tommy Dreamer came to the defense of earlier in the evening, answered the call, and stepped forward in support of the Innovator of Violence!

Match 5
Tag Team Match
Tommy Dreamer & Cody Chhun vs. Drexl & Dr. Kleiver

All chaos broke out with Tommy beating down Dr. Kleiver as Cody put a world of hurt on Drexl. Then the Devil and the Doctor turn the tables with a coordinated double clothes line. Drexl got a hold of the stapler and took it to Tommy while Dr. Kleiver set up a garbage can in the corner. This didn’t end up going well for him. Moments later he was getting ready to throw Tommy into the garbage can, but the tables were turned, and Dr. Kleiver’s face became intimate with the metal waste receptacle.

Cody got several kicks in on Drexl. At one-point Tommy takes issue with the ref and shoves Benjamin Roberts out of his way. Cody then power bombs Dr. Kleiver. When Drexl moves in to interfere, Tommy rolled up the Devil himself and got a satisfying pin!

A new faction is born!

As Drexl and Dr. Kleiver licked their wounds and retreated into the locker room, both Guillermo Rosas and Carl Randers emerged from behind the curtains. They leapt into the ring and began beating down Tommy and Cody. Seconds later they were joined by King Khash who took Tommy Dreamer out of commission and joined in on the brutal beating of Cody Chhun who lay completely prone on the mat.

Satisfied “Classic” Cody Chhun had enough, these three men stood proud, flexed and congratulated themselves to a job well done amidst cries of protests from the audience. It is clear, we have a new faction here at DEFY and they seem hell bent on destroying Cody Chhun! What grievance do they have against this young man? It’s hard to say what might have happened in the clandestine world of the wrestlers locker room. Regardless we are likely to see this play out in front of the audience and I predict this is going to get ugly!

Match 6
Willie Mack vs. Schaff

These two men are enormous power houses, and both are clearly loved by the audience! The shouts from the crowd for both these men were equally deafening. It was clear from the moment Willie Mack and Schaff squared off, this was going to be a brutal and savage match that had the DEFYance split right down the middle.

Willie took early control of this contest getting a bump on Schaff before throwing him out of the ring and diving out on top of him. He set Schaff up for some devastating chops and then did a nipple twist sending the “baddest mother fucker” in the business reeling into a world of pain. Those of us who know Schaff, understand he is not one to take a beating without turning the tables and returning every favor in kind. This is exactly what Schaff did. Willie didn’t seem to appreciate the returned favor.

They got back into the ring and threw chops, slams and worked one another over so much the two ended up laying exhausted in the center of the ring. Referee Aubrey Edwards had to start counting it out until one of them stood. She made it all the way to nine before these two exhausted competitors were able to make it to their feet.

The devastation continued and there was no less than half a dozen near falls on both these gentlemen. They continued with ferocious blows, face slams, body slams, as they threw everything they had at one another. You could tell they were both on the cusp of collapsing from sheer exhaustion. Then Schaff got a cutter on Willie Mack and a three count barely eking out a win. In the end after Schaff’s victory in a hard fought battle, these two men embraced showing the absolute respect they share for one another.

Match 7
Main Event
Tag Team Title Championship
LAX (Santana & Ortiz) vs. Amerikan Gunz (Mike Santiago & Ethan HD)

LAX were obvious crowd favorites, an indisputable fact made apparent the moment they stepped through the curtains into the auditorium. They came out and the audience loved them and LAX loved the audience. These two men know how to work a room and shared a banter that entertained everyone through the entire match.

Following LAX into the ring are the current reigning DEFY Tag Team Champions, The Amerikan Gunz! These two men seemed unfazed by the audience’s lack luster reception. While they have a few fans, it would seem the audience preferred to heckle our defending champions.

The two teams postured in the ring as Referee Benjamin Roberts tried to keep them under control. Just before the bell range Ethan HD poured a handful of bullets into the center of the ring. LAX was unimpressed by this intimidation tactic.

Santana started the match by working Mikes arm. He then used Mikes arm to flip off the ropes and slam Mike Santiago onto the mat. Ortiz joined his partner and the two of them did some coordinated moves on Mike including a devastating double clothes line. When Ethan entered the ring he offered pay back for what LAX had done to his partner.

This brutal match continued for some time. The coordinated moves were orchestrated brilliantly by both teams. It was amazing to see two of the best tag teams in the business today working off one another. There were body slams, and multiple near falls, one which was so close I was certain LAX were our new champions. When the ref held up a count of two, I was very surprised.

At one point, Ortiz had Ethan down with a pin and almost had the three count when Mike Santiago interfered on behalf of his partner, breaking the pin. Both Santana and Ortiz began working Ethan in the corner, but the Gunz rallied and turned the tables. The match ended with the Amerikan Gunz getting a coordinated double pin on LAX.

In Conclusion

DEFY PDX III City of Thorns was a tense evening of exceptional wrestling and story development. The matches were riveting! You could feel the antagonism between opponents. This was without a doubt one of the strongest entries in DEFY’s playbook thus far. There really is no doubt why DEFY is one of the preeminent promotions in the country today. Many eyes are watching from afar due to the stellar shows we are seeing; and the Pacific Northwest, once a parched void of professional wrestling, has emerged as an industry trendsetter, thanks in no small part to DEFY.

On December 14 we have DEFY On Edge. There will be a DEFY Championship match between Artemis Spencer vs. Shane Strickland. We also know Brian Cage will be making another appearance! If you haven’t already, I would buy up your tickets before your chance passes, because Washington Hall in Seattle is going to be the place to be on December 14!

Philip Jones
About Philip Jones 12 Articles
A social service worker by day, and a writer by night, I defy all labels, boxes and societal definitions. I am a classically trained violinist, published author and proud member of the LGBTQ community. I spend most of my time at home indulging in my favorite interests including reading, writing, horror films, eating and watching independent wrestling shows.

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