I think they'd been promoting this for months, but because I usually just luck into hearing about this stuff, I didn't buy tickets until St. Patrick's Day. (This also meant I had to produce some emails, as they lost the PayPal record of my purchase at Will Call...ah well. They still let us in, so it's all good.) Doors were at 5, where you could mill about buying merchandise and/or autographs, and the opening bell was scheduled for 6:15 (I have the ring announcer coming out at 6:32 - which was good for me, due to the extra time needed to sort out my situation and grab some seats.)
I hear it was a sellout and believe them - they kept tacking extra rows of chairs onto the back of the section next to mine where there was room. I'm terrible at estimating crowds, but I'm sure it was well over 1000. They pre-sold the first two rows and you were on your own after that - we ended up about five rows back in a nine row corner section near the entry way (and with perfect line of sight for a corner post, which I didn't think about before I started trying to take photos)
Turns out the guy who wrote an on-site for PWInsider.com was ALSO sitting somewhere in my section...which was weird, because I didn't see any other nerds with a stopwatch and notebook. But I wasn't looking real hard, either.
Crowd was predominately male - in our section, you would have had fingers left over counting the women, but all the women I saw had a good time.
Before the show started, I took a quick tour of the merch tables, but didn't buy anything other than the poster I bought with my tickets. I blindly walked by both Jerry Lynn AND Sean Waltman several times before noticing that I was doing that - I forget that I'm taller than these dudes in "real life." In retrospect, I should have bought one of the Perry Saturn "Sobriety" shirts.
To show how beloved Jerry Lynn is, nobody cancelled and the card went down with EXACTLY the participants as described on their web site!
Everybody on this card had been around and knew what they were doing - no greenhorns, very professional, some a bit "by the books" but no complaints about the work. Not very many blown spots, but not a lot of high spots either. About two thirds of the folks would be unknown if you never spent any amount of time around the Minnesota scene (HOW is based in Duluth, and a lot of the MN guys work cards for SDW and AWF amongst other shows), but it was a good, knowledgable crowd, and even I knew most of these folks, mostly thanks to their appearances on AWF television (The W).
1. THE MISFITS (JOHN JOHNSON & AARON CORBIN) teamed with ARIYA DAIVARI to take on LUKE HAWX, SCOTT SUMMERS AND PERRY SATURN - always nice seeing Saturn alive and well, even if he has a tremendous gut...which isn't a bad thing, I'm trying to get there myself - but I didn't think the face tattoo was a great idea for Mike Tyson and I definitely didn't think it was a good idea on Saturn. Saturn was in and out but did just fine - highlight was a sweet brainbuster. Hawx & Summers performed Total Elimination on Daivari and Saturn pinned him. I believe Shawn was around and may have been doing autographs, but wasn't on the card.
2. BLACK STALLION was the beneficiary of a countout victory when RHINO spent too much time being distracted in a chase with Stallion's manager MAGO, who was sporting some tremendous Flock of Seagulls hair around his baldness - Rhino took the moral victory by giving the GORE! GORE! GORE! to the old man after the match was over.
3. CRAVEN KNYTE & RENNY D had to wait an awful long time for BLUE MEANIE & AL SNOW as Snow ended up going back stage, having an argument, but eventually bringing out HEAD. First part of the match was comedy, culminating in a dance-off challenge - which ended abruptly as the heels Pearl Harbor'd the (couldn't decide between) bWo/JOB SQUAD duo as they turned their backs to dance. Snow was the workhorse here but Meanie got the hot tag and then the pin.
4. SABU opened up ARIK CANNON, who did an awful lot of bleeding for someone I primarily see only on the Christian-and-family-friendly AWF show, but his effort did not go unappreciated, even after going through a table and getting pinned. Cannon was probably the favourite MN guy not in the main event.
The "short" intermission ended up 45 minutes - for some reason, the front row of the section next to mine were all moved elsewhere due to some reason that had a lot of people doing their best Sabu impersonation pointing to the ceiling. They also put a rug/blanket over the barricade in that area, so....who knows?
5. DARIN CORBIN really worked social media getting over his participation on the card, as well as his match with TOMMY DREAMER - which, by the time Dreamer was done talking, became an "Extreme Rules" (I still can't believe he used that term) hardcore match. Kendo sticks and STEEL chairs, and a good effort by both men to tell a story. In the end, Corbin pulled off the upset...or was it really an upset? Keep watching Facebook and Twitter!
6. Folks complained about the HOW Undisputed Championship match between challenger ADAM PEARCE and champion BEN SAILER, but when the title match isn't the main event, I don't see how you could put it anywhere else. Pearce has his shtick down pat - actually, I shouldn't say "shtick" because it demeans what he does, and what he does is really, really good, honed from his time as NWA Champion and wrestling all over the country. He may be a little beefier now, but he's more than made up for it in showmanship (but that's just my opinion, folks). Heel stalling always works on me, even if it wasn't getting much of the crowd enthused. He definitely had the best robe of the night. On a night of sometimes unnecessary ECW love, I found this a nice old school palate cleanser. Sailer got the clean pin to retain.
7. The only card change (well, I suppose the Dreamer match was a change - but we all expected it) was that tonight's tag team main event ended up a Fatal Four Way - and, spoiler alert, JERRY LYNN won. Having it a Fatal Four Way was better for us, as it meant Lynn could work not just against JB TRASK and X-PAC but also against his would-be partner (and very over with the MN crowd) HORACE THE PSYCHOPATH. It started right away with a Lynn/X-Pac pairing off, which is what everybody wanted, and got. I believe this match had our first flying headscissors of the night. Lots of flying hither and yon, through tables, and apparently during one of his attempts at what r.s.p-w affectionately called "the gay porno donkey ride," Waltman - and you can't make this up - tore up his anus (deadspin.com), according to his girlfriend Alicia Webb (Ryan Shamrock, who apparently also signed some autographs before the show). I feel like this would have gone longer if they hadn't started late and had the long-ish intermission as the final bell rang right at 10:00 almost on the dot - well, there were actually two finishes - Lynn gave the cradle pildriver to X-Pac, but Horace broke up the pin even after ref Soltis had hit 3 and called for the bell - but then decided to wave it off, I guess. Crowd was ready to chant "you fucked up" but let it go as Lynn hit ANOTHER cradle piledriver on Horace, and either pinned HIM, or pinned BOTH him and Waltman. Still, it was a great 20 minutes of anarchy and, while not MY dream final match for Lynn, probably just fine as the last of the several final matches Lynn has had in 2013. (Technically, there's a TNA match in the can against Rob van Dam which will air on PPV in a few months, and I think he may have one more Japan trip in him? I should try to pay attention to this stuff when I want to report on it.) After the match, the ring filled with guys from the back and workers (and ol' Karch), who took a knee to let us see the guys giving speeches, culminating in one from Lynn, which I obscenely violated the "no videotaping" policy to capture. Trask (who was in Lynn's first match almost 25 years ago) presented a "HOW Hall of Fame" plaque to Lynn, Cannon and Waltman had a few words, and Lynn closed it up, taking a lap around ringside to shake hands and slowly make his way up the ramp one last time.
Great show, and it will probably be a long time before we get anything this high quality - but maybe not as long as I think...there are a lot of great indies in Minnesota giving people a lot of time to hone their craft. The crowds won't be as big...but maybe some day...
It was definitely way more fun for Kim and I to experience this show live than sitting through any three hour RAW on television.
THANK YOU JERRY
Here are my notes and my official match times (assuming I can read my own handwriting):
Heavy on Wrestling presents THE LAST F'N SHOW Minneapolis Convention Center (Ballroom A) Minneapolis, MN
This show was taped for later DVD release - I spied MICK KARCH at the commentary table but I have no idea who his colour man was, but it looks like it must have been SCOTTY ZAPPA.
Ring announcer: I SHOULD KNOW, BUT I DON'T (maybe it was Sabick himself?)
Your officials: ROB PAGE and JAY SOLTIS
1. The Misfits John Johnson Luke Hawx Aaron Corbin vs. Scott Summers & Ariya Daivari Perry Saturn
Saturn (13'06") Daivari
Special ring announcer for next match: 1500 ESPN's PHIL MACKEY
2. Black Stallion (8'24" COR) Rhino
3. Craven Knyte Blue Meanie Renny D vs. Al Snow
Snow (12'34") D
4. No Disqualifications Sabu (10'24") Arik Cannon
5. Extreme Rules/Hardcore Match Darin Corbin (18'08") Tommy Dreamer
6. HOW Undisputed Champion Ben Sailer (12'34") Adam Pearce
7. Fatal Four-way Jerry Lynn's Retirement Match JB Trask v. Horace the Psychopath v. X-Pac v. Jerry Lynn
Lynn (cradle piledriver -> pin about 20') Horace (& X-Pac?)
We'll see if any of my photos are interesting enough to put up on Facebook later, and I'll see if Lynn's speech came out. In the meantime, here's my Instagram (instagram.com) of Jerry Lynn and HERE is one minute of footage from RFVideo (who would really like you to buy the DVD later) proving the existence of the flying head scissors:
All right, better late than never...here's the video of (mostly the Back of the head™ of) Jerry Lynn's retirement speech following his final match. He begins by picking up on a story JB Trask told of the first time Lynn was booked against him, and how it was set up by Lynn demolishing a trophy presented to Trask.
(It also sounds like my thumb may have been covering the mic for the first minute or so...oops)
There's just something about the way this week's special graphics package works with the Smackdown set that (probably only) I find HILARIOUS. From last night's ECW show, observe: Happy new year, Mike Knox!