JANUARY 15, 2017
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. AT 1ST AVE NIGHTCLUB
REPORT BY JOEL DEHNEL (@DehnelTorch), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
F1rst Wrestling presented their ninth WrestlePalooza event at world famous First Avenue Sunday night. For those who don’t know, First Avenue is a famous nightclub in Minneapolis where many famous musicians have played before they got famous. Acts like U2, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, Coldplay have all been on the First Avenue stage. Minneapolis legend Prince recorded much of his famous album Purple Rain in the venue. For the past 10 years, First Ave has held wrestling events every few months ran by Arik Cannon. Cannon is perhaps most well-known on the national scene for appearing in the short lived MTV series Wrestling Society X as well as Dragon Gate USA. Since then Cannon has promoted his own shows in the mid-west area called F1rst Wrestling. Earning its name from First Ave. Several wrestlers have been a part of shows before going to the national scene including Seth Rollins, Austin Aries, Mr. Anderson.
A long time staple of F1rst Wrestling was Ariya Daivari. Daivari wrestled his first match ever in First Ave about 10 years ago. All these years later, he had his send off match in front of the crowd that loved to hate him. Tonight was the only time I can remember fans cheering Daivari. Daivari has been a top heel for F1rst Wrestling ever since they began the WrestlePalooza events. WrestlePalooza is more than just a wrestling show. The event always includes a performance from a band on stage as well as burlesque dancers. Something WWE’s ECW tried all those years ago.
-The show kicked off with a promo from Arik Cannon. He said that he had some bad news which was the Heidi Lovelace would not appear tonight. Cannon said he can announce that she has signed a deal with WWE and has reported to NXT. Daivari came out shortly afterwards in a WWE Raw t-shirt. Fans cheered Daivari and told him he deserved to make it to the big time. Daivari eventually turned heel on the crowd and challenged Cannon to a match. The two have been long rivals so it was only fitting that it ended with both of them in a title match.
(1) ETHAN PAGE defeated VENOM, AIR WOLF, and SPACE MONKEY. Like all the matches on the show, this had some comedy, but also a good effort to kick off the show. Page is a guy who has done a lot more locally in Minnesota being from Canada. He’s dabbled with some ROH dark matches before. I think he could be someone to watch on the Indy scene. Venom is also a longtime roster member for F1rst Wrestling. He has improved physically of the years and is becoming a better worker.
(2) Fest Wrestling Champion SUE YOUNG defeated VEDA SCOTT to retain her championship. This was my first time seeing Young in person. Her gimmick is the undead bride which people really enjoyed. Scott is most known for her appearances in ROH. She showed some more good work here tonight.
-Local punk rock band Dillinger Four took the main stage to perform a few songs.
-Burlesque performance from Scarlette Revolver.
(3) CHUCK TAYLOR defeated JOEY RYAN, COLT CABANA, and KIKUTARO. The most star-studded match of the night. All of these guys are pros knowing how to use comedy well. The whole gimmick of the match was trying to get the wrestlers to grab Ryan’s “dong”. When they all tried to hit it, they acts like it was a steel plate. The just ate up everything in this match. I talked to Ryan after the match and he assured me that there will be more of him in the second half of season 3 of Lucha Underground. He also confirmed that he had signed on for a fourth season.
-Burlesque performance by Queenie Von Curves.
-More from Dillinger Four.
(4) WrestlePalooza Tag Champions NORTH STAR EXPRESS DARIN CORBIN & RYAN CRUZ defeated WILD CAT & THUNDER FROG to retain their titles. The North Star Express has been a long standing hometown favorite. Anyone who wears North Star hockey jerseys to the ring in Minnesota is going to get cheered. The fans had already started to turn on the express in this match by booing them in favor of Wild Cat and Thunder Frog. As you can imagine for Wild Cat people chant “meow” while Thunder Frog gets chants of “Ribbet”. After the match Corbin turned on Cruz hitting him with the belt. This prompted many people to throw beer cans into the ring to the dismay of the First Avenue staff.
(5) KODY RICE defeated ROB JAMES. Both have been staples in the MN indy scene for a long time. The crowd was into their characters, but not the match.
-Burlesque performance from Sweet Pea.
(6) ARIK CANNON defeated ARIYA DAIVARI to become the new WrestlePalooza Champion. Once again they put on a memorable match while not trying to kill each other with ladders and tables. The fans knew this was Ariya’s last match, but didn’t want to ironically cheer him. Instead they played it straight by cheering Cannon and booing Daivari. At the end of the match, Cannon cut a promo saying that evn though he hates Daivari he’s happy to see him go to WWE. Several F1rst Wrestling alum stood on the stage to honor Daivari. Daivari thanked the fans for all their support and soaked in the moment. He mentioned how his debut match was in front of First Avenue. The fans chanted “Fly, Sheik, Fly” as Ariya left the ring.
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