The PGWA again returned to the Nashville area on Saturday, February the 21st, taking control of the USWO Arena in Madison, Tennessee and bringing fans the very best in quality women's professional wrestling at "Music City Mayhem!"
Volunteer State fans are used to seeing great wrestling action, and they've set a very high standard for the sport, so right from the start, the PGWA knew it had a formidable bar to clear. There were two ways which the promotion could have gone; the more obvious choice would have been to bring in a host of well-known veterans, proven star athletes. And there's nothing wrong with that idea.
But instead, the PGWA decided to take a risk. When the lineup was publicly announced, more than a few fans were shocked to see so many newcomers on the card.
To be sure, there were more than a few familiar faces scheduled for Music City Mayhem...Candi Divine, Christie Ricci, Robbie Rage, Persephone. But there were plenty of names new to the Professional Girls Wrestling Association as well...Tiffani Monroe, AJ Sparx, Hellena Heavenly, and others.
Fans were intrigued. Some who had never made the effort to attend a PGWA card before now found the lure of the announced talent to be irresistible. By all expectations, the crowd for this event promised to be both supportive and raucous!
Of course, there's a reason why all wrestling promotions add a 'Card Subject to Change' warning at the bottom of their posters, as life has a habit of dealing out little surprises. Unfortunately, last-minute circumstances conspired to keep Persephone from attending, and an aggravated injury sidelined Christie Ricci. But if fate could be cruel, the stars could also shine a bit of luck as well, and at literally the Eleventh Hour, the PGWA was able to secure two of the sport's most illustrious young talents, Jillian Hall (AKA Macaela Mercedes) and Melissa Coates!
As the hour struck 3:00 on the afternoon of the 21st, all of the elements came together at last, and Music City Mayhem was underway!
The show's sponsors, those fans who spent $50.00 to help underwrite the cost of bringing in such impressive talent, gathered at the arena to be introduced to the wrestlers, to mingle with them, and to have the opportunity to purchase classic PGWA video tapes at discounted prices. They were also treated to a GrudgeMatch between AJ Sparx and Princess Sugey, the Mexican Luchadora who was making only her second appearance in the United States! Because none of the referees had arrived yet, and because all officials must possess a Tennessee license, fellow wrestler Tasha Simone volunteered to serve as the official. The result was Simone and Sugey taking an instant dislike to one another, culminating in a fistfight between them at match's end, with both women having to be physically restrained!
Rick Deezel, a wrestler and a promoter in North Carolina, came to Music City Mayhem to help coordinate the event and assist other PGWA staff. Seeing the brawl erupt, he rushed between the ropes and fought valiantly to keep the two women apart...and for his efforts, took a beating that rivaled anything he suffered during his past matches in the ring!
(Another GrudgeMatch, this one an impromptu confrontation, also took place earlier in the day, before the fans arrived. Venus and Allie Spirit had both come to the USWO Arena early in order to loosen up in the ring. Suffice to say, some strong words were exchanged between these two willful young ladies, and it was all we could do to get the camera out in time to film the battle that erupted between them! Watch for this GrudgeMatch to be released soon.)
After a dinner break, the sponsors returned to the arena, and the local fans began to arrive as well. At 8:00, the card was underway.
* Summer Rain vs. Tara T. - At first glance, this might seem to be a mismatch. Brooklyn tough girl Tara, who brags that she "doesn't get along with most other women," stands nearly a half-foot taller than her opponent. But Summer Rain is no rookie...she's learned how to fight the hard way, one match at a time, for nearly a decade now, and she battled sensationally against her taller, more aggressive rival. In the end, the diminutive Native American from New Orleans scored the pin over the New Yorker.
* Tiffani Monroe & Allie Spirit vs. Robbie Rage and Venus - At the "Nashville Wild Cats" live event last November, Robbie agreed to serve as manager to Venus in the rookie's match against Rage's old nemesis, Candi Divine. On this occasion, Robbie played an even more active role by serving as the Texan's tag team partner. They went up against the duo of Monroe and Spirit, who were under the guidance of the Goddess Athena. The wily manager announced her intent to "rule" the PGWA, and she saw the team of Tiffani and Allie as her vehicle to the top of the organization. This proved to be a wild battle, with the action quickly growing uncontrollable within the ring, and spilling outside the ropes, where Athena was more than willing to get her own licks in! It came to an explosive conclusion with not one, but two dramas unfolding simultaneously: Inside the ring, Hellena Heavenly seemed to come from nowhere and attacked Venus, while at ringside, an enraged Athena was so disgusted with the inability of her team to score the victory, she fired them on the spot!
* Candi Divine vs. AJ Sparx - In a tremendous battle of seasoned experience versus energetic enthusiasm, Candi and AJ waged a real war against one another! Perhaps Divine expected her rookie opponent to give her little challenge, but if so, then the veteran sorely underestimated the youngster whom some fans...and past opponents...have dubbed "Psycho Girl!" Sparx pulled out all of the stops in this one, giving Candi all that she could handle. And while Divine managed to win the match, she walked away knowing she had been in a real fight!
* Jillian Hall vs. Melissa Coates - These two women have forged international reputations for themselves, and their formidable talents were on full display in this one! Having faced one another before, both knew the other's weaknesses, and they immediately tried to exploit them. Jillian's speed and agility helped counter Melissa's tremendous strength and stamina, but neither wrestler could hold a real edge for long. The end seemed at hand when Melissa trapped Jillian in her formidable "Coates Rack" finisher; astonishingly, Hall managed to slip free, with her disbelieving opponent bellowing, "No one escapes the Coates Rack!" But the brunette's rally was short-lived as the blond managed to put her shoulders to the canvas...and kept them there by bracing her own foot against the rope, which the referee failed to see! But you had better believe this feud is far from settled!
* Venus vs. Hellena Heavenly - This hastily-added match was the result of Hellena's earlier interference in the tag team match. Why the redhead chose to attack Venus is known only to her, but if she was looking to provoke the Latina, then she succeeded admirably! She also very nearly bit off more than she could chew. Heavenly was accompanied to the ring by Athena, who now saw the fiery redhead as her best choice of carving a position of power for herself in the PGWA, and as before, the Goddess wasn't shy about lending her charge a hand...or foot...whenever she got the chance. From the opening bell, Venus and Hellena tore into one another...literally, in the case of Heavenly tearing her opponent's nylons and using the tatters to choke Venus! After a bruising battle, Venus managed to win the match, but there's no doubt in anyone's mind that in Hellena Heavenly the brunette has made a lifelong rival!
* Princess Sugey vs. Tasha Simone - The stakes had been set during that afternoon's GrudgeMatch: No quarter would be asked, and none given between these two warriors! Indeed, Sugey insisted that this Main Event bout be a Dog Collar Match, with the two connected by a twelve foot length of steel chain. Tasha refused at first to be collared "like a dog," but with her opponent mocking her in Spanish, the redhead's pride led her to agree to have the leather collar locked around her neck. And before anyone knew what was happening, this one exploded into as savage a brawl the PGWA has ever seen! Both wrestlers used the chain as a weapon, absorbing inhuman amounts of punishment as the action spilled out of the ring and right back in again. They strangled each other with the chain, wrapped it around their fists to deliver devastating punches, and laid it across one another's body like a whip. The only way to win was to tag all four corners in quick succession, and each wrestler came tantalizingly close time and again, only to be denied that final tag by being yanked backwards by the chain that bound them. In a controversial ending, the referee grew confused by the melee within the ring, and he mistakenly counted three corner tags by Tasha as four, and called for the bell. Neither woman was physically able to continue with the battle, so the decision stood. But Tasha Simone, who had stepped into that ring hating Princess Sugey with every fiber of her being, demanded the microphone and praised the masked Luchadora for having given her such a monumental fight. She then raised Sugey's arm, and promised the Mexican a rematch anytime, anywhere.
Also on hand was Christie Ricci, who despite having undergone surgery on her knee only the day before, was gamely enduring the pain in order to attend the card and meet with the fans. As the 2002 Rookie of the Year, she also took pride in presenting Venus with her 2003 Rookie of the Year award. (And unknown to most of the fans there, another former Rookie of the Year was in the crowd that night...1995 winner Regina Hale, now retired from the ring wars and quietly enjoying the show as just another spectator, was there to witness Venus receive her plaque. We would like to think that Regina felt a measure of pride in knowing that the award which she received years ago continues to be bestowed upon worthy newcomers to the sport).
Special recognition must go to Tony Falk. Himself a legend of the Tennessee wrestling scene, a veteran of a thousand and one battles against some of the toughest men in the sport, Tony is now one of the most prominent independent promoters in wrestling, bringing world class ring action to Nashville week after week, year after year, with his United States Wrestling Organization. Tony has long realized the value of women in the sport, and the USWO boasts some of the best female talent in the business today. Tony's unwavering support of the PGWA has made it possible for shows like Music City Mayhem to be held, and for that he deserves the thanks of every PGWA fan!
All in all, Music City Mayhem was a success any way you look at it. And with any luck, the PGWA will return to Nashville someday soon!
Pictures from Friday are now online here. Saturday's action online very soon!