Contrary to common belief, there was indeed a wrestling at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia this weekend.
A weekend full of shows turned into only one, but Masked Republic's Masked Mania presented by the more than made up for all of the mishaps and missteps with the Extreme Rising cancellations.
I thought Masked Mania turned out to be great show with a lot of action and some great matches, but before I delve to deep into my observations, let's get to the full match results:
- Ultimo Panda & Lation Dragon def. Hallowicked & Frightmare
- Ophidian The Cobra, The Madjai Amasis & Green Ant def. 3 Live Gringos (Chuck Taylor, Papadon & Orange Cassidy
- Negro Navarro def. Solar
- Mini Mariachi def. Pequeno Pierroth
- Christina Von Eerie def. Sumi Sakai
- Cassandro def. "The Spartan" Matt Cross
- Damian 666, Bestia 666 & Sabu def. Homicide, BLK Jeez & Ruckus
- Dr. Wagner Jr. def. LA PARK
Now, let's get to my observations and highlights from the show:
- The 2300 Arena looked in much better shape than it did in December for the Extreme Rising show. The main entrance wasn't fantastic, but a nice paint job made a big difference. Add to that a lighting trust around the ring made the show not only look better, but look more professional. The only thing I currently have a problem with is the lack of risers.
- There was a nice turnout at the 2300 Arena Sunday, especially from the Hispanic community. Masked Republic's Kevin Kleinrock said before the show that he wanted to provide quality entertainment for the Hispanic community here in Philadelphia, but he also catered to families as well. There a lot of people in attendance that brought their children, most of which were running around in masks their parents bought them from the merchandise stand. It's a nice departure from the typical crowd of adult males that usually inhabit independent wrestling shows. It was also nice to enjoy a wrestling show without all of the cliché wrestling chants you tend to hear at every wrestling, including WWE ones. Me personally, I got to sit back, have a few laughs, enjoy some quality wrestling and enjoy myself. That's what I want to do when I go to a wrestling show.
- Speaking of the wrestling, it was of great quality throughout the card. I don't think there was a bad match on the show. Sure, some matches were better than others, but all of the people working on the show were very capable wrestlers and showcased some great physical feats.
- Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy and Papadon, collectively known as 3 Live Gringos on this night, tossed tortillas at their opponents and fans in an attempt to draw some heel heat. Taylor even went as far as to toss a pack on a the mat and drop a couple of elbows on them. I found all three of them to be hilarious together and their match was great.
- Sean Waltman, better known the wrestling fans as X-Pac, made an unannounced appearance at the show Sunday.
- Solar and Negro Navarro put on a chain-wrestling clinic Sunday night. It was quite impressive to see two guys have a match of almost nothing but holds and submissions and little to no strikes. This style bore some, but it was very good to me and to everyone else at the 2300 Arena. The best part about to me is the psychology behind it. There was no wasted motion in the ring and everything the two men did to each other was to either pin their opponent or force him to submit. After the match, the fans tossed money (coins and dollar bills) into the ring as a sign of respect for the wrestlers' work. The two combatants had so much money tossed at them, they spent a considerable amount of time picking it up — and they picked up a lot of money. After all of the money was picked up, Solar put the money he gathered into a cup and handed it over to Navarro in a classy move.
- The minis match was good, but the finish was very strange. Pequeno Pierroth pinned Mini Mariachi seemingly fair and square and in the middle of the ring. Because of his win, he attained Mariachi's title belt. For some reason, someone came out from the back and asked the fans if Pierroth had cheated. The fans said that he did, but I personally didn't see any cheating. Anyway, the match was given five more minutes and Mariachi eventually won, but with what looked like a four count. The finish was all messed up, but Pierroth played a great heel during this match. He even chased off one of the timekeepers and almost hit another one with the ring bell. It was quite entertaining.
- I had the pleasure of interviewing Cassandro before the show and in doing so did quite a bit of research on him. Everything that I found about the No. 1 exotico in the world, Cassandro lived up to and some Sunday. Firstly, Cassandro and Matt Cross worked a great match. There were very few down points during the match and the two had pretty good chemistry for a couple of guys that had never been in the ring together before Sunday. Secondly, Cassandro was probably the most over wrestler on the card, and that's saying something considering the amount of big names that were on it. When he made his entrance, the entire building was standing, even the women. Saying that women love Cassandro would be an understatement. When he pinned Cross to gain the win, he probably the biggest ovation of the night. The crowd also popped big for all of the little antics he pulled before, during and even after his match. Cassandro could be described as a lot of things, but in my book he's simply money. When I see Cassandro, I don't see an exotico or an openly gay wrestler. I see potential dollar signs. I couldn't say enough of how good he is.
- After his match, Damian 666 slipped on the ring steps and took a bad spill to the floor. He grabbed his right foot/ankle and could not get up under his own power. He was helped backstage without putting any weight on his right foot. Rumor began spreading around the arena that he may have broken his ankle, but that has not been confirmed. He did look to be in serious pain after taking the fall.
- Dr. Wagner Jr. and LA PARK had a great match with a lot of entertaining spots. The best one was during the end of the match when they each took the other's mask off and the fans caught a momentary glimpse of their faces. The glimpse was very brief and each finished the match with their masks on, but it pretty cool to see.