Posted June 14th, 2018 by 1Wrestling News Team

A Matter of Pride Vol. 3 Event Review by Johnny Kashmere (@JohnnyKashmere)

Sunday June 10th 2018

from The Black Box Theater

95 Empire St. in Providence, RI

8pm Bell time

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Rick Cataldo’s “A Matter of Pride Vol. 3” pro wrestling event took place this past Sunday in front of what can only be described as a frenzied, jam-packed crowd in downtown Providence, RI as part of the annual Providence Pride Week. Straight and gay pro wrestlers from around the world (literally) performed in front of the electric crowd as a tribute to growing community of LGBTQ wrestlers and fans in the United States and around the globe.  The former HBO documentary series VICE, which now has their own network, was on hand to film the event for their programming and interviewed many of the wrestlers backstage before the event.

Match 1:  Melina Perez and The Shook Crew (Max Caster & Bryce Donovan) def. “The Boy Diva” Rick Cataldo and The Undressed Express (“Justified” Jesse Vane & “The Stallion” Anthony Lacerra) via pin fall in 10 mins.

“The Boy Diva” Rick Cataldo was set to face off against former WWE Diva and Women’s Champion Melina Perez in a one-on-one matchup.  The two made their entrances to a huge ovation from the crowd and the crowd chanted “This is awesome” before the two even locked up.  As the match was beginning to get underway, The Shook Crew (Max Caster & Bryce Donovan) came to the ring to a thunderous round of boos.  They took the microphone from Ring Announcer/AMOP Commissioner Johnny Kashmere and began berating Melina and claimed that since they were “straight males” they were not here to represent LGBTQ.  This brought out The Undressed Express who sided with Melina.  Things were getting out of hand so Commissioner Kashmere made this into an impromptu six-person tag team match to the fans obvious delight.  So now the match was Rick Cataldo and The Shook Crew vs Melina and The Undressed Express.  The crowd heat for this match was off the charts and all six wrestlers truly shined.  The spot of the night had to go to Melina and Cataldo as they traded stiff punches and slaps from a full split position, paying homage to the “sit down fisticuffs” spot used by many wrestlers on the independents today.  The Shook Crew really came alive once they were in front of the crowd and both showed a lot of charisma.  Both members of The Shook Crew are from Curt Hawkin’s “Create-A-Pro” wrestling school and both have great size and good looks and seem to be a lock for television sometime in their future.  Cataldo has only had one match in the past two years and showed absolutely no signs of any ring rust as she wrestled like the true pro she is.  The finish of the match saw Melina score a pin fall victory over Cataldo around the ten-minute mark.  After the match, The Undressed Express gave both Cataldo and Melina lap dances in the middle of the ring much to the delight of the in house crowd.  Overall this was a perfect opening match as it got the crowd extremely excited and they stayed excited all evening long so the opening match more than did their job.  It was great seeing Melina in action as she proved she hasn’t lost a step and is still beautiful as ever.

Match 2: “The Samoan Diva” Jey Dewhurst def. D.J. Summers via pin fall in 7 mins.

Dewhurst flew in from Sydney, Australia just for this event.  Before the match Dewhurst announced to the crowd that Australia has legalized gay marriage much to their delight.  Solid back and forth match from start to finish from both wrestlers who made their Matter of Pride debuts at this event.  Dewhurst hit the Samoan Drop for the pin fall victory and was the heavy fan favorite in this matchup.

Match 3: “The Retro-Sexual” Anthony Greene def. “The Kid” Vinny Pacifico in 8 mins via a roll up.

In my opinion, after being a wrestler since 1998, Boston native Anthony Greene is the most polished all-around performer I’ve seen in a decade on the indy level.  His facial expressions as a heel are spot on, his charisma is off the charts, he has good height, his physique is improving each week, his wrestling skill and athleticism are both top-notch, and he plays his character perfectly.  I would personally have to rank him as the best all-around wrestler on this event and I really hope to see him in NXT in the years to come.  That being said, he definitely had a great baby face to work off of in this match with Vinny Pacifico.  Vinny is smaller than Anthony and the juxtaposition of the two in the ring created an almost David vs Goliath feel for the crowd.  Vinny showed great babyface fire and rallied the fans behind him, but Greene was also a crowd favorite as “Retro-Sexual” chants echoes throughout the arena on multiple occasions.  Obviously, this is a unique crowd and on most any other indy event Greene would have been universally hated by the fans.  The match was one of the most over of the event and both competitors involved the crowd.  A notable spot was the sunset flip where Pacifico pulled Greene’s tights down to expose his behind.  Greene wrestled for what felt like an eternity before finally pulling up his pants which not surprisingly elicited loud boos from the crowd….so Greene ingeniously read the crowd’s reaction and pulled them back down, a decision that paid off big time as the appreciative crowd grew wilder than ever.  The finish came out of nowhere as Greene school-boy’d Pacifico.  The crowd applauded both athletes after the match and the competitors showed each other mutual respect which reminded the crowd that unity was the theme and purpose of this event taking place.  Great match overall with Greene shining ridiculously bright.

Match 4:  Billy Dixon def. “The Fabulous One” Eddy McQueen in 10 mins.

Dixon is a fantastic babyface and McQueen played a very believable heel.  McQueen somehow put glitter in his beard which sparkled in the lights and created an eye-pleasing visual spectacle for the crowd.  The highlight of the match saw Dixon hit McQueen with a stiff roundhouse kick and the fans erupted as a literal cloud of glitter formed over McQueen’s head upon the kick’s impact.  Impeccable timing on both wrestlers’ part created a picturesque moment that I have to hope someone got a snapshot of. Even if they tried a hundred times they would never be able to recreate that moment so perfectly.  There is something very likable about Dixon and he comes off almost as an “everyman” sort of character.  Everyone has a friend like Dixon so the crowd was easily able to identify with his character and get behind him.  McQueen hit his signature lung blower which looked devastating.  This match served as a great segue into intermission as the fans were hot for McQueen getting pinned after his comical and cocky antics.

Intermission: All of the stars of AMOP Vol. 3 including Melina Perez met and greeted the fans in attendance.  Many of the stars had merchandise for sale and since this show featured free admission, fans really bought a lot of merchandise.  The Shook Crew are merchandizing machines as they had multiple t shirts and banners for sale as well as pictures and a bunch of other items for sale.  Many of the wrestlers who were set to wrestle on the second half of the event even sold plenty of merchandise even though the crowd had yet to see them, which is a testament to their marketability.  Anthony Greene actually has custom fanny packs for sale which popped me big time.  The FEST Heavyweight Champion Effy, who has a degree in marketing, also had numerous items for sale that were all very impressive.

Match 5:  Triple Threat Match.  “The Punk Rock Queen” Jamie Senegal def. “The Immaculate One” Jared Evans and “The Loud Mouth” A.C. Mack via pinfall in a 12 min fast-paced scramble-style match.

All three men were in the ring the entire time and the first man to get the pin was declared the winner.  Jamie Senegal was by far the overwhelming fan favorite of this match and quite possibly the most over babyface of the night.  The fans popped for literally everything Senegal did in the ring.  The high spot of the night was performed by Evans as he hit a springboard moonsault onto both competitors.  I mentioned earlier that I felt Anthony Greene was the MVP of the night, but a close second had to be A.C. Mack.  Everything Mack did was fast-paced, crisp, technically sound, and looked like it was brutal for his opponent.  Mack makes even everyday leg drops look spectacular due to his amazing jumping ability.  Look for the name A.C. Mack on indy event results in the future as he has a bright career ahead of him for sure.  The finish saw Senegal pin Mack and the fans erupted into what was probably the loudest pop of the night thus far.  Senegal shows great promise and is evolving into quite the fan favorite.  All three men performed solidly and this match more than served its purpose as a great “popcorn match” to get the fans back into the show after intermission.

Match 6:  NYWC Starlet Championship Match.  “The Babe with the Power” Willow Knightengale (Champion) def. “She’s a Real Catch” Ashley Vox (Challenger) in what I considered to be “The Match of the Night” in 10 mins via pinfall.

I gave this match the match of the night because the crowd was going insane for everything these two women did in the ring. Multiple “The is Awesome” chants broke out during the course of this match.  Willow is a superb babyface and has a way of commanding the crowd.  She comes off as the Bailey of the independents.  It should be noted that Willow has held the NYWC Women’s Championship for over 400 days (!), which is a feat in the WWE but is pretty much unheard of on the indy scene.  Vox is drop-dead gorgeous and ready for TV as-is.  Both of these women have bright futures in the business and both have cracked the code of getting over in a big way.  The back and forth match saw many near falls that the crowd was super-hot for.  The crowd counted along with the ref as the three count was counted for the finish and the eruption at the end of the match was probably the pop of the night overall.  These women would be a perfect addition to the WWE Women’s Revolution and if I was a betting man I’d bet on Vox getting there sooner rather than later.

Match 7:  Main Event FEST Heavyweight Title Match.  “The Weapon of Sass Destruction” Effy (Champion) def. “The Prince of Petty” Ashton Starr (Challenger) via pinfall.

Effy flew in from Tallahassee, FL to defend his title on this event.  This match was a classic and stood out as a solid “main event style” match.  The match started off with some mat wrestling which was a refreshing change and helped build the match to its apex perfectly.  After a few minutes of the competitors feeling each other out, the match began to take on a much faster pace.  Both men displayed innovative offensive moves and the crowd was strongly behind the champ.  Starr wore boots with colored lights in the soles which made for quite the visual spectacle as the match progressed.    The false finishes at the end were nail-biting and the crowd was there for every kick out.  The finish saw Effy retain his title and after the match Effy addressed the crowd.  He called out Rick Cataldo who organized this event and is the visionary behind the promotion. Cataldo came to the entranceway and Effy thanked him on behalf of the entire locker room for his leadership and dedication to a great cause.  Effy talked about how he traveled here because this show means a lot to him and he feels it’s time for the LGBTQ community to have equal footing in the wrestling business.  This was a very emotional speech and the crowd was noticeably moved by his heartfelt words.  This was the perfect way to end the evening and there was no one in the crowd that left unsatisfied.

I interviewed many of the fans after the event for my “SmokeBreakLIVE” lgbtq pro wrestling talk show that I host daily on my facebook and youtube pages, SUBSCRIBE now using this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJitybtqPnpzKXMcAxh-tKg). Literally EVERY fan I interviewed said that they had a great time.  The next A Matter of Pride event is scheduled for Saturday, August 11th in Long Island, NY at the NYWC arena, more info on this will be coming soon.

Thanks for reading Everyone.


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