A Taste Of ‘Old School’, Courtesy Of Texoma Pride Wrestling
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On Friday nights, I’m typically bumming around the house, watching Smackdown and generally avoiding the human race. This past Friday (September 21st) however, I decided to crawl out of my recliner and check out the Texoma Pride Wrestling show in Sherman, TX. I knew a few of the names I was to see, and was looking forward to seeing what some of the more unknown wrestlers would bring to the table. Not only did I get to see almost 2 and a half hours of quality pro wrestling, I was also lucky enough to witness a bit of history be made as well.
Texoma Pride Wrestling is a quintessential ‘old school rasslin’ promotion, and I mean that in the very best way. From the down home (and very vocal) crowd to the no-frills, smash mouth style, TPW reminded me of what initially drew me to wrestling as a kid growing up on WCCW and Mid-South. The wrestlers told a story, as opposed to jumping around the ring at a million miles per hour without ever holding the attention of the fans. There wasn’t a bunch of high flying, there weren’t 500 moves a minute, and the connection between the wrestlers and fans was instant. Several of the heel performers, including a wrestler out of Oklahoma named Dane Griffin and Carson out of Austin, Texas, continually barked at the crowd, keeping the fans engaged. Despite what WWE wants you to believe, a headlock can still get the crowd stirring, you just have to commit to it and work the crowd, as opposed to letting the crowd work you. Both of these men, including a massive but agile wrestler by the name of “The Largeador” Michael Faith, who had a particularly funny/entertaining match with “The Manimal” Aaron Prough, all stepped up big in this area.
About halfway into the show, an announcement of fairly large significance was made, as the fans were told Texoma Pride Wrestling had become an affiliate of the NWA, the oldest sanctioning body in the history of professional wrestling. The change means not only a new name, Texoma Pride Wrestling will now be called NWA Texoma, but will also mean an influx of even more talent currently wrestling under the NWA umbrella for the local promotion. This fact was proven when current NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Kevin Douglas stepped out of the curtain to take on local luchador “The Mayan Warrior” Aski. I’d previously seen Douglas’ work on NWA Hollywood, and enjoyed his matches he had against Nick Madrid and Johnny Yuma. With the title on the line in Texoma, “The Modern Day Hero” took it to Aski, and after effectively grounding him, picked up the win to retain his title. During a short intermission, during which time autographs and various forms of merch were sold, I had the chance to talk to Douglas for a minute. Really good guy, was nice enough to snap a picture with my sister, and in the process made himself a new fan. I guess she’s got a thing for a guy with a cool cape.
Once intermission ended, we were treated to yet another NWA Title match, this time with local wrestler Kevin Morgan squaring off against the NWA National Heavyweight Champion, “The Tokyo Monster” Kahagas. I wasn’t aware Kahagas was gonna be at the show, so I popped when he walked out of the back. If you’ve not seen his work, you’re missing out. This guy has a great look, works a Muta-esque gimmick, and throws some absolutely vicious chops. Kahagas’ open hand slaps to poor Morgan’s chest and back sounded like gunfire and left him with an upper body riddled with busted blood vessels. The fans ate it up.
A Triple Threat Match followed for the TPW Texas Rose Women’s Championship. Current champion, Kyra Maya took on graduate of Team Taz Dojo, Starr Venus, and current Anarchy Championship Wrestling Joshi Champion, Barbi Hayden in an entertaining match that really showed off Hayden’s skills as a quality heel performer. Whether she was attempting to broker deals with both Starr and Maya, screaming at fans, or taking cheap shots while the ref’s back was turned, Hayden was clearly the most polished of the trio and did an excellent job. Maya retained her title, but both Starr and Hayden looked good in the loss.
The Main Event was a matchup between TPW Heavyweight Champion, Tim Storm and former WWE prospect, Byron Wilcott. Storm, a veteran of several independent promotions was a clear cut fan favorite and is a bonafide local babyface hero. He received hugs from several fans at ringside prior to the match and, despite being 47 years old, looked to be in the best physical condition of his career. Wilcott, ever the heel, even going so far as to cover his face and tell me to stop taking his picture, poked the crowd continually, drawing their ire from the moment he stepped out from the locker room. Though I haven’t seen him wrestle more than just a few times, Wilcott looks like one of those guys who just got lost in the WWE shuffle. He’s got the look for sure, and his work is sound. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him on a much bigger stage later on down the line. After a back and forth between the two men, Carson and “The Largeador” hit the ring and put the boots to Storm, forcing a DQ. Mike Foxx, a former NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion then cleared the ring with a folding chair, saving Storm from further damage.
NWA Texoma has a new fan in yours truly. It’s not flashy, it’s not polished, but it’s damned entertaining. I like knowing in this age of highspots and crazy explosions, NWA Texoma and promotions of similar style are retaining a bit of that old school edge. I love the circus, and WWE has a Big Top just loaded with bright lights and even brighter stars, but promotions like NWA Texoma remain vital to the industry. It’s good to see there are still wrestling companies out there continuing to give fans a taste of what it was like before Vince McMahon ruled the world.