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Jason's Saskatoon Diary Day 4: From Legends to Rookies
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling


Pro Outlaw Wrestling's referee George Smiley is named because he always has a giant grin on his face while in the ring. But who can blame his enthusiasm when every night he is refereeing matches involving Sabu and Jerry Lynn?

"I wake up every morning excited about coming to work. It is an honor to be here," said George, who went to High School with Wavell Starr and started refereeing through him last year. "Wavell called me up a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to referee these shows, and there was no way I was going to miss out."

The enthusiasm is contagious backstage at the event, but it is especially evident on the faces of the POW rookies who have been taking advantage of the tour to work as much as possible and learn from the veterans. During every match, these guys are watching from the back or the stands as the masters of the squared circle perform.

"It's been a learning experience for sure." Said El Asesino, a masked high flyer who had his first match in October. ""When I first heard Lynn and Sabu would be coming out, I was excited. Now that I actually get to meet them, they are just like everyone else, just with a certain talent. Seeing them wrestle inspires me to try my best."

The young athletes are lucky to have one of the best minds in the business watching their matches and giving them advice and constructive criticism in SLAM! Contributor Don Callis. Dice Steel was more than happy to listen. "Don Callis and Wavell Starr have been really helpful. Even those that I haven't worked with have pulled me aside and talked to me."

Added Asesino "Don has been great. I have asked him how I have done after matches and he gives constructive criticism. I've only had a handful of matches, so the advice guys like him give is important."

Van Dutch, who had his first match this past winter in a handicapped match against Leatherface learned just from watching matches as well as competing. "I've learned a lot about putting together matches and getting ideas flowing. They are giving us a lot of tips on what to do in the ring."

To step into the ring with Canadian veterans like Starr, Juggernaut and Apocalypse has also contributed to their education. Honey Dipper Dan, the 350 pound mountain man who started training in September of 2001 faced Apocalypse in a singles match and Juggernaut and Crash Crimson in a 3-way on Friday night. "Since they have been around so long they can walk you through a good match. Crash has been training us since day one, so we are learning from a great wrestler. Being in the ring with more experienced guys makes us better wrestlers as well."

The Exhibition shows are different from what the rookies have worked in the past, as fitting three matches into a one hour show means they have to often work 20 minute matches two or three times a day. "The veterans in the ring are the reason why I can do 20 minute matches. They are taking care of the younger guys." Said Steel.

For Asesino, the highlight of the shows has been wrestling Wavell Starr. "He is a great worker and an awesome guy. He helped me through the entire match and made it something great. When he gets a WWE contract, I'll be able to say I faced him."

Steve is a POW trainee who hasn't wrestled yet. He had the opportunity to step into the ring to referee, and being at the shows solidifies his feeling that POW is where he belongs. "I moved here from Flin Flon Manitoba, leaving my friends and family and a decent job behind to come and do this, and it is the best decision I ever made."

In Other POW News.

Although matches throughout the week have catered to a more casual fair-going fan, Friday Night's 9:00 show was the show to watch for diehard wrestling fans.

The opening contest alone was good enough to main event at any promotion in North America as Juggernaut, Crash Crimson and Honey Dipper Dan put on a triple-threat match that featured chairs, Crash diving off the top rope to the floor, and Juggernaut spraying blue mist into Dipper's face. None of these three men are small, and the ring shook with the impact of their slams and suplexes. "It's not very often Crash Crimson is the small guy in the ring" said one ringside fan.

That match wasn't all that POW offered it's fans, as the next match featured Johnny Handsome locking up with Sabu.

"I wasn't that nervous going into the match," said Handsome. "I've been on tour with Sabu five or six times so even though I hadn't wrestled him before I felt comfortable in the ring with him."

At the end of Thursday's 7:00 show Jerry Lynn laid down a challenge to Carnival Champion Wavell Starr to defend his title. That match occurred on Friday in one of the best matches of the Exhibition shows thus far.

"I feel really good about the match. I was nervous going into it because I have never had a chance to work someone the caliber and conditioning of Jerry Lynn. If there was one thing I was skeptical about it was being able to keep up with him in that way. But we did the match and I think we pulled it off ok." Starr had faced Lynn in tag matches the previous two nights and that allowed him to get a feel for working the former ECW Champion. "Even though the other times were tag matches it still helped when it came to the singles match. It's different when you watch a guy on TV compared to watching him from the ring apron."

A few weeks ago in Standoff Alberta Starr had the opportunity to team with Ted Hart against Juggernaut and another superstar, Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart.

"I feel very fortunate at this point in my career to be able to be working with a lot of veterans. Don Callis told me a few years ago that as a young wrestler your greatest asset is veteran wrestlers." It hasn't been just the POW rookies that have been learning this trip. "Whether working a guy like Lynn or just sitting in a car with Sabu I have my ears open and am listening and learning from these people. I am very thankful for that opportunity and hope I get more opportunities to do so in the future."

Day Four Results

4:00 Wavell Starr pinned Van Dutch after a Samoan Drop. Juggernaut beat Dice Steel Third time was the charm for Johnny Handsome, finally beating Apocalypse with the Handsomesault. This time roles were reversed, and Handsome was the face.

7:00 Dice Steel defeated Van Dutch with a flipping Diamond Cutter off the second rope. After the match, Wavell Starr & The Natural attacked Dutch until Steel made the save. He was outnumbered until Handsome made the save, leading to... Wavell Starr & The Natural defeated Johnny Handsome & Dice Steel. Apocalypse beat Honey Dipper Dan with a Shining Wizard kick to the head.

9:00 Crash Crimson won a triple-threat match over Juggernaut & Honey Dipper Dan when he pinned Dan after a elbow from the top. Sabu pinned Johnny Handsome when Handsome missed a second rope moonsault, hit the chair, and was finished off with a second-rope Arabian facebuster. Wavell Starr defeated Jerry Lynn after hitting him in the face with the Carnival Championship. Lynn challenged Starr for a rematch on Sunday night, and the challenge was accepted.

Jason Clevett is finding it hard to be out in the blazing Saskatoon sun all day, and can't imagine how much harder it is to go out and wrestle in it. He still is lacking a giant fuzzy snake.