June 21, 2005
PWA Night of Champions delivers
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling
EDMONTON - The Prairie Wrestling Alliance faced a lot of pressure Saturday night, both to top their last event and to impress a former WWE star in attendance.
By the time Duke Durrango pinned Chris Steele to end Steele's two-year run as PWA champion, every single one of the 450 fans that packed the NAIT campus gym in Edmonton had gotten more then their money's worth from the "Night of Champions" show.
Durrango's title win capped off an event that saw three new champions crowned. Once one of the most despised men in the promotion, Durrango's feud with Steele saw the fans get behind him, exploding when he suplexed Steele for the pin. Synn won the new "Mayhem title" in a street fight over Tex Gaines, and popular charismatic rookie Mikey Grizzwald proved that working hard pays off when he defeated the company's top cruiserweights in a battle royal to win the cruiserweight title, last eliminating Evan Inferno.
The show stealer was the highly anticipated ladder match between tag team champions The Funky Bunch and the New Karachi Vice. The crowd was on their feet early when Marky Mark ran vertical up a ladder propped against the ringpost and moonsaulted to the floor onto Gama Singh Jr. Fans chanted "Please don't die" as Phoenix Taylor and Tiger Raj Singh fought at the top of the ladder and crashed to the mat. After hitting a double van-terminator on Gama, the champions scaled the 12-foot ladders and hit a their finisher "The Funkinator" before Taylor grabbed the belts and left the fans standing and chanting in respect for all four men.
Even former WWE superstar Lance Storm was impressed. Storm, who is opening a school in Calgary and was at the event to promote it and sign autographs, headed to the ring after the match and stayed "I've heard PWA is the place to be in Alberta and after seeing a match like that I know it's true."
Fans chanted for Storm, who seemed genuinely surprised by the reception. During intermission he shook hands, took pictures and signed autographs until the last fan got their chance.
It was a vitally important night, as a media blitz combined with Storm's appearance brought a lot of new fans not only from Edmonton but outside of Edmonton out to the show. Each person who walked out the doors that night discovered what hardcore fans have known for three years. The PWA is something special, and it's only going to get bigger and better from here. The PWA returns to NAIT on July 9th.
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Jason Clevett is from Calgary...(dramatic pause) Alberta Canada. He is proud to have been given a hug from new Cruiserweight Champion Mikey Grizzwald immediately after he won the belt, despite the side effect of grizzsweat.