July 14, 2005
Take me out to the BrawlgameFourth Ballpark Brawl set for Friday
By DAVE HILLHOUSE - SLAM! Wrestling
On Friday, July 15th at 7:00 PM, Buffalo’s Dunn Tire Park will be filled with the familiar smell of pretzels, the traditional glow of the baseball field under the lights, and the sounds of … chest-slapping chops? Ballpark Brawl IV returns for its fourth show at the home of the Buffalo Bisons with “Friday Night Smash”, a card that promoter Chris Hill says is filled with wresters that “top to bottom, are main-eventers anywhere.”
Hill talked to SLAM! during one of the busiest weeks in his year, saying “I’ve done more negotiations for this show than for any other”, and that “political issues have been frustrating, but my job is to put together the best matches for the fans.” In trying to do just that, Hill had to act quickly to replace Terry Funk on the card after he had to bow out to take care of personal matters. Hill managed to replace one living legend with another, bringing “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes into the “All America City”. The perpetually jazzed-up Rhodes has promised to take care of “bidness” as he has always done.
Rhodes will be matched up against Kid Kash, and Hill is excited to point out the history between these two. Not only have they faced off in the past (as when Kash teamed with Dallas to retain their NWA Tag Titles in June of 2004, beating Rhodes and James Storm), but Kash was released from his TNA contract while Rhodes was in charge of booking, adding to the history these two will bring into their match.
Rhodes and Kash are headlining a card filled with many familiar names, and some performers who will try their best to make the casual fans remember their names long after the event has passed. When “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles takes on “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, it will be another installment in their long-standing run of excellent matches. “They remind me of Flair and Steamboat from the 80’s, when nearly every federation in every territory had that match because they were just that good, “says Hill. “From the 90’s, I would liken them to RVD and Jerry Lynn. [Styles and Daniels] are the best, absolutely the best,” he raves.
Hill promises one more surprise for those in attendance, something that had him striking a deal with another federation. To have this mystery match occur, against the wishes of a certain federation, the match could not be promoted. Hill says to expect “one of the scheduled matches to change, and in its place will be a match-up that no-one thought they’d ever see.” Hill is tight-lipped about the identity of all parties involved, but he did say that the federation in question is not WWE or TNA.
The rest of the night will include Teddy Hart, the nephew of Bret “The Hitman” Hart, facing off against Jay Lethal for the first time. AJ Styles has promised a surprise for Hart that Hill says, without giving anything away, “will have people talking for a very, very long time.” The Backseat Men (Trent Acid & Johnny Kashmere) will reunite for the first time in two years; Matt Striker, who appeared on Raw this week, will be seen in an as-of-yet undetermined role; and Scott D’Amore has announced that he’ll be introducing a new member of Team Canada. Chris Sabin, Petey Williams, Roderick Strong, John McChesney, Cody Steel and a mystery competitor will participate in an elimination 6-Man Scramble match. The women’s division will be represented with April Hunter taking on Ariel. Bobby Rude will make an appearance, “Slyck” Wagner Brown has sent an open challenge to Western New York, and the night will feature the return of Abyss.
As for the setting of the ballpark itself, Hill says “We try to create a very unique environment. The ring will be in right field to create more of an intimate setting. It’s not your typical indie experience. It’s worth the drive from Canada.” He also expressed a bit of relief that the show would not have to follow a baseball game, and therefore suffer from having an undetermined start time. “Bell time will be 7:00,” he is happy to say with certainty.
Dave Hillhouse will be attending his first Ballpark Brawl. He’ll be the one trying to start “The Wave” in the 7th inning stretch. Any guess on some of the surprises to be unveiled Friday night should be promptly sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.