May 14, 2006
Stampede Wrestling - Past, present and future collide
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling
COCHRANE, AB -- In the world of professional wrestling things often don't go as planned. Devon Nicholson, promoting Friday night's Stampede Wrestling card at the Spray Lakes Sawmill Sportsplex in Cochrane had reason to be worried. Rhino had no-showed the event with little notice, meaning one of his main draws was scrapped. So Nicholson and the rest of the Stampede Wrestling stars did what they had to do -- put on a good a show as possible. They not only met this goal, they exceeded it.
While fans seemed to take the loss of Lance Storm vs. Rhino well (Storm made a speech to apologize to fans but didn't wrestle) Nicholson had other reasons to be worried. The main event of the card featured him facing off with legendary madman Abdullah The Butcher. Abdullah was quiet during pre-show and intermission as fans lined up for pictures, as if contemplating exactly what he would do to his opponent. The answer -- make him a bloody mess as the two brawled throughout the arena.
Nicholson went on the offensive right off the bat, kicking Abdullah in the head as he tried to enter the ring, then started pounding him on the outside, busting him open early in the match. Abdullah turned the tables however when he found a glass beer bottle, shattered it, and proceeded to carve Nicholson up. Fans stood in awe and snapped pictures as Abdullah pulled out his trademark fork and went in front of each section of fans to ensure they got a good look at the tines stabbing into the head and tearing into the mouth of their local hero. The two brawled around ringside as cameramen and photographers scrambled to get out of the way and not slip in pools of blood, before they headed over to a table, where Abdullah repeatedly slammed Nicholson into it, nearly bending the plastic table in two.
It soon became apparent that nothing could keep these two apart. Referee Rene Richards was busted open with a fork. Another referee was press slammed over the top rope to the floor. The locker room emptied with wrestlers trying to pry the two blood soaked warriors apart and that failed as well. In the end, the match was thrown out as the two continued to batter each other to the back.
The other end of the wrestling spectrum was presented in the semi-main event, as long time friends and tag team partners TJ Wilson and Harry "Bulldog" Smith locked up in Smith's final Stampede Wrestling match before heading to WWE Raw. The emotional contest was a back and fourth wrestling clinic. Late in the match the high impact moves picked up, including Wilson and Smith repeatedly fighting for control of the top rope before Smith succeeded with a delayed vertical suplerplex. Wilson came back with a suplex of his own and a flying elbowdrop for a two count. A modified Texas Cloverleaf failed to make Smith submit. The two battled in the corner, where Smith shoved Wilson off the top rope onto the apron. Wilson rebounded with an attempt at a springboard jump over frankensteiner, which Smith blocked and planted Wilson with a sick top rope sit out powerbomb for the three count.
After the match, friends and fellow wrestlers filled the ring to pay tribute to Smith, who was presented with a plaque and a giant card signed by fans in attendance. Visibly emotional, Smith thanked Wilson for being his best friend and partner, his friends and family, current Stampede Wrestling promoter Bill Bell "for not letting the legacy of Stampede Wrestling die" and each fan who has supported him since he started wrestling over a decade ago.
Also featured on the show was former Stampede Wrestling North American Champion The Honky Tonk Man, who showed in his match with "Dirty" Duke Durrango that he can still entertain the fans and put on an enjoyable match.
The show, which was taped for an upcoming DVD release, was by all means a total success. It speaks to the talent base of Stampede Wrestling who turned a negative situation into a positive one. Rhino vs. Lance Storm was a reason many people originally bought there tickets, but not a single person who walked out of the door would have felt like they didn't get their moneys worth. Each and every person busted their ass and had a great match, and the crowd fed off of it. As for Nicholson, at the end of the night he was bruised, drenched in blood, and happy that the night came off as a success. Stampede Wrestling continues to often be an undiscovered gem by wrestling fans in Calgary. Hopefully fans who attended that night will have seen the local talent shine, and continue to support the promotion.
Results for Stampede Wrestling Friday, May 12 in Cochrane, AB
The next show Stampede Wrestling show will be at the Ogden Legion Hall in Calgary on May 26.
PHOTO GALLERY OF THE COCHRANE SHOW
Jason Clevett shot ringside and learned quickly to run like hell and avoid slipping in pools of blood while photographing an Abdullah The Butcher match.