Ballpark Brawl to field stacked lineup
Sunday's show has a who's who of the independent wrestling scene
BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling
There's a bad Canadian joke out there where someone says they were watching a fight when all of a sudden, a hockey game broke out. Three years ago, fans of the minor league baseball team the Buffalo Bisons went to a ball game and a wrestling match broke out. Three years later, the Ballpark Brawl is still going strong -- and it's no joke.
This Sunday at 2 p.m., Ballpark Brawl returns to the Dunn Tire Park in downtown Buffalo, featuring what might be the heaviest-stacked independent wrestling card of the year. Over 50 stars will be appearing at the show, including many of today's top names, tomorrow's brightest talents, and a true wresting legend.
SLAM! Wrestling caught up with the founder and brainchild of the Brawl, Christopher Hill, days before this monumental event.
"I'm really excited for this show," said Hill. "From an indy standpoint, some of the best talent in the country will be there. From TNA, we've got Samoa Joe, Monty Brown, X-Division champ Low-Ki, and Christopher Daniels. We've got the Ring of Honor champion -- whoever that may be on Sunday, be it Nigel McGuiness, Bryan Danielson, or Colt Cabana. As well as Chris Hero
and Claudio Castagnoli, who are right on the cusp of being the big names in this sport."
Also making an appearance will be WWE Hall-of-Famer and former World Champion, Sgt. Slaughter. Sunday also marks Slaughter's birthday, and a celebration is expected, including cake, "even though," joked Hill, "there's never been a cake celebration in wrestling that hasn't ended up badly. Sarge isn't booked to appear in a match, but he has said that if anyone at the show disparages the USA, he'll be right there, so who knows what can happen? I'm really excited about having Sarge there," he continued. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Two other names that have people buzzing are Steve Corino and Teddy Hart, who are participants in a four-way tournament to determine the two men who will compete against the ROH champion in a title-on-a-pole match. Corino faces Samoa Joe in the first round, while Hart takes on Daniels. Given the storied bad blood between Corino and Hart stemming from a few years ago, it will be very interesting to see if those two get a chance to square off against each other.
"Even beyond Corino," Hill pointed out, "Teddy's pissed off the other two guys as well. So no matter what, it'll be really interesting to see what happens. That's the one thing that's become real clear through all this: everybody is so polarized about him. Either people love Teddy Hart or they hate him. Fans and wrestlers alike."
"Another match I'm really looking forward to," Hill continued, "is John McChesney taking on Phil Atlas, which will take place (early on the undercard). It's funny, because Phil is pretty well known in Canada and not so much in the U.S., and John is the opposite. (McChesney) was recently on Raw, taking on Umaga, and did a great job. That match could very easily be on the main show, the fact that it's on the pre-show just shows how much other good stuff we've got going on that day."
It's that kind of good stuff that has helped Ballpark Brawl earn a reputation for putting on great shows. Hill says that this one may be the best ever.
"We're expecting our largest turnout ever for this show," he claimed proudly. "I've heard from a lot of people who were very supportive of us, but never had the chance to come live before. A lot of them are coming to see this one in person."
And hopefully, he says, a lot of them will be coming from across the Canadian border. The fan base from Toronto and south-western Ontario in general has been very supportive of the shows in the past, and Hill hopes that trend will continue this weekend.
"From the first show, we've tried to really feature Canadian talent. Our third show, Canadian Carnage, was pretty much all Canadians (that day saw a reunion of the Hart Foundation, and matches featuring Harry Smith and Nattie Neidhart among others). This one doesn't have as overt a Canadian presence, but there will be some surprises that will definitely have a Canadian feel."
Other matches to take place will include a four-team tables match and a female tag match, both of which Hill says will be unlike anything ever seen at previous Brawl shows.
"There's going to be something for everyone on the show," summed up Hill. "There'll be some funny stuff, some great psychology-based matches, some spot-fests with a whole bunch of broken tables, a little bit of everything."
For more information and to buy tickets, go to www.BallParkBrawl.com
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Bob Kapur will be attending Ballpark Brawl this Sunday. Buy him some peanuts and cracker jack, and e-mail him at email@example.com