On Thursday, the 4th of July, the Africa Wrestling Alliance, once again, opened up its doors to the public. It was time for another serving of HOUSE OF PAIN at the Parow Civic Centre and the night promised to dish up some serious action indeed.
The most contested and anticipated match would be to determine the rightful ‘Lion of Africa’, with two of South Africa’s biggest stars battling it out for the bragging rights. No one could have guessed what was about to play itself off. But first, this happened:
In the first match of the night, the team of Ed Electric and newcomer, Mark 1, took on Mr. Money and Zaheer Bayat. The latter duo took control of the early stages of the match and controlled the pace beautifully, until Ed Electric was able to swing the momentum with his destructive leg-over neck breaker. His rookie partner added his weight nicely to control Mr. Money. The rich man was able to escape with a tag, but Bayat soon fell to the tactics of The Cape Minstrel and Mark 1. A rolling body press from Zaheer provided the opening for Mr. Money to clean house with a spine buster slam and soon completed the audit with a devastating fireman falcon arrow. Victory for the sub-continent duo.
In the second outing, things started off slowly between former AWA Heavyweight champ, Johnny Palazzio and former Lightweight kingpin, Max ‘the Body’, as the two tried to intimidate the other by absorbing as much of each other’s blows as they could withstand. The dam walls soon overflowed and they were throwing each other from pillar to post in quick time. After initially taking charge with a fisherman’s buster, Max was thrown to the outside of the ring, where impact with the HoP floor swung things in Palazzio’s favour. A double clothesline brought balance back to the battle and Max was back in charge soon after, until he missed an elbow drop aimed at the Italian Stallion’s noggin. Johnny kept the sceptre for a long time, until a massive falling forward slam from the Cameroonian ended his momentum. Unfortunately for Max, he overreached and missed with a moonsault off the top rope. Moments later Palazzio hit the Stallion DDT and got the pin fall victory.
The third offering saw heavyweights; Missing Link, Von Steel, Oz and Sam Swiegers take on each other. Swiegers was quick to point out that Link had apparently lost his chain, which led to the masked man being swarmed by the others. Clearly Swiegers had the wrong info and the big man produced his favourite toy from beneath his outfit and sent the opponents scattering. During the match, each competitor tried to take charge. Von Steele nearly crushed Oz’s spine with a Nelson Bomb. Oz chopped the hell out of Missing Link. Link clotheslined Von Steele’s head off and Swiegers spinning heel kicked Oz. Eventually (and inevitably) the action spilled out of the ring. Link and Von Steele continued brawling in the drinks stand, while Oz ended up smashing a chair across Swiegers’ back and slammed him on the barren floor. Meanwhile, Link returned a bloodied Von Steele to the inside of the ring and drilled him with a chain-wrapped fist. Clearly still dazed, Sam Swiegers, entered the ring illegally and tried to finish the match with his Anaesthesia submission finisher. The referee would have none of it and Swiegers ended up with a Missing Link boot to the ribs and Oz pulling him out of the ring. While Oz and Sam tangled outside, Missing Link finished off the weekend German and collected the “w”.
Two current Champions were up next as the Cruiserweight belt holder, Vinnie Vegas, took on the Lightweight champ, The Little Hillbilly. The action was quick, as expected, and soon Vegas, accompanied by the lovely Kaystar, took over with a thudding side slam. A second effort, however, saw the nimble countryside high-flyer reverse into a spinning head scissors takedown. Later in the match as Vegas was able to take the initiative with a fisherman suplex, none other than Johnny Palazzio sauntered to ringside. Although the Mitchells Plain star was able to maintain the upper hand, he was visibly distracted by his old foe’s presence. The One Man Show’s lack of concentration provided an opening for the Hillbilly, who produced a beautiful electric chair into hurrancarana combo. Vinnie was able to take back the charge with a beautiful swinging neck breaker and it looked like a closed case when he hit the mark with an elbow drop from the top rope. A courageous kick-out from the Hillbilly led to a brief comeback, but a missed wishbone press ended up in a Vegas superkick that nearly took off the Lightweight champ’s head. He somehow survived and with a concerned referee, Kenny Macqueen, checking him up, Palazzio lured Vegas to the outside, where he hit Vinnie with a bottle and whipped him into the ring stairs. After stumbling into the ring, a stunner from Hillbilly sealed the match in his favour, but the drama was far from over. Palazzio continued the beating, until Kaystar low-blowed the Stallion. This drew the ire of Johnny who served the valet with a body slam. Appalled by the gesture, Mr. Money ran out to make the save. The end result? A tag match between Vinnie Vegas / Mr. Money and Johnny Palazio / Little Hillbilly.
Next up was the battle between men, both laying claim to the moniker, ‘Lion of Africa’. The North/South battle between Cape Town’s Shaun Koen and Joburg’s Ananzi started with Koen asserting his power over Ananzi. A brief comeback by the northerner only led to the larger lion from the south levelling him with a cross body press. Ananzi was, however, able to mount a proper rebuttal and laid Koen out with a cracking flying clothesline. He wasn’t able to maximise the pressure with his split-legged moonsault and seemed to inflict damage upon himself, as well in the process. This provided enough space for Koen to get on top, but after the match boiled over to the outside, both wrestlers were counted out after losing focus in the chaos…..
… and then we were reminded that the Oz hadn’t cashed in his “Golden Ticket” contract that he won at the previous year’s Battle Royale. According to prize, he was entitled to any match, at any time, under any conditions. His suggestion: A four-on-two no disqualification handicap match where any of his teammates (The Missing Link, Sam Swiegers & Von Steele) could win him the AWA title by pinning either of the opponents (Koen and a very unwilling Ananzi). What followed was a mauling by the four-man team on the Champ, Koen, with Ananzi doing everything to avoid tagging in. Shaun made a brave comeback and managed to tag in a surprised Ananzi, who actually offered resistance after eating some of Oz’s slaps. It looked like the Lions were getting on the same page, when the younger lion tagged in the older one and proceeded to low blow him. A combined book-end by Link and the treacherous Ananzi was followed up by a soaring splash off the top rope by Oz, who was able to claim the title the same way he lost his first title: Cashing in the golden ticket.
Finally it was time for the Battle Royale to determine the winner of 2013 Golden Ticket contract as well as a splendid new trophy, sponsored by the good folks at CARS INC. The action was wild and furious and the final three appeared to be Max, Ed-Electric and Sam Swiegers. With Sam ailing on the mat, Max and Ed were tussling on the ropes in order to eliminate one another. Suddenly Swiegers pounced and eliminated Max and then there were two… or so we thought. Ed’s sidekick, Roper, had hidden in the crowd and appeared out of nowhere to aid his Minstrel friend. Eventually Swiegers used his size advantage to eliminate the nuggety competitor, who ended up pulling Swiegers out of the ring underneath the bottom rope. With Roper re-entering the ring and assisting Ed in pounding on Sam, the former MMA fighter clamped a guillotine choke on both of the Klopse and continued to pull them over the top rope, with the whole lot tumbling to the hardwood floor. Swiegers got up and slid back into the ring and after confirmation from both refs, was declared the winner of the match, as he had never been deposited over the top rope.
It was a thrilling cliff-hanger finish to a night that contained everything from excitement, treachery, laughs, spills and controversy.