We take a look at the debut show from a promotion based out of Portugal, headed up by former wXw academy standout Goldenboy Santos.
Luis Mestre & Luis Mira pinned Baltazar & Paulo Cruz in 12:44 (**¾)
Joao Milao submitted Damiao and Rafael Pedras in 7:31 (**½)
No Disqualification Match: Lobo Iberico pinned Nelson Pereira in 13:52 (***)
Claudia Bradstone submitted Amira in 8:23 (**½)
Almada Cup Match: Goldenboy Santos pinned Leo Rossi in 20:15 (***½)
Almada Wrestlefest is a new promotion based out of Almada, Portugal… and if your knowledge of Portuguese geography is as bad as mine, then I can tell you it’s on the other side of the River Tagus as Lisbon, sort of on the Atlantic coast. Look it up on Google Maps and you’ll know what I mean…
Anyway, Portugal isn’t exactly known as a hotbed in the European wrestling scene, with Killer Kelly, Shanna and Goldenboy Santos perhaps three of the better known names to those who follow the independents (and lately, the mainstream groups in the US), while promotions like CTW and Wrestling Portugal run somewhat frequently. Almada Wrestlefest looks to add to that, with their debut show here from the Casa Amarela.
Baltazar & Paulo Cruz vs. Luis Mestre & Luis Mira
At least I’m not at risk of having kale spat on me this time around… if you know, you know! Cruz is the reigning Wrestling Portugal Honra champion, which is something even Cagematch doesn’t even list… he also loves to be adorned with medals, judging from his entrance.
Baltazar and Mira start us off with a shoving match, and Baltazar backing off to tag in Cruz. Mira and Cruz trade holds to start… Mestre tries to keep it up, but ran into a drop toe hold before Mestre e Mira had Cruz cornered. Baltazar couldn’t quite break up a double-team suplex, but he had more luck booting Mira through the ropes as that led to a near-fall. Mudhole stomping from Baltazar keeps the bad guys ahead, as did a double-team clothesline, complete with a yin-and-yang style of delivery from Baltazar and Cruz. Mira’s kept isolated, even more so when Cruz pulls Mestre off the apron to prevent a tag, which the crowd HATED.
Eventually Mestre gets the hot tag, running wild on Cruz and Baltazar, as the pair hit an accidental DDT for a near-fall. Baltazar’s back in as Cruz fought with Mestre at ringside, leading to a distraction that would have led to Baltazar cracking Mira with a belt shot. Except a kid comes in the ring to stomp on Baltazar’s foot and hit a stunner as Mira took the win with a Busaiku-style knee. **¾
Mira e Mestra and the kid celebrate after the match – although the kid’s drink wasn’t quite as strong!
Joao Milao vs. Damiao vs. Rafael Pedras
We’ve got a trio of different characters here in Milao, Damiao, and Pedras… who’s using Biff Busick’s old Bro Hymn theme.
Damiao’s dispatched early as Milao and Pedras start with leapfrogs, drop downs and armdrags at quite a clip. Returning, Damiao pulls Pedras out and superkicks Milao into the corner for a hesitation dropkick, before Pedras and Milao combined to boot Damiao in the ropes. The pair fight on the apron, with Milao getting knocked to the floor, but Damiao cuts off Pedras on the top rope ahead of Milao returning to spark the Tower of Doom. Milao capitalises with running double knees, going corner-to-corner, then a wacky double flip stunner off the top rope for a pair of two-counts.
The three-way spots continue with Pedras’ slingshot sunset flip turning into a wild release German suplex to Milao, before Pedras’ Bloody Sunday and frog splash splatted Damiao for a near-fall. Damiao keeps Milao outside with a dive, before Pedras’ slingshot into him kept all three on the floor… as Milao headed up for a crossbody into the pile. Milao and Damiao’s found a scaffolding rig at the back of the room, which the pair fight up… they fall down as Pedras hopped up something sent and cannonballed off it. Pedras stayed ahead with a springboard cutter back inside, but Milao breaks up the cover before he managed to trap Damiao in a Muta lock for the submission. The match itself was fine, but for the length they had, they crammed way too much into that time. Still, the crowd enjoyed it, but I’d have preferred it to be a little more paced or them have a little longer. **½
No Disqualification: Lobo Iberico vs. Nelson Pereira
Pereira used to be known as “Super Kid” but here he came out as “super violent” for this no DQ outing… while Iberico had a belt ready and waiting, like Ultimo Guerrero.
Pereira’s swinging with a Kendo stick early on, but Iberico uses his belt to wrestle it from Nelson as we moved into whipping and choking. We get the comedy recoil spot as Lobo swings the Kendo stick at Pereira, but instead hits the turnbuckle and himself before he was taken into the corner for a cannonball. On the outside, Lobo sweeps the leg as Nelson’s sent into the side of the ring, before Lobo chucked a guy out of his seat and threw Nelson into it. Lobo accidentally chops the ring post as Nelson took over, throwing plunder into the ring such as baking trays and chairs… and a wet floor sign? The pair duel with not-the-chairs as things broke down into a hockey fight, before Lobo cracked the Kendo stick across Pereira’s back.
A stick-assisted low blow got Nelson back into it though, as did a bulldog out of the corner, which earned a two-count. Lobo chokes Pereira into the corner, prompting someone to run from the back to make the save… allowing Pereira to waffle Lobo with the baking tray a couple of times. The guy who ran in hands Nelson a lifesize cardboard cutout of someone, as I show my lack of knowledge even more, before Lobo accidentally charged into said figure in the corner.
Heading back outside, Pereira pulls a ladder from under the ring… he throws Lobo into it, then was given a similar trip seconds later before Lobo’s Million Dollar Dream was broken up by that guy from earlier, who this time cracked him with the wet floor sign. Ultimately though, Lobo kills the guy with a chokeslam, sending him packing as Nelson began to find his way back into it. Pereira places Lobo onto the closed ladder, landing a back senton… then a flying Codebreaker for good measure. Lobo got a foot on the rope in the nick of time to save the match… so Nelson grabs some wood from under the ring, propping it by the buckles only to ultimately get caught with a German suplex for a near-fall. A Razor’s edge through the board follows, and that’s enough to end a decent plunder match – although one I suspect I’d have enjoyed more had I had a little more background knowledge. ***
Amira vs. Claudia Bradstone
I must admit, it’s been a long while since I’ve seen Amira wrestle – she’s doing her best here to get the Portuguese crowd to boo her, while Claudia got a loud reaction for her entrance. Heck, she even got streamers, which caught me off guard…
Amira jumps Bradstone at the bell, landing a front kick into the corner, before choking Bradstone in the ropes. Some boot choking followed, but Bradstone booted her away ahead of hanging her up in the ropes. A wacky backflip from the apron into the ring drew a two-count for Bradstone, prompting Amira to powder outside to try and take the sting out of things. Amira distracts the ref as she proceeded to hang up Bradstone in the ropes, bringing her out with a neckbreaker. Bradstone’s kept down with an arm whip, before a delayed chop in the corner only served to piss off Claudia, who showed her how it was done. Except Bradstone just runs into Amira’s knee seconds later, ahead of a swinging Fisherman neckbreaker and a back senton from Amira for a two-count.
Uppercuts eventually rile up Bradstone, who returned with a clothesline, before landing a belly-to-belly to Amira for a near-fall. What looked like a Cloverleaf attempt by Bradstone’s escaped as Amira returned with a DDT, only to miss a charge into the corner as Bradstone ends up hitting a German suplex before a Boston crab forced the submission. **½
Almada Cup: Leo Rossi vs. Goldenboy Santos
Before the match, they replayed clips from a press conference that ended with Santos getting water thrown on him, and from what I can recall of the build-up, a loss would have been the end of Santos’ career.
We’ve a measured start here, with Rossi and Santos squaring off… Santos works the arm and wrist early on, rolling with Rossi’s attempts to escape ahead of a Magistral cradle that drew a two-count and had Rossi powdering to the outside. Returning to the ring didn’t bring a change of luck for Rossi, at least until he slapped Santos on the break as the referee had to hold Santos back… ahead of armdrags and chops to Rossi. A headlock keeps Rossi grounded, as Santos was looking in control of things, keeping calm as Rossi escaped, going back to a headlock takedown seconds later. Leapfrogs and dropdowns lead us back to a hiptoss on Rossi, who then ran into a diving uppercut as Santos’ Gorilla Press slam almost won the match.
Rossi rolls back outside as he looked to bail, but that just baited Santos in for a scrap, as Rossi threw a drink in Santos’ face before shoving him into the ring steps. Rolling Santos back in, Rossi tees up for a DDT that gets him a two-count, while a dropkick cut off Santos’ attempt at a comeback. Santos’ back elbow knocks Rossi out of the corner, but another DDT has the Goldenboy down for a near-fall. The pair jockey over a suplex, with Rossi opting to rake Santos’ back instead before Santos dumped him with a brainbuster. It’s back to the strikes from Santos, who trapped Rossi in the corner with uppercuts, eventually tripping him onto his arse ahead of a cannonball for a near-fall.
Rossi tries to fight back, but gets thrown outside as Santos followed out with a tope, before a Bitter End almost got the win back inside. We’ve a ref bump after Rossi charged Santos into the official… then added in a low blow for the hell of it. Out comes the plunder as Rossi pulls out the baking tray from earlier in the night… seconds later, it’s rather more shaped like Goldenboy’s head. Rolling the referee back in, Rossi tees up for a Busaiku knee, before a swinging facebuster earned a delayed two-count from the recovered ref. Cue the locker room emptying as they started banging the ring to give Goldenboy some encouragement, and it almost worked as he snatched a near-fall from an inside cradle… then again after a soul-evaporating Midas Touch lariat… and once again from a Blue Thunder bomb!
It almost was beginning to feel like Santos’ days were numbered, as we moved into the yay/boo punches ending with a poke to the eye from Rossi. Santos keeps swinging, but runs into a superkick before a brainbuster from Rossi almost put him away. A piledriver’s next, but Santos kicks out before the ref even began counting…
Rossi tries to snuff out Santos, but he runs though a clothesline, then hauled up Rossi for a Burning Hammer… which still wasn’t enough. A diving forearm keeps the kick-outs a-coming, only for one more Midas Touch lariat to finally put Rossi down for the count and keep Santos’ career alive. The crowd were hot throughout for this one, which helped, particularly as they’d initially cheered both men – but as we got closer to the finish, the crowd favourite was clear, as was their love for the result after Santos had swung for the fences. ***½
If it weren’t obvious, I came into this with little-to-no knowledge of Portuguese wrestling (or the language!) – and while the lack of any kind of commentary on this show may well have hindered things, all of the key points came across well. This wasn’t a show where Almada hit reset and insisted their universe was the only one – as judged by the crowd’s reactions all night long. Production-wise, for a first shot, Almada did pretty well with a mixture of cameras – including a motorised one on the ring post, a la AEW, and while there were some issues with focus, it’s no different to what you’d see across several indies across the world.