More cherry picking here, as we go to Black Label Pro’s show from last week, and Erick Stevens’ latest defence of the BLP title…
Originally called Crown Point Jewel, Black Label Pro had to come up with a new name for this show for reasons that probably don’t need explaining. This one’s from the RDS Gym in Crown Point, Indiana, with commentary from Dave Prazak and Sarah Shockey.
Black Label Pro Championship: Tom Lawlor vs. Erick Stevens (c)
Commentary reminds us that Erick’s retiring again after WrestleMania weekend… so that clock’s a-ticking.
We get going with Lawlor looking for, and getting a waistlock takedown, before Stevens made it into the ropes. An overhead wristlock attempt’s helped when Lawlor trips Stevens, as he proceeded to roll him down for an attempted side armbar, but it’s broken in the ropes as Stevens just slaps Tom’s arse. Another lock-up takes us to a shoulder tackle from Stevens, before some missed punches from Lawlor took us into some pinning attempts as neither man seemed to be able to forge an advantage. Stevens tries to make an opening with a chop, but Lawlor takes him down as we get a long shot of the ref’s arse rather than a scramble on the mat.
Stevens throws a right hand after they stood up, but got met with a mid-kick as Lawlor began to throw some shots… upgrading to chops as “old man Stevens” fought back. Forearms and uppercuts have Erick back in the corner for, yep, more chops, before a missed boot gave Stevens an opening as he pulled the former UFC fighter down into a grounded Octopus stretch. Lawlor manages to roll back to try and pin Stevens, but ends up trapped in an Anaconda Vice briefly, before Stevens let go to try and get Lawlor in the middle of the ring with a Romero special… instead opting to just stomp the knees into the mat after a fake-out. Forearms to the back keep Lawlor down, but Tom’s able to get up and traps Stevens with some right hands and another kick to the back.
PKs follow from Lawlor, which Stevens tries to shrug off, before he caught a kick… only for Lawlor to roll him into a heel hook, then a good ol’ Figure Four. Which Erick broke as he rolled to the floor, taking Tom with him. Oof. Back in the ring, both men were the worse for wear, but it’s Lawlor who’s throwing first, connecting with a clothesline into the corner before he took the champion to the top rope for a superplex. Lawlor holds on… but a second suplex got countered into the End of Heartache suplex/backbreaker combo a la Roderick Strong, before we went back to the forearm strikes. Then chops. Then jabs, as Lawlor looked to pull ahead, only to get caught with a back elbow before he eventually planted Stevens with lifting reverse DDT for a near-fall.
Stevens returns with a full nelson into a backbreaker, before a Tiger Driver brought a near-fall for the champ, but things still remained even as Lawlor looked for a rear naked choke that was broken in the corner… the same corner that Erick swiftly slammed Lawlor into seconds later. Lawlor catches Stevens with a running boot as the latter spent too long playing to the crowd, before a low-angle superplex dumped Stevens, who rolled to the outside. That looked nasty, especially given his recent concussion issues. Lawlor goes outside, but is swept onto the apron as Erick teases a low-pe… and got kicked away. A hook kick in the ropes followed from Lawlor, but he’s met with a fireman’s carry gutbuster and a pumphandle driver in quick succession as the near-falls keep coming. A sit-out Burning Hammer’s next as Lawlor had his go, then again as he countered an O’Connor roll into a rear naked choke, but Stevens rolled free.
Wash, rinse repeat as Lawlor clings on with the rear naked choke for a second and third time, but Stevens again fights free before a hard lariat and a Doctor Bomb STILL only drew a two-count. They go back to strikes as the big throws didn’t work, with Lawlor battering Stevens with flurry of forearms, before he was met with a German suplex… and a spin-out lariat for a one-count?! Now the BLP crowd are on their feet… sort-of… and it’s not long as forearms to the head and a Jackhammer finally gets Stevens the W. I expected this to be hard-hitting and was not disappointed one bit – the pace was a little too deliberate for my tastes at the start, but when this got into gear, they really were swinging for the fences! ***¾