What’s that? Some new empty arena content? With names that we don’t usually cover? Let’s take a look…
Punk Pro Wrestling filmed some shows in front of no fans, and by the look of it, these seem to be at the Gulf View Event Center in New Port Richey, Florida. It’s the regular home of the WWN-friendly promotion ACW, and a venue that was used once for Style Battle (the one with Nathan Cruz in, and very few fans).
This one’s up on YouTube and commentary for this one comes from Zac Romero and Christian Override.
Ron Bass Jr vs. Logan Cruz in 2:30 (**)
Ellie pinned Justin Blax in 8:00 (**½)
WNRN Internet Champion Hunter Law pinned Kwane Nas in 7:45 (***)
Ron Bass Jr. vs. Logan Cruz
Ron Bass did have a son, but I don’t know whether it’s this guy or whether it’s a “The Giant is Andre’s son” gimmick…
We start with Bass shoving Cruz away from a lock-up, before Cruz’s partner in the “G1fted”, Wheezy T caught Bass by dropping his arm across the top rope. Cruz capitalises by cornering Bass and wrapping the arm around the ropes, before he landed a dropkick and a diving elbow as Bass was on all fours. A standing moonsault gets Cruz a near-fall, before he went for a shoulder tackle… which was an ill-advised move, as Cruz just bounced off of Ron. Bass is selling his arm from earlier, so Cruz comes back with some shots, but slaps were again a bad plan of attack as he ends up being pulled into a short-arm clothesline.
Cruz spins from another clothesline, and that’s all folks. Right on the border of being “too short to rate”, but this was a decent squash as Cruz’s plan of attack quickly came undone. **
We’ve a promo next from Justin Blax. He’s facing Ellie next, and he’s not impressed with her “superhero” character. I wonder if Brian Cage is impressed with having one of his nicknames lifted here… Ellie responds ahead of her match with the “king of the get your shit in” matches. Is that meant to be a good thing? Anyway, she rags on him as “nothing special” before promising to put his career in the big.
Justin Blax vs. Ellie
Ellie’s been around the US indies for a short while, mostly in Florida, as part of the International Superstars. She was meant to be heading over to Europe in 2019, but as soon as I say “OWE:UK”, you’ll probably know why that didn’t happen…
Commentary puts this over as a grudge match, so we start with geeing up the no-crowd as Blax and Ellie traded hotels early on. Waistlock, to headlock, to snapmare… then a chinlock as Blax looked to push on. Blax grabs the hair to take Ellie to the corner, but she ducks a shot in the buckles before she found herself taken down with a shoulder tackle. Ellie catches Blax by surprise with a roll-up, before lighting him up with forearms and chops… she checks a superkick then came in with a shoulder charge into the corner. Blax pushes away a bulldog as Ellie had to Matrix past a clothesline… but Blax is back with a a floatover suplex as these two really were GTSI.
Blax grounds Ellie with a double armbar stretch, letting go to ragdoll her with pendulum backbreakers, following up with a stretch over the knee as this was going old school. Ellie gets free with jawbreakers, but runs into a tiltawhirl backbreaker that he turned into a Dragon Sleeper-like submission. Blax keeps Ellie in the corner with forearms, before a floatover attempt from Ellie was neatly turned into almost a rebound enziguiri. She follows that up with a roll-through that’s blocked, before Blax misses a charge into the corner, with Ellie also coming up short as she got caught on the top rope. An uppercut stops her as Blax pulls a page out of Speedball Mike Bailey’s book, crossing her legs for a Flamingo Driver, but it’s not the finish!
Picking up Ellie. Blax looks to go for Austin Theory’s Ataxia finisher, but she gets out and hits a satellite DDT instead, before draping an arm over him for a two-count. Ellie slaps the mat to get the onlookers going, before she punted Blax with a pump kick, starting a comeback with some atomic drops and a rolling elbow. A springboard facebuster’s next, but Blax kicks out before Ellie went up top… and got caught again.
Ellie tries to club Blax away, but he joins her up top for a superplex… but he’s chokeslammed to the mat before an elbow drop off the top drew a near-fall. She tries to finish off Blax, but her kick’s caught and turned into a nice spinning Ki Krusher, which still isn’t the finish. How?! Blax shoves the ref, who responds to the first sign of dissent with a Stunner, before Ellie chokeslammed Blax for the win. If you’re so inclined, you could probably tear this apart for stuff like wonky selling, other wrestlers’ finishers being used in the middle of the match, and the weird thing with the ref at the end, but they flat out told you this was a “get your shit in match”, and as such, it was a fun, inoffensive scrap that killed some time. **½
We’ve got an old-school Sega Genesis advert… just because.
WNRN Internet Championship: Hunter Law (c) vs. Kwame Nas
Law’s defended this belt around Florida, but good luck finding a coherent lineage. It’s one of “those belts” Cagematch doesn’t track.
We start with Law taking down Nas in a wristlock, then to the mat, before Nas countered with headscissors as Law kipped up out of it. Nas goes back with a waistlock, but Law breaks it and takes him down again as he returned the favour with headscissors, forcing Nas to kip up as well. A side headlock from Law ends with Nas shoving him into the ropes for a shoulder tackle, following up with an impressing standing dropkick for a near-fall.
Nas went for a suplex, but Law counters with a small package for a near-fall, before he played cat and mouse, teasing Nas into the corner as he came in with a running boot, before Law went for a crossbody. It’s caught, with Nas turning it into a spinning, swinging side slam for a near-fall. Way too many S’s there! Law rolls outside for a breather, but returned as Nas stayed on top of him with an elbow to the face for another two-count. A suplex follows, this time for a one-count, so he stretches Law with a chinlock that forced the champion into the ropes. Hunter’s back with some right hands and chops, but Nas responds with a hattrick of running elbow drops to get yet another two-count.
A chinlock wears down Law again, but Hunter breaks free before he ate a bodyslam in the middle of the ring. Nas goes up top, but Hunter catches him with a superkick before he could get to the top rope, before bringing him down out of the corner with an over-the-knee Tower of London. JESUS.
Nas somehow kicked out from that, before Law missed a running kick and instead took a spinning enziguiri. A corkscrew suplex has Nas back in it, getting a near-fall, before Law elbowed out of a Fireman’s carry… only to get caught with a big spinning back suplex. It’s good for a near-fall though, as Nas took his time making the cover. Law pulls Nas to the outside, but the challenger’s right back in… then gets thrown into the corner where he looked to hit a moonsault. There was no way Nas was hitting that, as Law got into the corner… then came back in with a diving kick for the win. At a shade under eight minutes, this hit the sweet spot in terms of empty arena matches without any story going in – and while Law snuck out with the win, I enjoyed Nas’ powerful offence, even if it didn’t feel like he was building to any particular finish. **¾
We’ve more ads, with Fully Gimmicked’s merch getting a shout out, before the closing credits blended into an advert for Punk Pro’s Pivotshare that went longer than the opening match.
Coming in at under half an hour, this Punk Pro show was a bite-sized bit of wrestling that didn’t outstay its welcome. Three matches, none of which touched the ten-minute mark, with names you’ve probably not seen before? There’s worse ways to kill half an hour in the current situation, that’s for sure…
Other promotions in Florida are running glossier empty arena shows with bigger names, which may well have been the precursor for an indie like Punk Pro doing the same thing… and while the discourse around empty arena shows has long since worn out, it’ll be interesting to see how long the indies can maintain these sort of shows in the current climate.