Monday, March 26, 2007

Philadelphia witnesses Wicked Hanuman debut in historic Viking Hall

By Art Shimko

-- On Saturday night the historic Viking Hall, witness to many pro wrestling cards since the early '90s, held another wrestling show in a city with three or four promotions that run on a regular basis and not putting out such quality products based on fan feedback. So with a show called Wicked Hanuman featuring a hodge-podge of former WWE, ECW, CZW, current TNA and various indy talent on the card it looked both intriguing and strange at the same time. Add to that the screening of a full-length film made by former CZW wrestler Nick Mondo and it was set this would be a unique evening.

Speaking of which, Mondo's movie Fighting The Still Life opened the show, and was about a young artist (played by Mondo) and former professional wrestler fighting his destructive personality, he then meets a girl who discovers his past and anger issues. Mondo also comes across a local group of vandals, lead by current WWE Superstar Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy), and joins them destroying property and fulfilling his destructive needs. A two-hour student/art film that had my brain wandering at times and frankly it took a long time getting to points of the movie (him coming to grips with his personality, making amends with estranged family members), with that said Ken Anderson did a decent job acting and god bless Nick Mondo, if this is his new passion I say best of luck to him. This was also the first time in say, three years that Mondo has been in Viking Hall, now called the New Alhambra Arena.

The main event saw FMW Japanese Deathmatch legend Super Leather defeat Raven in a no-DQ street fight that involved of all things plastic orange buckets (that sadly contained no thumbtacks to my dismay) although Raven brought out a barbed wire baseball bat and Leather had this wooden paddle with metal spikes, almost looked like a big toothbrush which had FUNK MASTERS OF WRESTLING 12-11-96 scrawled on it. The brawling, which was slow for the most part, took place outside the ring and into the crowd a bit... one crazy and scary spot was when Leather hurled a steel chair towards the audience, the thing flew low enough to skim the top of someone's head and smacked into the wall near the concession stand. Another weird thing was Nicky Benz (former CZW/current PWU wrestler Nick Berk), who does some type of lounge-act gimmick, was Raven's manager and doing the chicken-shit bit, I'm guessing he was Raven's manager in PWU? I don't know what the deal was but if that is remotely the case then even if PWU fans were at the show only they understood this and frankly it didn't seem important to put on this show.

Low-Ki defeated Sonjay Dutt, Ruckus and Sabian in an open challenge Low-Ki had made when this show was announced. As I read elsewhere, we could've gotten two decent matches out of this pair bt nonetheless this fast-paced stiff four-way was great. Ruckus and Sabian especially impressed me as I'm a fan of their work and the in-ring activity kicked ass. One awesome spot was when Ruckus, Ki and Sonjay were on the top turnbuckle and Sabian grabbed everyone and dropped them to the mat.

The New Irish Drinking Team (Andrew "Test" Martin and Ian Knoxxx) defeated Adam Flash and Monsta Mack (replacing Danny Rose) in a match that was only memorable by seeing Test in this building and seeing him work for about two minutes after taking forever to get tagged in. I think at one point he was putting out his hand to tag in Mack, who was on the opposing team, also the fact that Test got ECW chants which was funny. I was thinking about when WWE ran the first ECW house show in Viking Hall last summer, at the same time it was known that Test would be debuting on the ECW brand and the reaction from people of if Test enters the Arena, we RIOT being the general sentiment, it was interesting this time around to see if Test would show up, basically to see if he would bail on the show or not but a payday's a payday.

Jerry Lynn defeated Nicky Benz, Benz came out and sang a crappy version of "New York New York" and his gimmick just plain sucks. This match was saved by Lynn as I can watch him wrestle anytime, why he had to work with Benz is beyond me as I didn't even like his work in CZW. One funny part was when both men were crisscross running the ropes and Lynn got out of the ring to sit with the timekeeper and commission reps while Benz kept running the ropes till he blew up, wacky moment right there.

VD (Eddie Valentine and Jon Dahmer) w/Big Mack Smack defeated Nate Hatred and Danny Havoc in tables match, VD and Smack come out and Smack cuts a promo on Mondo and his movie, Hatred and Havoc come out to which VD and Smack leave the ring saying they're not fighting Hatred. The match eventually begins with VD working over Havoc most of the match till Hatred comes in cleaning house. Valentine and Havoc each took table bumps, one spot saw Dahmer toss Hatred from the top turnbuckle onto two tables (one stacked on another) on the floor, only one of which gets broken by Hatred. At the end Hatred teases punching Havoc only to raise his hand.

Crazed defeated JoJo in probably the most entertaining undercard match of the night. Crazed, a generic looking luchador, was taking a good beating from JoJo, a huge painted-up dude that reminded me of guys like Low Life Louie and Horace the Psychopath. Crazed won with a 450 Splash. Before this match there was a match between two guys whose names I didn't catch, the guy who won came out to Muhammed Hassan's entrance music and cut a promo about America losing the war in Iraq, he also prayed to Allah before the match started.

Metro-Sickness (CZW alumni Jude and Eric Tuttle aka Towel Boy) defeated Faith In Nothing, Tuttle broke his leg during what I thought was a moonsault, his leg smacked right onto the guardrail loudly... that was nasty. Faith In Nothing looked good, otherwise a forgettable match.

Cory Kastle defeated Matt Bomboy, another match that wasn't exciting, certainly not an opener that got the crowd going.

Final thoughts: I'm betting that this was a one-off show, more of who can be booked that can potentially draw a good crowd rather than a debuting promotion with new talent and established talent to help get things off the ground. I think I'm better off following Ring Of Honor shows in the future.


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