REVIEW: Olde Wrestling In Detroit: A Different Era

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Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

Olde Wrestling In Detroit
Date: March 30, 2019
Location: The Whiskey Factory, Detroit, Michigan
Commentator: Joe Dombrowski

This is something I have wanted to see for a LONG time, as the promotion is set in the 1920s and features a corrupt judge, bootlegging, shoeshine boys and more. It sounded like a blast and made me grab a subscription to IndependentWrestling.TV, which sent me on a list of about 20 shows. This is the grand finale though so let’s get to it.

Opening video, with old school style of course.

The ring announcer (in a furry top hat) welcomes us to the show (which is pronounced Old-E Wrestling) and we’re ready to go.

Jeff King vs. Cymbal Monkey

Cymbal Monkey might be better known as Space Monkey, and yes he looks like the wind up monkey toy that plays the cymbals. King on the other hand, is billed as the man who drove Frank Gotch out of wrestling…and he looks like Barry Horowitz in a one shoulder singlet. He also doesn’t like the cymbals and threatens to leave if they’re played one more time. They are indeed played, with King saying they are an illegal object.

Threats of a broken back via a bearhug are made and King demands a check of the tail (because being a monkey, he has a tail). The ring announcer, who sounds like an old radio announcer, thinks this might even make the DuMont Network! Or even a Nickelodeon! King grabs a headlock but a bite of the hand takes care of that. The Monkey takes the banana from King (who had a banana) as the commentary promises this to be a humdinger. Just like Vince McMahon about the opener at Summerslam 1990.

Monkey takes him down with a drop toehold as commentary talks about the popularity of swing music. A dropkick (flying leg kick, as the commentator calls it, just like Heroes Of Wrestling) has King rocked and he almost slips on the banana peel. King wants to know WHAT THIS IS and then runs Monkey over. An elbow on the tail connects as commentary is happy there are no groups around for animal rights.

The tail is wrapped around the rope but Monkey gets a boot up in the corner. A monkey flip (“Monkey type fashion” according to commentary) sends King into the corner and it’s time to get the cymbals. King grabs the bearhug but the cymbals go upside his head for the escape. Then a charging King charges and slips on the banana peel to give Monkey the pin at 6:45.

Rating: C+. Oh yeah I’m going to have fun with this, and partially just due to the commentary. The match itself was just ok but this is ALL about the presentation and that is working well. You knew the peel was going to play into the ending and in this case, it was the perfect choice. This was a blast and it’s very goofy, but they are leaning HARD into the joke to make it work.

Here are two men in suits, plus a spinster/possible religious fanatic for a chat. They are here to shut this operation down because one of them a Senator (Volstead, the name of the act that instituted prohibition), and the other, a representative of the government (they have names, though they’re a bit hard to understand), are here for ALL OF THE BOOZE.

The first man (I believe the Senator) explains the prohibition rules and the spinster (carrying an ax) threatens to use the ax on anyone who breaks said rules. Well that got intense quickly. The fans chant for something called the Purple Gang, which apparently are the main enemies of these three.

The promotion is nice enough to promise that the next match is actually happening. With no more interruptions. “Yes we’re certain.”

Danhausen vs. Marion Fontaine

Danhausen looks like Nosferatu. Fontaine is a mustached haberdasher and puts up his fists like he’s a boxer from the 1890s (I like him). Hold on though as Danhausen (with darker face paint than usual) stalks Fontaine around the ring, but the referee makes the mistake of inviting Danhausen into the ring (because vampires can’t enter a place where they haven’t been invited).

A test of strength is broken up as Fontaine goes for a hammerlock, with Danhausen reversing into one of his own. Back up and Danhausen screams at Fontaine, who faints, with commentary thinking it is a case of the vapors. Fontaine knocks him out to the floor but Danhausen is right back in to rip at Fontaine’s face. Danhausen stomps away and chokes with a boot in the corner. A bulldog doesn’t do much to Danhausen, who comes up smiling. Instead, Danhausen grabs a slingshot German suplex for the pin at 5:05.

Rating: C-. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the most entertaining match as Danhausen wasn’t doing his usual stuff and it got a little dull at times. The Nosferatu deal was great, but there is only so much you can do when the gag keeps going. The good thing is they kept it short, but I’m not sure how much more good there was involved.

Gregory Iron vs. Caleb Stills

Stills seems rather mean and Iron has cerebral palsy, in essence leaving him with one arm. Here, he’s a bullfighter (sure). Stills jumps him from from behind and takes the bull cape, which he tucks into his trunks. Iron takes it back and taunts Stills with the cape, only to switch to Stills’ own jacket. That’s enough to make Stills charge, with the frustration letting Iron chop away.

Stills is so annoyed that he goes outside and kicks the post, which just makes things worse. The chase is on outside, as commentary suggests Iron’s arm is messed up because of a bullfight gone wrong. Back in and an Irish Curse gives Stills two before it’s time to crank on both arms. A missed charge in the corner doesn’t do much for Iron as Stills crotches him on top. Stills grabs a torture rack but the referee yells at him a bit too much. That’s enough for Stills, who shoves the referee for the DQ at 7:40.

Rating: C-. This was ok at best, as Iron as a bullfighter was a cool visual but I didn’t need to see it for nearly eight minutes. Stills was little more than a hothead, which isn’t going to be enough to keep the interest going for that long. That’s kind of the theme for the whole show and I can’t say I’m all that surprised as it is kind of a one note concept.

Post match Iron fights up and knocks Stills to the floor.

Aiden Prince vs. Feline Blanco

Prince would wind up in Impact and is royalty here. Blanco gets kicked in the ribs to start but he starts picking up the pace and hits a quick splash. A shot to the face is enough to send Prince outside as commentary talks about “the lucha door style”. Prince pulls him outside for a ram into a support post and they fight into the crowd for a bit. Well fight is a bit of a stretch, as it’s Prince beating him around the arena.

Back in and a running crotch attack to the back of the neck gives Prince two so it’s time to choke. Blanco fights up and hits a springboard crossbody, followed by a dropkick to put Prince on the floor. There’s a suicide dive but Prince runs him over again back inside. Prince gets a bit too confident though and it’s a sunset flip to give Blanco the pin at 7:50.

Rating: C. Another match that was perfectly watchable but not something that I would need to see again anytime soon. Prince has a good look and Feline is a run of the mill luchador, but that isn’t quite enough to blow your mind. It didn’t help that this one wasn’t very heavy on the gimmicks so there wasn’t much to get excited about here.

Intermission.

Jody Nation vs. Kate Carney

Nation is the ax wielding spinster from earlier. Carney on the other hand has a sailor named Josh in her corner. She’s about to sing something but Nation charges at her because that isn’t going to happen. Nation is sent outside and doesn’t seem happy when Carney takes off some of her clothes to reveal her gear (which is nothing out of the ordinary).

The chase is on outside before they head back inside with Carney taunting her with various flesh. Commentator: “I’m going to need a double scotch rocks and a pack of Lucky Strikes”. Nation comes back with a slam as commentary talks about a young comedian named Bob Hope. Carney fights up and runs her over but here is the Senator and agent from earlier, allowing Nation to hit her with the ax. A middle rope ax handle gives Nation the pin at 6:44.

Rating: C-. The idea here made all the sense in the world as you have someone who wants things conservative and simple while the woman was showing about as much skin as she would on the beach. That being said, there hasn’t been what I would consider a very good or even very above average match on the show yet and this was another example.

Lobby Legislators Of An Anti-Saloon Land vs. Purple Gang

That would be Representative Gavin Q. Volstead/Senator Cameron S. Smith vs. Abe Bernstein/Nate Axler, or government vs. mob. The fans are all behind the Gang as Voldstead and Axler start things off. Bernstein shoulders him down and dropkicks Smith for a bonus to put them both on the floor. Back in and it’s off to Bernstein, who seems to be the muscle.

The Legislators get tied in the ropes and punched into the teeter totter spot. With that broken up, the Legislators manage to pull them outside for a posting to take over. Back in and a double suplex drops Axler but he fights up and hands it back to Bernstein for the house cleaning.

A double clothesline/shoulder/I can’t believe it matters runs the Legislators over and a powerslam gets two on Volstead. Everything breaks down and the referee gets bumped. Cue the sailor from the previous match with a life preserver to the head of Volstead, which draws out Jody Nation for the save. Kate Carney cuts her off and Volstead hits Smith with a boot by mistake. Bernstein drops a leg for the pin at 13:46.

Rating: C+. This was one of the better matches of the night, which granted isn’t the biggest accomplishment. It’s also a bit surprising that this wasn’t the main event, as the whole prohibition vs. booze seems to be the main story of the show. What we got was a pretty good match, though it was hardly an instant classic.

Olde Wrestling World Title: RJ Metropolis vs. Matthew Cross

Cross, better known as Matt Cross of course, is defending and it’s 2/3 falls. Metropolis, a rather popular silent film star is slightly known as RJ City. Thankfully the belt does look like an old boxing title for the right flavor. Feeling out process to start with Cross getting the better of things early on. A bearhug has Metropolis in trouble and a whip across the ring has Metropolis down and holding his knee. Believe it or not, Metropolis is in fact goldbricking and it’s a rollup for the first fall in less than five minutes.

Hold on though as Metropolis wants a five minute break, because it’s time for him to go outside, construct, and sit in a director’s chair. The delay draws Cross out and Metropolis gets in a cheap shot to take over back inside. Now it’s time for Metropolis to pull out….one of those snapping slates that you see when movies are being made and people say TAKE ONE. After an alleged pinch of the nose and a running slap in the corner, Cross has had enough and comes back with a running forearm.

A backbreaker ties it up at a fall apiece and Metropolis heads back to the floor for a seat in his chair. They brawl on the floor before beating the count back in, where Metropolis takes him down again. A fan helps put the chair inside and Metropolis sits down while grabbing the sleeper. Cross fights out and hits a running boot for two before having a seat himself. Metropolis tries a piledriver but gets caught in a fireman’s carry.

That leaves Cross so confused that he puts the referee in it as well, as apparently the airplane spin makes you blind as well as dizzy. Then the referee gives Metropolis one and all three do a Flair Flop. Back up and Metropolis rolls him up for two but Cross is fine enough to tie up an arm and a leg at the same time for the win at 16:24.

Rating: B-. Cross is a talented guy and Metropolis did well as the film star, but this felt like a tacked on match without much importance. I’m not sure if the match was referenced more than once or twice throughout the show and Cross didn’t really have a character outside of “champion”. Best wrestling on the show, but also the least interesting match.

Overall Rating: C. This is a weird show as it’s built around one concept, but the problem is that concept loses its charm fairly quickly. Eventually the gag gets a bit old and you’re left with a voice on commentary that runs out of jokes and matches that are only ok. It isn’t a bad show, but it’s a show that feels like an idea that would work a lot better as an hour at most rather than a full event. Some of the characters were funny and commentary had some good lines, but this wasn’t as fun as I was expecting, at least not after about thirty minutes in.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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