That's right, I'm ambitiously previewing the next EPW PPV, which requires me to read the RP threads and forecast what I think based on those and other mitigating circumstances. Now, I know what you're thinking, I'm an EPW bigwig, I shouldn't be doing this, but I assure you, I don't have any say in the booking of the matches, and if previewing this was any sort of conflict of interest, I wouldn't be posting it at all, seeing as though Brunk would rip my nuts off :)
(Speaking of the Brunkster... I don't know if it's happened yet or not, but he's about to welcome another Brunkling into the world, I think tonight or sometime near tonight. So let's congratulate him! Cigars are on me!)
Anyway, we'll go match by match, starting from the bottom, and of course, omitting my matches, both of which are no-shows in favor of me so far... *sigh* I hate that shit, but that's for another entry and another day.
Lane Stone vs. Ken Cloverleaf
Judging from the one promo apiece in this match, there's no doubt whom I think was the better wrestler here. Lane Stone should win this match hands-down.
We've all talked about how there was so much potential in John Rivera, but it wasn't manifesting itself very clearly. The problem there was with the channel; he was using the wrong character all along. In John Doe (where he's actually had some success in NEW and EUWC), he chose to do a character that had a complex gimmick with very many intricacies, yet he RPed him like your standard, rookie character, the arrogant, I'm better than you spiel you see from everyone's first character. What happened? It didn't work as well, and that, among other things, led to Doe not working in EPW.
Lane Stone is a much more basic character, and the RP style he was using with Doe works with Stone. And along the way, he's gotten much better at refining that RP style. Add that to facing a clearly slumping Ken Cloverleaf, who waited until Saturday to get his first up, and you have an easy win, based on that alone.
Some might say that maybe Stone should have doubled up. I don't subscribe to that theory at all, and I rarely do double up on folks, even in situations where maybe I should.
Winner: Lane Stone
Foxx vs. Cameron Cruise
Yawn... not much going on here. Some dick-waving; it seems like Foxx is bored with facing Cammy, but hey, that's what feuds are made of. Cruise seems off his game here; he was doing some inspired stuff when he was programmed with Melton, both in the CCP and in feuding. Meh... have to flip a coin here, and it lands on heads.
"Phenomenal" Frankie Scott vs. The Sergeant in a NO DQ, Taped Fist, Falls Count Anywhere in the building match
Honestly, the only thing holding Frankie Scott back is his real-life constraints, because this match shows why he belongs in any discussion of guys who could breakout and win the EPW Title on a moment's notice.
The same could be said about Sarge... the only thing holding him back right now is Scott Franklin's real-life constraints. Why do I say this? Well, because he was in a feud with Frankie and stuck with it, through thick and thin. Sometimes, this doesn't work. If that were the case, Sarge would be getting a no-show win. But despite Frankie's late start, they got to be in a hot blowoff match at this PPV, and it was one of the funnest reads on the card.
Now, who should win? Well, both guys have a lot going for them. Frankie has the one-liners, the flair, but Sarge brings the workrate. It's kinda like arguing Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Benoit here.
In this case though, I'm going Benoit. But I'll be damned if it isn't close.
Blitz (Max & Jecht) & Leonard Johnson vs. The Highland Park Social Club (Richard Farnswirth, Chip Friendly & Slambo the Clown) for the EPW World Tag Team Championship
Well, I honestly didn't think this match was all that close, and I thought the HPSC was pedestrian, outside of Slambo. But if the HPSC was pedestrian, then Blitz was kinda standing still. I thought their work was just "stating the obvious," a trap you can easily fall into if you underestimate them based on their gimmicks. Because of that, even an ordinary performance from the Club looks monster.
But of course, the Slambo piece was brilliant.
Winner: The HPSC
Adam Benjamin vs. Mike Evers w/ Wisconsin Bill for the EPW Television Title
This was another close match, and with gold on the line, you have to be more careful in judging it. On one hand, Mike Evers is a lot more refined and polished in his RP syntax and style. He's smooth like a good cognac, unlike Benji, who can be a little choppy and have those typos at times. On the other hand, I thought Benji brought a lot more depth and flesh to the story with his character. You could tell that there's alot of meat on those bones, whereas Evers seemed to be a little generic in spots.
On one hand, Evers has a great way of diffusing the sometimes pretentiously serious air of a title match, especially with his interactons with Wisconsin Bill. That's a great trait to have, because unless you're Bill Dempsey or someone of equal eloquence and "chops," then doing serious promo after serious promo can get pretty fucking boring after awhile. On the other hand though, Benji should get a ton of credit for basically carrying this feud and angle, slogging through for months, coming up with each idea and making this match essentially the semi-main event for the card. I mean, the build was so old-school, but that's what made it brilliant.
So you've got two equally strong contenders going; one who has really good RPs, and another who has good RPs but who has pretty much strapped the angle and feud to his back and made it the strongest title-related story in the fed. Honestly, I think your Champions have to be strong at building feuds and keeping heat going for both characters. So I think Benji should be rewarded here.
Winner: Adam Benjamin
And For the EPW World Heavyweight Championship:
"The Queen of the Ring" Lindsay Troy defends against Joey Melton, Beast, Karl Brown, "Triple X" Sean Stevens & Kin Hiroshi in an elimination style six-way dance.
Well, Beast didn't RP, so he's out first. But I think it was designed that way to give Jarret an out for his downtime. And in my opinion, when he comes back, his spot should be safe. It has to be.
Which leaves us with five.
The next elimination should be Karl Brown. Not that his efforts were bad per se. He had a good run, but it was too little, too late. At least he has the IC title to fall back on and the comforting thought that yes, he will be back someday to claim his shot at the EPW Championship.
That leaves four, and here's where it gets murky. You could make a claim for any of the four remaining to walk out of Unleashed the EPW World Heavyweight Champion and no one would begrudge you your opinion too vociferously. But I do think there is a method to paring down and getting a winner.
I think first you can eliminate Joey Melton. Not that Steve's work here was bad or anything, but for one, I think he flamed out a little early, which is the opposite of Karl's problem. His last RP was roughly a week before the deadline, and he didn't add much to the finish of the match. And while his three RPs had solid gold potential, I thought that he went back to the CSWA crutch a little too easily. Granted, with Stevens' limited history in the company, that's a great way to build heat, but still, it's a World Championship match... it should be the EPW stuff that carries your case, not Poison Ivy.
Next out... and this is agonizing... is Sean Stevens. I read in a feedback thread on FW that his work was all quanitity and no quality. I think that's a very unfair slam, because after rereading his RPs, I found that there was a lot of solid stuff in there. I mean, Trip is good, or else he wouldn't have won that battle royale. However, I don't think it's World Title level good yet. I mean, I think he could very easily walk away with the Intercontinental Championship with that material, and he probably should get shunted into a high-level program, be it with Melton, JA or even Karl Brown for that IC title, after this match, but I'm not sure I want him to hold the EPW title just yet.
That leaves Kin Hiroshi and Lindsay Troy. This is a tough choice. But I think out of the two, Lindsay retains.
Both of them exhibited the pure RP quality to win the World Championship. I daresay that it's a crime that Kin hasn't held any version of the World Championship yet. But I think Lindz showed a little more creativity and imagination, with her press conference and the psychiatric finale she did. I think she proved that she no doubt belongs in the World Championship club, and I think that she escapes with her title.
Winner: Lindsay Troy
Disclaimer The above predictions and opinions are representative of Tom Holzerman alone and do not necessarily reflect the stances of Empire Pro Wrestling.