By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
May 5, 2023 in Oakland, California (in a parking lot near Jack London Square)
Replay available via Fite.TV
Promotion Notes: Hoodslam is a local comedy-ish promotion in the city of Oakland. Comedy-ish because there’s a level of grit to the promotion while also holding serious matches. There is a lot of comedy though, mostly relating to nerd and punk rock culture. Because of a lot of local indie promotions being on hiatus since the pandemic, Hoodslam may be the premier indie promotion in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Broadcast team notes: The sole commentator, MC, and ring announcer was former MLW play-by-play voice AJ Kirsch. Kirsch was playing his Broseph Joe Brody persona where he’s a crazed party animal. Even under this persona, he’s still a solid play-by-play voice, with good timing at calling the moves. In all seriousness, if WWE or MLW are looking for a solid play-by-play voice, Kirsch is one of the most tenured and seasoned voices that can enhance their product.
Venue note: Their old location was a grungy punk rock warehouse venue near Jack London. They haven’t been able to use that venue since the end of the pandemic and have been bouncing from venue to venue. This was close to their old venue, but they held the event out doors in a parking lot nearby Oakland’s Jack London Square. Unfortunately, it was a random rainy day. We’re getting a bunch of random rainy days in California in recent months (that day was predicted at 11 percent rain). I actually preferred last month’s venue which was a nightclub with balcony setup. They also had good food and drinks at last month’s venue.
Thankfully, they put up event tents and it was an enjoyable event. The downside was they had to use a full tent to cover the ring and audio equipment, which meant that three sides of the ring were covered. Usually we’re able to all surround the ring, so match vision was hindered; but what can you do? Can’t fight nature. There were also plenty of bar, merch, and Danger Hot Dog setups (The Danger Dog is California’s national dog). If you don’t want to pay for booze, AJ was giving out free Jack Daniels shots throughout the night and after the show.
Before the matches, AJ did a storyline recap. He also did his customary pouring out of whiskey shots to the audience members, which lasted about 5 minutes…
1. “Da Squaad” D-Rogue, Hip Hop Harry, and Kenny K defeated “The Berkeley Libarian” Richard Shinary, and Stoner U Students Joey Gonzo and Marcelo Montoya. Fun opening match. I went to this event with about 5 or 6 non-wrestling fans who were seeing a live wrestling event for the first time, so this was a fun social experiment to see. They liked the show. The babyface team, Da Squaad, were charismatic and had a fun “Squak” chant.
Richard Shinary was playing a cartoon libraian heel, which works in a comedy promotion. The two Stoner U students were actually pretty smooth in the ring. “Stoner U” is an actual pro wrestling school in the Bay Area. WWE’s Mansoor and Shotzi Blackheart are two graduates of Stoner University. I think Powerhouse Hobbs might have spent some time there, but I think his primary trainer was journeyman Mike Modest. The two students here were billed from the city of Hayward, which is the same hometown as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
2. Allie Katch, Anton Voorhees, and Dark Sheik defeated “The Emo Heads” Alan Angels, Brooke Havok, and Rob Hands. A longer match than the opening. This match consisted of part comedy, part serious. Allie Katch was not advertised for the show, and was introduced as a mystery tag partner (She came out to the WWE Shield music to play on entering from the crowd). Rob Hands was full on comedy, taking breaks during the match to say sad poetry.
Alan Angels continues to impress me wherever he goes. I feel bad that he can’t escape mid-card scrub cults when he’s on TV (via the Dark Order and The Design). He had a fun comedy segment in this match with Antoon Vorhees where they were mirroring each others’ moves because they have a similar bearded look. Here’s hoping Alan Angels can get out of The Design in Impact sooner rather than later because he’s fairly charismatic and good in the ring. Dark Sheik is someone who’s making some noise on the indie scene as a very talented transgender woman wrestler.
Someone who really caught my eye as someone who would do well in one of the big companies is Brooke Havok. She has appeared on AEW Dark and Dark Evolution before. She has a good “punk rock girl next door” look to her and is fairly solid in the ring. I don’t 100 percent remember who was involved in the finish, but I remember the spot (like I said, it was tough dealing with the tight crowd and rain). What I remember was the finish being Brooke Havok taking a Bully Bomb from Dark Sheik through a flat screen television set up in the center of the ring.
3. Brittany Wonder defeated Trish Adora to retain the GLAM Title. A fun women’s match. Trish Adora is on another level to a lot of the indie talent here. She’s very poised and makes her opponents look really really good. A lot of wrestling fans know her through her run in Ring of Honor in their Women of Honor division, where she also has been putting on good matches. Brittany Wonder was solid. She does have a large backside and uses it to her advantage in matches. She defeated Trish after reversing a “Lariat Tubman” and hitting her with a “Weapon of Ass Destruction”.
4. James C, Rick Scott Stoner, and Scott Rick Stoner defeated El Chupacabra, Drugz Bunny, and Juice Lee. This match had some of my non-wrestling friends compelled. The psychology here was solid for an indie event and it was a continuation of a long running story in recent Hoodslam history. El Chupacabra is the plucky babyface who was betrayed by James C. Sadly, every time Chupy brings in a new tag partner to help him fight James, they end up betraying him. Chupacabra is Hoodslam’s surfer Sting.
Thankfully, Drugz Bunny seems to have his back. Rickscott and Scottrick Stoner are the actual trainers of the Stoner U wrestling school. They are solid in the ring. James C really impressed me. He has a full on “WWE Look”. He’s jacked, athletic, cuts a decent promo, and moves well for his size. Only thing holding him back is his age, which he’s north of 40. Drugz Bunny’s gimmick is that he’s a coke addict that snorts coke during matches. He is a very good wrestler and has a fit-ish body. I’m surprised this guy never found his way out of Hoodslam.
The finish was yet another Chuppy betrayal. Trish Adora ran out for the save when the heels ganged up on Chupacabra. Then all of a sudden Trish turns on Chuppy by giving him a face wash kick. This allowed James C to pick up the win.
5. Allie Katch and Mylo defeated JTG and Bay-Area-Rapid-Transit Man (shortened to BARTman) for the Best in the East Bay Championship. This was actually a four way match with Allie and Mylo pinning JTG at the same time to both win the singles title. Allie Katch will face Mylo for the title in Las Vegas in a few weeks. To solve the dispute. This was Allie’s 2nd match of the night and one where she worked the most. The real story of this match was the power of the local hero.
This show has a lot of seasoned talent, yet the one wrestler that captivated wrestling and non-wrestling fans alike was BARTman. Whoever was under the mask, was really talented. His strength was his character stuff. He was using local subway talking lines and even handing out bus passes. He also had a calm a soothing voice which added to his persona. I’ve seen so much wrestling, so I’m numb to all the cliches. It’s astonishing seeing new wrestling fans created by rooting for the local hero. JTG was the best worker of the match. He also looks extremely jacked up close. As I said, Katch and Mylo did stereo dives on JTG and both picked up the disputed win.
6. Joey Janela defeated Johnny Butabi to become the new Hoodslam Champion Ship Champion. The “Champion Ship” is a pirate boat in a bottle where the champion has to act like a pirate. Again comedy promotion. This was the match of the night because it felt like both men were the most seasoned wrestlers on the card. Even my non-wrestling fans could tell that this match was good due to the psychology. There were a few comedy spots involving a pirate hook, but there was also a good amount of solid bell-to-bell work.
It’s refreshing seeing Joey Janela work a WWE-PG style hardcore match as opposed to his usual death match matches. It’s just after two or three of Janela’s bloodbaths, you just get numb to it. No blood here. There were plenty of high spots and ladder spots as ladders got involved. People had fun with Butabi going all-in on his pirate gimmick. Janela picked up the win in the end to the point where he started to play the role of pirate.
End of show: AJ Kirsch poured more whiskey down the throats of fans and closed the show, making sure to plug the next show happening in Las Vegas, Nevada. The person with the longest merch and picture line was BARTman, of course. There was even a loud “public transit” chant that ensued. All hail the local hero I suppose. A few of my non-wrestling fan friends couldn’t help but get sucked into buying BARTman merch.