A Live Wrestling Event by CSW
I have been attending independent wrestling shows for the better part of two decades in the Kansas / Missouri area, and without a doubt, last week marked the single BEST independent wrestling show I have ever attended. Scratch that, CSW’s Deal With the Steel IV was probably in my top five of my favorite wrestling shows I attended of ANY nature – that includes pay-per-views and numerous big shows. The entire time I was watching, I had the sort of feeling that I was witnessing something special, perhaps the same feeling all the East Coast fans had during the heyday of ECW. This area has been overlooked as a hotbed for professional wrestling for far too long, and I hope that this is only the beginning for the record being set straight. Central States Wrestling is back, and they have made me a fan for sure.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because CSW has quite the history in Kansas City. The long-defunct original Central States Wrestling was a staple of Kansas City professional wrestling for over sixty years, but its legacy lives on today in a form that seems poised to regain some of its previous glory. Founded in the 1930s by Orville Brown, a thirteen-time World Champion and the first official NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion, the company quickly became one of the strongest and most powerful wrestling territories in the country. Brown’s Midwest Wrestling Association would get renamed multiple times throughout the years (eventually CSW), change ownership, and eventually gain national attention under the stewardships of Bob Geigel and Harley Race. Like most territories, it was one of the many casualties of the Nationalized cable TV wrestling boom of the 80’s and 90’s, being consolidated into what would become World Championship Wrestling, which in turn was gobbled up into the WWE. Then a funny thing happened – the territories started making a comeback.
In 2002, a new version of Central States Wrestling surfaced, this time owned and operated by a promotor named Joseph McDonald. They captured the local Kansas scene during the Indy boom of the early 2000s, and hosted some top tier talent including many household names such as AJ Styles , Samoa Joe, and Seth Rollins. This CSW was known for having better production than many competitors, and ran nearly 100 shows until they sadly shuttered in 2010. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end. Meanwhile, the dying National Wrestling Alliance gave the old CSW belts to NWA affiliate Central-States Championship Wrestling (CCW), which seemingly folded once the NWA was bought out by Billy Corgan (or at least they haven’t updated their socials, and the website is dead, I assume they are dead). This set the scene for the almost unthinkable, the return of CSW yet again. in 2021 a company called Dynamic Wrestling Federation, founded by a modern king of Kansas City wrestling, Michael Strider, brought Joseph McDonald back into the fold, and here we are today. I have no idea what wheeling and dealing they did to re-secure the aforementioned Central States Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, but it’s at home under its namesake and old-school guys like Arn Anderson have taken notice – big things are happening in the middle of the map.
So why am I rambling about all this? My grandparents loved the original CSW, and I would often get told stories about long-retired wrestlers that had faded away by the time I came around. This gave me more of an appreciation for wrestling history than a lot of my friends in high school, which is when I finally got back into wrestling. It was the so-called “Attitude Era” (although I was a WCW guy) and wrestling was on fire. I started going to independent shows, but most were largely run as schools and rarely did anything that I would consider “special”. Fast forward to this past summer, and me getting Facebook ad that said “Central States Wrestling”, I knew I had to try to see a show based on that heritage alone. I have been absolutely HOOKED ever since. I truthfully don’t know if the promoters intend on drawing a parallel to the older promotion of the same name, but the name holds a lot of value, and I’d imagine continuing the legacy is a top priority.
Central States Wrestling – Deal with the Steel IV is basically this company’s “WrestleMania”, and promised to be a night that not many would forget. The show was designed the showcase the “blow-off match” between the dastardly Roscoe Leech and his team of athletic powerhouses, The Premier, against the fan-favorite local heroes The Howletts aka The Tribe. Their war has spanned nearly a year’s worth of brutal matches as well as numerous underhanded attacks. Michael Strider had a tough decision on his hands, and realized the only way to ensure some finality to the whole thing and stop the escalating tit-for-tat back and forth was to introduce a steel cage. If The Howletts lose they must split up as a team and leave CSW forever. If The Premier lose, Coach Frass gets Roscoe Leech in the cage for five minutes.
As you can see from the above picture, it was a packed house at the Kansas City, Kansas National Guard Armory – pretty soon they may need to use that upper level. Officially, the house was around 730 paid admissions and 20 comped tickets for an astonishing 750 in attendance. To put this in perspective, I have attended multiple independently run shows, and NONE have ever had anything close to that number. I have attended three Ring of Honor shows in Collinsville, Illinois and the most they ever had was around 650 at that venue (although a more recent one did better apparently). I went to a number of smaller TNA house shows in the area, and NONE of them drew very well (Sedalia, MO was especially sparse). But here we have a show for a younger company in a new venue and in 2022 that has drawn 750 in a time when many companies struggle to get a few hundred. It’s amazing news, and shows how hungry this are area is for anything other than big corporate TV wrestling.
I will be looking at what happened at this show and whether it is worth your time, I do wrestling reviews a lot differently than other guys, so bear with me if this looks weird.
For more CSW reviews:
For anyone wanting to watch this, please click below!
If you want other wrestling shows, I would recommend Fite.TV. You can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch some of these, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far.
- Kenny Alfonso Defeated “Spitfire” Davey Vega
- “The Raees” Arjun Singh Defeated Dan the Dad
- The Miracle Violence Reborn (Moonshine Mantell & “The Kings Road Slayer” Derek Neal w/ Greg Jovi) Defeated Team Ambition (Mike Outlaw & “The Quadfatha” Camaro Jackson)
- Scott Tyler Defeated Dred Roberts
- “The Black Diamond” Luke Langley Defeated “The Haymaker” Jamison Holley
- “Dough Disqualification” Match – “The Best Pizza Chef” Luigi Primo Defeated “The Big Strong Boy” Ethan Price – The use of Luigi’s trademark Pizza dough as a weapon will be an automatic DQ
- Central States Championship Match w/ Special Guest Referee – Ace Steel – “The Mile High Magnum” Dak Draper (champion) Defeated “The Monarch” Jeremy Wyatt (challenger)
- Main Event – An Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match – The Howletts (Hoodie & Anaya w/ Coach Frass) vs. The Premier (Campbell Myers & S.K. Bishop w/ Roscoe Leech) – If the Howletts lose they must split up as a team and leave CSW forever. If The Premier lose, Coach Frass gets Roscoe Leech in the cage for 5 minutes.
As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything resembling the typical ratings people give in wrestling reviews. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!
(My apologies for crappy pictures I took during the show, my phone does not do well with low-light)
Heyyyy it’s Kenny Alfonso!
I recently got to see the work of Kenny Alfonso in a recent World League Wrestling (WLW) show, and he impressed my son and I enough that we were pretty excited to see him get announced for a spot on this card. His debut match with “Spitfire” Davey Vega was a hell of a way to start the show, and really set the tone for everything that followed. I was impressed at the solid mix of high flying moves and hard-hitting mat wrestling, which would stack up pretty fairly against any current Impact Wrestling X-Division match or many ROH matches. Any fan of light-heavyweight wrestling should keep an eye on guys like this, as I will not be surprised if they end up snatched up by a big company sooner than later.
What an Absolute Beat of a Tag Team:
To quote the rather obnoxious man that was sitting near me at the show “HOLY S#!+ LOOK AT THESE GUYS!!”, which is a perfect reaction upon witnessing two no-nonsense mountains of men come walking out. Dubbed what I believe was The Miracle Violence Reborn, Moonshine Mantell & “The Kings Road Slayer” Derek Neal were both solid singles competitors as singles stars, but look to be an absolutely dominant force in the tag team division. If you like guys like Stan Hansen or even a young Terry Funk, Neal has the look and ferocity of many Texas-based heel wrestlers of the past (even though I think he’s billed from Kentucky). Mantell, on the other hand, is a monster when it comes to power moves and is one of the strongest men on the roster. I’m hoping one of the next events we get ends up being a tournament for tag team belts, because I’d send these guys to the moon with this presentation. Sadly, Team Ambition lost to some foul play by The Miracle Violence Reborn’s manager Greg Jovi, but otherwise a great match.
Langley Gets a Win:
While I have not seen “The Black Diamond” Luke Langley compete too much, he’s a solid worker that has been getting the short end of the proverbial stick these past few months. It was pointed out on social media that he had yet to win a single match in his entire DWF/CSW career, so moreso than ever, the pressure and spotlight was on him to produce results. Whether you are a fan or not, Langley proved himself at this show, scoring a hard-fought win. His opponent, “The Haymaker” Jamison Holley, is destined to be a dude I will really enjoy considering the throwback presentation and an unmatched mustache that shames most others. Being a mustachioed man myself, I was glad to see he even sells his own line of mustache wax at his table. That said, his brawn and tenacity were no match for Langley’s desire to step out of mediocrity, but there’s always next time.
No Pizza Needed:
The rivalry between Luigi Primo and Ethan Price has definitely been one to watch in CSW. Bested on two occasions by Price, Primo was labeled as a gimmick and unworthy to be in the ring by the insufferable Price, something that became very emotional for Primo. At Central States Wrestling – Vengeance, Primo vowed to score a win by any means necessary, and restore the fans investment in himself. Right off the bat, Price had Primo’s signature accessory of a pizza crust he routinely twirls during a lot of his matches banned outright, calling it a foreign object and a weapon, so any use of this dough would cause an immediate disqualification. It looked bleak for Primo, but he was able to persevere and come out with a huge win in the end. Aside from the main event, in which I will shortly discuss, this match was hot as hellfire itself. The crowd was into this from the moment the bell rang, and you would have thought a WrestleMania main event were going on with how loud everyone was. Usually in shows like this, the crowd gets “gassed” at some point and stop caring about what they are seeing due to crowd fatigue, but I honestly can’t say that happened too much at this show. If anything, this card was expertly crafted with bouts like this to re-energize everyone, and that it did! This was runner-up for match of the night in my opinion.
No Two Belts for The Monarch:
Both Dak Draper and Jeremy Wyatt are solid competitors, so watching the two men go at it for the newly acquired Central States Wrestling Heavyweight Championship held by Draper was bound to eventually happen. This show was the perfect showcase for a feud between two behemoths that have crossed paths many times in the past and are guaranteed to put on a hell of a show. With the addition of Ace Steel as a special guest referee, I was honestly expected some sort of shenanigans to happen during the match, and honestly it was pretty competitive, and Steel called everything “down the middle” as promised. Expectations were subverted, which honestly made it a bit refreshing. I am a tad confused as to which belt is now considered “the big belt”, and was honestly thinking this was something akin to a unification match at first, but that was not the case. I’m hoping this ends up addressed at some point in the future unless one of them ends up being something akin to an Intercontinental Championship belt. My reservations aside, this was a great match!
For The Tribe:
Holy smokes, this match was crazy! If anyone was on the fence as to which CSW team was the face of the company, I think this cage match sealed the deal and Kansas City is now Tribe Country. When this feud started, The Premier were a pair of promising young babyface upstarts that wanted to make a name for themselves. They crossed The Howletts at DWF Aftermath with the feud only escalating from there. Prior to this event, the standout match of the company’s history was a Street Fight between the two at DWF No Turning Back, a match that not only upended what we thought about the two teams (they each flipped with The Howletts becoming babyface and vice versa), but it set the stage for this. This is also the event that as seen as the transition between DWF and CSW. For months The Premier, now under the tutelage of the nefarious Roscoe Leech, kept attacking the pair in an attempt to solidify their tag-team supremacy in the company and possibly run them out of the company. As stated before, Michael Strider had a tough decision on his hands, and realized the only way to ensure some finality to the whole thing and stop the escalating tit-for-tat back and forth was to introduce a steel cage. This was hopefully going to end the feud one way or another, no matter the cost. For The Howletts, the stakes were immense – If The Howletts lost they would have had to split up as a team and leave CSW forever. If The Premier lost, Coach Frass was promised five minutes of one-on-one action with Roscoe Leech. The Stage was set for what could possibly be my match of the year candidate, if not very close.
This match literally had everything and more from what one would expect from a cage match. There was blood, there was an attempt at interference, there was cheating, cage dives, and more. I have seen cage matches at big nationwide pay-per-views end up with far less action and come across as nearly frivolous in nature, the concept is entirely wasted, and the outcome means nothing. This Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match was something that oozed a set time in history for me. In years, I feel like many fans of this company will look back at The Howletts vs The Premiere as the point where everything just clicked into place for the company; this is the Shane Douglas dropping the belt in the trash moment for CSW. Some of the high-spots in this were simply incredible, including a segment in which Anaya Howlett was trapped in the cage and was forced to jump out to escape, something that could have been the highlight of the match on its own, but it was somehow topped. I was in a bad vantagepoint to see this completely unfold, but at one point Hoodie Howlett seemed to disappear as the teams fought through the crowd. He resurfaced on the upper-level of the venue, and despite weighing at something near 300 pounds, took an insane New Jack-styled balcony dive into the mass of humanity below. This alone is going to be in every CSW highlight reel moving forward, and was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in a live wrestling show. This was the exact moment when I got the feeling that I was witnessing something crazy, and I hope they can keep the momentum going without resorting to trying to one-up this spot. In the end, The Tribe was finally able to clench the win, which means….
And there you have it, the consequences of your actions Roscoe! This whole thing was played out so well to pop the crowd not once, but twice. Fans witnessed Roscoe try to escape his fate by jumping the guardrail and fleeing through the crowd, to him being snatched and tossed into the cage, to where he begged like a baby and pleaded for forgiveness for his previous actions. This was obviously a ruse that led to him delivering a devastating low-blow to Coach Frass, amid a chorus of boos. Roscoe, of course, could not resist showboating which ultimately proved to be his undoing, a fact that led to the much-anticipated beatdown everyone paid to see. This was a classic way to end a feud, and I loved every second of it.
I’m not sure what I can add that will be any different than what I said before, but simply stated – this was an incredible show to see live. I have not had this much fun at a live wrestling show in a loooong time, if not ever, and my son was absolutely enthralled by everything that happened. Ultimately, that’s why I am going to these – to share my love of wrestling with him. If he is having fun, I am having fun, and it looked like he had a blast. CSW is second to none when it comes to fan interaction – nearly everyone on the roster is available for pictures and selling merch, something that gives this more of a fan-friendly vibe than what I am used to, but it’s appreciated. I feel like CSW has the momentum going forward to be a powerhouse in this area, and I can only hope that they keep this going for many years to come. I know it will likely be hard to match this crowd considering how much of an anticipated event this was, but I truly hope they keep everything moving forward and onwards. If you are looking for some solid wrestling, look no further as Central States Wrestling is a big part of why I have loved going to wrestling shows this year.
For more CSW Content, Click HERE
Since I have far too much free time, I tabulated some W/L records for everyone as well:
- Note: Dak Draper vs Arjun Singh at Aftermath was not a sanctioned match
- Dak’s Win at Vendetta 2022 is not counted as this was a four-way match
- Price’s Win at Strapped is not included due to it being a three way match
Transparency Time: I originally posted these records with a few typos that I have corrected – I had flipped two records and left one off from the tag team chart.
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