Pro wrestling fans in South Florida got a one-two punch this weekend.
Saturday featured Continental Wrestling Federation at the U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami, and on Sunday Mick Foley entertained audiences at the Fort Lauderdale Improv at the Hard Rock in Hollywood.
The CWF’s Maximum Force event at Florida International University saw a mixture of established names including John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Shane Helms, Chris Masters and Sonjay Dutt, as well as emerging stars like Luke Hawx, Brian Cage and Matt Cross.
The show was headlined by a spectacular ladder match involving Sonjay Dutt and Morrison for the promotion’s United States championship. The two worked hard to deliver a memorable match and pulled it off with a series of big moves. Dutt won the gold with help from powerhouse Cage.
Cross took the CWF title from Hawx in a solid outing after Hardy’s interference. The Hawx and Hardy rivalry has spilled over into a number of independent promotions across the country. The Omega Powers (Hardy and Helms) were victorious against Masters and Carlito. The four showcased great ring psychology and showed you don’t have to do insane high-flying spots to get the crowd invested. It’s hard to believe Carlito and Masters have been teaming on-and-off for almost 10 years.
For fans looking to really interact with performers, the indie shows are the best place for that.
CWF hosted a meet-and-greet with the guys on the card before the show and during intermission. Hardy’s travel delays prevented him from participating in either session. However, he hosted a free signing after the event concluded to make it up to the fans. FIU alum and “The Roman Show” host Rodolfo Roman did a good job as ring announcer.
Kudos to the veteran Hardy and others who had a role in the event for making sure those who attended left with a smile on their face.
The same can be said for Foley, who returned to South Florida on Sunday, May 11 at the Fort Lauderdale Improv at the Hard Rock Casino near Hollywood. Despite it being Mother’s Day, the Hardcore Legend had a good turnout. This wasn’t your typical standup show. The WWE Hall of Famer made it known he would be telling stories, not jokes. He followed through with some entertaining tales and experiences he had during his successful career, which more times than not elicited laughs. Foley’s show catered to wrestling enthusiasts, but his approach and story-telling made it fun for non-fans, too.
TNA Impact Wrestling’s Jeremy Borash made the trip from Orlando to open the festivities. Maybe he can add comic to the 100 hats he already wears. The host also moderated the question-and-answer session. Foley used the time as an opportunity to reflect on the time in Japan when he wrestled Terry Funk in a death match with C4 explosives. He also expressed his displeasure for WWE’s booking of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella. Foley believes the company’s world champion should speak up for himself.
Among the people in attendance included former WCW wrestler Van Hammer, who wrestled Foley during his Cactus Jack run for the promotion. Adult film star and wrestling valet Trina Michaels served as a good sport for good friend Foley. The show concluded with a story about himself, Steve Austin and Diamond Dallas Page sharing a hotel room. Just picture the conclusion with Borash in a robe, Foley motor boating Michaels on stage...and we’ll leave it at that.
After finishing, Foley walked into the lobby for a meet-and-greet. He sold shirts and autographed 8x10 photos for $10, which will go to helping veteran Rip Rogers who has a medical issue making it very difficult for him to eat. The line seemed endless and went late into the evening, but Foley gave everyone who waited quality face-time with him.
Whether you went to CWF or Foley’s Improv set or both, there is a good chance you had fun. There are great events to attend outside of WWE or TNA. You just have to look for them. Have an open mind, broaden your horizons and you might find you will enjoy it.
• Visit www.cwfcontinental.com/ to keep up with CWF.
• Visit www.realmickfoley.com to see where Foley appears next.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.