EWA’s first Grand Slam Champion – “Starstrukk” TJay Sykes. (credit David “Ace” Livingston)
Eastern Wrestling Association (EWA) brought Baltimore’s wrestling fans back together for the first time in 2016 at EWA Rage in the Cage at Tall Cedars Hall in Parkville on Saturday, January 16th. A night filled with historical firsts, every match at Rage in the Cage took place inside a steel cage.
During the Under The Mat Radio Pre-Show, Jason Drake, the latest arrival to EWA, made his debut against EWA’s swashbuckler, El Buccanero Negro. Negro’s crowd-pleasing antics were not enough to give him a victory. Drake’s swagger and speed were surprising for a newcomer, and gave him the edge needed to win the match.
John Berg and “The Baltimore Butcher” Blood not only defeated the team of Ivan Ali and Derron J., but saved the life of an innocent bystander as well. EWA fan Ray, who utilizes a wheel chair, was violently attacked by Ali while sitting ringside, following his bitter loss. Ali’s assault did not last long, as Berg and Blood quickly returned to save the young boy from the monstrous Ali, along with the help of James “Bump” Martin, a member of EWA security.
The show continued with a Triple Threat match, featuring Joey Badami, Wes Mercer and #PatAnthony. The bout stemmed from the question of “Who did it?” following several incidents involving a black car with blue headlights at the EWA pain factory in previous weeks.
Towards the end of the match, Badami delivered a devastating Superplex off the top of the cage to Anthony. Opportunistic as ever, Mercer dived at the groggy Badami with a spear seeking a win. Anthony had other plans, however, nailing Mercer with a Neckbreaker. This was just the distraction Badami sought, using the opportunity to score a successful pin against a prone #PatAnthony.
EWA Cruiserweight Champion Chris Burns was forced to defend his title in Maryland’s first Ladder Cage match. Weeks prior, EWA promoter Jim Christian decreed Burns would defend against three other competitors, Davey Havok, “The Show” Mr. Jones, and J.T. Moore, punishment for attacking referee Mikey D at Last Rites on October 24th.
Davey Havok came closest to becoming Cruiserweight Champion when he literally took a dive – off of a ladder outside of the ring. Havok came plummeting down, landing on all of his opponents with the most dangerous move likely ever used in Tall Cedars. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Wes Mercer made great use of this situation, quickly running out to the ring to cash in his winning contract from Evolution 2K16 in September. Mercer scurried up the ladder, quickly securing the EWA Cruiserweight Championship for a fourth time.
The EWA Tag Team Championships were up for grabs in the first-ever Inside-Out Cage match. Featuring the current EWA Tag Team Champions The Dark Horses and Storm/Cruz 2016, the stipulation required one man from each team begin the match outside the cage, with the goal being the first to tag their partner to declare victory and re-unite the separated Tag Team Championships.
Despite a valiant effort from The Dark Horses, desperate to regain Grizzly O’s stolen title belt, interference from a member of EWA security on behalf of Desert Storm gave Cruz the time needed to escape the ring and tag his scheming partner, sadly making them the rightful EWA Tag Team Champions.
Maria Manic paid for her betrayal of Joey Badami in a match against Nyla Rose. Rose, Badami’s handpicked opponent for Manic, gave Maria more of a chance than expected, considering Rose’s dominating size difference. Still, Rose was able to escape the cage, leaving Joey Badami satisfied.
In the match EWA fans waited for with bated breath over twelve weeks, the EWA Heavyweight and Maryland Championships were both on the line as “Starstrukk” TJay Sykes and “The Weight of the World” Cory Bush battled to become Grand Slam Champion, a feat no man has achieved in EWA. Bush’s overconfidence is what fueled this re-match, but it was also his undoing.
In an attempt to flatten Sykes like a pancake towards the completion of their grueling conflict, Bush climbed the turnbuckle. Carefully rolling down his tights so Sykes could feel all 400 pounds crush him, Bush jumped to finish off his opponent and win the EWA Heavyweight Championship with his Weight of the World finishing move, but in the do-or-die situation, Sykes miraculously rolled out of the way, leaving Bush wailing in agony as he endured the agonizing pain of his missed maneuver.
Thinking quickly, Sykes delivered a second Super Kick to the disable Bush as he rose. Unable to kick out, Bush was left defeated, and the first EWA Grand Slam Champion was crowned, “Starstrukk” TJay Sykes.
In the days following Rage in the Cage, the following winners were announced for the EWA End of the Year Awards:
“Starstrukk” TJay Sykes was voted EWA’s Wrester of the Year
Desert Storm was voted EWA’s Most Hated Wrestler
The Dark Horses were voted EWA’s Newcomer(s) of the Year and EWA’s Tag Team of the Year
Cory Bush’s Weight of the World move was voted EWA’s Best Finisher
The “I Quit” Match featuring “Starstrukk” TJay Sykes and Desert Storm from Summer Sizzler was voted EWA’s Match of the Year
Desert Storm’s assault on Grizzly O at Last rites was voted EWA’s Most Shocking Moment of the Year
To catch the next does of EWA action and excitement, mark your calendar for Saturday, March 19th and hit Tall Cedars Hall to see EWA’s annual Sweet Sixteen Tournament. Tall Cedars Hall is located in Parkville at 2501 Putty Hill Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21234. Front-row seats are $15, with General Admission at $12. Card subject to change. Tickets are available by calling (443) 858-2755. For more information, visit EWA’s Facebook page or the newly revamped EWAMaryland.com. Be sure to keep up with the exciting action taking place outside of the ring at EWA’s YouTube channel.
To see more of Ace Livingston’s work photographing wrestling in and around Maryland, check out Wrestling in Maryland on Facebook.
Having recently graduated from the broadcasting program at The Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts, Jack Hash is working fervently to break into business of professional wrestling as a commentator. To keep his dream alive, Jack hosts a weekly podcast, Shooting Star Cast, where he satirically tears apart all the ridiculous happenings in pro wrestling, while singing the praises of the rays of sunshine that break through the clouds of the squared circle.