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By Jeff Amdur, MCW historian on 8/7/2011 9:04 AM

The clear “people’s choice” took home the Shamrock pot o’ gold in the finals of the 11th annual Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup on a night that also saw the final in-ring appearance of MCW’s longest-standing tag team at the Maryland Championship Wrestling card held at the New Green Room in Dundalk, Maryland, on July 30, 2011.

Estimated attendance: 450-500 (standing room). MCW Commissioner: “WISE GUY” JIMMY CICERO. Executive Producer: PETE McDEVITT. Ring announcers: AL ALBERT and LARRY LEGEND. Doing commentary for the upcoming SSMC DVD: MARK BRAY, the immortal GILLBERG and BRENT TARRING. Ringside coordinator and timekeeper at the bell: MICHAEL BLACK. Taping the proceedings: PAUL McCLEMENS. Sound courtesy of PUMPKINHEAD SOUND. Referees for the evening: JARED ARTMAN, KEVIN ECK, WILLIAM JACKSON and TONYA STEVENS. Photographing the proceedings: TIM WALKER and GREG GREENLAND. Covering the event for Pro Wrestling Illustrated: HARRY BURKETT.

The evening starts out with commissioner JIMMY CICERO introducing former MCW ring announcer LARRY LEGEND (né LARRY KENNEDY PHILLIPS), who will be sharing the announcing duties tonight with the even more legendary AL ALBERT. Larry would be reading his ring introductions from an iPad; miraculously, there are no attempts throughout the night by wrestlers to grab the iPad and plunk Larry with it. MCW play-by-play man MARK BRAY and resident patriot NAPALM BOMB come to ringside. Bray, whose first country music album American All-Star is to debut next week, sings the National Anthem as Bomb serves as flag bearer.
MARK BRAY sang the Star-Spangled Banner in 1:40.

The arena observes a ten-bell salute for the recently deceased TIM (LUCIFER, KNIGHT OF THE ROAD) BURKE. Tim was one of the owners of the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation and a major figure in Maryland wrestling during the 1990’s. He is also the author of my favorite wrestling quote, “Pro wrestling is no place for people with long memories”.

The Shamrock Cup finals will be a six-man elimination match at the end of the evening. SAMI CALLIHAN and KIRBY MACK have already qualified for the finals. The other four participants would be decided by triple threat preliminaries.

Match 1 (SSMC qualifier A): ALEX COLÓN defeated JUDAS YOUNG and COREY HOLLIS in 5:15 to earn a spot in the finals. Hollis reverses some initial double-teaming by punching his way free, following up with a neck breaker, double head scissors, and whipping Young into Colón. Judas head butts Alex in such a way that Alex’s cojones are probably turned into just one Jones. Colón recovers, throws Young out of the ring, then does a plancha dive onto him. He then turns his attention to Corey, covering him for a 2-count. Young dives off the top rope onto Colón, then tries to pin Hollis, which is broken up by Colón. Are you following all this? A cornered Colón avoids the charging Young. Hollis rams into the now-cornered Young. Young bulldogs Colón, then his pin attempt is broken up by Hollis, who jumps off the top turnbuckle. Colon knocks Hollis down with a flying elbow, and then covers for a 2-count. Hollis and Young exchange punches and 2-counts. Colón enters the picture with a knee lift of his own and gets the 3-count on Judas.

MATCH 2 (SSMC qualifier B): VORDELL WALKER defeated KYLE MATTHEWS and NATHAN CROWN in 3:36, thus going to the finals later on. The powerful Walker starts with a double clothesline, then suplexes Matthews and goes for a 2-count. Crown then surprises Walker with a pin attempt that is broken up by Matthews. Matthews schoolboys Crown for his own 2-count. Crown hits a knee lift then covers Matthews but is pulled off by Walker. Likewise, Walker tries to pin Crown after delivering a suplex, but Matthews breaks up the pin. Kyle’s karate chops don’t hurt Vordell at all. Returning the attack, Vordell chops Kyle to the mat. Nathan tries to suplex Walker; but it is reversed, and yet another 2-count, this time broken up by Matthews. Matthews dives over the rope onto the out-of-the-ring Crown, then hits Walker with a missile drop kick. Walker meets an attempted Matthews splash with a swivel kick and the pin fall.

MATCH 3: RONNIE ZUKKO (with JESSIKA) kept his MCW Rage TV championship by winning over NUI TOFIGA by count out after 7:30. Nui comes out to a frenzied, cheering crowd. Ronnie comes out wearing his “WWZD? / Smack a B!#ch!” shirt and quickly corners Nui, adding chops and a choke. The unbelievably agile Tofiga dropkicks Zukko who promptly leaves the ring. Nui gets a 2-count after a clothesline and head butt debilitates the charging Zukko. Nui misses a splash but quickly reverses Ronnie’s attack. As Tofiga bounces off the ropes, Jessika grabs his leg, giving Ronnie the opportunity to deliver a new set of chops and punches. Ronnie is unable to lift Tofiga for a back suplex and falls victim to another 2-count. CANDIE comes out to ringside to support Nui. Nui executes a tilt-a-whirl body slam but doesn’t go for the pin as Jessika distracts the referee. Nui does get a 2-count after a Samoan drop. Ronnie then backs Nui into a corner and using the corner as leverage drops Nui to the mat and gets a 2-count. Ronnie goes up to the top turnbuckle but gets karate chopped and then Samoan dropped to the mat from the middle rope. With both combatants exhausted, Nui crawls toward Ronnie; but BRUISER, who has suddenly appeared, pulls Ronnie to safety. Bruiser and Tofiga battle to the locker room area as Tofiga is counted out of the ring, thus giving the win to the defending MCW Rage TV champion. Nui reappears after the match and beats up Zukko while Candie beats up Jessika, highlighted by a Candie stink face. One would think the spectators couldn’t get any more vociferous; but the cheers go over the top when they hear the strains of YMCA, marking the arrival of COLE CALLAWAY, who wants to settle his old score with Ronnie. The two fight to the back.

MATCH 4 (SSMC qualifier C): “THE HAVANA PIT BULL” RICKY REYES earned a spot in the finals with his victory over MIKE POSEY and ADEN CHAMBERS in 7:40. Posey stays out of the ring as Chambers and Reyes start. Chambers follows up arm drags with a German suplex and gets a 2-count before Posey enters the ring and pulls him off. Mike pulls Ricky out of the ring just in time for the both of them to be hit by Chambers doing a 180º dive over the top rope. Aden is injured when he lands on the floor and is not a factor in the rest of the match. Posey tries for a pin. Reyes reverses and holds Posey upside-down over his shoulder for at least 30-45 seconds before dropping him and getting the proverbial 2-count (Don’t ask me what proverb that comes from.). A cornered Reyes comes to life as he smashes Mike’s head against the turnbuckle, then suplexes him and getting a 1-count (Ah, different proverb!). Posey doesn’t submit to Ricky’s arm stretch and eventually punches his way out, then clotheslines Ricky. A series of 2-counts for Mike after executing, respectively, a neckbracker, huracanrana and top-rope leap. Reyes grabs Posey’s arm and uses it like a whip to put him on the mat. Ricky follows with his victorious 3-count. Chambers has to be helped back to the locker room after the bout.

MATCH 5 (SSMC qualifier D): “AMERICAN PSYCHO” JOSH DANIELS, winner of the 2007 SSMC, makes it to the finals once again with his victory over OLIVER GRIMSLY and ALEXANDER JAMES in 6:44. GRIMSLY and James immediately double-team the ringmaster of the Darque Karnival; but Oliver quickly recovers with dropkicks and body slams. GRIMSLY rolls up James for a 2-count that is broken up by Daniels. Daniels and James then trade slaps. Alex whips Josh into the ropes and then catches him on the rebound with a double ax handle and then a clothesline before getting a 2-count. Daniels and James continue to exchange kicks, forearms and chops. GRIMSLY re-enters the fray, diving on James but then missing a 619 attempt on Daniels. Daniels tries to get Oliver to submit but James breaks it up. Daniels seems to win a battle of chops with James; but he then turns to yell at the ringside spectators, which allows James to execute a snap mare and some kicks. It looks as if Daniels is going for the Lou Thesz press; but instead he starts to choke James. Daniels then corners James and readies him for a superplex; but Grimsly throws both of them off the top rope. James and Grimsly do the old Midnight Express slice-‘n’-dice move on Josh; but Josh kicks Alex to the mat and gets a 2-count. Daniels then does a German suplex on Grimsly before putting a chicken wing on Oliver, getting him to submit.

MATCH 6: NAPALM BOMB won a 19-man battle royal. The fourth-placer was DROLIX, who was tossed over the top rope by HOSS HAGOOD, who was in turn flipped over by newcomer MUSTAFA AZIZ DANIELS (no relation to JOSH DANIELS, who is in turn no relation to DR. TONY DANIELS or AIDA MARIE DANIELS, nor are any of them related to Minnie and Nat Daniels, who used to live across the street from us when I was growing up in northwest Baltimore; but I digress). Napalm misses a super kick. Mustafa slams him to the mat. As Napalm gets up, Daniels charges him. The Bomb pulls down the rope, and the charging behemoth falls out of the ring. The other participants in the match, in no particular order, were: CHUCK LENNOX, NICK SARACHELLI, KEVIN CHESNEY, MITCH MILLER, CHRIS CLOW (with DOC DANIELS), ZACHARY SHANE, R.K. BLUES (the two of them with DOC DANIELS), HOKUS, KINDRED (the two of them with OLIVER GRIMSLY), MARCUS STREETS, PALE PAUL WHITE, JUSTIN CORBIN, DA GIFT, DA CURSE, and THE EXECUTIONER.

MATCH 7: FED UP (C-FED & G-FED) won the MCW Tag Team Championship with their factory over THE HOLY ROLLERS (EARL THE PEARL AND “RAMBLIN’” RICH MYERS (with J.P. CALLAHAN) in 10:30. The special stipulations of this match: A Rollers’ win means that Fed Up must break up as a tag team. A Fed Up win means that Earl and Rich must retire from wrestling. Among the audience I spot PLATINUM NAT, the Holy Rollers’ original manager. It’s a brawl from the beginning, both inside and outside the ring. Fed Up gets the early upper hand, putting Earl and Rich on the floor. FU then goes under the ring to produce trays, chairs, a stop sign and a garbage can. They whack the Rollers with the trays, then whip Rich head first into the garbage can. C-Fed grabs the stop sign from Earl and whacks him with it, then covers him for a 2-count. Rich and Earl regroup, take off their belts, and whack C and G senseless. Crowd chants of “Fed Up!” go unanswered except for taunting by the Rollers who are busy choking C-Fed. Earl gets a 2-count on C-Fed. With both FU guys in Roller chin locks, they manage to smash Earl and Rich into each other. G-Fed grabs both of them and holds them for C-Fed’s top rope leap. Manager Callahan is observed showing symptoms of serious shpilkis. C and G grab one of the belts and smack Rich around, then they both slam Earl to the mat. G and C record Simultaneous 2-counts. Callahan enters the ring to take more direct control of his Rollers’ situation; but he is pushed into the ropes, causing Rich to fall from the top turnbuckle into a corner. G super kicks JP out while C puts a chair between Rich’s legs, then slams another chair into that first chair, probably leaving Rich with only one jones. Earl is thrown into one of the chairs. Both FU’s slam Roller faces into the mat, then set up chairs in the middle of the ring. They slam Earl and Rich into the chairs, then fall onto each of them for a double pin. Earl and Rich must begin their retirement.

After the match, Fed Up salutes the retiring Rollers, who have been a tag team since the late 1990’s and who have been around Maryland wrestling since the early days of the MEWF. The fans join them in applause as Rich and Earl head to the back.
I remember ringing the bell for early Rich’s early matches (often teaming with JIMMY JANNETTY) at Bingo Bill’s in Essex. I remember the debut of “The Dancing Fool”, with the Travolta-like dance-floor moves. Rich and Earl will no longer be active wrestlers, but still plan to have their hands in the business as they continue to mold future wrestling immortals at Gillberg’s Pro Wrestling Academy in Severn, Maryland. May I salute all of you: RICH MYERS, EARL THE PEARL, RAMBLIN’ RICH CARLYLE, PRIVATE PAIN, and other incarnations I may not have known about.

MATCH 8: COBIAN continued his reign as MCW Heavyweight Champion with a pin fall victory over THE BRUISER in 7:30. The brawling begins outside the ring before AL ALBERT can finish his introductions. Finally in the ring, Bruiser (well over 100 pounds lighter than he was during his initial MCW ring adventures over ten years ago) taunts the fans and Cobian while punching the champ. Cobian kicks the charging Bruiser and then clotheslines him over the ropes. Cobian chases Bruiser around the ring. The two re-enter the ring, with the challenger dodging a splashing champion. Bruiser bulls Cobian into the corner and punches him before taking time to taunt the crowd. He body slams a weakened Cobian to the mat but wastes time by playing to the crowd. When he finally tries for the pin, he gets a 2-count. He then cannot get the champ to submit to a camel clutch. Cobian rallies, putting Bruiser on the top turnbuckle and then landing repeated head butts before throwing him to the mat. Cobian continues with a shoulder block. Bruiser counters with a body slam, then grabs a chair from ringside. Before he can use it, NUI TOFIGA, burned by Bruiser’s antics earlier in the evening, takes the chair. As Bruiser is occupied with Nui, he turns around only to be met by a Cobian spear, followed by the 3-count. After the match, Bruiser goes [simian excrement], beating up a ringside security guy and throwing a chair into the ring.

As LARRY LEGEND gets ready to ring announce the main event, the crowd makes him feel at home by reprising the old “Fire Exit” chants. MCW commissioner JIMMY CICERO, MCW co-owner DAN McDEVITT, MARK “STUD LEE” OSBORNE, and GILLBERG come out. Dan talks about the late BRIAN “SHANE SHAMROCK” HOWSER and the origins of the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup. He introduces Brian’s mother SHARON HOWSER, his two daughters and his son. Tears well up in those of us who remember Brian/Shane.

MATCH 9 (SSMC finals): Your participants: VORDELL WALKER, “THE HAVANA PIT BULL” RICKY REYES, SAMI CALLIHAN, “AMERICAN PSYCHO” JOSH DANIELS, ALEX COLÓN, and KIRBY MACK. As the bell rings to start the match, Sami Callihan is the clear fans’ favorite.

Phase 1: Daniels and Callihan have a shoving match, then all hell breaks loose. Walker throws four opponents out of the ring, then is tossed over the rope himself by the other opponent, Colón. Callihan and Colón tie up, with Alex hitting Sami with a top rope knee drop. Mack hits a spin kick on Colón and covers him for a 2-count. Back in the ring, Walker sidewalk slams Mack and gets a 2-count. Walker back-suplexes Colón. Reyes kicks Colón over the top turnbuckle. Walker whips Reyes into the corner. Reyes hits a neck breaker but Walker quickly recovers and suplexes him. Daniels chops Walker but is then thrown out of the ring by him. Mack hits Walker with a 180º leap off the top turnbuckle. Sami spin kicks Mack but is then hit by Colón. Colón goes to the top turnbuckle and leaps on three opponents. A superplex attempt winds up finding five wrestlers climbing the same turnbuckle. Callihan executes the “Oy, gevalt!” move of the night as he superplexes all five of them at the same time. He covers various opponents for 2-counts. Colón, after kicking Sami off the top rope, attempts a huracanrana but is thrown of. Walker suplexes Callihan and gets a 2-count. He then whips Daniels into the corner, then gets a 2-count. He suplexes Callihan again, once more getting a 2-count. Vordell misses a 360º leap on Sami. Sami leg sweeps a charging Colón, then goes back to the floored Walker, forcing Vordell to submit to his snap mare driver at the 11:17 mark. VORDELL WALKER has been eliminated.

Phase 2: With help from Sami, Mack tombstones Colón and then pins him at the 11:57 mark. ALEX COLÓN has been eliminated.

Phase 3: Callihan gets Mack to submit to the snap mare driver at the 12:48 mark. KIRBY MACK has been eliminated.

Phase 4: A rested Reyes works on both Daniels and Callihan. He gets a 2-count on Daniels. Reyes hits Josh with a back kick. Daniels reverses Ricky’s pin attempt and scores the fall at the 14:00 mark. RICKY REYES has been eliminated.
All the wrestlers and many MCW staff members come out and surround the ring as the two remaining finalists continue the quest for the Cup.

Phase 5: Daniels and Callihan exchange chops, with Josh getting the better of the exchange. Sami uses various rapid-fire arm and leg moves to maneuver Josh into the ropes. Sami goes to the top turnbuckle; Josh pushes him off the rope on to the floor. Callihan barely beats the count, re-entering the ring at about 9.8. Daniels does a suplex and gets a 2-count. Sami’s foot on the ropes thwarts another fall attempt. The fans are cheering wildly “Sami! Sami! Sami!” Another suplex and 2-count leaves Daniels frustrated. He yells to the crowd and paces around the ring rather than further punishing the woozy Sami. This gives Callihan the time to recover. He suplexes Josh, then gets a 2-count. He tries for the snap mare driver but is reversed by Daniels, who tries to get him to tap to a submission leg lock. Sami in turn reverses the hold and eventually gets Josh to tap. JOSH DANIELS has been eliminated.

Your 11th annual Shane Shamrock Memorial cup winner: SAMI CALLIHAN, definitely the people’s choice. SHARON HOWSER and her grandchildren award him the trophy.

As I return to my car in the arena parking lot, I find on my windshield a “WANTED” poster that mentions there is a $5000 bounty on the head of NAPALM BOMB.

MCW returns to the New Green Room on Saturday, August 27, with “Aggravated Assault”. Bell time is 7:30. On Friday, September 9, MCW will present “Rally in the Alley” at Della Rose’s Tavern at White Marsh, with a bell time of 6:30.