2022 BELMONT CLASSIC
NIGHT TWO RECAP
By: Tanner Quest
Hello again! We’re back with the recap for Night Two of the Belmont Classic, and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, after the sheer wildness of Night One (read that recap HERE.) We’ve got more articles when you’re done, including THIS preview of the upcoming tour for Bang! Pro Wrestling by Karen Nakano. Nakano is our newest contributor, so make her feel welcome! She’ll be covering Bang! Pro Wrestling for our site this year. We’ve also got parts TWO and THREE of our ranking of every Belmont Classic participant.
Let’s get started with Night Two!
Back to the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis on December 9, 2022. Patty duPont and “Catfish” Hank Wheeler ran down some updates from last night’s action:
-Justin Wheelwright suffered a broken jaw and fractured zygomatic bone; he will be evaluated further when he returns to Australia.
-A Lucha Inquiry has determined that no further actions against Quinn Fleetwood are necessary. Fleetwood damaged Milagro DC’s mask on Night One.
-Charles Beckett was found asleep on the roof of the Chaifetz earlier in the day, and the Shenanigans Warning for the St. Louis area has been lifted.
-The oranges have been taken care of…mostly.
They also did a brief rundown of last night’s show, and then kicked it over to Dustin Callais to get the crowd’s attention on the screen.
The video starts with a black screen and the opening strains of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”, which Johnny Belmont used as a theme for a short time in the early 1980s. As the energy builds, the screen fades up into highlights from previous tournaments.
White Guy in a Mask scores an upset victory against tournament favorite Tony Hastings.
Lindsay Troy ducks a cross-body from Charles Beckett. As soon as he stands up, he gets superkicked into unconsciousness.
As Lord Kurosame-sama walks to the ring, an arena full of fans chant “SHARK! SHARK! SHARK!
In a building empty of fans, all the energy comes from the ring as Benjamin and Dennis Colton try to finish each other off. Each man attempting the Colton Clutch, only for the other to escape and try it himself.
Luke “The Look” Robinson leaps off the top rope, rotating 450 degrees to complete the Look Out! on his hapless opponent.
“Skyfire” Zack Daymon nails Tatterdemalion with the Skyfall, putting the double-jointed scarecrow person out of commission.
Clay Byrd lariats the absolute bejesus out of Randy Doll. The ensuing flips, flops, and bounces would forever brand the victim with his new nickname: Randy “Rag” Doll.
Tyrel-Marcus Jordan nearly throws his opponent through the roof.
Ian Nackedy climbs up the corner and superplexes his own brother, Foster.
All twelve seconds of the match between Samson Dynamite and Eric “Epic” McPhail.
Coral Avalon plants the much larger “Big R” Roscoe Harris with the Ratings Spike, a move Coral “borrowed” from Ruben Ross.
Kevin Condor, fresh off the end of his extreme sports career, truly begins his wrestling career by wiping out the Chainsaw Kid with a flying headscissor.
An exhausted Nate Colton finally traps Victor Jimenez in the Colton Clutch, then completes the suplex.
Jack Graves applies the Boston Crab on Kayden Carson. The Ironic Icon crawls toward his corner…but instead of grabbing the ropes, he grabs his phone and texts, “ow.”
Moments before the bell rings, Jay Phoenix and Joshua Two Bulls stand face-to-face, the tension palpable even today.
Finally, last year’s eventual tournament winner “Hot Buttered” Leroy Scrumptious ascends the turnbuckle and soars through the air with a magnificent moonsault, crashing down on Dr. Ned Reform.
After the video, Dustin introduced the first match of Night Two.
EDDIE CROSS vs. NIKKI REESE
Nikki hoped to repeat last night’s performance by charging in and asserting herself…unfortunately, Eddie saw it coming and caught her in a drop toehold to set the tone for the early stages of the match. Cross managed to keep Reese off her feet with a series of wear-down holds and attacks targeting the neck. This worked well as long as Reese couldn’t make a comeback…but when she did, oh my goodness did she ever.
Reese and Cross were almost the exact same size, but you wouldn’t know it from the way she ragdolled Cross around the ring. Nikki slammed and suplexed Cross like he owed her money. In fact, if it weren’t for a well-timed thumb to the eye (conveniently missed by Andy Chase) she might still be beating him up. That thumb gave Eddie the opening he needed though, and went back to wearing down Nikki–this time with a series of sleepers and chokeholds to cut off her oxygen.
Nikki was definitely flagging toward the end, expending more and more effort while trying to escape. She wasn’t able to manage it until late in the match, when she countered Cross’s Russian Leg Sweep by shoving him into the corner, then spearing him in the middle of the back. As he staggered out toward the center, she hoisted him up and planted him with a massive back suplex. That wasn’t enough to get the three, so she decided to Bomb A Bitch. At the last second though, Eddie decided he didn’t want to be A Bitch, and thumbed Reese in the eye again. She dropped Cross, who quickly bounced off the ropes and cracked her in the jaw with OhKO, then locked on the GG for a submission victory. (15:03)
WINNER: Eddie Cross; Rating: ***½
Nikki’s full-steam-ahead approach served her well in the first round, but cost her this time. Her strength and confidence served her very well, but she struggled against Cross’s technical skill and occasional mind games. Reese will definitely be someone to watch for the future.
Cross looked sharp again tonight; he’s obviously been served very well by his trainer, Dave Gibson. He was able to counter Nikki’s power and even slip a few things past the referee. He really made a case to be considered a favorite on Night Three.
Kellie Burkowski spoke with Clay Byrd, who was giving away autographed oranges in Section 214. He talked about his own experience in the Belmont Classic, and what the event means not just to him, but numerous other wrestlers trained by his father. He also brought up his appearance in Night Two’s opening video, counting it among the best lariats he has ever thrown.
JENNIFER COLTON vs. PIPER O’HAIRE
Piper O’Haire came out swinging against Jennifer Colton, daring the youngest Colton to bring it. Jenny did, in fact, bring it, hammering away at Piper with strikes. Piper answered in kind, and the two went back and forth for a short while exchanging slaps and elbows until Colton turned one of the slaps into a judo throw and knee strike for a close near fall. Colton assumed control from here, peppering Piper with powerful strikes and coupled with a few suplexes. Colton expertly shut down two of Piper’s attempts to come back, showing off her years of training well before her first match, and only through Piper’s stubbornness was she able to make the comeback on the third attempt, taking Colton down with a shotgun dropkick and a knee in the corner for a close two count from Danny Barlow.
Piper tried to press her advantage by going to the top rope for her Pay the Piper diving knee strike, but Jenny had it scouted and countered it into a brutal powerbomb that might make Sid Phillips blush. Once Piper was down, Jenny rolled her back to her feet and delivered another suplex that she transitioned directly into the Colton Clutch 2! Piper tried desperately to reach the ropes, but Jenny was relentless with the hold and after a few agonizing seconds, she got the tap out. (9:51)
WINNER: Jennifer Colton; Rating: ***
Piper fought with a lot of heart tonight, but overextended herself several times and it almost always caught her. She’ll have to learn how to temper her fearlessness; there’s a time and a place to press your advantage, but it wasn’t here. She has tremendous upside, though, and she knows a lot of things that can’t be taught. Look for her to make waves in the future.
For the second time in two nights, Jennifer looked very polished in the ring–no surprise if you’ve watched her brothers or cousin in their tournament appearances. She held court while playing to O’Haire’s strengths, and clearly outpaced Piper when playing to her own.
Simon Tillier spoke with David McBride, a former wrestler and current trainer who participated in the Belmont in 1996. He gave an update on his friend and tag team partner, Charles Beckett–Charles was sleeping off yesterday’s coffee-fueled chicanery, and was currently not a threat to himself, others, or the fabric of reality. He made no promises about tomorrow.
IGNACIO EL JAGUAR vs. JESSICA BLAYLOCK
This was a very intriguing match from the start–for the first time in Belmont history, two alternate selections would face each other (and in the second round, no less!) Both of them seemed determined to prove that they belonged here, and they absolutely did.
They started with the classic test of strength, though it ended up being a test of agility, as he went straight for a monkey flip and floated over for a pin…but instead, he landed on Jessica’s feet. She used the momentum to roll back to her feet, then maneuvered her head under Ignacio’s arm and caught him with a Northern Lights Suplex. Billy Hawkins only counted to one before the kickout, and both competitors were separated and facing off.
Ignacio tried to keep the pace high, but his attempt at springing off the second rope ended in disaster–his foot slipped, and he fell on his back. Jessica Blaylock immediately took control, working Igancio’s arm and shoulder with a series of punishing holds. Ignacio was unfazed though, and through a series of flips and turns managed to escape. From there he attacked Blaylock’s abdomen with a series of kicks, which went well until she caught one and brought him down with a dragon screw leg sweep.
From there, Blaylock pressed her advantage even farther, picking Ignacio up by that same leg, pulling him close, and planting him with a capture suplex for two. Not to be outdone, Ignacio rolled away after the pin attempt, then took to the skies with a springboard crossbody, followed by a top rope legdrop. He tried to follow with a double underhook suplex, but Blaylock landed just close enough to get her foot on them and break up the ensuing pinfall. Undeterred, Ignacio headed straight back to the top, but missed on a dropkick and then was met with a vicious headbutt as soon as he stood up.
Jessica applied the double underhook in order to finish the match, but Ignacio twisted out of the hold, stunned Jessica with a headbutt, then leveled her with a running kick to the chest. Before Blaylock could recover, Ignacio ascended the turnbuckle and nailed the Double Helix for another impressive victory. (12:19)
WINNER: Ignacio El Jaguar; Rating: ***
Jessica Blaylock had the rare combination of being lucky AND good for a large part of this match, but not as good as her opponent, and eventually her luck ran out. She still did her school proud with a solid performance, and whether intentional or not, a different kind of personality started to show this weekend. Blaylock is an interesting case going forward.
After two stellar performances, we can no longer think of Ignacio El Jaguar’s presence in the Belmont as a fluke. His speed, agility, and quick thinking were on full display here, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t get signed somewhere very soon.
Chris Trutt caught up with the New World Trash, winners of the 2022 Milo Flynn Cup. We at RingDispatch can neither confirm nor deny that they openly discussed previous and future activities of questionable legality. Or book reports.
ANTHONY “Momento Mori” MANCINI vs. JONAH KE’ALA
The way Jonah charged in as soon as the bell rang, you’d think he was looking for another sub-minute night. Almost before Mancini knew what was happening, Ke’ala hammered him with massive forearm blows. Fortunately for “Momento Mori”, he got his bearings quickly, and was able to maintain separation with his own strikes. He tried to wear down Jonah with some submission holds and well-timed counters, but nothing he did kept the Silver Linings graduate down for long, and his powerful throws and strikes had things looking grim for Mancini.
Late in the match, Jonah Ke’ala whipped Mancini into the corner and hit a big splash to drop Mancini to the mat. Jonah headed for the opposite corner to set up the Ide Ahi, waiting for Anthony to stand back up…but as he charged in, Mancini spun around and caught Ke’ala perfectly in the jaw with Cement Shoes. Jonah Ke’ala dropped like a ton of bricks, and Jimmy Turnbull counted the pinfall. (8:24)
WINNER: Anthony Mancini; Rating: *** 1/2
Now, this is what I was hoping for (and didn’t get in his twenty-second match last night.) Jonah was a wrecking ball in this match, tossing Mancini around and knocking him over whenever he got the chance. Much like Nikki Reese, he was a bit too single-minded for his own good, but he kept the pressure up and probably would have won if not for Mancini’s excellent counter.
That’s not to say Mancini’s win isn’t well deserved, of course. Anthony met Jonah strike for strike, and performed well in the face of Ke’ala’s unrelenting assault. His timing was stellar, especially on the Cement Shoes that ended the match. If he can maintain that level of precision, he’s going to go very far; both in this tournament and in the wrestling business.
Dustin Callais announced the intermission, and thanked a list of event sponsors.
Kellie Burkowski spoke with MVW junior official Billy Hawkins, asking what it meant to be part of such an event. Billy tried–and failed–to maintain professionalism, but his excitement overtook him and he gushed at length about how it was “so cool” to be a part of the Belmont Classic. “It ain’t just the new wrestlers who get the chance; it’s us too! The stripes [referees], the sticks [interviewers], the chatters [announcers]…it’s a huge deal for all of us!”
“SONG AND DANCE” SAMMY BROADWAY VS. PAXTON RAY
Paxton Ray remained the most booed man in the Belmont Classic going into his second round match with “Song and Dance” Sammy Broadway, with fans treating his every movement with ire and scorn. For the first few seconds, it looked like Sammy wouldn’t meet the same fate as Ray’s first round opponent, as Sammy dodged around a Paxton Ray punch with a pirouette-like spinning maneuver that made Ray have to wait for it, Burr-style. As Sammy turned to go for a spin-kick, which had proven to be the difference maker against Alex Andersen in the first round, Paxton reacted by kicking him right in the knee of the plant leg, and Sammy went down screaming. That caused the mortified crowd to go dead silent as Paxton unloaded kicks on Broadway’s knees.
This went on for a while. An uncomfortable amount of time. Paxton never went for a submission hold, instead choosing to continue his attack on Sammy’s knee with kicks and tactical knee strikes, well past the point where it had any point or reason. It was pretty clear that Paxton could have won this match at any point, but instead he started kicking away at Broadway’s other knee as Sammy attempted to stand on it. He teased a Boston crab to end the match, only to think better of it and slammed both knees into the canvas. By now, the crowd had been roused from their shock and were booing Paxton relentlessly.
Finally, Paxton had enough and whipped Broadway into the ropes for the Lafayette Lullaby. Sammy only got two steps before he collapsed to the mat, his ruined knees unable to bear his own weight. Paxton smiled, picked up Sammy, and attempted it again. This got the same result, with Sammy falling to the canvas in agony. Andy Chase looked like he was going to stop the match, but Paxton insisted he Broadway could still fight because he was crawling on his hands after Paxton. After a moment to let Broadway reach him, Paxton Ray went for the brainbuster, which has a personalized name that Patty duPont refused to say and I refuse to type.
Everyone was horrified. Fortunately, it appeared that Broadway was able to tuck his head in the nick of time and save himself from Jonathan Rhine’s fate. But it was over from there, as Paxton Ray placed a hand on Broadway’s chest and sneered at the crowd as the three count was made academic.
Winner: Paxton Ray; Rating: –
Despite the lack of blood, this was more gruesome than Paxton’s bludgeoning of Justin Wheelwright on Night One. This attack might not have ended Sammy’s wrestling career, but his theater one as well. As with Wheelwright, we will follow the situation and update as we can.
I have always tried my best to keep my personal opinions out of my professional work. I find this increasingly difficult to do for Paxton Ray, so I will simply say nothing.
Dustin Callais announced another intermission, while medics loaded Broadway onto a stretcher.
After the break, Simon Tillier reported that Sammy Broadway had been taken to SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, where the extent of the damage suffered could be determined.
CURTIS ALEXANDER BROWN VS. FLAMBERGE
Two of the most arrogant stars of the Belmont Classic strolled their way into the ring in this contest, as both Curtis Alexander Brown and FLAMBERGE conspired to stall each other out by playing to the crowd, taking powders to the outside before locking up, and taunting not just each other, but fans in the crowd. At one point, Brown and FLAMBERGE actually stopped wrestling entirely simply to dunk on one fan in particular who was heckling both of them. By the time Brown and FLAMBERGE actually began to wrestle in earnest, the crowd were booing both men.
Once the action finally started, five minutes after the bell rang, Brown proved to be more than capable of challenging the already-proven FLAMBERGE in the ring, his skills a match for FLAMBERGE’s. FLAMBERGE gained control by cheating, only for Brown to cheat right back to regain the advantage. FLAMBERGE eventually found his advantage in trying to grind down Brown with submissions, something Brown seemed noticeably weak against. Eventually, Brown fired back and hit a variety of suplexes and even debuted a handstand dropkick in the corner with a lot of theatrics for a close two-count. In the end, though, FLAMBERGE shoved Brown off when he attempted to hit the Magnum Fang and finished him with an axe kick and the Marie Antoinette for the tap out. (13:17)
WINNER: FLAMBERGE; Rating: **
The preen-off in the first half of the match was this weird roller coaster that went from fun to obnoxious to amusing to boring to hilarious. Referee Danny Barlow looked like he wanted to either disqualify both men, or fight them himself. Once the match actually got started, it was pretty solid.
Curtis Alexander Brown showed a lot of talent, both for the skills he learned from his trainer, Coral Avalon, and the ones he learned from his uncle, “Codemaster” Allen Brown. He still needs some polish, but there’s a lot of potential there. He should already be considered as one of the best students to come out of Gates of Avalon.
FLAMBERGE seemed to be more focused than last night (well, once the action actually started.) That said, it still feels like he’s not putting in his maximum effort. It’s likely he’s saving that extra gear for the semifinals or finals, but he’s shown so far that he can get away with it. He might be one of the most talented entrants the Belmont has ever seen.
Chris Trutt met up with Vinny Mariano, president of Destruction Productions, in his luxury box. He was flanked by several other DP stars, including Kevin Condor, Samson Dynamite, and “The Plague Doctor” Adam Sturgeon (not to be confused with the guys who work for Henry Keyes.) Vinny seemed unconcerned about Paxton Ray’s brutal actions so far, going on to say that he’d happily sign the Bayou Butcher if PRIME decided to cut him loose. “Folks may not want to admit it, but if the crowd wants blood, who am I to say no?”
GARRY “RAY-RAY” NELSON VS. “Fresh Prince of Big Air” ANTONIO PRINCE
After the ridiculous nature of Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson’s first-round match, fans in attendance were entertained by Nelson explaining to the ring announcer about how much he and his wife like to make sweet love in a cornfield, and how he was going to win the Belmont Cup for both his wife and his cornfield. Antonio Prince came to the ring afterwards. Nelson came out of the gates slapping. Prince, lacking experience in the art of slap-fighting, got slapped. It probably hurt, Nelson had some big meaty slappin’ paws.
After managing to put some distance between himself and Nelson by bailing to the floor, Prince came back in and did some spectacular high-flying moves to take down the tall, lanky Kentucky boy. Between his moves, Prince played to the crowd rather than go for the kill, which gave Nelson opportunity to get back into the fight by slapping the piss out of Prince. Like, good grief, the poor kid probably last his sense of taste on that one. Nelson took it to Prince from there, but became overzealous with the slappin’ and eventually got brought down by a Prince superkick. A split-legged moonsault got two, but when Prince went for the Hail to the Prince, Nelson knocked his legs out from under him with a slap to the knee (of all things). Another slap brought Prince back into the ring, landing him on the back of his neck, and that made him vulnerable to the Blood on the Plow for the win. (8:49)
WINNER: Garry “Ray-Ray” Nelson; Rating: **½
As much fun as Prince is to watch, it’s obvious that he hasn’t had formal training. He played to the crowd a little too much, and he struggled a lot with Nelson’s unorthodox style. That said, he has a ton of potential and is sure to catch on somewhere. Antonio Prince is very charismatic and a lot of fun to watch.
I admit I wasn’t sure how Garry Nelson would fare against a “real” opponent (no disrespect to Turk February, but let’s not kid ourselves.) He proved himself more than capable, and his slap fighting technique was too much for Prince to handle. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares tomorrow night, against opponents with more training.
Simon Tillier spoke with Foster Nackedy, who was attempting to leave the arena. He was tight-lipped about Paxton Ray’s actions tonight, saying only “I’ve talked to him.” Considering the fact that one of his students had reached Night Three of the tournament, he did not appear at all happy.
MILAGRO DC vs. VAHID JAFARNEJAD
Milagro turned up the heat as soon as the bell rang, using her lucha libre offense to keep Jafarnejad off balance. She looked firmly in control after a series of armdrags and headscissors, but Vihad finally got some offense in after Milagro charged off the ropes, and was met with a brutal lariat. Not typically allowed in Olympic competition, but perfectly at home here.
As Milagro got to her feet, Jafarnejad put her down with another lariat. The young luchadora grabbed her head, though not in pain. The reason would become clear moments later, as Vahid grabbed her by the top of the head to pull her up…and the mask came right off! The colorful mask was replaced by equally colorful hair, revealing Milagro to be SHOOT Project standout Peach Backshots!
General shock filled the arena, but mostly Jafarnejad, who started pleading his case to the referee that it was an accident. Milagro DC recovered quickly though, and rolled up Vahid for a near three count! (Good work by Jimmy Turnbull getting on that count so fast, since he seemed just as shocked by the events as the rest of us.)
That got Vahid’s head back in the game, and he took over for a while with some powerful throws and slick pinning combinations. His longer reach also kept Milagro from escaping several times, though not always; she stayed in the game with some excellent evasion tactics, along with her natural speed.
Once Milagro finally broke out of Jafarnejad’s grasp, the match tilted back in her favor. She kept the bigger man disoriented with a monkey flip or hurricanrana, then took to the skies for harder impacts. She nearly got a pin from a shooting star press, then as Vahid rolled onto his stomach, almost caught him again with a La Majistral cradle. She overstepped herself again, though, and a hurricanrana attempt was countered with a brutal powerbomb.
Sensing the victory within his grasp, Vahid Jafarnejad picked Milagro up from the mat and set up for his German suplex…but opted for the release instead of the bridge. This proved to be a mistake, especially as Milagro DC timed her jump to match Vahid’s lift. The ensuing force sent Milagro on a picture-perfect flip over the ropes and onto the ring apron! She grabbed the top rope to keep her balance, then vaulted herself onto the rope itself, sprung forward, and trapped Jafarnejad in a victory roll! Before Vahid knew what hit him, Jimmy Turnbull had counted to three. (13:40)
WINNER: Milagro DC; Rating: ****
Vahid Jafarnejad seemed rattled by the negative reaction he got, both last night and also when he accidentally removed Milagro’s mask. Still, he handled it well, settled his nerves, and put on a great showing. He was definitely winning the audience over by the end. While the American market might be too volatile for him, he’ll definitely be a star somewhere.
Milagro DC, or Peach Backshots, showed a lot of resilience in the face of adversity tonight. First in losing her mask, and then in being outmuscled by the bigger and stronger Olympian. Between this weekend and her efforts in SHOOT Project, she’s cementing herself as one of the best rookie talents of the year.
After the match, Vahid raised Milagro’s arm in victory, which drew a big cheer from the crowd. It was good to see his performance and sportsmanship win over the fans, especially after the incident with the mask. After that, Dustin Callais did the closing speech and reminded everyone to come back to Night Three.
That concludes Night Two, which definitely followed up on the promise of Night One. The biggest story is that Paxton Ray hospitalized yet another opponent, one who had already established himself as a fan favorite. While injuries have happened in the Belmont Classic before, they’ve never been so obviously intentional or frequent. No matter what happens tomorrow night, this will be a huge black eye for the event and its coordinators.
The other big happening is Milagro DC, or Peach Backshots, losing her mask. I expect another Lucha Inquiry to take place, although this one did seem pretty accidental. I wouldn’t expect much to come of this one for Vahid Jafarnejad. For Peach/Milagro, on the other hand, it’ll be interesting to see her mindset through her matches tomorrow.
Overall, a great show with several fantastic matches. Cross/Reese, Mancini/Ke’ala, and Milagro/Jafarnejad were especially fun to watch. The table’s been set for one of the best final nights of the Belmont Classic in recent memory.
We’ll be there to cover the whole thing, and I hope you’ll be there too. For the whole team here at RingDispatch, thanks for reading and we’ll see you tomorrow.
Cross/Reese – Luke
Colton/O’Haire – Renner
Ignacio/Blaylock – Luke w/ Matt K.
Mancini/Ke’ela – Luke
Broadway/Ray – Renner
Brown/FLAMBERGE – Renner
Nelson/Prince – Renner
Milagro/Jafarnejad – Luke