Santino Brothers Wrestling: California Love
March 30, 2023
Hello, it’s me Arnold Furious and I’ll be your guide to this year’s WrestleMania weekend festivities. I’ll be here reviewing every single goddamn show. I’ve got a fridge full of Monster energy and I’m not afraid to use it. Well, I am a bit. If the show reviews stop coming in, it means I’m dead. Some shows will be done live, others the following day. There’s simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done in timely fashion, so there may be stuff that drops a day later or a couple of days down the line. I’ll be prioritising shows I’m interested in. There are more than 30 shows this weekend so you’ll be seeing a lot of my reviews. I hope they are helpful in some way.
LET’S FUCKING GOOOOOOO!
For those new to me as a reviewer; I used to do this a lot but haven’t seen anything really in the past 3 years so my recent wrestling history might be out of whack. So, if I miss some callbacks to things that have happened in 2022, I can only apologise ahead of time. I’m quite a harsh reviewer and there are certain things I don’t like. You’ll only see a snowflake rating if the match hits ***. I fully expect some “dude, that spotfest where a bunch of moves happened was awesome, why does it have no rating”. It’s because I thought it was stupid.
We start our journey with Santino Brothers Wrestling. It’s owned by Kid Kaos. Yes, XPW wrestler Kid Kaos. I’ve seen quite a lot of his matches and they were not good. I’ve seen him work with such legends of the business as Supreme, Steve Rizzono and Johnny Webb. (all these people are terrible). There were two reasons you worked for XPW; 1. You couldn’t get booked anywhere else and 2. Money. Kaos still wrestles and even booked himself in a title match last year. Jeezus. The other promoters are Jezabel Romo and Mongol Santino. This is their first stab at PPV but have run consistently in Cali since 2008.
We’re at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. This is GCW’s building for the weekend. I know roughly half the people on the card. One of the ones I’m unfamiliar with is the creatively named Rob Shit. My hopes are not high.
As this is the first show of Mania weekend, I’ve had this open in my browser for days already. Fite+ has a 7 day ‘try before you buy’ period so this is costing me nothing. Compared to previous years where you’d pay £80+ for a bundle of shows.
Eli Everfly vs. Kidd Bandit
What the hell is this, Eli? You look like an absolute nerd here mate. This is less a match and more a sequence they pre-planned. I guess you could, accurately, call it dogshit. It’s one dumb looking spot after another without reprieve. Some of the strikes aren’t awful but Bandit insists on doing weird spinning things before each kick. Sometimes you just have to punt someone. Eli, who used to have a lot of promise, can’t even run across the ring convincingly anymore. In a horribly botched finish the referee decides to not count the three and Everfly just lies there waiting to be counted down. This was so bad. I don’t rate things under 3 stars, but this was easily a DUD. It was embarrassing.
Big Dick Hoss vs. Koto Hiro vs. El Primohenio vs. Alec Tomas vs. Richie Coy vs. Ray Rosas
All these guys have defined personalities, which is nice. However, I hate scramble matches. Rosas replaces Rob Shit, who is injured. Some of the boys try to get away with ‘background’ wrestling and lying around between spots. I see you. Some of the spots involve a lot of standing around waiting for someone to hit a spot but some of the spots are pretty clean. Some are less good. Primohenio and Coy seem to be the better workers. Koto does a springboard into a shot with his cane, which is almost as dumb as the opening match. They do a bunch of spots. At least everyone has to gang up to get rid of Big Dick Hoss and Ray Rosas ends up bagging the W. He wasn’t even in the match to begin with. This went in and out of being stupid and being fine. There will be a lot of these scramble matches this weekend and no one will remember any of them.
Raunchy Rico vs. Tyler Bateman
Rico’s corner man, Damian Arsenic, does the ‘soap, deodorant’ gimmick with the filthy global wrestling fans. Arsenic is sporting wrestling shorts and a leather jacket. Bateman is the first good wrestler on the show. They do some nice mat work, but Rico’s gimmick is built around Arsenic helping him. Arsenic earns his money by spraying mist at his man during the contest. Bateman starts getting infected by the stupidity in the air and starts doing dumb things. Like a Russian legsweep into the buckles. That move looks shit. It’s always looked shit. You cannot get alongside the guy that’s taking it so he throws himself into the buckles. It’s dumb. Don’t do it. Bateman finishes with a Tombstone, which he struggles to get Rico up for. Apparently he was mad about Rico and wanted to “stack bodies to the ceiling” but did nothing even remotely violent in the match. This was fairly inoffensive compared to the opener but didn’t do much for me.
The Bomb Squad (Cameron Gates & DKC) vs. Dom Kubrick & Lucas Riley
DKC was in the NJPW LA Dojo. You know this because he’s got an LA Dojo headband. Cam Gates is bigged up to the point where I’m waiting for him to turn heel on DKC (I literally called this in the group chat, I have the receipt). It doesn’t surprise me that DKC, from the LA Dojo, is OK. There’s some potential in here for sure. Lucas Riley is energetic and likes a flip. Gates looks capable. He does a version of the Final Cut that’s more like a DDT. That’s cool. DKC gets picked off for heat with some limb work but both teams are babyface, so it doesn’t quite click. The crowd is into the match, which is the first time that’s happened. I don’t really understand why DKC comes back in after the hot tag but it does allow the other team to kill him with a monkey flip into a powerbomb. That’s really cool. There is definitely a degree of ‘let’s show off here’ about the match but hey, it’s Mania weekend. There are more eyes on you. You’ve got to show off. They even have an awesome spot where DKC takes a double superkick bullet by shoving Gates out of the way. That’s the finish too! Brilliant! Well played guys. ***½
POST MATCH: Cam Gates inevitably turns heel on DKC and Big Dick Hoss comes out to beat him up. A fine angle. Just good all around professional wrestling. The turn was made far too obvious by commentary, who need to reel in the THIS STORYLINE IS COMING kind of foreshadowing. Otherwise, A+ story work.
Matt Vandagriff vs. Bad Dude Tito
I saw Tito at Bloodsport last year and wasn’t particularly impressed. Last time I saw Vandagriff he was green. He was only about a year or two into his career at that point. Vandagriff is a flier and he spends a lot of time throwing himself at Tito. On the other side of the wrestling coin, Tito overpowers Matt and throws him around. Vandagriff going for it all and getting hurt is the turning point. It’s a clever mesh of styles. Vandagriff having to continue to takes risks to get anywhere. I’m a little annoyed the injury didn’t go anywhere but it was quite early in the match. Tito plants Vandagriff with a lariat, touches Vandagriff in the ballsack and finishes with a frogsplash. This was solid professional wrestling. Good work lads. Both winners in my book. ***
SBW Inner City Championship
Delilah Doom (c) vs. Heather Monroe vs. Johnnie Robbie
Heather Monroe used to get over in the Killer Baes in that Joey Ryan promotion that doesn’t exist anymore (Bar Wrestling. Joey should be barred from wrestling). I’ve never seen Johnnie Robbie but never trust someone with two first names. She debuted in the pandemic. Doom seems to have been transported back to the 1980s.
Multiple person matches are hard to do. Companies have a strange habit of putting inexperienced wrestlers in them, which is a terrible idea. Johnnie Robbie wrestles like she’s filming a dance sequence on TikTok. The timing is off on so many spots where all three are involved. I can’t help but think they’d be better off in a singles match. There are a couple of kicks where there’s a foot of air between the foot and the target. It’s not all bad. There’s a great dragon suplex from Monroe on Robbie but there are too many rehearsed spots that don’t land right. Plus the usual issues that stem from a three-way. The double Stunner has Doom standing in the middle of the ring with her arms over her head waiting for the other two to run into it and then they both bump it differently. Doom is the best wrestler of the three. Being able to strike and fly in a way the other two can only dream of. The crowd get invested and there is certainly effort here but not enough lands for me. Doom sunset flips Robbie off the top for the win after Monroe has been awkwardly eliminated. They tried hard here, and Delilah can go pretty far on her better work and character. Not sure Heather Monroe is ever going to be a top tier wrestler, even on the WWE ravaged Indies scene.
POST MATCH: Ray Rosas, who won a title shot at this belt earlier in the show, comes in and gives Delilah the Judas Elbow. Santino Bros really building to that next show that none of us will watch. I appreciate the effort.
Che Cabrera (c) vs. Willie Mack
Cabrera has the same manager as Raunchy Rico. Cabrera’s nickname of “Latino Meat” wins me over. He looks like he goes to the gym. I expect to see him as an overly muscular lawyer on a skit on Smackdown in a year. I’m kidding, I would never watch Smackdown. Willie Mack is a real man. He don’t need no sculpted abs to prove it. I bet he could handle a few pints of Guinness. Willie Mack gets a fan to hold Cabrera while he chops him. Yuji Nagata once did that to me. Only with a running boot. Get that interaction in and people will remember you. This is an Indies powerhouse match. Cabrera is 6’, Mack is 5’10”. Latino Meat lives up to his name by sporting the kind of ring gear that allows his penis to be on full show. Normally I wouldn’t draw attention to people’s ring gear but that has to be changed out for something else. You’ll never get to be a jacked up WWE lawyer with your junk on show. Living up to the Latino Meat nickname though, to be fair.
Most of the match is two big dudes hitting each other, which is my kind of match and then Willie Mack busts out a massive fucking roundhouse and Bloodsport has come early baby! Willie Mack doing Big Boi Shit is right up my alleyway. The Wind Up Slam is great. I wish he wouldn’t slap his thigh but otherwise I’m into his work. Cabrera has a few wobbles. His slingshot DDT is a bit messy, for example. Willie Mack knows what he’s good at and does it. His moveset is in my wheelhouse. I feel like they overreach too often but when they stick to their strengths, it’s a solid match. Cabrera finishes with the Meat Hook, which is Goldberg’s finisher and has no hooks in it. ***¼.
Started in horrendous fashion. The opening match was an absolute disaster of epic proportions. The tag match turned the show around and was MOTN. Main event and Vandagriff vs. Tito were both good. The show could of been a terrible start to WrestleMania weekend but hey, it turned out OK. Well played fellas.