WINDSOR, ON — It’s Saturday, May 3rd, just a few hours before bell-time for Border City Wrestling’s Awakening, the company’s return event after a four year absence, and the anticipation in the building is palpable.

There’s a flurry of activity going on everywhere in the Assumption College gymnasium. Around the ring, CanAm Wrestling students are setting up chairs. Against the back wall, vendors are sticking price tags on t-shirts and figures. Wrestlers trickle into the building, warmly greeted by the company’s management and staff, friends who they may not have seen since the last BCW event. It’s a true homecoming, a special night, in particular for BCW promoter Chuck Fader.

“I’m really looking forward to tonight,” he told SLAM! Wrestling. “We’ve been away for a while, and tonight is very important. We want to start running (regularly again), and tonight we’ll see whether the fans miss it as much as we do.”

Based merely on the size of the crowd — 400 plus filled the ringside seats and bleachers in the Assumption College gymnasium — it’s safe to say they do. Doors opened two hours before showtime so that people could get their pictures and autographs with the night’s headliner Al Snow, and TNA star Johnny Devine. In line, fans shared stories of their favourite BCW events of the past, and speculated on who would win the matches later on that evening.

Their enthusiasm didn’t fade for the entire night. Indeed, the audience, which included many families with young children, was raucous throughout the show, cheering and booing every match like it was a main event. Contrary to the reputation of Canada being ‘Bizarro-land’, there was no confusion between heroes and villains in terms of the reactions they garnered.

The night’s biggest cheers were heard for Snow, who squared off against Ontario mainstay ‘Textbook’ Tyson Dux. Or more accurately, Snow’s companion, Head, the mannequin head from whom the lunatic takes instruction. The two didn’t even lock up for nearly 10 minutes after the introductions as Snow alternated between leading the crowd in chants for his ‘manager’ and arguing with Head over some last-minute instructions. After numerous humourous exchanges which saw Snow out-think Dux early on, things finally got serious. As Snow conversed with Head in the corner, Dux sneak-attacked him, from behind, then punished Snow with a barrage of hard-hitting moves in rapid succession. Every attempt Snow made to reach his corner for inspiration and wisdom from Head, Dux would thwart. When Snow finally reached the corner, the crowd went wild, but the referee prevented Snow from using his friend and mentor as a weapon. Still, with his second wind found, Snow was able to fight back. In the end, when the referee was distracted after barely avoiding a collision with Dux, Snow sneaked into the corner, grabbed Head, and walloped Dux. At that point, the three-count was merely a formality, and the crowd celebrated with more chants for Head to end the show.

As the final cheers died down, ring announcer Jeffrey Scott confirmed to the crowd that based on the success of the night, BCW would indeed be back.

“This is Border City Wrestling,” he said proudly. “We’re back, and we’re bigger and better than ever.”

Other Match Results

Match 1: Jake O’Reilly vs. Cody Deaner

An entertaining match that really got the crowd involved. After an extended beatdown, O’Reilly set up Deaner for a superplex. Deaner was able to muster the strength to fight him off, send him crashing to the mat, and put away the Irish pugilist with a flying headbutt.

Match 2: Johnny Bravo & Tony Smallz vs. El Reverso & Brad Martin

A traditional tag team match that saw Bravo and the powerful Smallz pummel Martin unmercifully, until Bravo missed on a flying elbow attempt. A fresh Reverso was able to use his speed and aerials, but the power of Smallz was just too much. Smallz absorbed a 450-splash, then grabbed Reverso by the throat during the pinfall cover, and stood up, still clutching the luchadore’s throat. A huge chokeslam later, and Smallz got the three-count.

Match 3: Jason Temple vs. Jaime D

Self-professed mixed martial arts specialist Temple made an open challenge to anyone in the back. Jaime D (Sirelda in TNA Wrestling) answered the call and vowed to beat Temple in front of her hometown crowd. She did, in short order.

Match 4: CJ Otis vs. Xtremo vs. Kobra Kai vs. El Tornado

An exciting match highlighted by the daredevil aerials of Xtremo and Tornado in particular. Kai and Otis showed some cohesiveness in assaulting the others, but eventually Tornado’s aggressive side broke through. At one point, the offense he delivered on all three opponents led to top rope breaking. The combatants didn’t let the mechanical problems stop them from hurting each other, though, and battled on. Ultimately Tornado was able to get the win.

Match 5: Johnny Devine vs. Josh Abercrombie

A quick match that saw some good technical wrestling. Hometown hero Devine was able to outwrestle the colourful Abercrombie who resorted to cheating, kicking Devine with a low blow. Gutting through the pain, Devine hit a Victory Roll out of nowhere to score the pin.

Match 6: Jennifer Blake & PJ Tyler vs. Hailey Rogers & Jade Chung

Hard-hitting match — so much so that Hailey Rogers suffered a broken nose — despite that, her team was able to get the duke.

Match 7: Akira Raijin vs. Phil Atlas

An international affair as Phil spent several months last year training in Raijin’s home dojo with All Japan Pro Wrestling. Some devastating offense used by both men with deafening chops and kicks and some painful-looking submissions. Atlas was able to finally get the duke with a face-busting Atlas Bomb.