Last weekend, DEFY Pro Wrestling held their two night event featuring the promotion’s second Super 8x Grand Prix (GP). The first Super 8x GP was held in 2017 to crown the company’s first tag team champions. This year’s Super 8x GP, DEFY Champion, Artemis Spencer, entered and put the title on the line which meant the winner of this year’s Super 8x GP would be crowned DEFY Champion. In the end, after having survived three grueling matches against top level opponents, Artemis Spencer retained his title. The weekend also saw DEFY’s current tag team champions, Warbeast, defend their titles two nights in a row, the return of All Elite Pro Wrestling (AEW) star Joey Janela, the in ring return of ECW star Super Crazy, and the debuts of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) star Tama Tonga, and lucha tag team Los Parks.
When looking back on that weekend, this was the coming out party for DEFY’s second generation stars. If Shane Strickland, Schaff, Randy Myers, the Amerikan Gunz, and Artemis Spencer are DEFY’s first generation of in promotion stars, then Cody Chhun, La Raza, Rosas, Judas Icarus, and Travis Williams have set themselves up as this promotion’s second generation. That weekend felt like they were sending the message that they were young, hungry for the spotlight, and they were ready to take it from out of town talent and also from the prior generation. I loved it. With a motivated roster of young talent, it means the promotion has longevity, and most importantly depth. The best part is as a fan, with everyone driven to perform we’re getting to see some of the best live pro wrestling the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
There was no match that dissapointed that weekend. Joey Janela versus Tama Tonga was the first time we saw a NJPW star take on an AEW star in a DEFY ring. The mixed tag match from Night 1 featured the first ever “DEFY Chicken Fight”. Taking all the matches into account, here are my top 5 matches from DEFY Pro Wrestling’s 2019 Super 8x GP weekend:
5.) Super 8x GP Semifinal: Cody Chhun versus Christopher Daniels
Chhun really impressed me that weekend. Not only was he over with the crowd, but the young star was able to hang with veteran performer Christopher Daniels. The match was hard hitting, and the crowd seemed split on who to cheer for. At many points in the match, dueling chants for both performers broke out. In the end, Daniels advanced to the finals, but as a show of respect Daniels raised the arm of the young star as he exited the ring. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more big things from Chhun in DEFY in the near future.
4.) Super 8x GP Opening round: Judas Icarus versus Matt Cross
This match felt like a step in the continued evolution of breakout Canadian performer, Judas Icarus. Icarus had gained popularity after solid performances at the most recent DEFY events, but I don’t think anyone really expected him to have such a grueling match with independent wrestling legend, Matt Cross. Cross and Icarus traded dives and stiff shots all throughout this barn burner of a match. Cross advanced to the semifinals but it wasn’t without a valiant effort from Judas Icarus.
3.) Super 8x GP Opening round: Douglas James versus Artemis Spencer
California kickboxer Douglas James made his Washington Hall return, and he made sure people were goin to remember him. James brought DEFY Champion Artemis Spencer to the limit in this Night 1 match. His hard hitting style played well off of Spencer’s anything it takes to win approach. Spencer even debuted a new “draped senton” move on James which was met with shock and awe throughout the crowd. Spencer defeated James, but James’ performance garnered a loud “Please Come Back!” chant as he exited the ring.
2.) DEFY Tag Team Championship: Warbeast versus Los Parks
This match could only be described as “controlled chaos”. From the opening bell, these two teams tore the house down at Washington Hall. I’m very interested to see how this match will look on the “video on demand” feed, because being there live it felt like I was watching a hardcore match during WWE/F’s Attitude Era. The camera would be trained on something big happening in the ring, but off to the side, the audio of the other cameras, you would hear a loud shot or just see someone turn and fall out of no where. It was action everywhere. Some memorable highlights from this match saw Warbeast throw Los Parks through several rows of chairs, LA Park throw an unfolded plastic folding table at the Sheik, Jacob Fatu took a Canadian Destroyer from El Hijo De LA Park, LA Park suplex Fatu through the plastic table, and the referee got the strap from Los Parks. Warbeast retained the titles, but this was easily their best DEFY outing so far.
1.) Super 8x GP Finals: Artemis Spencer versus Christopher Daniels
In kind of a surprise to myself and other long time fans, the finals saw current champion Artemis Spencer taking on pro wrestling veteran and last minute tournament replacement, Christopher Daniels. Both had put on impressive outings already throughout the weekend, but this match put a fitting “book end” to a great weekend of action. It felt like both men had scouted one another’s move sets prior to the bout. Daniels countered each of Spencer’s signature moves including Spencer’s new “draped senton”, while Spencer found counters for a majority of Daniels’ move set as well. In the end, Artemis Spencer retained his title.
Really, it’s fitting that this battle of top in ring performers would cap off a memorable weekend of pro wrestling action. Great show, DEFY Pro Wrestling!