|As Chris Cline taunts the Frankfort High School crowd, Tommy Dreamer prepares to do battle.|
On Saturday, March 2, 2013, Frankfort High School hosted the Elite Pro Wrestling Alliance’s “Night of the Elite 14” event in the gymnasium. Fans from far and near gathered to witness an evening that included two cage matches, an intense six person tag-team match, and much more. Throughout the entire show, there was not a single occurrence that drew more excitement than the main event, which was a heavyweight championship match between the “Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer, the current champion, and “Too Fine” Chris Cline.
As Tommy Dreamer entered the ring to defend his title, fans could only look on in amazement. After all, Dreamer has been a household name to wrestling fans since the nineties, due to his reign as champion in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and later work in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE); WWE is widely regarded as the most popular and successful wrestling organization in history. “I can remember watching him all the time when I was younger and wanting to be like him,” said Doug Jones, 27, of Piedmont, WV. “I brought my son tonight and I hope he gets the same thrill out of watching him that I did. The guy is an animal.” When the bell finally rang, fans held their breath in anticipation of the first strike. Fans patiently watched as Dreamer and Chris Cline circled each other for nearly a minute, exchanging only insults. When the two men finally grappled in the center of the ring, they simply exchanged submission holds, which did little to gain the approval of the crowd. When the submissions came to an end, however, fans received a violent reminder of why they came to the event.
Shortly after the two opponents stopped trading submission holds, Tommy Dreamer demonstrated how he earned his nickname, the “Innovator of Violence,” to the Frankfort High School crowd. In an audience that consisted mostly of parents and children, the level of brutality that occurred was extremely shocking and somewhat unsettling. Dreamer began this assault by stealing a water bottle from the bell-keeper’s table and practically crushing it onto Chris Cline’s face. He then led Cline through a crowd of screaming fans, where Cline was repeatedly slammed onto the wood surface of the bleachers. Once the action returned to the ring, the violence became almost sadistic. Dreamer returned to the bell-keeper’s table and, this time, stole the ring bell and bell hammer. After knocking Cline to the floor, he placed the bell over Cline’s genital area and proceeded to strike it with the bell hammer; Cline violently convulsed on the floor as he received these blows. Although the gymnasium was filled with excited cheers from the fans, it was clear that certain members of the crowd were uncomfortable with the extreme level of violence, appropriately referred to as “hardcore wrestling” by wrestling fans. “I understand that these guys are professionals and they take plan all of this out, but I was really surprised by just how far he went with that ring bell,” said Nancy Stevens, 46, of Winchester, VA. “I really thought about taking my kids out of the gym at that point.”
While some fans seemed upset by the violence level of the main event, it was clear that they were outnumbered by fans who only wanted to see more. The excited screams of the fans were nearly deafening late into the match when Tommy Dreamer, channeling his classic ECW humor, bit the forehead of Chris Cline. “It tastes like wood,” Dreamer informed the crowd. The climax of the match resulted in the largest audience response of the entire evening. After asking a fan if he could “borrow a chair,” Dreamer brought a metal chair into the ring, placed Cline in a headlock, and slammed his head onto the chair; this move is commonly known to wrestling fans as the “DDT.” The crowd jubilantly rose to their feet as Dreamer, in exhaustion, fell onto Cline and scored the pinfall, successfully retaining his championship title. “I cannot believe everything that happened in that short of a match,” said Ian Beck, 20, of Cresaptown, MD. “Dreamer beat that guy with everything but the people sitting in the crowd. I loved watching him wrestle.” Following the match, Dreamer grabbed a microphone from ringside and assured fans, like Mr. Beck, that he is grateful that people are still excited to watch him do what he loves. “I’d like to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” said Tommy Dreamer, channeling his classic ECW persona. “I always know that, every time I come to West Virginia, you guys are some sick hardcore freaks and I love you guys. God bless.” Dreamer then dropped the microphone and rolled under the bottom ring rope into a sea of waiting “hardcore freaks.”
The Elite Pro Wrestling Alliance is a locally operated wrestling organization; they are based in Short Gap, WV. For more information regarding the Elite Pro Wrestling Alliance and any of their upcoming events, please visit their Facebook page. Tommy Dreamer is a former ECW champion and WWE superstar; he is the current heavyweight champion of the Elite Pro Wrestling Alliance. For more information regarding his career and life, please visit his official website.