That’s right EWC! We’re not just gonna cover the weekly news heading into this weekend, but we’re going to knock out a phenomenal Stranglemania preview for you tonight on top of it all! So let’s get the appetizer going before we jump into tonight’s main course.
NEWS & RUMORS
- Priming up for the G1
- Amber Lisa Hall of Prime has reached out to the EWC Network team to let everyone know her injury rehab is going well, and has in fact made the trip to Ahmedabad. She hopes to be 100% by the start of the G1, and has a keen interest on seeing who walks out as Indy champion.
- National Disaster?!
- Reports are coming out of Agra where Indy champion Narumi Tsutsumi was spotted meeting dignitaries at the Taj Mahal working out the details on some dealings with her family’s businesses, and the upcoming Tsutsumi family documentary slated to air this summer. Unfortunately, it sounds like this ultimately formal meeting took a turn when the Prime Minister himself appeared with the intention of meeting with some of the Indian elite. While the Indy champion kept her cool, it was Scorpio’s ranting and attempts to goad Narumi into a shouting match in the center of the mausoleum that eventually had the palace cordoned off and drew in additional security.
- Steam in the Jungle?
- As EWC descends upon India, many of the talents have been seen making their marks around town. Two however, stood out in particular as Jason Hunter and Alexandra Calaway were spotted getting a little closer than just friends in the gardens of the open air market in Ahmedabad. Is this real life? Or is this a ruse to throw the Saints and the rest of the Hellevator opponents off their game?
- Five o’clock somewhere
- A scuffle broke out just north of the Hirabhai Market at a hole in the wall bar, unfortunately featuring both Darna Dare and Mercenary of the EWC’s Rampage brand. Witnesses say Darna, who’d been ignored in favor of the larger male patrons, finally elbowed her way past several men to the front of the bar where she ultimately caught the eye of her Stranglemania opponent. After placing a seemingly too large drink order for one person, she attempted to challenge Mercenary to a drinking contest. Luckly, bar staff was able to intervene before anything more could take place, and Dare was forcibly removed after not only having her drinks refused but slapping the drink from Mercenary’s hand. No one was willing to step up to Mercenary to get his take on the situation, as he shook his head and shook off Darna’s gesture before ordering himself another beer.
- The true Next Gen!
- Ruthann Hunter has been seen not only working with her son Jason, but her granddaughter in the ring this week as well. Is Ruthann training the next wave of EWC stars already? Or is she simply enjoying the opportunity before she gets into the ring this Monday with a very game, very serious team of Olivia Saint and El Chupacabra?
- Buddy Love – budding chef?
- Rumors are circulating as we breach the 48 hour mark before Stranglemania, that managerial icon to the Undisputed champion, Buddy Love, has reportedly been trying to make contact with Ace King’s camp just two days before the main event. Allegedly, Buddy is trying to get Ace’s “last meal” organized before the big Rage in a Cage match against client Killjoy Ito. If we were Ace? We’d probably go ahead and skip that meal, because as he’d said… we think we know where those hands have been.
- EWC Fan Fest turns Ugly
- Stranglemania, Marcu$ $t John has added more fuel to the fire. As JFS was participating in a Fan Fest autograph signing, Marcu$ decided to drop by and make an appearance. He insisted he was there to shower the North American champion in gifts, including a special Tide brand sweatshirt, a coffee mug, and finally a diamond encrusted GOAT pendant with a dollar sign where Marcu$ claimed he recognized Sharpe’s greatness, and “After the dog collar match, people will recognize my own. This pendant is so JF$ will NEVER forget the name of Marcu$ $t. John.” The autograph signing nearly came to blows, but Marcu$ made sure to back away, hands in the air, to avoid the ire of an irate Jordan Sharpe.
It’s the biggest night of the year for the EWC, and we’ve got all the information you need leading up to Monday Night in India. You want hype? We got hype! So let’s break it all down.
TAG TEAM | NO DQ MATCH
OLIVIA SAINT & EL CHUPACABRA VS JASON & RUTHANN HUNTER
El Chupacabra: I know people who call what you and I do garbage wrestling Ruthann, but I don’t see it as that. I find a certain beauty in the destruction and violence that people like us are prone to. At Stranglemania the four of us are going to give the world the most beautiful piece of art that they have ever seen.
Ruthann Hunter: You can try your hardest to keep us down but we will always rise to the top. We loved this sport that lived inside of our family. We are willing to let our blood spill in the ring. We are ready to take a spike to the head, a toaster to the face, a sledgehammer to the gut, and a baseball bat to the back.
Match Story: This match has been building since Rampage’s season opener back on February 11th! Ruthann kicked off Rampage, declaring herself for the EWC Rumble later in the year, only to be accosted by El Chupacabra and his little sister Olivia Saint. Tempers flared when Ruthann’s son Jason Hunter made his way out to the ring and got into El Chupacabra’s face. Things only continued to devolve from there, as Rampage #496 saw Olivia versus Jason in an X-Division match where not only did Ruthann and El Chupacabra made their presence felt but so did former Rampage GM Michael Saint! After Jason picked up the W over Olivia, it was Michael Saint that delivered the news that Ruthann would be competing at the Rampage go-home show in a Cage of Doom match against noneother than the hall of famer himself!
Now, we’re at Stranglemania where El Chupacabra and Olivia will team up against Jason and Ruthann Hunter – but this isn’t just a family affair folks. Tensions have been growing between Jason and Ruthann, and everyone backstage is wondering whether or not this team is going to go out there and do Xplode proud? Or if the Saints are going to come marching thru…
“HELLEVATOR” 17 LEVELS OF HELL
“LA BELICISTA” ISABELLA (PW)
ADRIANA AQUILLA (PW)
ALEXANDRA CALAWAY (FN’R)
CALEB SCOTT (MNB)
THE MIRACLE JOHNNY MAELSTROM (PW)
DALILAH ASHE (PRIME)
DYLAN JACKSON (MNB)
FAITH RIVERS (PW)
KYLE GAUTIER (PRIME)
TANJA DEVEREAUX (FN’R)
MARK MANIA (MNB)
MARK STORM (FN’R)
NINA SAMSON (PRIME)
REMARKABLE MARK KEATON (PW)
ROBBIE RAYDER (PW)
Match Story: Somewhere in the depths of the EWC’s think tank, this depravity was born. 17 levels of hell, 17 competitors, and only one winner in the end. We don’t have some long woven story here folks, this is 17 people out for blood and glory on the grandest night in the EWC. So instead of talking about the whys of how this match came to be – lets take a look at the tale of the tape tonight.
Most Represented Brand – Paramount (7)
Least Represented Brand – Brawl & Prime (3)
Longest tenured competitor – Mark Storm (EWC debut in 2015)
Shortest tenured competitor – Mark Mania (1st non-Gambit match)
Returning Entrants from last year’s Hellevator Match – Zero(!)
While there are no stakes tied to this insane match, each and every one of those superstars has the opportunity to make the most of this one. A good showing means you’re going to stand out amongst 16 other people, and that alone is no easy feat. I expect great things out of those who manage to survive this monstrosity of a match.
4WAY LADDER MATCH
FT ALL 4 BROADCAST CHAMPIONS
Winner gets MITB shot at highest belt on their brand – must cash in before Parabellum
REBEL RHODES VS PHOENIX WINTERBORN VS JAMES KEATON VS BOSA
Bosa: Now, I enter every match with the intent to destroy my opponents. A win is just the icing on the cake. Realistic expectations are key. They keep you balanced, focused, and hungry.
James Keaton: This isn’t ten years ago, I’ve seen the cracks in that ideology and there’s no good answer that EVER came out of trying to be a paragon. No, no… James Keaton is in a ladder match and that’s the one goal. Climb it and get the goddamned briefcase, one mission. Less is more.
Phoenix Winterborn: This is more than just about me, even though it IS about me. This is about representing Friday Night Rampage, and proving that it has become the ‘A’ show in EWC. You want the best in this company? You had better be ready to come to Friday nights, and swim with the sharks.
Rebel Rhodes: It won’t be chance, luck of the draw, or happenstance that puts me there. There’ll be zero doubts both in myself and as to why I’m there. It’ll be me, working hard and kicking every ounce of ass I possibly can until I get all the way to the motherfucking top of the food chain
Match Story: This is the Avatar: The Last Airbender reboot we deserved, frankly. All four
elements broadcast champions representing their brands in the EWC, competing for an opportunity at the biggest prize their brand has to offer. All four of these competitors have given a lot this season and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a guaranteed shot to exchange your championship up the proverbial ladder. And the mystique of a MITB shot has been long overdue in the EWC, if we’re being honest. I can’t wait to see who walks out of Stranglemania with this MITB opportunity, and I’m REALLY excited to see where they decide to cash in, because who doesn’t love a good swerve?
DRAKE MEMORIAL CUP III
Winner gets 🏆 + Golden Ticket Opportunity Revealed at StrangleMania
WEAPON X MATCH
STITCHES VS MELODY MALONE VS ASRIEL BUZZARD VS HEADHUNTRESS AIYA
Melody Malone: I left that night vowing to never feel that kind of pain on this stage again and to this day? I’ve never walked out of Stranglemania without a win to my name. And that’s not changing on the 28th.
Asriel Buzzard: What matters is that in a stadium named after a man who spreads hate and looks after his own, you’ll realise that when you face someone who has been shaped by the same sort of hate and has no-one to look after bar himself, very little can stand in his way.
Stitches: That is why walking out of Stranglemania becomes so imperative; this victory, over arguably three of EWC’s finest, proves without a shadow of a doubt that the whisperings of ‘the clown has lost it’ are complete and utter absurdity… ‘We are all just victims, but it is what we do with that victimhood that defines us.
Match Story: We couldn’t make this up if we tried, folks. The third annual Drake Memorial Cup is making its debut at Stranglemania and we have four time tested EWC superstars in a bid for not just a glorious victory at Stranglemania, but the chance to compete in the Drake Memorial Cup and win not just the prestige that comes with being associated with the name Ashton Drake but this year the winner also takes home the elusive ‘Golden Ticket’. We still don’t know what that means just yet, but any of these four could turn any opportunity into gold. The (pardon the pun) X-factor is going to be the sheer insanity of the nature of the Weapon X match. If history has taught us anything, its that when there’s an opportunity like this on the line? Anything goes. Anything can happen, and at Stranglemania we’re going to hope that President Mac has taken out stock in canvas because they’re going to need to replace it a LOT at Stranglemania on Monday because once the blood starts to flow? It’s not going to stop. History has proven these four will do anything and everything to win, and when you combine Malone’s undefeated streak to Stitches winless streak? It won’t be Dior everyone smells in that ring, but rather desperation and it all hangs in the balance between four unforgiving steel cables.
CAPTURE THE FLAG MATCH
SCORPIO VS NARUMI TSUTSUMI
Scorpio: Your Showtime Championship reign was a flash in the pan with no successful defences, your Indy Championship has only been defended once. You’ve never been truly tested, you don’t have the fortitude of a real champion.
Narumi Tsutsumi: I also mean I’m already on a run of showing you up. You once promised you’d win all Prime’s belts and would beat JFS, but the one who ended up doing it all was me and I know that’ll get in your head. I know the best way to beat you is through that fragile psyche.
Match Story: Narumi and Scorpio are running it back to last year’s Stranglemania Capture the Flag match in a huge way. While Scorpio still maintain’s Narumi’s inexperience cost the team, Narumi refuses to let the Prime Minister gaslight her into any more doubt. Narumi’s been on a solid tear, while Scorpio finally showed signs he could be stalling out as he let himself get too distracted by Aiya ringside at Prime 93 and lost the Showtime championship to Bosa. Now, Scorpio is going into Stranglemania with wounded pride and, for anyone who’s kept pace with Scorpio over the past couple of seasons, that slight alone could spell disaster for the Indy champion. Add in the antics that we reported on from earlier this week, and this match might sound cute and lighthearted on paper, but we can assure you… this is going to be anything but. Capture the Flag is going to turn into and outright warzone, and the rest of Prime should be keeping a close eye on how this plays out, not just because of the impending G1 – but because this match is going to open a lot of eyes as to just how grueling the road to becoming the Indy champion can be.
EWC NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
DOG COLLAR MATCH
MARCU$ $T.JOHN VS JORDAN SHARPE
Jordan Freakin’ Sharpe: But now I know, that when I have these chains wrapped around your neck, when I have them wrapped around my fist, when I hang you from the ropes with them … when I Sharpeknife you onto them … I will finally have my StrangleMania moment. I will finally have embraced the ‘Mania culture. I will be as violent as I need to be, and then some.
Marcu$ $t John: I will take the unfocused mind and body of Jordan Sharpe and rip away at the jokes, the bravado, and the psyche as you realize that you may be a pitbull but you’re dealing with a monster. There is no escape since we’ll be chained together. Remember I’ll do whatever it takes to leave with what I want and I only want 2 things from you. I want that championship back and I want what you took from me at Paramount 11, my humility.
Match Story: There are so many layers going on right here. Between Marcu$ attempt to become the first two-time North American champion, Jordan Sharpe’s attempt to capture his first Stranglemania win on the heels of announcing his retirement tour, and the rising fame Paramount has brought on themselves gives this championship title even more lustre. Marcu$ managed to secure the opportunity for Stranglemania at the Paramount opener, and both walked out of Paramount #17 with wins leading up to Stranglemania. On any other night, their momentum might seem in a dead heat, but after the antics at the EWC Fan Fest autograph signing? Marcu$ won’t be able to back away as he’s going to be tied to Jordan Sharpe for the duration of the match. Sharpe is laser focused, going into Stranglemania with a bevy of losses to his name on the biggest night of them all – will Sharpe finally get a W in that column as he inches closer to the end of this season? Or will Marcu$ $t John prove that money can in fact, buy you happiness?
EWC UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
LIGHT TUBE DEATH MATCH
MERCENARY VS DARNA DARE
Mercenary: I’ve done battle with clowns and queens. I’ve climbed cages and run gauntlets. I’ve lost love. I’ve betrayed love. And I have been betrayed. I’ve survived my epic struggles and faced up to my own failures. Again I’m only one match away. But I’ve done this enough times to understand that being one match away is the same as being right back at the beginning.
Darna Dare: You hit me with your best shot and I survived; I hit you with mine and barely walked away. That proves nothing but that we can bring everything to this night and this championship. We are champions. As Hamilton and Vee step away, vacate their dreams for others to fall upon and devour, let us savagely rend at the ties that bind us to those past. We are the future, I and you.
Match Story: Beyond the light tubes and death, this match has begun to take on a life of its own. Darna Dare and Mercenary just cleaned house against one another on the last episode of Rampage with the previously reigning champion officiating everything between them. Now, the United States championship stands on the verge of vacancy as Samantha Hamilton has already announced to the wrestling world that she’s intent to step away from the squared circle and continue a journey towards motherhood instead. The announcement came only a few days ago, and while it certainly poses a challenge to her opposition to switch gears on a dime – both Mercenary and Darna Dare seem like they’re fully up to the task to do the United States championship justice in a match that Hamilton set up herself. Both Darna and Mercenary are no strangers to violence, and this match WILL get bloody in a hurry. There’s a certain level of urgency when you’re guaranteed a new champion – and the Rampage roster is well aware after the HBO championship gauntlet to start this season. Neither of them will have much time to celebrate their win though, as they’ll both be gearing up for the B.O.R.T tournament on Rampage just over a week post-Mania. Whoever walks into Rampage as the new United States champion is going to have a serious pair of shoes to fill, going into the second ever tournament.
EWC INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
BARBED WIRE LADDER MATCH
IGGY SWANGO VS XAVIER REID
Xavier Reid: “I wear these scars like badges of honor and welcome more…because each and every one of them was just a small sacrifice for a greater good…you think I care about my hands…I’ll gladly scar them up by using them to climb up that Barbed Wire Ladder in order to rip down MY CHAMPIONSHIP and once again call myself the EWC International Champion…
Iggy Swango: My only hope would be that I could withstand the horror for long enough that she bleed out and I could go home. But these hypotheticals I create in my mind are exactly why this form of a threat works so well. I am playing out different options in my mind trying to understand where the writer is coming from and I simply can’t. This is special. And this is why I am not going to tell Reid how I am going to beat him.
Match Story: If the United States championship match was off kilter, this one has pretty much been thrown into the wash on ‘catastrophic spin cycle’ mode. First Gabi Vee set the table to challenge Xavier Reid at Brawl #580 for the International championship in Xavier’s hometown. Xavier lost, Gabi won, but at a steep cost (as we previously reported on EWC Network). Iggy Swango came storming out of the gate at the Brawl season premiere, getting the pinfall over her boyfriend and former Indy champion Dio, on her way to beating the formerly sweet, turned VERY sour, Sour Candy at Brawl #579 to secure her shot at the International championship at Stranglemania. Now with Gabi out of commission, Xavier Reid is getting his rematch cashed in early by taking the place of the Angel of Brawl en route to overtaking Ashton Drake’s record to what he hopes will be his record setting third International championship reign. Iggy Swango doesn’t look to be taking this one on the chin though, as she’s employed Dio to help her prepare for this brutal barbed wire ladder match that’s outside of her norm. Can the warrior poet help guide Iggy to her second reign as International champion? Or will Xavier Reid get back to his winning ways and score his first W this season in monumental fashion at the grandest stage of them all?
FLAMING X MATCH
DARIUS VS EL PABLO
El Pablo: if you take a look at the names I have beaten over the last six months – Stitches, David Miller, Sam Hamilton, King Flip and, of course, Aiya…names that have dominated their respective brands, if not the entire industry, over the last few years – you begin to see the difference between Darius and Da-Rainbowlution. While he’s been milling about as the messiah of Monday night mediocrity proclaiming to be the best, I’ve been fighting the best – beating the best – and, at StrangleMania XVII, I’m gonna prove to everybody once again that, when it comes to the X-Division, I am the best.
Darius: You see, I think your own family has done enough emotional damage to you already, I don’t think it can affect you much anymore, you’ve built an immunity to it … So I need to bring physicality into the fold, that’s why I chose our match, the Flaming X match. If you want to beat me, Pablo … You have to BECOME … Me. The El Pablo I know wouldn’t have the guts to set another man on fire and then beat him until he’s able to stand, it’s just not you.
Match Story: This X-Division match is going to be the one all other X-Division matches this season, and maybe longer, are going to be compared to. While the current champion isn’t your atypical ‘x-division’ prototype of a competitor, El Pablo’s resurgence in the EWC has been nothing short of eXtreme. Darius’ success at claiming the number one contendership at Paramount #16 over Dalilah Ashe after his victory at Wrestlefest has only fueled his desire to reach the top of the X-Division. El Pablo has been no slouch in his reign as champion though, despite the singular defense of the X-Division championship, El Pablo is notedly undefeated in X-Division competition. Darius will have his work cut out for him as he tries to knock the leader of the Rainbowlution off the top of the mountain and we sincerely hope the EWC’s medical team is well stocked with burn cream in the back because this match is going to get gory in a hurry.
EWC WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
SABOTAGE VS THE SOUTHERN EXPRESS
Jimmy Lane (Southern Express): Sort of like how they are doing now by wanting these tag team championships now that we made valuable…I mean it was our hard work right, defending these a record 10 times last year, making the tag team championship THE CHAMPIONS OF THE YEAR, we did all the heavy lifting and now they want to just slide in and capitalize on what we have done…’how Halo Syndicate of them’…
Callie Clark (Sabotage): Beating you two up, having a great showing, stealing the show with a big jump off a ladder… those moments come and go. That’s forgotten in a week or two. But unseating the best team in EWC? That’s a moment that would live forever and cement our legacy as a team. I want that more than I want anything right now; to stand on top of the ladder with Eddie, Tag Team Championships in hand and the broken bodies of Southern Express below us. I’ll do anything to accomplish that, anything.
Match Story: Southern Express and the Tag Team championships are a tale as old as time. And as luck would have it for Sabotage, time is starting to run out for the Southern Express. The 2021 champions of the year have declared this to be their final season, their swan song, but don’t mistake that for these two to take the high road on their way out. If anything, the Southern Express has made it clear that they intend to ride the wave of their monumental championship reign for as long and as far as the road will take them – all the way to the finish line if they can. But if anything can Sabotage their goal to ride off into the sunset with the EWC tag team championships, it’s Eddie Dozier and Callie Clark. Sabotage has had their eyes on the EWC tag team championships for months now, and after securing the shot at Stranglemania in the Prime season opener they’re ready to take that ever important next step in their relationship as a team and pick up a win for the titles at Stranglemania. After the hjinks on Prime #93 between all four members of this match, tensions are high and the x-factor may well come down to Bunny Love at ringside. How much of an impact with the 2021 Manager of the Year have on the EWC Tag Team championship match remains to be seen, but if we’ve learned anything watching Jimmy and Bobby, it’s that nothing is out of the question when it comes to keeping the tag team championships around their waists.
EWC UNDISPUTED CHAMPIONSHIP
RAGE IN A CAGE
ACE KING VS KILLJOY ITO
Killjoy Ito: This championship is all that matters and once upon a time it’s all that mattered to Eric Carr but now it is all about the money…the luxury…the POWER of this championship, you need this championship to feed your ego because without it you see yourself as ordinary, as not worthy…as a man that might not be able to cut it anymore…and that makes you a desperate man.
Ace King: Now, he has to do what only Hall of Famers have done previously: Beat me inside Rage in the Cage. Now, I’ve always subscribed to the notion that anybody can beat anyone on any given day… but he’s going to realize very quickly that just beating me won’t be enough, because you don’t just summon your inner monster overnight as he believes.
Match Story: It just does not get any bigger than this. Not only are we here, to the final moments of Stranglemania and the Undisputed championship match… but we’re getting to watch two of the best to do it in the EWC go head to head. Rage in a Cage is bad enough, but these two are taking it a step further with the Monsters Ball rules to boot. 24 hours in solitary confinement. No food. No water. No sunlight. And then they go out to do absolute battle. All of that is insane enough – but this match goes beyond that. This match has become so personal for both of these men. Ace is going into this match looking for redemption from a loss at Wrestlefest, while Killjoy seeks to extinguish the flames of those around him who are waiting to see if he’s just a one match wonder as Undisputed champion. Even at its most basic level, this match is already to a boiling point. No two champions are alike indeed – but we can’t help but wonder who’s philosophy on being Undisputed champion is going to reign supreme? No one does it like Ace King does on the big stage, and Killjoy no doubt has a serious task ahead of him… but how far is too far? Both of these men are looking to come out of Narendra Modi stadium as the Undisputed champion, but in the end will either of these men be fit enough to be called champion? Will either of them even be able to walk out of there on their own two feet?
Come join us LIVE on Monday, March 28th to find out the answer!
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