Preface: Over the remaining days of 2012 I'm going to be counting down what I feel were the biggest stories of the year in DREAMWAVE Wrestling. As always you can email your feedback, questions, and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @dreamwavesteve.
#10- The Return of the Special Guest
"Sometimes things work, and sometimes they don't..that's life..that's business. Lucky for us we've made enough good decisions, that we have some wiggle room to slip up every now and again." said C.E.O., JC Costilli, when asked about the decision to cut out having the special guest in early 2012.
"The fans spoke up and told us that they missed having a special guest, so we brought it back. I'm not necessarily saying it will happen every month. When it makes sense for all parties involved, then absolutely, we will have guests." Costilli continued.
Luke Gallows and Cliff Compton were traveling with DREAMWAVE semi-regular, Colt Cabana, around the time of Road to ANNIVERSARY on March 3rd, 2012. They proved to be the last DREAMWAVE special guests for nearly six months. The DREAMWAVE faithful voiced their displeasure with the lack of the special guests every month via email and other social media outlets. JC Costilli heard their cries and fan favorite, Goldust, broke the guest less streak with his appearance and match at Good As Gold on 9/15/12. Subsequent appearances by Rikishi (October), Billy Gunn (November), and Matt Hardy (December) finished the year extremely strong for the company.
JC Costilli appears to be making up for lost time by booking fan favorite, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan for Season Premiere in February, a to be announced guest in March, and the former John Morrison for ANNIVERSRY IV in April. I asked Costilli what he looks for in a special guest:
"It has to make sense from a financial standpoint for us and the fans. We also try to book talent who has a reliable track record of making their scheduled appearances and someone who is friendly with the fans. Whenever we can help, we also like the special guests to compete. As you've seen by the recent performances of guys like Billy Gunn and Matt Hardy, there are guys out there who can still bring it."
2013 is surely shaping up to be an exciting year for DREAMWAVE and it's fans, so I guess we will just have to strap ourselves in and hold on tight!
To see a list of past special guests who have appeared in DREAMWAVE click here.
Coming next, the #9 top news item of 2012!
#9- The A-List Reunites at Retaliation, Sends Revolution Packing
Nick Brubaker spent most of late 2011 and early 2012 fighting off The Revolution faction by himself, even capturing the DREAMWAVE Championship at ANNIVERSARY III on 4/7/12. Eventually the sheer numbers of The Revolution were catching up to Brubaker. Recognizing this, JC Costilli ordered that when Austin Roberts got his rematch for the DREAMWAVE Championship against Nick Brubaker at Retaliation on 5/5/12, The Revolution would be locked inside a steel cage at ringside to assure they didn't interfere.
Costilli's plan worked to thwart The Revolution's interference until after the match when the numbers game once again caught up with Brubaker. Just as he was about to get attacked, the lights in the Knights of Columbus went dark. When they came back on Brubaker stood tall with Ryland Foxx, Marshe Rockett, and Jason Hades, The A-List, reunited for a common cause... to destroy The Revolution and protect their friend, Nick Brubaker.
The A-List eventually stood tall and overcame The Revolution by defeating them following a seven month feud between the two. At Survival of the Fittest in November The A-List defeated The Revolution in 4 on 4 elimination match, where the losing team was forced to disband.
The A-List remains a formidable faction in DREAMWAVE to this day. They aren't without problems of their own however, as Jason Hades signed on to challenge his best friend, Nick Brubaker at ANNIVERSARY IV on April 13th, 2013..if Brubaker can get by Christian Rose at Season Premiere on February 2nd, 2013. It'll be interesting to see if the A-List can endure what appears to be it's gravest challenge to date...each other.
Coming next, the #8 top news item of 2012!
#8- Prince Mustafa Ali Returns to Active Competition
At Immortality on June 6th, 2010, Prince Mustafa Ali and Acid faced each other in that year's match of the year, one that would become an instant classic and still remains among DREAMWAVE's most famous. Following the war with Acid, Prince Mustafa Ali reluctantly said goodbye to wrestling, his knees a victim of his breathtaking, yet reckless style.
608 days later, on February 4th, 2012, Prince Mustafa Ali returned to the ring to face Chavo Guerrero Jr. at DREAMWAVE Wrestling's Season Premiere. Much had changed with Prince Ali in those nearly twenty months. Ali no longer dawned his once trademark Keffiyeh (headdress), his familiar Cheb Khaled entrance music was also noticeably absent. Many aspects of the old Prince Mustafa Ali "character" were dead and buried. This was the new real, more controversial, more outspoken, Prince Mustafa Ali. Ali need not rely on props or a character to garner attention. His in ring ability and desire to steal the show every time he performs has gained him the respect of both the DREAMWAVE fans and his peers.
Whenever an athlete returns from an extend time away from his sport, especially when an injury is involved, people always question whether they have lost a step in their absence. Anyone who has seen a Prince Ali match since his return can certainly attest that he can still go..better than before. It's not an uncommon sight during Ali's matches to see an audience member reluctantly viewing the match through their fingers, half-heartedly covering their eyes. There have been innumerable nervous and downright scary moments, near death experiences, and match of the year candidates since his return. Looking forward one has to wonder, how much gas is left in his tank, and how long can someone perform at this level. Hopefully for all of us it's for quite some time.
Coming next, the #7 top news item of 2012!
#7-Brubaker Extends Iron Man Streak to 49 Straight Shows
Quietly, Nick Brubaker has become DREAMWAVE's version of baseball's Cal Ripken, having appeared on every single DREAMWAVE show since the company began in April of 2009. It's a record that doesn't offer a lot of recognition while it's happening, but when you take a step back and think about it, you are forced to marvel the accomplishment.
There have been times when the record was in jeopardy, such as the ugly, very public contract negotiation snafu that occurred in the fall of 2011 between Brubaker and CEO, JC Costilli. Brubaker's contract lapsed prior to Survival of the Fittest in November of 201 but he signed a one day extension to appear at that show. The two were then unable to reach an agreement until minutes before The Fight Before Christmas in December of 2011. Brubaker appeared unannounced on that show, and challenged Austin Roberts for the DREAMWAVE World Championship which he would eventually win for a second time at ANNIVERSARY III.
When you consider injury, life events, contracts, family, and all the other factors in life and wrestling, Brubaker's streak is truly something special. If nothing else, it will surely make him a first ballot hall of famer when he hangs up his boots one day. I was thinking about this today, and had a hard time coming up with an answer....What was the last thing you cared enough about to dedicate 49 Saturday nights or 44 months of your life to? Ok, what about 24?..nothing??..what about 12? How much has changed in your life over the last four years? Scary to think about isn't it? While I'm not certain, I'm guessing he has missed birthday parties, family gatherings, and weddings. The ultimate sacrifice...time. It's not that Brubaker and other indy wrestlers don't get anything in return, after all, these guys are all out there for a reason, adrenaline junkies that require..demand the cheers or jeers from the crowd.
In the confines of the DREAMWAVE universe, Nick Brubaker is the king. Not only does he have the DREAMWAVE Championship around his waist, but he's grown up here. Brubaker has seen wrestlers and staff come and go. This universe has changed around him, not the other way around. He is the constant, not the variable.
In February, Brubaker will attempt to make it an even 50 shows in a row at Season Premiere on February 2nd, 2013.
Coming next, the #6 top news item of 2012!
#6- Beck Family Reunites With Waylon, Mason Beck Exiled
Much has already been written about The Beck Family (sans Mason), reuniting with Waylon at Survival of the Fittest in November. If you don't know all of the details of how everything went down, you can reference an article I wrote about it by clicking here. It's perhaps one of the most significant stories in DREAMWAVE in quite some time for a number of reasons. The Beck Family are the most decorated and relevant family faction in the Midwest and maybe independent wrestling as a whole, and they were shaken to their absolute core in 2011.
The story that everyone has overlooked thus far, is the disappearance of Mason Beck following his family's mutiny of him. Beck hasn't been seen or heard from since November. Even his normal social media haunts such as Facebook and Twitter have had extremely limited activity. The day to day leadership role, if one remains, seems to have been inherited by the first lady of DREAMWAVE, Nikki.
Is the monster gearing up for a war? Or was losing his family too much emotionally, for even the scariest of monsters to take? This is one of those scenarios where we truly have to wait and see what happens. For now The new Beck Family are like a sheltered child, left home alone for the first time, enjoying their new found freedom to be themselves. Some members have even begun to use their own last names (Bobby Houston, & Nikki Mayday) instead of their "Cousin" monikers Mason assigned them with.
It remains to be seen whether they will have to pay for their segregation from their mighty former dictator, or if they have truly rid DREAMWAVE of Mason Beck for eternity.
Coming next, the #5 top news item of 2012!
#5- Marshe Rockett Ends Championship Drought..Wins Alternative Title
We've all known for a long time that Marshe Rockett is one of the best at what we do. He's a pure athlete, charismatic, in great shape, and is a very likeable guy to boot. These qualities have brought him many spoils, but up until The Fight Before Christmas on 12/1/12, Marshe Rockett was always missing something. He quickly climbed to the top of nearly everyone's "favorite to watch" lists, and had everything going for him, but there was one pink elephant in the room when talking about Marshe Rockett, a title reign.
Marshe has had numerous opportunities to capture a title but for some reason he could never win the big one. There was even the "Brawl at the Mall 2" match against Austin Roberts on 10/28/11 where Marshe was announced as the new DREAMWAVE Champion much to the delight of the 1500 fans in attendance, only to have the original ref, Coyne Jones, wake up and disqualify Rockett for laying his hands on him earlier in the match.
Rockett had an emotional year in 2011, his old stable, The A-List reunited and participated in a six month long feud with The Revolution. During the course of that war, Rockett was betrayed by his long time mentor and father figure, C-Red. As the saying goes, "Living well is the best revenge" and Marshe is doing just that, having defeated Ace Martino to become the tenth Alternative champion in DREAMWAVE's history at The Fight Before Christmas on 12/1/12.
Marshe also gets overlooked from time to time when people discuss the greatest DREAMWAVE matches. The truth is that Marshe Rockett seems to have a perennial match of the year candidate. He had an amazing best of five series with Nick Brubaker in 2011, the aforementioned battle with Roberts at Brawl at the Mall 2 on 10/28/11, his war with Prince Mustafa Ali from ANNIVERSRY III, and more. I could keep going. My point is that I don't have to. We already knew Marshe is one of the best out there, but what happens when perhaps the last non-believer in existence realizes how much potential Marshe has......himself? Could he actually get better than he is? At what point does he stop improving? Stop getting more athletic?
Rockett won't have much time to celebrate his victory, as he will attempt to make his first Alternative Title defense on 2/2 at Season Premiere against the outspoken, cocky, Matt "The Money" Cage.
Coming next, the #4 top news item of 2012!
#4- LaSalle Icons, Acid & Austin Roberts, Retire From Full Time Competition
"We're all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children's game, we just don't... don't know when that's gonna be. Some of us are told at eighteen, some of us are told at forty, but we're all told." - Moneyball, 2011
For those that love it, pro wrestling can be a cruel mistress, pulling grown men away from their loved ones for weekends at a time. Those who do it become accustomed to traveling to a new town each weekend seeking solace and escape from the rigors and stress of daily life, weekend warriors who crave the attention of their fans and admirers. Eventually everyone must deal with their wrestling mortality, and 2012 happened to be the year that two of LaSalle's most beloved sons, Acid and Austin Roberts both said farewell to the town that rejuvenated their careers. In exchange for this renaissance, they gave some of their best years to "Wrestletown U.S.A" and it's fans.
In 2002 Acid headlined for Jay Repsel's Revolution Championship Wrestling, which would give LaSalle, IL it's first taste of pro wrestling and begin it's love affair with the sport. Eight years later, in February of 2010, Acid was asked to come back, this time for DREAMWAVE Wrestling, to accept his place in the LaSalle Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. One thing led to another, and it was only a matter of time before he once again donned his trademark neon green tights for a "temporary" last run. In a series of coincidences that was both divine and prophetic in nature, Acid proved to be LaSalle's savior again at ANNIVERSARY II. Jason Hades was scheduled to defend his DREAMWAVE Championship against the much maligned, Kevin Thorn, but was instead forced to relinquish the DREAMWAVE Championship due to personal reasons. Before Hades could relinquish the title, which would have made Thorn the DREAMWAVE Champion, Acid came out and cashed in his Good As Gold Briefcase for a title shot, which he subsequently won. The king had reclaimed his throne.
Austin Roberts story was much different. Roberts was perhaps the earliest example of the DREAMWAVE audience making decisions on the company's behalf. Austin debuted at Beginnings on April 4th, 2009 and there was little doubt from that point forward, that Austin Roberts was going to be the man to lead the fledgeling company, if nothing else, in the eyes of the fans. Roberts came up in Windy City Wrestling, and become a journeyman following his time there, predominantly wrestling tag team matches with his brother in law, Hunter Paine, collectively known as Nightbreed. Roberts had success in Chicago, but he had never had the opportunity to put a company on his back and run with it, like he did with DREAMWAVE. There was no point during his tenure with DREAMWAVE that Austin Roberts wasn't a well liked, well respected, loyal company man. Roberts would often quip backstage that he "bled blue and silver" (DREAMWAVE's signature colors), eluding to his loyalty to his flagship promotion. Reflecting back, one thing that Austin Roberts should be proud of, is that he always did things on his own terms. A perfect example of this is that Roberts in ring style was never flashy, or full of exciting flips, yet no "smart" fans could debate the box office receipts and large crowds that were left in the wake of Austin Roberts time on top here. Austin Roberts drew money, and how many people in independent wrestling can say that they did that with a straight face?
I won't talk about the end of their careers cause I don't believe they are truly over. I also don't believe either one of these guys would make the mistake of telling you that. Re-read the headline here. These guys are retiring from full time competition to tend to their families and let their bodies heal from the bumps, bruises, and scars of ten years of living their dreams. I'm fairly certain that they will be back, here and there, from time to time. After all, this is a passionate love affair that neither the LaSalle fans nor these two want to say "goodbye forever" to. Perhaps it's not as much "goodbye forever" as it is "so long for now" dear friends.
Coming next, the #3 top news item of 2012!
#3- Jason Hades Returns to the DREAMWAVE Ring
At ANNIVERSARY II on April 9th, 2011, Jason Hades was scheduled to come to the DREAMWAVE ring to defend the World Championship against former WWE star, Kevin Thorn on DREAMWAVE's biggest show of the year. He would instead come to the ring at the onset of the show, and shock the world when he relinquished the DREAMWAVE Championship to company officials. While things were pretty mum about his reasoning behind it at the time, details have since come to light regarding the title forfeiture.
Jason Hades new career path (I won't mention specifics to respect Hades privacy), made him sign a contract which forbid him from appearing in public exhibitions of any kind during his year long probationary period. This left Hades with a tough decision to make, and DREAMWAVE with a huge hole it's roster. You can review number #4 to see the outcome of the DREAMWAVE Championship situation.
This year, much to the delight of the DREAMWAVE fans, Hades made his return, and left no mystery about his intentions. Despite reuniting with the A-List, it was announced at The Fight Before Christmas on December 1st, that Hades had signed on to face his best friend and stablemate, Nick Brubaker for the DREAMWAVE Championship at ANNIVERSARY IV on April 13th, 2013. This was of course prior to Christian Rose lobbying for, and getting, his own title shot at Season Premiere on February 2nd, 2013.
The title picture is once again muddy for Jason Hades, and controversy is swirling around best friends, Hades and Brubaker. At the time of this writing, no one in the A-List's camp has made a public statement about the proposed match between the two in April. Right now we aren't even sure if it will be a title match. In order for that to happen, Brubaker must defeat the undefeated Christian Rose at Season Premiere on 2/2. If Rose wins, I'm curious as to whether JC Costilli would make Rose vs the former John Morrison at ANNIVERSARY IV a title match. There is also the possibility that Christian Rose would then defend the DREAMWAVE Championship against Jason Hades and Brubaker would face the former John Morrison. Costilli surely is interested and aware of the box office receipts that Brubaker vs Hades could do at ANNIVERSARY IV. After all, their December 2011 encounter remains the number two grossing main event in DREAMWAVE history.
I'm suspect that the damage is already done to the friendship of Hades and Brubaker, no matter whether or not their meeting at ANNIVERSARY will be a title match. One could argue that Jason Hades never truly lost the championship, or at least was never beaten for it. There is no doubt that Nick Brubaker did a tremendous job of taking the ball and running with it in the absence of his friend, Jason Hades. The question now becomes, is Brubaker willing to give Hades his ball back?..or will Christian Rose even allow that to be a relevant, viable question?
Regardless of the aforementioned outcomes, the DREAMWAVE fans can rejoice in the fact that one of their favorite sons has come home to stay.
Coming up next, the #2 top story of 2012!
#2- Brubaker Defeats Roberts to Become 2 Time DREAMWAVE Champion
At ANNIVERSARY III Nick Brubaker stood across the DREAMWAVE ring, opposite his opponent, Austin Roberts. The stage was set, DREAMWAVE's biggest of the year, and the ring contained the company's two biggest stars. I vividly remember seeing a fan holding a large sign that featured a variation of a now famous saying: "If Brubaker loses, we riot."
Brubaker spent the previous two years being booed by the DREAMWAVE audience for his often times, villainous ways. In late 2011 something strange happened, those "boos" began to have a different sound. The group of fans, once just a vocal minority, began to cheer Brubaker..and cheer him loudly. This wasn't the first time this happened, and it surely wouldn't be the last, but Nick Brubaker had earned the respect of the DREAMWAVE faithful. We will never know what made the fans decide to change their tune. It could be his solid in ring performances, or it could be his extreme loyalty to DREAMWAVE that earned him the adoration of the LaSalle faithful. Regardless, Nick Brubaker, now the most popular wrestler in DREAMWAVE, was missing only the belt that says he is the best DREAMWAVE has to offer. Brubaker eventually defeated Roberts in a classic, a 2012 Match of the Year Candidate. Brubaker fought off Roberts and The Revolution in the hectic finals minutes of the match that will go down in history as one of the most exciting finishes ever.
There is no question that Roberts passed the torch to Nick Brubaker on that April evening. The question that remains is "Can Brubaker hang on to that torch and keep it lit, with so much danger nipping at his heels?".
Brubaker is no stranger to being champion, he held the Alternative Title and he is now a two time DREAMWAVE Champion. He's all too familiar with the pressures that go along with being on top. While he is well respected amongst his peers, the politics alone, such as the jealousy of the other performers in his locker room, would prove enough to crush a lesser man. Brubaker also must worry about the suitors lining up for a shot as his title, the undefeated Christian Rose, and his best friend, Jason Hades, just to name a few.
For now, Nick Brubaker must take things as they come. Next up is a February 2nd, 2013 date with the undefeated Christian Rose. Aside from his crown jewel, the DREAMWAVE Championship, two records are hanging in the balance that Brubaker could shatter. The date of Brubaker v Rose, 2/2/13, will be Brubaker's 301st day as the DREAMWAVE Champion. Austin Roberts currently holds the record for the longest DREAMWAVE World Championship reign...at 301 days. If Brubaker wins, he will break what is perhaps DREAMWAVE's most sacred record. A victory over Rose would also be Brubaker's 9th defense, tying another record held by Roberts' first reign as champion.
I assure you, the last thing on Brubaker's mind is records. For the time being, he is worried about doing what no one else has been able to do, beating Christian Rose.
Coming up next, the #1 Story of 2012!!!
#1- The Rise of Rose
Staring at a blinking cursor, the words to describe "The Rise of Rose" escape me, or perhaps, every relevant word regarding it has already been said. Said by the indy wrestling media, said by the DREAMWAVE fans, or said Rose himself. As a matter of fact, Christian Rose has done a lot of talking over the last year. While his in ring skills have proved superb, Rose's words, have been just as effective as any other weapon during his time in DREAMWAVE.
Making his debut at Survival of the Fittest in November of 2011, Christian Rose quickly leaped over the hurdle of semi-obscurity, an unfortunate geographical side effect synonymous with many of his early frequent haunts. Whether it's detractors admit it or not, DREAMWAVE Wrestling is one of, if not thee, most respected and largest companies in the state of Illinois and perhaps the Midwest. Indy wrestlers ply their craft just so they can perform in places like DREAMWAVE. The consistently large crowds, the rabid fans, and the world class competition all make this a desirable destination for both veterans looking to revive their careers, and young talent trying to get noticed for the first time.
As fate would have it, Rose himself, was waiting on a call from DREAMWAVE, one he did receive in the Summer of 2011. Rose was contacted by DREAMWAVE management and given a start date of quarter four, 2011. That morning, Rose tweeted: "It's always nice to wake up to great news. Big things ahead for me in 2012." Little did Christian Rose know at that time, he was both predicting the future, and making the understatement of the year.
To only say that he had a great year would not be fair. Rose is undefeated in DREAMWAVE Wrestling, he has never been pinned or submitted. In March he won the Misfortune Lethal Lottery. In September, he was the winner of the 4th annual Good as Gold Rumble, earning himself the Good as Gold Briefcase. In December, Rose finished the year as strongly as possible, defeating Matt Hardy in a blockbuster of a match. The momentum doesn't seem to be stopping for him heading into 2013. The hard to please LaSalle fans voted him the 2012 Breakout Star of the Year, Match of the Year (vs Matt Hardy on 12/1), Promos of the Year, and Runner Up in the Wrestler of the Year voting. Rose has also already secured a shot against the DREAMWAVE World Champion, Nick Brubaker, on February 2nd at Season Premiere. The DREAMWAVE Championship picture is currently a train wreck. What we do know for sure is that , the winner of Rose vs Brubaker will go on to ANNIVERSARY IV on April 13th to defend against either Jason Hades or the former, John Morrison....unless Costilli grants the loser of 2/2 a rematch at ANNIVERSARY IV...
Something that has gone almost unnoticed about the 2/2 Brubaker vs Rose showdown for the DREAMWAVE Championship, is that Christian Rose has another card to play. Rose did not cash in his Good As Gold Briefcase for this opportunity. Rose went over CEO, JC Costilli's head, to be granted this opportunity by the Executive Championship Committee. Rose could theoretically lose the match to Brubaker on 2/2, and cash in his briefcase for a rematch the same night.
I'll get questioned in some circles about the decision to make this #1, instead of Brubaker regaining the DREAMWAVE Championship. And one could sit here all day, and theorize about all the different complicated scenarios involving the DREAMWAVE Championship, and the huge Brubaker vs Rose match up on 2/2. I prefer to deal in absolutes, and one thing I'm absolutely sure of is that The Rise of Christian Rose was the number one story of 2012. Of all those who have passed through the doors at 209 Gooding St. in LaSalle, few, if any, have had the impact that Christian Rose has had on DREAMWAVE Wrestling. Rose has made himself a star in his first year here. Whether it's 2013 or beyond that it comes full circle, Christian Rose has commanded the attention normally reserved for a franchise player. If 2012 saw the Rise of Rose, what does 2013 hold for LaSalle's newest reluctant sensation, and is there any stopping him?