Monday, April 1, 2013

Monkey Flip: NOVA 4/1/13

It wasn’t until NOVA that Alex was even aware that he had a national reputation.  Unless you compete in the big leagues it’s always hard to tell, so it’s better to assume that you don’t.

Yet the first iPPV brought together an array of talent from all over the country, including Hugh Hardy, who had worked WPW as the Patriot and was still friends with “Iron Man” Mike Drummond.  Alex was shocked when Hugh walked straight up to him and said, which Alex would always remember distinctly, “So, you’re the guy who does all the monkey flips.”

It was true.  Alex was that guy.  He did so many of them, and it was such a signature element of his repertoire, that to the boys in the locker room, no matter where he went, Alex was known as “Monkey Flip.”  It wasn’t much of an impact move, and there was no reason for the fans to care all that much about it, but he started hearing cheers every time he performed it, and then chants of the term, and soon promoters were making sure that he would do it in their matches, too.

Not that he wouldn’t have.  The monkey flip, so-called because it was a maneuver that made the wrestler who executed it look like a monkey, thrusting his opponent onto the mat with his legs, was one of the first things he’d learned, and he’d been so proud of how quickly and naturally it had come to him that Alex did it in each of his first seven matches, and by the eighth, it was so much a part of his act that he couldn’t even fathom not doing it.

Still, there were always detractors.  Another “name” on the first iPPV, Unleashed, was Charlie Dawson, who was part of an established wrestling lineage.  His father was a marginally successful talent named Steve Dawson, while his grandfather Chris Dawson had used a cowboy gimmick for decades to considerable acclaim.  Charlie tended to have an ego, even though he’d never made it big himself.  Whenever he landed in a new promotion, he could command attention on name recognition alone, and he was dismissive of anyone else’s chances to gain any traction.

Except it was different in NOVA from the start.  The moment Alex found out that he would be featured on the Unleashed card by capturing the promotion’s first championship, he could feel Charlie’s disdain grow.  It was just as well.  By November’s Lasting View card, Colt Carson had wisely used the backstage heat in a match, so that Alex found himself defending the kendo title against Charlie.  It wasn’t one of the best matches he’d ever had.

Thankfully, at December’s Sudden Impact card, he had a much better one against Damian Goch, another of the big names NOVA had secured from the indy scene.

He still couldn’t begin to say how anyone had heard about him at all.  He was proud of his emerging body of work, but none of it had been on any kind of significant stage.  It was all word of mouth, maybe even some tape trading.  Or perhaps it was simply that everyone had heard about the guy obsessed with monkey flips, and Carson’s interest had started out as a joke, a sort of let’s-see-how-he’ll-do-that-with-a-kendo-stick dare.

The real shocker was when the new Ringside 100 was released at the end of the year and he was not only included for the first time ever, but ranked fifteenth!  He couldn’t believe it.  He thought it was just Scotty ribbing him, but then the magazine was placed in his hands and he saw for himself.  Sure it was entirely kayfabe and partly a testament only of how NOVA had used him in the closing months of the year, when the grading was at its most serious, but it was also incontrovertible evidence that all his hard work and dedication had indeed been noticed.

It was also a tall order.  At January’s Idolwild and February’s Original Mission, Alex suspected that he was beginning to be downplayed, put in less spectacular matchups.  There were two other championships besides his own now, making even something as outlandish as the kendo title less noticeable on the card.  And then he was told what was in store for April’s Fluid Karma.  And like the saying said, karma was a…

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