In case you were wondering if Wrestlers could continue to provide an opening moment that would warm your heart as much as Harlan did in Episode Three, the answer is yes: watching Shera show how proud he is of his 2011 Nissan Maxima. You could feel the pain from him as he explained how someone broke his cupholder. Drew mentioned it on the radio, but just when you thought they’d cut away to something else, Shera’s right there showing you another feature of that Maxima. We then get a view of his Sikh faith, as well as how his motivation for success in the wrestling industry is stronger than his need for companionship. “I’m not a puppy. I don’t need a love from someone. I’m a lion.”
Matt’s heel-to-babyface turn in the series takes its first steps by actually seeing Matt’s baby face. This section starts with Matt’s experience with epilepsy, as well as how other people’s reactions make him feel. We also get to see Matt’s feelings about working with Al Snow thus far. Matt’s natural need to make people happy is somewhat thwarted by Al’s stoic nature.
Those who are regulars to Kentucky Sports Radio might be familiar with the journey Matt has taken to creating Kentucky Sports Radio, KSBar, etc., but it was pretty special to see it in context to his relationship with his mother, Karen Blondell. Matt’s life experience includes a very close bond with his mom, who saw a lot of career success while also being a strong single mother in Appalachia. Matt attributes being a people-pleaser to first trying to make sure his mom was happy while she and the family were also dealing with tough issues.
Matt respects Al and is hoping for some reciprocation of that feeling at some point. Matt gets to thank the OVW folks for the response to his seizure and tells Al, “One day, you’ll learn to take a compliment,” to which Al responds, “A pat on the back is two feet higher than a kick in the ass.” Classic Al.
Back to business. We catch up with Shera, The Indian Lion. Al has put Shera in a match with a last-minute opponent, because frankly Shera is built up as an unstoppable force, and there’s no one at his level to be a credible opponent. Al is literally stress-eating because he doesn’t know currently how to come up with an opponent for Shera.
Behind the scenes, Matt has been working on building a relationship with Tony Kahn and All Elite Wrestling, one of the top two wrestling programs in the US. Al has some trepidations, as AEW wouldn’t bring in OVW wrestlers and let them win over established AEW talent. Matt, on the other hand, thinks any form of affiliation with AEW would be seen as a positive working relationship from folks on the outside. Al is most concerned about putting on his own show, and not going hat-in-hand to All Elite Wrestling.
Speaking of hat-in-hand, we get a look at Brian Kennison, whose job is on the line based on the success of attendance and ad revenue. He’s talking to an owner of a local toy/game collector shop trying to sell advertising space in the arena and exposure on TV. He almost has the owner down for $1,500, then gets talked down to $1,000. Brian walks away going, “I did it. I think I did it.” At this point, we’re still unsure whether Brian is going to have a job at the end of this series, but it’s not looking great.
The show breaks into a little montage about how OVW is starting to increase attendance a bit, but how do you get people to care about what’s going on? The Ringer’s David Shoemaker notes that you need “characters people care about, quality performances, a story that people are talking about, and a wrestler people are talking about.” This breaks into the current success of Hollyhood Haley J and Maria. Matt notes Haley has “the most dynamic personality we have, period.” Al says, “If we can get her to focus, the potential to be a draw is there. She has all the tools, but she needs to have the maturity or she’ll shoot herself in the foot. The show then cuts to Haley smoking pot on the back steps of OVW.
Al reveals the crew that is being sent to All Elite Wrestling for their web show, AEW Dark. This includes Ca$h Flo, Ryan Von Rockitt, Omar Amir, Freya the Slaya, and a couple of others. The list did not include Haley. Al also amends his previous statements on what the wrestlers do on “their” time. Anytime they are near Al or the Building, they’re on OVW time, which means no acting out/”extracurricular activities,” which appears to be pointed toward Haley and her smoking. On the other side of the coin, a very appreciative and positive Ca$h Flo is seen working out, and excited that after all of these years, he will get to experience a new first in wrestling.
Al reaches out to former Impact Wrestling star “Cowboy” James Storm to come and work as an opponent for Shera. He sees even bringing in Storm just once to work with Shera as a possibility to have a credible name and seemingly threat to Shera’s title. Matt is worried about the cost of bringing in outside talent, but Al sees this as an outside attraction and viable opponent to create a story that can run through the end of the summer to The Big One.
Shera’s at home watching Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of his idols, and quotes, “I was poor, I don’t have a refrigerator. I don’t have nothing. I was rich because I have bigger dreams.” We get to see how Shera grew up in India. He came from a broken family, his father was an alcoholic. He grew up very athletic and did bodybuilding for a few years until TNA Wrestling visited India, where he trained for three months and became the first Ring Ka King Heavyweight Champion.
The loss of his father caused Shera to become a more serious person, trying to make his dad proud. He got hired by WWE but was let go after eight months. After the firing, he considered suicide but realized being fired was not worth that, so he reached out to Al Snow to try to build his wrestling career. Now he’s an unstoppable monster in OVW, and he continues to work to make his family proud.
Haley and her mom have taken a week of taping gigs for an all-women’s promotion called WOW (Women of Wrestling) in California. It’s a big opportunity for both of them to be seen on a national stage. There’s only one catch: they haven’t told Al about any of this.
Meanwhile, on show night, Al has asked Shera to lose his title to James Storm, so Shera can chase James through the summer. Al talks about how when a wrestler is asked to lose, you can see their demeanor change. He’s hoping that Shera will stay strong, but not let this crush him. Shera and Storm put on an amazing match, then Shera comes back to Al and lets him know that he just wants to make him proud, and will do what he needs to do.
In the final moments, Al gets a phone call from Maria, who lets him know that she and Haley have made a three-week commitment to WOW. Al is visibly angry, as it will potentially mess up the story that the two have them have been working on, a story they wanted to tell. The stories come down to timing, and with their new bigger audience, all of this momentum could be lost in an instant.
Bonding that Bridge (KSR Nuggets)
- Number of Books Behind Matt that show neither cover nor binding: Approximately 45
- Number of Candles on Matt’s Desk: Approximately 34