Wrestlers knocks it out of the park with another incredible cold open to start episode six. In moment one, we’re introduced to Gracie, a young Ohio Valley Wrestling fan who is trading insults with Immaculate Joe Mack and “Certified” Luke Curtis. Gracie is the epitome of what pro wrestling needs as a young fan. She shows up every Thursday night with her dad, cheers her favorites, and boos the ones she dislikes.
Having Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville is more than just a wrestling show. It’s a community that is made up of folks who show up on a weekly basis and get to know the performers in and out of the ring. Gracie’s father is so appreciative of the wrestlers and staff who take time during and after the show to make Gracie feel special and seen. Hands down, the wrestling world needs more fans like Gracie!
Also, shout-out to Gracie for no-selling Certified’s “You’re not certified,” insult. Currently, he’s 0-2 in trying to get “Certified” across as a gimmick on Wrestlers. (As of today, he is one-half of the OVW Tag Team Champions, so I think he’s doing fine.)
With just a few weeks before “The Big One,” the OVW crew is putting on a show in Nashville during Summerslam weekend. Traditionally, a number of wrestling promotions hold wrestling shows in the location of WWE’s Wrestlemania and Summerslam events to take advantage of the influx of fans visiting from around the world. In OVW’s case, they’ve started the day off with a street team of wrestlers, handing out flyers to folks on Broadway and other busy streets to try to get a crowd.
While it looked sparse in the beginning, the show drew a pretty good crowd by the end of the event. After Leila Gray wins the “$5,000 Women’s Battle Royal,” Certified rolls into the ring to pump up Leila on the mic, but also gets down on one knee and proposes. So turns out, Certified got at least one win in this series. The camera cuts to Al Snow crying, and when someone calls him out on it, he flips them off and says “Ah, f*** you.” That’s our Al!
Back at home Matt and Craig Greenberg have a meeting with some of the staff and wrestlers about the summer tour and where the company stands financially. While the summer tour was a success, with almost everyone wanting OVW back next year, the company has taken in $180,000 in debt over the first seven months. Greenberg notes that attendance is no longer the driver of revenue, and there are next to no ad sales. Mr. Pectacular, for once not on his hoverboard, asks how long they can keep this going. Matt says the next step would be to no longer do live TV on Thursdays, but is reluctant because it makes them unique and it means so much to Al.
Matt also continues to push the idea for Al to wrestle on “The Big One” pay-per-view, against Shannon The Dude. Al, who has only wrestled once on TV for OVW, is still reluctant because his goal is to tell the best stories possible, and if it doesn’t come off real, the angle will fall flat. We also get our first real introduction to Shannon as a performer and the shady heel commentator/manager in OVW. Matt is convinced that putting these two together on the final show of the summer will equal success.
One of my favorite side stories of this episode is the angle of referee Aaron Grider being seduced by Fraya the Slaya. It screams old-school wrestling story, and Aaron is very believable in his part. As the story goes, Freya is trying to get on the good side of Aaron so that when he referees her matches, the calls go in her favor. Freya also talks about flipping the script on a female heel character. Men have traditionally had female love interests that they have treated poorly, which gives the heel a ton of “heat.” So, why couldn’t that work for a woman with a guy they boss around? Watching the crew laugh and carry on during this pre-tape segment is just a fun watch.
When we return to the Davis Arena, we get a couple of scenes of Al in his office. First, he’s doing a pre-tape with Shera, still in a sling, to continue the championship title story while Shera’s on the shelf. Al still has no idea how he’s going to put this final show together, and equates it to putting together a puzzle, but he’s missing the lid to see even how the puzzle is supposed to turn out.
We also see Jake Lawless return to Al’s office to sit down and chat. Lawless, who is on probation for getting caught taking drugs in Harlan, is now 50 days sober. Jake wants to come back, but Al tells him it’s not that easy. He wants to make sure Jake can show that he’s on the straight and narrow before he’s given another chance. Cut to Jake talking to Haley J and Darkstorm as they smoke in the parking lot. Darkstorm asks if Jake is “California sober,” as Jake takes a hit on camera. Matt has said on the radio that you kind of forget the cameras are there, but this is a big yikes.
A couple of scenes get mashed together here in the middle. First, we have announcers Bryan Kennison and Steven Johnson walking the streets of Louisville putting up flyers for “The Big One.” Kennision talks a little about the struggle to promote the show as OVW’s “Wrestlemania” with no budget, but also with only three matches announced at this point. Brian’s worried that if this thing flops, it’s not going to be because ticket prices have doubled, it’s that he’ll be blamed that he didn’t promote hard enough. Tensions are still very high for Bryan and his job, which is on the line. We also catch up with Shera in rehab for his dislocated shoulder. He asks the trainer how long he should be out. The trainer reminds him that he doesn’t want to fall and get hurt, but is looking at three weeks, followed by week to week, which should definitely put him out for The Big One.
For the first time since the last episode, we catch up with Haley J and Darkstorm. First off, the duo gets a little gym time, where Darkstorm how their relationship is in a good place and is just trying to ride the wave of positivity. This is followed by Haley getting a call from Matt asking why she can’t come to a Saturday show. Haley tells him she’s booked in Los Angeles for Women of Wrestling (WOW). Al is frustrated that because Haley and Maria were factored so prominently in “The Big One” they’re willing to take themselves out of it for their personal gain. He calls it “a lateral move” and “short-sighted.” Back at home Haley and Darkstorm are packing merch — well Haley is, as Darkstorm doesn’t want to stand at the merch table with other wrestlers. He notes that he trusts Haley and wants to settle down, and hopes she can do the same.
Al goes to see his wife for a massage (she’s a licensed massage therapist). He discusses some of the troubles for the upcoming show, with Shera’s injury and Haley potentially no-showing. Al has some trepidation about being on the show on the 27th, but he doesn’t know if he has a choice. We get a montage of the injuries he sustained over the years. His wife talks about how he had both his knees replaced in 2020, separated/dislocated shoulders, concussions, a broken neck, various broken bones, and more. Al just doesn’t want to be an embarrassment if he can’t move like he needs to for the match with Shannon.
After a night of drinking with some of the wrestlers, there is an altercation featuring Darkstorm. At 1:04 a.m., we hear a phone call between Maria and “Bunz” (Darkstorm’s tag team partner). Maria says “Dark ain’t gonna be here” and “Al wants to keep this off camera.” Apparently, Darkstorm got into a fight in front of Doug Basham.
We cut to Darkstorm in a park as he recounts his side of the story, despite saying, “I’m not supposed to say nothing about this.” He and Haley had an altercation where he took something the wrong way. She had previously threatened to leave him, and as he thought she was doing it again, he kicked in her car door and tried to grab her through the window. Because of this, he got into a fight with Reverend Ronnie Roberts. Haley, Darkstorm, Maria, and Al agree that this is all a toxic relationship, with Al citing that wrestlers shouldn’t date anyway. What happens when Haley takes off and he gets left behind? It’s a recipe for disaster.
In the final scene, we get Matt talking with Al, Adam Revolver, Craig, and others about “The Big One.” After talking about how he can sell the show on the radio, and he’ll put up money to bring in a big name in the future, Matt finally convinces Al to get in the ring with Shannon at the pay-per-view. What then follows is one of the most bad-ass training montages ever filmed. Now that Al feels he’s backed into a corner (not in a bad way), he has to do everything possible to make this show a success, both as a booker and a wrestler. If this show fails, the only person that people will blame is Al. Matt talks about how if this doesn’t work out, weekly shows might have to go away, and potentially the business as a whole. There’s a lot on the line, so this next show is “The Big One” in more ways than one.
Previous Wrestlers Recaps
- Episode 1: The Muppet Show
- Episode 2: Butts in Seats
- Episode 3: God Bless Mississippi
- Episode 4: Just a Man and his Maxima
- Episode 5: A Moat of Piranhas