Words by Danny Acosta
Images by Ryan Jae and Danny Acosta
Northern California’s longest-running independent wrestling show — All Pro Wrestling (APW) — returned to the Bay Area on Friday night with #SuckerFree, a high-flying card featuring a diverse list of marquee match-ups and industry talent, including indie darling (and viral sensation) Joey Ryan, rising female phenom (19-year-old) Xia Brookside of the UK, and former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann squaring off against APW Internet World Champion JR Kratos.
APW even made up for the cancellation of Mexico’s top tag team stars Pentagon Jr. and Fenix (of Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling fame) with a thrilling late replacement of veteran international legend Ultimo Dragon, who scored a win with his signature La Magistral pin versus up-and-comer Jake Atlas early in the show.
Founded in Hayward in 1991 under the name Pacific Coast Sports, APW was the chiseled brainchild of the now-late promoter Roland Alexander. APW has soldiered on since Alexander’s passing, keeping up with the independent wrestling scene’s boom by putting on more than 40 shows in the past five years. This has meant bidding for top independent wrestlers whose packed worldwide schedules are commanding enough money per appearance they can potentially piece together WWE-scale earnings. In the internet age, APW straddles the line between a throwback operation (to a time before WWE’s virtual monopoly) and a modern footing that allows fans to follow action online anywhere, at any time.
APW delivered big this weekend with #SuckerFree’s main event, when Guamanian Olympic wrestler Jeff Cobb defended the APW Universal Heavyweight Championship against Samoan wrestling royalty family member Jacob Fatu. Cobb is known for feats of strength so unique observers may believe his Olympic pedigree is for powerlifting rather than amateur wrestling. Fatu may not possess the Hollywood athletic looks of his cousins—Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and current WWE Universal World Champion Roman Reigns—but the big man is no less athletic in the ring, often pulling off epic moonsault backflips from the top rope. Through the big-hitting battle that ensued, Cobb ultimately fended off Fatu in the end, although their rivalry seems poised to continue on in APW’s next installment.
The Six Fifty’s photographers caught all the explosive action….take a look…
APW returns to Daly City Friday September 21 for #Ballin at the Delue Boys & Girls Club.
APW’s #SuckerFree was also a tribute show which raised funds for the family of recently deceased former APW Internet Champion Virgil Flynn, who tragically suffered a stroke at 33-years-old. You can donate here.
For more information on upcoming event, find APW on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/apwbootcamp
Stay up to date with other coverage from The Six Fifty by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, featuring event listings, reviews and articles showcasing the best that the Peninsula has to offer. Sign up here!