On Friday night, the home of the Aberdeen IronBirds was transformed into a wrestling arena for TNA wrestling, an event officially called “BaseBrawl.” In case you missed it, three dedicated Baltimore Sun interns -- Everett Cook (@everettcook), Zach Helfand (@zhelfand) and Steve Petrella (@steve_petrella) -- were there to provide a running, retroactive commentary of the event. Here's their account with time of each post.
Zach 7:19 Organizers are setting up a wooden announcers’ table along the third-base line. I like the possibilities that brings.
Everett 7:23 I have three initial thoughts before this event starts: 1. This stadium is unbelievable for a short season, Single-A team. If you didn’t look out the windows of the club level, it could probably pass for a major league luxury box. Very cool.
2. I cannot stress how ridiculously absurd and awesome this crowd is. People wearing belts, Hulk Hogan shirts and lots and lots of cutoff tanks. Plus almost every member of the security team is massive, and either bald or pony-tailed. There is no in between.
3. I really would have enjoyed being at the initial meeting for this. Was Ripken involved? Seeing his face when somebody proposed putting a wrestling arena on home plate of his stadium would have been beyond worth the price of admission. But then again, here we are.
Bonus point: It would be pretty awesome if it rained. The skies are looking menacing, and let’s be honest, there is only thing more exciting than TNA wrestling, and that’s TNA wrestling in the pouring rain.
Steve 7:25 They are advertising something called the "Brown Bag Special," and I cannot decide for the life of me what that is. Usually brown bags are associated with concealing malt liquor and school lunches, so your guess is as good as mine.
Kazarian vs. AJ Styles
Zach 7:33 So this opening match features A.J. Styles, the crowd favorite, and the very mean Kazarian.
Steve 7:34 Apparently the crowd here doesn’t like Kazarian, the World Tag Team champ, very much. Maybe it’s because he just referred to himself in the third person.
Everett: 7:35 Ahhhhh, it’s taken 5 minutes to get in a jab of Cal Ripken and his iron man streak. Well done Kazarian, well done. “Unlike the Baltimore Orioles, I can win the big one.” Plus, the crowd hates him. I might have found my favorite TNA wrestler. Hold that thought.
Zach 7:35 Kazarian finished his opening speech with a resounding “Naaaah!” In response to nothing in particular. Not exactly sure how to interpret that one.
Everett 7:38 Styles is wearing long, tight blue pants. He looks a bit like a cowboy. And Kazarian is wearing a Speedo with sequins spelling out his name. For what that’s worth.
Zach 7:40 The crowd is really rallying behind A.J., who’s trying to work his way out of a brutal head lock. After he did, he landed a nice flying drop kick to Kazarian’s face. These guys are very athletic, in all seriousness.
Steve 7:41 Just heard a "Do your job ref" from a spectator. Already, this crowd is frustrated with the officiating. Could be a long night in the ring for the officials.
Zach 7:43 Kazarian has really taken control of this match, taken all the momentum.
Steve 7:44 Right you are Zach, Styles has had to kick out of several two-counts already. Now both competitors are down on the mat, struggling to find their feet. Styles is really putting it on now, landing a nice kick to the face and another punch to the jaw.
Everett 7:45 The flying drop kick will never get old. Styles gets the victory after executing a beautiful move that put Kazarian’s head in between his legs before flipping him onto the mat and pinning him. Kazarian is out of control, while the winner Styles is now walking across the diamond and shaking hands with fans. What a class act.
Steve 7:47 Kazarian walked to first base. I guess he must have thought he got hit by the pitch or something. He’s holding up his title belt and arguing. He just swung at an old man near the third base dugout.
Zach 7:47 Really just a mean guy. Ripped out the cord from the microphone, too. Not a guy you’d want to be friends with, and frankly, not the way TNA wants to be represented here in Aberdeen. Let’s hope our next wrestlers, Gail Kim and Rosita, are better behaved.
Gail Kim vs. Rosita
Everett 7:50 Earl Hebner, the former WWE ref, is a legend around here. Multiple fans bowing to him. Now he takes off his ref shirt and puts on sunglasses while gyrating to the crowd.
Steve 7:52 Scattered claps for the Canadian Gail Kim. I can only imagine it’s because she’s Canadian. Nope, I guess it’s cause she just called everyone fat losers. That’s probably why they are now booing her, because she said she hates this city and only came for the money, which she described as "a lot."
Zach 7:53 I remember Hebner from my early days as a wrestling fan. He really is a legend. Look up his wikipedia page, and you’ll know why. Some limited highlights from his storied career: he orchestrated a referees strike (because the referees were getting beat up too often by the wrestlers) and is most known for his role in the “Montréal Screwjob,” in which he signaled a submission victory for Shawn Michaels over Bret Hart, even though Hart never actually tapped out. If I’m ever involved in anything called the “Montréal Screwjob,” I’ll know I’ve lived life to the fullest.
Steve 7:57 Kim seems to be taking control, as Rosita kicks her way out of a cover at two to stay alive. Resounding “Gail Kim sucks” chants coming from the crowd now. And then Kim slaps her opponent in the face. Rosita does seem to be clawing her way back in with a couple dropkicks and closelines.
Everett 8:00 Rosie is a fighter. Seems to have hurt her knee and is still out there battling. What a competitor. Very close to a pin there, but Gail with a nice flip around to get out of it. This match is significantly more violent than the first one.
Steve 8:01 Kim gets the win after Rosita seemed to be taking control toward the end. The Canadian reversed an attempted cover and flipped the script to take it. Much to the dismay of all the "fat losers" in the crowd. Rosita had to be helped off by Hebner.
Zach 8:02 Unfortunately for Hebner fans, not too much action from the vet. One thing that I’ve always wondered about wrestling is how the referees get their start. Are they former wrestlers? Do they one day up and decide that they want to be a professional wrestling referee? Do you go to school for that? Someone needs to investigate for me.
Everett 8:03 Rosie’s knee doesn’t seem to be in good shape. Hobbling back to the locker room. Something tells me we aren’t going to get many injury updates up here in the visitor's radio room. Plus, there’s a good chance no one else knows we are up here.
Zach 8:03 I want to revise my previous statement about Hebner’s inactivity. He just now tossed one of the announcer’s chairs in a rage over something not immediately apparent.
Robbie E vs. Rob Van Dam
Zach 8:04 So in this next fight we’ve got Robbie E, a jersey shore wannabe with all pink neon tights and spiked hair, and Rob Van Dam, a veteran wrestler formerly of the WWE. He’s fond of pointing his thumbs at himself.
Everett 8:05 The crowd is loving Van Dam. At least half the crowd mimicking the pointing of the back in tune with Van Dam. Robbie, dressed in a very manly pink speedo, seems afraid to fight Van Dam. I don’t blame him. He’s massive.
Steve 8:08 After a heavy amount of groping to start it off, Robbie E leaves the ring and takes the mic from the table.
Zach 8:08 Best moment of the night so far. Robbie E with the mic: “Hey you know something, bro? This is stupid. RVD, these people didn't come to see you wrestle. These people came to see Robbie E fist pump. And just like always, I'm going to give them what they want. DJ hit my music, bro." So the DJ blasts some techno, and Robbie E fist pumps like a champ. As a fellow New Jersyan, I approve.
Everett 8:10 Van Dam is clearly the better wrestler here, but Robbie uses some cheap shots to keep himself in this. The 41-year old Van Dam looks tired, and the 28-year old Robbie is showing his youth. Also, his hair is at least 4 inches tall. He must use 1 bottle of hair gel, at bare minimum, to keep that thing up.
Steve 8:11 Wow now Robbie E is just mocking the legendary RVD, chanting Rah, Bie, E, in a similar manner that the fans now begin chanting RVD. And Robbie still thinks everyone wants him to fist pump, but I have to agree with the crowd. The crowd did not come here to see Robbie E fist pump. I don’t know what they came here to see, probably some great wrestling, but certainly not to see this guy pump his fists like a woman. He is just flat out wrong.
Everett 8:13 Van Dam with a massive flying body slam to win the match. He is a crowd favorite. Plus, he has his own song, which is inherently awesome.
Steve 8:15 For the second match in a row, the loser has to be helped off the official, who he then starts a fight with. Shouldn’t there be a medical staff taking care of that? Not a referee? Oh well, I’m sure he’ll be alright. He’s from New Jersey, after all.
Everett 8:17 It should be noted that I am the only non-New Jersey member of this visiting radio booth crew. Please don’t leave this page because of them.
Zach 8:17 The picture you should have of Steve and me in the press box is of two men in Ed Hardy t-shirts with excessive amounts of hair gel. And beautiful tans.
Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy
Everett 8:20 The next match is between Mr. Anderson, who could actually be insane, and Jeff Hardy. Someone in the crowd called Anderson an bad word, and he screams back, “Did you call me a [bad word]? Thank you!” He is interacting with the crowd more than any other wrestler so far. But yeah, he’s also insane. Hardy’s new nickname is the “Charismatic Enigma,” and he just hugged a dude in the crowd wearing the same armbands as him. Mr. Anderson is in the crowd. Hardy is posing for pictures. This is going to be entertaining. In the previous matches, there has been a clear crowd favorite. This time, they are both being cheered for. We’ll see what happens. They are now throwing stuff into the crowd and no manners are being exhibited. Men stealing towels from women and children. Madness. Also, Hardy is wearing black cargo pants, which cannot be comfortable to wrestle in.
Steve 8:27 Real slow start to this one, but now it’s starting to pickup as Mr. Anderson has Hardy in a headlock. Then he fires back with a punch to the gut and continues the abuse against the ropes.
Steve 8:29 Hardy is now fighting back and slams his opponent, now woozy, against the metal railing close to the backstop near the crowd. Oh, and we’ve got a chair in the mix. A chair is in the mix, wrestling fans. Both men seem pretty tired for the little amount of action in this match so far, as Hardy kicks out of a cover attempt at two seconds. I can only blame the tiredness on lack of conditioning.
Everett 8:30 Signs you are at a professional wrestling event: A man in the crowd offers Anderson a sip of his beer and the wrestler considers before getting slammed in the back.
Steve 8:32 Anderson flipped Hardy and got him into the cover before a kick out. Hardy seems dead on the mat as Anderson waits. Now Anderson has got him in a choke hold from behind and continues the abuse via hair pulling and an arm bar.
Everett 8:34 New favorite wrestler is Mr. Anderson. It’s official. The man has been yelling and talking this whole time he has been wrestling and just does his thing, societal norms be damned. I respect that.
Steve 8:36 Hardy just did a backflip off the ropes and knocked down Anderson. He tried to cover but Anderson kicked out. A drizzle is beginning to fall in Aberdeen, but unless we hear thunder or see lightning, the show will most certainly go on.
Steve 8:38 Hardy flipped Anderson by the arm and that’s all she wrote folks. Hardy takes this Battle For Glory Series match with the cover.
Everett 8:37 Alas, my boy just lost, and Hardy has stripped off his clothing and put his hair into a ponytail. It’s a disappointing moment for everyone. But now, they are holding hands and dancing together like true competitors should at the end of every match. A post game dance session should be mandatory in all major sporting events.
Everett 8:40 It’s intermission here, apparently due to the rain. They have put a blue tarp over the ring and are encouraging participants to buy items that were described by the ring side announcer as “cute little ponchos.”
Zach 8:41 Story time: one time when I was in the second grade, one of my friends bought a fake wrestling belt, and we held a tournament to decide the champion. I like to think I was doing pretty well, but ultimately I had to drop out after my friend announced his new finishing move would be the “Stinkface.” If you’re not familiar with the move, popularized by the wrestler Rikishi, I’m not going to describe. I will say that Rikishi was a very, very big man who wore a thong-like piece of clothing. Use your imagination. If you were stinkfaced, you would not feel much like dancing afterward.
Steve 8:44 The ring announcer said Hebner recently officiated the 100,000th match of his 30-year career. After putting my math hat on, I have determined that for this to be possible, he would need to officiate 3,334 matches a year, or 10 per day, every single day from his first until today. Seems unlikely, but who am I to judge.
Everett 8:46 I would guess there are about 1,500 people here, which is about 1,000 more than I expected. I’m impressed by the turnout.
Zach 8:57 Steve just raised the possibility that maybe Hebner and his son have refereed 100,000 matches between the two of them. I’m going to borrow that math hat for a quick second and refute that claim. That’s still 5 matches per day, every day, for 30 years. Which, just no.
Everett 9:04 Still intermission here. Two matches left, if this break ever ends. It’s barely drizzling here. I don’t see what the fuss is about.
Bobby Roode vs. Sting
Everett 9:16 Aaaaannd we are back. Finally. Bobby Roode is taking on “The Icon,” Sting, who is 53(!) and is easily the crowd favorite. I have to ask, is wearing full face paint at age 53 a bit much? I immediately think of Seinfeld and David Putty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fowd29dOyh0
Steve 9:19 Right you are Everett, Sting, white face and all, has this crowd behind him 100 percent. We’ll see if that plays a factor in this match.
Everett 9:22 Match is taking a while to get going. Both guys just sort of walking around. Roode is refusing to step into the ring, which I don’t understand considering his job is wrestling. Roode just tried to fight someone in the stands. And is very angry.
Zach 9:23 The fans aren’t too big on Roode. They’re serenading him with chants of “Austin Aires,” who beat Roode for the World Championship belt. Roode called it a fluke and told the crowd to shut up. Interesting tactic, we’ll see if the crowd responds to it.
Everett 9:27 Match begins with Roode giving Sting a pat down, like a TSA Agent. Could that be a new nickname? Now introducing Booby “Mr. TSA” Rooooooodddeeeee!
Steve 9:29 Perhaps the fans would respond better to him if that was in fact his nickname. Who doesn’t love getting harassed at airport security by the TSA? No one, that’s who.
Everett 9:28 Roode tries to walk away and now Sting is chasing after him with an event table. Or tried to, anyway. Sting settles for ramming Roode into the table instead of bashing him with it. What a kind soul. Also, Sting is balding. And his face paint is wearing off. From up in the booth, he looks a little like an old, creepy clown that should have stopped going to birthday parties and making balloons at least 10 years ago. But that’s just from my angle.
Zach 9:31 Roode is really working on Sting’s left knee. Just rammed in into the turnbuckle, and he has repeatedly kicked and elbowed it. Now he landed a dropkick right into the kneecap. Sting has got to be in all kinds of pain. Roode’s in complete control, and he just asked the crowd, “Who sucks now?” To which they replied “You do!”
Steve 9:36 Sting has now taken control of this match after Roode had his leg in an attempt to get him to tap out. He landed a few nice closelines and line gets the cover after slamming Roode to the mat. Sting is the winner, much to the liking of this crowd.
Zach 9:39 Main event coming up. If you can’t get excited for this, then I don’t know if you can get excited for anything.
TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray
Everett 9:41 Bully Ray is making advances to the sideline reporter. She doesn’t seem appreciative. The current world champion, Austin Aries takes the ring wearing a cape, belt, big cowboy boots, and not much else. The crowd seems to be split again here.
Steve 9:43 Bully Ray looks exactly what his name says. He looks like a bully. Like that very large kid in school that wore a cutoff everyday. Not fat, just big and pear shaped. And mean.
Zach 9:46 Aries is just toying with Bully. A moment ago, he just challenged him to an arm wrestling competition. When Bully got down on the mat to meet him, Aries just got up. So Bully told the ref to tell Aries to “cut it out.” Ref: “Cut it out!” Aries didn’t listen.
Steve 9:49 This match has gone back and forth, with Aries working Ray outside the ring for a while. Now, the Bully seems to be getting back into it a little.
Everett 9:49 For a world title match, this is so far the least interesting fight of the night. Not much going on. Aries is clearly the better wrestler and is just toying with Bully
Zach 9:51 Yeah Aries is really beating up Bully right now. After a flying dropkick from the turnbuckle, Bully staggered around, then dropped like a ton of bricks. Aries capitalized and put Bully in a submission hold. And he taps! That’s the match, and Aries retains the TNA World Title belt.
Everett 9:52 That was probably the least interesting match of the night. Aries dominated the whole time. My personal favorite was Robbie E vs. Rob Van Dam.
Everett 9:53 That wraps it up here from Aberdeen. I hope this was as fun for you as it was for us. Remember, anytime anyone offers you something called the “Brown Bag Special,” you have to take advantage of it.
Zach 9:53 Well this has most certainly been one of the more interesting nights of my life. Beer, big pony-tailed men, lots of spandex, even a little bit of fist pumping. In short, it had most, if not all, of the best elements of life. Sadly, the wooden announcers' table remains intact, but we’re glad you enjoyed this spectacle with us.
Steve 9:54 Thanks for reading along wrestling fans. If you made it all the way down to this comment, good for you. We saw some tables, some chairs, some ponchos and some great wrestling. If you’re still reading, you have the attention span of, someone with a great attention span. Hope you enjoyed our coverage from Aberdeen.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun