BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #19 - Quay vs Neal: AXW American Dreams
Last weekend, I went to Hamburg, PA for the second straight month and checked out American X Wrestling.
There was a good-sized crowd in attendance for a great night of wrestling, especially considering that WWE had their Elimination Chamber event and I assumed many people would be home watching that. However, the growing AXW fan base did not disappoint and came out to support their favorite wrestlers.
You know what happens when you assume?
“Hybrid” Sean Carr, who I once saw in an ACE ring against the indy legend Azrieal, put together a big victory against Cabana Man Dan. The trio of AXW champion EN Bush, Tommy Vecs, and Mary Elizabeth continued to shine as the promotion’s hottest characters. I’ve even began to enjoy the team of Ed House and, my personal favorite, Laszlo Arpad. Those two monsters are today’s independent wrestling version of Demolition, in my humble opinion.
But the main event is what hooked me in.
At the end of “For the People” on January 7, “the King Road Slayer” Derek Neal cost Matt Quay the opportunity to become AXW champion. Almost immediately, AXW representative Kevin Kelly announced that “the American Hammer” and the 19-year veteran Neal would be facing off 1-on-1 on February 18 at “American Dreams”.
Going into this match, I didn’t have the biggest expectations. Not because of the talent, but because of my lack of familiarity with the men involved. As you might have read in my other takes, I am an old school wrestling fan. But for 2023, I set a goal for myself to become familiar with more independent wrestling and more independent talent.
Matt Quay is based out of Combat Zone Wrestling. Initially, you hear the letters CZW and think hardcore or “garbage” wrestling. I personally have not. I’ve always felt CZW has done a great job developing young talent. From Drew Gulak, Jon Moxley, and Egotistico Fantastico to Lio Rush, Joey Janela, and Jordan Oliver. Quay is built from the mold of those talents.
Derek Neal, on the other hand, was built out of the mold of old school Southern wrestlers. Plying his trade over the Smoky Mountains for nearly two decades, he has become grizzled and double tough. He’s built like Stan Hansen and hard-hitting like Bruiser Brody.
From the bell, both men went hard-and-heavy. The lighter, quicker Quay got the upper hand early, going fast with the strikes. Although “the American Hammer” had the upper hand early, the absolute second Quay made a mistake, “the King Road Slayer” caught him and laid him out.
At this point, Derek Neal took the pace down to his speed. Methodical, destructive, and vicious, Neal laid in the offense to Quay. It got to a point that anytime Quay tried to come back on the Kentucky native, it was half-hearted - not because it lacked grit, but he couldn’t deliver the physical strike.
Midway through the match, the AXW champion Bush, Vecs, and Mary Elizabeth made their way to the ring and tried to make fun of Quay as Neal was pummeling him to the mat. However, special enforcer EARL HEBNER made his presence felt and EJECTED the three knuckleheads from ringside.
I geeked out. Earl Hebner is the greatest.
This is where the match picked up. Quay dug down deep and went into another level. He fired up and really delivered a beatdown to Neal. Quay figuratively and literally took it to another level. Quay kept on it until the brawl went to the floor.
That was where all Hell broke loose.
“The American Nightmare” and “the King Road Slayer” flipped over tables, threw each other into walls, and hit each other with everything not nailed down. The Historic Hamburg Field House looked like a war zone. Fans were running around scouting the action. It was intense.
By the time the two brawlers made it near the ringside area, the bell rang. AXW management decided along with the officials that it was a no-contest. Both men were pissed. They wanted the fight to continue. So, the combatants entered the squared circle and started up their fight once again.
AXW representative Kevin Kelly had seen enough. Along with Mr. Hebner, the locker rooms were waved out, forcing everyone to separate Quay and Neal. Even though split between two groups of strong professional athletes, both men found a way back to each other multiple times. Finally, “the American Hammer” grabbed the microphone from ring announcer David Adams and spoke from the heart.
Matt Quay stated that he wanted to end this rivalry with “the King Road Slayer” at any cost. At the next event on April 29, 2023, he wanted Derek Neal one more time. If he couldn’t win, he’d leave AXW. And, if Neal couldn’t beat Quay, he should leave as well.
The match was set. Quay vs Neal II. April 29, 2023 at the Historic Hamburg Field House.
The magic of this contest was incredible. The fans were hyped, especially myself. It truly had a vintage vibe to the battle.
To my knowledge, I do not know if this match was filmed. If that is the case, then this gives out an old school “house show” vibe, where if you snooze, you lose. You have to be in attendance to have experienced what I did and what the fans did. The Historic Hamburg Field House is the perfect place for what AXW is trying to do.
So I implore you, get out to “HONOR: Autism Acceptance” on April 29, 2023 in Hamburg, PA. Matt Quay and Derek Neal might destroy one another. One of the two men could also never be seen in AXW again.
Like I said before, get your tickets now. You will be missing history.