May 21st, 2018

‘The Heat’ burns through challengers

By Jensen, Randy on January 26, 2018.

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

Travis “The Heat” Copeland retained his Cruiserweight title and proved he deserves it after wading through four opponents in the Gauntlet for the Gold on Saturday.

The annual tournament can be a true test of endurance – depending on where a wrestler is slotted. The rules are simple. Win, and you’re in. Lose, and you hit the showers.

This year, Copeland was on the bottom wrung of the ladder. His opening match was against PPW newcomer “Nasty” Nate Nixon, a Monster Pro Wrestling villain who made his way to Lethbridge to check out the competition.

Nixon was able to hold his own for some time against Copeland.

But THC soon gained the upper hand and left a Nasty mess of Nixon on the ring after hitting his finisher.

With barely a moment to catch his breath, Copeland found himself in tough against Cyanide and manager “The Black Heart” Vinnie Valentine.

As usual with that pair, Copeland was fighting a war on two fronts. Cyanide took every opportunity to distract the referee in order to allow Valentine to assault the champ with impugnity.

Copeland would get some help in the form of Chris Perish, still basking in the newfound respect and love of the crowd following his gruelling Last Man Standing match last month. Perish made his way ringside and stole Cyanide’s mask, a relic Cyanide has been carrying to ringside since losing it in a ladder match to Copeland months ago.

Cyanide was beside himself with rage. He forgot completely about his match with Copeland and focused on finding his relic. The distraction resulted in a countout loss, and Copeland moved on to his next opponent – and likely his most dangerous – “Cowboy” Bryn Watts.

Watts and Copeland are in the middle of a white-hot feud for the Cruiserweight title and neither has been able to gain the upper hand.

After fighting off two opponents, Copeland was well worn out and did all he could to fend off the Cowboy.

The match turned when Watts put Copland in a cloverleaf submission hold and it looked like Copeland was about to tap out.

But when Watts released the hold, thinking Copeland had surrendered, he was informed by the ref that the match was still on.

In a rage, Watts attacked the ref, attacked Copeland, and then attacked the final competitor in the Gauntlet – “The Big Sexy Beast” Bradley Graham.

Graham was the recipient of a number of chair shots from Watts before things returned to some semblance of control, a new ref was installed, and the Gauntlet could continue.

Graham entered the match following a successful social media campaign where he accused PPW management of body shaming him after he was not selected as a cruiserweight.

He claimed part of the reason is that his weight is not “three hundred and sexty-nine pounds” as he is normally billed, but, unbelievably, “one hundred and sexty-nine pounds,” leaving fans to wonder if the big man is being entirely honest.

After Copeland and Graham both missed their finishers early on, Copeland was eventually able to gain the upper hand and reclaim his title.

The PPW Heavyweight Title was on the line as “Cougar Meat” Kyle Sebastian gave “The Tattooed Terminator” Massive Damage an opportunity to win back the title he lost to Sebastian several months ago.

Things were on track for Massive after hitting a top-rope superplex on the champion, and it looked like he might reclaim his title.

However, the appearance of Sebastian’s Adult Social Society partner Graham threw a wrench into the plans of the Tattooed one. The introduction of a pair of brass knuckles and diversionary tactics by Graham resulted in the end of the line for Damage and another win for Sebastian.

In the undercard, “The Cheetahbear” Jude Dawkins teamed up with Jumpin Josh to beat “The All-American” Steve Rivers and “The Headline” Shaun Martens.

Josh was swimming with sharks in this match but having a powerhouse like Dawkins who is not afraid to bend the rules to get a win was the real difference maker.

Also in the undercard, Cyanide defeated Chris Perish in an early Gauntlet for the Gold qualifying match, Kato and “Psycho” Saraya Sawyer defeated “The Real Deal” Sydney Steele and Angelica in a mixed tag match after interference from “Nasty” Nate Nixon resulted in a countout, and “Wildchild” Tyler James defeated “Youngblood” Cody Blayde in a barnburner of an opening bout.

Follow @JWSchnarrHerald on Twitter

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