|Image credit: Jennifer PV Logsdon.|
But the real story was the loss to the wrestling world of one Shane Hollister. Hollister announced the event would be his retirement just a few days beforehand, though he made no secret that his days in wrestling were numbered. With a significant other and children in his life, he was leaving wrestling behind to be a provider and a father. It's a decision you have to respect from anyone that toiled his way around the independents for over a decade.
That doesn't make it any less sad for me though.
I first discovered Shane Hollister through Chikara of all places. Before that, he was a name at a few NWA No Limits shows I never saw, but little more. But he made exactly one appearance for my favorite promotion: a loss to Trik Davis in a first round match during the Young Lions Cup. I'm not sure what there intrigued me about the young star (probably the announcement of his Iowa origins), but I saw potential in the young Shug.
I watched him in AAW matches, celebrated as he won pretty much everything you could win in his trainer Danny Daniels' little Midwest indie that could. An AAW Triple Crown champion, he held the Heavyweight title for over a year, beating two far larger men with far more fame now than him: Michael Elgin and current WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. He had a huge 2013 with amazing matches as he added sporadic CZW appearances to his career path.
An injury derailed him in late 2014 and though he would return to his home promotion of SCW (where he's also a Triple Crown winner) and AAW, it seemed clear that his months away from the promotion changed Shane's approach to the squared circle. His appearances were far more limited now, and it seemed clear he was rethinking ten years on the independents without a sign of interest from WWE, TNA or even Ring of Honor.
But on Saturday night, Shane wrestled a true classic against Marek Brave. When Brave tried to take the shortcut and use a chair, it became a no disqualification match. The two men brutally assaulted each other with the chair and the stairs. Both men got in some of their finest work I've seen in any SCW match. In the end, Brave used the chair and a handful of pants to get the win and retire Hollister once and for all. It was an epic contest and a great way to send a superb talent home just short of his thirtieth birthday.
Maybe not everyone knows the name Shane Hollister. Heck, outside the Midwest, he's probably still someone no one heard about. But his excellent combination of strikes and submissions made him one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch anywhere. Sure, he was small even by wrestling standards, but as I watch the Cruiserweight division take off on Raw,
Go out and watch some Hollister matches. You can find a plethora of them on Youtube. And let's never forget a great name in wrestling, even as he moves on to a new stage of his life.