Espiritu delivers what it promises. A lot is set to change in 2023 to become an even more permanent fixture – not only in Puerto Rico. EPW has long been putting out feelers for wrestling talents who have never or have not fought in Puerto Rico for a long time. More and more fanatics appreciate this and not only snatch the tickets out of the dojo’s hand, but also follow the events online – outside the country. This event had it all, because we should see again a fight Scorpio against dragons, so Mike Mendoza against his student and EPW Champion Androide787 – in addition to fame, honor and the title, hair was also at stake and thus a bit of the shame of the loser. But from the beginning.
It was done by completely different people. At the Copa Espiritu, which was held for the first time, four fighters faced each other. On the one hand: JC Navarro, Nathalya Perez, Terror Nocturno and Mad Crowley. They felt like winners from the outset, but whether they would leave the ring as such was questionable. Opposite them in the corner were Edrax, Sabat, Xavier Millet and Nahir Robles. And I have to complain again. EPW have now changed their video recordings a bit. This time there is at least an English-speaking commentator and the names of the opponents are displayed, so that you know who is really going to the ring, even if it was different on the announcement. But highlights from the match are already shown in advance and these are sometimes breathtaking moments that take the tension away. Or is it? Let’s wait and see how exciting the match really gets – small spoiler: It’s worth it! Sabat and JC Navarro stand first in the square. It may have to be said that this is an elimination match, everyone from the opposing team must have been defeated. Feasible, right? But certainly not easy. There are certain expectations that the fighters also have of themselves. Navarro’s first pin attempt goes wrong, then Edrax and Mad Crowley continue. The two want to take as much strength as possible. Somehow the audience is very quiet, which I can understand insofar as I also sit very spellbound in front of the screen and only scream and cheer every now and then. The pin attempts are not even worthwhile that Referee Many goes to his knees. Change. Terror Nocturno against Xavier Millet. For the time being, the masked man does not seem to be able to oppose him and rolls out of the ring very quickly battered. Knock off, the women storm the ring and the chanting starts. “Nahir, Nahir” is shouted and applauded. You like Perez, but nobody can compete against “Miss Hola, Hola”. She is popular and this is not least due to her loving, natural nature. But Nathalya Perez is a machine and the queen of the dojo, since Yaide is no longer there – or at least only present as a spectator – so she shows that too and finally takes on the male opponents, jumping from the top rope to all four outside the ring. With whom do you go next? Edrax, Perez decides and throws him into the ring, directly into the arms of Navarro. In no time at all, all eight wrestlers storm into the ring and build a mega duplex chain. The Navarro team can eventually mount the Suplex against the Edrax team. What did we just see? This is a great action! But somehow everyone is stricken after that. Edrax and Navarro then want to end the matter in the ring, Edrax first gains the upper hand and is then brought down via crossbody by Nocturno. Robles wants revenge and manages to pin Nocturno and eliminate it. That doesn’t suit Perez, who now pins Robles, who doesn’t like it at all and gives Nathalya another one to weaken her and avenge herself. So while Nathalya Perez lies battered in the corner of the ring, it continues with Sabat and JC Navarro . The two pins in quick succession have ensured that the match picks up speed. After a splash from the top rope, Mad Crowley can kick Sabat out. Edrax goes on and avenges his teammate. Of course, he also has a certain ambition, as he had only won the Copa Salvador Perez Vikingo. Perez has similar goals and gets in full, but finally has to admit defeat to Edrax. He lets himself be celebrated and first discusses with the audience. Now it’s two against one, maybe that’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. Millet rolls Navarro into the ring, that must be over here. Edrax immediately tries the pin, but fails, which he doesn’t quite want to see, no matter, Navarro thinks to himself and throws Edrax out. Or was it just two? A little chaos ensues and you don’t immediately understand what it’s all about, but then it’s final, Edrax out, one against one, Millet against Navarro. Now we see quick moves, as if the two were just waiting to finally face each other alone. The fact that Navarro touches the rope with his foot prevents a pin. In the end, Navarro, without tequila, wins visibly exhausted and it does not seem as if the last word between the two opponents has been spoken here – and indeed the winner still has something to say. In addition to thanking the fans and EPW, he also has positive words for his opponent, about whom he says he is the big man in this dojo and of course he wants to compete against him in March. While the commentator breaks off in the middle of the word, I’ll knock it out: cock comparison in the ring, motherfucker! “Arriba, Cabrones!”
Next. It is well known that Eros and Hijo del Enigma are not the best of friends. The two had already been quite hostile to each other and did a lot in the ring, now it should be carried out again, what is between them – and best clarified forever. After all, the motto of the evening is not for nothing: allies and enemies. The fact that the two are rather the latter is already evident when Hijo del Enigma steps out of the backstage area. He cannot be celebrated, but is attacked from behind with a chair by the opponent. A little bit you would hope for the help of Nathalya Perez or El Gentil , but the latter has ring free this evening. It continues with the chair against the person lying on the floor. Referee Jordy intervenes, but rather without a chance, because Eros threatens him. Then he drags a battered Enigma to the ring, smashes it against the famous pillar – which, by the way, is the absolutely steadfast and strongest student of the dojo and whom I now baptize Victor. By the way, I also think that Victor has been wearing an EPW title around his slim hip for a long time. Enough joking, because the match hasn’t even started yet and we are already experiencing a tough clash. Jordy makes every effort to make it clear to Eros that he should please, please first get into the ring together with his opponent and let the match officially begin. Eros doesn’t care. There are no rules everything is allowed in this match, maybe you should have said that before, but there was the hard attack. Now both are in the ring, Eros almost goes after Jordy, who first has to check how Enigma is doing and whether he is still able to fight. The match officially begins. Enigma seems like a plaything for Eros, who always attacks Jordy, who has to insist on one or the other rule. Pin attempt, Enigma pulls up his shoulder. We already have a great match, but it only officially started a few seconds ago and you have to say: Such hardcore stories without disqualification are already very popular – you want to see a bit of blood, barbed wire, chairs, kendo sticks, oh and so much more. However, for safety reasons, you will probably never see some utensils in the dojo for the audience, which is now sitting directly at the ring – better for the fighters, yes, yes. But that’s not what it’s about, it’s about whether Enigma can score points here again. He tries, but quickly has to admit defeat again. Again, Eros only manages the pin to two, shows Jordy the stretched middle finger, which simply takes revenge on the next pin. Respect me, then I respect you, he seems to want to say. The next pin attempt fails. One sees nothing more of Enigma than the prevention of the premature end. But then he rears up and scrapes together his strength. But even that is short-lived. Is Eros’ plan to weaken his opponent so much before the start of the match that he finally has an easy game? For a while, at least, then the anger in Enigma is finally aroused. You really can’t tell who’s going to win this thing. Presumably, it could continue until the absolute exhaustion of the two. Eros throws Enigma out of the ring, he crawls away a little, it looks like a pile driver. It has to be said that there is no mat here, but only hard floor and Enigma seems to be through. Whether he will recover from it again this evening is questionable. But Eros doesn’t try a pin, but just wants to continue to vent his anger in the ring. He climbs onto the top rope, then Enigma jumps up, pushes him down a little rudely for the balls. Suplex, Piledriver now by Enigma, who also wants to put an end to the drama, but Eros brings his foot to the rope. Enigma now goes after Jordy and discusses, Eros uses this and storms at Enigma, wants to pin him by putting his own legs on the middle rope. This is usually a reason for a pure disqualification. Jordy intervenes, is pushed into a corner again – well, you’re just waiting for there to be fights that evening. Enigma tries the same, Jordy counts three seconds in record time, Enigma escapes from the ring, the bell sounds, the winner is chosen. Eros can’t believe it, but has to admit defeat. The last word will not be spoken here for a long time.
This is followed by a part of the Anexion, the one who represents Puerto Rican wrestling, Mark Davidson. Finally he is back at EPW, you had to wait for that. His opponent is Adam Riggs and that promises to be a powerful match. Davidson plays with his opponent and has the audience clearly behind him. Riggs doesn’t have it easy anyway after siding with Portillo and against Mendoza last year. But that’s another story. Davidson does what he always does. Great jumps, fast sequences of moves, powerful actions. The guy seems to consist only of muscles and has trained hard for it. Riggs, however, is full of anger and now makes the acquaintance of pillar Victor outside the ring. But that doesn’t stop him. A few blows, then he crashes again and this time with his head against Victor. Not with me, he thinks, grabs a bottle of water, takes a sip and spits at his opponent, who then goes to the ground. It’s a typical action for Riggs, something like his trademark. Davidson goes after Riggs, then the forces are distributed again. One is a bit surprised if one would have believed Mark Davidson to have absolute superiority. But that would have been boring. He jumps from a standing position onto the second rope, over his opponent, whom he then skillfully throws over his shoulder to the ground. Man, this is only the third match and we’re seeing really high-class matches! Then Mark Davidson just does some push ups in the ring, why not if you have time? Now he seems to have gained the upper hand again. But then he stands in the corner of the ring and is at the mercy of his opponent’s attacks for a while. Again it goes out into the rows of chairs, back into the ring, it gets faster and from the top rope there is a missile dropkick against Riggs, but even that does not weaken him enough to be able to pin him. Oh, it’s always nice to see the “White Shadow” in the ring. But he still just can’t keep Riggs on the ground for three seconds. What else does he have to do? First of all, Adam Riggs does a lot, including a kick from diagonally behind to the head, which at least earns him a pin attempt and now visibly weakens the opponent. But then he gets up again, working on Riggs, who is sitting on the ring ropes. With a superplex it goes to the ground, power bomb, pin – no. How far should this go? Riggs shows his best side here and can finally win the race. This is quite unexpected and makes everyone rethink their opinion about the EPW student. But no one would have expected Davidson to be defeated here. After all, the dojo pays him respect.
Fuerza Recia are coming next. What can stand in the way of them, who can stand against them? Nobody, it seems, since Baltazar Bruno and Harry William teamed up to form a tag team. Their opponents already had the pleasure in January, Felix Aldea and Niche want to know again, but do they have a better chance this time? Let’s be surprised. Bruno vs. Niche. The latter was already multiple tag team champion outside the dojo and returned last year much to the delight of the audience. Bruno is simply a powerhouse where everything and everyone bounces off and you don’t really know how to beat him. Quick change, because Bruno leaves the ring a bit battered, but he comes back quickly and faces Aldea. This young man has taken a big step forward in recent months. Somewhat unprepared, he was allowed to enter the ring against Lightning at Immortal Lucha Libres Eternal Rivals. Unequal struggle, but a baptism of fire for him. Since then, a lot has happened, he has trained a lot and improved immensely. You can watch this young wrestler grow, find himself, his strength and his own style. Even though there is still a way to go, you can see a lot in him – and we will certainly hear a lot from him outside of EPW. But back to the ring. It’s against William, then against Niche, it’s fast, doesn’t get boring, a lot happens in a short time. The changes are very fast, the actions powerful, show the strength of the wrestlers of both teams. When Bruno edits Niche, the audience asks him to laugh. But he prefers to roar, looks even more grim and continues to work on Niche, who finally manages to defend himself and even gets Bruno on the ground. That would be a great opportunity, but he misses it, instead a change on both sides. Aldea goes fast and agile on William. What he lacks in strength, he makes up for with speed. It looks like Aldea and Niche have a real chance against Fuerza Recia this time. The audience shrieks – but then William hits Bruno, because Niche escapes the two and he can no longer stop the blow. Now he plays with the two opponents who stand in the corners of the ring. Once again, an attack Williams hits his own teammate, who now sits quite knocked out in the corner of the ring. Will we see the power duo’s first defeat tonight? Aldea works on William, but then has to roll out of the ring battered. Bruno rises for this. The giant is mighty angry. However, on his teammate, hits him on the chest, yells at him. Then William jumps out of the ring onto the two opponents. For a short time, it was expected that things would turn out differently. Niche shows what he can do, we see great actions from him against Bruno and with it he manages to defeat Fuerza Recia. The dojo is raging! Nobody would have expected this victory!
The special guest this evening is the Mexican Septimo Dragon. The day before, he had held a lesson in the dojo, which students and one or the other teacher liked quite well. So now he is in the ring of EPW. His opponent is former champion Manu, who still carries a lot of anger around and definitely wants another chance at the title. Septimo Dragon is in the ring for the first time ever in Puerto Rico, a great premiere. He likes to play, seems to like pulling off this little special show for the audience, a kind you see more often with Mexican wrestlers. What he does well are the jumps. From a standing position, from the rope, onto the rope or above, from the ring to his opponent. Everyone at the Espiritu Fitness Center seems to be on their feet and excited to cheer on one of the wrestlers. It’s loud in the background, babble of voices, you already know that you’re seeing something special and high flyers are very popular anyway. Manu doesn’t seem to have much to oppose. But that soon changes. Then Septimo Dragon lies a little battered on the ring floor and has to take punches and kicks, which mainly go against the chest. Manu makes it clear: This is Puerto Rico, a different wind is blowing here. A small look into the audience: Next to the ring stands Chris Mendoza, who looks at the match with interest and sometimes fascination, because there is someone who was quite an inspiration for him. It’s nice when you see such an appreciation and can read afterwards, in the end there are just for every wrestler, for every coach, no matter how long he has been doing it, but these idols and also small fanatic moments. Septimo Dragon is long back on his feet and shows Manu that he can spit big words, but now has to take a lot again, a jump on his back, German Suplex and much more. But then Manu gains the upper hand again. The two could probably go on like this for a very long time if Septimo Dragon didn’t have to give up. A bit of a pity, but for the story it has to be like that. “Manu, Manu” echoes through the dojo and he yells into the camera that he will have this belt again one day.
Main event, defending champion and student Android 787 against challenger and teacher Mike Mendoza. As already mentioned, it’s not just about the title, but also about the hair – and somehow you don’t want anyone to lose their hair, know in advance who will be the loser and still look forward to this encounter. First minus: We don’t see the entry of Mendoza, but jump him off the top rope and don’t understand why and what has happened so far. But the match starts with it, as you can hear on the bell. Mendoza is powerful and fiercely determined, very different from the last meeting in January. Shortly afterwards we see a GTS from him, but Androide fends it off. Finally we see a nice, powerful match from El Escorpion, finally he tries a bit harder. Now he has to plug in. Androide doesn’t want to lose his hair, but especially not his title. Something happens, here hangs the recording, Mendoza runs towards the opponent standing at the edge of the ring, intercepts a kick and kicks him in the face. He lets himself be celebrated standing in the middle of the audience. Androide lies first hit on the ground. The commentator thinks that Mendoza is the most brutal wrestler in this ring, I would strongly disagree with that, but that’s not the point. When Mendoza is not in the ring, but between stools, then you know that it will be a bit more brutal, yes, and that his opponents usually have very little to laugh about. Since the audience is not quite on his side, there is the middle finger of the master. It is supposed to go against Victor, but then Androide is back and in turn smashes Mendoza against pillar Victor. That, in turn, pleases the viewers. It’s about the hair again, Androide has a safe target. It should not be his hair that will fall this evening. But even Mendoza does not give in and now seems angry. Back in the ring, let’s see if you can beat your teacher. Head lock, very popular with Mendoza, so he has already been able to harm many opponents and defeat him. While Androide tries to reach the ring rope with his foot, his opponent does not allow this. The forces dwindle, the masked and beasted referee waits for the abandonment or the termination of the match. But you can’t get a dragon small so quickly and Androide makes it to its feet. Pulled back by the hair, Mendoza holds the student. This doesn’t look so good for Androide so far. This hair theme is in the room and is quite well integrated into the match. Body slam against Androide, a kick, punches, so far it looks like the champion will lose titles and hair. Mendoza flexes his muscles. It’s still different from last time, it’s still much more about wrestling than the show, and Mendoza still shows that he’s a good wrestler after all. For teachers against students top, not to say gigantic, what we get to see here. We wished for and missed something like that. Androide makes a rather interesting move that not only gets Mendoza off the ring rope, but also gives him a chin hook. Both remain lying down. Then it goes on powerfully and quickly with closelines, Androide fights back now, his teacher is battered. But both do not want to admit defeat yet, rap themselves up. It is, in my eyes, something like a master exam, which we see here, whether Androide passes it, is not yet certain. But the fans are on his side, of course. Again and again there are pin attempts, again and again Mendoza exits. Then you chant his name as he gasps for air and thinks about how he can master his student. It continues on the hard floor of the studio. Back in the ring, another pin attempt. But both are battered, visibly. Androide climbs on the top rope, Mendoza jumps up, has to admit defeat, but then climbs on the top rope for a double stomp against Androide. That could have been it. At the last moment, Androide kicks out. Wow! This is a great quality match! The pin attempt fails and Androide grabs his teacher’s arm to weaken his already damaged shoulder to such an extent that the master either has nothing left to oppose or gives up. But no, this is not the end, Mendoza frees himself. As so often, Mendoza wants to strike with the title belt, is held by the referee, then just a GTS, which succeeds this time, Androide defenseless on the ground, pin attempt, that must have been it! But the referee is not yet over the matter with the title belt, punishment must be, he waits with the counting, then counts slowly and thus gives Androide the chance to free himself. Mendoza can’t believe it! He goes after the referee, the audience screams, he asks if he should do something against him, which would automatically mean disqualification. Both wrestle with each other, giving Androide time to recover. The referee can push Mendoza away, who falls over Androide, who in turn senses his chance and uses it, Mendoza pins, but kicks out at two. How will this evening end? Who will lose their hair? Instead of pounce on the opponent, Mendoza argues with the audience, leave it! But then Androide starts on the shoulder again, Mendoza can no longer defend herself, lets herself be pinned. A terrific match! Too bad about the hair, but a really great match! The student has defeated the teacher again. The fact that he loses his hair is an old pain for Mendoza, which he has to endure now, years later, again. He is hoisted onto a chair and demands a microphone. He says that he accepts defeat, but that he lost to someone who is great in this ring. It was an accolade for his student. “Today I lose my hair, but I don’t lose my respect for you. Thank you!” What these words mean for Androide787 can only be guessed. How honest they are about Mendoza is beyond question. This is his disciple and he has guided him. The apprenticeship years are over. The crowd shouts, “Thank you, Mike,” then the hair falls. And that’s not as easy for the great El Escorpion as you might think. There is much more to this action than just a new hairstyle – and in the end, Mike Mendoza is the GOAT who lives and breathes wrestling and has dedicated himself to this sport with all his soul, and for whom a defeat will always remain a pain. Gracias, Androide y Mike!
“Espiritu exists because of the dedication of Mike Mendoza, because he is creating a new generation of Pro Wrestling.”