HomeWrestlingStand Alone Wrestling presents “Contest of Champions”

Stand Alone Wrestling presents “Contest of Champions”

Do you remember when Jerry “The King Lawler” defeated Rik Ratchet, Tommy Dreamer won a championship and Sting appeared in the ring at an independent show all in the same night?

No, this isn’t the ’90s or early 00s. Believe it or not, those of events transpired on December 3, 2022 when Stand Alone Wrestling and the 200 Club of Ocean Country presented v in front of a capacity crowd in Toms River, NJ.  

Contest of Champions was a 16-hour three-fold over event which included a super camp for independent wrestling talent in the morning, a fan fest in the evening, and a super show featuring the last ever match of wrestling legend and Toms River’s own Nova (formerly of ECW, also known as Simon Dean in WWE) to conclude the event.   

The super camp consisted of well over 100 talents made up of independent wrestlers, commentators, and referees from all over. Some talents, including some of those who have performed on both AEW and WWE programming, drove all the way from Florida or flew in from across the country for the opportunity to be coached by some pretty big names in the biz.

NWA’s Kevin Keenan coached the referees while legendary commentator and announcer Kevin Kelly (New Japan Pro Wrestling) dropped a wealth of knowledge on a group of up and coming announcers. He even guided them in calling several matches during the camp. Zak Warner of GPW Productions, who was filming the super camp session stated, “I could listen to him talk about the business all day. Even from a production standpoint, which wasn’t the area of his seminar, a lot of what he said could be applied to it.”   

Veteran and longtime Stand Alone Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Shawn Donavan critiqued promo skills of over one hundred independent wrestlers while also providing valuable advice. Donavan stated, “The biggest thing performers can do to help their promo game is to express natural emotion, intensity, intent and think outside the box to get their character over with the audience.” The carousel of wrestling personas ranged from an ice cream man wrestler to a call center telemarketer gimmick.  

Inside the squared circle, former WWE Superstar “Alternative” Anthony Greene led the mass of wrestlers through a series of drills and wrestling sequences, while also providing helpful tips. Surrounding the ring at all times were representatives from multiple national and independent promotions including: AEW, NWA, ISPW, Garden State Pro Wrestling, MCW, Pro Wrestling Magic, Fun House Wrestling, ROH Dojo, and many more.

AEW Vice President of Talent Development and Coach, Pat Buck even took the time to address everyone at the end of the super camp, stating, ”Your goal should be what’s the next step? What’s the next level? How do I better myself? You need to be wrestling or doing something in the ring four times a week. If you’re home on Friday and Saturday night, you’re wasting your time. Find a show. Find something to do. Do something wrestling related.” 

Shortly after the super camp, fans began to fill the RWJ Barnabas Health Arena for the fanfest portion of the day. Talents signing included: Sting, Sergeant Slaughter, Jerry Lawler, JTG, Frankie Kazarian, Prince Nana, Tommy Dreamer, Nunzio, “Pitbull” Gary Wolf, “The Queen of Extreme” Francine, Angel Orsini, Notorious Mimi (fka Sloane Jacobs in NXT), Vicious Vicki, Christina Marie, and former New York Yankee and Met and Toms River hometown boy Todd Frazier. The fanfest also featured three pre-show matches with competitors including the likes of Shockwave The Robot, Vinny Cenzo, Leo Sparrow and one half of the NWA United States Tag Team Champions Wrecking Ball Legursky with Jared Silberkleidt, just to name a few.

“Contest of Champions” then officially kicked off with a rare independent show appearance by The Icon, Sting, who was presented an award by The 200 Club of Ocean County for “Appreciation For Many Years of Superior Achievement in Unmatched Dedication.”  The crowd chanted for a speech from the Icon who said,  “I want to thank you because you remember me. That’s pretty cool. The 200 Club is all about that. ‘Remember me’. From the EMTs, to the police department, to the fire department. These guys are going all out for these families that have lost loved ones. They remembered, just like you remembered. And I think that’s a great thing.” 

Shortly thereafter, the night kicked off with a series of epic matches and surprises:

  • The Wolves (Eddie Edwards/Davey Richards) defeated The Nu Graysons
  • Tommy Dreamer defeated Warhorse to become the inaugural Retromania Champion
  • Miranda Alize retained her Stand Alone Women’s Championship against Super Camp standout Christina Marie
  • Dino Sanna is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Promoters Award for over years of promoting professional wrestling
  • Jerry Lawler defeated Rik Ratchet (w/ Prince Nana) with help from hometown hero, Todd Frazier and his bat,
  • PWInsider’s Mike Johnson is presented with the Blackjack Brown Lifetime Achievement Award by Donnie Bucci
  • The Rep successfully defended their Stand Alone Tag Team Championships against The SAT
  • “Alternative” Anthony Greene defeated LSG, Danny Maff, Anthony Bennett, Alec Price, and Myles Hawkins to become the inaugural Skywalker Champion in a Sinister Six Elimination Match
  • Nick Aldis defeated Shawn Donovan to become the new Stand Alone Wrestling Heavyweight Champion
  • Nova, Aron Stevens (fka Damien Sandow), & Frankie Kazarian defeat Matt Cardona, Bryan Meyers & Pat Buck in Nova’s farewell match

After the emotional main event, the crowd celebrated on their feet as a tribute video to Nova and his family played on the screens throughout RWJ Barnabas Health Arena to the tune of Paramore’s acoustic cover of “My Hero.”  Nova left the ring to a standing ovation with his boots left in the center of the squared circle in the middle of a ring in Toms River, NJ the same town where it all started for him. 

Stand Alone Wrestling presents Contest of Champions is available now on IWTV.

*All Photos Courtesy of Mike Gooch Productions

Rob Crowther IV
Rob Crowther IVhttp://bobculture.podbean.com
Rob "Bobman" Crowther IV is host of The Bob Culture Podcast and drummer for local Jersey rockers, Vextion. This drummer with a mic can often be found on the site reviewing wrestling, superhero shows, and movies. Rob loves to put the spotlight on up and coming local bands and indy wrestling talents. @bobculturepod

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