I went to see Steven Walters in the flesh, felt virtuous about it because the proceeds were going to a good cause (helping NC wrestler Chuck Coates with medical expenses following a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma), and drove away totally enamored of tall, tan, bearded, and tattooed Gunner. All in all, the Chinlock for Chuck benefit last night in Durham was not only as star-studded as expected (with stars from ROH, TNA, and several local promotions--still, the big draw for NC fans was the Hardy Brothers) but also one of the best shows (perhaps even THE best show) I have seen in my year and a month of attending pro wrestling shows live. The standouts for me were Trevor Lee versus the Chiva Kid; Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander versus Steven Walters and John Skyler (video of this contest here); and a main-event eight-man four-way tag contest featuring Lodi and Gunner, "Hurricane" Shane Helms and Cowboy James Storm, Steve Corino and CW Anderson, and Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy.
Having no press pass or official capacity (aside from being the preeminent gay wrestling blogger of Durham County, NC), I was limited as a photographer to what my seating would allow. (Besides the fact that I am fairly limited as a sports photographer anyway.) I got some good shots of entrances and any action close to the ropes closest to me. These are by no means all the shots I took, but these seem the most relevant to this blog (I am publishing more of them on my Facebook page). I largely concentrated on the important stuff--i.e. Steven Walters' "important stuff." I was hoping to meet-and-greet Walters, but apparently he vanished right after the show was over. I missed an opportunity to get Gunner's autograph--catching sight of him selling his wares only seconds before the merch tables closed at the end of intermission. I did get Caprice and Cedric to sign an 8x10 for me, Cedric asking me how to spell "Joe" and then looking all sheepish about being a bad speller.
At the end, it was announced that the show had earned some $14,000, 100% of the proceeds going to Chuck's medical bills. And I got to see the bumptious, sumptuous curves of Walters and Gunner with my own four eyes.
|Evil Steven Walters and John Skyler taunt the booing fans|
|John and Steven await their opponents, Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman|
|Steven gives us fans what-for for disrespecting him|
|John and Steven double-team on Caprice|
|Cedric soaking in the fans' devotion|
|Local (NC) heel extraordinaire Ric Converse|
|Brad Attitude enters for a four-way championship match|
|The four-way awaits the sound of the bell|
|Jeff Hardy's dadaist entrance|
|Jeff with a 10-count corner mount on CW Anderson|
|Gunner berating us booing fans|
|Gunner giving Jeff a pounding|
|Jeff, being adored, as he strips off articles of clothing and tosses them to screaming (mostly male) fans|