Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thank You Jay Spade

Jay Spade vs Joey O'Riley
Jay's last match
Photo by Zania Harris
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Saturday, August 18th marked the end of a era of sorts for All American Pro Wrestling.  After what I considered to be his best match in the company Jay Spade announced that he's stepping away from the ring.  It was a move that surprised and saddened a lot of fans (myself included)

The men and women who wrestle, manage, referee, announce, produce, promote, book, and even own on the indy circuit have day jobs.  In Jay's case it's a night job.  He works overnight on the weekends and is soon having a change in schedule.  Instead of his usual 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. shift on Saturday nights, he'll be working 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  That of course happens to fall during the AAPW taping schedule, hence making it impossible for him to be a part of the show.  In addition to being a hard worker inside and outside the ring, Jay is also a father.  He's making this move to spend more time with his family, which is something I commend.  I'm sad to see him go, but the reasons behind his "retirement" are commendable.

Jay Spade goes airborne
AAPW Main Event (January 2012)
Photo by Wilkey Photography
I decide to share a few of my favorite Jay Spade moments in this post.  His match on the 18th was the semifinals of the No Limits Tournament.  He took on his tag team partner and best friend Joey O'Riley. The two are a couple of the best high flyers I've had the pleasure of doing play-by-play on.  Their match was action packed, with both great mat wrestling mixed with high risk moves.

This second season we finally got to see Jay wrestle guys more his style.  In season one he was facing bigger, stronger guys like Mike Masters and Bull Bronson.  At Main Event in January he was the odd man out in a five man melee featuring Bull Bronson (345 lbs), Farmer Billy Hills (295 lbs), Playboy Paul Rose (who claims to be a lean, mean 218, but I say 318), and Justice (295 lbs).  Jay again used his aerial assault against the much bigger men during the match, which saw Bronson pin Playboy.

Jay Spade takes flight on Eric Wayne
AAPW Collision
Photo by Adam Testa
Another particularly fond memory I have Jay came at the first Collision taping at the Black Diamond Harley Davidson Warehouse in Marion.  As you can see in the picture, Jay took the match against "3G" Eric Wayne to new heights.  Jay hit Wayne with a beautiful high cross body dive high from the balcony at the arena.  It's a move that has yet to be replicated.  Big props to him for putting his body on the line in such a way for the enjoyment of the fans.

Jay also came to my aid twice during my feud with Mike Masters.  As a play-by-play guy I've never been in the ring other than to announce or referee.  Masters had been bullying me throughout season one, and Jay had finally had enough.  He came out and told Masters to back off and take on a real wrestler.  Masters and I made the deal that if he beat Spade, I'd have to wrestle him at Main Event.  Masters used the ropes to pin my hero, setting up the match.

Jay Spade saves my butt
AAPW Main Event
Photo by Wilkey Photography
But it should come as no surprise that Jay had my back.  He, Edmund "Livewire" McGuire, and Heath Hatton all spent time helping me prepare for my debut.  Jay even took it a step further.  As Masters had beaten me up and was taunting me with a chair, Jay slipped into the ring and nailed Masters right on top of the head with it.  Of course for my convenience, the ref's back was to us.  I quickly covered the unconscious Masters and won my first (and only) match.  I remember celebrating in the ring briefly with Jay and executive producer Chris Hagstrom.  More than six months later, people still asking me about the match and I'm always quick to credit Jay with the assist.

Jay, we'll miss you.  I know the fans will too as I saw tears flowing after the announcement.  We had some good times over the last year or so in AAPW.  I know you'll be back again at some point, but it's not going to be the same without, especially in the new No Limits Division.  Thanks again for all you've done for me and the great fans of AAPW.

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