2017-11-09 / Other News

Outlaws Body Slam Brooklyn

By Jason Linetsky


Mike “Man of Steel” Verna (right) stares down ECW/WWE legend Tommy Dreamer. Mike “Man of Steel” Verna (right) stares down ECW/WWE legend Tommy Dreamer. The excitement inside St. Bernard Catholic Academy, 2030 East 69th Street, was electrifying Saturday night for the premiere of Outlaw Wrestling. Over a hundred fans filled the gym, chanting for their favorite stars and heckled the rest. In the middle of it all were two hometown heroes: Mike Taverna and Anna Treppiedi.

When the Canarsie Courier interviewed Taverna, aka the “Man of Steel: Mike Verna,” in May (see “Brooklyn’s Own Man of Steel: Mike Verna,” Canarsie Courier, May 4, 2017), he was coaching baseball for Madison High School, going to school part-time and pursuing his dreams of becoming a pro-wrestler.

On Saturday, in front of his family, friends and many fans, Taverna entered the ring with a chance very few up-and-comers get early in their careers: a match against a legend and icon of the industry.


Anna Theresa and former WWE star Nunzio the Little Guido. Anna Theresa and former WWE star Nunzio the Little Guido. Tommy Laughlin, better known as Tommy Dreamer, wrestled in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and grew to stardom with his hardcore style of using props such as barbed wire wrapped baseball bats, garbage cans and chairs to punish his opponents.

Dreamer and Verna brought the crowd to their feet and the cheers were deafening as the two traded punches, hip tosses and two-counts for much of the start of the match. Then, the Tommy Dreamer style of the ‘90s and ‘00s came out. Dreamer threw in a folded chair and was able to send Verna barreling into it. Verna answered by reversing Dreamers attempt to hit him with a ladder as Dreamer’s back hit squarely against the side of it. The crowd chanted for the one missing piece of a staple of hardcore wrestling: a table.


Verna and Dreamer celebrating a great match against each other. Verna and Dreamer celebrating a great match against each other. Verna’s fans moved around the wrestler entrance as he tossed plates and cups off the ring bell table, handed the bell off to a production staff member then tossed the table into the ring. It appeared he would have the match in hand until Dreamer, suddenly realizing the table was positioned in the ring, quickly reversed Verna’s hold, lifted Verna above his head and sent him through the center of the table for the win.

In true hometown hero style, Dreamer, who celebrated his 28th career anniversary and hails from Bergen Beach, spoke to the crowd and to Verna.

“I got my start right here,” said Dreamer. “Right here in Brooklyn. My parents were here, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and my friends were here to support me. I had a bit more hair and was 20 pounds lighter. Well, I pretty much looked like Mike. I was a little guido.”


Hometown heroes Verna and Anna Theresa with former WWE NXT star Bull James. Hometown heroes Verna and Anna Theresa with former WWE NXT star Bull James. Dreamer helped Verna to his feet and continued, “You didn’t lose today Mike. You won something bigger. You won my respect.”

The two hugged, raised their arms together and Verna exited the ring for the backstage staircase with the crowd still chanting his name.

Treppiedi, aka “Anna Theresa,” another Bergen Beach favorite (see “A True Renaissance Woman,” Canarsie Courier, October 5, 2017), teamed with former WWE superstar James Maritato, aka “Nunzio the Little Guido,” for a mixed tag team match against “Dastardly” Danny Doring and Maria Manic. The match was even for much of the time with all four wrestlers trading blows, flips and acrobatic moves. However, Little Guido threw in a surprise by pulling Manic’s face across the ropes for a kiss. The distraction worked, opening up a chance for Guido and Theresa to go after both Doring and Manic without the referee being able to stop them. They sent blow after blow to their opponents then slammed them to the mat for the three-count and win.


Verna fans calling for a table to be used in his match. Verna fans calling for a table to be used in his match. Following the match, Guido and Theresa moved around the outside of the ring, thanking their fans and giving high fives to everyone along the path to the backstage area.

Beside Verna’s and Theresa’s matches, the crowd was a mix of heckling and cheers for the main event: former WWE superstars Adam Rose and Joey Mercury versus WWE’s Billy Gunn and WWE NXT star Bull James. Mercury, using a mix of his own famous moves and some of Gunn’s D-Generation X lines, brought Gunn to his boiling point and the two began trading blows.

However, Gunn eventually wound up on the outside of the ropes following a tag-in of James. The decisions didn’t bode well for James, who was quickly trapped in his opponent’s corner with Rose and Mercury pummeling him. Gunn was unable to help with the referee blocking him from entering the ring .

With the crowd cheering him on, Bull was able to recover and powered himself away from the cover to tag in Gunn. Gunn furiously fought Rose until Mercury interfered and Bull entered the ring to help his partner from the two-on-one assault. Gunn, seeing an opening in Mercury’s defenses, speared him to the mat for the win.

The fans roared as the show came to an end and chanted for another event in the future.

For more information on Outlaw Wrestling, go to http://www.wrestlingoutlaws.net/.

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