SANTA SLAM V is the final Okanagan show of the year; and along with the annual “Christmas Chaos” match (this year involving Michael More and Marty Sugar), it once again features the Okanagan Cup tournament. Of the eight men involved this year, two are former winners, two are former finalists, and four are making their Cup debuts. Here we rank them, in order of odds to win it all…
1. COLLIN CUTLER
“The Cougar Meat Kid” was recently named “The Best Of The Quinquennium” in honor of Big West’s five-year anniversary, as statistically the greatest wrestler in company history. In 2014 he won the Okanagan Cup (albeit with interference from Kyle Sebastian), and followed that up with the second-longest Television Title reign of all-time. Cutler is no stranger to tournaments, having made it to the finals of the Armstrong MetalFest tournament this year, and he is one of the most-experienced men the Okanagan Cup, as this will be his fourth. If Cutler can survive his quarterfinal opponent, there’s a good chance he can go all the way…
2. MIKE SHREDDZ
…but for Cutler, that Quarterfinal match is a doozy: the one and only SHREDDZ! Shreddz and Cutler met in the aforementioned 2014 Cup Finals that ended with a controversial win for Cutler. This year, there’s a 99.9% chance that Kyle Sebastian will NOT be in attendance, so Shreddz has one less thing to worry about; but if he is looking ahead to a potential finals battle with his nemesis, Shotgun Stevens, Shreddz might take himself out of the game and not even get out of the quarterfinals. It’s safe to say that whomever survives the Cutler/Shreddz showdown, is definitely an odds-on favorite to win it all.
3. DON HELLION
The Don has always been a secondary player in Big West wrestling, but in 2016 he started to come into his own. He’s garnered a few victories and his “Relax & Romance” partnership with Michael McCaw shows promise. Hellion also has recent tournament experience, as he took part in a bloody Super Evil quarterfinal battle with Michael More. While not victorious there, Hellion is primed and ready to make a run in the Okanagan: this tournament could be the catalyst towards a huge 2017.
4. BLACK DRAGON
The original Okanagan Cup winner, back in 2011, Dragon is the most-experienced guy in any Okanagan locker room…and he’s been on fire this year. Not only did he win the Armstrong MetalFest tournament this summer, but he had a run with the Thrash Tag Team Titles and made it to the semifinals of Super Evil XV. Plus, he’s had the number of his quarterfinal opponent, Shotgun Stevens, this year: 6-2 against his larger foe, including first-round wins in both of the tournaments we mentioned.
5. JACK NELSON
“Black” Jack has had a solid rookie year in the Okanagan, especially as part of “The Constellation” team with Xavier Galaxy. When it comes to singles matches, the tough-as-nails Brit has yet to record a win in the Okanagan…but he’s been inching closer every match. Is the Okanagan Cup his time to finally break out? We shall see.
6. SHOTGUN STEVENS
If this tournament was held in September like it was in 2015, Shotgun would’ve been the odds-on favorite to win it all. But he’s been on a cold streak: two singles losses to Black Dragon, and dropping the Big West Television Title to “Dastardly” Danni Deeds will make a guy question himself. As mentioned earlier, he’s really struggled against Dragon (his quarterfinal opponent), and will he be distracted by Mike Shreddz being not only in the building…but in the tournament? Don’t count Shotgun out, though: we’re sure the powerful youngster won’t run cold for much longer.
The masked rookie has shown promise in his last two Okanagan matches, and is looking to finish 2016 strong. Wildkard hasn’t had a ton of opportunities to shine in the Okanagan, but this tournament would be a perfect way to get noticed as the year comes to a close.
Now this dead-last ranking for the diminutive T-Shock isn’t meant as an insult: the young masked man has shown a lot of heart and determination this year, against bigger and more experienced foes like Cutler and Shotgun. But T-Shock has yet to record a win in the Okanagan, and SOMEBODY has to finish last on our list, right? Maybe this lights a fire under T-Shock, and gives him the impetus he needs to explode on the Okanagan scene…