#AndNEW: Year of the Warhorse

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Photo: BLP

Just hours from the redemption of Erick Stevens, the former Ring of Honor star from the initial 2000s boom who returned this year after a 10-year hiatus to step back in the game better than ever, one of the Midwest’s most promising prospects of the past few years finally made his statement loud and clear. Warhorse – the St. Louis grappler who was formerly more known as Jake Parnell – crushed Erick Stevens’ comeback story by becoming the new Independent Wrestling Champion, by defeating new champ Erick Stevens in the finals of the TURBO GRAPS 16 tournament. In one night, Warhorse made history. The inaugural winner of the Black Label Pro TURBO GRAPS 16 tournament, and the new Independent Wrestling Champion.

Almost seven years into his pro wrestling career, Warhorse has become a cult favorite on the East Coast of the US indies. He started out around his home territory with Beyond tapings in St. Louis, plus sneaking into the Illinois scene with Dynamo Pro and GALLI LUCHA. By 2014, he had begun to create a buzz in scenes around the area – he was a regular with Beyond Wrestling, IWA Mid South, St. Louis Anarchy, Full Impact Pro, and dozens others. A large part of that was his involvement with an indie stable called Viking War Party.

Featuring “The American Viking” Alex Herzog, Frank Wyatt, and the youthful Jake Parnell, the Viking War Party became a rising stable in the US indies in Beyond, IWA Mid South, and more. But before they became a dominant stable in the US indie boom, something happened. Jake Parnell went from being “Warhorse” in quotes to Warhorse by name.

He became a rising gladiator in the Midwest, feuding with the likes of, and having one of the most underappreciated feuds of the past five years on the US indies against Gary Jay (which continues to this day) in IWA Mid South, EVOLVE Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW),  St. Louis Anarchy, Glory Pro, and even more. This feud, arguably more than anything else he’s done in his singles career, turned Jake Parnell into a Warhorse more than his own mere declarations years prior.

Warhorse wears facepaint and finds himself distanced from the group helped break him out. He’s now found himself an outsider who battles anyone, a little bit darker, a little more make-up, and a little more decorated. In many ways, Warhorse has become the Sting of the Midwest – the colorful “Littlest Viking” is no longer running with the four Norsemen and he’s spent enough time in rafters to know that one name is all you need to strike fear and get results.

And in the final match of the Black Label Pro TURBO GRAPS 16 tournament, against newly crowned Independent Wrestling Champion Erick Stevens, Warhorse finally declared his intentions to all the promotions he worked for – most of whom are part of the IndependentWrestling.tv family. There’s a new champ in town. And it ain’t Jake Parnell. This is now the year of the Warhorse.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. The entire tournament can be seen on replay at IndieWrestling.tv.

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