Monday, December 30, 2013

Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2013 Review

Dragon Gate USA Needs A Hero!

Dragon Gate USA Freedom Fight 2013
Brooklyn, New York 11/17/13

1.) Jon Davis vs. Steven Walters: **1/2

Haven't heard much about Steven Walters. The match itself was actually pretty decent. Not the most electrifying opener, but it was fine for what it was. I have no idea what they're doing with Davis at the moment.

2.) "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti vs. Jervis Cottonbelly: **

Seeing Jervis Cottonbelly in Dragon Gate USA seems.....out of place? Anyway, the match itself was just ok. More of a showcase for Mr. Touchdown.

3.) Chuck Taylor vs. Jimmy Susumu: **3/4

This did feature a bit of comedy as they mess around with Susumu's hoodie. It was actually quite entertaining. The match itself was solid. A perfect undercard match.

4.) Non-Title Three Way Elimination Match - The Bravado Brothers vs. Andrew Everett & Caleb Konley vs. The Electric Cherry Starship Project (Fire Ant & Jigsaw): ***1/2

The match is non-title because The Bravados dethroned The Young Bucks the night before in Queens, NY to become the new Open The United Gate Tag Team Champions. I actually dug this match a lot. I really like all six guys so it was really easy for me to get into it. Everett & Konley went out first courtesy of Jigsaw & Fire Ant, but The Bravados would eliminate them to win the match.

After the match, Jigsaw superkicks Fire Ant and says he was nothing but dead weight. I found this kind of weird since Jigsaw appeared in this very same venue in Brooklyn two months earlier at Evolve 24 as a heel, teaming with his Pieces of Hate partner The Shard, then wrestles here as a face, with Fire Ant (a very established babyface), and then turns heel on him after their match. Continuity much?

5.) Ricochet vs. Anthony Nese (with Su Yung & Mr. A): ***1/2

This match came about after Nese & Company laid out Ricochet at the end of Evolve 24. I recall it being slow to start, but eventually picking up steam and getting better as it went on. Of course the numbers on the outside with Su Yung & Mr. A caught up with Ricochet, and Anthony Nese gets the win.

6.) Rich Swann vs. Trent Baretta: ****

These two had a very goof match in FIP apparently, resulting in this rematch. I gotta say, this match rocked!! I don't know what it is exactly, but Swann & Baretta have really good chemistry and they seemed to mesh very well with each other. Great action in this one as Swann gets the big victory.

7.) Masaaki Mochizuki & Evolve Champion AR Fox vs. The Young Bucks: ***1/2

Fox & The Young Bucks have faced each other numerous times in 2013, in tag matches (with many different partners for Fox), Evolve Title Matches, Ladder FRAYS!, even the first ever Gate To Heaven Match. This time around, Fox has Masaaki Mochizuki as his parter. A pretty good match here. The action was very solid, as only would expect from these four, but for some reason, I thought it would be a little bit better. Still, this match was very good.

Before the main event, we get "The Roast of Johnny Gargano", hosted by Johnny Gargano. It's basically Gargano's attempt to get people to praise him, but everyone from the fans, to Ricochet (who adds that he still has a title shot in his pocket) to his former Ronin Stablemates Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann. This horrible segment FINALLY leads to Chris Hero coming through the crowd to a standing ovation for the Main Event.

8.) Open The Freedom Gate Title - Johnny Gargano vs. Chris Hero: ****1/4

Hero's just coming off being released by WWE and is now in the main event of Dragon Gate USA's last show of 2013. This was an awesome main event! It started really hot with Hero hitting a few big moves early. It then slowed down a bit, but picked right back up for the rest of the match. One thing I loved about this was that you really didn't know who was going to win. Their were several moments where Hero could have easily won the match. They even had this moment where Gargano hit Hero with the Pedigree, and Hero kicked out at one (Obviously a shot at Triple H). Eventually, Gargano was able to somehow pull out the win and continue with his title reign, which has now eclipsed two years.

After the match, Hero thanks the fans, and puts over Dragon Gate USA and Independent Wrestling in general (specifically the young talent). He's back, alright. AR Fox then comes out and says he can have an Evolve Title Shot whenever he wants it. Hero finally concludes by thanking the fans once again to end the show.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was, on the whole, a pretty good show and a nice way to cap off 2013 for Dragon Gate USA. Much like Evolve 24, the undercard was kind of average, but one it hit a certain point (in this case, the three-way tag), it really picked up. You had three very solid matches and two really great matches, one of which features the return of Chris Hero. I think that this show is well worth the price ticket, and ended the year on a high note as Dragon Gate USA & Evolve look to 2014.

ROH Death Before Dishonor XI Review

A New Champion Is Crowned!!

ROH Death Before Dishonor XI
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 9/20/13

Before we get the opening match, former World Champion Jay Briscoe comes out. He's hit rock bottom since being stripped of the World Title. Jay is upset about being stripped, but says that if whoever wins the title does it honorably, he'll hand the title over. He also says that once he's cleared, he's coming back for his World Title.

1.) Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young: ***

I was actually really looking forward to this match going into it. It was pretty fine match. Nothing flashy, but a solid opener to the show. Lethal gets the win.

2.) ROH World Title Tournament - Semi-Finals - Adam Cole vs. "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa: ****1/2

This was absolutely CRAZY!!! They started off fast and never let off the gas. I loved this match. They did so much awesome stuff, and it was only the second match of the night. Cole has to knock out Ciampa while having him in the figure four to win the match and move on to the finals. Definitely one of the best ROH matches of 2013 for sure.

3.) ROH World Title Tournament - Semi-Finals - Kevin Steen vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ***3/4

Obviously there was no way they could top their World Title Match from Glory By Honor XI, but if we're going to compare, one thing I noticed is that this match seemed to go at a much slower pace. Plus I think the crowd might have been burnt out a little bit from the Ciampa/Cole match. I loved the storytelling and the selling here, specifically how Steen couldn't hit the Package Piledriver because Elgin had been working on his arm most of the match, resulting in Steen having to resort to multiple sleeper suplexes. This damage to Elgin's neck would come into play later. Don't let the fact that the match was a bit slower ruin it for you. It was still a really good match. Elgin advances to the finals.

4.) IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles - Forever Hooligans vs. American Wolves: ***3/4

This is the third time in several months that these two teams have faced each other in ROH, but this time, the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles were on the line. It wasn't their best match, but I'd put it on-par with their first match at the 11th Anniversary Show. I've seen people say they've gotten tired of seeing these Wolves/Hooligans matches, and I can understand that to an extent. Personally, I enjoyed it. Romero & Kozlov finally get that elusive win over the Wolves and retain their titles.

The second half kicks off with a promo from RD Evans & Veda Scott, basically complaining about all the injustices that have been occurred against them, specially RD Evans getting his fingers broken by Outlaw Inc. This brings out Adam Page, who challenges Evans to a match since both are in their gear, and we get just that.

5.) RD Evans (with Veda Scott) vs. Adam Page: DUD

Really short. More of a segment than a match that I'm not sure needed to be on here.
More of a segment than a match. I think this would have come off better on the TV Show.

6.) Ricky Marvin vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/4

I've heard about Ricky Marvin for awhile, but this is the first time I've seen him wrestle. The first thing I thought was "Ricky Marvin looks out of shape" but boy did he prove me wrong. He was so agile & fluid in the ring, it was nuts. Nothing really outstanding, but a solid match, as one would expect given that Roderick Strong was involved.

Up next we had a segment with BJ Whitmer and Nigel McGuinness, where BJ Whitmer thanks everyone before announcing his retirement due to the injury he suffered at All-Star Extravaganza V in Toronto. He then asks Jimmy Jacobs to come out and thanks him for bringing out the best in him. His last request to Nigel McGuinness is that Jimmy Jacobs a second chance, which after giving it some thought, Nigel agrees to. Whitmer is then greeted by some of his fellow roster members as he exits.

7.) ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon, ROH World TV Champion Matt Taven & Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis, Truth Martini, Scarlett Bordeaux, Seleziya Sparx & Kasey Rae) vs. C & C Wrestle Factory and Adrenaline Rush: **3/4

Ok, first of all....Maria Kanellis & Three Hoopla Hotties?!?!?! Oh my god. Kind of a crazy match. Their was nothing wrong with it, but it was kind of a mess, mainly because Maria & Bobby Fish kept popping in and out on commentary, which was really distracting. Still, the match had it's moments and was solid.

After the match, Outlaw Inc. came out and made it very clear that they're coming for reDRagon and the World Tag Team Titles.

8.) ROH World Title Tournament - Finals - Adam Cole vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****1/4

A really great way to conclude the tournament. Cole & Elgin have always have great matches with each other. Nice job by Elgin on selling his neck injuries from his earlier match with Kevin Steen. It was cool to see Cole finally use the Panama Sunrise (Canadian Destroyer) in ROH. A great match on the whole with a lot of awesome moments, though I feel that the Cole/Ciampa match was just slightly better.

After the match, Adam Cole celebrates until Jay Briscoe comes out with the World Title Belt. It looks he might not give it up, but eventually presents the title to Cole, who says thank you. As soon as Jay turns around, Cole superkicks him in the back of the head, and then hits Elgin with the title belt, thus solidifying his long awaited heel turn. The shows goes off the air with Cole celebrating as the new champion.

Overall: 9.0/10

This was an awesome show! I'd put it right on par with events like 11th Anniversary Show and Manhattan Mayhem V for ROH Show of the Year. The final three matches in the World Title Tournament really put this show over the top, and the undercard was relatively solid as well. We also saw an emotional segment with BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs, and a concluding segment that was definitely one of the highlights of 2013 and might be one of the most memorable endings to an ROH show of all time.

Beyond Wrestling: Americanrana Review

Beyond Wrestling comes to Rhode Island for possibly their biggest show ever!

Beyond Wrestling: Americanrana
Providence, Rhode Island 7/21/13

Beyond Wrestling is a promotion that has gotten a lot of buzz over the last year. All of this buzz culminated in a big show called Americanrana that took place in Providence, Rhode Island. It featured a lot of well known names from across the independents and was pretty well received. So I decided to pick it up and give it a shot!

1.) Four-Way Elimination Match Latin Dragon vs. David Starr vs. Shane Strickland vs. Sozio: **3/4

Technically, this is the pre-show match. Out of the four, I'm only familiar with Shane Strickland. It was a pretty solid four way, and the crowd was really into it. Sozio was out first, then Starr, then Strickland was finally eliminated by Latin Dragon. Good way to start the show.

2.) Drew Gulak vs. Chris Dickinson: ***1/2

This match officially starts the show. These two have been having a feud, I believe, and this match must see a definite winner. Really great match here. You know you were going to get a war with these two, and that's exactly what we got. Great stuff here.

3.) Team Tremendous vs. EYFBO vs. M1nute Men vs. Da Hoodz: ***1/2

Here we have four teams who are regulars in Beyond Wrestling but who I really have no knowledge. I gotta say this match got pretty wild! These four teams went out there and really rocked the house. Very entertaining four-team match.

4.) Tabarnak De Team vs. Aaron Epic & Dave Cole: **1/2

So this was originally supposed to be Tabarnak De Team vs. the KOA of Aaron Epic & Sugar Dunkerton, but Dunkerton wasn't at the show. Epic gets double teamed for a bit until Dave Cole comes out to help out and fill in. It was a fine match. Tabarnak De Team looked awesome.

5.) Colt Cabana vs. Jaka: ***

Here we have one of the first big matches of the night. It was really entertaining. Cabana and Jaka wrestled a very clever and enjoyable match. Cabana is always fun and Jaka is really coming into his own.

6.) Kevin Steen vs. CZW World Champion MASADA: ***1/4

This is a Dream Match between two of the toughest men in wrestling. It's worth mentioning that MASADA is coming into this with a bad knee. A very good match here. Exactly the kind of brutal stuff you would expect from these two. Steen ended up making MASADA tap out to the sharpshooter.

7.) Best of New England Series #1 - Open The Freedom Game Champion Johnny Gargano vs. JT Dunn: ***3/4

JT Dunn is a guy I've heard a great deal about but that I haven't really seen. He really impressed and had a great match with the Open The Freedom Gate Champion. Dunn definitely showed a lot and Gargano once again proves how good he really is.

After the match, Gargano begrudgingly slapped Dunn's hand after initially refusing a handshake.

8.) Best of New England Series #2 - Evolve Champion AR Fox vs. Anthony Stone: ***

I've seen a bit of Anthony Stone. Here he's taking on AR Fox who brings not only his Evolve Title, but the CZW Wired Title and the World Chile Championship Belt, both of which he holds. He's also wearing cargo shorts for some reason. The match itself was solid, but at the same time I feel like it under-delivered in some respects. 

9.) Best of New England Series #3 - Eddie Edwards vs. Biff Busick: ****1/4

Biff Busick has had a really impressive 2013, and he's facing his toughest challenge yet in Eddie Edwards. This was just an awesome match. These two really meshed well together and put on an outstanding main event to close the show.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was my first time watch a Beyond Wrestling Show, and I gotta say I really enjoyed it. The show has a lot of things going for it. It brings in fans who might not know much about the promotions with big names from places like Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA, CZW and others. At the same time, it features a lot of local talent from the New England region who some might be seeing for the first time. Of course, we can't forget that the match quality of this show was really good. No real bad matches on the show, and a lot of matches that were really entertaining. Also, each of the matches offers something different for everyone. On the whole, this was a really good show, and I really encourage people to check out Beyond Wrestling.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wrestling is Art: Cubism Review

Two great wrestlers clash in the Main Event before a Carny crashes the party!

Wrestling is Art: Cubism
East Greenwich, Rhode Island 11/10/13

1.) The Batiri (Kobald & Kodama) vs. Los Plantanos (Paco Plantano & Pedro Plantano): **1/4

Los Plantanos are two competitors from Kaiju Big Battel. They're a very interesting duo to say the least. The Batiri are minus Obariyon who I believe was touring Japan at the time. An ok tag team match. I haven't seen much of Kaiju Big Battel, so it's harder for me to get into their characters (and it's not for some people), but for what they were, Los Plantanos did a good job. The Batiri would get the win in this one.

2.) Tim Donst vs. Jervis Cottonbelly: **3/4

Donst appears here as a very mixed bag character wise. He starts the match much more jovial than usual, reflecting the changes seen in his recent "Ashes" video with Icarus. As the match progresses, he seems to return to his old ways, vicious going after Cottonbelly. After the match ends in controversial fashion (Donst slaps the mat trying to reach the ropes, and the referee calls it a tap out), Donst goes from shock to the jovial manner he had at the beginning. The match itself was actually solid. Nice to see Cottonbelly get the win.

3.) Frank O’Rourke vs. Antonio Thomas: ***1/2

Thomas is appearing in his more serious form which he showed off at ROH Charm City Challenge. This was actually a pretty good match. O'Rourke was great as usual but Thomas was really impressive here, with probably his best outing to date. 

4.) Chuck Taylor vs. The Estonian ThunderFrog: **3/4

This isn't the first time these two have faced each other. The match quickly spills out of the ring. They brawl all over the building, and even outside the building. Their is a scary moment when Taylor goes up to the second floor balcony of the venue and throws a large wooden push broom at ThunderFrog, catching him in the mouth. It actually knocked one of his teeth out (their was a photo of it on Twitter, I believe...) and after the match you could see blood staining his mask. He was able to continue the match though, which was very tough on his part, and even won the thing!

5.) Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Shynron: ***

So AR Fox was originally supposed to face JFDC, but didn't show for some reason. Juan Francisco calls out anyone who wants to face him, and a familiar foe in Shynron. They had a pretty solid match here. Shynron would end up getting the big win over the Ecuadorian Export. 

6.) The Colony (Green Ant & assailANT) vs. The Devastation Corporation (Max Smashmaster & Flex Rumblecrunch with Sidney Bakabella): ***1/4

Once again, The Colony and The Devastation Corporation clash in Tag Team Action. I must say, this was probably their best two-on-two encounter these groups have had. I thought it was an improvement over the main event of the first Wrestling is Art Show Pop. They worked really well together here, though on this occasion, The Colony got the win.

7.) Colt Cabana vs. CZW World Champion Drew Gulak: ***1/2

Here we have two master ring technicians going at it. Both these guys are very good wrestlers and they proved exactly why here. Very solid action here between these two. They had some very good exchanges before the match ends in a Double Pin, resulting in a draw.

It appears that both Cabana & Gulak want the match to continue, and Cabana calls out the owner. He comes out with a guy in a clown mask and a gang of followers, who are also carrying a chest of some kind. The masked clown reveals himself to be Sinn Bodhi, who proclaims that Wrestling is not Art...he is art. He reveals he now owns the promotion and orders the promotion officially shut down as his men take down the ring. 

Overall: 7.25/10

Much like Wrestling is Respect, Wrestling is Art has proven to be one of the more consistent promotions in the "Wrestling is..." Universe, and this show is proof of that. The Main Event and O'Rourke/Thomas were very good matches, the Colony & The Devastation Corporation had another chapter in their rivalry, and their were several entertaining undercard matches as well. Unfortunately, the promotion has been shut down, but on the bright side, I feel like this is just another chapter in the overall CHIKARA Story-Arch, and possibly towards the promotion's rebirth.

Wrestling is Respect: Show #4 Review

Frank O'Rourke & Fire Ant do battle in the Main Event!

Wrestling is Respect: Show #4
Boonton, New Jersey 9/29/13

1.) The Osirian Portal vs. The Colony Xtreme Force (Arctic Rescue Ant & deviANT): ***1/4

Here we see deviANT appearing as a part of Xtreme Force, like he was on the last few CHIKARA Shows. A very solid opening tag match here. Ophidian & Amasis looked really good and haven't missed a beat since their reunion.

2.) Gran Akuma vs. Assad King: *1/2

The first of a few debuts on this show. Never really heard of Assad King. He has some trouble getting in the ring, which was pretty funny. The match itself wasn't really that good, to be honest. I just don't think they meshed really well.

3.) Jaka vs. Jay Diesel: **1/4

This is the second debut on this show. Jay Diesel was a bit more impressive. A decent match here with Jaka.

4.) Green Ant vs. Chris Dickinson: ***1/2

Dickinson is a guy who has getting more and more attention on the indy scene as of late. He's pretty good, but so is Green Ant. A very good match here. Green Ant was great as usual, and Dickinson was very impressive.

5.) Veda Scott vs. Leva Bates: **1/4

Leva is cosplaying as Finn from Adventure Time. The match itself was ok. I think Veda plays a really good heel.

6.) Delirious vs. The Estonian ThunderFrog: ***1/4

Another big matchup for the ThunderFrog as he takes on a veteran. This was a solid match. They were able to mix bits of comedy and good wrestling. ThunderFrog continues to impress as he faces higher quality opponents, and he scores the win in this one.

7.) Frank O’Rourke vs. Fire Ant: ***1/2

O'Rourke has been on a roll in 2013 in all sorts of different promotions. He's faced Green Ant in the past, but this is his first time facing Fire Ant. This was a very good main event. O'Rourke was as vicious as ever and is the kind of guy who works well with guys like Fire Ant. A good amount of action and excitement in this one, and O'Rourke would end up getting the win.

After the match, O'Rourke wouldn't let go of the hold, leading to Green Ant coming out to save his partner. He talks about O'Rourke lacking respect and issues a challenge to him & Drew Gulak on the next show.

Overall: 7.0/10

This was, on the whole, a very solid show. Wrestling is Respect is one of the more consistent of the "Wrestling is..." Promotions and continue to prove that with each show. You have two very good matches in Green Ant/Dickinson & O'Rourke/Fire Ant, plus some very entertaining matches like the opening tag team match and Delirious/Estonian ThunderFrog. The undercard is hit or miss but the higher quality of other matches make up for it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

AAW Day of Defiance 2013 Review

A feud comes to a violent end while a War King and "MMA Superstar" make their debuts!!

AAW Day of Defiance 2013
Berwyn, Illinois 5/17/13

1.) Louis Lyndon & Marion Fontaine vs. Zero Gravity: ***

We open the show with tag team action. I believe this is the first time Fontaine & Lyndon are teaming together in a 2-on-2 Match. It ended being a very good opener. Nothing wrong with an exciting tag team match to get the crowd fired up.

2.) Heather Patera vs. Heidi Lovelace: **1/2

This one involved two women who were in the six-person tag back at Point of No Return 2013. It was a solid match, and both played their roles (Patera the heel, Lovelace the babyface) very well, though on this night, Patera would get the win.

Between these matches, Truth Martini hosted "Hoopla Uncut" with Special Guest Joey Eastman, a former manager who hadn't been seen in AAW for over a year, and was well known for his lengthly feud with Truth Martini. It ended up in an Arm Wrestling Contest which saw Truth cheat to win. Eastman would beat up Truth, but Martini would get the last laugh.

3.) Jimmy Jacobs vs. AAW Tag Team Champion Jake Crist: ***1/4

So apparently Irish Airborne attacked Arik Cannon at some point, and Jacobs asked for a match with the Irish Airborne as revenge. Only one of the Crist Brothers was their, so Jacobs got Jake Crist. A pretty good match here. The Irish Airborne have been very consistent in what I've seen of them in AAW, both in tag and singles action. Jake Crist would end up getting the win over Jacobs.

4.) Davey Richards vs. Mixed Martial Archie: Super Fun!

Here we had what was probably the most anticipated match of the night as Mixed Martial Archie makes his AAW Debut in an MMA Bout with Davey Richards. I really don't know how you even rate this. It was, simply put, just a lot of fun. It really needs to be seen to be believed, because it is indeed awesome.

After winning the "fight" Richards and his partner Kyle O'Reilly beat down Archie, until Michael Elgin & ACH come down to make the save, and get the next match going!

5.) Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly vs. AAW Heavyweight Champion “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin & AAW Heritage Champion ACH: ****1/4

This is a continuation of the Title Matches that took place back at Point of No Return. A really awesome match here. Richards and O'Reilly are great as heels and the ACH/Elgin pairing worked very well. Just a great match from four of the best wrestlers out there. Richards & O'Reilly would end up getting the win over the champions.

6.) Dan Lawrence, Tweek Phoenix & Keith Walker (with Kevin Harvey & Nikki Mayday) vs. Colt Cabana, Mat Fitchett & Junthai Miller: **3/4

Here we have another feud continuation, this time it's the Colt Cabana/Dan Lawrence feud with We Are Here, Mat Fitchett & Junthai Miller now getting involved. This was a fine match and a nice way to come back from the awesomeness that occurred before intermission. This time, it would be Lawrence who would get one over on Colt Cabana.

Next up, Jordan McEntyre called out someone to face him, which would end up being answered by the debuting Eddie Kingston. Bad move, Jordan...

7.) Eddie Kingston vs. Jordan McEntyre: DUD

Kingston squashes him in record time. McEntyre probably regrets making that open challenge.

After the match, Kingston cuts a rambling promo and basically calls out someone for another match. Marcus Crane answers the call...

8.) Eddie Kingston vs. Marcus Crane: DUD

Kingston squashes Crane in less than a minute.

This time, Knight Wagner comes out. He basically says he does what he wants, when he wants. He physically provokes Kingston, leading to a third match for the War King...

9.) Eddie Kingston vs. Knight Wagner: DUD

Slightly more competitive than the previous two, but the result was the same. Another quick match and quick victory for Eddie Kingston. This whole segment ended with the crowd chanting for "Sea Man" and Kingston pretending to ejaculate. This whole bit was a pretty good debut for Kingston. 3-0 on his first night.

10.) Silas Young (with Val Malone) vs. Samuray del Sol: ***1/2

Here we have an interesting ROH vs. Dragon Gate USA/Evolve Match that you will only see in AAW (since Silas isn't apart of PWG). A very good match here. Silas continues to show what makes him so good and del Sol looked very impressive. In the end, the veteran Young would get the submission win over Samuray del Sol.

After the match, Eddie Kingston came out, and calls the fans "retards" for booing Young after all he's done in AAW. Young takes offense to this, saying only he can make fun of the fans. This all leads to Kingston beating up Val Malone and putting Silas Young through a table, which would be just the beginning of their rivalry.

11.) Last Man Standing Match – Sami Callihan vs. Shane Hollister: ****1/2

While a feud between Eddie Kingston & Silas Young just got started, the Main Event sees a major feud  reach its brutal conclusion. It was definitely a vicious encounter, with all sorts of plunder getting involved as well as a number of sick spots. A number of people became involved from Hollister's Crew (Marcus Crane, Scarlett Bordeaux, Dan Lawrence) to Colt Cabana. In the end, Hollister would end up getting the win, on his own, coming out on the winning end of his feud with Callihan.

Overall: 8.5/10

While I would say that this show was not as good as Point of No Return, it was still another great show from AAW. The first half featured a fine undercard, with an entertaining MMA "Fight" and an awesome tag team match being the major highlights. The second half saw the very interesting debut of Eddie Kingston as well as a great main event between Sami Callihan and Shane Hollister. Once again, AAW puts on a show to remember, and one that's well worth your hard earned dollars.

AAW Point of No Return 2013 Review

Elgin & Richards do it again!!

This is my first ever AAW Show. For those who don't know, they're one of the biggest promotions in the Mid-West, mainly running the Chicago Area. I guess a good comparison would be PWG, as AAW also mixes a number of top talent from ROH and Dragon Gate USA/Evolve, along with local talent. I've heard a lot of good things about AAW. Let's see how this show turns out.

AAW Point of No Return 2013
Berwyn, Illinois 4/12/13

1.) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Silas Young (with Val Malone): ***1/2

The show starts with two guys who have been AAW Stalwarts for many years. Young & Jacobs both cut promos before the match, talking about they, who were at one time main-eventing AAW Shows (and in the case of Silas Young, two lengthy reigns as AAW Heavyweight Champion), now curtain jerking in the opening match. The match itself was actually really good. They put on a great opening contest and it was a great way to start the show. 

2.) Dan Lawrence & Marcus Crane vs. Colt Cabana & Junthai Miller: **1/4

So Cabana & Lawrence have been having a little feud going on as of late. Cabana brought out Junthai Miller as his partner for this tag match. This was probably the weakest match on the show. Their wasn't really anything wrong with match, it was just kind of there. Typical early card match with comedy, as we always get from Colt Cabana.

3.) #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match – Lamar Titan (with Kevin Harvey & Nikki Mayday) vs. Rich Swann vs. Louis Lyndon: ***1/4

Never heard of Lamar Titan, but I'm familiar with Louis Lyndon and of course I know about Rich Swann, who is making his AAW Debut here. This was actually really enjoyable. Had a lot of fun watching this. Just an exciting three way. With the victory, Titan earns a shot at the Heritage Title.

After the match, Kevin Harvey calls out the rest of his "We Are Here" Stable for their match so that they can finally settle their score with Darin Corbin & Marion Fontaine.

4.) Losing Team Must Split – We Are Here (Keith Walker & Tweek Phoenix with Kevin Harvey & Nikki Mayday) vs. Northstache Express (Darin Corbin & Marion Fontaine): ***

So these two teams have been having a very lengthy feud in AAW, and this is the big finale, with the losing team being forced to split. It was a good match, but nothing really more than that. I don't know why, but I just can't get into Walker or Phoenix at all, though I can get into Fontaine A LOT. In the end, interference & miscommunication lead to We Are Here getting the win, forcing the Northstache Express to disband.

After the match, Corbin & Fontaine get into an argument about the loss, and Corbin shoves his former partner before leaving.

5.) Shane Hollister (with Scarlet Bordeaux & Marcus Crane) vs. Sami Callihan: ***1/2

This is another big feud that's been going on in AAW lately. I guess the story here is that Callihan has been driving a wedge between Hollister & Scarlett Bordeaux, the latter being on the receiving end of alleged physical & mental abuse from Hollister. It was a pretty good match. Personally, I much prefer babyface Sami Callihan over the heel he portrays in Dragon Gate USA & Evolve. He's just so much better at that in my opinion. Late in the match, the distress Scarlett was under proved to be nothing more than a rouse as she low blows Callihan, allowing Hollister to win.

6.) SHIMMER Showcase - Saraya Knight, Heather Patera & Taylor Made (with Truth Martini) vs. Heidi Lovelace, Christina Von Eerie & MsChif: **3/4

As another part of his long running feud with MsChif, Truth Martini hires Saraya Knight to take her out in this match. It was a pretty good showcase. I'm big fans of some of the women in here and others I'm seeing for the first time. A pretty solid women's match with MsChif and company getting the win.

7.) AAW Heritage Title – ACH vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****

ACH comes into this match as the champion. This was a pretty great match. Even though they would top themselves in a big way a few months after this in PWG, this match was still very good in it's own right. Just simply an amazing match that sees ACH retain his title.

8.) AAW Tag Team Titles – Irish Airborne vs. Arik Cannon & Mat Fitchett: ***1/4

So Cannon & Fitchett are two guys who have a history with Irish Airborne, and figured they could combine forces to take on their hated foes. A pretty solid Tag Team Title Match. Not the best match of the night, but it was very solid and proved to be a nice break between the night's two big matches. 

9.) AAW Heavyweight Title – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Davey Richards: ****3/4

Amazing. Simply Awesome!! What else can be said? It's Davey Richards & Michael Elgin. Obviously not their greatest match, but definitely one of their best. What I love about this match, and the reason I rate it the way I do, is because when compared to their famed ROH Match at Showdown in the Sun, their roles are completely revered. Here, Elgin entered as the babyface champion while Richards was the douchebag heel. It created a completely different dynamic that still resulted in an awesome main event. Simply put, this match needs to be seen.

Overall: 9.0/10

This was my first time watching an AAW Show, and boy was it awesome. You have two great title matches (one of which is a MOTYC) featuring four of ROH's best that are well worth the price of the VOD alone. Along with that, you have a bunch of undercard matches that are really good and quite entertaining. It was a really great show, and it's definitely made me a lot more interested in AAW.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

PWG 2013 Battle of Los Angeles: Night Two Review

Is this Pro-Wrestling's Show of the Year?

PWG 2013 Battle of Los Angeles: Night Two
Reseda, California 8/31/13

*Before I start, I should note that William Regal was in attendance for this show, apparently scouting talent for the WWE.*

1.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Quarter Finals – Drake Younger vs. Brian Cage: ***

This match started off hot as they went right at it. An understandably the match was kept short, after what happened with Brian Cage the night before. Still, this was a very entertaining opener and a good way to open the show. Drake Younger advances to the Semi-Finals.

2.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Quarter Finals – Johnny Gargano vs. Kevin Steen: ****1/4

I had a feeling coming in that this was going to be good, but I didn't know how good it would get. This match was great. Gargano and Steen are two of indy's wrestling top talents and they showed why here. Great action throughout and the finishing sequence was simply amazing! Johnny Gargano advances to the Semi-Finals.

3.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Quarter Finals – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2

Strong & Elgin had several matches in Ring of Honor earlier in the year that were very good. This one here was a pretty solid match, but much like a lot of the matches from the night before, it wasn't really anything beyond that. For some reason, I feel like Strong/Elgin have been a match that people would think have been incredible, but really haven't produced anything about a four star classic, despite having good matches every time. Elgin advances to the Semi-Finals.

4.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Quarter Finals – ACH vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****1/2

This match blew me away! It was simply fantastic, and it wasn't because they went balls out through the whole match. They started off slow, but continued to build up until we got to the last few minutes which just has to be seen because it is that amazing. Easily one of the best Pro-Wrestling Matches of 2013. O'Reilly advances to the Semi-Finals.

5.) Six-Man Tag – B-Boy, Willie Mack & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor, Trent? & Joey Ryan): ***1/2

Here we get the usual six man tag featuring the losers of first round matches, as well as the debut of the Best Friends stable. This match was really entertaining. I mean, how could a match that featured a Chuck Taylor Grenade Spot not be entertaining? A fun match to watch with some pretty awesome spots. Tony Nese would step in midway through to take over as referee. Ciampa goes to do the same thing he was going to do to Brian Cage on Night One to Joey Ryan, but Cage comes out and confronts him. I guess as an apology for what happened. Ciampa allows Cage to Powerbomb him on chairs on the outside!! This would lead to the Best Friends getting the win. 

6.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Semi-Finals – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Johnny Gargano: ****1/2

Another dream match on this show. Why is PWG so awesome?....Because of matches like this. It was freaking incredible!! I see it as a match that was just as good as the ACH/O'Reilly match from earlier, but for completely different reasons. Just an amazing match from both guys, and again, another Match of the Year Contender. Elgin advances to the Finals.

7.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Semi-Finals – Kyle O’Reilly vs. Drake Younger: ***1/2

This match might get lost among the other great matches on this show, but you shouldn't forget about it, because it was really good. Their was never really a dull moment, as these two went at each other at full force from bell to bell. Really solid match. Kyle O'Reilly moves on to the finals.

8.) Six-Man Tag – Adam Cole & The Young Bucks vs. AR Fox, Candice LaRae & Rich Swann: ****1/2

So here we have the awesome team of the PWG World Champion Adam Cole & the PWG World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks against the rather interesting team of Fox, Swann & LaRae. This match was INSANE!!! It was absolutely incredible from start to finish. Amazing action with a lot of entertaining moments. Everyone got a chance to shine, but I feel like Candice LaRae shined the most. She looked great in here. Plus the crowd really made this match special and we have the third Match of the Year Contender from this show!

9.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Finals – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****

It's interesting to think that these two made as the final two of Ring of Honor's Survival of the Fittest in late-2011, and now two years later, they've reached the finals of BOLA. Not the best match these two could have had, but that's understandable considering they've had two grueling matches already. Still, this was pretty great. Elgin & O'Reilly put on a great conclusion to the 2013 edition of BOLA. O'Reilly proved that he deserved to win as this was his fourth win of the weekend and his seventh straight singles win in PWG.

After the match, Kyle O'Reilly is presented with the BOLA trophy. Adam Cole comes out to congratulate him, saying that O'Reilly was the second best member of Future Shock, but O'Reilly shuts him up quick with a big roundhouse kick!! The leads to the Young Bucks coming out to beat down O'Reilly. Candice LaRae and Drake Younger both try to make the save but to no avail. Joey Ryan comes out to seemingly approve, saying that nobody appreciates a good heel faction like himself. He then says that nobody beats up Candice but him, and superkicks Cole!! Ryan then gets beat down by the Bucks. Referee Rick Knox then comes out with a chair, and Kevin Steen joins him, seemingly to help, but Steen TURNS ON HIM!!! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER to both Knox & LaRae. He embraces Cole & The Young Bucks and they smash the BOLA Trophy. By this point the rest of the roster comes out and clears Cole, Steen and the Bucks out of the ring. O'Reilly says he's not going to let these f**king d**kheads ruin his moment. He then thanks the wrestlers and the fans to close the show.

Overall: 10/10

This is the definition of a perfect wrestling show in my eyes. It was definitely the best Pro-Wrestling show of 2013. When you have a show that has three matches of ****1/2 that are all Match of the Year Contenders, it's pretty easy to see why it's perfect. That doesn't even mention the other two four star level matches and a really solid undercard. This is also probably the best show in PWG history, not just for the fantastic matches, but for the closing segment as well, which rivals the return of Super Dragon at Steen Wolf in 2011. In summary, you need to get this show. Go out of your way to get it. Arguably, it's the best show of 2013 in all of pro-wrestling, and it will not disappoint.

PWG 2013 Battle of Los Angeles: Night One Review

A Six-Man Tag and Eight First Round Matches highlight Night One of PWG's annual tourney!

PWG 2013 Battle of Los Angeles: Night One
Reseda, California 8/30/13

1.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – Kevin Steen vs. Chuck Taylor: ***

Wasn't sure what to expect with this one, but it turned out to be very hilarious. A fun comedy match, which is nice to see because I don't think we see comedy matches in PWG too often. Their were some very funny spots involving a San Francisco Giants Hats and them fighting over who has better commentary with Excalibur. In the end, Steen would get the win and advance to the next round.

2.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – Brian Cage vs. Tommaso Ciampa: ***1/4

This match was highlighted by a scary spot where Ciampa went to powerbomb Cage on the floor, but Ciampa couldn't get Cage up all the way and dropped him on his head. The usually rowdy in Reseda went quiet very quickly. It was really frightening, but somehow, Cage found a way to get back in the ring and continue the match. Not sure if that was the best decision, but they fought it out and eventually Cage got the win to advance.

3.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Willie Mack: ***1/2

They try out each other's shirts at the start, which results in a funny visual, given their significant size difference. This was actually a pretty good match. Gargano looked very solid and Willie put on a performance that was one of his most memorable in PWG in awhile. Good stuff here. Johnny Gargano advances.

4.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – AR Fox vs. Roderick Strong: ***1/2

Another first time matchup on this show. Can't go wrong with either guy. A pretty good match here. Nothing really over the top (as one might think) but nonetheless, very solid. Strong gets the win and advances.

5.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – Joey Ryan vs. Drake Younger: ***

These two had a match at Quintessential Pro Wrestling a few months back. I feel like this match was the better of the two. It ended up involving hard candy and legos being used (ala Thumbtacks), which is something I thought I've never see in PWG. Fine match here. Drake Younger advances.

6.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – ACH vs. Anthony Nese: **3/4

This one features two young rising stars from both Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA/Evolve, respectively. The match itself was decent, but for some reason, I thought like this could have been a lot better. I think Nese suffered a knee injury during the match, so that might have contributed. ACH wins in his PWG debut and advances.

7.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – Kyle O’Reilly vs. Trent?: ****

Here we easily have the Match of the Night. Trent? has really come a long way on the independents since being let go by WWE and this match shows that in spades. Kyle O'Reilly looked great here as well. O'Reilly would get the win and advance.

8.) 2013 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Match – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Rich Swann: ***1/2

The final first round match. I think Rich Swann is channeling his inner-Scott Hall and Chris Jericho here, which is pretty hilarious. Once again, we get another first time matchup that was very good and solid, but nothing really great. I like both guys a lot so I enjoyed this one. Elgin advances.

9.) Six-Man Tag – Adam Cole & The Young Bucks vs. TJ Perkins & The Forever Hooligans: ***1/2

This, for now, is the last PWG Match for TJ Perkins as he's under contract with TNA where he  portrays Manik. An entertaining Main Event. Maybe they could have made this a little bit shorter time wise, but it was still a fine match. Cole & The Bucks get the win.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was a surprisingly weak show from PWG (in contention with DDT4 2013 as the weakest PWG show of the year), but the fact that this show was still a pretty good show just further emphasizes the quality of PWG shows in 2013. Their is nothing really must-see on this show, but every match is at least good. You can wait on getting this show, but since it's a two night weekend (and for the sake of being complete), I'd say it's a good pick-up.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wrestling is Cool: Endless Winter Review

The Osirian Portal reunites to take on two young guns from the UK!!

Wrestling is Cool: Endless Winter
Deptford, New Jersey 8/25/13

1.) “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti vs. Shynron: ***

Much like Cruel Summer, Shynron encounters another opponent he's done battle with before, but this time it's Mr. Touchdown. A pretty entertaining opener. These two have some good chemistry and it showed. In this match, it would be Touchdown who picked up the win.

2.) Chuck Taylor vs. The Lithuanian Snow Troll: **1/2

Who doesn't love watching Chuck Taylor wrestle? The dude is so entertaining. He has a pretty fun match here with The Lithuanian Snow Troll. Very entertaining. In the end, Taylor would get the win with the Awful Waffle.

3.) Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Eric Corvis: ***1/4

I've only seen Corvis on a previously Wrestling is Cool show in a good match he had with Eddie Kingston. He impressed again here with a very solid match with JFDC. Come to think of it, both guys have been coming into their own. Coronado has really established himself and Corvis has some very entertaining offense. On this night, it would be Corvis taking home the victory.

4.) The Colony: Xtreme Force (Arctic Rescue Ant & Missile Assault Ant) vs. The Colony (Green Ant & assailANT): ***1/4

These two team have a lot of history and they don't waist any time. It was wild and enjoyable match that saw duct tape and Arctic Rescue Ant's Snowboard becoming involved in some way or another. In this encounter, the Xtreme Force would triumph.

5.) CZW World Champion Drew Gulak vs. The Estonian ThunderFrog: ***1/2

Gulak is announced as the New CZW World Champion, which was a title he had recently won, and that got a big reaction. This really ended up being a big test for the Estonian ThunderFrog. A really good match here. Gulak is great as always but ThunderFrog really stepped up here as well. The CZW World Champion picked up the win in a really good match.

6.) Eddie Kingston vs. Frightmare: ***1/4

Hard to believe this is the first time these two have ever faced off one-on-one, in "Wrestling is..." or CHIKARA. Kingston continued his tirade from the last show, looking pretty pissed and antagonizing the fans. When the match actually got going, it ended up being pretty good, though it did include some rude comments from Kingston. He even took candy from a baby....literally. The War King would end up getting the win over Frightmare.

7.) The Osirian Portal vs. Mark Andrews & Pete Dunne: ***3/4

This is my first time seeing Mark Andrews & Pete Dunne, who are out of the UK. I believe this is also the first time the Osirian Portal have teamed up since 2011. These two teams put on a really good main event! The Osirian Portal looked great in their return and the Englishmen certainly impressed me. Lots of back & forth action, which both teams coming close to winning several times, but finally, Amasis & Ophidian would get the big win.

The Osirian Portal celebrated and the crowd appropriately gave Andrews & Dunne "Please Come Back" chants.

Overall: 7.75/10

Another really entertaining show from Wrestling is Cool. They had a lot of stuff on here that's definitely worth watching. The main event tag team match was pretty good, Drew Gulak & Estonian ThunderFrog put on a heck of a performance, and their were several undercard matches that were all very enjoyable. Once again we get another solidly consistent show from Wrestling is Cool that's worth checking out.

Wrestling is Fun!: Cruel Summer Review

The Funky Egyptian Pharaoh and the Viking Warrior battle for potassium supremacy!!

Wrestling is Fun!: Cruel Summer
Easton, Pennsylvania 8/24/13

1.) Juan Francisco de Coronado (with Herbert) vs. Shynron: **1/2

This is not the first time these two have faced other. They had a pretty decent opener. Unfortunately for JFDC, his man-servent Herbert would end up inadvertently costed him the match as the Shyron would pick up the win.

2.) Los Ice Creams vs. 3.0: **

A rare appearance in Wrestling is Fun! for Scott Parker and Shane Matthews. Essentially, this was a comedy match....a very entertaining one, but rather short, which was kind of disappointed. For what it was though, it was enjoyable.

3.) Jaka (with Sidney Bakabella) vs. Frightmare: ***

These two had a pretty exciting undercard match. Jaka seems to work well with smaller guys like Frightmare. An envelope shot courtesy of Sidney Bakabella led to a Jaka victory.

4.) The Proletariat Boar of Moldova & Mr. Azerbaijan (with Brown Morning of Belarus) vs. The Colony (Green Ant & assailANT): ***1/4

The "Wrestling is..." Promotions have seen a rise of talent from Eastern Europe in the last year. First the Baltic Seige, now this new Eastern European "Bloc". This was actually a really entertaining match. From what I recall, it was slow to start but by the end it really picked up and got good. Mr. Azerbaijan would pin assailANT with his feet on the ropes to pick up the win.

5.) “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti vs. Dasher Hatfield: ***1/2

This is a match that had been brewing for a long time as Hatfield had grown upset with Touchdown's cheating ways. I should mention that some of Dasher's family was at ringside as well. It was easily one of the best matches of the night. It had the build and it certainly delivered. I believe Touchdown contemplated cheating, but decided against it, and this ended up costing him the match to Dasher.

After the match Dasher confronted Touchdown about cheating. Things looked tense, but they ended up embracing and the family left together in one piece.

6.) The Batiri (Kobald, Obariyon & Kodama) vs. The Baltic Seige: ***1/2

These teams had a really good trios match at There's Always Money in the Banana Stand back in April. Honestly, this match was just as good. Pretty much a toss-up as to which was better, but I think if I had to pick, I'd go with this one. Lots of good action here as you would come to expect in the "Wrestling is..." Universe. In a surprising twist, the Hammer of Peace, wielded by Estonian ThunderFrog, actually broke!! *Gasp* Despite this, it would be the Baltic Seige who would come out on top.

After the match, the Seige were confronted by the other Eastern European wrestlers, led by a guy dressed like a Stalin-Era Soviet General. He offered them a spot in his group by giving the Seige flags and asking them to bow to him. The Baltic Seige refuses, but would end up getting beaten down by this "Bloc"

7.) Heidi Lovelace vs. Portia Perez: **1/4

Heidi & Portia appear regularly in some of the other "Wrestling is..." Promotions, but this is the first time either are appearing in Wrestling is Fun! if I recall correctly. They have a solid women's match here which saw Heidi get the win, and she is someone who is really growing on me.

8.) The Devastation Corporation (Max Smashmaster & Flex Rumblecrunch with Sidney Bakabella) vs. The Spectral Envoy (UltraMantis Black & Hallowicked): ***

There has been a feud brewing between these two factions, and this is just another chapter. A pretty entertaining tag team match. It had some good action and was pretty fun to watch. Unfortunately for the Spectral Envoy, Bakabella's boys would get the win in this one. I believe Blaster McMassive made his return from injury here to help beat down the Enjoy and set up a future trios match between the two sides.

9.) WiF! Banana Championship – Amasis vs. Oleg The Usurper (with Sidney Bakabella): ***1/2

At the last show, Oleg literally decapitated the beloved Dragon Dragon. Amasis comes out with a "Remember Dragon Dragon" T-Shirt that actually looks pretty cool. These two had a pretty good match that was right up their for match of the night. It was a hard fought contest, but Amasis, in the memory of Dragon Dragon, hit a 450 Splash and retained the potassium.

Overall: 7.5/10

On the whole, this show was a solid one from Wrestling is Fun! Their really isn't a much see match here, but their were a bunch of good contests. The highly anticipated Dasher Hatfield/Mr. Touchdown match, the WiF! Banana Title match and the Trios Match were all equally as good. The rest of the card had some entertaining matches, and in the end made for another good show from Wrestling is Fun!