Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Quintessential Pro Wrestling - Well Worth The Wait Review

Adam Thornstowe defenses his title against Drake Younger in the Main Event!

Quintessential Pro Wrestling - Well Worth The Wait
Monrovia, California 2/1/14

For this show, we have the very unique commentary tandem of Excalibur & Nigel McGuinness.

1.) The RockNES Monsters vs. B-Boy & Willie Mack: ***

Both of these teams are regulars in PWG. This was a pretty solid tag team match. I'd say it's exactly what you would expect from all four guys. B-Boy & Willie Mack get the win.

2.) Brian Cage vs. Nick Madrid: **1/4

When I watched this originally, I was going to make a comment about Nick Madrid reminding me of somebody, but I forgot. Alas this was an ok match. They did some fine stuff, but not much else to it. Brian Cage attempted a 619. No, that is not a typo. It looked like he botched it the first time, because he then did it again and hit it successfully. Still....Brian Cage hit a 619. Un...freaking...believable. As you would expect, Brian Cage gets the win.

3.) Cheerleader Melissa vs. Joey Ryan: **1/2

Joey Ryan does a lot of stalling to start. At one point Melissa takes Ryan's lollipop and stomps on it, but Ryan sets that he has a crazy foot fetish and puts it back in his mouth. At least Melissa had her wrestling boots on. Anyway, they wrestled a decent inter-gender match her. At one point they were brawling on the outside and hits tights get ripped, which I think actually added to the match. Cheerleader Melissa eventually gets the win and mockingly rubs her feet in Ryan's face.

After the match, Joey Ryan takes off his torn tights (but don't worry, he's at least wearing something underneath). He then goes around and finds a birthday girl in the audience. He gives her a lap dance, and girl proceeds to put dollar bills in Ryan's underwear. Ryan puts the tights over the girls head before leaving.

4.) Brian Kendrick vs. Kyle O'Reilly: ***1/2

After the last match, we get to some more serious action. This was a very good match. I get the feeling that a lot people think that Kendrick hasn't been motivated in some of his performances over the last year (in places like Ring of Honor & Dragon Gate USA/Evolve). However, he definitely showed up tonight and had a really good wrestling match with Kyle O'Reilly. They have a lot of back-and-forth action before O'Reilly eventually picks up the win.

Adam Pearce was originally scheduled to be Steen's opponent in the next match, but he had to leave due to a family emergency. Now Steen has a "mystery opponent". As he's waiting in the ring, Chris Hero comes walking through the front door with his gear on and attacks Steen to get things started!

5.) Kevin Steen vs. Chris Hero: ***1/2

These two have wrestled each other many times before, and have always managed to put on solid performances. This was was certainly no different. It starts with some brawling around the building, but they find their way back into the ring and continue the fight. Really enjoyable match between these two. At one point, after throwing a few superkicks, Kevin Steen runs backstage, and just before he's counted out, runs back to the ring in his Young Bucks attire!! Nigel McGuinness christens Steen "The Young F**k". After some more action, Steen rolls Hero up and steals the victory!

6.) 2/3 Falls Match - Candice LaRae & Christina Von Eerie vs. PPRay: ***1/2

This is a very interesting match. I was actually really excited to see the team of LaRae & Von Eerie (I'm a fan of both ladies). To be honest, this was actually pretty good. I'd say it was close to being on par with the previous two matches (O'Reilly/Kendrick & Steen/Hero). Honestly don't know what it was, but these two teams just clicked really well and it made for a very entertaining match. The girls get the 1st Fall, then PPRay gets the 2nd Fall, and finally, LaRae & Von Eerie pick up the third fall to win the match. One of the best inter-gender matches you'll see out there, in my opinion.

7.) QPW Title - Adam Thornstowe vs. Drake Younger: ***1/4

Here we go with the Main Event! Thornstowe looks to have exchanged the trophy/cup he won at the last show for an actual title belt. Things quickly disintegrate and the two brawl to the outside, and even get a bit in for Kevin Steen's Weekend Escapades! The referee appears to letting the match go under Relaxed Rules as chairs are introduced pretty quickly. Their are some sicks bumps onto the chairs, and Thornstowe eventually gets the edge and picks up the win to retain his title.

Afterwords, Younger cuts a promo, putting over Thornstowe and thanking the fans for coming out and supporting all the wrestlers.

Overall: 7.25/10

This show doesn't have anything on it that really stands out as being amazing, but on the whole I think it was still pretty enjoyable. You had a solid opener, two very good matches in the mid-card, a pair of inter-gender matches of varying quality (one more comedic, the other being a pretty good 2/3 Falls Match), and a fine main event. Again, nothing really outstanding, but in terms of overall quality, it was a solid show.

PWG DDT4 2014 Review

PWG kicks off 2014 with it's annual Tag Team Tournament Extravaganza!

PWG DDT4 2014
Reseda, California 1/31/14

1.) DDT4 – First Round – Best Friends vs. The RockNES Monsters: ***1/4

Chuck Taylor & Trent? come into this show undefeated in tag team competition. I thought this was a pretty solid opener. Really love the Best Friends team and I always enjoy seeing The RockNES Monsters. I would go as far as to say they're underrated. The match ends when Trent? gets a massive trench coat and puts it on. Chuck Taylor then lifts Trent? on his shoulders to create only large trench coat guy!!! Then then hit a Trench Coat Man Chokeslam on Johnny Goodtime for the win. Best Friends advance.

2.) DDT4 – First Round – PPRay vs. The Unbreakable F’N Machines: **3/4

Well this is the mismatch of mismatches. This was actually quite decent, even though it was the most predictable outcome out of all the first round matches. Avalon & Rosas do get a fair amount of offense in but Elgin & Cage just manhandle them. My only complaints would be that it went a little too long and that PPRay got in a little too much offense, but that's about it. Michael Elgin & Brian Cage get the win and advance.

3.) DDT4 – First Round – Joey Ryan & Candice LaRae vs. COLE STEEN COLE: ***1/2

Kevin Steen & PWG World Champion Adam Cole are representing Mount Rushmore tonight as The Young Bucks are in Japan. I really enjoyed this. Seeing Cole & Steen team for, I think the first time in a two-on-two environment was pretty cool, and Joey & Candice just continue to show great chemistry as a tandem. Steen & Cole gets the win with a sick double team finishing sequence to get the win and advance in another good chapter of the Mount Rushmore/Joey & Candice feud.

4.) DDT4 – First Round – The African American Wolves (ACH & AR Fox) vs. The Inner City Machine Guns: ****

Obviously ACH & AR Fox play up their unique tag team name by howling. Ricochet & Rich Swann top that, having themselves announced not only as The Inner City Machine Guns, but as The Martin Luther Kings of Wrestling and Malcolm D-Generation X. LOL. Excalibur & Chris Hero joke about the fact that this match has four African American High Flyers. You'd expect this one to get a bit wild, and it certainly did. This was a spot-fest, but it proved to be very entertaining. Just lots of adrenaline packed action. Ricochet & Rich Swann get the win and advance to the next round.

5.) “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa vs. Adam Thornstowe: **1/2

Roderick Strong was Ciampa's original opponent, but is still not cleared to compete after being injured by a Styles Clash gone wrong earlier in the month. Adam Thornstowe, the Quintessential Pro Champion, is Strong's replacement. I'd say this was pretty decent. Thornstowe had some rough spots, but he & Ciampa were able to pull it together in a solid effort. Ciampa gets the win.

6.) DDT4 – Semi-Finals – Best Friends vs. COLE STEEN COLE: ***

Before things start, the two team argue over who are the closer friends. To prove his friendship, Cole goes to the back and comes back out wearing Kevin Steen attire to match his partner! That was something. This match started off with a ton of brawling on the outside, that eventually went through the crowd and to the announcer's position. Best Friends then hit double dives off the stage onto Cole & Steen. They eventually get back to the ring and go back & forth for a few minutes before a distraction from Candice LaRae allows Trent? to roll up Steen for the victory. It was a fine match for what it was. I do think the crowd brawling went a little too long, though at the same time, I can see that they were trying to be different from the other matches. Best Friends advance to the Finals.

7.) DDT4 – Semi-Finals – Inner City Machine Guns vs. The Unbreakable F’N Machines: ***3/4

We get some huge dueling chants before the match. This started off slow, but it picked up towards the end to the point where it got really good. The highlight of the match definitely has to be Brian Cage hitting a freaking LIONSAULT!!! I am not kidding. In the end, however, Ricochet & Rich Swann would pick up the win and join Best Friends in the Finals.

8.) #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way – Chris Hero vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Drake Younger: ****1/4

All four of these men have received Title Shots against Adam Cole in the past, but all of them failed to dethrone him. The winner of this match will receive another shot against Cole. I have to say, this has to be the most unique fatal four-way match that I have ever seen. Some of the stuff they did in here was so cool. I don't think words do it justice. Drake Younger eventually gets the win and earns a future title shot, though he wouldn't be able to cash in on it, as it was announced some weeks later that he had been signed by WWE.

9.) DDT4 – Finals – Best Friends vs. Inner City Machine Guns: ***1/4

This match started hot and these two teams went at it right from the get go. It was pretty much balls to the wall for the entirety of the match, which was about 10 minutes or so. To me, it makes sense that the match would be short, as both would have been spent from earlier tournament matches, thus they would want to end things quickly. Still, for a 10 minute sprint, it was pretty good. Best Friends get the victory and win the 2014 edition of DDT4!!

After the match, Taylor gets the mic and says everyone in the crowd is his best friend. He & Trent? then do the best friends taunt with Ricochet & Rich Swann to end the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

I have a feeling this will be one of the weakest shows PWG will put on all year, but that does not mean the show was bad at all. Although last year's DDT4 had the final appearance of El Generico, before he went to WWE Mexico to help his orphans, to hinge on, this show still was able to deliver a solid outing. While nothing on here is bad, the match quality is all over the place. Literally, I used every star rating from **1/2 to ****1/4 on this show. I'd say the Fatal Four-Way is a real standout and worth checking out. Seeing Best Friends winning DDT4 was pretty cool as well, so on the whole I'd say that, while it wasn't the best PWG Show out there, it is still a very good show.

Monday, April 28, 2014

ECW Barely Legal 1997 Review

It's Extreme Championship Wrestling's first ever PPV!!!

That's right, I'm reviewing the first ever ECW PPV (available on the WWE Network). Now I won't go through all the backstory leading up to this show coming to be (even the show almost getting cancelled because of the Mass Transit Incident) because that stories been told so many times and you can find it in so many places. This is actually my first time watching an original ECW show, so here we go!!!

ECW Barely Legal 1997
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4/13/97

The show starts off with the rabid Philadelphia fans chanting "ECW! ECW! ECW!". Joey Styles is in the ring and welcomes everyone to the show. After we get a cool video package, we cut back to Styles who is trying to do a preview of the show, but is interrupted by The Dudley Boyz and their posse. Joel Gertner cuts a promo talking about how great The Dudley Boyz are. He finishes up his shtick and The Eliminators come out to start things of..

1.) ECW World Tag Team Titles - The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & D-Von with Joel Gertner & Sign Guy Dudley) vs. The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn): **1/2

The Eliminators start things off by taking out Sign Guy Dudley with their tag team finisher, Total Elimination (as Joey Styles shrieks it as loud as they can). This was a fine opening match. The Eliminators did get to hit a lot of unique offense in here and The Dudley Boyz did get their shots in as well. The problem for me was that their was no attempt to put together a cohesive tag team match. Maybe I missed something and this was actually a Tornado Tag Team Match. I don't know. That was my only real complaint, however. The Eliminations win the match and the World Tag Team Titles.

After the match, Joel Gertner tries to announce that The Dudley Boyz are still the champions (for some reason, guess he's delusional), but The Eliminators quickly dispose of him.

The next match was originally supposed to be Chris Candido vs. Lance Storm, but Candido was pulled from the match due to a partially torn bicep. Candido comes out in a sling to cut a promo on not being able to compete tonight.

2.) Lance Storm vs. Rob Van Dam: ***1/4

RVD is replacing Chris Candido in this match. Essentially, RVD was a heel around this time, and his character was basically that he saw himself as someone who was using ECW to springboard himself to "bigger & better things". This was a pretty good match. Lance Storm was always a good wrestler, but man it's so different seeing a young RVD doing all this awesome stuff in the ring. They end up using a chair and a lot unique high flying offense is shown off. RVD eventually gets a win over Lance Storm.

After the match, RVD cuts a "shoot" style promo about how someone of his immense talent was only brought to the show as a fill in. He also mentions something to the degree of if he wins, he's worth more money in ECW, but that also means he's worth more money "elsewhere".

3.) Michinoku Pro Six-Man Tag - b.W.o. Japan (Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy & Dick Togo) vs. The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji: ****1/2

Up next is a Six Man Tag featured six wrestlers from Michinoku Pro. Quick note on this one, Masato Yakushiji is replacing Gran Naniwa. Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy & Dick Togo are representing the Japanese Branch of the Blue World Order. I heard some great things about this match going in, and boy, it did not disappoint. To put it plainly, this match was AWESOME!!! So much happened here that's their is really no point in attempting to describe it. Just go and seek out this match. The team of The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji pick up the win in an amazing affair.

4.) ECW World TV Title - "The Franchise" Shane Douglas (with Francine) vs. Pitbull #2: **

Douglas, the World TV Champion, comes out with Francine, surrounded by guys in riot squad gear (presumably there to protect Douglas), cuts a promo before the match. Basically the story here is that Shane Douglas broke the neck of Pitbull #1, Gary Wolfe, who is sitting at ringside. Pitbull #2 rushes the ring and we get things going in a hurry. At one point, Pitbull #1 jumps the guardrail and attacks Douglas after the World TV Champion gave Pitbull #2 several piledrivers. He is pulled off of Douglas and is removed from ringside. The match itself was ok. It had a good story behind it, and told a good story in the ring, but the problem was that it was twenty minutes long, and it did not need to be that long at all. They could have done the same thing it ten or twelve minutes, and it would have been a lot better. Douglas eventually gets the win, after using several foreign objects, to retain his title.

Apparently a stipulation added to this match beforehand was that if Douglas won, a masked man who had apparently been following him around for awhile, would unmask. It had been teased leading up to this that the masked man was in fact "Ravishing" Rick Rude, and fuel was added to this fire when the masked man came out in one of Rude's trademark "Simply Ravishing" robes. The Masked Man wants Francine and kisses her all the way down to the mat, leading Douglas to attack him. While this was going on, one of the riot squad guys gets in the ring and takes off his helmet, revealing himself to be RICK RUDE!!! Douglas doesn't see this, and the Masked Man reveals himself to be "Bulldozer" Brian Lee!! Rude takes Douglas out, and then Lee lays him out with a chokeslam and the two celebrate to a massive reaction from the crowd.

5.) Grudge Match - Taz (with Bill Alfonso) vs. Sabu: ***1/2

Much like the lead up to the PPV, I'm not going to go into much detail about this feud, because there has been so much said about it already. Simply put, this match has been building up for a long time, and now it's finally happening. I actually found this to be an entertaining match. It really did have that big match feel to it. For what it was, I though it was pretty good. Kind of short and sweet on the summary, but those are my thoughts on it. Taz gets the win over Sabu via submission.

After the match, Taz offers Sabu a handshake and the two embrace, but then Rob Van Dam attacks Taz from behind, and Sabu joins in on the beating!! Bill Alfonso look's like he's going to be getting involved, but he takes off his Team Taz T-Shirt to reveal a Sabu T-Shirt, and raises the duo's hands. Apparently Bull Alfonso had his money on Sabu in the match, and that was part of the reason supposedly (in storyline). RVD gives the same speech he gave earlier.

6.) #1 Contender's Three-Way Dance - The Sandman vs. Stevie Richards (with The Blue Meanie, Hollywood Nova, Thomas Rodman & 7-11) vs. Terry Funk: ***1/2

A three-way dance means that this match is held under Elimination Rules. Whoever wins will face Raven immediately after for the ECW World Title. Tommy Dreamer is out to join Joey Styles on commentary. The story here is that Dreamer was originally going to be in the Three-Way Dance, but he instead decided to give his spot to Terry Funk out of respect. Richards comes out with the rest of the Blue World Order and Sandman does his usual awesome entrance, already busted open before the match even starts. This was actually a pretty good three-way. It had some good hardcore spots, and was perfect for what it was. Richards gets eliminated first, and then Funk eliminates Sandman to win the match, but Raven attacks him almost immediately after to start the World Title Match.

7.) ECW World Title - Raven vs. Terry Funk: **

Funk is already bloody & weakened from the Three-Way Dance, so it seems like it'll be easy pickings for Raven. He beats up Funk and puts him through a table in a sick spot. Raven gets the mic and tells Tommy Dreamer, who is still at the announcer's position, that he's going to put Funk through more tables and that their isn't anything Dreamer can do about it. Dreamer walks to the edge of the raised area that the announcers position is located on. Suddenly, the returning Big Dick Dudley shows up! He looks to Chokeslam Dreamer off the raised area through a bunch of stacked tables below, but Dreamer counters and sends Dudley crashing through the tables!!! Raven takes out the referee with a DDT, but Dreamer comes down and gives Raven a DDT of his own!! Funk goes for a pin but Raven kicks out. Funk then small packages Ravens and gets the 1-2-3 to win the match and the ECW World Title!! The crowd erupts and Funk celebrates with Dreamer and the fans to close the show. The match was more of a moment than an actual match, but for what it was, it was a great way to end the PPV.

Overall: 8.5/10

When you take a look at this show strictly from an in-ring perspective, it was a pretty good show. The Michinoku Pro Six-Man Tag was easily Match of the Night, and the rest of the card was relatively solid, with nothing of note being bad at all. However, what made this PPV excel was that it was a show of moments, and for this being ECW's first PPV, it needed to have these moments to make a really good and lasting impression. Barely Legal delivered moments in spades. You had the World Tag Team Titles change hands in the first match on the show, the reveal of Rick Rude & Brian Lee, the long awaited clash between Taz & Sabu as well as the chaos in the aftermath, plus the entire World Title Match, which was essentially a moment more than a match, and the fact that Terry Funk won the World Title in a feel good moment. Barely Legal was a historic event in wrestling history, and if you have the WWE Network, you'd be a fool if you did not check this show out.

WCW Uncensored 1997 Review

A massive three team battle headlines the show and Sting makes his presence felt in a BIG WAY!

As with pretty much all of the WCW PPV's I have reviewed thus far, this show is available to watch on the WWE Network.

WCW Uncensored 1997
Charleston, South Carolina 3/16/97

1.) WCW United States Title - No DQ Match - Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko: ****1/2

Guerrero comes into this as the US Champion. Of course, when you get two guys as good as these two, you know it's going to be good, and it absolutely was. Just great stuff all around from both guys, and the No DQ Stipulation I think allowed them to do more stuff. Sadly, the downside of this stipulation was the interference late in the match involving n.W.o. Member Syxx (Sean Waltman) and his hand-held camera. Syxx gets disposed, but his camera ends up getting used by Malenko, who hits Guerrero with it, getting the victory and wins the United States Title. Again, aside from the finish, this was a great match. I should also note that during this match, they cut to backstage where Rick Steiner (who is supposed to be on Team WCW in the Main Event) laid out with n.W.o. Members Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Syxx standing over him.

2.) Psychosis vs. Ultimo Dragon (with Sonny Onoo): ***

No real backstory to this match, just two guys having a Cruiserweight Match. It was pretty good. Obviously not as good as the opener, but fine for what it was. Ultimo Dragon wins.

Up next, we get "Mean" Gene Okerlund doing an interview with DDP on the entrance stage. Essentially things have been brewing between DDP and Randy Savage (who is now a member of the n.W.o.), so DDP calls out the Macho Man. He comes out with Liz and says he now respects DDP....after seeing DDP's wife, Kimberly, naked in an issue of Playboy. They show the magazine piece of Kimberly, but with the n.W.o. Logo covering her private parts. Kimberly comes out, and apparently she's been branded (spray painted) by the n.W.o.! DDP goes to consoled her but he is attacked by Savage, who then spray paint's DDP and then he & Liz spray paints Kimberly again.

3.) Martial Arts Match - Mortis (with James Vanderberg) vs. Glacier: **1/2

For those of you who don't know, James Vanderberg would go onto be James Mitchell in TNA. Mortis  is actually Chris Kanyon, who would gain fame later on in WCW's History.  Also, if you are wondering, these gimmicks are essentially Mortal Kombat ripoffs, with mainly Glacier playing off Sub-Zero. This is a "Martial Arts Match". I really didn't expect much of this, but it didn't turn out to be that terrible. You could tell they were trying, and their effort showed with a decent performance. Glacier gets the win with his Cryonic Kick.

After the match, Vanderberg calls out Wrath, another Mortal Kombat based character who's apparently in his camp, and Wrath joins Mortis in a beatdown of Glacier.

4.) Strap Match - Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs: **1/4

The American Males EXPLODE!!! Basically, this came about Bagwell broke up the team in favor of joining the n.W.o., leading to this match. This was an ok match. It had the story behind, so it to have the potential to be good, but I think it went a little longer than it needed to be. Bagwell eventually touched all four corners to win the match. Also, on a side note, Buff Bagwell has awesome charisma!

5.) Tornado Tag Team Match - Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy: **1/2

Whenever you have The Public Enemy in a match, it always seems to turn into a brawl, and with the Tornado Tag Stipulation, it was essentially guaranteed. I thought this was another ok match. Just more of a brawl, which I guess will always end up happening in a Tornado Tag Team Match. We end up getting a table spot, and then Steve "Mongo" McMichael & Jeff Jarrett come out (for some reason) and lay out Rocco Rock, allowing Harlem Heat to get the win.

6.) WCW World TV Title - Prince Iaukea vs. Rey Misterio Jr.: *1/2

I have no idea who Prince Iaukea, and I also don't know why this dude is named after that Swedish Furniture Company. Plus, he's apparently the World TV Champion. This was really not that good of match. I just could not get into Iaukea. He sucks. They go to a time limit draw, but being the "fighting champion" that he apparently is, Iaukea wants to continue, so they do. Iaukea wins two minutes or so later. The crowd really didn't care, and neither did I. Terrible Match.

7.) Triangle Elimination Match - Team n.W.o. ("Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall with Dennis Rodman) vs. Team Piper ("Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Chris Benoit, Steve "Mongo" McMichael & Jeff Jarrett) vs. Team WCW (Lex Luger, The Giant & Scott Steiner): ***

Because of Rick Steiner being taken out, this is now 4-on-4-on-3. Essentially, the match works like a Hybrid Gauntlet Match. One person from each team start out, and at fixed intervals, more members come out. You can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, and (for some stupid reason) getting thrown over the top rope. Their are a bunch of stipulations attached to this. If Team n.W.o. wins, then they get a title shot at whichever WCW Champion they want, whenever they want. If Team WCW wins, then the members of the n.W.o. will be stripped of their titles and be banned from competing in WCW for THREE YEARS (yes, you're reading that right). Finally, if Team Piper wins, then Piper will get a future Cage Match against "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan. I won't go into much detail about the eliminations, but I will say the match was better than I thought it would. For the first time in awhile, WCW actually gave us a good PPV Main Event that wasn't WarGames. Plus, I actually kinda liked the idea of the match. However, their are a few gripes I have with it. Firstly, the stipulation for Team WCW winning was so stupid. It made it blatantly obviously they weren't winning. If they did something similar to the n.W.o., where they say, get title shots at n.W.o. Members, then it might have been more believable. Secondly, the idea of having over-the-top-rope eliminations was silly to me. It just didn't work that well in my opinion. Back to the match, it ends when Luger makes a comeback and eliminates Savage, Hall & Nash in quick succession, but then Savage took a spray paint can that was handed to him by Dennis Rodman and sprays it in Luger's eyes, allowing Hogan to get the win. This is the third gripe I have. Shouldn't have Piper's Team won this match. I mean, Piper would end up having a Cage Match with Hogan several months down the line on PPV, so why not have Piper's Team win here?

Anyway, as the n.W.o. celebrates their victory, STING rappels down from the rafters!!! He has a black baseball bat and goes after the n.W.o.!!!!! The crowd is going CRAZY!!!! Hogan and Rodman are the only ones left. Hogan tells Sting to drop the bat and he does. Hogan & Rodman enter the ring and Sting goes after Hogan!!! Rodman watches on as Sting lays out Hogan with The Scorpion Deathdrop as the PPV comes to an end.

Overall: 7.75/10

Looking back on it, this was actually a good PPV from WCW. Aside from the World TV Title Match, their wasn't anything really bad about this show. The opener was awesome, the mid-card was surprisingly fine, and the Main Event actually kind of delivered (in the sense that it was a good match). The ending that featured the first in-ring appearance of Sting in months, finally showing himself to be against the n.W.o., was an amazing moment. I think this might have been the second time I saw the ending with Sting (believe I saw it on Youtube before), but I cannot stress enough how MASSIVE this reaction was. Sting looked like the most OVER guy in wrestling back at this time. This show is worth seeing alone just for that ending. On the whole, a good showing from WCW.

Monday, April 21, 2014

ROH Wrestling's Finest Review

The WWE Royal Rumble isn't the only wrestling show in the Steel City!

Things are a bit different for ROH in their Pittsburgh return. They moved from Belle Vernon (outside the city of Pittsburgh), to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which is inside the City of Pittsburgh itself. Also, in a good move by ROH, this event took place the day before the WWE Royal Rumble, which took place in Consol Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh. This meant that ROH drew a very sizable crowd for their show.

ROH Wrestling's Finest
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1/25/14


1.) Chris LeRusso, Rik Matrix & Ryan Reigns vs. Mark Hauss, Moose & Nick Merriman: *3/4

Not really much to say about this one. Typical pre-show match stuff. Funny seeing Moose in here (and in later ROH appearances) since he's now working for Dragon Gate USA/Evolve as the bodyguard for The Bravado Brothers. Moose's team of good guys gets the win.

Main Show

1.) Adrenaline RUSH vs. The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer with Roderick Strong): ***1/4

We start off with tag team action. Jacobs & Whitmer refuse to shake hands with Adrenaline RUSH. This was a pretty solid opener. ACH & TaDarius Thomas were able to hit a good deal of offense while the Jacobs & Whitmer looked to be back on form as a team (having been several years since they teamed before they formed The Decade). At one point Jacobs speared Thomas off the apron into the guardrail in a sick spot! The Decade then hit ACH with the tag team finisher, The All Seeing Eye, to win the match.

2.) Top Prospect Tournament Finals - Hanson vs. Raymond Rowe: ***

Before the match, we get a very good video package highlights the 2014 Top Prospect Tournament and the road to the finals. Raymond Rowe defeated Kongo & Corey Hollis while Hanson defeated Cheeseburger & Andrew Everett. This was a pretty solid match. Not the best match on the card, but a fine big match match. Michael Elgin came down and watched the match in the aisle way. After a bit of back & forth action, Hanson hits the Spin Kick of Doom to win the match and the Tournament. He has now earned a World TV Title Shot at the 12th Anniversary Show. Elgin applauds their efforts and Hanson & Rowe shake hands after the match.

3.) The Romantic Touch vs. Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis): **1/4

The Romantic Touch brings out a box of chocolates in an attempt to win over Veda Scott, who is joining Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary. Before the match, Maria cuts a promo about how she is truly a powerful woman in wrestling and that she's not afraid of anything. She also mentions that Bennett will debut a new finishing move that she "taught him in bed". Bennett gets a few words in as well before the match starts.

The match itself was ok. The effort was there, but I think the problem is that we're suppose to take Bennett seriously (especially after his feud with Kevin Steen), but here he's having a competitive match with The Romantic Touch. Again, nothing really bad, but how the match played out doesn't do Bennett any favors. Maria distracts Touch with some dancing on the apron and Touch offers Maria his box of chocolates. She takes one, but then shoves the chocolate box in his face. This allows Bennett to take advantage and gets the win with his "new" submission move: The Anaconda Vice.

After the match, Veda Scott continues to berate The Romantic Touch, once again accusing him of being Rhett Titus. Titus sweeps her off her feet and looks to carry her of to do, presumably "romantic" things with her, before Veda runs off.

4.) ROH World TV Title - Triple Threat Match - "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal: ***1/2

When Matt Taven makes his entrance, he comes out alone, but Scarlett Bordeaux & Seleziya Sparx follow a little ways behind. Taven is confused by this, and then Truth Martini comes out. He says that he & Taven had something special when Taven was the World TV Champion, but when he lost the title to Tommaso Ciampa at Final Battle, he killed their lifestyle. He declares that Hoopla is Dead, and tells the Hoopla Hotties to get lost. Taven then interjects, saying he realizes that he never needed Martini, and tells Truth to hit the bricks. Martini leaves through the crowd.

Then we get the Triple Threat Match for the World TV Title. It was a pretty good match. They went all out from the beginning and it made for a good Triple Threat Match. Everyone got to hit their stuff and all three guy looked good. Truth Martini came back out mid-match for commentary. Kevin Kelly & Corino insinuate that Taven fired Martini, but Truth denies this. Towards the end of the match, Martini slides the Book of Truth to Taven, but Taven kicks its away. Then Taven gets pushed into Martini by Lethal. I should mentioned that Lethal had a visual pin on Ciampa, but the referee was distracted. Truth, in response, trips up Taven, allowing Ciampa to take out Taven and get the win. A bit of a convoluted finish, but the action was still good.

5.) Cedric Alexander vs. Andrew Everett: ****

Here's the story. Originally, we were going to see Roderick Strong vs. Paul London in a 2/3 Falls Match, where the winner would face Adam Cole for the ROH World Title in San Antonio, Texas on February 8th. This match was put on ice when Strong got injured via a botched Styles Clash from AJ Styles at the Nashville TV Tapings in early January. Cedric Alexander was then tapped to be Strong's replacement to face London, but London had flight troubles and couldn't make the show (I think the weather had something to do with it). So now we have Alexander vs. Andrew Everett. Roderick Strong was out on commentary, but his mic wasn't working, so we heard nothing from Strong at all.

This is actually an interesting matchup as these two are mainstays in the Mid-Atlantic/Carolinas Independent Scene in places like PWX & CWF Mid-Atlantic. This was a really great match. Both guys put forth great efforts and we saw a lot of cool action. Everett just amazes me with his ability as a high flyer. Alexander gets his knees up to counter a 630 from Everett, and then hit his version of the backbreaker (The Lumbar Check) for the win. Strong was not happy with this, to say the least.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O'Reilly vs. Kevin Steen: ****

Bobby Fish is in Japan, so Kyle O'Reilly is on his own. We got a pretty great match here. Some really good action in this one, but that's just what you would expect from these two. At one point, Steen puts O'Reilly's mouth piece in his own mouth, which was both funny & disgusting. It definitely pissed off O'Reilly. At one point, Cliff Compton shows up at in the front row but his held back by security. This distraction allows O'Reilly to take advantage. Steen is able to overcome this, however, and makes O'Reilly tap out to the Sharpshooter.

After the match, Steen calls out Compton to fight him right now! They start brawling, with security guys and referees flying everyone. Steen gets the upper hand for a bit, but Compton takes control. He eventually gets Steen on a table and hits him with a Superfly Splash off the top rope to the floor, putting Steen through the table.

7.) Three-Way Elimination Tag Team Match - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & Chris Hero vs. The Briscoe vs. ROH World Champion Adam Cole & "The Icon" Matt Hardy: ***3/4

Before the match starts, Bobby Cruise announced that he received a message from Nigel McGuinness, who told him to relay that if anyone pins or submits Adam Cole, then they get a future ROH World Title Shot. This pisses off Cole & Hardy to no end. Also, Chris Hero & Mark Briscoe team up to take out Hardy's Shirt in a funny moment. They worked this match similarly, in the beginning, to how the Final Battle 2013 Main Event started out, with Cole & Hardy avoiding getting tagged in and forcing the other two teams to fight it out. Eventually, The Briscoes and Hero & Elgin ganged up on them and a brawl ensued. We got some pretty good acton in this one. Surprised this wasn't the best match on the show (the previous two matches were slightly better), given who was involved, but it was still solid. The Briscoes went out first as they were eliminated by Hardy & Cole. The actioned continued for a bit afterwords until Hero got the advantage and knocked out Cole to not only win the match for his team, but earn himself a World Title Shot.

Matt Hardy attacks Hero after the bell, but Elgin fights him off. Cole looks to attack Elgin, but he is stopped in his tracks. This allows Hero to lay out Cole with the Golden Elbow Pad to close the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was by no means an amazing show, but it was on the whole, a pretty good one. The matches are the undercard were fine, but for the most part, pretty average. The World TV Title Match had some great action but was hampered by a bit of a convoluted finish, booking wise. After that, the show definitely picked up steam, as the last three matches delivered and were all very good. A solid outing from Ring of Honor that set some things in motion for events down the line.

PWX Cedric Alexander: The Dream Match Series Review

Cedric Alexander takes on the best in Independent Wrestling in the Dream Match Series!!

This DVD chronicles The Dream Match Series, which was a set of matches that Cedric Alexander had in his home promotion, PWX (He's a mainstay in ROH now, but he's one of the top stars in PWX), against some of the top stars on the independent circuit. Since this compilation has only eight matches, I'll be posting my thoughts on each individual match.

PWX Cedric Alexander: The Dream Match Series

The Hunt For Gold (5/26/13) - Cedric Alexander vs. Kyle O'Reilly: ***3/4

A very good match. There was some really good back & forth and they had a cool exchange near the end. Alexander gets the win.

It's All About Me (6/29/13) - Cedric Alexander vs. Jay Lethal: ****1/2

While doing some research on these matches beforehand, I heard some really great things about this match in particular. After watching it, I have to say that it lived up to the hype! Alexander & Lethal meshed really well together and they put together some awesome stuff here. I thought the fact that some guys on the roster came down to watch the match was pretty cool (kinda CHIKARAesque you could say). The second half of this match was fantastic and the finishing sequence was incredible. Alexander gets the win to go 2-0 in The Dream Match Series.

After the match, a video on the entrance screen from Tommaso Ciampa interrupts Alexander's celebration. Ciampa essentially challenges Alexander to a match at the next show.

Declaration Of Independence 2 (7/20/13) - Cedric Alexander vs. "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa: ****1/4

These two actually had a match back at ROH Showdown in the Sun: Day 2 during WrestleMania Weekend 2012. This was when Ciampa was still apart of The Embassy and C & C Wrestle Factory were still a lower/mid-card team. The match was essentially a five minute competitive squash for Ciampa, who beat Alexander. This match in PWX was an improvement by leaps & bounds. Really great back & forth between the two, and again, the finishing sequence was pretty good. Alexander perseveres to get the victory, improving to 3-0.

Live & In Demand: Night 1 (8/16/13) - Cedric Alexander vs. Johnny Gargano: ****

This was on Alexander's birthday so the crowd sang Happy Birthday to him. Gargano's birthday was two days prior and they played off of the crowd not singing for him. The match itself was very good. Both guys are great so it's not surprise they had a great outing. A series of multiple exchanges and it ends up taking a good deal of offense before Cedric puts Gargano away to move to 4-0.

This Is It (10/18/13) - Cedric Alexander vs. Rich Swann: ***1/2

In terms of the quality, especially went compared to the other matches on this DVD, it's not the best of the Dream Match Series. Still, it had it's moments, and turned out to be a solid match. Alexander picks up the victory over Swann to go 5-0.

Climbing The Ladder (11/22/13) - Cedric Alexander vs. Chris Hero: ****

Hero is coming off his release from WWE. Another really good match. I was kind of annoyed by the stalling Hero did early, but they made up for it in the later part of the match with some nice exchanges and near falls. Alexander gets the win and is now at 6-0.

Taken By Force (1/18/14) - Cedric Alexander vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****1/4

At this point, if there's a singles match, and one of the wrestlers is Michael Elgin, it's pretty much guaranteed to be an awesome match. While it wasn't the best match of the Dream Match Series (Alexander vs. Lethal holds that distinction), but it comes pretty darn close. Just amazing stuff between these two, and believe it or not, they'd go on to have an even better match a few months later (at ROH's Flyin' High). Alexander wins and moves to 7-0.

The Debut (1/19/14) - Cedric Alexander vs. AJ Styles: ****

AJ Styles is making his PWX debut, coming off of his TNA release. Once again, we have a really great match. Even though I was a little disappointed that this was not the best match of Dream Match Series, and despite the unnecessary interference from Country Jacked (Adam Page & Corey Hollis), the match still had very good action. After the aforementioned interference, AJ Styles is able to pick up the win and end Cedric Alexander's undefeated streak in the Dream Match Series.

Overall: 9.25/10

If you're a Ring of Honor fan, and want to know what the buzz about Cedric Alexander is all about, just watch this DVD. Here you see him go up against some of the absolute best talents that the independent scene has to offer. Every one of Alexander's opponents brought a different challenge to Alexander to overcome. You really get the feeling while watching this that Cedric Alexander is going to be a major star on the independent scene sooner rather than later. Altogether, this is an awesome DVD compilation (available via Highspots) and one that is well worth seeking out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Evolve 25 Review

Davey Richards returns to Evolve to challenge AR Fox!

A few notes on this show going in. Firstly, this would be the first WWNLive Show to be show in HD Widescreen, and all WWNLive Shows shown on iPPV going forward would be presented as such. Secondly, you might be wondering why this show only has five matches. It originally had a more filling card, but Roderick Strong, who was supposed to face Uhaa Nation, got injured in a match at the ROH TV Tapings in Nashville, TN the week prior against the returning AJ Styles during a botched Styles Clash. Thus, Strong could not compete and the card to be reshuffled a bit. Weirdly enough, it might actually have made it better...

Evolve 25
Ybor City, Florida 1/10/14

1.) FIP World Heavyweight Title – Trent Baretta vs. Anthony Nese (with Su Yung): ****

Baretta is the FIP World Champion. This was a really awesome opener. Everything in this match just clicked so well, it was insane. Perhaps the fact that they're both Long Island natives has something to do with it. Whatever it was, these two put out an great performance. Baretta picks up the win and retains his title. A perfect way to kick off the show. 

After the match Baretta cuts a promo saying some positive things about Nese, before adding that he thought the Premiere Athlete Brand was "missing something" before leaving.

2.) Five Way FRAY! – Chuck Taylor vs. Lince Dorado vs. Jon Davis vs. Caleb Konley vs. Uhaa Nation: ***1/4

Roderick Strong's injury forced some of the undercard to be reshuffled. We ended up getting this match, where the winner will challenge Johnny Gargano for the Open The Freedom Gate Title at Evolve 27 in Jacksonville, Florida. The rules here is that two men start, and that a new person entered at a fixed interval until everyone has entering. Eliminations can occur at any time. Taylor & Dorado start, then followed by Davis, Konley, and Uhaa. Davis is eliminated first about everyone else gangs up on him. Taylor then eliminates Dorado, Uhaa Nation eliminates Konley, and then finally Taylor to win the match and a future title shot. A pretty entertaining match. Nothing really flashy here, but it was a perfect undercard match. Uhaa Nation looks really good in the victory.

3.) Chris Hero vs. Ricochet: ****

This is the first of a three big match series for Hero on this trio of Evolve Shows in Florida. Ricochet is his first opponent. Things started of slow with Ricochet taunting Hero a bit, but it slowly picked up and eventually got to be pretty good. Their was a spot where Ricochet got pushed off the top rope and into one of the columns of the venue, which looked crazy. It ends up taking a 450 Splash, Shooting Star Press, and a 630 for Ricochet to pick up the win. Really, really good match here. I've seen some people rate this a bit lower, but I enjoyed this very much.

After the match, Hero takes the mic and puts over Ricochet in a big way and talks about a number of guys in the locker room who have bright futures. Trent Baretta then interrupts Hero by mentioned how he tore it up in opener and actually won, while Hero lost. He sarcastically tells Hero that it's ok that he didn't mention him in that list of rising stars.

4.) Rich Swann & The Young Bucks vs. Johnny Gargano & The Bravado Brothers: ***1/2

Kind of weird that The Young Bucks are teaming up with the main they'll be fighting at Evolve 26, but I guess "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" in this case. Gargano & The Bravados hold all the Dragon Gate USA gold (Open The Freedom Gate Title & Open The United Gate Tag Team Titles, respectively) and are a team of champions. Then again, so are Swann & The Young Bucks (FIP Tag Team Champion and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, respectively). This was a really fun match. Their was a lot of craziness with people flying all over the place when the action broke down. The crowd was seemingly into it as well. The Young Bucks hit More Bang For Your Buck on one of The Bravados to pick up the win for their team. 

Following the match, Gargano attacks Rich Swann, but Roderick Strong (Swann's FIP Tag Team Championship partner) and Uhaa Nation make the save. Strong says that at the upcoming Dragon Gate USA show in Brooklyn, NY on February 23rd, he's going to win the Open The Freedom Gate Title from Gargano.

5.) Evolve Title – AR Fox vs. Davey Richards: ****1/4

For those of you who don't know, Richards was in the Main Event of the first Evolve Show against Kota Ibushi, and the promotion was initially going to be built around him. However, things broke down at Richards left Evolve. The true story isn't really clear (Richards & Gabe have their own sides of the story) but I've heard that Richards' ROH Contract had something to do with it. Thus, Richards has returned for one night only to face AR Fox for the Evolve Title. I believe this might be the first time that Richards & Fox have faced each other in a singles match. Whatever the case, this match was awesome! I really enjoyed it. Richards was hit usual self but Fox was definitely keeping up with him. A really hard hitting match that saw a pretty wild finishing sequence, but it was AR Fox who emerged with the victory and retained his title. 

After the match, Richards looks like he's going to cut one of his typical end of the show Davey Richards promos he did while he was ROH World Champion, but then he spits on the Evolve Title and says he's better than everyone and that the whole locker room can kiss his ass before storming off.

Overall: 8.75/10

From top to bottom, this show definitely delivered. The HD Widescreen worked very well, and the show on the whole was great as well. You're only getting five matches, but when they'll all at the very least good, with some of them being pretty great, you really don't have a lot to complain about. The two title matches were exciting to watch, Richochet/Hero was great, and the two other undercard matches were pretty entertaining. Evolve 25 will no doubt be one of the best shows that WWNLive Universe puts out in 2014.

New Japan Pro Wrestling - Wrestle Kingdom 8 Review

New Japan kicks of 2014 with it's biggest show of the year!!

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 8
Tokyo, Japan 1/4/14

1.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles - Fatal Four-Way - The Young Bucks vs. The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) vs. The Forever Hooligans vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi): ***1/4

The Young Bucks (members of Bullet Club) come into this match as the champions. Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA live up to their tag team's name by coming out in a Delorean (while KUSHIDA is wearing Marty McFly's Orange Vest)!! Alex Kozlov tries to sing the Russian National Anthem but the Young Bucks take him out with superkicks to get things going. This was a pretty entertaining opener with a lot of fast paced action, as you would expect. The Young Bucks eventually hit More Bang For Your Buck to score the win and retain their titles.

2.) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles - The Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows): ***

The Killer Elite Squad ride out on motorcycles while Bullet Club come out in cameo with Gallows carrying a rocket launcher/bazooka type thing. Archer & Smith Jr. are the champions coming in. Interestingly enough, this match is full of non-Japanese Talents. This was a fine match. Nothing really outstanding, but everyone did their stuff and put forth a solid performance. Anderson & Gallows pick up the win and the titles. This means that Bullet Club now has both New Japan Tag Titles.

3.) NWA World Heavyweight Title - Rob Conway vs. Satoshi Kojima: **3/4

Yes...that Rob Conway (from WWE) is the NWA World Champion. Bruce Tharpe does the announcing for Conway. Tharpe starts to get in the face of Harley Race, who will be ringside for this match, and Race (who's having a hard time getting around) punches him out. Then we get the match. Again, we have a match that was fine, but nothing really noteworthy. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kojima's Tag Partner, takes out Jax Dane, who accompanied Rob Conway. Eventually Kojima gets the win over Conway to claim the NWA World Title! He posed for photos with Harley Race after the match.

4.) Kazushi Sakuraba & Yugi Nagata vs. Rolles Gracie & Daniel Gracie: DUD

Sakuraba & Nagata come out wearing masks, along with a bunch of little kids. Apparently The Gracies are a very well known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Family. I should note that Daniel isn't an actual member of the family. I'm not going to say much, because this sucked, big time. The match ended in a DQ, I think? We might be getting a rematch? I don't care.

5.) Minoru Suzuki & Shelton "X" Benjamin vs. Toru Yano & The Great Muta: **

Yano & Muto come out to an awesome entrance involving dragons. Suzuki's Entrance Music is still EPIC! The match itself was ok. Muta can't do much in his old ago, Yano's matches (that I've seen) haven't been all that good, and Benjamin has been hit or miss in New Japan. Suzuki was fine in here, but he ended up getting the mist from Muta and small packaged by Yano for the win. Forgettable Match.

6.) King of Destroyer Match - Bad Luck Fale vs. Togi Makabe: **1/2

Basically this is a Last Man Standing/Knockout Match. Fale is also a member of Bullet Club. An average match, but definitely better than the last two. At one point they went to the outside and used an infamous Japanese Table, and the Table ACTUALLY BROKE!! Eventually Makabe finally knocks out Fale for the win.

7.) Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ****

If I've got the story right, these two have been best friends for many, many years (since childhood), and they're going at it in the Tokyo Dome to see who is the better man. This is also Goto's return from injury after suffering a dislocated/broken jaw during the 2013 G1 Climax. Both guys have pretty cool entrances. This was a really great match. Both guys hit really hard and both put forth great efforts. Goto finally picks up the win and they help each other up and are still friends after this feud.

8.) IWGP Jr. Heavweight Title - Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi: ****

Devitt has an amazing entrance where he comes out in a casket (Like Undertaker from Survivor Series 2005) and is wearing face & body paint to make himself look like Carnage (the Spider-Man Villain). It's seriously awesome. Stop reading this review and go watch it (Seriously). He's also accompanied by the rest of Bullet Club. Thankfully the referee throws out Bullet Club after numerous attempts to interfere early on in the match. These two had a really good back and forth match before Ibushi is finally able to put Devitt away, winning the Jr. Heavyweight Title!

After the match, El Desperado comes out and basically challenges Ibushi for the title at a future date.

9.) IWGP Heavyweight Title - Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito: ****1/2

Naito got this title shot by winning the 2013 G1 Climax. Okada's entrance is always BOSS. If you're wondering why this match isn't the main event, their was a vote held to determine which match was the main event: this match for the Intercontinental Title Match. The IC Title won, so this match is now the Semi-Main Event. Despite that, this was easily Match of the Night. Okada always turns out awesome performances no matter who he's against. Naito really showed off his stuff here to. They have great chemistry, and it produced an awesome match. Eventually, Okada is able to outlast Naito, putting him away and retaining his title.

10.) IWGP Intercontinental Title - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: ****1/4

Stan Hansen comes out before the main event. Tanahashi is accompanied by Marty Friedman (longtime Guitarist from Megadeath) who performs his theme live. Awesome. Nakamura (the champion) comes out to these pole dancers. Their have been a lot WrestleMania Style Entrances tonight. This was a pretty awesome main event, which is exactly what you would expect from Tanahashi & Nakamura. Even though it wasn't as good as the IWGP Title Match, it still had a lot of great action, and eventually Tanahashi gets the win and the Intercontinental Title to close the show!

Overall: 8.5/10

While I've heard a lot of people say this wasn't the best Dome Show (and I'm willing to bet that their have been better), it was still a pretty good one. The show started off good with some solid title matches, but then hit a rough patch in the middle with some matches that were definitely less than stellar. Thankfully, the last four matches were all really good and definitely delivered. A very good show on the whole from New Japan.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

AIW Dead Presidents Review

AIW closes out 2013 in a big way!

AIW Dead Presidents
Cleveland, Ohio 12/27/13

Before the first match, #NIXON (Eric Ryan, Ricky Shane Page & The Duke) show up through the crowd. At the last AIW show, they had lost in a brutal main event match with control of AIW on the line. The Duke is allowed to stay because he still had a "talent's contract" but Ryan & Page are both kicked out of the building.

1.) AIW Tag Team Titles - Four Corner Survival - The Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers & T-Money) vs. The Submission Squad (Evan Gelistico & Pierre Abernathy) vs. Youthanazia (Josh Prohibition & Matt Cross) vs. The Hot Young Best Friends (Briley Pierce & Gary Jay): **3/4

The Jollyville Fuck-Its (That's an interesting name for a Tag Team, isn't it) are defending the titles in this four-way match. This was a fine opener. Solid action but nothing overly good. The Boys from Jollyville retain their titles.

Gregory Iron, accompanied by his Iron Curtain Security, is out for his "Wide Open Challenge", despite being not actually dressed to compete. He disparages the fans at ringside before Veda Scott, who was formerly Tag Team Champions with Iron as part of Hope & Change, comes out to answer. Iron keeps interrupting Veda until she finally attacks him. She has the upper hand for a bit (including a dive onto Iron & his security) before the numbers catch up to her. They beat her down and Iron forces himself on Veda. He & his Iron Curtain leave and Veda simply says "WAR" before heading to the back.

2.) Six-Way Scramble Match - Flip Kendrick vs. Johnny Wave vs. Davey Vega vs. Bobby Beverly vs. Colin Delaney vs. Marion Fontaine: ***

Another multi-man match, this time it's a Six-Way Scramble. I found this to be entertaining. Again, nothing overly good, but solid action combined with some funny moments. Bobby Beverly gets the win.

3.) Colt Cabana vs. Tracy Smothers: N/A

Smothers is accompanied by one of his daughters. Before the match even starts, Smothers cuts a long promo where he talks about various things....for some reason. I guess it's because people like to hear him talk. Cabana interrupts on a few occasions to make some crude sexual remarks towards Smothers' Daughter. 

If their's any match that deserves an N/A Rating, it's this one. To be completely honest, it truly wasn't that much of a match as it was a larger comedy skit/wrestling match between Cabana & Smothers. They did some pretty funny stuff while Dave Prazak sounded drunk on commentary. Cabana eventually picks up the win. If you're big fans of Colt Cabana & Tracy Smothers, then this one's for you.

4.) AIW Intense Title - Louis Lyndon vs. Kevin Steen: ***1/2

Lyndon is defending his title here against Steen. A pretty solid match here. I think that any time you get a bigger guy vs. a little guy on the indy scene nowadays, it tends to be pretty good. Steen & Lyndon put on a good match and it's nice to see Lyndon showcased against one of the bigger names in Independent Wrestling. Lyndon retains his title after a distraction from Lyndon's partner in crime, Ethan Page, costs Steen the match.

5.) Tim Donst vs. Chris Hero: ***3/4

I was actually really looking forward to seeing this match going into it. These two have some history as Donst spent some time training under Hero at The Wrestle Factory when Hero was still in CHIKARA. It certainly didn't disappoint. Hero & Donst put on a very good match here. It's even more impressive when you consider the fact that Donst was wrestling with a 105 Degree Fever. Lots of good match wrestling and hard hitting action. I feel like Donst is someone who people might overlook because he's been mainly associated with CHIKARA for most of his career, but he's really good, and deserves to get opportunities in bigger promotions. Donst gets the win with a cradle pin.

After the match, Hero puts over Donst and says that there will be a rematch in the future. Donst talks about how he overcame a 105 Degree Fever to be here to wrestle (and beat) Chris Hero. He then calls out CZW Wrestler Danny Havoc, challenging him to a Hardcore Match on the next AIW Show.

6.) AIW Absolute Title - Three-Way Elimination Match - UltraMantis Black vs. Johnny Gargano vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page: ***1/2

This was originally scheduled to be UltraMantis Black defending against just Johnny Gargano, but Ethan Page (the man Black beat for the title) demands to be put in the match. Black & Gargano agree to do so and it's now a Three-Way Elimination Match. A pretty solid match here. Didn't get quite as good as I hoped it would, but still a very solid three way. UltraMantis Black is eliminated first, and a run in by Louis Lyndon to distract Gargano allows Page to roll him up and claims his second Absolute Title.

Page is celebrating in the ring with Lyndon until Michael Elgin comes out. Elgin talks about how he was supposed to have a 2/3 Falls Match with Josh Alexander, but since he's not there, he wants his 2/3 Falls Match with Page for the title right now. Page declines initially, but then accepts only after attacking Elgin from behind.

7.) AIW Absolute Title - 2/3 Falls Match - "All Ego" Ethan Page vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****1/4

I though this was an awesome match! I can see now why Elgin talks so highly of Ethan Page in regards to ROH bringing him in. These two worked really well together and the final fall was especially great. The only thing preventing this match from being better was actually the crowd. Their were times they really reacted, but at the same time, their were times they were on the quiet side, which I think took away from the match a bit. Still, an incredible performance by both guys. Elgin & Page split the first two falls, but then Elgin claims the third fall after an incredible exchange to win the Absolute Title.

After the match, Elgin celebrates his title win and puts over AIW to close the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was my first foray into AIW, and I gotta say, it was a pretty good show. The first part of the show seemed to drag a little bit, but one you got to Lyndon vs. Steen, things really picked up and you go some pretty good to great matches. The talent I was familiar with did well, as you would expect, and the AIW Talent certainly showed their stuff. On the whole, a relatively solid outing from AIW.

ROH Austin Aries: The Greatest Man That Ever Lived Review

From "Your Personal Jesus" to "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", it's the best of Austin Aries!

Austin Aries: The Greatest Man That Ever Lived

Disk 1

6th Anniversary Show (2/23/08) – Austin Aries vs. Go Shiozaki: ****

Dragon Gate Challenge II (3/28/08) – Austin Aries vs. Genki Horiguchi: ***1/4

Battle For Supremacy (6/27/08) – Relaxed Rules – Austin Aries vs. The Necro Butcher: Good Segment

Vendetta II (6/28/08) – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ****1/4

Death Before Dishonor VI (8/2/08) – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Necro Butcher: **1/2

Bound By Hate (11/8/08) – Dog Collar Match – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ****1/4

Rising Above 2008 (11/22/08) – I Quit Match – Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ****1/4

All-Star Extravaganza IV (12/26/08) – Austin Aries vs. Naomichi Marufuji: ****

Disk 2

Final Battle 2008 (12/27/08) - #1 Contender’s Match – Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black: ****

Manhattan Mayhem III (6/13/09) – ROH World Title - Three Way Elimination Match – Jerry Lynn vs. Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black: ****

Death Before Dishonor VII: Night 1 (7/24/09) – ROH World Title - Four Corner Survival Match – Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Nigel McGuinness: ****

ROH on HDNet Episode 22 – Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong: ****

The Final Countdown Tour: Chicago (9/19/09) – ROH World Title – Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson: ****1/4

The Omega Effect (11/14/09) – ROH World Title – Austin Aries vs. Kenny Omega: ****1/4

ROH on HDNet Episode 37 – ROH World Title Match – Four Corner Survival – Austin Aries vs. Davey Richards vs. Kenny Omega vs. Roderick Strong: ****1/4

Reverse The Curse (12/5/09) – ROH World Title – Steel Cage – Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana: ***3/4

Overall: 9.25/10

I really enjoyed this compilation DVD for a number of reasons. Firstly, it does a great job telling the story of Austin Aries in 2008-9. Pretty much all of the segments from the first half of 2008 are featured, which includes the attempts of both The Age of the Fall and Tammy "Sunny" Sytch to recruit Aries to their respective causes, as well as Aries ultimately leading Lacey away from Jimmy Jacobs, leading to the Jacobs/Aries feud that makes up the vast majority of the first disk. You then see his change in attitude following the Jimmy Jacobs feud where he morphed into the "Greatest Man That Ever Lived" character that we all know & love today, and the character that is arguably a big part of his rise to the TNA World Title years later. Then there is of course the matches that make up this DVD. On the whole, the quality is very good. The first disk features a lot of his matches with Jimmy Jacobs from 2008, while the second features his historic second World Title win and a number of his title defenses from 2009. You don't get any amazingly standout matches (i.e. none of the matches reach ****1/2 or higher), but you do get consistently great matches. Out of the 16 Matches that are included in full, 12 of them are in the **** to ****1/4 range, which just speaks to how great of a wrestler Austin Aries is. In summary, this is a pretty great DVD compilation. I'd definitely recommend it, especially if you're an Austin Aries fan.