Thursday, July 31, 2014

PROGRESS Chapter 13: Unbelievable Jeff! Review

Prince Devitt vs. Zack Sabre Jr.? Count Me In!!

This is my first time checking out an event, of any kind, from the British Independent Scene. The story with this show was that this particular promotion, PROGRESS, decided to release the event for free on Youtube, due to some audio & video problems that occurred with the show. It featured Price Devitt vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (which was really appealing to a lot of us fans here in the United States), as well as other British Talent that I was familiar with (Martin Kirby, Kris Travis, Pete Dunne, Mark Haskins, Tommy End, El Ligero & Mark Andrews), so I decided to check it out. How can you go wrong with free wrestling?!

PROGRESS Chapter 13: Unbelievable Jeff!
London, England 5/18/14

1.) Rampage Brown vs. Darrell Allen: ***

Commentary mentions that Rampage Brown is a former PROGRESS Champion. A pretty solid opener here. Brown looked really impressive as a power guy in here, while Allen looked good in here as well. Brown is apparently facing Samoa Joe at the next PROGRESS Show, so this was a good way to built him up.

2.) Natural Progression Series - Pete Dunne vs. Robbie X: ***1/4

From what I can gather, The National Progression Series is a tournament for younger wrestlers, where the winner gets a future title shot. This was a pretty good match. I've seen Pete Dunne before in Wrestling is Cool, but Robbie X was also very impressive in here. Both guys looked really good. I should note that the crowd was really awesome here. At one point, Robbie X's face got all red, and the fans responded by singing "He's got Red on his face" to the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands", which was awesome. Dunne scores the win.

3.) Michael Gilbert vs. Eddie Dennis (aka "Eddie Mysterio Jr."): **

The story with this one was that Gilbert is an ultra-serious wrestler while Dennis is more of a funny guy. Before the match starts, Dennis cuts a promo, and proclaims that he'll be wrestling as his alter ego, Eddie Mysterio Jr. (complete with a Lucha Mask)! This was an ok match. I get what they were trying to do here, but I don't think it clicked very well. The fact that it was a pretty long match didn't help either. Gilbert eventually gets the win.

4.) #1 Contender's Four-Way Elimination Match - Screw Indy Wrestling (Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz) vs. Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson & Will Ospreay) vs. Project Ego (Kris Travis & Martin Kirby) vs. London Riots (Rob Lynch & James Davis): ***

The winners of this will be getting a future shot at the Tag Team Titles (Currently held by Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis). It is also being contested under elimination rules (I'll come back to that in a second). For the most part, this match was a lot of fun. The action started heating up right from the get go and, predictably, it turned into a mad scramble, with bodies flying every which way. Then the eliminations came. Screw Indy Wrestling & Project Ego were eliminated by Double Count Out, which was completely ridiculous, and killed the crowd a bit. With this, it came down to London Riots & Swords of Essex, but then, Paul Robinson turns on his partner Will Ospreay!! He walks out on Ospreay, leaving him to fight London Riots on his own. He actually is able to stand his own for a few minute, with the crowd really added to it by chanting "Sword of Essex" (singular). However, it only delayed the inevitable, as London Riots got the win.

After the match, PROGRESS Champion Jimmy Havoc comes out, and has London Riots (they're in a heel stable together) to tie Ospreay to a chair. Havoc says that bad things will happen to people the fans like if he doesn't get some respect. He pulls out a knife and looks like he's going to physically torture Ospreay, but thankfully several babyfaces come out from the back and make the save. Ospreay is spooked at what almost happened to him.

5.) Tommy End vs. El Ligero: ***1/4

These are two guys who I've heard a bit about, but that I've never actually seen until now. This was a very solid match. El Ligero looked good with his high flying while Tommy End got to display his power and other things. Both guys were impressive. The match initially ends in a DQ when Michael Gilbert interferes, but El Ligero doesn't want to win by DQ, and wants the match restarted. It is, but El Ligero shortly thereafter taps out to a Dragon Sleeper from End. This match was going well until the finish. That's the second match in the row that featured some poor booking in regards to a finish/elimination.

Afterwords, Gilbert attacked El Ligero, and lays him out. 

6.) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Prince Devitt: ****

This is a big dream match in a lot of people's eyes. I've heard a TON about how great Zack Sabre Jr. is (he mainly wrestles in Pro Wrestling NOAH), and of course well all know what Prince Devitt has done. Devitt comes out dresses as The Joker from The Dark Knight (complete with face paint), which was badass!! I really enjoyed this match. Devitt is without a doubt one of the best in the world at what he does, but Zack Sabre Jr. showed why he deserves to be included in that conversation. Great action in this one. The crowd was really into out, and both guys looked awesome. Devitt is eventually able to hit Bloody Sunday score the win in this epic encounter.

7.) PROGRESS Championship - Ladder Match - Jimmy Havoc vs. Mark Andrews: ***3/4

Apparently the actual title is being represented by a contract on a clipboard (which says "I.O.U. One Title") for some reason. Havoc kind of looks like a British Version of Jimmy Jacobs, while I know Andrews from Wrestling is Cool (where he teamed with Pete Dunne). This was a really good brawl of a Ladder Match. Much less high flying in this one, as they focused more on beating the crap out of each. A number of spots involving the Ladder, and several tables were broken. Eventually London Riots come out and help Havoc, but Pete Dunne & Eddie Dennis come out to help their stablemate Andrews! This leads to Andrews climbing a big Ladder and hitting a big dive onto everyone!!! It then looks like Andrews is going to win, but then Paul Robinson comes out, and officially aligns himself with Havoc's group by attacking Andrews! This leads to Havoc climbing the Ladder and retaining his "title" to close the show. 

Overall: 7.5/10

My first experience watching a wrestling show from the British Independent Scene was an interesting one. Obviously the big appeal here is Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Prince Devitt, which I think definitely delivered, being the MOTN without a doubt. The Main Event, despite the interference (which will bother some) was a really fun brawl that had a lot of cool spots in it. The undercard was fine on the whole, though there were several matches that had booking issues (some of which were legitimately upsetting) that definitely hurt the show in the end. Despite the negatives, the crowd on the show was awesome. It seems that British Wrestling Fans are really responsive to wrestling, no matter if it's WWE, TNA, or a local independent promotion. They were into the show pretty much from start to finish, which really made it more enjoyable. In closing, this was a solid show that was really helped by the two Main Events. Plus, it's free wrestling, and you really can't go wrong with that.

ROH Fifth Year Festival: NYC Review

Samoa Joe battles Takeshi Morishima while Homicide defends the ROH World Title against Jimmy Rave!

ROH Fifth Year Festival: NYC
New York City, New York 2/16/07

This is the first show of the Fifth Year Festival, a set of six shows celebrating ROH's Fifth Year Anniversary. These shows will also host Samoa Joe's Farewell Tour. The first show is in New York City.

The show kicks off with Pelle Primeau, who basically issues an Open Challenge to anyone who wants to face him. Samoa Joe's music plays, but Takeshi Morishima comes out, and I guess he's Primeau's opponent.

1.) Pelle Primeau vs. Takeshi Morishima: DUD

Morishima hits the Back Drop Driver on Primeau and gets the quick pin. That's pretty much it. Essentially a squash match.

After the match, Morishima cuts a promo essentially calling out Samoa Joe, but Nigel McGuinness comes out to calm him down. 

While they are heading to the back, Adam Pearce & Shane Hagadorn come out. They basically insult Primeau and beat him up a little bit, before Delirious comes out and we have our real first match of the night.

2.) Adam Pearce (with Shane Hagadorn) vs. Delirious: **1/2

These two recently started a feud. The match itself wasn't really anything special, but it was relatively solid. The finish of the match, where Pearce & Delirious went back & forth with some brass knuckles, was pretty good. Delirious picks up the win.

3.) Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger vs. Daizee Haze & Alexa Thatcher: *1/4

The announces bill this as a SHIMMER Showcase Match. Shortly into the match, Lacey comes out and starts fighting with Lacey (the two have been feuding). They brawl to the back, leaving Thatcher all alone, who quickly falls to Del Ray & Danger. There really wasn't much to this one, as it basically used for angle purposes.

4.) Four Way Fray - Shingo vs. Jimmy Jacobs (with Lacey) vs. Jack Evans vs. Xavier: ***1/2

This is a match apparently borrowed from FIP. It's basically a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match. Davey Richards was originally going to be in this one, but was pulled due to injury. Former ROH World Champion Xavier (the 2nd ROH World Champion) is the surprise replacement. This was a really entertaining match. All four men got to show off their stuff and the crowd was really into it. Xavier went out first, followed by Jimmy Jacobs. The final two were Shingo & Jack Evans (who at the time, were stable mates in Dragon Gate). Evans wins the match with the 630 Senton.

Between matches, Bobby Cruise announces that Takeshi Morishima will challenge the winner of the Homicide/Jimmy Rave match for the ROH World Title at the show in Philadelphia the next night. Samoa Joe interrupts things to a massive reaction. The fans chant "Please Don't Go" and we also got "Fuck TNA" Chants (Joe was leaving ROH to commit full time to TNA), but Joe tells them not to say that. He puts over ROH and it's fans, thanking them, before addressing Morishima's challenge. He says he's ready to go right now! This brings out Nigel McGuinness (who had been spending a good deal of time in Pro Wrestling NOAH over the last year), who tells Joe that it was Morishima who called out Joe, and this leads to a brawl between Joe & McGuinness.

5.) Tables Are Legal - BJ Whitmer vs. Brent Albright: ***3/4

Albright has made a splash in the months since his debut. He's been working as a "hired gun", doing people's dirty work for cash. He eventually got tangled up in the feuds Jimmy Jacobs was having with BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana (siding with Jacobs & Lacey), leading to this match. I really enjoyed this one. It was a lot fun. Both guys went out there and just destroyed each other. I lost count of how many tables were broken. A ton of crazy spots in this one. Whitmer is eventually able to go the distance and defeat Albright.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal (with Allison Danger) vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong: ***1/4

Sydal comes into this match as Dragon Gate's Open The Brave Gate Champion. This is only the second title defense for Daniels & Sydal who, since winning the World Tag Team Titles in November of the previous year, haven't been able to defend them as much due to a combination of injuries & scheduling conflicts. Oddly enough, these two teams faced off at Gut Check in August of 2006, which saw Aries & Strong retain their titles. This is their rematch for the titles. You'd think that given the competitors involved, this would be fantastic. While it was a good match, it was actually a bit disappointing. It went about 20 minutes, but it just never felt like it went into that higher gear. Honestly found it hard to stay interested at times. Definitely a bit underwhelming. Eventually, Daniels & Sydal get the win & retain their titles.

Afterwords, as Aries & Strong get applause from the crowd for their efforts, Davey Richards makes his way out. He gets in the face of Austin Aries, and then out of nowhere, Roderick Strong nails Aries with a backbreaker. As they beat Aries down Strong takes the mic, saying that he won't be held back by Aries any longer. Richards then has his turn and names his team with Strong as The No Remorse Corps. Eventually Jack Evans comes out and chases Strong & Richards out of the ring. Aries takes the mic and runs down Strong, saying that he & Evans will fight back. Evans, however, has other ideas, saying he doesn't want to get between them, but promises to get to the bottom of the situation.

7.) The Briscoes vs. Nigel McGuinness & Colt Cabana: ***1/4

McGuinness & Cabana had a feud back in 2005, but now that Nigel is a face, he's teaming with Cabana (and it makes sense, as they both utilize the British Style). Here they are facing The Briscoes. A pretty solid match here. I'd say it was on par with the World Tag Team Title Match. Lots of solid action in this one. Cabana & McGuinness get the win, and they put over a commentary how they're a future threat in the Tag Team Division, but they really wouldn't team much after this. The wrong team definitely went over here.

While Cabana & McGuinness are celebrating their win, Samoa Joe comes out and he continues his brawl with McGuinness from earlier. This brings out Morishima, and his match with Joe was on!

8.) Takeshi Morishima vs. Samoa Joe: ****

I was always found this match an interesting one on paper, as Joe & Morishima are similar in a number of ways. This was a really good match. There was a lot of great action in here and I felt like these two worked well together. While it didn't have the atmosphere of the Joe/Kobashi encounter, and while Joe probably should have lost, seeing that Morishima went on to win the World Title the next night in Philadelphia, it was still a very good match. Joe gets the win when he chokes Morishima  out.

9.) ROH World Title - Homicide (with Julius Smokes) vs. Jimmy Rave: ***3/4

Rave has been "rebuilt" in a sense since the breakup of The Embassy in 2006. He got a new submission finisher, The Heel Hook, and had been on a big winning streak. This was a pretty good main event. Some people might not like this as much, given the guys involved, but I thought it was very solid. Homicide did his usual stuff while Rave looked good as well. Good back & forth action, although it lost a little bit of steam at times, and I think the match wasn't quite as good because of it. Still, it was a very solid World Title Match. Homicide eventually puts Rave away with Da Cop Killa for the win, and retains his World Title.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was a pretty solid showing from ROH. While the show started off a little slow with a squash, an ok opener, and a women's match that was used more to serve an angle, it picked up a little bit afterwords. The Four Way Fray and the Tables Are Legal Match were really exciting and got the crowd back into the show. The World Tag Team Title Match was a bit disappointing, but the angle afterwords did do a good job of making up for it. They did a good job of building up to the Joe/Morishima match well and I felt it delivered. Finally, the World Title Match, while not the match of the night, was a very good way to close the show. ROH started off it's Firth Year Celebration in a good way for sure.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Evolve 30 Review

An injury to Johnny Gargano shakes things up in Brooklyn!

Before I start with the review, I should make a note about this show. The original Main Event was scheduled to be Johnny Gargano vs. Rich Swann in an I Quit Match, but Gargano suffered a dislocated/fractured jaw in his match with Biff Busick at Evolve 29, and thus is off this show (though he would show up on commentary). This ended up shuffled the card around a bit. Now we have a Challenge Series, featuring The Premiere Athlete Brand vs. AR Fox, Rich Swann & Uhaa Nation. There would be three singles matches, followed by a Six Man War in the Main Event.

Evolve 30
Brooklyn, New York 5/10/14

1.) Caleb Konley (with Su Yung & Mr. A) vs. AR Fox: ***1/2

This is the first match of the Challenge Series, and a rematch from Evolve 28. Much like their previous match, it was pretty good. A very solid opener. Unlike their previous matchup, however, we actually got an appropriate finish, as Konley got his knees up and countered a 450 Splash into a rollup and scores the victory, giving The Premiere Athlete Brand a 1-0 advantage.

2.) Blake Edward Belakus vs. Ryan Rush: **

I'm not that familiar with Ryan Rush. This wasn't as good as the match Belakus had with JT Dunn at Evolve 29. This was mainly used to build up Belakus more than anything else, who gets the victory and goes undefeated on the weekend.

3.) #WalkingWeapon vs. Tim Donst: ***1/4

Here we have an interesting matchup as we have two wrestlers who have amateur backgrounds. This was a really good match. Alexander & Donst were able to provide something different compared to what else was on the card, as we got treated to a match with a lot of hard hitting action and solid wrestling. Both guys deserve opportunities in bigger companies, like I've said many times before. In this encounter, #WalkingWeapon gets the win.

Before SHINE Champion Ivelisse comes out to do an interview, we get Larry Dallas showing up again and, much like Evolve 29, he begs for job back. Again....NOBODY CARES!!!

We finally get SHINE Champion Ivelisse out for her interview, but it's hard to hear her on that mic. Presumably it's about the attack by Christina Von Eerie from the night before at Evolve 29. Of course, Von Eerie comes out and attacks Ivelisse! They brawl around for awhile and it takes a long time for the referees to separate them.

4.) Three Way Freestyle – #ALLEGO vs. Jigsaw vs. Chuck Taylor: **3/4

I believe this was originally scheduled to be a Four Way Freestyle, but with the changes to the card due to Gargano's Injury, Anthony Nese was pulled out, and it is now a Three Way Freestyle. This was an entertaining match, though it was a little short for it to be anything really good (and it could have been better had it gotten a little bit more time). Jigsaw scores the win in this fun, but short, three way match.

5.) Open The United Gate Tag Team Titles – The Bravado Brothers vs. The Colony (Fire Ant & Green Ant): ***1/2

This match was set up at Mercury Rising 2014 after The Colony defeated The Bravado Brothers as part of the Trios Tournament. I thought this was a really good match. These two teams work pretty well together (as well as in there respective roles) and they put on a really solid title match. At one point, Moose got ejected from ringside, forcing The Bravados to be without their muscle. This match was definitely a bright moment in the reign of The Bravado Brothers, which hasn't been that good up to this point. Eventually, The Bravados, through some chicanery involving Green Ant's mask, get the win and retain their titles. Very good match, but the problem is that there is just no tag team division. The Colony were the only real babyface challengers, and now that they're vanquished, their is literally nobody left. The Young Bucks leaving Dragon Gate USA/Evolve in favor of going to bigger things in New Japan, and returning to Ring of Honor, and really hurt.

Back from intermission, we get The Premiere Athlete Brand coming out. Anthony Nese berates Mr. A for his recent failures over the last few shows, and wants him to prove his worth, apparently in a match against Moose...

6.) Mr. A (with The Premiere Athlete Brand) vs. Moose: *1/2

This pretty much went as well as you would think it would. It was what it was. Moose gets the win.

I should make a special note that this looks to be Moose's last match with the WWNLive Universe, as he signed with ROH the next month. Guess this means The Bravado Bandwagon lost their bodyguard...

After the match, the rest of The Premiere Athlete Brand rub salt in the wounds of Mr. A by roughing him up some more and officially kick him out of the group. Can't say I'm disappointed to see Mr. A go. Nese then calls out Rich Swann for their match.

7.) Anthony Nese (with The Premiere Athlete Brand) vs. Rich Swann (with AR Fox & Uhaa Nation): ***1/2

Here we have the second match of the Challenge Series. This was a pretty good match. Both guys are great athletes so it's no surprise that this was good match. Nese continues to impress while Swann continues to be awesome & entertaining. A ton of good stuff happened in this one. Nese picks up the win and The Premiere Athlete Brand takes a 2-0 lead. 

8.) Trent Baretta (with The Premiere Athlete Brand) vs. Uhaa Nation (with AR Fox & Rich Swann): ***3/4

With everyone already at ringside, this match got started quickly. It is the third match in the Challenge Series. This was easily the Match of the Night. In the year he's been on the independent scene since leaving WWE, Trent Baretta has gotten so good, it's crazy. He's established himself as a major player and it's well deserved. Uhaa Nation has, over the years, gotten incredibly good himself, and all these elements put together a really great match. These two meshed really well together, in my opinion, and the crowd was pretty into it, which was good to see. Uhaa Nation picks up the win, and his team is now down only 2-1.

9.) Anything Goes Match – The Premiere Athlete Brand (Anthony Nese, Trent Baretta & Caleb Konley with Su Yung) vs. Uhaa Nation, AR Fox & Rich Swann: ***1/4

This is the final match of the Challenge Series, and it's anything goes! While it wasn't a really long Main Event (it only went, I think, 11 Minutes or so), I thought it was entertaining. I get that they wanted to do a Hardcore Style Match to make up for the lack of an I Quit Match, and in that regard, they did provide a fun Anything Goes Brawl. It was essentially a car crash, with Ladder, Chairs, and everything else involved. The team of Uhaa Nation, AR Fox & Rich Swann get the win, meaning the Challenge Series ends in a 2-2 tie....wait, what?

Overall: 7.5/10

Comparatively speaking, this show wasn't as good as Evolve 29. Obviously the Johnny Gargano Injury had a big effect on this card and how it turned out. For the most part, however, it had some pretty solid matches in the form of Konley/Fox, The Open The United Gate Title Match, Nese/Swann, while Trent Baretta vs. Uhaa Nation was the clear Match of the Night. However, this show did expose some of the problems plaguing Evolve as well as Dragon Gate USA. The Larry Dallas Saga continues, and less people care every day. I already talked a little bit about the horrible state of the tag team division earlier in the review. Then you have The Premiere Athlete Brand, who have been booked poorly throughout 2014. How are we supposed to get into The Premiere Athlete Brand as the top heel stable in the promotion when they constantly lose and are made to look silly. On the surface, it's a solid show (an easy recommendation for any Trent Baretta or Uhaa Nation fans), but it also reveals all of the underlying problems with Evolve as a promotion.

Evolve 29 Review

A big tag team Main Event headlines Evolve's return to Queens!

Evolve 29
Queens, New York 5/9/14

1.) Blake Edward Belakus vs. JT Dunn (with Shelly Martinez): **3/4

Belakus is becoming more & more frequent in the WWNLive Universe (mainly FIP, and starting to creep into Evolve), while JT Dunn has been seeing a lot of success in CZW, Beyond Wrestling & FIP as one half of the Juicy Product. The lovely Shelly Martinez is in Dunn's corner. A pretty solid opener here. Both guys worked hard and the crowd appreciated their effort. Belakus has potential, and I would love to see JT Dunn bring in his Juicy Product partner David Starr with him to Evolve so they can add some like to this extremely lacking tag team division. Belakus gets the win in this one.

2.) Non Title Match – Open The United Gate Tag Team Champions The Bravado Brothers (with Moose) vs. The Monster Mafia (#ALLEGO & #Walking Weapon): ***1/2

This is a non-title match. #ALLEGO is starting to get booked in bigger independent promotions with his amazing performances in AAW & AIW while #WalkingWeapon is just coming off an injury. I enjoyed this. It was an entertaining tag team match. The Monster Mafia continue to prove themselves and why they deserve to be in bigger places. They're both so talented. The Bravados were their usual selves....still trying to enforce their "you must use the tag ropes" gimmick that seems to be forgotten whenever they're actually in a match. In the end, Harlem & Lancelot Bravado get the victory.

Before the next match, Su Yung extends an invitation to Uhaa Nation to join the Premiere Athlete Brand.

3.) Caleb Konley (with Su Yung & Mr. A) vs. Rich Swann: ****

This would the first of many matches involving The Premiere Athlete Brand against various combinations of AR Fox, Rich Swann & Uhaa Nation. This match between Caleb Konley & Rich Swann was actually pretty great. Lots of back & forth action. Swann is one of the most exiting and entertaining wrestlers in the world today. Great high flyer and tons of charisma, so it's no surprise that he was awesome here. It's honestly impossible not to love this guy. As far as Caleb Konley goes, this might be his best singles match he's had since coming to Dragon Gate USA/Evolve. It's a shame that's he's been criminally misused since the day he was brought in. He's deserved better. Still, this was a really great match. 

After his victory, Swann tries to cut a promo on his I Quit Match with Johnny Gargano the next night at Evolve 30, but the mic isn't working, so he just shouts his promo.

4.) Johnny Gargano vs. Biff Busick: ***3/4

Now this was a matchup I was looking forward to. Biff Busick is a guy who's stock is rising, after his many critically acclaimed encounters with Drew Gulak and his recent CZW World Title win. Gargano comes out looking a little sad, after losing the Open The Freedom Gate Title at Open The Ultimate Gate 2014, but is ready to compete. This was another great match. I really like the placement of this match because it was just as good as the match before it, but it was a completely different style of match. Whenever you have a match involving Biff Busick, it's going to be hard hitting, and that's exactly what we got. Lots of good wrestling in this one. At one point, Busick gave Gargano a sick lariat that ended up dislocating/partially fracturing Gargano's jaw (which would effect his status for Evolve 30). Busick would end up getting a huge win over the former Open The Freedom Gate Champion.

5.) Jigsaw & Tim Donst vs. The Colony (Fire Ant & Green Ant): ***1/2

Once again, we have another change of pace, this time to a match featuring some CHIKARA stalwarts.  I think this is the first time Jigsaw & Tim Donst have teamed together in a two-on-two match, but I could be wrong. As you would expect this was a really entertaining match. The Colony are always fun to watch while Jigsaw & Donst played their heel (or rudo) roles well. Although the match had some rough spots, it was still pretty good. The Colony won on a bit of a botch as Green Ant locked in the the CHIKARA Special and the referee (for some stupid reason) counted it as a pinfall!! Bryce Remsburg should slap that referee!! Having The Colony winning here makes total sense since they're challenging The Bravado Brothers for the Open The United Gate Titles at Evolve 30.

Speaking of which, Green Ant takes the mic after the match and cuts a promo talking about The Colony's big title match the next night. This brings out The Bravado Brothers, who congratulate The Colony on the win but chastise them for not following the proper tag rules. This leads to Moose sneaking up from behind and spearing both Fire Ant & Green Ant.

6.) Drew Gulak vs. Chuck Taylor: ***

This match came about after the Gentlemen's Club exploded during WrestleMania Weekend, with Orange Cassidy walking out on Chuck Taylor at Evolve 28, while Drew Gulak attacked Taylor following their tag team loss at Open The Ultimate Gate 2014. This was a good match, though it never really was much better than that. Part of the issue with this was that is was built as a "Grudge Match", but yet they started the match like a normal match, and don't go at each other right from the beginning. Again, the action was fine, but it wasn't anything overly impressive. Gulak gets the submission victory

Before the Main Event, we are unexpectedly interrupted by Larry Dallas, who had been fired following the antics he pulled with Teddy Hart during the WrestleMania Weekend Shows. He tries to beg for his job back, but nobody cares. Can we please move on?

7.) AR Fox & Uhaa Nation (with SHINE Champion Ivelisse) vs. The Premiere Athlete Brand (Anthony Nese & Trent Baretta with Su Yung & Mr. A): ****1/4

SHINE Champion Ivelisse is out with AR Fox & Uhaa Nation to even the odds against Su Yung at ringside, which is something show has been doing for several months. Su Yung, before the match begins, demands an answer from Uhaa Nation on her offer from earlier. Uhaa Nation then proposes something slightly different, saying that if he loses, he will indeed join the Premiere Athlete Brand, but that if he & AR Fox win, then they win The Premiere Athlete Brand's prize for winning the Trios Tournament at Mercury Rising 2014, which was to book any match they wanted in Dragon Gate USA/Evolve. Su Yung excepts this offer. As the match begins, Christina Von Eerie attacks Ivelisse and the two women brawl to the back, presumably setting up a future SHINE Title Match. That was a lot of stuff before the match even got started!

As for the match itself, I thought it was actually a fantastic Main Event. All four of these guys are great wrestlers and they put together a really great match here. Nese & Baretta continue to get better, and both Uhaa Nation & AR Fox were awesome as always. I could get used to them being a regular tag team whenever Uhaa Nation isn't wrestling in Japan. Eventually, the team of Uhaa Nation & AR Fox get the win, and the right to book whatever matches they want in Dragon Gate USA/Evolve.

Overall: 8.5/10

This was definitely the best Evolve Show since Evolve 25 back in January. You'll notice that the shows that tend to be more focused on wrestling, and not on some of the crap like we saw during WrestleMania Weekend, they tend to be really good. There really wasn't a single bad match on here, while this show had a little something for everyone with a bunch of different styles of matches, something that Evolve was founded on. Despite a few questionable items, like the booking of the Gulak/Taylor Match, the appearance of Larry Dallas, and The Premiere Athlete Brand losing yet again, it was still an extremely solid wrestling show from top to bottom.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WWE Extreme Rules 2014 Review

The Shield battles Evolution while Daniel Bryan defends the WWE World Title against Kane!

*This PPV is available on the WWE Network*

WWE Extreme Rules 2014
East Rutherford, New Jersey 5/4/14


1.) WeeLC Match - El Torito (with Los Matadores) vs. Hornswoggle (with 3MB): ***1/4

Hornswoggle recently joined 3MB and has been feuding with El Torito. Both guys are accompanied by their respective groups. For this match, we also have a...."special" announce team: Micro Cole, Jerry "The Mini-King" Smaller, and WeeBL. Yep, this actually happened. Anyway, didn't know what to expect coming into this, but it was A LOT of fun. Seriously, this was just incredibly awesome. Tons of crazy bumps, from everyone, and the crowd was loving it. This really felt CHIKARAesque, in the sense that it was just so much fun. El Torito scores the win.

Main Show/PPV

1.) Triple Threat Elimination Match - Cesaro (with Paul Heyman) vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter): ***1/2

Before Cesaro comes out, Paul Heyman cuts one of his awesome promos. This match came about after the break up of the Real Americans and some shenanigans involving RVD during the Intercontinental Title #1 Contender's Tournament. It's also a Triple Threat Elimination Match, a callback of sorts to the Three Way Dances of ECW. This was a really entertaining opener. Just a ton of fun action throughout. Swagger would end up getting eliminated first, then Cesaro would finally eliminate RVD to win the match. 

2.) Handicap Match - Alexander Rusev (with Lana) vs. R-Truth & Xavier Woods: *1/2

Rusev recently made the move up to the main roster from NXT. It was fine for what it was. More of a way to get Rusev (and Lana) over more than anything else. Some might say that R-Truth got a little too much offense in, but I didn't mind it, personally. Rusev wins this one.

3.) WWE Intercontinental Title - Big E vs. Bad News Barrett: ***1/4

Barrett won a #1 Contender's Tournament that took place over a few weeks on RAW to earn this title shot. On paper, some people might not like this match, but I think it actually turned out pretty well. This was a very solid big man match. It had a lot of action, and it didn't overstay its welcome. One of the better spots of the match involved Big E spearing Barrett to the outside! That was pretty cool. Eventually, Barrett was able to put away Big E with the Bull Hammer to score the win & capture the Intercontinental Title.

4.) Six Man Tag Team Match - Evolution vs. The Shield: ****3/4

This came about after The Shield came to Daniel Bryan's defense on RAW the night after WrestleMania, fully cementing The Shield's face turn. This match was just so awesome on so many levels. If anyone doubts The Shield is one of the greatest stables to come around in years, this should put them to rest. They've had two bonafide Match Of The Year Contenders (this one and vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber) and they've been stellar ever since their debut. Their match here with Evolution is just awesome. They made The Shield look like a dominate force, with each member getting the chance to shine. The second half of this match was especially awesome, highlighted by Seth Rollins doing a New Jack Style dive off of a balcony! Reigns is eventually able to pin Batista and gets the win for The Shield!!

5.) Steel Cage Match - John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (with The Wyatt Family): *

Kind of strange that their second match is a Steel Cage Match. You'd think this type of match would be better saved as the eventual blowoff. This was just a mess of a match. It was not good at all. The match was going decently well, but then we got tons of overbooking, which included The Wyatt Family interfering (isn't the whole point of doing a Steel Cage Match meant to prevent interference?),  a little kid coming out and singing to Cena in a dubbed Satanic voice, it was just a mess. Plus, Cena didn't lose clean, which, if he did, was something that could have helped Wyatt a ton. Just a train wreck of a match that killed the crowd. Probably one of the worst Steel Cage Matches we've seen in WWE in a long time.

6.) WWE Diva's Title - Paige vs. Tamina Snuka: **1/4

Paige made her main roster debut on RAW the night after WrestleMania, and shocked the world when she defeated AJ Lee to win the Diva's Title. She's making her first defense on PPV against AJ Lee's former bodyguard, Tamina Snuka. This was a decent women's match. Paige has been awesome on NXT. Snuka has the look & size to be a good women's wrestler, but she's still a little sloppy in the ring. Still, it was fine for what it was, though the crowd was pretty quiet for most of it after the crap we just got done watching in that Steel Cage Match.

7.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Extreme Rules Match - Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: ***3/4

After being Corporate Kane for a few months, Stephanie McMahon turned the monster switch back on and Kane was back to wearing a mask and destroying people. Not the best choice for a first defense for Daniel Bryan, but given the extensive history between the two (their initial feud and their successful partnership as Team Hell No) I didn't totally mind it. They had a really good Extreme Rules Match here. We pretty much saw everything but the kitchen sink in this one. There were kendo sticks, backstage brawling, Bryan using a forklift to drive Kane back to the ring, and even hitting a flying headbutt from the top of the forklift! We eventually got Kane chokeslam Bryan through the announce table. Kane then got a regular table and lit on fire, but Bryan turned things around and put Kane through the table while it was on fire!! He then put Kane back in and hit the running knee for the win. Just a very good Extreme Rules Match. Fun & enjoyable. Actually kind of felt like an Attitude Era-esque Main Event in a lot of ways.

Daniel Bryan celebrates his win, but Kane sits up as Bryan exits. So we might be getting more of this? Ugh....

Overall: 7.75/10

I was really torn with how to rate this show. There was a lot of good stuff on this show. You had a couple of good matches (Triple Threat Elimination Match & Big E/Barrett for the Intercontinental Title), a match on the pre-show that was so entertaining and surpassed everyone's expectations, a very good Main Event in Daniel Bryan vs. Kane, and a MOTYC in The Shield vs. Evolution that everyone needs to go out of there way to see. But that horrid Steel Cage Match between John Cena & Bray Wyatt that just drug the show down a great deal. Without that, this could have been a fantastic show, even with the Rusev squash match. At the end of the day, if you're going to watch this show, just skip the Steel Cage Match. Everything else is pretty good, or at least fine for what its purpose was.

WWE Satan's Prison: The Anthology Of The Elimination Chamber Review

Relive some of the greatest moments from one of WWE's signature matches!

WWE Satan's Prison: The Anthology Of The Elimination Chamber

Disk 1

Survivor Series (11/17/02) - World Heavyweight Title - Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho vs. Booker T vs. Kane vs. Shawn Michaels: ****1/2

SummerSlam (8/24/03) - World Heavyweight Title - Triple H vs. Kevin Nash vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg: ***1/2

New Year's Revolution (1/9/05) - Vacant World Heavyweight Title - Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels - Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista: ****1/4

Disk 2

New Year's Revolution (1/8/06) - WWE Championship - John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Carlito vs. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Masters vs. Kane: ****

New Year's Revolution (1/8/06) - WWE Championship - John Cena vs. Edge: Great Moment

December To Dismember (12/3/06) - ECW Championship - Big Show vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Hardcore Holly vs. CM Punk vs. Test vs. Bobby Lashley: ***1/4

No Way Out (2/17/08) - World Heavyweight Title #1 Contender's Match - The Undertaker vs. Batista vs. Big Daddy V vs. The Great Khali vs. Finlay vs. MVP: ***3/4

No Way Out (2/17/08) - WWE Championship #1 Contender's Match - Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Umaga vs. JBL vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy: ****1/4

Disk 3

No Way Out (2/15/09) - WWE Championship - Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Big Show vs. Triple H vs. The Undertaker: ****

No Way Out (2/15/09) - World Heavyweight Title - John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox vs. Kofi Kingston Edge: ****3/4

Elimination Chamber (2/21/10) - WWE Championship - Sheamus vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase Jr. vs. John Cena: ***3/4

Elimination Chamber (2/21/10) - WWE Championship - John Cena vs. Batista: DUD

Elimination Chamber (2/21/10) - World Heavyweight Title - The Undertaker vs. CM Punk vs. R-Truth vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. John Morrison: ****1/4

Overall: 9.25/10

I've always loved the Elimination Chamber. It became one of my favorite matches in WWE from the first time I saw it. It's a really great concept and, over the years, has produced some fantastic matches and memorable moments. Disk 1 covers the early years of the Elimination Chamber, when it was a RAW Exclusive created (in storyline) by then RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff. The first and third Chamber Matches are better than the second, but they all have their moments, such as Goldberg spearing Chris Jericho through the plexiglass of one of the Chamber Pods. Disk 2 covers the Elimination Chamber's expansion to other brands. This includes the controversial Extreme Elimination Chamber from 2006 and the match's move to WWE's February PPV, where it remains an intricate part on the Road To WrestleMania up to this day. You also get Edge's infamous Money In The Bank Cash In following John Cena's successful title defense in the Chamber, which was an awesome moment. Disk 3 continues through the Elimination Chamber's spot on the Road To WrestleMania, and in an interesting fact, every match on Disk 3 has a Title Change. You have the two matches from 2009 which features the fantastic angle involving Edge and what is probably the best Elimination Chamber Match of all time. The two matches from 2010 also features a bonus match, where John Cena wins the title in the Chamber, only to lose it to Batista (who got a Title Shot thanks to Mr. McMahon). You also have the match that sees Shawn Michaels come out from underneath the Chamber Floor and cost The Undertaker his title. On the whole, if you're a fan of the Elimination Chamber, this is the set for you. Not every Elimination Chamber Match was fantastic, but there are great moments in every one that certainly makes it memorable.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wrestling is Fun!: 2014 Tag World Grand Prix: Night 2 Review

Norristown hosts Block B of the Tag World Grand Prix!

Wrestling is Fun! Tag World Grand Prix 2014: Night 2
Norristown, Pennsylvania 5/3/14

1.) Tag World Grand Prix 2014 – Block B – First Round - The Wrecking Crew (Jaka & Oleg The Usurper) vs. The Baltic Siege: (The Estonian ThunderFrog & The Lithuanian Snow Troll): ***3/4

Much like The Devastation Corporation on the first night of the 2014 Tag World Grand Prix, The Wrecking Crew is without Sidney Bakabella. Estonian ThunderFrong & Lithuanian Snow Troll are the combination representing their trio in this tag team contest. I gotta say, I was really, really, really surprised by this match. It turned out to be pretty good, maybe even great. You had some funny moments (like referee Bryce Remsburg falling onto everyone after trying to move Estonian ThunderFrog's Hammer of Peace) but you also had a lot of great back & forth wrestling, This is definitely one of the better matches any of these guys have been involved in. Jaka & Oleg The Usurper are able to sneak away with the victory in this exciting opener, and they advance to the next round.

2.) Tag World Grand Prix 2014 – Block B – First Round - The Bloc Party (Mr. Azerbaijan & The Proletariat Boar of Moldova) vs. Knight Eye For The Pirate Guy (Lance Steel & Jolly Roger with Princess Kimber Lee): **1/2

Before the next match begins, we get a lengthy promo from Princess Kimber Lee. The idea here is that Lance Steel (being a knight) is smitten with her, while Jolly Roger was a bit more weary of her. Princess Kimber Lee says that her men are above fighting for pears, and deserve gold. She notes that she made a purchase last year, and brings out the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas title belts. She awards them to Lance Steel & Jolly Roger! The former gleefully accepts, while the latter is uneasy about being handed a title belt without earning it.

As for the match itself, it was fine. I think both Mr. Azerbaijan & The Proletariat Boar of Moldova are getting better in the ring, while Steel & Roger work really well as a tag team. Pretty decent action in this one. Knight Eye For The Pirate Guy get the win (much to the delight of Princess Kimber Lee) and advance to the next round. 

3.) Tag World Grand Prix 2014 – Block B – First Round - Team Benchmark (Bill Daly & Will Ferrara) vs. Los Ice Creams: **3/4

Team Benchmark aren't full time on the ROH roster yet, but they are representing them in this match. This was a solid match. It's hard not to love Los Ice Creams, and they were as entertaining as ever in here. Daly & Ferrera looked good in here as well. Also, this match was a lot more competitive than I ever thought it would be. Both teams got to utilize double teams, especially Los Ice Creams who busted out some new stuff of their own. In the end, however, Team Benchmark is able to put Los Ice Creams away and advance to the next round. 

Despite losing, Los Ice Creams celebrate with some younger fans at ringside.

4.) Tag World Grand Prix 2014 – Block B – First Round - Haack & Slaash vs. The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti): **1/2

For those of you not familiar, Haack & Slaash are minions of the evil Dr. Cube. They wrestle for a few minutes before Milo Schnitzler of The BDK comes out. He distracts the referee while Haack & Slaash seemingly decide to back out and leave. They go through a doorway, and The Throwbacks intend to follow them. When they open the door, they find that more members of The Flood are waiting for them! N√łkken, 17, deviANT, Qefka The Quiet, Missile Assault Ant, Jaka & Oleg The Usurper join Haack & Slaash in beating up Hatfield & Mr. Touchdown, all while Schnitzler has the referee distracted. They then put The Throwbacks back in the ring and the match continues. Despite the surprise attack, The Throwbacks are able to fight back and score the victory against Haack & Slaash to get into the next round. This one was more about the story, but the action was still fine.

Before the next match, JFDC takes the mic for a promo. He puts over how much better Ecuador is than the United States. He then talks about how he's not looking forward to facing Ophidian, as well as the fact that he's still in pursuit of the Wrestling is Fun! Banana Championship, which is currently held by Ophidian's Osirian Portal tag team partner Amasis.

5.) Juan Francisco de Coronado vs. Ophidian: ***1/2

As far as the match itself goes, it was really good. We always knew Ophidian was a very capable singles wrestler, but JFDC has improved to the point where he's putting on very solid matches on each Wrestling is Fun! show he's on. Really nice back & forth action between both guys. Coronado is eventually able to pick up the win, and furthers his cause towards getting a future shot at the Banana Championship. 

6.) Tag World Grand Prix 2014 – Block B – Quarter Finals - The Wrecking Crew vs. Knight Eye For The Pirate Guy: ***1/4

Lance Steel & Jolly Roger come out with the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas that Princess Kimber Lee bought for them. This was a pretty solid match here. Not as good as the opener, but definitely the second best tournament match of the night up to this point. Solid back & forth action from both sides. Eventually, Jolly Roger & Lance Steel are able to put away The Wrecking Crew and advance to the Semi-Finals on Night 3, and again, Princess Kimber Lee is very pleased with the result (I should note as well that Kimber Lee got physically involved in the match, which led to her team winning. Steel & Roger didn't see this interference).

7.) Tag World Grand Prix 2014 – Block B – Quarter Finals - Team Benchmark vs. The Throwbacks: ***

Much like the previous match, this Quarter Finals encounter was a very solid match. The story here was Dasher Hatfield & Mr. Touchdown attempting to fight through their previous injuries in an attempt to win. Once again, Team Benchmark looked good in here as well, and are definitely getting better in the ring. Lots of good action in this one, and eventually The Throwbacks are able to defy the odds and score the win, advancing to the Semi-Finals on Night 3!

8.) Fire Ant vs. Missile Assault Ant: ***1/4

We've seen a lot of tag team and trios encounters between The Colony & The Colony: Xtreme Force, but here we have a rare singles match. Pretty solid action here. They have a good back & forth match for several minutes. Then, much like Haack & Slaash did in the earlier match, Missile Assault Ant attempts to lead Fire Ant into a trap set by The Flood. However, this time Fire Ant has backup in the form of Icarus, Ophidian, The Throwbacks, The Baltic Siege and Knight Eye For The Pirate Guy! Their is a standoff but they don't come to blows. The Flood back off as Missile Assault Ant & Fire Ant resume their match. Again, this match had some good action, but the story here was important as well. Fire Ant eventually gets the win and celebrates with the fans as the show comes to a close.

Overall: 7.5/10

Much like Night 1, Night 2 was for the most part a consistent show. The opening match with The Baltic Siege & The Wrecking Crew was a real surprise and takes the award for the best first round match of the tournament. The other first round matches of Block B were fine, but they themselves were overshadowed by several storyline developments (the return of the Campeonatos de Parejas & the appearance of The Flood). The Quarter Final Matches were solid, while Juan Francisco de Coronado continues to put on good performances with a win over Ophidian. The main event was entertaining as well and was a good setup for CHIKARA's big return show that would take place later that month.

AAW Day Of Defiance 2014 Review

Eddie Kingston & Silas Young settle their feud once and for all....inside a Steel Cage!!

AAW Day Of Defiance 2014
Merrionette Park, Illinois 5/2/14

1.) #WalkingWeapon vs. Brett Gakiya: ***1/4

Both of these men are making their in-ring returns to AAW following injuries (Gakiya had an orbital bone injury, while #WalkingWeapon had, I believe, a herniated disk along with having other non-injury related issues to deal with). This was a very solid opener. These two worked pretty well together with Gakiya, one half of Zero Gravity being the high flyer while #WalkingWeapon used his size & power. Just a very exciting way to start things off. #WalkingWeapon gets the win.

2.) Christian Faith vs. Mallaki Matthews: *3/4

This really wasn't much of a match, per say. It was mostly a way to get Christian Faith over. Matthews got a few moves in, but for the most part Christian Faith was in control, and eventually won.

Afterwords, Gregory Iron and the rest of the Iron Curtain come out. They continue beating down Matthews. Iron says he's come back to AAW to remind people who the real heroes are, such as himself, and to expose supposed heroes like Colt Cabana & Arik Cannon. They finish off Matthews before leaving.

3.) AAW Heritage Title - Matt Cage vs. CJ Esparza: **1/2

Here we have the other half of Zero Gravity in CJ Esparza. This was a decent match. It had the potential to be better, but it appeared that, shortly after the match began, Esparza hurt himself on a dive. I'm guessing this must have affected the match, as it only went for a few minutes total and Esparza didn't do much after getting hurt. Matt Cage retains his title in a match that appeared to have been hindered by an injury suffered by Esparza.

4.) Keith Walker (with Kevin Harvey, Tweek Phoenix & Nikki Mayday) vs. Ryan Boz: ***

This feud has been building for a good part of 2014, with We Are Here's attacks on Tony Rican & Ryan Boz attempting to save him from these attacks. This was a pretty good big man match. Both guys went back & forth and just beat the crap out of each other. I think Walker got busted open near his mouth (I want to say his lip) at some point. The match ended up getting hurt by interference by not just We Are Here, but Tony Rican as well. Through all the chaos, Walker is able to put Boz away for the victory. 

After the match, Keith Walker & Tweek Phoenix hold Ryan Boz while Kevin Harvey throws a fireball in his face! This is serious!

5.) Eight Person Mixed Tag Team Match - Dan Lawrence, Marcus Crane, Joey Ryan & Veda Scott vs. Candice LaRae, Heidi Lovelace, Juntai Miller & Marion Fontaine: ***1/4

This has to be one of the most interesting matches of the year, when you consider who is involved, The teams are certainly unique to say the least. Joey Ryan, Candice LaRae & Veda Scott all making their AAW debuts in this one. I really enjoyed this match. It was honestly just a lot of fun. Everyone got to hit their stuff and we got a good mix of actual wrestling as well as comedy (Joey Ryan getting his trunks pulled down repeatedly). The team of LaRae, Lovelace, Miller & Fontaine get the win in this very entertaining affair.

6.) Six-Man Tag - The House Of Truth (Knight Wagner, Justice Jones & Alex Bernadino) vs. Marek Brave & The L.O.S.E.R.S. (Moondog Bernard & Sea Man): *1/2

Things start of quickly in this one as The House of Truth attack The L.O.S.E.R.S. as they make their entrance. After they've pretty much disposed of them, Marek Brave (who's been feuding with Knight Wagner) comes out and goes right after Wagner! It essentially becomes a three-on-one situation as Brave fights the H.O.T. off all by himself, with Moondog Bernard & Sea Man already taken out. Despite Brave's fight, things don't last much longer as Jones finishes him off while Wagner steals the pin. This was pretty short, but it was close to what it needed to be, if you asked me. Didn't need to go longer than that. More of a way to advance the Knight Wagner/Marek Brave feud.

7.) #1 Contender's Match - Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs: **1/2

The winner of this match will challenge Shane Hollister for the AAW Heavyweight Title later on in the show. Steen & Jacobs always put on good matches together, and this time was no different. They had a solid back & forth match for a few minutes until Shane Hollister comes out and takes them both out with his title belt. This brings out AAW Owner Jim Lynam, who says Hollister isn't going to get away with crap like this, and then announced a Triple Threat between Hollister, Steen & Jacobs that starts right now. 

8.) AAW Heavyweight Title - Triple Threat Match - Shane Hollister (with Scarlett Bordeaux) vs. Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ***1/2

This was a pretty entertaining title match. They did some brawling around the building (they were in a bar, so of course they did some spots involving the bar, most notably Steen jumping off the bar onto Hollister & Jacobs). Once they got back in the ring, things got a little slow, but the second half of the match was really good and more than made up for it. I kind of question why this wasn't made a Triple Threat in the first place. Would have been much better had they gone with that from the very beginning. Hollister is able to take advantage of Jacobs & Steen fighting each other to score the win & retain his title.

After the match, Kevin Steen & Jimmy Jacobs get frustrated, and start cutting promos on one another. Jacobs says Steen doesn't care about AAW, which Steen vehemently disagrees with, saying that pro-wrestling is his home. He says Jacobs is bothered by the fact that the spotlight is always on him. Jacobs says Steen doesn't care and that AAW has always been his home (for nearly nine years). He says Steen screwed him out of winning the title tonight as Steen leaves.

During the entrances for this next match, Jake Crist comes out without his brother, Dave Crist. After Men Of The Year made their entrance, Jake takes the mic and explains that he has found a new partner, and that man is #WalkingWeapon, who attacks Elgin & #ALLEGO from behind to get things going!!

9.) AAW Tag Team Titles - Ladder Match - Men Of The Year ("Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & #ALLEGO) vs. Jake Crist & #WalkingWeapon: ****1/4

So apparently this was set up as a Ladder Match after the feud Men Of The Year had been having with OI4K, but with Dave Crist unable to make, #WalkingWeapon was picked by Jake Crist to take his place. It's certainly an interesting pick, as both Michael Elgin & #ALLEGO have history with #WalkingWeapon. I was curious to see how this went as the majority of the guys in this match weren't necessarily high flying guys. Even with this worry, the match itself turned out to be great! All for guys held their own and we got to see a lot of brutal ladder spots. The highlight of the match involves Jake Crist, who after getting a ladder pulled out from under him, grabs onto one of the overhead trusses of the venue, and gives a massive leg drop onto #ALLEGO from the truss!! That was insane!! Eventually, Elgin is able to take out both Jake Crist & #WalkingWeapon and retrieves the belts to retain the Tag Team Titles for his team.

10.) Steel Cage Match - Eddie Kingston vs. Silas Young: ****1/4

This is a feud that has been building for nearly a year, basically since Eddie Kingston made his AAW debut on the 2013 edition of Day Of Defiance. Now after everything that has gone down between these two, they settle it within the confines of a Steel Cage. This was a really great Main Event! You really got the sense these two hated each other and it showed throughout the match. They brawled out through the crowd before even getting in the Cage, used the Cage itself (of course), and used Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, all in an attempt to inflict maximum punishment on each other. The big spot of the match came when Silas Young powerbombs Eddie Kingston from near the top of the Cage through a table!! He then puts in the Stock Lock with a combination of knee strikes, and Young is finally able to win the match and the lengthy war with Kingston! Just a very entertaining Steel Cage Match. My only complaint would be that they did spend the beginning part of the match brawling through the crowd, when we already saw that earlier in the night during the World Title Match. Other than that, this match was a fitting concluding to the Eddie Kingston/Silas Young rivalry.

Overall: 8.0/10

As a whole, the show was pretty solid. The Ladder Match for the Tag Team Titles, despite the last minute substitution, was really good, while the Eddie Kingston/Silas Young Steel Cage Match was a great blow off to their one year feud. However, if you take away those two matches, the rest of the show was actually very average. You had some decent undercard matches, like the opener and the eight person tag, but the rest was sort of a mixed bag for me, personally. I like the idea of Hollister being a champion, but from what I've seen, the majority (but not all) of his title matches haven't been anything special or noteworthy. His match tonight was a similar case, where it was a pretty good match, but ultimately not a match that makes his reign memorable. If AAW can put together a good undercard, much like they did with The Chaos Theory & Point Of No Return Shows earlier in the year, you have the potential for some really must see shows, but as was the case with this show, a rather weak undercard dragged the show as a whole down. Despite these issues, I would say the Ladder Match & the Steel Cage Match are well worth going out your way to see.

Friday, July 11, 2014

WWE Hell In A Cell Anthology Review

Relive the history of one of WWE's most dangerous matches!

WWE Hell In A Cell Anthology

The DVD is hosted by now WWE Hall Of Famer Mick Foley, whose career obviously was greatly affected by this match. He talks about the Hell in a Cell itself, and gives introductions to each of the matches as you go through the set. 

Disk 1

Badd Blood (10/5/97) - #1 Contender's Match - Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker: ****3/4

RAW is WAR (6/15/98) - The Undertaker & "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Kane & Mankind: **1/4

King Of The Ring (6/28/98) - The Undertaker vs. Mankind: ****1/4

RAW is WAR (8/24/98) - Mankind vs. Kane: **1/2

No Way Out (2/27/00) - WWF Championship - Triple H vs. Cactus Jack: ****1/4

Armageddon (12/10/00) - WWF Championship - Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Rikishi vs. The Rock: ***3/4

Disk 2

Judgment Day (5/19/02) - Triple H vs. Chris Jericho: ***3/4

No Mercy (10/20/02) - WWE Championship - Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker: ****

Badd Blood (6/15/03) - World Heavyweight Title - Special Guest Referee - Mick Foley - Triple H vs. Kevin Nash: ***1/4

Badd Blood (6/13/04) - Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels: ***1/2

Disk 3

Vengeance (6/26/05) - World Heavyweight Title - Batista vs. Triple H (with Ric Flair): ****1/4

Armageddon (12/18/05) - The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (with "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr.): ***1/2

Unforgiven (9/17/06) - D-Generation X (Triple H & Shawn Michaels) vs. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & The Big Show: ***1/4

Survivor Series (11/18/07) - World Heavyweight Title - Batista vs. The Undertaker: ***3/4

Overall: 9.0/10

Obviously the Hell in a Cell match is one of the most significant matches in WWE History. In this set, you get a real taste of what Hell in a Cell was all about, before getting watered down when it got slapped with its own PPV. Disk 1 definitely has to be the best of the three. You have the original Hell in a Cell, which is arguably the best Hell in a Cell Match of all time (and of course featured the debut of Kane), the infamous match from King Of The Ring that changed Mick Foley's career (and his life) forever, the Triple H/Cactus Jack encounter that tends to get forgotten at times, and the only Six Man Hell in a Cell Match that I personally thought was really entertaining. Disk 2 has Hell in a Cell Matches featuring mostly Triple H (which vary in quality for a variety of reasons), though The Undertaker's match with Brock Lesnar was definitely the best on Disk 2. Disk 3 features Hell in a Cell Matches from 2005-2007, which also differ in quality, with Batista vs. Triple H being the best. Like I said earlier, if you want to know what made this match so special, this is a good set to watch. It's also a good set if you're a fan of either The Undertaker or Triple H, since they were in pretty much every Hell in a Cell Match for the longest time. The only thing I can really complain about is that they weren't able to include The Undertaker vs. Edge Hell in a Cell Match from SummerSlam 2008, as the DVD set came out around the same time. A very good set on the whole.

ROH Future Of Honor I Review

Witness the Future of ROH!

This is something Ring of Honor announced during HonorCon in February. It's essentially a show featuring wrestlers who have either trained at the ROH Dojo or stood out during ROH Tryout Camps. They would be put on an ROH sanctioned event with some select ROH stars in a showcase of sorts. Let's see how it turns out...

ROH Future Of Honor I
Newville, PA 4/18/14

Even though it's a smaller venue, the attendance looks pretty good. The building looks full, which is good. Kevin Kelly & Veda Scott are on commentary.

1.) Zizou Middoux vs. #ALLEGO: ***

Of course #ALLEGO has been making waves in places like AIW & AAW. Middoux appeared in ROH last year in a tag team with Mike Sydal, but now he's on his own. A pretty solid opener here. Both guys got to hit there stuff and looked good. #ALLEGO gets the win. He's definitely someone that ROH should sign.

2.) Brutal Burgers ("Brutal" Bob Evans & Cheeseburger) vs. Moose & Stokely Hathaway: **

Hathaway cuts a promo before the match introducing himself. Moose has been making appearances in Dragon Gate USA/Evolve as the bodyguard of The Bravado Brothers. Hathaway looks similar to someone who's been hanging out with RD Evans & Veda Scott, but Scott denies this. This was ok. The story here was that Hathaway didn't treat his partner with much respect, and wanted to all the work himself, but got beat up every time. Brutal Burgers get the win after miscommunication between Moose & Hathaway.

After the match, Moose teases spearing Hathaway, but doesn't do so.

3.) Mandy Leon vs. Jenny Rose: **1/2

Leon is making her in-ring debut. Rose is someone who trained at the ROH Dojo, but has since travelled the world and became a really good women's wrestler. This was a pretty solid women's match. Rose is very skilled, so it was no surprised that she looked good. I thought that Leon, for it being her first match, looked very impressive. She's definitely got a future. Rose gets the win in this one.

After the match, Veda Scott leaves commentary and comes to the ring with the mic. Apparently she was upset that Leon slapped Rose during the match (in the heat of competition I might add). She chastises the crowd for celebrating Leon for making her debut when she lost the match. Veda goes on, saying she's a loser (again) and that she's nothing but a pretty face. Scott then criticizes Jenny Rose for shaking Leon's hand afterwords, and reminds her about the slap during the match. This sets Rose off, and she attacks Leon! Veda taunts her as Rose leaves with her. 

4.) Proving Ground Match - ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal vs. Jay Diesel: **3/4

Diesel has actually been working for Ring Of Honor as the head of security. He's made several wrestling appearances elsewhere (such as Wrestling Is Respect) as well. Lethal is not accompanied by Truth Martini tonight. If Diesel wins or the match goes to a draw, he gets a future shot at the World TV Title Pretty solid match here. Diesel isn't perfect in the ring, but he's getting there, and showed some promise in here. Lethal looked solid as always, and is eventually able to put Diesel away.

5.) Six Man Tag - Tim Donst, Ken Phoenix & Sam Shields vs. Vinny Marseglia, Nick Blackwell & Jimmy Nutts: ***1/2

About time Donst showed up in a ROH ring. Looks like Tim Donst & Vinny Marseglia are the de facto captains of their respective teams. This was surprisingly really good. I don't know what it was, but the action in this match just clicked really well. Everything seemed to work, and it made for a very entertaining match, and the crowd was definitely into it. The team of Marseglia, Blackwell & Nutts get the win.

6.) Kongo vs. "Psycho" Mike Rollins: **1/2

I've heard a bit about Rollins, while Kongo was in the 2014 Top Prospect Tournament. A decent big man match here, which is seemingly a rarity in ROH. Both guys got in there stuff and put forth some solid action. Kongo picks ups the victory.

7.) The Briscoes (with Cousin Jethro) vs. Team Benchmark: ***1/4

Team Benchmark is "The Benchmark" Bill Daly & "The Hype" Will Ferrara. This is their first major test as a team in ROH. Cousin Jethro is with The Briscoes at ringside. A pretty entertaining tag team match here. The Briscoes are always entertaining in the ring, and Team Benchmark played their roles as heels very well. Solid action in this one. The Briscoes eventually are able to pick up the win.

8.) ROH World Title - Adam Cole vs. Delirious: ***1/2

Delirious is making his first in-ring appearance since Night Of Hoopla last year. This was a pretty entertaining Main Event. It's really cool to see Delirious wrestle in a ROH ring again. It's a rarity nowadays, but when he does compete, it's a treat. He worked pretty well with Adam Cole here, who played his role as the heel champion really well. Only real complaint I can make is that it went a bit longer than it needed to, but otherwise, really entertaining match. Adam Cole gets the win & retains the ROH World Title. 

Overall: 6.75/10

If you were expecting this to be a blow away wrestling show, you're looking in the wrong place. Technically, this was Ring of Honor's weakest show of 2014, but that's not what this was about. This was meant to be a showcase of talents that could be the future of the company, and it did just that. You got a look at some real standouts like #ALLEGO & Tim Donst, who are very well known and could easily be on the ROH roster, and people who you might not have heard of. While the show was nothing remarkable, it was pretty solid. The Main Event was really entertaining and the Six Man Tag was a really pleasant surprise. The rest of the card has some fine matches, and it really gives you a taste of what's to come in the future.