Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Top Ten Matches on ROH TV in 2014

Taking a look back at some of the best matches on Ring of Honor Wrestling Television in 2014!

Just as the title says, I'm going to be looking back at the top ten matches on Ring of Honor Wrestling Television in ROH, as well as some honorable mentions. It was a pretty good year for Ring of Honor, as far as matches on television were concerned. We have a lot of great matches from a variety of different wrestlers. Let's not waist any time!

Top Ten Matches on ROH TV in 2014

1.) ROH on SBG (11/22/14) - "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. Hanson: ****1/4

Now these first three matches were pretty close for me, so it was a bit hard to decide which match should place where. In the end, I think I'm pretty confident with my order. Now, it's no surprise that the Best Match on ROH TV in 2014 involved AJ Styles. His 2014 was nothing short of phenomenal (pun intended), and he proved his worth all over the world. However, it is a surprise to a lot of people that Hanson, a guy who wasn't even in the company in 2013, would have one of the Best Matches on ROH TV in 2014. He came into 2014 as a relative unknown, but he ended the year as ROH's newest breakout star. After a motorcycle accident took his War Machine tag team partner Raymond Rowe out of action, Hanson got thrust into the singles scene, and this was definitely the highlight of his run thus far. A truly awesome match with AJ Styles. Like I said earlier, AJ Styles proved why he's one of the Best in the World, while Hanson showed why he's someone who could very well be the future of ROH.

2.) ROH on SBG (12/13/14) - Tag Wars 2014 Qualifying Match - The Young Bucks vs. ACH & Matt Sydal: ****1/4

This match was part of Tag Wars 2014. On one side you have The Young Bucks, who need no introduction. On the other side, however, you had a team in ACH & Matt Sydal who had never teamed together before. Despite that, these two teams had a really awesome match! Whenever you get ACH, Matt Sydal & The Young Bucks together in one ring, you know you're going to get a great match. Great fast-paced action throughout the whole match. ACH & Matt Sydal would eventually score the upset win over The Young Bucks!

3.) ROH on SBG (8/9/14) - ROH World Title - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O'Reilly: ****1/4

Here we have a match that I think people might forget about, but one that was actually really great. We had Michael Elgin making his 3rd Defense of the ROH World Title against one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions in Kyle O'Reilly. Now these two have had awesome matches in other independent promotions, such as PWG, and this match was no different. Just really great wrestling between these two. No matter what, you're guaranteed to get a very good match whenever these two are involved. Elgin would eventually pick up the win & retained his ROH World Title. 

4.) ROH on SBG (2/1/14) - "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. Roderick Strong: ****

This match received a ton of attention, as AJ Styles was making his return to Ring of Honor, recently released from TNA. It marked Styles' first appearance in ROH since 2006! I feel like Roderick Strong was the perfect opponent for AJ Styles, and he ended up proving that by having an awesome match with "The Phenomenal One". Lots of back & forth action, and the crowd was really into it. Of course, the match ended on a scary note as Roderick Strong landed on his head/neck while taking the Styles Clash, but still, the match was really good, and despite the fact that it happened in January, it stood throughout the year as one of the best ROH TV Matches of 2014.

5.) ROH on SBG (8/23/14) - ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. ACH: ****

ACH earned this title opportunity after winning a Six Man Scramble Match at the Best In The World PPV. This was a really great title match! These two have really good chemistry together (as seen in their match from Honor In The Heart Of Texas in June of 2013), but this had the added dynamic of Lethal being the heel champion. Awesome action throughout this match, and despite the fact that the match ended in a Time Limit Draw, it was still amazing to watch. ACH is definitely going to be a star.

6.) ROH on SBG (9/6/14) - The Young Bucks vs. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian): ****

On the same TV Taping as the Lethal/ACH World TV Title Match (Philadelphia), we also got this great tag team encounter. Really not much storyline behind this one, but it was a lot of fun to watch. You have two of the best tag teams in the entire world in The Young Bucks & The Addiction, so it's no surprise that this match was awesome. It wouldn't be quite as good as the match they would have in PWG on Night 2 of the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles, but it was still really great in it's own right. The Addiction would get the win in this one.

7.) ROH on SBG (12/20/14) - No DQ Match - "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Cedric Alexander: ****

This match came about after Ciampa lost to Cedric Alexander at a TV Taping in Florida via reverse decision (he used a rope of some kind) and then attacked him in the post match. People weren't talking a lot about this match going into it, but this match was actually pretty great. These two just went at it right from the opening bell and it was an all out brawl. Lots of hardcore spots in this one. I think doing these types of matches only every so often, as a novelty, is perfectly fine, and it can result in great matches like this one. Ciampa would  eventually get the win over Alexander.

8.) ROH on SBG (10/18/14) - Adam Cole vs. Cedric Alexander: ****

Another Cedric Alexander match makes my Top 10 list, but surprisingly, this is the only Adam Cole match on my Top 10 list. This is another match where there really wasn't any story behind him, but it was just an awesome, action packed match. Cole obviously works great as a heel and Alexander does a fine job in his babyface role. Adam Cole would get the win, but Cedric Alexander looked good in defeat.

9.) ROH on SBG (5/17/14) - #1 Contender's Match - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles: ****

These two actually had a match at a TV Taping earlier in the year (in Philadelphia during the weekend of the 12th Anniversary Show) which ended in a draw. This is the rematch, and I believe this was also a #1 Contender's Match. As you would expect, this was a really great match. AJ Styles & Michael Elgin are two of the best wrestlers in the world, so it was no surprise that this was awesome. Lots of good action throughout this one. Elgin would eventually pick up the victory, in what is, to this day, the only match that AJ Styles has lost in ROH since his return.

10.) ROH on SBG (7/26/14) - Non-Title Match - ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. The Monster Mafia: ****

Here we have another match on my list that I think most people won't remember, but was actually quite good. It featured the ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon going against The Monster Mafia of Ethan Page & Josh Alexander, in a Non-Title Match. This was just a really awesome tag team match. We all know how great Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly are, and The Monster Mafia is a team of guys who have been tearing it up in various independents (like AAW & AIW) and definitely deserved the opportunity. Lots of great action throughout this one. Page & Alexander looked really good, but in the end, they would fall to the Two Man Smash Machine.

Honorable Mentions

11.) ROH on SBG (11/1/14) - IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. Matt Sydal: ****

Matt Sydal had been released by WWE a few months prior, and was making his return. It was his first match in ROH since 2007. What better way to reintroduce him than to put him up against AJ Styles! This was a really good match, as you would expect. Styles got in a lot of offense, but Sydal looked really good as well. Just a really great match that had a lot of good action. Styles would get the win, but Sydal looked pretty solid in his return.

12.) ROH on SBG (12/27/14) - ROH World Tag Team Titles - Tag Wars 2014 Finals - reDRagon vs. The Briscoes vs. The Addiction vs. ACH & Matt Sydal: ****

This is the third match from the TV Tapings that took place in Baltimore in November, which goes to show the quality of that particular TV Taping. Here we have the Finals of the Tag Wars 2014. It's been a few years since we've seen Tag Wars (I believe the last one was in 2010), and I think this was a fitting conclusion to the 2014 edition of it. You have four really good tag teams in there so it was really hard for it to be bad. I think some were surprised that The Briscoes were eliminated first, as well as the fact that ACH & Matt Sydal, the newest tag team of the bunch, were the last team eliminated. A lot of great tag team action in this one. Eventually reDRagon would get the win and retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles in what would be the final episode of ROH TV in 2014.

There you have it! The Top Ten ROH TV Matches of 2014. Ring of Honor put on a lot of great TV Matches in 2014, and hopefully 2015 will be just as good!

Random Match Reviews #1 (1/31/15)

My first set of random match reviews features matches from RAWlternative....or is it RAWiternative?

So with the new year, I decided to try a new concept with my blog, in addition to my regular reviews. It's actually been on my mind for awhile, but I figured putting it together in the new year would be the best time to roll this thing out. Essentially, the concept is that I'm going to review a random set of matches from a variety of different promotions. I think the number I'm going to shoot for is five matches per post (though for posts like this one, there might be six or seven matches). The goal is just to get a taste of different types of matches from a lot of different companies from around the world. I decided the best matches to use in this new concept would be from RAWlternative or RAWiternative or whichever one that it's called. This was put together by Beyond Wrestling & Smart Mark Video, and was essentially a free, three hour plus live stream on Youtube that aired opposite of WWE Monday Night RAW on January 19th. It featured some of the top matches from independent promotions across North America in 2014. Now I should note that I won't be reviewing all of the matches, as some I have either already seen or matches that I'm planning to see on future show reviews. So this is just a selection from this really great concept, which I believe got a total of 12,000 views total. That's pretty awesome.

1.) C*4 Wrestling - The Warriors (5/3/14) - Kevin Steen vs. Mike Bailey: ****

Mike Bailey is a guy who had been making some waves on the independent scene in 2014, and will actually be making his debut PWG this year. Here, he's taking on Kevin Steen. I believe commentary made mention that Steen had faced Bailey before in C*4, and the latter was looking for a bit of redemption. This was a really great match! You saw a lot of really awesome action, and combine that with the really hot crowd, and this was so much fun to watch. After a really intense last few minutes, Bailey was able to pick up the upset win over Steen!

2.) Inspire Pro-Wrestling - No Room To Die (4/27/14) - Takaaki Watanabe vs. Andy Dalton: ***1/4

Inspire Pro-Wrestling is an independent promotion based out of Texas. For Takaaki Watanabe, this is another stop on his North American Excursion, as he's also wrestled in Ring of Honor & SMASH Wrestling. Here, Watanabe is taking on Andy Dalton, who I'm not too familiar with. This was a pretty fine match. They told your basic babyface vs. heel story that saw a lot of good action. Watanabe would eventually pick up the win.

3.) St. Louis Anarchy - Gateway To Anarchy: Night 2 (3/1/14) - SLA Heavyweight Title - 2/3 Falls Match - Gerald James aka Gary Jay vs. Kyle O'Reilly: ***3/4

St. Lous Anarchy is a promotion based out of the St. Louis Area, and has featured a number of current & former ROH Wrestlers who are based out of St. Louis, like Davey Richards, Michael Elgin, Kyle O'Reilly, ACH & others. Here we have Gerald James, who is also known as Gary Jay from The Submission Squad, defending the St. Louis Anarchy Heavyweight Title against Kyle O'Reilly in a 2/3 Falls Match. I thought this was a really good match. Kyle O'Reilly, as we all know, is really awesome and can have great matches with anyone. Despite his reputation of being part of The Submission Squad, Gerald James aka Gary Jay is a pretty solid wrestler. O'Reilly quickly won the first fall, and Gerald James would eventually win the next two straight falls, albeit there was some interference. Despite the interference, the match was still pretty good (thought the video & audio quality wasn't that good).

4.) AIW - Girls Night Out 12 (3/29/14) - Athena vs. Mia Yim: ***3/4

The women's wrestling division of AIW is known as Girls Night Out. They're in some ways a different brand by itself, as they have Girls Night Out Tapings on occasion. Athena & Mia Yim are two of the best women's wrestlers on the independent scene, so it's no surprise that these two had a really great match. It was definitely one of the better women's matches in all of 2014. Lots of great action, and both women worked really hard. Athena would eventually pick up the win.

5.) 2CW - Mayday (5/16/14) - Chris Hero vs. Colin Delaney: ****

2CW is an independent promotion based out of central New York (State). Here we have Chris Hero going up against Colin Delaney. I though this was a really great match. We all know how good Chris Hero is (despite his weight issues), but Colin Delaney is someone who I think is underrated. He's a pretty good wrestler, and he showed that off in this match. We saw some pretty cool spots, including Delaney attempting a dive off of one of the roof trusses (No need to worry. It's a relatively low roof). Hero would get the win in this hard fought contest.

6.) Dreamwave Wrestling - Misfortune (3/1/14) - Dreamwave World Champion Christian Rose & Matt Cage vs. AR Fox & Rich Swann: ***1/2

Dreamwave Wrestling is a independent promotion based out of LaSalle, Illinois, that like most independent promotions, has a good mix of local talent & top independent names. Here we have a tag team match that's part of a much bigger concept. Essentially, this show features a bunch of tag team matches featuring tag team partners drawn at random, where the winners move to a Battle Royal in the Main Event. I believe it's pretty much the same concept as WCW's Battle Bowl (for those of you who remember that). This match features the Dreamwave World Champion Christian Rose & Matt Rose (who holds Dreamwave's version of Money in the Bank) against AR Fox & Rich Swann. This was a pretty good match. It started off good, slowed down a bit in the beginning, but then picked up again in the end. You're always going to get really good matches out of AR Fox & Rich Swann, while Rose & Cage showed some stuff here as well. It wasn't a blow away match, but it was still pretty solid.

7.) Beyond Wrestling - Americanrana 2014 (7/27/14) - Biff Busick vs. Eddie Edwards: ****1/4

Of course I really don't need to explain much about Beyond Wrestling, as I've already reviewed a bunch of Beyond Wrestling Shows on this blog. This match took place at Americanrana 2014, but was left off of the DVD because of (I believe) Eddie Edwards' contractual obligations to TNA. They had a great series of matches in 2013, and this match here was no different. I loved this match. Busick & Edwards work so well together. They seemingly never have a bad match against each other. Lots of back & forth action in this one. It eventually comes down to several rollup reversals, until Edwards is finally able to trap Busick for the three count, and gets the win. Both show signs of mutual respect after the match.

So there you go! The first in my series of Random Match Reviews. I hope you all enjoyed it. My goal is to try and do one at least once a week or once every two weeks, but if I could potentially do more, depending on how busy I am. If you're a fan of independent wrestling, I'd definitely check out some of these matches & promotions.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


It's Guerrilla Warfare as Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan challenge The Young Bucks!!

Reseda, California 7/26/14

1.) "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Rocky Romero: ***1/4

These two would actually go on to have a match against each in Ring of Honor a few weeks after this show. As far as this match goes, it was a pretty fun opener. I feel like Ciampa & Romero have good chemistry, as evidence by this match and their match in ROH. Lots of solid action in this one. Ciampa would eventually score the win.

2.) ACH vs. Cedric Alexander: ***1/2

It seems like these guys have been matched up almost everywhere as of late. After this match, they would go on to have two other singles matches with each other in Ring of Honor. In this case, these two had a really good match. Lots of back & forth action with a lot of great aerial offense from these two (as you would expect). ACH would end up getting the win with a 450 Splash.

3.) The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?) vs. Johnny Gargano & "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ***1/2

This was originally supposed to be Best Friends vs. The Unbreakable F'N Machines, but Brian Cage was hurt, and Johnny Gargano took his place. I think this might have been a #1 Contender's Match, but I'm not sure. It did start off a little slow, but when it picked up, it turned into a really fun tag team match. Taylor & Trent? are really entertaining as a tag team. Elgin & Gargano have been great opponents in the past, and I think they worked well together. After an intense flurry towards the end, The Best Friends would score the victory.

4.) Trevor Lee vs. Kevin Steen: ***1/2

This would be Kevin Steen's last match in PWG before he left for WWE. He was showered with streamers beforehand. Some might have mixed feeling on this match, but I thought it was entertaining. Steen just kept beating up Trevor Lee, but Lee kept fighting back. Eventually, Steen hit the Package Piledriver, but Lee kicked out! In the end, Lee would end up getting a shocking upset over Steen with a Small Package. 

After the match, Steen cut an emotional speech afterwords, putting over PWG and saying that he's going to Mexico to help El Generico take care of his orphans.

5.) Frankie Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick: **3/4

Here we have two guys who are veterans on the independent scene. In particular, Kazarian hasn't appeared in PWG since 2008. I also find it odd that Kazarian would be booked, but Christopher Daniels (his tag team partner) wouldn't be. Still, as far as the match goes, it was solid, but it wasn't anything spectacular. It did go a bit overboard with both guys hitting a bunch of big moves and kicking out of them, but it was still a fine match. Kazarian would pick up the win.

6.) #1 Contender's Match - Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong: ***3/4

This was originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat #1 Contender's Match involving Johnny Gargano, but with Brian Cage injured, Gargano took his place in the earlier tag team match, and this became a singles #1 Contender's Match. This was actually really good. I'd say it was probably the second best match on the show. Cole & Strong seem to have good chemistry, as they always seem to have great matches against each other. Lots of great action throughout this one. In the end, Strong would score the victory, and he is the new #1 Contender to the PWG World Title. 

7.) PWG World Title - Kyle O'Reilly vs. Chris Hero: ***1/4

Now this was a....really interesting match. I was actually looking forward to it, but then I watched the match. The action was good, but it was soooo long. It was ungodly long. The match went 35 Minutes. There was absolutely no need for this match to go that long. I'm not sure what it is, but Chris Hero has been having a number of these really long technical matches that just drag and aren't in any way interesting. Then we get to Chris Hero's physique. He's gotten fat. There's no other way around it. I don't know what happened, but he's packed on a lot of pounds, and he doesn't look good at all. Hopefully he trims down (and based on photos I've seen of him recently, it looks like he's trimmed down a little bit). O'Reilly eventually wins this long, hard, slog after making Hero tap out.

After the match, Roderick Strong comes out, seemingly to congratulate O'Reilly, but turns on him, and lays him out! He sends a clear statement that he's coming for the PWG World Title.

8.) PWG World Tag Team Titles - Guerrilla Warfare - The Young Bucks vs. The World's Cutest Tag Team (Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan): ****1/2

Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan have been feuding with The Young Bucks, and Mount Rushmore in general, for almost a year now. This is seemingly the culmination of that feud. Guerrilla Warfare Matches have a reputation of being crazy and out of control, and this match was no different. It was amazing! These two teams just went out there and beat the crap out of each other. The Young Bucks were The Young Bucks, being their usual awesome selves, and The World's Cutest Tag Team held their own as well. Candice LeRae in particular was really great in this match. She showed a lot of heart, taking a lot of punishment, but not staying down. There were the usual hardcore spots involving chairs, tables, and so on. We even saw Candice LeRae wearing a pink Super Dragon mask for a short while. At the same time, there were a ton of really brutal spots. This included The Young Bucks putting thumbtacks in Joey Ryan's mouth and superkicking him in the face with the tacks in his mouth, and using a shoe with thumbtacks glued to the bottom of it, to superkick LeRae in the face. At one point, LeRae got busted open, and was bleeding buckets. In the end, she was able to fight back, and gave one of The Young Bucks a Ballsplex onto Thumbtacks to score the win and the PWG World Tag Team Titles!! 

After the match, Kevin Steen & Adam Cole come out to attend to their fallen Mount Rushmore brethren, and they shared a hug. Then, as Steen was looking at the Super Dragon mask Candice LeRae uses earlier, Cole takes the mic and says "We're sorry. We love you." Even though it looked like Steen knew what was coming, he turned around anyway, and ate a Triple Superkick from Cole & The Young Bucks! Steen recovers after they leave and says a few words before exiting.

Overall: 8.0/10

I would say that this was definitely one of the weaker PWG shows of 2014, but that just speaks to the quality of the PWG shows. As far as the matches on this show are concerned, only the Main Event really stood out, and that match was fantastic, ending on a high note with Joey Ryan & a bloodied Candice LeRae capturing the PWG World Tag Team Titles. Outside of that, and probably Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong, none of the other matches really stood out. The PWG World Title Match was just a chore to get through, and none of the other undercard matches, while good, are forgettable in the long run. Despite that, this show still had some great moments, most notably, Kevin Steen's farewell from PWG. That moment/match, and the Main Event are reasons enough to see this show, but other than that, there's good stuff, but not much else.

AIW Battle of the Sexes Review

AIW puts on one of the most unique wrestling events of 2014!

So this is a really interesting show put on by AIW. It's a show filled with all of male vs. female, or inter-gender, matches. The idea of male vs. female matches has been a pretty heated topic of discussion in the world of independent wrestling in 2014, so there was no way I was going to skip out on seeing this show, so let's see how things went!

AIW Battle of the Sexes
Cleveland, Ohio 7/26/14

1.) Angel Dust vs. Bobby Beverly: **

I really don't know much about Angel Dust. This match was....just ok. The wrestling was fine, but it just wasn't that interesting. Part of me feels like this match shouldn't have opened the show. Bobby Beverly wins and it's 1-0 in favor of the men.

2.) Colin Delaney vs. Hania The Howling Huntress: **3/4

Hania The Howling Huntress is actually someone you might recognize. She used to wrestle under a mask for CHIKARA (I won't say who she was, but you can figure it out). This was a pretty solid match. It's really interesting to see how different Hania is, in the ring, with this persona compared to who she was in CHIKARA. Colin Delaney looked fine in here as well. In the end, Hania would get the win for the women, making it 1-1.

3.) AIW Intense Title - Davey Vega vs. Jasmin: ***

Davey Vega won the AIW Intense Title from Louis Lyndon at Absolution IX, and this is his first defense as champion. I've never seen Jasmin before, but she had a really solid match with Davey Vega. As I've said before, Vega is someone I've really come to like since I started watching AIW. Jasmin really impressed me in this match also. This is the first time I've seen her, and I think she held her own. In the end, Vega would get the win and retained his title, and the men retook the lead 2-1.

4.) Jenny Rose vs. Tyson Dux: **3/4

Dux has been a regular in AIW in recent months, while I've seen Jenny Rose make several appearances with Ring of Honor this year, so I'm familiar with both competitors in this match. Another solid match. You can always get a good match with Tyson Dux involved, and Jenny Rose looked good in here also. Rose ended up scoring the win on a crucifix pin, which means that things are tied back up at 2-2.

5.) Alexia Nicole vs. Rickey Shane Page: **3/4

Before the match starts, Rickey Shane Page takes the mic and puts over Alexia Nicole, noting that she's only 18 Years Old, and says that he'll treat her like any other wrestler, and won't treat her differently because she's a woman. This was yet another good match on this show. The size different was definitely profound in this match, but it still a fun match to watch. We even saw Alexia Nicole hit a Canadian Destroyer on Rickey Shane Page, which was insane! In the end, Rickey Shane Page would get the win, and the men would retake the lead for the men 3-2.

After the match, Matt Wadsworth (AIW's President) comes out and announces that Alexia Nicole had officially earned a spot on the Girl's Night Out (AIW's Women's Branch) Roster.

6.) Eddie Kingston (with The Duke) vs. #Sparx: **1/4

Now this was a match that I think would grab some people's attention. #Sparx is someone who could hold her own with a guy like Kingston, due to her size & power. This was fine for what it was. It really didn't go that long, and #Sparx won the match with a Sunset Flip, evening things up at 3-3, but she was immediately attacked after the match by The Duke & Eddie Kingston. They were going to hit #Sparx with a screwdriver, but #AllEgo (who recently started a feud with Eddie Kingston back at Absolution IX)

7.) AIW Tag Team Champion BJ Whitmer vs. Heidi Lovelace (with Sammy Geodollno): **1/2

Lovelace is someone who has really started to get noticed by a lot more eyes in 2014, and here she's taking one half of the AIW Tag Team Champions, and a Ring of Honor stalwart, in BJ Whitmer. Again, this was another pretty solid match. It only went around 7 Minutes or so, but we saw a fair amount of action in here. The only thing I didn't like too much was that the end of the match seemed to come out of nowhere, but that's my only real complaint. BJ Whitmer wins the match to give the men a 4-3 lead. 

Afterwords, BJ Whitmer continued a beatdown on Heidi Lovelace until The Jollyville Fuck-Its (who were on commentary) made the save, and took out BJ Whitmer.

8.) AIW Women's Champion Athena vs. Louis Lyndon: ***1/4

It's been awhile since I've seen Athena. After suffering an injury in 2013, she's returned in 2014 as "The Fallen Goddess" and quickly won the AIW Women's Title. Louis Lyndon is coming off of losing the AIW Intense Title to Davey Vega at Absolution IX. This was a pretty good match. Definitely one of the better matches of the night. Lyndon is really good, and Athena is one of the best women's wrestlers out there, so it's no surprise that this match was really entertaining. Athena wins after hitting her fantastic finisher, The O-Face, to score the win and even things up at 4-4.

9.) Steel Cage Match: Gregory Iron vs. Veda Scott: ***1/4

Now this match is probably the only match on the card that had an actual story behind it, and it's the conclusion of a nearly year long feud between Veda Scott & Gregory Iron. Veda Scott came out dressing in wedding dress themed wrestling attire, possibly to throw Iron off his game. I should also note that The Steel Cage itself is actually pink. This was a pretty entertaining Steel Cage Match. We did get some....weird things in here, like Dick Justice coming out dressed as RoboCop (a throw back of sorts to that RoboCop appearance in WCW back in 1990....and yes, that actually happened). He shook the cage a little bit but got quickly taken out by Veda Scott, and yes....there were Robo-Dick chants. In terms of the actual match, it pretty much went as well as you thought it would. There was blood, and a ton of weapons, such as chairs, tables, and thumbtacks involved. The match ended when Veda Scott hit a big splash off of the top rope, onto Gregory Iron, who was on a table (but the table didn't break) and pinned him to score the win, ending the feud and winning the night for the women 5-4.

Overall: 6.75/10

If you're not really into inter-gender, men vs. women, wrestling matches, then this show is not for you. However, if you're into it, or at least intrigued by the idea of men vs. women matches, then this show is definitely worth checking out. There were actually a fair amount of really solid matches on this show. I think there were only one or two matches on here that I would say weren't that good. Other than that, the matches were all relatively solid, with the top two matches, Athena vs. Louis Lyndon & Gregory Iron vs. Veda Scott in a Steel Cage, were good. Again, it's a really unique event, that you won't see any other company really do. You're not going to get spectacular matches, but for what it was, it was a perfectly fine wrestling show.

Smash Wrestling: Gold Review

Ten Men fight to become the inaugural Smash Wrestling Champion!

Smash Wrestling: Gold
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 5/4/14

Before I start with the matches, I'm going to just quickly run down how this tournament is set up. It's pretty simple. You have five first round/qualifying matches, with the winners facing off in a Five-Way Elimination Match to determine the first Smash Wrestling Champion!

1.) Smash Wrestling Title Tournament - First Round - Kevin Steen vs. Scotty O'Shea: **3/4

The first match of the night features Kevin Steen's return to Smash Wrestling, as he takes on Scotty O'Shea. I forgot to mention this in my review of Any Given Sunday 2, but O'Shea has a Hacker Gimmick. This was a pretty solid opener. Nothing much to write home about, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Kevin Steen would eventually put Scotty O'Shea away with the Package Piledriver to score the win. Steen advances to the Main Event.

After words, Steen cuts a promo talking about how he's going to win the Smash Wrestling Title, and that after he does, it's not going to be "Fight Steen Fight", but "Smash Steen Smash"!

2.) Smash Wrestling Title Tournament - First Round - Alex Vega vs. Takaaki Watanabe: **3/4

Takaaki Watanabe, representing New Japan Pro Wrestling, is making his Smash Wrestling debut in this match. He's in North America on a learning excursion (and would seen in ROH a short time after this show). Watanabe is making his debut against Alex Vega. This was another solid match, similar to the opener. It was perfectly fine, but nothing much else. Watanabe would pick up the win and advances to the Main Event.

3.) Smash Wrestling Title Tournament - First Round - Johnny Gargano vs. Matt Cross: ***3/4

This is actually a battle of two undefeated stars in Smash Wrestling, as both "Canadian Goldberg" Matt Cross & Johnny Gargano are undefeated, meaning one of their streaks will be coming to an end in this tournament. This was definitely one of the better matches of the night. Lots of great back & forth action, and the crowd was very much into it, as both streaks were on the line. Eventually, Matt Cross would put Gargano away with a Shooting Star Press, ending his undefeated streak and advancing to the Main Event.

After the match, Gargano tells Cross to go win the Smash Wrestling Title!

4.) Smash Wrestling Title Tournament - First Round - John Greed vs. Josh Alexander: ***1/2

Here we have a very interesting matchup, as Josh Alexander is taking on the guy who essentially replaced him in The Overdogs. This was a really good match. These two went at each other right from the beginning it was a lot of fun to watch. We all know how good Josh Alexander is, but John Greed continues to impress. For a guy of his size, he's really agile, and can have good matches (at least from what I've seen this far). In the end, however, Alexander would get the win, and advances to the Main Event.

5.) Smash Wrestling Title Tournament - First Round - Chris Hero vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ***3/4

This isn't the first time these two have had a singles matches against each other. They had a pretty solid match back at ROH Homecoming 2012. This was another really solid match, with lots of hard hitting action, as you would expect from a match involving these two. After a really hard fought match, Chris Hero was able to put Elgin away and score the win, advancing to the Main Event and completing the Five-Man Finals.

After the match, much like earlier in the show with Johnny Gargano & Matt Cross, Elgin tells Hero to go win the Smash Wrestling Title!

6.) Brent Banks vs. Sebastian Suave: ***1/4

For those who aren't aware, there were a number of Smash Wrestling Shows between Any Given Sunday 2 & Gold, and on these shows, there were qualifying matches, where a number of guys had to qualify for the Smash Wrestling Title Tournament. These two are guys who failed to qualify, so they're having a match here. It was pretty good. It was a little better than some of the tournament matches earlier in the night, but it wasn't as great as some of the other matches on the show. It was perfectly fine for what it was.

After the match, Brent Banks cuts a promo, talking about how he didn't qualify for the tournament, yet he has beaten guys who are in the tournament. He mentions how Smash Wrestling has been holding him back, and that's he's already Smash Wrestling Champion....we just don't know it yet. This brings out Scotty O'Shea (whose name was mentioned by Banks). He mentions how he & Banks have split victories, and challenges him to a rubber match at the next show, Rival Schools. Then the president of Smash Wrestling (whose name I didn't catch) comes out, and proposes something a bit different. He mentions how, at last year's Rival Schools, Brent Banks & Scotty O'Shea faced their rivals at the time (Alex Vega & Tyson Dux, respectively). He then announces that, at Rival Schools, Brent Banks & Alex Vega will reunite as The Steady Ballers, to take on Scotty O'Shea & Tyson Dux! Banks & O'Shea then start brawling, which brings out Alex Vega, who attacks Banks, and then attacks O'Shea!

7.) Mixed Tag Team Match - Pepper Parks & Cherry Bomb vs. Gregory Iron & Jewells Malone: **1/4

Pepper Parks & Cherry Bomb are husband & wife, for those of you who don't know. Right at the start, Parks takes out Jewells Malone, essentially turning the match into a Handicap Match. Iron would fight back the best he could, and Jewells Malone would eventually return to the match, but it would be to no avail, as Pepper Parks & Cherry Bomb would get the win. Nothing much else to say about this one.

8.) Smash Wrestling Title - Five-Way Elimination Match - Kevin Steen vs. Takaaki Watanabe vs. Matt Cross vs. Josh Alexander vs. Chris Hero: ***3/4

With this being an Elimination Match, the last person left would be crowded the first ever Smash Wrestling Champion! Things broke down quickly, as everyone started brawling on the outside. This was a really fun match to watch. It's a match that you're not going to see anywhere else. Kevin Steen would be the first eliminated after everyone teamed up on him (multiple moves from pretty much everyone). Josh Alexander would then be eliminated by Chris Hero after a distraction from his former Overdogs partner, Sebastian Suave. Later on, while the referee was distracted attending to Matt Cross (who had hurt his knee), Watanabe essentially turned heel by low blowing Chris Hero, and rolling him up to score the elimination. It came down to Matt Cross vs. Takaaki Watanable, and despite the odds being against him, Matt Cross was able to pick up the huge victory, winning the Smash Wrestling Title and extending his undefeated streak!

After the match, Matt Cross talks about being the new Smash Wrestling Champion, and puts over the company & the fans to close the show. It's actually pretty nice to see a babyface Matt Cross. It proves to be a good contrast compared to his current heel runs in AIW & Lucha Underground.

Overall: 7.75/10

While this show wasn't quite as good as Any Given Sunday 2, this was still a relatively solid show. The tournament had a lot of big names in it, and their were a lot of really good matches throughout the tournament, specifically Matt Cross vs. Johnny Gargano, Chis Hero vs. Michael Elgin, and the Five-Way Elimination Match. Only one match on this show is really skippable, and the rest of the undercard was pretty solid. A good outing by Smash Wrestling.

Smash Wrestling: Any Given Sunday 2 Review

Chris Hero clashes with AJ Styles in the Main Event!

This is my first time watching Smash Wrestling. I've heard a lot about them, and they seem to have garnered a fair deal of buzz in 2014. Let's see how their first show of 2014 turned out!

Smash Wrestling: Any Given Sunday 2
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1/2614

1.) Alex Vega vs. Brent Banks: ***1/2

So the story here is that these two were once tag team partners, but now are rivals. I've seen Brent Banks once or twice before in AIW, but I really haven't seen much of Alex Vega. This was a really good opening match. Both guys got in some good offense, and the crowd was really into it. Lots of back & forth action and near falls. In the end, it would be Alex Vega who scored the victory.

After the match, while Alex Vega is celebrating his win, Brent Banks attacks him from behind. He then drags him back to the ring and lays him out.

2.) Seleziya Sparx vs. Veda Scott: ***

This is actually a rematch from the 2013 CANUSA Classic, an all women's wrestling show that Smash Wrestling puts on annually that features American women vs. Canadian women. Veda Scott won that match, so this is a chance at redemption for Seleziya Sparx. I wasn't sure how good this would be going in, but it ended up being a lot better that I thought it would be. A very solid women's match. I've always liked Veda Scott, but Seleziya Sparx also showed a lot here also. Seleziya Sparx ended up getting the win with a very cool looking finishing move. With their series being tied at 1-1, Veda Scott demands a rematch.

3.) Gregory Iron vs. Tyson Dux: **3/4

These two both suffered losses to Matt Cross in the recent past, which was sort of a set up for this match. Although it was probably the weakest on the card, that doesn't mean it was a bad match by any means. It was actually relatively solid. Iron went at Dux right from the opening bell. It still had a fair amount of action in it. Dux would pick up the win. 

After the match, Dux takes the mic and puts over Iron, saying that he's earned his respect.

4.) Four-Corner Survival - ACH vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O'Reilly vs. Matt Cross vs. Scotty O'Shea: ****1/4

This was originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat Match, but at the last minute it was changed to a Four-Corner Survival Match and ACH was added! Also, Matt Cross has been on an undefeated streak in Smash Wrestling, and it has gotten to the point where he has been nicknamed "Canadian Goldberg". I loved this match!! It was just so much fun to watch. Of course you had a lot of high-flying action with ACH & Matt Cross, and you also saw a lot of awesome stuff from Kyle O'Reilly and the underrated Scotty O'Shea (who I've quickly become a fan of). Just a lot of great action and the crowd was really into it. Matt Cross would eventually pick up the win and continue his undefeated streak in Smash Wrestling.

5.) Checkmate (Christopher Bishop & Lionel Knight) vs. The Overdogs (John Greed & Sebastian Suave): ***1/4

The Overdoes are a tag team that originally consisted of Sebastian Suave & Josh Alexander, but when he got injured towards the end of 2013, that forced Sebastian Suave to find a new partner, much like Ethan Page had to do in AAW. He found a big man named John Greed, as they take on a tag team called Checkmate. This was a pretty solid tag team match. Both teams looked good, and I was really impressed with John Greed's ability (given his size). A fine tag team encounter which sees The Overdogs pick up the win.

6.) Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****1/2

This isn't the first time these two have faced off, as Elgin defeated Gargano in the Semi-Finals of the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament in PWG. Simply put, this match was awesome!! It was just as good as the match they had in PWG. These two are incredible performers, and it's no surprise that the match was awesome. Elgin hit in a lot of his hard hitting offense, but Gargano never gave up and fought back, showing why he is "All Heart" (as his tights say). There was some negative reaction from the crowd, but that was mainly towards the referee, who wasn't really doing a good job. Eventually, Gargano was able to force Elgin to tap out to the GargaNo Escape to score the win! The two shake hands, and after Gargano exits, Elgin hits the referee with a spinning backfist, which gets a big reaction from the crowd!

7.) Chris Hero vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles: ****1/4

Of course, AJ Styles is just coming off of his TNA release and his return to ROH, while Chris Hero is only a few months removed from his WWE release. These two had a really great Main Event. Although it wouldn't be quite as good as the match they would have a few months later in ROH, this was still an awesome match. Lots of great action and the crowd was into it, especially the closing stretch. Hero is eventually able to put away AJ Styles to score the win.

After the match, Chris Hero puts over AJ Styles and they both put over Smash Wrestling to close the show.

Overall: 9.0/10

Like I said in the beginning of the review, this was my first time watching Smash Wrestling, and I think they definitely knocked it out of the park with this show! I knew coming into it that this show had a lot of good matches that I was definitely looking forward to, but I never expected it to be this great! Johnny Gargano vs. Michael Elgin was an absolute classic, with Chris Hero vs. AJ Styles and the Four-Corner Survival were awesome and so entertaining. The undercard was also really solid and that just made things even better. It's really easy to watch a show when all of the matches are this good. I will say, however, that the production wasn't that good. In particular, the video quality at times was shaky (mainly the ringside cameras), and the audio (with the crowd and commentary) was not that good at all. If you can look past that, however, this was simply a fantastic show. It's definitely worth checking out.