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.