Thursday, January 1, 2015

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.

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