Sunday, May 31, 2015

Random Match Reviews #2 (5/31/15)

I take a look at matches from Lucha Underground, Dreamwave Wrestling, C*4 Wrestling, AIW & the NWA!

So if you recall, I tried this concept back in January. I planned on doing some follow up, but unfortunately, the time just wasn't there. Hopefully, now that it's Summer, I'll have the chance to do more of these.

1.) NWA Smoky Mountain - The Big One (8/4/11) - ROH World Title - Davey Richards (with Kyle O'Reilly & Tony Kozina) vs. Chase Owens: ****

This match is taking place in Kingsport, Tennessee. Davey Richards is the ROH World Champion, and is defending his title against Chase Owens (who has recently gained some fame through his work in New Japan). Things started slow with lots of technical wrestling between these two, but as was the case of most Davey Richards matches during his ROH World Title reign, the action definitely picked up down the stretch. Owens showed a lot in this match, but unfortunately, he felt short of victory, as Davey Richards got the win, and retained the ROH World Title.

2.) AIW - WrestleRager: Night 2 (9/6/14) - Johnny Gargano vs. Candice LeRae: ***3/4

These two actually had a match against each other just a week earlier in PWG during the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament. They faced off in the 2nd Round, and Gargano was victorious. I heard a lot of good things about this match, and after watching it, I think it definitely lived up to the hype. It was definitely better than the match a week earlier, but part of that was because this match had no referee screw up at the end. Lots of back & forth action from both of these competitors. The crowd and the commentators (one of them being Eddie Kingston) were going crazy. Gargano dished out a lot, but Candice was resilient and never gave up. That resilience paid off, as she was able to pin Gargano for the victory.

3.) C*4 Wrestling - Something Wicked This Way Comes (9/27/14) - Six-Man Tag - "Speedball" Mike Bailey & The Super Smash Brothers vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & Tabarnak de Team (Mathieu St. Jacques & Thomas Dubois): ****1/4

This match occurred during the period in the fall of 2014 when Michael Elgin was trapped in Canada after he lost the ROH World Title at All-Star Extravaganza VI. On this show, he's teaming up with Tabarnak de Team (who have been wrestling quite a bit in Beyond Wrestling) to take on "Speedball" Mike Bailey & The Super Smash Brothers. This was a great Six-Man Tag. It started a little show, but the action picked up at various points. It was a really long match (about twenty-five minutes), but the action definitely kept me invested. In the end, The Super Smash Brothers would hit their tag team finisher (Fatality!) on one of the members of Tabarnak de Team to score the win for their team.

4.) Lucha Underground - Season 1, Episode 1: Welcome To The Temple (10/29/14) - Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma (with Konnan): ****

Here we have the Main Event from the debut episode of Lucha Underground, featured Ricochet as the newly christened Prince Puma, with Konnan by his side, taking on Johnny Mundo, who is more famously known for his run in WWE as John Morrison & Johnny Nitro. They really could not have picked a better Main Event for the debut episode of Lucha Underground. This was a very good match! These two put on a really entertaining match with a lot of cool action. We know how good Prince Puma is, and he took Johnny Mundo to the limit in this one. Eventually, Mundo was able to put away Puma for the victory.

After the match, the two competitors show each other respect. Then, Dario Cueto (owner/promotor of Lucha Underground) comes out. Earlier in the episode, he had promised $100,000 to the Luchador who impressed him the most. It looks like he's going to give the briefcase of money to Johnny Mundo, but Cueto closed the lid on him. Mundy tries to go for the briefcase, but he & Prince Puma are attacked by The Crew, which consists of Cortez Castro (Ricky Reyes of ROH fame), Mr. Cisco, & Big Ryck (formerly Ezekiel Jackson in WWE). Cueto then gives the money to The Crew (I guess they "impressed" him the most) to close the show.

5.) Dreamwave Wrestling - Season Premiere (2/7/15) - Dreamwave Tag Team Titles - AC/DC (Arik Cannon & Darin Corbin) vs. Colt Cabana & Dick Justice: **1/2

I believe this is the Dreamwave Wrestling debut for Dick Justice, who's teaming with Colt Cabana against Arik Cannon & Darin Corbin for the Dreamwave Tag Team Titles. This was a decent match. Of course, with guys like Cabana & Dick Justice involved, there was a fair amount of comedy. The highlight of which was Dick Justice riding Corbin like a horse (I'm not joking. This actually happened). Eventually, Cannon & Corbin would get the win over Cabana & Dick Justice, retaining the Dreamwave Tag Team Titles.

There you have it! My second batch of Random Match Reviews is compete. I hope to actually follow though with doing more of these. There are a plethora of interesting matches from various promotions that I would like to look it.

CHIKARA You Only Live Twice Review

CHIKARA returns, and a new threat show its face!

So this is CHIKARA's return show. As everyone knows, the company was "shut down" following the events of Anniversario: Never Compromise in the Summer of 2013. Since then, Icarus had been fighting to bring back CHIKARA, and at National Pro-Wrestling Day 2014, the forces of CHIKARA united to announce the promotion's return, after having to fight off the emergence of a massive group of rudos (heels) known as The Flood, seemingly led by Ring of Honor's Jimmy Jacobs. All of the happenings of the past year have now culminated in this show. The return of CHIKARA, and it was on iPPV!

CHIKARA You Only Live Twice
Easton, Pennsylvania 5/25/14

First of all, it has to be said that the crowd for this show is HUGE! I believe it was noted that 1500 people were in attendance.

1.) Six-Mag Tag - Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Ares, Nøkken & Tursas with Milo Schnitzler) vs. The Spectral Envoy (UltraMantis Black, Hallowicked & Frightmare): ***1/2

So the show starts off with a clash between the BDK & The Spectral Envoy. Of course, as many people know, UltraMantis Black has a long history with with BDK. Originally, Milo Schnitzler was going to be in this match with Ares & Nøkken, but as UltraMantis Black attempted to do a promo on the BDK, Tursas (one of the original BDK members) jumped them from behind! Now the BDK has two behemoths in their ranks. This was a really good opening match. It was a lot of fun, the crowd was into it, and the history between these two groups certainly added to the atmosphere as well. Unfortunately, the BDK would pick up the win over The Spectral Envoy.

2.) Chuck Taylor vs. "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington: ***

This is the CHIKARA debut for the former Dalton Castle, now known as Ashley Remington. There were a couple of videos online that explained how this came about. Basically, Dalton Castle found out that he was a relative of Darkness Crabtree, who had been "killed" by GEKIDO when they shut down Wrestling is Intense, and that he had left him a sizable inheritance. Crabtree had told him to use his fortune wisely, so Castle transformed into "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington. Here, he's taking on a CHIKARA stalwart in Chuck Taylor. This was a pretty fun match. Ashley Remington is such an entertaining character, and you can tell the crowd has already fallen in love with him. At the same time, I think Chuck Taylor was a good opponent for his debut. Remington would get the win, and after the match, Remington gives Taylor a fruit basket, I guess as a "consolidation prize".

Up next we have a segment with the new owner of CHIKARA, Robbie Ellis. He introduces the new Director of Fun, Mike Quackenbush. He thanks the fans for all of their support over the years, and that "They Are CHIKARA".

3.) Six-Man Tag - The Batiri (Kobald, Kodama & Obariyon) vs. The Odditorium (Sinn Bodhi, Oliver Grimsly, & Qefka The Quiet): **1/4

So here's another match that has a lot of history behind it, as when they made their initial debut, The Batiri were aligned with Sinn Bodhi. Since then, The Batiri turned into tecnicos, wanting to protect CHIKARA against people like Sinn Bodhi (and his new minions in The Odditorium), who were trying to destroy it. This was probably the worst match on the show. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't good either. There were a few good moments, but the match ended when Sinn Bodhi hit a low blow, giving The Batiri the win by DQ. Not a very satisfying finish.

4.) Jervis Cottonbelly vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado: **1/2

These are two competitors who have gained notoriety through the various "Wrestling is..." promotions. The match itself was fine. It wasn't anything special, but the action was fine, and it was a good introductions to both characters in the main CHIKARA canon. The match ended when Coronado turned Cottonbelly's mask, allowing him to hit him with a bridging German Suplex for the win.

5.) Four-Way Tag Team Elimination Match - 3.0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews) vs. GEKIDO (17 & deviANT) vs. The Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard) vs. The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti): ***1/2

The Throwbacks earned the final spot in this match by winning the 2014 Tag World Grand Prix in Wrestling is Fun!, which concluded the night before. This is also an elimination match, and (I believe) points towards the Campeonatos de Parejas (which are still in flux at this point, as while Jigsaw & The Shard are technically champions, the trio of Princess Kimber Lee, Jolly Roger & Lance Steel have possession of the actual title belts). 3.0 were eliminated first. I should also note that, at once point, Kid Cyclone and some of his fellow students attacked 17, but their teacher, Hallowicked, stopped them, and told them to go the back. Despite being outnumbered by teams from The Flood, The Throwbacks were able to outlast both GEKIDO & The Pieces of Hate to win the match!

6.) Archibald Peck vs. Jimmy Jacobs: **3/4

During the massive assault by The Flood at National Pro-Wrestling Day 2014, Archibald Peck showed up with 3.0 in a Delorean from Back To The Future to aid the CHIKARA roster, so I guess it was natural that we would get this match. It was a pretty solid match. While it wasn't quite as good as I was expecting, it was still a fine match. With the help of his goons, and a foreign object, Jacobs is able to get the win.

7.) Six-Man Tag - The Colony (Fire Ant, Green Ant & Worker Ant) vs. The Colony: Xtreme Force (Arctic Rescue Ant, Missile Assault Ant, Orbit Adventure Ant): ***1/2

There isn't a need to explain the grudge these two teams have. The real thing vs. cheap knockoffs. The story rights itself. The biggest development was that assailANT has now been given the moniker of Worker Ant by the other members of The Colony. This was another pretty good match. Lots of ant insanity, obviously. Solid action throughout this one. Towards the end of the match, it looked like The Colony was going to get the win, but The Colony: Xtreme Force would get the win with an assist from an exposed turnbuckle.

Despite losing the match, The Colony was able to claim some form of victory, as they sent away The Colony: Xtreme Force afterwords, and took back their King of Trios 2011 Medals.

8.) CHIKARA Grand Championship - Eddie Kingston vs. Icarus: ***1/2

So here we have the Main Event. A match that was the Main Event of Anniversario: Never Compromise, where Icarus was moments away from getting Eddie Kingston to tap out to the CHIKARA Special before Condor Security ruined everything and shut down the show. Nearly a year later, Icarus is firmly a tecnico, as the person who was the savior of CHIKARA. These two had a pretty good match. It was about on par with their previous title match (which, as I previous mentioned, ended in a No Contest). Lots of good back & forth action between these two. As the match progressed, the CHIKARA roster (pretty much all of the tecnicos) came down to ringside in support of Icarus. Unfortunately, Icarus took some hard shots, and apparently suffered a concussion during the match (making for a few spots where Icarus was clearly out of it). Despite this, Icarus was somehow able to continue, and eventually got Kingston to tap out to the CHIKARA Special to score the win and the CHIKARA Grand Championship!! 

The CHIKARA roster celebrated with Icarus to close the show....or what we thought was the end of the show. All of a sudden, all of the members of The Flood come down to the ring. They were followed by a massive figure, wearing some sort of gas mask (he resembled Bane, the famous villain of Batman). He was dragging two hooded figures with them. He brought them in the ring, and took off their hoods, revealing them to be Delirious & Soldier Ant! Delirious goes after The Spectral Envoy, while Soldier Ant attacks The Colony!! A huge brawl breaks out, with members of The Flood fighting members of the CHIKARA roster. The large man that resembled Bane remained in the ring, and Kobald decided to go after him. He tried to attack him, but it had no effect. The large man then grabbed him, and hit him with a devastating Choke Breaker (basically a chokeslam onto his knee). Kobald laid motionless in the ring as The Flood left. The CHIKARA Roster quickly surrounded their fallen comrade, with The Batiri being the most distraught. They carried the lifeless body of Kobald away as the show came to a somber close.

Overall: 7.25/10

After all of the controversy that surround the nearly year long "shut down" storyline, we finally saw the return of CHIKARA. As a whole, the show was relatively solid. There really wasn't one particular Match of the Night, as you had multiple matches in the ***1/2 range that were all really good. We saw the debut of one of the most entertaining characters in recent memory in "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington, and Icarus complete his transition to being a tecnico by not only saving CHIKARA, but also by winning the Grand Championship. There were a few matches that weren't quite as solid, but there were more good matches than not-so-good matches. The show finished with a lot of questions, as we saw the return of Delirious & Soldier Ant (who has apparently joined The Flood and is now a rude), the debut of the man who we would later learn was Deucalion, and the first example of his power, as he apparently took out Kobald for good. An interesting return for CHIKARA, to say the least.

Friday, May 29, 2015

RPW Summer Sizzler 2014 Review

Revolution Pro Wrestling gives us two rematches & an appearance by The Bullet Club!

RPW Summer Sizzler 2014
London, England 6/15/14

1.) RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Titles – The Kartel (Terry Frazier & Sha Samuels) vs. England’s Calling (Joel Redman & Martin Stone): **3/4
So just to catch everyone up to speed, Terry Frazier & Sha Samuels reformed their tag team, The Kartel, at High Stakes 2014. The next day, they went on to defeat The Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann), who themselves had just won the RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Titles at High Stakes 2014 from The Swords of Essex, to win said titles. They then joined up with Marty Scurll, helping him win the RPW Heavyweight Title, and forming The Revolutionists. They would soon be joined by Josh Bodom, who won the RPW British Cruiserweight Title from Prince Devitt about a month prior to this show.

The show kicks off with The Kartel defending their titles against Joel Redman & Martin Stone, who are collectively known as England’s Calling. Both of these men had both spend time in NXT (Redman was the more successful of the two, having a reign as one-half of the NXT Tag Team Champions alongside Adrian Neville), before being released from the WWE a few months prior to this show. These two team brawled right from the opening bell. They brawled out of the ring and spent a lot of time fighting it out in the crowd. The two teams eventually got back in the ring and, in the end, Redman & Stone scored the upset win over The Kartel, capturing the RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Titles!!

2.) Bad Luck Fale vs. Dave Mastiff: **½

I got to see some of Dave Mastiff during the PCW/ROH joint shows. He’s pretty good for a guy his size. Here, he’s taking on Bad Luck Fale, the monster of The Bullet Club. The match itself was fine, but nothing special. Fale needs to have the right opponent that can carry him to a really good match, and this wasn’t one of those situations. Still, there were some cool moments here & there. Fale would hit The Grenade on Mastiff for the victory.
3.) RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title – Marty Scurll vs. Kevin Steen: ***½

Scurll comes out with one of his shoulders heavily taped up. Apparently he had suffered a separated shoulder and had been out of action for a month or two. He’s defending his RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title against Kevin Steen from Ring of Honor. This was a pretty good match. It was much better than Scurll’s title win against Colt Cabana at High Stakes 2014. Both guys played their roles very well, and there was a lot of nice action throughout this one. Credit to Scurll for doing this match despite the injury. It looked like that Steen was closing in on the win, and the title, but when the referee got knocked down, Scurll took advantage, hitting a low blow and rolling up Steen for the win, retaining his title in the process. With Steen on his way to WWE, the outcome was never really in doubt. Still, this was a very good match.
4.) Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ****
Now THIS was the match that I was most looking forward to when I saw the card for this show. Zack Sabre Jr. blew everyone away in PWG during the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles, and Nakamura is definitely my favorite New Japan wrestler. It’s also a rare NJPW vs. NOAH match. This was a great match! I loved every second of it. These two are just so good, and it was incredibly fun to watch these two go at it. It was Zack Sabre Jr.’s technical wizardry against Nakamura’s strikes. Very good psychology in this match as well. After some really solid back & forth action, Nakamura hits the Boma Ye on Zack Sabre Jr. for the victory. Again, this was a really fun match to watch, and it’s a match you’re only going to see in RPW.

5.) 2 Unlimited (Jay & Patrick Sammon) vs. Jake McCluskey & Will Ospreay: ****

Apparently, Will Ospreay’s Swords of Essex partner, Paul Robinson, was unable to make the show, so Jake McCluskey stepped in to take his place. 2 Unlimited is a team of brothers (they may be from Ireland but I’m not sure). I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but it ended up being a really great match! There was a lot of high-octane action throughout this one. All four guys delivered some really cool offense, and it made the match really exciting. 2 Unlimited would the victory in this one, which makes sense, since they were facing a makeshift team.
6.) ROH World Champion Adam Cole vs. Prince Devitt: ****
So now we have our (original) Main Event, which was also another match that I was really looking forward to. Cole comes into this match as the ROH World Champion, about a week before his big title defense against Michael Elgin at the Best In The World PPV. Devitt, much like Steen, is on his way to WWE, so this is the only chance we’ll get to see these two lock up.

Devitt has an AMAZING entrance where he comes out dressed as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. It was really cool to watch.

The match itself was really great, as you would expect. Both of these guys are so good, and it definitely showed here. We saw a little bit of everything in this one as well. There was, of course, great action in the ring, but they did some brawling on the outside. I enjoyed this match a lot. Eventually, it took two Bloody Sunday’s for Devitt to put away Cole for the win.

After the match, Devitt takes the mic, and tries to do a farewell speech, but before he could say much, he’s attacked by The Revolutionists. They beat up Devitt for a bit until Bad Luck Fale (an original Bullet Club member along with Devitt) comes down to aide his friend. Things eventually settle down, and Devitt says that he wants to do one more thing, and that’s bring The Bullet Club to RPW. He challenges The Revolutionists to a tag team match right now, and it looks like we have a Bonus Main Event!

7.) The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Prince Devitt) vs. The Revolutionists (Josh Bodom & Sha Samuels): **¼

Devitt & Fale were on fire to start this one, but they were constantly hampered by interference from the members of The Revolutionists who weren’t in this match (Marty Scurll & Terry Frazier). Eventually, Kevin Steen comes out to even the odds! He takes out Frazier and then hits Scurll with the Package Piledriver! This leads to Devitt & Fale gaining the advantage & getting the victory. The match itself was pretty short, but it was more of an elongated angle that allows us to see The Bullet Club appear in RPW. A nice way to end the show on a good note.

After the match, Devitt, Fale & Steen posed in the ring, with Fale lifting Devitt on his shoulders one last time to a standing ovation to close the show.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was another great show from RPW. While the first two matches were fine/ok, they did have their moments (such as the title change in the opening match). We then had a really good RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title Match between Marty Scurll & Kevin Steen. The show then hit a really nice stride with three really great matches, that all just hit the **** barrier. While the “surprise” Main Event was more of an angle, it was really cool to see the show end with Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale & Kevin Steen celebrating in the ring. Even though this show didn't have that one amazing match like we saw at High Stakes 2014, it had, as I just explained, so really good matches and moments. Once again, another really entertaining show from Revolution Pro Wrestling.

RPW High Stakes 2014 Review

Colt Cabana defends his title against Marty Scurll, while The Inner City Machine Guns & The Young Bucks make a huge splash!

As regular followers of my blog may know, I try to look at a number of different wrestling promotions. While most of them are either in North America or Japan, I’ve reviewed a number of wrestling shows from the UK as well. I have already looked at shows from companies such as PROGRESS Wrestling & Preston City Wrestling. Now, I’m going to start looking at RPW, or Revolution Pro Wrestling. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about some of their bigger shows from 2014, so I decided to give them a look, starting off with this show from March of 2014. Let’s see how things turned out!

RPW High Stakes 2014
London, England 3/15/14

1.) Jay Lethal vs. Josh Bodom: ***1/4
The show kicks off with ROH regular Jay Lethal (about a month before he would the ROH World TV Title, turn heel & join The House of Truth) taking on Josh Bodom. Lethal is channeling a bit of his “Black Machismo” persona tonight. I thought this was a very solid opening match. Pretty entertaining throughout, and the crowd was into it. In the end, Bodom would pick up a huge win over Lethal.

2.) Mark Andrews vs. Sha Samuels: ***
So I actually do have knowledge on Mark Andrews, who made a few appearances for some of the “Wrestling is…” promotions, and is now part of TNA after winning their British Boot Camp TV Show. Really don’t know much about Sha Samuels. This was a pretty solid match. Andrews went after Samuels right at the start, utilizing his high-flying offense. Samuels countered with his power. At one point, Andrews went for a suicide dive to Samuels on the outside, but Samuel got a chair and smashed Andrews in the head with it, causing the match to end in a DQ.

Samuels continues to beat up Andrews after the match. This leads to Terry Frazier coming out, but he attacks Andrews!! Frazier & Samuels continue to attack Andrews, thus officially reforming their tag team, known as The Kartel (from what I can tell, they were a tag team on the British wrestling scene who broke up a few years earlier).

3.) RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Titles – The Swords Of Essex (Paul Robinson & Will Ospreay) vs. The Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann): ****½

The Swords Of Essex are a tag team from the UK that I had heard of before (they were actually on the PROGRESS Wrestling Show that I watched a few months ago). Here they’re defending their RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Titles against Ricochet & Rich Swann, who are a tag team that a lot of people are familiar with. I had a feeling that this match was going to be really good, but this far exceeded my expectations. This was just an awesome match!! Lots of insane action, as you would expect. We all know that Ricochet & Swann are a great tag team, but Robinson & Ospreay really showed a lot. Amazing action throughout this match, especially in the closing stretch. Eventually, Ricochet & Swann were able to score the victory over The Swords Of Essex, capturing the RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Titles!! Just an incredible match from start to finish. Go out of your way to see this one!
4.) The Young Bucks vs. Project Ego (Kris Travis & Martin Kirby): ****

It’s a tough task to follow the last match, but if anyone can follow that, it would be The Young Bucks. Here’s they’re facing Project Ego, who are Kris Travis & Martin Kirby (two British wrestlers who I’ve also heard of and I’ve seen before here & there). As you would expect, this was a great match. It didn’t quite match the Inner City Machine Guns/Swords Of Essex match, but it was going to really hard to top that. Really enjoyable stuff here. It’s always going to be a fun match when The Young Bucks are involved. Project Ego showed off a lot here as well. In the end, The Young Bucks would get the win over Travis & Kirby.
5.) El Ligero vs. Sonjay Dutt: ***

It seems like El Ligero is a guy who wrestlers pretty much everywhere in the UK, because I saw him in PROGRESS Wrestling, PCW, and now RPW. For those of you who aren’t familiar, he’s essentially a British version of El Generico. Here, he’s taking on Sonjay Dutt. A fine match here. Solid action between these two. El Ligero would end up getting the win over Dutt.

Before the Main Event, we get an appearance from “The Icon” Sting!! He had recently been released by TNA. He wasn’t wearing his facepaint, and was dressed in street clothes, but that didn’t bother the crowd. They loved The Stinger! He basically cuts a promo putting over the promotion, as well as the Main Event, before leaving.
6.) RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title – 30 Minute Iron Fist Match – Colt Cabana vs. Marty Scurll: **¾

An Iron Fist Match is basically an Iron Man Match, but with a slightly different name. The only real difference is that if someone gets knocked out, the match ends immediately. 

You know that Marty Scurll is a heel when Stormtroopers from Star Wars are part of his entrance!! That was really cool. Here, he’s taking on Colt Cabana, who comes into this match as the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion. These two traded falls back & forth throughout this match. At one point, Scurll used some (seemingly) innovative strategy, by first taping Cabana to one of the ringside barricades to get a fall by countout, and later, taping himself to the ropes, so that he couldn’t get pinned (unfortunately, this exposed him to a beating from Cabana). Cabana would even hit the GTS at one point to score a fall. The match originally ended at a 2-2 tie, but Colt Cabana asked for five more minutes, and that’s what we got!

During this five minute period, the referee got taken out, which led to The Kartel coming out and hitting Cabana with a Spike Piledriver. Cabana would fight off The Kartel members, but Scurll was able to take advantage of the situation, by locking Cabana in the Crossface Chickenwing for the victory and the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title. On the whole, while it had it’s moments, I thought the match was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t a bad match by any means, but it barely reached the level of being good. I think there were a number of things that just didn’t work out well in this match, and it made for a disappointing Main Event.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was my first RPW show, and I thought that it was a pretty good one. While the show only had six matches, the quality of these matches was, for the most part, really good. We had two solid opening matches (even though one of them ended in a DQ). The Swords of Essex vs. Inner City Machine Guns was a fantastic match that stole the show, and we also saw another great tag team contest with The Young Bucks vs. Project Ego. El Ligero vs. Sonjay Dutt was entertaining, and we got an appearance from Sting! Despite the awesome entrance from Marty Scurll, the Main Event was actually the worst match on the show (and the only match that did not hit *** or higher). If you’re looking to get into Revolution Pro Wrestling, I’d say this show is a really good place to start.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

CZW Cage of Death XVI Review

The CZW World Title is on the line inside The Cage of Death!

So a lot has happened in the world of CZW since the last show I reviewed. I will try to go through most of those in my review of CZW’s biggest show of the year. Let’s see how it turned out.

CZW Cage of Death XVI
Voorhees, New Jersey 12/13/14

Kyle Francis (No idea who that is. I guess he's an interviewer?) introduces Santa Claus. Yes, you heard that right. Santa Claus showed up in CZW. Of course, the crowd chants “F**k You Santa”. He says everyone has been good this year, except for one. Before he could say who it is, DJ Hyde comes out. He says the fans don’t deserve s**t unless he gives it to them, and that they will do whatever he says and like it. He says if anyone deserves the best Christmas Gift in the world, it’s him. Hyde is then interrupted by Chris Dickinson, and it looks like our opening match is underway.

1.) Chris Dickinson vs. DJ Hyde: **3/4

Dickson plays nice with Santa Claus initially, before giving him the Pazuzu Bomb. Yep, of course Dickinson would do that to Santa Claus. This match saw a lot of brawling on the outside. They did get eventually get into the ring, and Dickinson was able to hit a Burning Hammer on DJ Hyde for the win. A decent opening match. Hyde got some offense it, but for the most part, Dickinson dominated.

2.) Papadon & Pepper Parks (with Cherry Bomb) vs. The Nation of Intoxication (Devon Moore & Lucky 13): **1/4

The team of Papadon, Pepper Parks & Cherry Bomb are known as The Body, The Bomb, & The God. The Nation of Intoxication spit beer on Parks & Papadon, and they attack in retaliation to start the match. There some decent action in this match, but it was a relatively short match. Cherry Bomb attempted to interfere towards the end of the match. She initially got caught, but the referee got shoved away, and she kicked Devon Moore in the nuts. With Moore down, this leads to Papadon & Parks taking advantage of Lucky 13 for the win.

3.) The Beavers Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) vs. Team Tremendous (Dan Barry & Bill Carr with Dick Justice): ***1/2

So the story between these two teams revolves around Team Tremendous trying to arrest The Beaver Boys for crimes they have committed. I’m not exactly sure what they did, but they’re now on the wrong side of the law. If Team Tremendous win, they can arrest The Beaver Boys for their crimes, but if Silver & Reynolds win, all charges against them get dropped. This was a really good tag team match. There were a lot of crazy moves throughout this match, especially in the closing stages. We even saw Bill Carr hit a Canadian Destroyer, which is insane for a guy of his size. Towards the end of the match, Reynolds & Silver try to use a chair, but Dick Justice has a gun! Reynolds gets a donut, and throws it, and Dick Justice falls for it. Did that just happen? Unbelievable. This allows The Beaver Boys to use the chair and secure the victory. All charges against them are officially dropped.

After the match, Alex Reynolds & John Silver hoodwink Dick Justice and kidnap him. They throw them in the truck of their car, and drive away.

4.) CZW Wired TV Title – Shane Strickland vs. Joe Gacy: ***3/4

There was a really good video package that explained the backstory of this match. Strickland had a long road to the CZW Wired TV Title, and he held the title for a few months before losing it to Joe Gacy, who’s had his own trials & tribulations. Strickland quickly won the title back, turning heel in the process, setting up this match. Gacy also had issues with Strickland referring to himself as a “CZW Legend”.

This was actually a really good match. The wrestling was pretty good, and with the story they were trying to tell, it really felt like this match had serious stakes, which makes any wrestling match better. Towards the end of the match, Strickland tries to walk out, but the Nation of Intoxication block the entranceway, and force him back in. This leads to a great exchange in the closing minutes, and in the end, Joe Gacy gets the win and captures the CZW Wired TV Title! I really enjoyed this. When you combine a good wrestling match with an engaging story, you usually get something great, as was the case here.

As Gacy goes to the back, the camera cuts to Tim Donst! He criticizes the hardcore style of CZW wrestlers, as well as the CZW fans. Donst says he’s going to save pro-wrestling.

5.) Ultraviolent Food Fight – Matt Tremont & Buxx Belmar vs. Greg Excellent & Sexxxy Eddy (with Chrissy Rivera & Mama Excellent): *1/2

So this is a match that is actually happen. We are actually having an Ultraviolent Food Fight. Matt Tremont & Greg Excellent each have a mystery partner, who are revealed to be Buxx Belmar & Sexxxy Eddy, respectively. I’m not going to go into this match in detail, because it was pretty disgusting. All I will say is that Greg Excellent & Sexxy Eddy won the match. The two teams shake hands after the match.

Up next, we have an in ring segment with a wrestler known as The Preacher. He’s a younger wrestler, who suffered a broken neck in a horrific accident during a six-way match at the previous CZW show, Night of Infamy. He thanks the CZW wrestlers and the fans for all of their support. He says he will recover and he will be back. Alex Colon, the man who injured The Preacher, comes out. He says that the CZW locker room is family, and says that he’s sorry…that The Preacher is such a pussy. The woman who was with The Preacher (either a family member or his girlfriend, I’m not sure), gets in front of Colon, to prevent him from going after The Preacher, but Mike Bailey comes out and makes the save. The rest of the participants for the next match then come out.

6.) Best Of The Best Qualifying Match – Six-Man Scramble – Alex Colon vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Caleb Konley vs. David Starr vs. Jonathan Gresham vs. AR Fox: ***1/2

So the way this match works is that the winner will be the first person entered into the Best Of The Best Tournament, while the loser will be barred from participating. As you would expect, this was an action packed match, filled with high-octane offense and aerial insanity. During the match, everyone gets into a strike exchange, and even the referee gets caught up in it. He punches David Starr! When he realized what he had done, he starts running wild on everyone!!! He even hit Alex Colon with the GTS. That was pretty crazy. Eventually, Jonathan Gresham gets the win, becoming the first entrant into the Best Of The Best Tournament. He pinned David Starr, thus barring him from the tournament.

After the match, they show a bunch of post-match promos from the match participants. In particular, I want to focus on David Starr. He announced that he has fulfilled his obligations with CZW, and will be leaving the promotion. I feel like this may have to do with a controversy from earlier in the year that led to JT Dunn & Kimber Lee leaving CZW.

7.) CZW Junior Heavyweight Title – Alexander James vs. Rich Swann: **3/4

The Revelation accompanies James to ringside. At this point, I believe his CZW Junior Heavyweight Title is still “honorary”, and I guess is technically still inactive? I don’t know what the deal is. Here, James is taking on Rich Swann. It was a decent match, that was hampered by a lot of interference from The Revelation, which including pulling the referee when Swann had the match won. All of this interference allows James to pick up the win.

After the match, Swann is attacked by a guy dressed all in black. Black hoodie, black ski mask, the works. After his attacks, he exits through the crowd, leaving as quickly as he came.

8.) CZW Tag Team Titles – OI4K vs. The American Wolves: ***3/4

Now here’s a match that I was looking forward to. One of the good things about TNA loosing their restrictions on where talents can work is that we see sights like this. Who would have ever though we would see The American Wolves in a CZW ring? Here, they’re challenging OI4K for the CZW Tag Team Titles. As you would expect, this was a really good match. Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards are just so good as a tag team, that it’s hard for them to have a bad match with anyone. Lots of really solid tag team action throughout this one. At one point, The Wolves isolated Jake Crist for a good period until he eventually made the tag to his brother, Dave Crist. After a hard fought contest, OI4K are able to get the huge win over Richards & Edwards, retaining their CZW Tag Team Titles.

9.) CZW World Title – Cage of Death Match – Sozio vs. Biff Busick vs. Drew Gulak vs. BLK Jeez: **3/4

Like I said in the beginning, a lot of things have happened since the last show I reviewed from CZW. Biff Busick was finally able to unseat his rival Drew Gulak to win the CZW World Title. The Front were on top of CZW, and Busick held the title for a few months, but things soon changed. Sozio, who had earned a favor from CZW Owner DJ Hyde, cashed in a surprise title shot, and dethroned Busick to win the CZW World Title, turning the rest of The Front on Busick in the process. Gulak & BLZ Jeez soon entered the title picture, which leads us to this match. In an interesting note, BLK Jeez is the only person in this match who has been in Cage of Death before, but he also the only person in this match who hasn’t held the CZW World Title.

There are five black bags hanging above the Cage of Death. Four of them are above the corners of the cage, with tiny platforms to stand on so you can get them, and one is able the middle of the ring. Lots of weapons, including Panes of Glass, were used. The first bag was retrieved by Sozio, and it had two Barbed Wire Baseball Bats inside. Sozio then retrieved the 2nd bag, and it has a bunch of kitchen supplies, like steel bowls & cooking sheets. The Front attempts to interference, but Busick tosses one of them (Nicholas Kaye) off the cage and onto the rest of The Front. Busick retrieves the 3rd bag, and it’s a staple gun with CZW stickers. I don’t need to say what’s happening with those. The Front sets up tables on the outside. As Busick tries to get another bag, he’s caught by Sozio & The Front, and they pull him off the cage and send him through a table, eliminating him. Gulak retaliates by knocking Corvis off the cage and through a table with a pane of glass on it. Gulak then grabs the 4th bag, and it’s light tubes. After a bunch of light tubes were used, Gulak is eliminated by Sozio after he hit a tombstone piledriver onto a bunch of light tubes. The Front gets a ladder so Sozio could get the final bag, and it’s a weed whacker!!! BLK Jeez gives Sozio an ace crusher from the top rope through a pain of glass. Sozio then hits a double stomp using a chair from the top of the cage. That was crazy. Just as I say that, BLK Jeez cuffs Sozio to the cage, and goes to use the weed whacker! He uses it!! Sozio soon passes out from the pain, and BLK Jeez wins the CZW World Title.

I don’t think this Cage of Death was as good as the one I saw from Cage of Death XV. I feel like part of that is because that Cage of Death Match somewhat set the standard when it comes to what should I expect from a Cage of Death match, with all of it’s death defying stunts. Having guys like Biff Busick & Drew Gulak, who are guys that are the complete opposite of this type of style, in this match probably had an effect on it as well. It wasn’t nearly as crazy as last year’s Cage of Death. I think another reason why I thought last year’s was better might have to do with the fact that it was a War Games/Lethal Lockdown/Steel Cage Warfare style of match, with two teams of four, and guys entering at fixed intervals. Having everyone in the match from the start takes away from the match, in my view. I know it’s hard to do a War Games style of match if you don’t have enough wrestlers in a faction to comprise two teams, but maybe they could have thrown two more guys in there and started the match with two and had fixed intervals. I guess what I’m trying to say is that last year’s Cage of Death gave me a certain set of expectations about a Cage of Death Match, and for various reasons, this match didn’t live up to them.

Overall: 7.5/10

So like other shows from CZW that I’ve reviewed, this show had a lot of ups & downs. You started off with two decent matches, before the show really picked up steam with The Beaver Boys vs. Team Tremendous, and a very good match between Shane Strickland & Joe Gacy for the CZW Wired TV Title, which had a great combination of in-ring action and storytelling. The show then hit a low point (in my view, at least), with the disgusting Ultraviolent Food Fight. Things then picked up again with another set of really good matches, such as the Six-Man Scramble and a CZW Tag Team Title Match between OI4K & The American Wolves. The show concluded with the annual Cage of Death Match, that I feel didn’t live up to expectations, despite the fact that the CZW World Title changed hands.

WEW Burnin' Down The House Review

WEW puts on their debut show!

WEW Burnin' Down The House
Stowe, PA 9/27/14

So this is the very first show for West End Wrestling. I saw a number of places promoting this show, and the card had a lot of familiar faces on it, so I figured that I would give it a look.

Before the show begins, they do a 10 Bell Salute in memory of Eric “The Actor” Lynch (from The Howard Stern Show, who had recently passed away. I believe the show may have been set up in tribute to him, and I think it's also serving as a charity event/fundraiser for the local fire department (not entirely sure on that). Leonard F. Chikarason & Rob Naylor are the commentators for this show.

1.) Four-Way Elimination Match - “Unbreakable” Andy Harner vs. Aaron Arbo vs. Andy Header vs. Bruce Maxwell: **3/4

These four guys are complete unknowns to me. This is an elimination match being contested under Four-Corner Survival rules. Just to run through the eliminations briefly. Header is eliminated first by Harner. Arbo then eliminates Maxwell after Harner & Arbo hit some double-team moves on him. Finally, Harner eliminates Arbo to win the match. A pretty decent opener here. For four complete unknowns, they really did a lot to show off & get notices. A fun little match.

This match is actually available for free on Youtube, for those who want to see it.

Before the next match, Danny Havoc comes out and announces that he won’t be able to compete tonight against Eddie Kingston, due to an ankle injury he suffered in Japan. He apologizes to the fans. Eddie Kingston then comes out on a crutch, mocking Havoc’s injury. He said that he respects him for all of the hardcore stuff he’s done but asks why he won’t fight him with a hurt ankle. He calls Havoc a bitch, and Havoc shoves him. Kingston pretends to apologize, but then attacks Havoc! He goes after Havoc’s ankle injury until Devon Moore (Havoc's stablemate in the Nation of Intoxication) makes the save with a barbed wire baseball bat. Moore says he’ll gladly fight Kingston tonight. Kingston accepts his challenge.

2.) Hallowicked vs. Oleg The Usurper: **1/2

Here we have a match between two CHIKARA regulars. A fine match here. It wasn't anything special, but it was fine for what it was. Hallowicked would pick up the win in this one.

After the match, while Hallowicked is celebrating, Jaka attacks him! Jaka & Oleg The Usurper (both are part of Sidney Bakabella's Wrecking Crew) double-team Hallowicked until Dasher Hatfield comes out and makes the save! They do a bit of brawling until Dasher Hatfield gets Jaka in the ring, and I guess our next match is underway.

3.) Dasher Hatfield vs. Jaka: ***

Our second match of the night that features two CHIKARA regulars. Pretty solid match. I think it was better than the previous match. Both guys are very solid wrestlers, so it's no surprise that this was good. Dasher Hatfield is eventually able to defeat Jaka with a Mouse Trap Pin.

4.) Amber Rodriguez (with Nyla Rose) vs. Annie Social: **

Those of you might know Annie Social from her tag team with Heidi Lovelace, known as The Social Network. I don't know that much about Amber Rodriguez. This was a decent women's match. Nothing really spectacular, but his served its purpose. Annie Social was able to fight off interference from Nyla Rose and, in the end, is able to defeat Rodriguez.

5.) Chris Dickinson vs. Silver Ant: ***1/2

Now this match was a match that I was REALLY looking forward to when I saw the card. Before the match, Dickinson cuts a promo where he says that Stowe, PA sucks, and that he’s disrespected by the reaction he got when he came out. He then insults some of the fans, and some of Philadelphia’s sports teams. After Silver Ant comes out, he takes off his hoodie to show everyone what a “real man” looks like. This was a really good match, as you would expect. These two are great wrestlers, and together they put together something very enjoyable. Lots of solid action throughout this one. Eventually, Dickinson would put away Silver Ant for the victory.

6.) CHIKARA Grand Champion Icarus vs. Matt Macintosh: ***1/4

Matt Macintosh is someone that I don't know much about, but he's got a big opportunity here against Icarus, who is the current CHIKARA Grand Champion. This was actually a pretty solid match. Macintoish showed a lot in this match. Icarus took a beating, but he was able to mount a comeback, and scored the victory. Again, this was a pretty good match. Macintosh definitely deserves a look from other promotions.

7.) Gran Akuma vs. Lucky 13: **3/4

Now this is an interesting match, as you have one guy who was very associated with CHIKARA, while the other is very much associated with CZW. A nice, even match between these two. Not the best match on the card, but it was pretty solid. Akuma was eventually able to get the win with the Tenchi Crash, which is a pretty cool looking finisher.

8.) Devon Moore vs. Eddie Kingston: **1/2

So, as stated earlier, Danny Havoc can't compete due to an ankle injury, so his Nation of Intoxication stablemate Devon Moore is taking his place. Of course, this match was a brawl right from the beginning, and it was until the end of the match. It was a relatively short match, but it was fine for what it was. Kingston, in the end, was able to pick up the win.

9.) AIW Absolute Title - Hardcore Match – Tim Donst vs. Matt Tremont: ***1/4

So Tim Donst won the AIW Absolute Title earlier in the month, and for this show, AIW allowed Donst to put the title on the line against CZW stalwart Matt Tremont. That's pretty cool. Right at the start of the match, Donst gets the mic and says that he wants this match to be a hardcore match. He goes to the back and gets a barbed wire baseball bat, a kendo stick & other weapons. Tremont takes the mic and says that he’s tired of bleeding for the morons in the crowd. He came to wrestle Tim Donst. In turn, Donst calls out Tremont, saying he’s a chicken. They end up doing some actual wrestling for a bit, until Tremont blocks a dive from Tim Donst with a chair.

From there, things got hardcore. He fakes stapling a dollar bill to Donst’s head, but he buys a beer instead. Donst then comes back, steals his beer, drinks it, and hits a Stone Cole Stunner! Donst then staples a number of dollar bills onto Tremont. We would also see a large bin of Legos dumped in the ring (and Donst would hit several moves on Tremont onto the Legos), as well as the usage of a Thumbtack Bat, Handcuffs & the aforementioned Barbed Wire Baseball Bat. Eventually, Donst is able get Tremont to tap to a crossface using the Barbed Wire Baseball Bat. This was pretty solid for a hardcore match. WEW wanted to end their show on a high note, and it seems like this match accomplished that. 

After the match, Tremont cuts a promo saying how he had wanted to wrestle a straight-up match, but that it seemed like people always want to challenge him at what he does best, which is hardcore wrestling. He says Donst was the better man before leaving. Donst then cuts a promo of his own, saying that Matt Tremont’s a hell of a talent, and thanks WEW for letting him wrestle Tremont. He then talks about WEW putting on this show for a good cause.

Overall: 6.25/10

Even though this wasn't exactly show filled with great matches, I will say that it was an entertaining one to sit through. The mix of talent they brought in was certainly interesting, and it produced a lot of unique matches. Chris Dickinson vs. Silver Ant was definitely the best match on the show, and one worth checking out. You also had some other pretty entertaining matches, like Icarus vs. Matt Macintosh, as well as the Main Event. A pretty easy show to sit through.