Monday, June 29, 2015

House of Hardcore VII Review

The Hardys take on The Young Bucks in a Dream Tag Team Match!

House of Hardcore VII
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 11/15/14

So for those of you who don’t know, House of Hardcore is a promotion run by Tommy Dreamer. It’s an eclectic mix of old (the promotion usually features former ECW wrestlers) and new (some of the top independent talent in the country). Some of their shows in 2014 have had some pretty interesting cards. This one in particular had a really solid lineup of talent, so I decided to give it a try.

Before the show starts, Tommy Dreamer comes out to inform the crowd of some changes to the show. Ethan Carter III was unable to compete due to an injury, Jigsaw had an illness, and Davey Richards had a “medical emergency”. Despite these last minute changes, Dreamer said that the fans should expect some surprises.

1.) Danny Doring vs. Stevie Richards: **¼

The show officially kicks off with a match between two ECW originals. It was an ok match. Not really the best opener that you could have. I feel like they could have switched this match with another match, but again, it was fine. Totally inoffensive. Stevie Richards would get the win in this one.

2.) Brian Myers vs. Christian York: ***

Of course most people will know who Brian Myers is, but I never realized until recently that Christian York has been wrestling for a long time. He was actually in the original ECW (in 2000-2001). A pretty solid match between these two. In the end, Christian York would pick up the victory.

After the match, Brian Myers was very upset over his loss. He said it was a fluke and that the referee fast counted him. Myers then added that finally being in the ECW Arena was a letdown, because the place was a dump. He claimed that he wasn’t leaving the ring until someone forces him to leave. Ricardo Rodriguez then comes out!! His presence can mean only one thing, as he introduces Alberto El Patron (the former Alberto Del Rio)!! The crowd went crazy as he came out. El Patron says that he thought he wasn’t going to be able to wrestle in the United States for a full year (due the ridiculous terms of his WWE release, which were later overturned), but he’s glad to be in the ECW Arena for the first time! Brian Myers took offense to this interruption. He goes to attack, but Rodriguez hits him with a low blow. This allows El Patron to lock in the cross armbreaker. El Patron & Rodriguez celebrate afterwords.

3.) Six-Man Tag - Team Tremendous (Dan Barry & Bill Carr) & Little Guido vs. Anthony Greene, Ben Ortiz & Vik Dalishus: ***1/4

Team Tremendous & Little Guido just sounds like an awesome trio. I’m honestly not that familiar with their opponents, however. Pretty solid six-man tag. Good action from all six guys involved. The team of Team Tremendous & Little Guido scored the win.

4.) Eddie Edwards vs. Eddie Kingston: ***3/4

This is one of the matches that came about due to the card being changed. It’s a Battle of the Eddie’s!! These two have faced off before in tag team action (in ROH), but I don’t think they’ve ever faced off in a singles match. This ended up being really good. Edwards is always great, and Kingston is definitely capable of having great singles matches. Both men went toe-to-toe and just beat the crap out of each other. In the end, Edwards would get the win via referee stoppage.

5.) Three-Way Elimination Match - Alex Reynolds vs. Lance Anoai vs. Tony Nese: ***1/2

Most of you will know of Alex Reynonds & Tony Nese, but Lance Anoai is a relative unknown. He’s part of the legendary Samoan lineage of wrestlers. This was a pretty entertaining Three-Way. Lots of fast paced action, as you would expect. Reynolds would eliminated Lance Anoai first, and then Nese would eliminate Reynolds to win the match. Again, a very good Three-Way Elimination Match.

Up next, The Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) come out. They were originally supposed to face The Wolves, but as I mentioned earlier, Davey Richards being unable to show forced the card to be changed around. Davey Boy Smith Jr. said he heard that Richards missed the show due to a “tummy ache”. He said he was just scared to face The Killer Elite Squad. They said that they’re the best tag team in the world, and that there wasn’t anyone who can do a thing about it. This brings out Team 3D, who come out to a huge reaction! Bully Ray says that the rabid Philly fans want to see a fight, and a brawl breaks out! Looks like we have a match!

6.) Team 3D vs. The Killer Elite Squad: **1/2

The crowd went absolutely insane for Team 3D. Though, as you would expect, the match itself was just kind of there. It was a fun brawl, but I don’t think these two teams meshed really well together. The crowd chanted for tables, and of course, we get tables! The match ends with Bully Ray & Devon powerbombing Lance Archer through a table, and they get the cover for the win.

7.) Austin Aries vs. Evolve Champion Drew Galloway: ***3/4

Of course, this match was a few months before Drew Galloway made his debut for TNA, but it was pretty cool nonetheless. This was a really good match, as you would expect. Aries is a great wrestler, as we all know, and Galloway continues to showcase what he’s truly capable of on the independent scene. Great back & forth action throughout this match. Eventually, Aries was finally able to put away Galloway with a Brainbuster for the win.

Up next, we have an Extreme Rules Match, where Tommy Dreamer was originally scheduled to face Ethan Carter III. But of course, as announced earlier, Ethan Carter III is injured. Dreamer is accompanied by his wife, Beulah McGillycutty, who is making her final appearance with Dreamer at ringside. Dreamer’s new opponent is none other than the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode. For those of you who may not know, House of Hardcore has developed a relationship with TNA. Several TNA Talents are on this show (as I’m sure you already know), and have appeared on past shows. Plus, Tommy Dreamer (I believe) works for TNA in some capacity. Roode cuts a promo talking about getting the call from Dixie Carter to fill in for her nephew Ethan Carter III. He says that he’s good friends with Dreamer, and that he has a lot of respect for what he’s done in the ECW Arena. Roode then decides that he’s putting the TNA World Title on the line! He says nobody deserves a shot more than Tommy Dreamer….but then he jumps Dreamer from behind to kickstart the match!

8.) TNA World Heavyweight Title - Extreme Rules Match - Bobby Roode vs. Tommy Dreamer (with Beulah McGillycutty): **1/2

This went about as well as you would expect. They brawled a lot, and used a ton of plunder. We also got A LOT of interference. Velvet Sky, Beulah McGillyCutty, CW Anderson, The Sandman, Spike Dudley, & Thea Trinidad all interfered. In the end, through all of the chaos, Roode would get the win with a Death Valley Driver on a Barbed Wire Board to retain his TNA World Title.

After the match, Roode & Dreamer embrace, and Dreamer handed the title to Roode. We then get a long promo from Dreamer, where he thanked TNA for letting him use their talent on this show (and put over how good TNA Impact Wrestling had been as of late), and his history in the ECW Arena. He then brought in his kids, and tells them that these are the people he works for (referring to the fans), and that this is where he met their mother. Dreamer then gives the mic to Beulah, who says that making it in the ECW Arena meant the world to her and that the fans will always be in her heart. The family celebrates together.

9.) The Hardys vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/4

This match was one of the things on this show that I just had to see. It ended up being as great as you would think. Of course, The Young Bucks are fantastic any time they get near a wrestling ring. They’re just so entertaining & exciting to watch. The Hardys really showed a lot in here as well, very much holding their own. Despite their age and all of the punishment they’ve endured in their careers, The Hardys are still able to put on really good tag team matches against quality teams. Lots of great action throughout this match. I lost count of how many superkicks we saw. Eventually, The Young Bucks are able to put away The Hardys for the win!

After the match, Matt Hardy takes the mic, and says that he wants everyone to know that The Young Bucks earned the respect of The Hardys tonight. They go to shake hands, but they try to attack The Young Bucks instead. The Hardys are caught, however, and The Young Bucks lay them out with superkicks! Team 3D then run out and hit The Young Bucks with a pair of 3D’s! The show closes out with a long promo from Bully Ray, and a celebration with Team 3D, Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman.

Overall: 8.0/10

As I mentioned earlier, this was my first time watching a House of Hardcore event. On the whole, the show was pretty solid, despite Ethan Carter III, Jigsaw & Davey Richards not being there for various reasons. You had a great Main Event in The Hardys vs. The Young Bucks. Plus, we saw two really good singles matches in Eddie Kingston vs. Eddie Edwards and Austin Aries vs. Drew Galloway. There were a few other solid matches on the undercard (including a TNA World Title defense, for whatever that’s worth these days). We also got a surprise appearance by Alberto El Patron, which was a pretty awesome moment. A pretty entertaining show (for the most part) from start to finish.

AAW A Monster's Rage Review

Shane Hollister gets his rematch again Eddie Kingston for the AAW Heavyweight Title!

AAW A Monster’s Rage
Merrionette Park, Illinois 11/7/14

1.) AAW Tag Team Titles - Three-Way Elimination Match - The Wet Bandits (Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane) vs. Zero Gravity vs. The Hooligans (with Bucky Collins): **¾

For those of you who missed the previous show, Jawbreaker, Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane won the vacant AAW Tag Team Titles in a one night tournament. They’re defending their titles in a three-way match against The Hooligans & Zero Gravity, who actually met in the Semi-Finals of the tournament, but their matches ended in a Double DQ, which was very controversial, since AAW is a company which promotes that all of their matches have No DQ’s and No Count Outs. It’s explained beforehand by Joey Eastman (now part of AAW management), that AAW stands with the referee’s call in that match, saying that those two teams violated the referee’s discretion.

The match itself was fine. Zero Gravity & The Hooligans did solid work, but I just couldn’t get into The Wet Bandits. Zero Gravity get eliminated first when Bucky Collins hits one of the members of Zero Gravity with a chair, and Dan Lawrence rolls that members of Zero Gravity. The Hooligans are then beaten by The Wet Bandits when Crane rolls up one of The Hooligans. Fine for what it was, but an overall weak opener.

After the match, Markus Crane calls out any tag team to face The Wet Bandits. Ryan Boz comes out. He attacks them, but the 2-on-1 advantage is seemingly too much, until Boz shrugs it off. Dan Lawrence & Markus Crane retreat.

2.) Davey Vega vs. Dick Justice (with Gregory Iron): **

Recently, Davey Vega made a promise that he would leave AAW if he lost before the end of 2014. Here, he’s taking on Dick Justice. The match was pretty short. Dick Justice did some of his lucha, and took some “contraband” from Vega, but then Veda throws the American Flag in Dick Justice’s face. Vega hit Dick Justice with some kind of stick behind the referee’s back.

After the match, Gregory Iron cuts a promo. He doesn’t get why he’s associated with Dick Justice. They have nothing in common. He calls him a smelly, overweight, dumb son of a bitch. Iron says that he’ll show Dick Justice how to get the job done, and commands him to sit aside and watch the next match, which Gregory Iron vs. Marek Brave. After Brave came out, Iron basically says that he doesn’t feel like doing a one-on-one match tonight, and calls out his Iron Curtain (Benjamin Boone & Joey Vincent Martini) to the ring to make it a 3-on-1 match, but Arik Cannon comes out! He says that both he & Marek Brave are tired of Gregory Iron’s sh*t. They go after The Iron Curtain, and it looks like we have a match.

3.) Three-on-Two Handicap Match - The Iron Curtain (Gregory Iron, Benjamin Boone & Joey Vincent Martini) vs. Arik Cannon & Marek Brave: **1/2

These two teams went at each other right from the opening bell. They brawled through the crowd & all over the building. At one point, Brave & Iron are brawling on top of the bar, and Brave suplexes Iron off the bar and onto The Iron Curtain!! That was pretty cool. They end up back in the ring, and towards the end of the match, The Iron Curtain wants Dick Justice to hit Brave with a chair, but Brave ducks, and Dick Justice hits Joey Vincent Martini by accident! This leads to a shoving match between Dick Justice & Benjamin Boone, which allows Brave & Cannon to capitalize. Cannon tosses a chair at Boone, and Brave superkicks the chair into Boone’s face, leading to Brave & Cannon getting the win.

Gregory Iron takes the mic after the match. He yells at a fan by the bar who apparently touched him during the match. He then yells at Justice, saying he’s out of The Iron Curtain, and slaps him. Dick Justice goes to retaliate, but he’s attacked by the rest of The Iron Curtain. They beat the crap out of Dick Justice before eventually leaving.

4.) AAW Heritage Title - Heidi Lovelace vs. Christian Faith: ***¼

This is arguably the biggest challenge yet for Heidi Lovelace, as Christian Faith has a definite size advantage. This was a pretty good title match. There was a lot of good action in this match, including one spot where Lovelace reverses a top rope powerbomb attempt by Faith into a hurricanrana off the top rope!! That looked really cool. Towards the end of the match, Gregory Iron came out to interfere, but he was taken out by Lovelace. This allowed Christian Faith to take advantage, and he pins Lovelace (to a very timid reaction, plus the commentators didn’t seem to sell the title change all that much) to capture the AAW Heritage Title. A good match that I think could have been better had Gregory Iron not interfered.

5.) The American Wolves vs. Chris Sabin & “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ****

Before the match, Davey Richards cuts a promo. He says he never thought he’d be back in an AAW ring, but he was glad to be wrong. He mentions that their original opponents, The Monster Mafia of Ethan Page & Josh Alexander, weren’t able to make it to the show (apparently they had car troubles), so they call out any tag team, or any singles competitors, to come out & face them. Michael Elgin comes out and takes the mic. He says that he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards. Elgin says that Chris Sabin & himself (who were originally supposed to face each other in a singles match) will step up and take on The American Wolves.

I was very intrigued to see how the team of Elgin & Sabin would work out. The match, as you would expect, was pretty great! It was easily the best match on the show. Richards & Edwards looked as great as they always do, and even though they were a makeshift team, Elgin & Sabin did really well. Lots of really good tag team action in this one. The American Wolves would eventually get the win with a tombstone piledriver/head kick combo.

After the match, Richards & Edwards try to shake hands with Sabin, but he shoves them, and flips them off as he exits. Elgin then takes the mic, and puts over AAW. He also thanks Richards & Edwards, and agrees with the fans in wanting them to come back soon.

6.) Keith Walker (with Nikki Mayday) vs. Rhino: ***1/4

I assume that this is the match that this show was named after. Before the match started, Rhino takes the mic, and says that when he’s done beating up Keith Walker, he’s going to “gore his little whore” (referring to Nikki Mayday). The match itself was pretty solid. It was what you would expect for a match between two bigger guys. Fine action in this one. At one point, Rhino hit the GORE, but Walker kicked out. In the end, Walker would end up getting the impressive win over Rhino.

7.) AAW Heavyweight Title - Eddie Kingston vs. Shane Hollister: ***1/2

Shane Hollister was supposed to get his title rematch at Jawbreaker, but he was unable to make the show. Not only that, but Hollister without Scarlett Bordeaux tonight (which he explains in a backstage promo). Hollister takes the mic before the match, and says that he & Kingston don’t need an introduction, and he immediately goes after Kingston! This was a pretty good match. I thought their first title match back at Defining Moment 2014 was slightly better, but it was still very enjoyable to watch. Hollister spent a lot of the match working over Kingston’s hand, which Kingston did a good job of selling throughout the match. Really good back & forth action from these two. Towards the end of the match, Markus Crane comes out and tries to give Hollister a chain, but Hollister refuses his help, flipping him off. Kingston would then take advantage of the chain, using it to hit a Backfist To The Future with the chain to get the win, retaining his AAW Heavyweight Title.

Markus Crane tries to talk to Hollister after the match, but Hollister shoves him down.

Overall: 7.0/10

Looking back on it, this was really a one match show. The American Wolves vs. Chris Sabin & Michael Elgin is the only match that’s worth going out of your way to see. The rest of the show had a few matches that were pretty good (Kingston vs. Hollister, Walker vs. Rhino, & Lovelace vs. Christian Faith), but the first half of the show was pretty dull. The only real item of note was that they finally advanced the angle between Dick Justice & Gregory Iron. It has its moments, but it was hardly AAW’s best outing of 2014.

Alpha-1 Wrestling: Final Act Five Review

Josh Alexander gets a shot at the Open The Freedom Gate Title!

Alpha-1 Wrestling: Final Act Five
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 11/2/14

So I’ve heard of Alpha-1 Wrestling here & there, but this was my first time ever watching a show from there. It’s a promotions that runs mainly in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I believe the promotion is owned by “All Ego” Ethan Page. A few matches on the card caught my attention, such as The Open The Freedom Gate Title Match and the Ladder Match, both of which I heard were really good. Let’s see how this show went.

1.) Open The Freedom Gate Title - Ricochet vs. Josh Alexander: ****1/4

I figured this would be the Main Event, but in fact, this is the opening match! Not only that, but I believe this is the first time these two have ever faced off in singles competition. This is a sanctioned Open The Freedom Gate Title Match, which is pretty cool. As far as the match goes, it was freaking great! Ricochet & Josh Alexander are just two exceptional wrestlers, and they put on a truly great match. Lots of really cool action from both guys in this one. Eventually, Ricochet is able to put away Josh Alexander with a Shooting Star Press for the victory to retain his Open The Freedom Gate Title.

2.) Dick Justice vs. Shane Sabre: **1/4

Sabre is probably better known as part of The Goat Brigade (who compete mainly in Smash Wrestling). On this show, he’s in singles competition against Dick Justice, who starts the match by pointing a finger gun at Sabre and pats him down. Sabre then steals the finger gun, but Dick Justice kicks it away! This was a fun little match. It had its moments (including Dick Justice tickling Sabre), but in the end, Sabre rolls Dick Justice up for the win.

3.) AIW Intense Title - Triple Threat Match - Davey Vega vs. Eric Ryan vs. Cheech: ***1/2

We see a lot of AIW regulars competing in Alpha-1, and this is a prime example of that, as Davey Vega is defending his AIW Intense Title against Eric Ryan. Before the match can start, Cheech comes out. He says it wouldn’t be Final Act without Cheech, and inserts himself into the match. It was weird, but I guess it makes sense to a degree, since Cheech is also an AIW regular. This was a really solid Triple Threat Match. Good action from all three guys in this one. Eventually, Vega is able to score victory, retaining his AIW Intense Title!

4.) Four-Way Elimination Match - “All Ego” Ethan Page vs. Louis Lyndon vs. Tyler Thomas vs. Ryan Swift: ***½

Here we have an interesting mix of competitors. You have Ethan Page & Louis Lyndon, who are both regulars in AAW & AIW, and then you have two younger wrestlers in Tyler Thomas & Ryan Swift. The match is taking place in a venue with a low ceiling, and there is a chandelier hanging just about the outside of the ring. At one point, they hit the chandelier, and part of it breaks! Swift is eliminated first by Louis Lyndon. Page then eliminates Lyndon soon thereafter. It comes down to Page & Tyler Thomas, and in the end, Thomas scores the pin on Page for the upset win!!

After the match, Page talks about not even knowing the name of the guy who just beat him, calling him “Blue Tights”. He calls all the fans scumbags, and asks for his name. He says Tyler Thomas, and Page responds by saying “nobody cares”, and takes him out! Page calls himself Jesus and says “I’ll be your savior, bitch!” before leaving.

5.) Ladder Match - Seleziya Sparx vs. Jasmin: ****

So the basic story behind this match is that Jasmin (who just recently got signed by WWE) kidnapped Seleziya Sparx’s dog Peanut. Yes, you heard that right. Jasmin kidnapped Seleziya Sparx’s dog!! How EVIL!! It was decided that these two would settle their issues in a Ladder Match, with the custody of Peanut on the line! I wasn’t really sure how this would go, as I haven’t seen many women’s Ladder Matches. This match ended up being great! It was actually pretty crazy! These two worked really hard, and it resulted in a great Ladder Match. These two just beat the crap out of one another with Ladders & Chairs. We even had a big spot where Seleziya hit Jasmin with a Kryptonite Crunch off the top of a Ladder through a Table!! Seleziya climbed back up the Ladder, securing the victory and the custody of her dog Peanut (by the way, to clarify, I guess they must have hung a key of some sort). Incredible stuff!

6.) Alpha-1 Zero Gravity Title - Josh Rogen vs. Rickey Shane Page: **¼

Josh Rogen comes into this match as the Alpha-1 Zero Gravity Champion. Early on in the match, Rogen goes for a dive, but gets caught up in the ropes in an ugly botch. This was weird, as it was basically an extended squash match. Rogen got some offense in, but it was all Rickey Shane Page, who wins the match and the Alpha-1 Zero Gravity Title.

After the match, RSP takes the mic. He dares anyone to take the Alpha-1 Zero Gravity Title from him, and promises that he will hold the title for a long time. He then hits Rogen with two rolling elbows before leaving.

7.) 5-on-5 Elimination Match - Eric Cairnie, “Psycho” Mike Rollins, Scotty O’Shea, Steve Brown & Ty Colton vs. The Oppression (Justin Sane, Kingdom James, Lionel Knight, Ski Mask I & Ski Mask II): **1/2

From what I can gather, The Oppression are seemingly invaders who have aligned themselves with Brent Banks. You know it’s a really indie stable when two of the guys are just know as Ski Mask I & Ski Mask II. Here, they’re taking on a team representing Alpha-1 in an 5-on-5 Elimination Match. In the end, all of The Oppression were eliminated, as O’Shea, Brown & Cairnie won the match for Team Alpha-1. They would lose “Psycho” Mike Rollins & Ty Colton in their victory. The match was ok, but I just couldn’t get into The Oppression. They come off as very indie.

After the match, The Oppression come back out and attack Team Alpha-1. Brent Banks, who is the current holder of the Alpha-1 Alpha Male Title, comes out to join the attack, but the rest of the Alpha-1 roster comes out for the save! Alpha-1 Management then announced that the Alpha Male Title Triple Threat Match is now a Lumberjack Match! Seems like it was made this way to counter the potential interference of The Oppression.

8.) Alpha-1 Alpha Male Title - Triple Threat Lumberjack Match - Brent Banks vs. Ashley Sixx vs. Alessandro Del Bruno: ***¼

As I mentioned earlier, Brent Banks comes in as the champion, and he’s defending against Ashley Sixx & Alessandro Del Bruno. This was a pretty solid match. There was a lot of good action in the ring, but of course, there was a ton of involvement from the lumberjacks. Various brawls breakout outside the ring throughout the match. There were some cool moments. This included Sixx getting back dropped from the top rope by Alessandro Del Bruno onto everyone, and then Del Bruno giving Banks a hurricanrana off the top rope onto everyone! In the end, Del Bruno hits a 450 Splash on Sixx, but he gets pulled out by a member of The Oppression. This allows Banks to take advantage and cover Sixx for the victory, retaining the Alpha Male Title to close the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was my first time seeing Alpha-1, and I thought they put together a pretty solid show. The first half of the card was great. You had two amazing matches in Ricochet vs. Josh Alexander and the Ladder Match between Seleziya Sparx & Jasmin. Those two matches are definitely worth seeing. You also had two really good multi-man matches in the AIW Intense Title Triple Threat Match and the Four-Way Elimination Match. The 2nd Half of the show wasn’t quite as good, but the Main Event was a fun way to close the show. On the whole, it was an enjoyable show, and it was really good to see titles from WWNLive & AIW defended.

Wrestling is Fun!: Young Lion's Cup XI: Night 2 Review

Who will go on to face Missile Assault Ant in the Finals?!

Wrestling is Fun!: Young Lions Cup XI: Night 2
Norristown, Pennsylvania 11/1/14

So this show has the second half of Young Lions Cup XI. I guess you can call it “Bracket B”. Basically, the way both brackets work is that you have six qualifying matches, and the winners of those matches face off in a Six-Way Elimination Match, where the winner advances to the Young Lions Cup XI Finals at CHIKARA’s Season Finale, Tomorrow Never Dies. Missile Assault Ant won “Bracket A” at a Wrestling is Fun! Show in Massachusetts a month prior, and his opponent will be determined on this show!

1.) Young Lions Cup XI - First Round Match - JT Dunn vs. Princess KimberLee: ***½

This is a very interesting match, if you know the history between the two. Not surprisingly, this was very good. Easily one of the best matches on the show. Really good action from both competitors. Princess KimberLee would eventually catch JT Dunn with an Alligator Clutch for the victory! She advances to the Semi-Finals!

2.) Young Lions Cup XI - First Round Match - Arctic Rescue Ant vs. Cheeseburger: **½

Cheeseburger is the first of a number of ROH talent on this show. Here he’s taking on Arctic Rescue Ant. A fine match between these two. I’m actually surprised that Cheeseburger hasn’t been booked more often in a place like CHIKARA, because he could fit right in that universe. In the end, however, Arctic Rescue Ant would get the win, advancing to the Semi-Finals.

3.) Young Lions Cup XI - First Round Match - Malice vs. Will Ferrara: **¾

Will Ferrara is the 2nd ROH Talent to be featured on this show. The last time he was in Wrestling is Fun!, he was teaming with “The Benchmark” Bill Daly as Team Benchmark. This is my first time seeing Malice, who is from Fighting Spirit Wrestling. Another fine match. A little better than the previous match. Solid action from both guys here. I got what I expected from Ferrara, and Malice looked good as well. Ferrara would end up getting the victory, advancing to the Semi-Finals.

4.) Young Lions Cup XI - First Round Match - Adam Page vs. The Proletariat Boar of Moldova: **¾

Adam Page is the 3rd ROH Talent to appear in the tournament, and it’s interesting to note that Page was placing his babyface character, and there were no signs of his affiliation with The Decade in ROH. Page is attacked during his entrance by The Proletariat Boar of Moldova attacked him. They brawled on the outside for a bit, and Page launches The Proletariat Boar of Moldova into one of the basketball hoops! The match itself was solid. About as good as the previous match. Prakash Sabar attempts to interfere, and this distracts Page for long enough, allowing The Proletariat Boar of Moldova to hit the BOAR! for the win, advancing to the Semi-Finals. He celebrates with his Bloc Party stablemates, Prakash Sabar & Mr. Azerbaijan (who’s wearing a straw hat,jeans & cowboy boots).

5.) Young Lions Cup XI - First Round Match - Joe Black vs. Tripp Cassidy: **¾

Joe Black has wrestled in various independent promotions, while his opponent, Tripp Cassidy, has made some appearances for other “Wrestling is…” Promotions in the past. Continuing with the trend of some of the previous matches, this was pretty solid. I wasn’t really familiar with either guys, but both looked good. Joe Black would get the win, advancing to the Semi-Finals.

6.) Young Lions Cup XI - First Round Match - Eddie Smooth vs. Heidi Lovelace: ***¼

Eddie Smooth is another unknown, though Heidi Lovelace is someone I’m pretty sure most people know off. The story of this one early was that Eddie Smooth didn’t take Lovelace seriously. Lovelace got an early flurry before Smooth took control. Lovelace was eventually able to fight back, and picked up the win, completely the field for the Semi-Finals! This was a good match. Probably the second best of the opening round. There were one or two sloppy moments, but on the whole, it was still good.

7.) Eight Man Tag - The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti) & N_R_G (Hype Rockwell & Race Jaxon) vs. WiF! Banana Champion Juan Francisco de Coronado, El Hijo del Ice Cream & The Bloc Party (Mr. Azerbaijan & Prakash Sabar): ***¼

So on one side, we have The Throwbacks teaming up with N_R_G (who look like a more colorful replacement for 3.0), while on the other side, we have Juan Francisco de Coronado, who is the current WiF! Banana Champion, one half of Los Ice Creams (just seeing one of them is really weird) and the rest of The Bloc Party. One of the stories in this match was that Juan Francisco de Coronado just got a fresh haircut, and didn’t want anyone to mess it up. Of course, the technico team had their fun messing with his hair. The match was entertaining for what it was. It went pretty how you would think, as we saw a good amount of comedy as well as good, solid wrestling. In the end, The Throwbacks & N_R_G would get the victory.

8.) Young Lions Cup XI - Semi-Finals - Six-Way Elimination Match - Princess KimberLee vs. Arctic Rescue Ant vs. Will Ferrara vs. The Proletariat Boar of Moldova vs. Joe Black vs. Heidi Lovelace: ***½

As mentioned before, all six of these competitors won their First Round Matches earlier in the night, and whoever wins this will go on to face Missile Assault Ant at CHIKARA’s Tomorrow Never Dies in the FInals of Young Lion’s Cup XI. Joe Black would be eliminated first by Will Ferrara. Arctic Rescue Ant would then be eliminated by The Proletariat Boar of Moldova, who would then subsequently be eliminated a few minutes later by Heidi Lovelace. Will Ferrara would then be eliminated via an Alligator Clutch by Princess KimberLee. It then came down to Heidi Lovelace vs. Princess KimberLee, and eventually, Lovelace locks in the CHIKARA Special, and gets Princess KimberLee to tap out for the victory! She moves on to the Finals of Young Lions Cup XI to face Missile Assault Ant at CHIKARA’s Tomorrow Never Dies! The two competitors have a staredown to close the show.

Overall: 6.25/10

Of course you’re really never going to get anything amazing on a show like this, but for what it was, it was fine. All of the tournament matches ranged from fine to good, with JT Dunn vs. Princess KimberLee being the standout. You had a nice break from the tournament with a CHIKARA-esque Eight Man Tag Team Match that had its fair share of solid wrestling & comedy. We then had the Six-Way Elimination Match, which was pretty entertaining for the time give. The fact that this show was just under two hours also makes it a really easy show to watch.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish Review

Bryan Danielson makes his long awaited debut for Evolve!

Evolve 4: Danielson vs. Fish
Union City, New Jersey 7/23/10

1.) Brodie Lee vs. Jon Moxley: **1/2

After all these years, it’s so weird seeing Jon Moxley (the future Dean Ambrose) wrestle in regular tights & boots. It’s also kind of a preview of the future matches between The Shield & The Wyatt Family, in a roundabout kind of way. This was an all out brawl. They brawled both on the inside the right & outside of it. Both guys eventually brought in chairs, and the referee had enough, and called for a Double DQ. He tells both guys to put the chairs down. Moxley begins to do so, but Brodie Lee kicks the chair in his face, and storms off. The match was going well up until the finish, though I guess they wanted to do something to serve as an example of someone possibly getting suspended.

2.) Fatal Four-Way Match – Ricochet vs. Drake Younger vs. Rich Swann vs. Chris Dickinson: ***

If this matched happened today, it would be really awesome, but of course, this is 2010. Swann is making his debut, Ricochet & Dickinson are still nowhere close to where they are today, and Drake Younger is noticeably larger. This was a pretty fun four-way. It was nonstop action from bell to bell, and everyone got a chance to shine in this one. The finish came when Dickinson had Ricochet in a choke, but he didn’t see Drake Younger hit Rich Swann with the Drake’s Landing for the pin. Dickinson is visibly upset.

After the match, Lenny Leonard interviewed Drake Younger, who said that his career in Evolve keeps getting better, and he hopes to continue his winning ways.

3.) WSU World Heavyweight Title – Mercedes Martinez (with Sammy Geodollno) vs. Tina San Antonio: DUD

Much like her previous appearances in Evolve, Mercedes Martinez made quick work of her opponent. The only difference here was that her WSU World Title was on the line.

After the match, Lenny Leonard asks Martinez if she’s received a response from Amazing Kong regarding a challenge Martinez had made to her. She says no, but then a video appears of Amazing Kong accepting the challenge, making their match official for the next Evolve show.

4.) Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole: ***1/4

Up next we have Johnny Gargano going up against….long pink & white tights wearing, white meat babyface Adam Cole. WOW. It’s crazy looking back at THIS Adam Cole five years after the fact. The match itself was pretty good. You can tell these two guys have a lot of potential. Solid action from both guys. It looked like Gargano had the match won, but Cole was able to counter the Hurt’s Donut into a rollup for the upset win!

Lenny Leonard comes out to interview Cole after the match. He thanks Gargano for giving him a good fight, saying he can have a rematch anytime, and thanks the fans. Jimmy Jacobs then comes out, applauding Cole. He makes some weird gay jokes towards Cole, and mocks Gargano for losing (he & Gargano were in a feud at the time). Jacobs doesn’t seem to take Cole seriously, so Cole challenges Jacobs to a match at the next Evolve show. Jacobs seemingly brushes him off, but Gargano follows Jacobs to the back, trying to encourage Jacobs to take the match.

5.) CHIKARA Sekigun (Jigsaw & Hallowicked) vs. Aeroform (Louis Lyndon & Flip Kendrick): ***

A team that we would see a lot of in Evolve is CHIKARA Sekigun, which is basically a team made up of a variety of CHIKARA wrestlers. This time, it’s Jigsaw & Hallowicked, as they’re taking on Aeroform. A fun little tag team match. It didn’t go very long, but the action was solid. Jigsaw & Hallowicked would get the win after some really good tandem offense.

6.) Sami Callihan vs. Arik Cannon: ***1/2

Here we have another match on an early Evolve show that had a bit of foreshadowing, as these two would later go on to form the D.U.F. stable. This was a really hard-hitting match. These two just beat the crap out of each other for nearly thirteen minutes. They brawled all over the place, including some really nasty spots on the floor. It was a nasty slugfest, and in the end, Callihan got Cannon to submit to the Stretch Muffler for the victory.

After the match, Lenny Leonard interviews Callihan, who cuts a screaming promo before heading to the back.

Following the interview, Lenny Leonard was interrupted by Johnny Gargano. He reassures the crowd that he’s doing ok after his loss. He’s willing to admit when he’s beat, and Adam Cole beat him fair & square. Gargano says he can’t say the same about Jimmy Jacobs, saying he’s scared of Cole, and that he’s going to be what’s coming to him.

7.) Up In Smoke (Cheech & Cloudy) vs. The Osirian Portal (Amasis & Ophidian): ***

Cheech & Cloudy won in their tag team debut at Evolve 2: Hero vs. Hidaka, and now they’re taking on CHIKARA stalwarts in The Osirian Portal. Much like the earlier tag team match, this was also very solid. It was a little longer than that earlier tag team match, and the action was equally as good. Up In Smoke would get the win, and they’re now 2-0 in Evolve.

Up In Smoke is interviewed by Lenny Leonard after the match. They talk about their winning streak, and also put down Aeroform.

8.) Jimmy Jacobs vs. Chuck Taylor: ***1/2

Before this match begins, Jacobs responds to Johnny Gargano, saying that he’s not afraid of Adam Cole, and will face him on the next Evolve show. He says he will shut up both Cole & Gargano, but right now, he’s going to shut up Chuck Taylor. Both of these men are coming into this match undefeated. Jacobs is 3-0, while Chuck Taylor is 2-0, though he claims to actually be 3-0 as well, since his Qualifying Match on the first Evolve show didn’t count in his overall record. This was a really good match. I very much enjoyed watching this one. Both guys worked pretty well together, and we saw some great stuff between these two. Lots of cool stuff here. In the end, Taylor was able to hit The Awful Waffle, and scores the win, giving Jacobs his first loss, while simultaneously going 3-0 himself.

Of course, we have Lenny Leonard interviewing Chuck Taylor afterwords. Taylor says he’s the face of Evolve, and the fans react very strongly to him.

9.) Bryan Danielson vs. Bobby Fish: ****

For those of you who don’t remember, this match occurred right after Bryan Danielson was released by WWE following the aftermath of the debut of The Nexus stable. So, for most of the Summer of 2010, he wrestled all over the independent scene, including Evolve, which is the company he helped to create. Here, he’s taking on Bobby Fish, who despite being in the Main Event of this show, is 0-3. As you would expect, this was a great match. This was easily the Match of the Night. Danielson proved why he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, and Bobby Fish definitely held his own. We saw lots of strikes & submissions, as you would expect. A great match, without a doubt. Danielson would end up getting the win via submission.

After the match, Danielson is interviewed by Lenny Leonard, who brings up that Evolve was the brainchild of Danielson. He thanks all of the fans who are seeing independent wrestling for the first time, as well as those who have always been supporters all along. The show closes with Danielson challenging Munenori Sawa to a match at the next Evolve show.

Overall: 8.0/10

If there’s one thing that I can say about the early Evolve shows, it’s that they were very consistent, and this show continued that trend. You had a great Main Event that was definitely worth watching (in this case, it was Danielson vs. Fish), while the rest of the undercard had one or two really good matches around the ***1/2 range (in this case, Callihan vs. Cannon & Jacobs vs. Taylor), and several perfectly solid matches in the undercard, with nothing that was bad at all. It’s a really enjoyable night of wrestling, and that’s all you can really ask for sometimes.