Saturday, December 31, 2016

Smash Wrestling: The Usual Suspects Review

Matt Cross looks for revenge against Alex Vega as SMASH Wrestling closes out 2014!

Smash Wrestling: The Usual Suspects
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 12/14/14

The show kicked off with an in-ring promo from Alex Vega, who was explaining his actions from the last show, where he helped Alex Shelley steal the Smash Wrestling Title from the then-undefeated Matt Cross. Vega says all of the fans need to be thankful, because he put SMASH on the map last month. He said that he & Alex Shelley got the buzz for this “shitty” promotion, not Matt Cross. Vega says that Shelley couldn’t be here tonight, but that he would make their presence felt in a big way. Vega says that the fans think this promotion is special, but it’s really not, and adds that he’s gotten no respect from anyone during his time in SMASH (from the promoters or the fans). He then concludes by saying that last month, he took what he deserved, before leaving through a side door. Vega would return through that same door later on for the Main Event. This was an interesting promo from Vega. Obviously this set the stage for what was about to come, as Vega would recruit more to his cause, but more on that later….

1.) Brent Banks vs. Tyler Thomas: ***

Banks is coming off losing the climatic match in his feud with Scotty O’Shea (an Ambulance Match) the month prior at Challenge Accepted!, and he’s looking to rebound here against Tyler Thomas. This was a fine opening match. The first half was relatively basic, but the second half was better, and that certainly helped things. Thomas showed some promise, but in the end, Banks was able to get the win.

2.) Five-Way Elimination Match - Vanessa Kraven vs. Kimber Lee vs. Cherry Bomb vs. Xandra Bale vs. Veda Scott: **1/2

This was the first of two Five-Way Elimination Matches that we would get on this show. While (technically) it should be every woman for herself, The Kimber Bombs are in this match, which gives them a big advantage. Then again, Vanessa Kraven is the largest person in the match, so she also has a big (no pun intended) advantage. This was a decent five-way match that featured a few highlights. Early on, Kraven powerbombed Veda Scott over the top rope onto the other three women. At another point in the match, Bale went for a dive off the top rope to the floor, but slipped, and landed on her face pretty hard (that didn’t look good). We did get a human centipede submission spot, which is always fun. Bale was eliminated first after a double team from The Kimber Bombs. Scott was then eliminated on a rollup from Cherry Bomb, and then finally, Kraven hit a double chokeslam on The Kimber Bombs, pinning them both simultaneously to win the match. Again, this had highlights, but it was a pretty average match, as a whole.

3.) Biff Busick & Drew Gulak vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***3/4

At the last show, Challenge Accepted!, Biff Busick & Drew Gulak had a great match with The Young Bucks in their debuts for SMASH. This time, they’re taking on The Super Smash Brothers, who are arguably the best regular tag team in SMASH. I thought this was a very good match. It was easily one of the best matches on the show. The first half of the match saw Busick & Gulak basically cut the ring in half, and pick apart whichever member of The Super Smash Brothers was in the ring. However, once Player Uno & Player Dos started fighting back, the action definitely picked up a notch. There was a ton of fun action in this match. I really like how Busick & Gulak were booked on these last two SMASH shows. First, they were put together as a team, which hadn’t been done a lot up to this point (I think Beyond Wrestling were the only other promotion to team them up, but I’m not sure). Secondly, they’ve been put up against two incredibly unique opponents in the form of The Young Bucks, and now The Super Smash Brothers. You’re only going to see a match like this in SMASH Wrestling. The Super Smash Brothers gave it everything they had, but eventually, Busick & Gulak put them away for the victory.

4.) Five-Way Elimination Match - “Psycho” Mike Rollins vs. Pepper Parks vs. Scotty O’Shea vs. Tyson Dux vs. Kirk Warmack: ***1/4

We now have our second Five-Way Elimination Match of the evening, but this time, it’s involving the men. The match starts out with a flex-off with all five competitors, and it leads to the referee taking off his shirt and flexing. Yeah….that happened. This was definitely the better of the two Five-Way Elimination Matches on this show. At point, Scotty O’Shea really got on a roll, hitting two moonsaults to the floor, and then a hurricanrana to Parks from the top turnbuckle on the floor, all in a row. The elimination order was Rollins by Dux, Warmack by O’Shea, Parks by Dux, and finally, Scotty O’Shea eliminated Tyson Dux after a series of pin exchanges/reversals to score the win. Once again, this was a fun multi-man match.

5.) Checkmate (Christopher Bishop & Lionel Knight) vs. The Overdogs (John Greed & Sebastian Suave): ***1/2

These two teams met earlier in the year at Any Given Sunday 2, back when John Greed had first joined The Overdogs. Checkmate hadn’t been seen a lot in SMASH since early 2014, and from what I remember, they were impressive in those initial outings, so it was nice to see them back. I thought this was a pretty entertaining tag team match. This variation of The Overdogs has been relatively solid throughout 2014, and this match was no exception. As far as Checkmate goes, they looked good here as well. They definitely showed something here, and proved that they could be a future force in SMASH Wrestling’s tag team division. Despite the best efforts of Checkmate, The Overdogs, in the end, were able to get the victory.

After the match, The Overdogs exchanged Somersby (a cider drink) with Checkmate.

6.) Johnny Gargano vs. Josh Alexander: ****

I think it’s fair to say that this qualifies as a Dream Match. It might have been the first time these two faced off in a singles match, though I’m not 100% sure on that. This was a great match! It easily was the best match on the show, in my opinion. Gargano was great, as he always is, but Alexander more than held his own. This match featured some awesome back & forth action, and the fans really got into it. Eventually, Alexander was able to outlast Gargano, and picked up a huge win over the two-time (and, at the time, current) Dragon Gate USA Open The Freedom Gate Champion. As I said, this was definitely the Match of the Night.

After the match, Gargano cuts a promo where puts over SMASH Wrestling, and shakes hands with Alexander.

7.) Triple Threat Match - JT Dunn vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Rich Swann: ***1/2

This is probably the most random Triple Threat Match that you’ll ever see, but it’s another match that you’re only going to see in SMASH Wrestling. These guys were representing a multitude of promotions, as JT Dunn was most associated with Beyond Wrestling & CZW, O’Reilly was most associated with ROH & New Japan, and Rich Swann was most associated with Evolve. While this wasn’t the fantastic match that I was expecting going in (considering who was involved), this was still a very fun Triple Threat Match. There was a good amount of action throughout, and all three guys had moments to shine. JT Dunn, Kyle O’Reilly, & Rich Swann are three awesome wrestlers, so it should be no surprise that this was good. In the end, Rich Swann was able to score the victory.

After the match, Rich Swann got JT Dunn & Kyle O’Reilly to dance with him in the ring.

8.) Alex Vega vs. Matt Cross: ***1/4

As I mentioned earlier, Alex Vega cost Matt Cross the Smash Wrestling Title, and his undefeated streak in SMASH Wrestling, at Challenge Accepted!, which was the first time we had seen Vega since he was fired from the promotion following his actions at Super Showdown II. This was intended to be a big grudge match, and while it was a good match, I came away disappointed. It was definitely lacking, and didn’t feel like a true Main Event. They did a lot of brawling on the outside in the first half of the match. I think Cross might have gotten most of the offense in this match as well. Vega did get some spots of offense in, but Cross was in control for most of the match. The big story, however, wasn’t really the match itself, but the finish. It looked like Cross had the match won, but then, Biff Busick & Drew Gulak came out, the distractions/interference they caused led to Vega getting the win over Cross.

After the match, Busick & Gulak joined Vega in a post-match attack on Matt Cross. The show came to a close with this new heel faction standing tall.

Overall: 7.75/10

Even though this show wasn’t nearly as good as the show from the month prior (Challenge Accepted!), this was still a relatively solid outing from SMASH Wrestling. Johnny Gargano vs. Josh Alexander was easily the best match on the show, with Biff Busick & Drew Gulak vs. The Super Smash Brothers not that far behind. The rest of the undercard featured a lot of good to really good matches, but nothing that really stood out. While the Main Event did feature a big angle to close the show, the match itself was very disappointing, considering the spot it was in. This wasn’t the best SMASH Wrestling show of 2014, but it did feature a number of very good matches that are worth seeing.

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