Sunday, February 19, 2017

Smash Wrestling: Battle Lines Review

Josh Alexander battles Seiya Sanada in the Main Event!

Smash Wrestling: Battle Lines
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 2/7/15

The show kicks off with Smash Wrestling’s Managing Director James Kee calling out Alex Vega & Drew Gulak. This is in response to their actions (along with Biff Busick) at the last show, The Usual Suspects. Kee mentions what happened at that show, as well acts committed by specifically Alex Vega over the last few months. He brings up how Alex Shelley (who became the SMASH Wrestling Champion at Challenge Accepted! after some assistance from Vega) has missed the last two shows, and said that Shelley will be stripped of the SMASH Wrestling Title if he doesn’t show up to defend it at the next show. Drew Gulak said that promoters like James Kee really grind his gears. They’re soon interrupted by Tyson Dux & Scotty O’Shea, and heels back down. Gulak promises to kick Dux’s teeth out later tonight in their match, and calls Smash Wrestling a “wannabe” promotion, adding that he’s only here for a payday. He then calls Smash Wrestling a “wannabe PWG” and said they’re not even on the same level as CZW. Gulak adds that Alex Shelley is busy making a fortune in New Japan. Alex Vega then takes the mic and said that his fortunes have changed for the better recently. He no longer wants to be associated with Smash Wrestling, its fans, or even the name Alex Vega, and declares himself to be TARIK. TARIK said that Tyson Dux & Scotty O’Shea are the only thing keeping him from kicking James Kee’s ass. Scotty O’Shea then takes the mic, and said that this isn’t PWG or CZW, this is Smash Wrestling! Tyson Dux says if they have problems with Smash Wrestling, they’ll have to deal with them. He said that Alex Vega never really lived, and that he doesn’t want to get Hepatitis C from CZW’s canvas. Dux gives Gulak credit for being a great wrestler, but says that he’s better, and that he’ll prove it tonight. Dux then said that the “Battle Lines” are drawn, and that they’re ready for war! He said they’ll defend they’re house, and the heels head to the back.

1.) Triple Threat Match - Brent Banks vs. Benjamin Boone vs. Pepper Parks: ***1/4

We kick things off with a Triple Threat Match involving three guys who all have alliteration names (two of them with the letter B). I thought this was a pretty solid opening match. There was a fair amount of action throughout, and all three guys got a chance to shine. In particular, it was interesting to see Benjamin Boone outside of The Iron Curtain stable. Ultimately, Brent Banks was able to pick up the victory here.

After the match, Banks took the mic, and said that Smash Wrestling, and its fans, were jokes. He says that Banks is money, and lists off the various accomplishments he’s earned while being part of Smash Wrestling. Banks is upset that he’s been degraded to the opening match after losing the Ambulance Match to Scotty O’Shea at Challenge Accepted! a few months prior. He then closes by saying that he’s challenging Matt Cross to a match at Any Given Sunday 3.

2.) Scotty O’Shea vs. TARIK: ***1/4

This is the first of two matches on this show where two competitors representing Smash Wrestling go up against TARIK and his contingent. I thought this was right on par wit the opener. The action was good from start to finish, and the fans seemed to be into it. I think you really have to give Smash Wrestling a ton of credit for building up the former Alex Vega as an incredible heel. The fans truly dislike him, and that’s exactly something you want out a major heel. TARIK gets the win in the end on a rollup with a handful of tights. The finish came of as a little flat, but other than that, this was very solid match. O’Shea chases TARIK off after the match ended.

3.) Triple Threat Match - Cherry Bomb vs. Courtney Rush vs. Vanessa Kraven: ***

Courtney Rush has been having ongoing issues with Vanessa Kraven. As for Cherry Bomb, she seems to have issues with almost everyone. I wasn’t sure how this one was going to go, but when the dust settled, this ended up being a relatively fun Triple Threat Match. There were some entertaining moments mixed in with some good action, and I thought all three did a fine job here. Towards the end of the match, Kraven looks to have the match won after taking out Cherry Bomb, but Courtney Rush tosses Kraven away and steals the pin for the victory.

Vanessa Kraven attacks Courtney Rush after the match. She tries to use a chair, but Rush takes it away from her and swings it several times, which sends Kraven scurrying away. Rush then seemed to challenge Kraven to a Chairs Match at the next show, which Kraven appeared to accept.

4.) The Overdogs (John Greed & Sebastian Suave) vs. “Psycho” Mike Rollins & Takaaki Watanabe: ***1/4

Smash Wrestling has been a relatively frequent stop for Takaaki Watanabe during his North American excursion, and he’s back with a new look on this show. As far as how this match came out, apparently there was an incident in December when Mike Rollins (who evidently hates Santa Claus) thought that John Greed (who I guess was dressed up as Santa Claus) was the real Santa Claus. I’m not joking. Anyway, this was (for the most part) a good tag team affair. The Overdogs are a pretty underrated tag team. They always put on solid performances, and this was no exception. I kind of wish they got more shots in other independents in the United States, but I guess the Canadian border complicates things (as people who’ve followed the independents over the last few years would know). Despite being a makeshift team, I thought Mike Rollins & Takaaki Watanabe still looked good together. In the end, however, The Overdogs would score the victory.

After the match, John Greed puts over their opponents, but says that The Overdogs are truly “over”. 

5.) Checkmate (Christopher Bishop & Lionel Knight) vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***1/2

There was a lot of hugging at the start of this match. I guess these guys took the whole “sportsmanship” thing a little too far. Anyway, the match itself was really good. The Super Smash Brothers are (arguably) the best tag team in Canada right now, and it’s a shame we haven’t seen them much in the United States over the last few years. Whenever you see them on the card, you know you’re going to get your money’s worth, regardless of who they’re facing. To their credit, Checkmate looked very solid here as well. There was plenty of great back & forth action from start to finish, and it was definitely one of the best matches on the entire show. There was a scary moment towards the end of the match, where it looked like Player Dos might’ve landed on his head after a move, but he appeared to be ok, and shortly thereafter, The Super Smash Brothers got the win.

After the match was over, The Goat Brigade (Kirk Warmack & Shane Sabre) came out and attacked The Super Smash Brothers, but fortunately, Checkmate make the save. The Goat Brigade was sent packing.

6.) Drew Gulak vs. Tyson Dux: ***1/2

Here we have a battle between to incredibly talented technical wrestlers. This was a pretty good match, as you might’ve guessed. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but if you’re someone who enjoys this kind of technical style, then you’ll like this match. These two went back & forth with various submissions, but they did more than just that. There was a lot of good action in here, and like the previous match, it was one of the better matches of the night. Eventually, Gulak caught Dux in a sunset flip to score the victory. The finish seemed to come out of nowhere (which was very similar to how Scotty O’Shea vs. TARIK ended), but other than that, this was a really good match.

After the match was over, Tyson Dux called Drew Gulak back to the ring, and he does. Dux doesn’t like what Gulak is doing by going after Smash Wrestling, but gives Gulak credit for being a great wrestler. He offers Gulak a handshake, and it looks like Gulak might’ve accepted it, but TARIK came out and attacked Dux from behind. Gulak & TARIK then leave, and the crowd gives Dux a round of applause as he departs.

7.) Josh Alexander vs. Seiya Sanada: ***3/4

This was originally scheduled to be Biff Busick vs. Josh Alexander, but unfortunately, the former wasn’t able to make it to the show. Thus, Seiya Sanada (who was still part of TNA at this point) stepped up to be his replacement. I thought this was a very good (nearly great) match, and was easily the best match on the show! Of course, Josh Alexander was great here (as he always is), but Sanada looked equally as impressive. He really got to show off what he can do, and as someone who’s watching him now in New Japan, this kind of match just shows you what Sanada is capable of when he eventually makes his babyface turn. As for the match itself, there was a ton of great action from start to finish, and the fans were certainly into it. Ultimately, Josh Alexander would score the victory over Seiya Sanada.

After the match, Drew Gulak & TARIK attacked Josh Alexander, but The Overdogs came out to make the save. Suave then takes the mic, and gets the crowd to chant “This Is Smash!”. Alexander said that if Alex Shelley actually has the guts to show up, he’ll take the SMASH Wrestling Title from him. He then said that if he can’t get that, he wants TARIK in any kind of match that Smash Wrestling will give him. After the heels leave, Suave asked Alexander to join The Overdogs in this fight, but Alexander leaves without giving them an answer.

Overall: 7.25/10

While this wasn’t exactly a standout show from Smash Wrestling, Battle Lines was still a relatively good show from top to bottom. Everything seemed to fall (for me, at least) between *** and ***3/4, which is actually a good thing. The show didn’t feature an outstanding match of any kind, but every single match on this show was at least good, and I think that makes shows like this a lot easier to watch. If there is one match that I would recommend checking out, it would definitely be Josh Alexander vs. Seiya Sanada. As a whole, fine start to 2015 for Smash Wrestling.

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