Thursday, December 8, 2016

MMWA Special Comment

Now, as promised, a special comment about Saturday's Mid-Missouri Wrestling Alliance show at the South Broadway Athletic Club in St. Louis, Missouri.

DISCLAIMER:  I'm biased.  Deal with it.

Plans for the weekend changed due to my acceptance of a job at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville; I couldn't exactly spend the night in Kansas City if I had to be at work at 7:30 the following morning.  (As it turned out, my warehouse experience was short-lived as I quickly realized that the job wasn't going to be for me; I resigned on Tuesday afternoon and it looks like Pizza Hut is stuck with me for the moment.)  As such, I stopped by the beautiful and/or historic SBAC for their monthly offering on the heels of the mass defections to the National Wrasslin' League.  The crowd was a bit down from the November event which boasted a packed house, but then South Broadway is more of a social hangout that just happens to host wrestling once a month; it's usually factors outside of wrestling that affect their attendance.

I was in good company as I shared a table with "Evil" Jim & Crystal Yount, Chris Roedel, Luke Roberts, and a guy I hadn't seen in quite some time:  Dingo.  He's been living in Chicago recently but was in town for a few days; good to touch base with him.

Your ring announcer was Ben Simon; your referees were Nick Ridenour & Jeff Edinger.

Ben started the show by announcing that all of the championships were vacant due to circumstances beyond the promotion's control, so a round-robin tournament of sorts would be held to determine the next Heavyweight Champion.  Brandon Espinosa & Da'Marius Jones are in the Heavyweight Title tournament and the other four entrants would be decided by qualifying matches.  (It sounds like some form of round-robin tournament.)  The Jr. Heavyweight Title(now rebranded as the Cruiserweight Title) would go to the winner of a match later in the evening.  (From what I understand, the T.V. Title has been retired and the Tag Team Titles will be left on the shelf until the tag division is redeveloped.)

J-Mal Swagg vs. Damion Cortess, Heavyweight Title Qualifier:  Cortess was more heelish than usual in this opener, solidifying Swagg as the fan favorite.  Cortess was briefly a Tag Team Champion with Prince Moses, but had to adapt to singles competition when Moses suffered an injury.  Swagg is rebounding from his loss of the Jr. Heavyweight Title to Brandon Aarons and hoped to step up into the Heavyweight Championship picture with a win here.  Swagg won a competitive match with the Zigswag in 6:50...Cortess congratulated him after the match, but then laid him out...ladies and gentlemen, we have a heel turn.

The Big Texan vs. "The" Ace Hawkins, Heavyweight Title Qualifier:  As of the most recent Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling show, Big Jim Hoffarth has donned a new mask and gone back to his previous monicker.  (He was still billed as "Big Texan" by a lot of groups anyway.)  Given the matchup, he was a fan favorite against Hawkins (though the SICW angle seemed to turn him back into a rulebreaker).  Hawkins used his speed and agility to counteract Texan's size and strength, though Texan was able to overpower him on several occasions.  Ace was able to counter a chokeslam attempt with a mid-air DDT, then hit a running somersault Ace Crusher for the three-count in 5:47.

Garrett Shanks vs. "The Enforcer" Jimmy D:  Jimmy D has been the source of some recent controversy in the St. Louis wrestling scene and I'll leave it at that.  Shanks is a rookie out of the Dynamo Pro dojo with a surfer look and I have no idea how wrestlers still do the barefoot thing.  Moondog Rover got involved and stopped D from using his baseball bat in the match(this is the feud that never eeeeends...oh it goes on and on my frieeeeends...); that allowed Shanks to capitalize with a Diamond Cutter for the upset win in 4:04.  (Was that his first win?)

Intermission~!  As it was the December show, Santa Claus was in the house to meet the kids.  Official Ben Simon Concession Count(tm):  Pepsi, Mountain Dew, cheese fries.

Moondog Rover vs. B.T. Daramola, Heavyweight Title Qualifier:  This was a standard-issue heavyweight fight and Moondog OVAH~! was as popular as ever.  B.T. has been trying to diversify his offense as he actually dove out of the ring onto Moondog at one point.  Experience would win out in the end as Rover dropped Daramola with the World's Strongest Slam in 5:12.

"Night Train/Gorgeous/Great One" Gary Jackson vs. Barackus, Heavyweight Title Qualifier:  This was scheduled to be Jackson vs. "Da Bomb" Brian James, but James was absent for unknown reasons after picking fights with Jackson in recent months.  Gary Jackson Fashion Watch(tm):  Red fringed vest and red hunting cap for the holidays, plus yellow trunks with red fringe.  Once again Gary talked about The Rules(tm) prior to the match, which is like Kane triggering his pyro before a bout:  It's not a good sign for him.  Jackson was already fighting an uphill battle against a larger and stronger opponent, though his experience served him well against the big man.  It took a Herculean effort to get Barackus off his feet and Jackson set up for the Texas Cloverleaf, but Brian James' theme music played over the audio system.  Jackson dropped the hold to look for a potential sneak attack, but James was nowhere to be seen...however, the loss of focus was costly to The Night Train.  Barackus mowed down Jackson and dropped him with a gourdbuster, then finished with the clawhold Flatliner in 8:24.  That set the Heavyweight Title field as:  Brandon Espinosa, Da'Marius Jones, J-Mal Swagg, Ace Hawkins, Moondog Rover, and Barackus.

Varik Morgan vs. Deacon Cash for the vacant Cruiserweight Title:  Morgan returned at last month's MMWA show, as did Cash; Cash had made several attempts at the Jr. Heavyweight Title but never quite got his hands on the gold.  Cash settled into his more natural rulebreaking role, using his size advantage to overpower Morgan; Varik had to use his agility to outmaneuver Cash.  During an exchange on the ropes, Cash accidentally elbowed the referee, leaving the match without an official for a few moments before a second official took over.  Morgan capitalized on his opening to deliver a flying knee strike and Codebreaker, then lifted Cash on his shoulders for a Ricochet/T.J. Perkins-style Detonation Kick!  That got Morgan the three-count from the second ref in 12:21...but the original official called it as a DQ win for Morgan instead (due to being struck by Cash).  No matter, same result...but Commissioner Jim Harris said he didn't want the newly-rebranded championship to start with a disqualification finish(similar to how World League Wrestling treated their new Junior Heavyweight Title).  As such, a rematch will take place in January to determine an undisputed champion.

Brandon Espinosa vs. Da'Marius Jones for the MWR Missouri Title:  These guys have a lot of history as they've fought over the MMWA Heavyweight Title in the past, including a 60-Minute Ironman Match...but the popularity contest may be a bit different than it was at that time.  B.T. was indisposed after his previous battle with Moondog Rover, so Jones was flying solo.  (Speaking of which, why wasn't recent champion A.J. Williams in the mix?)  They had a lengthy competitive bout to top off the card, but Espy seemed to have the advantage as he locked on his signature cross-armbreaker.  However, Ace Hawkins ran in with a swanton bomb onto Espinosa for the DQ finish in 15:23 (two DQs in a row to end the show?).  Chaos broke loose as Hawkins and Jones double-teamed Espy until Moondog hit the ring and dropped Ace with the World's Strongest Slam.  Next, Barackus entered the fray with the clawhold on Rover...but J-Mal Swagg jumped into the action with the Zigswag on his former tag partner Barackus!  The fan favorites(Espy, Moondog, Swagg) stood tall to close out the event...

Saturday the 10th will be busy in this area with three shows:  Pro Wrestling Championship Series in Edwardsville, IL (moved from Granite City due to venue issues), Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling in East Carondelet, IL, and World Powerhouse Wrestling in Collinsville, IL.  That'll be it for the greater St. Louis area for the year, though if I'm free, I may check out Proving Ground Pro on the 17th and All-American Wrestling on the 30th...gotta bum a ride, though.

That's my special comment for this, the fifty-first wrestling show I've attended in the year 2016.  Good night, good luck, and #yaywrestling.

-PB, Watching Wrestling Wrong Since 1991

P.S. We are all marks.

Impact + XPlosion

TNA Impact

-Commentators:  Josh Mathews & "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero.
-Moose d. Aron Rex with the Gamebreaker(windup short-arm discus lariat) to retain the Grand Title (0:29 of Round 3 - 6:29 total).
-Mark Andrews d. Aiden O'Shea via shooting star press (5:46).
-Al Snow & Mahabali Shera d. The Tribunal(Basile Baraka & Baron Dax) in a strap match by tagging all six corners (5:19).
-Allie Dennis(w/ Braxton Sutter) d. Laurel Van Ness(w/ Maria Kanellis-Bennett) after an inverted DDT (5:10); Sutter fought off Mike Bennett's attempt to interfere.  Madison Rayne did commentary.
-Eddie Edwards fought Ethan Carter III to a double-fall draw to retain the Heavyweight Title; EC3 caught Edwards in a rear naked choke, but Edwards leaned back so EC3's shoulders were on the mat, leading to EC3 being counted down for three as Edwards tapped out (16:06 aired).
-Next week:  Total Nonstop Deletion.

-Commentators:  Josh Mathews & Madison Rayne.
-Moose d. Basile Baraka with the Gamebreaker(windup short-arm discus lariat) (6:00 aired).

NJPW World Tag League Night 16

-Yoshi Tatsu & Billy Gunn d. Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier.
-Kenny Omega & Chase Owens d. Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata.
-NEVER Openweight Champion Takaaki "Evil" Watanabe & Seiya Senada d. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi.
-Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma d. Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii.

Block B(final standings):
-Great Bash Heel: 10
-Evil/Senada: 10
-Goto/Ishii: 8
-Okada/Hashi: 8
-Shibata/Nagata: 8
-Tatsu/Gunn: 6
-Omega/Owens: 6
-Fale/Bone Soldier: 0

Lucha Underground Season 3 Episode 14

-Commentators:  Matt Striker & Vampiro.
-Backstage in promoter Dario Cueto's office:  Angélico paid a visit and said he wanted a shot at Johnny Mundo, Heavyweight Title or not.  According to Dario, Mundo has "lawyered up"...so Angélico wondered if he should do likewise, given the two major beatings he took while working for him that Dario did nothing about.  That had Dario backpedaling a bit...Angélico wasn't above putting his hands on the promoter, but Dario said that he could earn his title shot in his "Battle Of The Bulls Tournament".  Angélico said that after he won the tournament, Mundo wouldn't need a lawyer...he'd need an undertaker.
-The commentators filled us in on the tournament format:  It'll feature four four-corner matches with the winners advancing to a four-corner finale.
-Battle Of The Bulls Tournament:  Brian "They Call Him" Cage won a four-corner match with El Texano Jr., Dr. Wagner Jr.(w/ Famous B & Beautiful Nurse Brenda), and Joey Ryan; Texano hit Ryan with the sitout powerbomb but Cage broke up the pin, then laid out Texano with his own bullrope before stealing the fall on Ryan (8:36).
-Backstage in Dario's office:  Dario tried to stay on Sexy Star's good side, offering her a match with P.J. Black(the only member of Worldwide Underground she hasn't faced).  If she wins, she gets her Heavyweight Title rematch with Johnny Mundo in a cage so the other members of the stable can't interfere.  Of course, if she loses tonight, she won't get any more shots at the title.  Sexy Star was okay with that, but was understandably wary of Dario's motives...
-Elsewhere:  Captain Vasquez met with Officer Reyes(Cortez Castro) and said that his cover was blown.  She noted that Detective Mihon(Joey Ryan) wasn't a good man, but she trusted Reyes and needed him in that temple.  She said that once his broken arm healed, he would enter the temple as a "whole new man" and took out a mask.
-Sexy Star d. "The Darewolf" P.J. Black when Jack Evans tried to interfere, but Black accidentally superkicked Evans off the apron and Sexy got the pin with a modified sunset flip (6:30).
-Kobra Moon told the story of her Snake Clan:  They had three fierce generals, but one of them betrayed them in the past:  Drago.  She said that they had to bring back the one who deserted them, giving her orders to two reptilian followers:  Pindar & Vibora.
-Dario visited Matanza Cueto in his cell, asking him if he was sure that he didn't want to participate in the tournament; Rey Misterio Jr. is out with an injury and Dario promised that Matanza would get him as soon as possible.  He told Matanza that Dragon Azteca Jr. was blinded by revenge and it nearly cost him his arm.  Matanza reached through the bars to touch his brother...then slammed his head into the bars and reached for the door key.
-Battle Of The Bulls Tournament:  Willie Mack won a four-corner match with Dragon Azteca Jr., Mil Muertes(w/ Catrina Perez), and Marty "The Moth" Martinez; Azteca nearly got the win, but Matanza Cueto stormed the ring and powerbombed Azteca off the turnbuckles onto Muertes.  Matanza planted Azteca with the Wrath Of The Gods(rewind powerslam) before a bloody Dario arrived with the key to call off his brother.  As the dust cleared, Mack delivered a running Stone Cold Stunner on Marty The Moth for the win (8:28).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WWE NXT

-Commentators:  Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, & "Showtime" Percy Watson.
-NXT Tag Team Champions Do It Yourself(Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) started the show by celebrating with the fans.  Before they could say anything, they were interrupted by The Authors Of Pain(Akam Dhinsa & Rezar Selmani, w/ Paul Ellering); The Authors were fresh off their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament win, including a semifinal win over Ciampa & Gargano, and They Wanted Da Belts.  THEY were quickly interrupted by former champs The Revival(Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder), leading to a confrontation with The Authors as they opted to take the side road en route to the ring.  Dawson said that if they hadn't forfeited their quarterfinal match to Ciampa & Gargano, The Authors would have never made it past the semifinals.  Akam & Rezar shoved down Dawson & Wilder and Ellering vowed that his guys would be the next champions.
-Graves introduced Percy Watson as the newest member of the broadcast team.
-The Sanity group made its entrance without Sawyer Fulton and Young stomped on his old jacket before spitting on it, then throwing it to the floor.
-Sanity(Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe)(w/ Nikki Cross) d. WWE Cruiserweight Champion "The Outlandish" Rich Swann & "No Way" Jose Valenzuela.  During the match, Big Damo made his debut by ramming Jose into the ringpost behind the referee's back; Young capitalized by finishing off Jose with the wheelbarrow neckbreaker (7:04 aired).  Damo walked to the backstage area, pausing to pick up Fulton's jacket before throwing it down again.
-Backstage:  Dasha Fuentes interviewed General Manager S. William Regal; he said that The Revival would get their NXT Tag Team Title rematch on the January 11th episode of NXT.  The winners would face The Authors Of Pain at NXT Takeover: San Antonio.  As Dasha left, Tye Dillinger entered the office and seemed to be giving his notice...but Regal asked him to be in a contenders' tournament and he changed his mind, accepting the offer.
-Backstage:  Sanity stormed past an interview attempt...but Nikki Cross paused to take a look at the conveniently-present NXT Women's Title belt.  Champion Asuka Urai arrived to retrieve her property, leading to a staredown with her potential challenger.
-Ember Moon d. Kimber Lee with the Eclipse(flying Stone Cold Stunner off the top rope) (3:06).
-The previously-mentioned top-contender tournament begins next week with four qualifying matches:  Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young, Roderick Strong vs. Elias Samson, Oney Lorcan vs. Bobby Roode, and No Way Jose vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas.
-From Osaka, Japan:  Shinsuke Nakamura d. Samoa Joe with the Kinshasa(flying knee strike) to win the NXT Title (10:47 aired).
-Breaking news:  Charly Caruso reported that Nakamura and Joe would face each other again in Australia...but in a cage match.

NJPW World Tag League Night 15

-Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson d. Manabu Nakanishi & Henare.
-Leland Race & Brian Breaker d. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima.
-"Hangman" Adam Page & Yujiro Takahashi d. War Machine(Todd Hanson & Raymond Rowe).
-IWGP Tag Team Champions The Guerrillas Of Destiny(Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) d. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito & Rush(non-title).

Block A(final standings):
-Guerrillas: 12
-TenCozy: 8
-Naito/Rush: 8
-War Machine: 8
-Page/Takahashi: 8
-Team WLW: 6
-Tanahashi/Juice: 6
-Nakanishi/Henare: 0

Smackdown + 205 Live

WWE Smackdown

-Commentators:  Mauro Ranallo, Tom Phillips, David Otunga, & John Bradshaw Layfield.
-Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton(w/ Luke Harper) d. Rhyno & Heath Slater to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Titles when Orton pinned Slater after the RKO (5:27 aired).
-Natalya Neidhart vs. Carmella Van Damme never officially started as the two fought before the bell and Natalya chased Carmella to the backstage area.
-The Hype Bros(Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) d. The Ascension(Konnor O'Brian & Rick Viktor); Ryder pinned Viktor after he and Mojo hit the Hype Ryder(Mojo pickup/Zack second-rope Rough Ryder) (3:29).
-Baron Corbin d. Kalisto by countering a flying headscissors attempt into the End Of Days(mid-air Flatliner) (2:51).
-Chad Gable(w/ Jason Jordan) d. Tyler Breeze(w/ Johnny Fandango) with the Rolling Chaos Theory(O'Connor Roll into a German suplex) (2:33).
-"The Miz" Mike Mizanin(w/ Maryse Ouellet-Mizanin) d. Dean Ambrose to retain the Intercontinental Title.  Ambrose was distracted by James Ellsworth(allegedly trying to tell the referee about Maryse's interference), leading to Miz finishing with the Skull-Crushing Finale (9:59 aired).

205 Live

-Commentators:  Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, & Austin Aries.
-"The Scottish Supernova" Noam Dar d. Cedric Alexander after a flying knee strike (10:14).
-Coming soon:  Mustafa Ali.  He said that the fans boo after simply hearing his name, but he plans to alter that perception.
-Backstage:  T.J. Perkins wished Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann the best of luck...but he said that Swann has been lucky a lot lately, considering his win over T.J.P. on Raw.
-"The Persian Lion" Ariya Daivari d. "The Extraordinary Gentleman" Jack Gallagher via frog splash, taking advantage of the knee injury he inflicted after their match on Raw (6:15).
-Coming soon:  Lince Dorado.
-"The Outlandish" Rich Swann d. "The" Brian Kendrick with the spinning crescent kick to retain the Cruiserweight Title (12:36); T.J. Perkins did commentary.  Swann shoved Kendrick into T.J.P. at one point, leading to a confrontation that distracted Kendrick and led to the finish.  Kendrick attacked Perkins after the match and the two brawled...Swann came back to interject himself, but he took an accidental superkick from T.J.P. that was meant for Kendrick.  Kendrick threw Perkins into the barricade and left as the last man standing for the night.