I was planning on going to the Steel Domain Wrestling show in Hopkins, MN, but with a pretty brutal work schedule tossed at me at the last minute, I was happy to be able to watch it at home. The stream started around 5 pm with people filing into the arena and the announcer letting everyone know that the stars were giving autographs, and there was a raffle where the winner would get half of the proceeds of the raffle.
Sadly, those of us at home couldn't buy raffle tickets. But for $8.88, we could watch the show. They started in the ring on time, but there were some lighting issues, so the ring announcer killed time by having the crowd show which side was louder. You could clearly hear the tech folks complaining about the lighting.
We go to Slick Mick Karch and Eddie Hellier who run down the card, giving the history of Colt Cabana vs Adam Pearce, and then they bring out Ken Resnick. There's a bit of banter and they bring out Adam Pearce.
Pearce cuts a heel promo slagging on the crowd and promising a victory, noting that he asked for the steel cage tonight.
Darin Corbin vs. 'The Professional' Ben Sailer
Your announcers for this match are Mick Karch and The Golden Idol (a heel manager who has come back after about 20 years away). They play off each other well, using a style of the Heenan/Monsoon banter. Not as good, of course, but other than a couple of times when they were a bit lost for words, a fun pairing.
Corbin was the heel and Sailer was the face, and the announcers put over that Corbin was the man who beat Tommy Dreamer at Jerry Lynn's retirement show. The match was a nice opener, where neither man got a clear advantage. Old school mat/chain wrestling with neither man getting a long term advantage. Corbin kept the crowd hot by cheating from time to time. In the end, Corbin wins with a pin while holding the ropes.
Winner Darin Corbin
Stacy O'Brien vs. Miss Natural
Change in announcers, where Golden Idol switches out with George Shyer (Sp? They never put his name on the screen). George is the color guy and Mick carries the commentary well.
Miss Natural comes out in a Minnetonka Hockey jersey, as Minnetonka is the rival of Hopkins to get quick heat. Mick puts over that Miss Natural is Heather Patera, daughter of Ken Patera, and they talk about how he started as a fan favorite and eventually turned on the fans.
The story of the match was that Miss Natural dominated, with Stacy getting a few shots here and there. Longer than the first match and they had quite a few two count before Miss Natural messed up a move and Stacy O'Brian wins with a Backstabber (which they called a backbreaker).
Winner Stacy O'Brian
Good match, pumped up from the first match. So far a great show!
Canadian Crusher' AJ LaRock vs. Josh Calisto and Bullet
LaRock comes out and trashes the crowd, demands two Minnesotan wrestlers to fight. Calisto and masked wrestler Bullet look like a couple of guys from the crowd. This was a typical squash match where LaRock just beats the tar out of the two guys and wins by putting the two of them in the camel clutch.
Winner: AJ Larock
'Dangerous' Dan Jesser vs. Mr. Inkredible
So far it's been a great show with solid matches and a squash to build for a future card. That's all over now as Dan Jesser comes out. He rips up a fan's sign and after Mr. Inkcredible, who doesn't have any tattoos as far as I could tell, hit the ring, he pulls the stalling tactic. Leaving the ring, yelling at the crowd and waiting until Inkcredible turns his back, and then hits him from behind.
The best way to describe the match is that Jesser works the opposite of snug, leaving so much air that it was impossible for me to suspend disbelief. Inkcredible got a little offense here and there, but Jesser dominated, and when Inkcredible got a power move in, he sold it...but man, this was a chore to watch. Inkcredible loses when he takes too long setting up for a run at the corner and Jesser catches him for the pin.
Winner: Dan Jesser.
This match took the wind out of my sails and really felt like low rent indy wrestling.
'Sheik' Ariya Daivari vs. 'The Tangerine Dream' Ricky Love
Ariya is the brother of Shawn Daivari, and is just as good as Shawn, so this could get me back into the show. Ariya comes out waving the Iranian flag and is met at the ring by The Golden Idol, who isn't his manager, but is there to have his back. Idol has a bag with a whistle, a hockey stick and a hockey helmet and put over that he is there to protect Daivari. Idol cuts a decent heel promo and while Daivari doesn't need any more heat, the gaggle of kids who have gathered at the corner of the ringside area with "Thunder sticks" (which look like pool noodles to me) hate him with a passion.
Ricky Love comes out to USA chants, and when they lock up, the chants grow. They got the crowd back into the show, and their match was good. Crisp, tight and a lot of fun to watch. A good mix of mat work and brawling, and neither one has any real advantage for a long time until Love gets outside the ring, and while Daivari is distracting the Ref, Idol beats on Love with the Hockey...while the kids beat on the Idol with the pool noddles.
Sadly, the kids looked better beating Idol than Idol looked beating Love...need to tighten that up, Idol!
Back in the ring where Daivari has the advantage for a while, methodically beating down Love. When Love mounts his comeback, Idol distracts the Ref, allowing Daivari to get the Iranian flag. Daivari goes to hit Love with it, misses and takes out Idol. Love rolls up Daivari for the pin.
Winner: Tangerine Dream Ricky Love
Good match and it won the crowd and myself back. I also liked the old "Manager screws up" ending, which helped pop the crowd.
The headsets go out at the end of the match, so we don't get to hear anything until we get to the next match.
Ryan Slade vs. Hot Shot Danny Duggan (Northern States Heavyweight Champion)
Slade has adopted Canada as his homeland, and comes out in full Canadian gear. He jaws with the group of kids at ringside who shake their pool noodles menacingly at him. Hot Shot Danny Duggan, the SDW Northern States Heavyweight Champion comes to the ring, and Mick Kartch sells that he isn't feeling 100% and the doctors were telling him not to wrestle.
This was a great match. Neither wrestler showed a real advantage at the beginning, and they traded blows and power moves for the first third of the match until Duggan was tossed outside the ring and sold that he's hurt he knee. From there, the middle third of the match was Slade working over the knee, beating Duggan down, and any time Duggan started to show some strength, Slate would attack the knee. REALLY good stuff here, and the corwd was into the match, cheering Duggan on.
The last third of the match started with Duggan starting a recovery, which led to a referee bump, and as the ref was recovering, AH LaRock comes out and attacks Duggan, leaving him laying in the ring. The ref recovers and Slade goes for a pin..only go get a near fall. Duggan starts his recovery again, gets in some solid offense, and a SECOND referee bump and a second round of interference with LaRock holding Duggan for an attack by Slade. Slade waits for the ref to recover, and gets caught by Duggan who wins with a quick pin.
Winner and still champion Hot Shot Danny Duggan!
Great match, although I don't think the second ref bump was needed. Mick did a great job making it seem like the champion was in danger, and had his best match call of the night.
On a side note, I have always liked Mick's match calling. He's got a nice, old school sense of humor and makes even a boring match seem important. Damn shame he never got a chance on the big stage, since he's a lot better than a lot fo guys who have been on national shows I could name.
They break for about 25 minutes to set up the steel cage. Nothing much happens during the setup, which is a wasted opportunity to push their on-line TV show, their podcast and future cards. Live, it's a good opportunity to let the crowd buy merchandise, concessions and sneak out for fresh air and a smoke, but on a iPPV, it just comes off as wasted time. So, I wrote up the first part of this report.
Guess it was good for that.
Mick then gives a Lifetime Achievement award to Eddie Sharkey.
As Eddie starts talking, The Golden Idol interrupts and starts slagging on Eddie, and Eddie trash talks him, and Idol takes off...Eddie starts to speak again, and Mick cuts him off and thanks him for all he's done.
Colt 'Boom Boom' Cabana vs 'Scrap Iron' Adam Pearce in a Steel Cage!
Mick and George put over that Adam and Colt both held the NWA title and the lineage of that title as Adam comes to the ring. Adam jaws with the crowd, and while there are some people cheering him, the majority of the crowd hates him. Good job at building some heat!
HUGE chant for Cabana as he comes to the ring.
When the match starts, they go back and forth with tests of strength, neither man getting an advantage. Nice series that leads through the first third of the match where they trade holds and blows until Cabana is the first to go into the cage. After that, Adam dominates, and as he has Cabana on the mat, he attempts to climb the cage. Cabana gets up, they battle on the cage until Cabana comes down and hurts his knee.
As they move to the second third of the match, Pearce works the knee into the figure four, Cabana reverses it and then he starts to dominate. Nice series of blows until they are both back on the cage, battling and they drop with Pearce crotched on the top rope and Cabana sitting on the rope. Cabana bounces on the rope for a nice comedy bit, and Cabana does a few more of his comedy bits until he locks on a Reverse Boston Crab, which I confess, I have never seen. GREAT visual.
Final third, they trade blows again until Cabana backdrops the Pearce onto the referee. That's right, our third ref bump of the night, and it probably would have worked better if not for the two in the previous match. The ref and Pearce are down and Cabana walks out the door of the cage to the cheering fans. However, no referee, so no victory yet. Pierce recovers and piledrives Cabana on the bare concrete floor.
And since it isn't a Young Bucks match, this piledriver matters.
Pearce rolls Cabana back in the ring, and shouts at him "WHY WON'T YOU DIE!!!"
Pearce then lays another piledriver on him and makes sure the referee is awake as he walks out of the ring and wins the match.
Winner: Adam Pearce!
The announcer sell that this isn't fair and it isn't over as the show ends.
Overall, a solid show with only one match I didn't care for. They had some issues with cameras where with some cameras the arena looked dark and on others it looked like daytime. The feed only dropped once, with one other time they lost the audio. It was a nice way to introduce Steel Domain Wrestling using the Pearce/Cabana match as the draw.