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 411mania » Wrestling » Video Reviews

Views from the Hawke's Nest: Smash Wrestling Rival Schools
Posted by TJ Hawke on 06.25.2014

Smash Wrestling gave this show away for free. I am not into independent wrestling all that much right now, but I figured it would be worth my time to check this show out.

Commentators: Scott Hunter & James Keen

Gregory Iron vs. Pepper Parks (w/ Cherry Bomb)
Iron is a great story, and Parks is perfectly acceptable as an undercarder. With that in mind, this does not feel like a combination that will make me care about this promotion. Hopefully, I am tragically wrong.

Parks attacked Iron before the bell. Iron quickly came back, but Parks used a Cherry Bomb distraction to cut off Iron. Parks worked Iron over for a bit. Iron eventually fired back and made a big comeback. At one point, Iron was on the top turnbuckle, but Cherry crotched him. Parks then hit a diving cutter: 123.

This felt insignificant, and the crowd never seemed to get that invested in the action. The work itself was fine in theory, but the 揋regory Iron getting bullied by a jerk heel story line feels incredibly played out on the independent scene. This match required a hot crowd, and that did not happen.
Match Rating: *1/2

Brent Banks & Alex Vega vs. Scotty O扴hea & Tyson Dux
It sounds like the winners of this *tag* match will get a shot at the heavyweight title later in the show. To top off the TNA feeling of that stipulation, Banks and Vega do not get along! This is another case of a company trying to tell a story (that I could not possibly care less about or find interesting in any way) at the expense of logical booking. That is what we get from WWE and TNA. Any independent company out there that wants to carve out a niche in the DVD market has to offer something different than what we get 揻or free every week on television.

Early in the match, Banks and Vega started bickering at the expense of their team. 揗ature and layered storytelling coming at the expense of logic and fun. After that, the match broke down into a brawl on the floor. Hacker accidentally kicked Dux from the apron. Vega and Banks then cut off Hacker and worked Dux over. It took them a long time to get this moment in the match, and they proceeded to worked an unnecessarily long heat segment. Dux eventually gave Banks a buckle plex, and Hacker was then able to make a hot tag. Hacker and Dux seemed to have the advantage. Banks and Vega kept miscommunicating and/or refusing to work together. Vega had Dux pinned, but Banks stopped it like a moron to get the pinfall on Dux himself: 123

I hated just everything about this match except for the effort from the wrestlers. Right off the bat, the stipulation of this *tag* match is that the winners get a shot at a *singles* championship. This is moronic, illogical story telling. Banks and Vega were too stupid to put aside their differences to work towards their shared interest. On top of that, they actually won, which makes Dux and Hacker seemed really fucking incompetent at life. The match itself was way too long. This match was pretty much the exact opposite of what I want from professional wrestling. If you enjoyed it, congratulations.
Match Rating: DUD

Cherry Bomb vs. Vanessa Kraven
The crowd really likes Kraven. I抳e never seen her before, but hopefully that means she is quite good. She ran through Cherry for a bit. They brawled on the floor. I think every match has ended up on the floor so far. Cherry got the advantage there and then briefly worked over Cherry. Kraven hit one move and then Cherry starting selling her knee. The referee called off the match. Cherry was helped to the back, and Kraven was ruled the winner.

I guess Cherry Bomb got hurt really bad. That is really unfortunate.

Kyle O扲eilly vs. Josh Alexander
KO has the PWG Title and ROH Tag Title with him. Surreal.

Neither man could get an advantage for a long time. I heard the commentators speculate that Kyle had a match in Smash in 2013 that was potentially the MOTY for all of wrestling. I cannot comment on that match, but why would you a.) copy ROH抯 2002 commentating style (the worst) and b.) hype a match up to a level that it cannot possibly live up to. They traded submission attempts. Alexander was going after a knee, and Kyle was going after an arm. Alexander seemed to be building momentum, but Kyle got an opening and just went right after the injured arm. Alexander eventually came back with rolling Northern Lights Suplexes. Kyle went for a guillotine, but Alexander reversed it into a Jig 憂 Tonic: 12匩O! One of several video glitches on the show happened right after that. I never mentioned it before, because it never mattered before. Kyle came back with a diving Divorce Court. Kyle connected on a series of strikes that got him a nearfall. They traded strikes. Kyle kicked out of a rolling elbow. Alexander went for a moonsault, but Kyle caught him with a triangle. Alexander escaped. Kyle reversed a tombstone attempt into an ankle lock. Alexander came back with the spinning tombstone: 123

They started off threatening to work a cool and unique match compared to what you get in most places in Canada/America. Sadly, the match devolved into the usual indie 搇et抯 have the best match possible formula. They pretty much ignored all the early limb/submission work down the stretch for reasons that I do not understand. That really undermined the match for me. Much like the earlier matches on this show, a hot crowd would have covered for a lot of the things I disliked here. However, the crowd, while politely invested in the show, is not really adding much.
Match Rating: ***

Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno & Stupefied) vs. The Overdogs (John Greed & Sebastian Suave)
This is an elimination tables match. I miss the SSB so much. I have high hopes for this one.

Stupefied took out the rudos with a tope con hello before they got to the ring. SSB had the early advantage. The Overdogs managed to come back. Stupefied went to moonsalt Suave through a table (from the stage to the floor), but Greed interfered and caused Stupefied to put himself through the table. Stupefied was eliminated, and Uno was now left to try to win the match by himself. The Overdogs set up a table in the ring, but Uno fought back. The Overdogs cut him off though. A security guard ran in to help Uno. He was easily taken out, and Suave set him up for a charge through a table. However, the security guard was so large that he snapped the table before Greed could reach him with the splash. The Overdogs went to put Uno through a table, but Stupefied cheated to save his partner. I know that a tables match pretty much has no rules, but that is stupid. Dos continued to immorally interfere, and Uno eliminated Greed with a superplex through a table. This is really stupid. Stupefied then kicked Suave in the balls. What the fuck? Is life this fucking hard for people who book wrestling? Suave then hits SSB each with a shot to the balls. Good for him since Stupefied broke the rules of conduct for an elimination match and then kicked Suave in the balls for no reason. This is a hot mess. SSB finished Suave with a Fatality through the table. That抯 a cool finish at least.

The match was going very well until Stupefied came back into the match after being eliminated. Now, I understand that there are feuds that are so bloodthirsty that for those who are invested in the feud, they may overlook that particular bit of booking stupidity. However, as a first time viewer of Smash, I have no reason to be invested in this feud. While the commentators made sure to point out that this was a feud, I never got the sense from them that this was the be-all, end-all feud of pro wrestling. Secondly, why would you book yourself into a corner like this? Just don抰 fucking make it an elimination match! Why book a match so you force the good guys to act like the rules don抰 matter to them? It makes them look like asses. This is TNA-level stuff. If I want to watch TNA stuff, I抣l watch TNA.

The real shame of the booking here is that the guys worked hard, and they got the crowd into the match in ways that the previous matches on the card could not. However, when the entire closing sequence is overshadowed by stupidity, it抯 hard to appreciate the work being done.
Match Rating: **1/4

Michael Elgin vs. ACH
These two had a well-regarded match in ROH and a bad match in PWG. Hopefully, this match is more the former than the latter.

Elgin was fresh off getting his mullet shaved off in ROH. He looks different. They did some gaga early on. Elgin got a big reaction for the Worm. Elgin and ACH went back and forth for a bit. They did a few nifty sequences. Elgin seemed more relaxed here than how he works in ROH. Elgin eventually got control of the match and proceeded to work over Attitude Charisma Heart. ACH managed to hit a slingshot Ace Crusher and then made a comeback. Elgin then came back and hit his new diving Codebreaker. A discus lariat got Elgin a nearfall. They traded strikes. Elgin got a nearfall off of a vertical suplex spinebuster. They traded kicks on the apron until ACH gave him a STO onto the apron. ACH followed it up with a ridiculous corkscrew dive. Elgin avoided a 450 but then ate a reverse 憆ana. 450 from ACH: 12匩O! Elgin ate the kickflip kick to the face, but then he hit a diving Liger Bomb: 123!

Michael Elgin gave a Davey Richards speech after the match.

This is exactly what the show needed. They worked a really fun style and pace, and the crowd was into it the whole way. They didn抰 get too bogged down in being super serial, and their tone/work was consistent throughout. Very good stuff.
Match Rating: ***3/4

Takaaki Watanabe vs. Chris Hero
This is a big match in my eyes for Watanabe. Hero is not flawless by any means, but this is not a situation where Watanabe should look shaky as a performer.

Hero attacked hard from the bell, but Watanabe came back quickly enough. Watanabe used a chair to get the advantage. Hero eventually made a comeback and used lots of big boots. They brawled on the floor for a bit. Hero hit a big elbow for a nearfall. Watanababe came back with a diving lariat for a nearfall. He got another nearfall with a back suplex. They elbowed each other in the face at the same time, and they both went down. They traded strikes. There was a ref bump, and Watanabe did the low blow/small package combo: 12匩O! I think Watanabe had won the previous encounter between these two that way, but I would not bet my life on it. Regardless, that was actually a good use of a ref bump. Hero came back with two big boots and the Cyclone Kill: 123!

While the style and the wrestlers of this match did (and does) not appeal to me much, I thought the match worked for both the crowd and (to a slightly lesser extent) myself. I would never claim to have insight into a wrestler抯 mentality, but Hero comes across as someone who is resting on his laurels instead of forging something fresh and exciting. Watanabe is just flat-out dull in the ring. However, I found this match to be perfectly acceptable.
Match Rating: ***1/4

Matt Cross vs. Brent Banks vs. Alex Vega [Smash Wrestling Championship]
Matt Cross does a parody of Goldberg in Smash apparently. It抯 fairly amusing. Cross is also greying on the sides of his hair. It looks awesome though with his foot long, ginger beard.

The match was very 搕wo men in, one man out at the start. That is never terribly interesting. Cross teased a dive, but Vega hit him with a lariat. Cross got worked over for a while. Banks had control him, as Vega took a nap on the floor. Vega then worked over M-Dogg, and Banks got to take a nap. Cross quickly made a comeback on Vega. Cross then made a comeback on Banks. Banks stopped a Cross dive attempt. Cross then took out Banks with a tope suicida. Cross then sent Vega to the floor and hit both of them with his version of the Sasuke Special. Back in the ring, Vega got a nearfall on Cross with a reverse Bloody Sunday. Banks hit Vega with a standing Sliced Bread for a nearfall. Banks got dumped to the floor. Pinning combinations were traded. Cross took out Vega with a spear and a shooting star press: 123

This main event was fine and inoffensive. That seems fitting given that Matt Cross is the headliner for the company. I think a more compact match with a lot of fast-paced action would have worked better, but the crowd seemed perfectly willing to get into this match to the extent they got invested in anything. I respect Smash抯 desire to end the show on the singles title match, but this matchup was clearly less interesting on paper than a number of matches on the show.
Match Rating: **3/4

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: Shabang728@gmail.com. Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

The 411: Smash hyped the show as their best ever. If that抯 true, then I definitely do not plan on watching any of the shows that came before this. I knew that there was little chance that this would be a truly great show, but I definitely expected a 揵est foot forward situation here. When it comes to indie wrestling, a 揵est foot forward show for me means differentiating yourself from the mainstream products and doing what you do extremely well. As far as I am concerned, this show accomplished neither of those things. While the company got out of the way in a few of the matches, enough of matches featured cliché tropes and ideas that I never need to see in wrestling again. Listen, the show is free. If you think I抦 being harsh, check it out for yourself. I found this show to be a consistently and laughably derivative of the things in wrestling matches I dislike.
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend


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