Monday, 27 January 2014 11:27
Hey Dave and Bryan.
I went to the Smash Wrestling show last night, which was a tremendous show. Every match delivered, the wrestlers were friendly and accessible, and the crowd was phenomenal too. They were absolutely rabid all night. After watching the Royal Rumble, I cannot say enough about how positive the Smash Wrestling experience was. I'm from Sudbury, Ontario and sadly don’t have a ton of live shows under my belt, but I can say easily that Any Given Sunday 2 was the best live wrestling show I’ve ever seen. I will be back next time they come to Toronto.
There was a dark match, a six man tag between six men whose names I didn’t catch. The heels did a typical anti-your country shtick, saying Tim Hortons sucks and people from Canada are stupid. The babyfaces won.
Brent Banks v. Alex Vega
Good, fun opener. Crowd broke into a “this is awesome” chant pretty early. Brent Banks has a real something, a natural charisma in what he does and says in the ring. He had the crowd laughing with his insults a couple times. Alex Vega won, but the heel Banks attacked him after the bell and nailed him with a Ki Krusher. Later in the show, they played a semi-inaudible video where Banks challenged Vega to a ladder match.
Winner: Alex Vega
Veda Scott v. Seleziya Sparx
Good match. They worked hard, busted out some cool submissions and stuff like that. Veda has a little AJ Lee vibe to her. Also, apologies for the following typical male pigheaded statement, but holy balls Seleziya’s bodysuit is BUYS. Good heavens. Anyway, Seleziya won with the Manami Toyota Ocean Cyclone Suplex. On her way out, a fan started chanting “fuck my friend!” at Seleziya. Sadly, I didn’t hear what Seleziya said back to the guy, but she loudly and quickly shut him down to the point that the entire section started cheering and laughing at the guy. Good times. Very enjoyable match.
Winner: Seleziya Sparx
Tyson Dux v. Gregory Iron
I haven’t seen too much of Dux but he was awesome here, really held the match together. Gregory Iron is a treat to watch live, if for no other reason than the crowds are 100% behind him like almost nobody else I’ve ever seen. At one point, Iron hit Dux with a chair on the outside and the place went ape shit. Eventually, Tyson Dux won clean to some pretty good heel heat. After the match he cut a promo putting over Iron and endearing himself to the crowd. If you’ve seen Greg Iron before you’ve probably seen this match, but I would highly suggest seeing Iron live, because it feels like you’re seeing something special. Kids friggin’ love the guy too.
Winner: Tyson Dux
Matt Cross v. “The Hacker” Scotty O’Shea v. Kyle O’Reilly v. ACH
I may not think the same if I bought the DVD, but in person this was match of the night. A high flying spotfest, but man what a spectacular thing to be ten feet away from. It got a loud Holy Shit chant, among other things, such as “This is awesome”, “This is wrestling”, and “This is SMASH!~!”. There was an old lady in the front row whose life I was legitimately afraid for during the dive sequence. Eventually, ACH ended up sitting down to rest in her lap, which was hilarious. ACH really showed me something here. Not only is dude crazy athletic, but he is a big thick guy, and has a shitload of natural charisma. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an ACH match before, but after tonight, I’m a big fan. I've got a big soft spot for the hacker too.
In the end, Matt Cross won with a shooting star press. Words (and probably the DVD) won’t do this justice. This match was awesome to experience live, and will be my enduring memory of the show.
Winner: Matt Cross
Checkmate (Christopher Bishop & Lionel Knight) v. The Overdogs (Sebastian Suave & John Greed)
Chess Puns! Personally speaking, this was my least favorite match on the show. It was still good and it even somehow still got a “this is awesome” chant, mostly because the crowd was incredible. The Overdogs (a team of a big fat guy and a kind of skinny guy) got the win when Skinny did a move of some accord and the big man came off the top rope with a massive, kill-the-guy-dead frog splash. Not my favorite match but the finish was really something.
Winners: The Overdogs
Johnny Gargano v. Michael Elgin
The people were big time into Michael Elgin, who was announced from nearby Oshawa, Ontario. Pretty indy-riffic match as they say. Elgin doesn’t sell a whole lot, but he did some cool power spots, like the Cesaro Apron Superplex, and a long vertical suplex where he drops the guy halfway down and hoists him back up. The dude has really impressive power, no question. Not to be outshined, Gargano did three rolling suicide dives. He would suicide dive, and then run right back into the ring and do another. After some poor-officiating/shenanigans by the ref, Gargano got the submission victory with a Regal Stretch variant. It came out of nowhere and really shocked the crowd.
Post match, Elgin backhanded the referee and laid him out. Jimmy Korderas then came to check on the poor guy, before throwing him over the top rope to our 4th “This is awesome” chant of the evening.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
AJ Styles v. Chris Hero
Chris Hero ended up winning with an elbow. Not the match of the year or anything, in fact, it seemed like they were a bit rushed, but the atmosphere for this one was awesome. As much “big fight feel” as you can possibly muster from 250 people in a sports bar.
AJ is crazy tanned, much more so than anybody else on the card and probably in the history of Smash Wrestling. I choose to interpret this as proof that he’s been a TNA employee all along. That’s a made-for-TV-tan right there.
Between his theme, his presence, and his actual work in the ring, Chris Hero absolutely feels like a massive star when you see him. Hearing those elbows in person is something else, too.
Post-Match, both guys cut promos putting over Toronto and Smash Wrestling. Hero requested a 4 out of 7 series vs. AJ, which I would be totally fine with. A good match, but it felt like they left a little bit in the tank here. They left us wanting more.
Winner: Chris Hero
I cannot say enough about Smash Wrestling. Maybe it’s because I had relatively low expectations for everything but Hero/Styles, but this show was tremendous. It wasn’t so much the individual matches, but factoring in the amazing crowd and the incredibly accessible and friendly workers on the card, Smash Wrestling really put on a great show. The best wrestling show I’ve ever seen live by a wide margin. If you’re in and around Toronto, you have to check these guys out next time they come.