Current Watch List:
- Moose vs. Romantic Touch (ROH)
- Jay Lethal (c) vs. ACH vs. Matt Sydal for the ROH Television championship (ROH)
- Ben Levy vs. Carl Curtis (ASW)
- Ringo Ryan vs. Tagori (ASW)
- Gangrel, Thunder, Cousin Jake Wyatt & Nathan Cruz
vs. Dean Allmark, James Mason, Zack Gibson & Tony Spitfire in an over-the-tope rope elimination tag team match (ASW)
- Hechicero, Magnifico I & Ultimo Guerrero defeat La Dinastia de la Muerte (Negro Navarro, Trauma I & Trauma II) (Cara Lucha)
- Flamita & Aeroboy vs. Dragon Lee & The Panther (Cara Lucha)
- Carta Brava Jr., Ciclope, Gran Apache & Mini Psycho Clown vs. Arez, Dinastia, Ludxor & Venum (AAA)
- Australian Suicide & Bengala vs. Los Perros del Mal (Joe Lider & Pentagon Jr.) (AAA)
- Aero Star vs. Hijo de Pirata Morgan and Monster Clown and Super Fly in a Rey de Reyes qualifier (AAA)
- Hell Brothers (Averno, Chessman & Cibernetico) vs. Drago, Jack Evans & La Parka (AAA)
- Myzteziz & Psycho Clown defeat La Nueva Sociedad (El Texano Jr. & Perro Aguayo Jr. (AAA)
- Chase “Cauliflower” Brown vs. Dean Richards (Ultra Wrestle)
- Akebono, Genichiro Tenryu & Ultimo Dragon vs. Evolution (Atsushi Aoki, Hikaru Sato & Suwama) (AJPW)
- Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori & Masanobu Fuchi vs. Xceed (Go Shiozaki, Kento Miyahara & Kotaro Suzuki) (AJPW)
- Tommaso Ciampa & Hanson vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) (ROH)
- Alberto El Patron vs. Roderick Strong (ROH)
- Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. ACH & Matt Sydal (ROH)
Moose vs. Romantic Touch
Moose has come along nicely. He’s still green in the ring but he is so much more comfortable than he was a few months ago. He has a legitimate presence to him now. The match was a fancied up squash and was effective to that end at least. Moose flipping over on the spear is a fun spot.
Jay Lethal (c) vs. ACH vs. Matt Sydal
ROH Television Championship
This was the main event of the final television show from the 1/3 Nashville tapings. I thought Sydal looked the best has has looked since leaving WWE (I didn’t care much for the Dragon Gate tag he had, although others did). He did a spot where he flipped over the ropes into the ring from the apron and took Lethal over with a hurricanrana. That was really smooth and legit top notch flying. His shooting star looked good as did his dive. Not that I expect him to be a world class flyer at his age and after so little ring time over the past couple of years. At the same time, without the impressive flying what else does Sydal have? He looked far closer to a top notch high flyer than he did all of last year, so that is definitely a step in the right direction.
The match was well booked in getting Lethal over as a high caliber champion. He more or less beat both guys by himself at the end. It makes sense to build up Lethal strong heading into his TV title defense versus Alberto on PPV. This match accomplished that. Relative to other 3-ways, this was okay.
Ben Levy vs. Carl Curtis
One of my favorite promotions to watch in 2013 was the UK’s All-Star Wrestling. The long running promotion was built that year around Dean Allmark, Rampage Brown, Robbie Dynamite and (to a lesser extent), El Ligero. The four (with others occasionally filling in on the heel and face sides) wrestled all year long in various singles, tags, and gimmick matches. Many of the matches were posted by Allmark on YouTube so following along was easy. In the end, Allmark vs. Rampage/Brown was one of the better feuds of the year in any promotion.
2014 wasn’t as great of a year for my personal ASW viewing. Less matches appeared on YouTube and many of those that did weren’t up to prior year standards. ASW matches are always fun to watch because of the crowd interaction, but the in-ring quality in 2014 was clearly down from the prior year. This it the first ASW match of 2015 that Allmark has posted. It is far too small of a sample to gauge how good of a year 2015 will be for the promotion, but I am glad to have them back.
For one, very few current promotions garner the kind of contagious heat that the kid-friendly ASW does on a regular basis. This was not a great match by any means, but the heat made it that much more fun. The show – like many All-Star shows – was held in a theater with the ring on a stage. The crowd was largely comprised of kids who booed their hearts out every time Levy turned to them and loved everything Curtis did. Curtis has improved a bunch over the past few years. The dancing gimmick he is doing now is a keeper. The work was solid but nothing memorable. A solid, short (9 minute) match with great crowd interaction & heat is rare these days, so I’ll take as many of these sorts as ASW wants to give.
Ringo Ryan vs. Tagori
For the most part, you could you just read the above about the Curtis/Levy match, although I think Curtis is better than either of the guys in this one. Ryan is an ASW student who like most of their students, has a fundamental sense on how to work the crowd and do basic moves that get reactions. Tagori was a “mysterious masked man”. I am guessing he was probably one of the 8 wrestlers in the over-the-top rope elimination match main event pulling double duty but that is just a pure guess. The kids were a little confused who to boo here though I am not sure that is the fault of the wrestlers who made it pretty clear that Tagori was the bad guy. Like the previous match, the work was solid but the energetic crowd is really what differentiates these matches from the big group of other “solid” matches.
Gangrel, Thunder, Cousin Jake Wyatt & Nathan Cruz vs. Dean Allmark, James Mason, Zack Gibson & Tony Spitfire
Over the Top Rope Elimination Match
All-Star held an elimination 8-man tag in 2013 as part of the Rampage Brown & Robbie Dynamite vs. Dean Allmark feud that I liked a lot. Like all ASW shows, there was a lot of heat to go with the classic heel-face alignment. There was one spot in particular from that match that captured the excellent heel/face work you often get in ASW matches.
This 8-man over the top rope elimination tag was not as good as the 2013 one. That did not exactly come as a shock. Dynamite and Brown are above average wrestlers. When you take them out and replace them with Gangrel and the generic monster that is Thunder, the results are almost certain to suffer. The heel team did not add much in the way of value, nor did the non-Mason or Allmark members of the face side. Gangrel did work hard which I did not necessarily expect but his hard work did not quite translate into great results. What also hurt this elimination match was that the eliminations were all uninspired. They were largely generic battle royal eliminations without much in the way of drama behind them. Compare the eliminations here to classic New Japan over-the-top elimination matches, the Suzuki-gun vs. NOAH 1/24 10-man, or even the ASW one from 2013 and the unremarkable nature of the eliminations in this match are rather obvious. The only story told through the eliminations was “Dean Allmark against the odds” and ASW tells that story quite frequently as is. Okay match with the usual solid execution and good heat you expect from the ASW crew, but nothing more than that.
Flamita & Aeroboy vs. Dragon Lee & The Panther
The match had its moments. There were pair of straight topes that looked good, both Aeroboy and Flamita had a couple of impressive agility spots, and overall Dagon Lee & The Panther were solid. The problem was the match meandered about during the body. Dragon Lee and The Panther working rudo, which they don’t in CMLL, and seemed a tad off from a timing and presence standpoint as a result. There were enough good moments in this to make it worth watching even if as a cohesive match, it felt a bit short. I do love Flaimita’s single spanish fly. Spanish Flies are usually a dime a dozen but Flamita’s always is executed well. Not as good as the main event on this show, but enough good spots to make it a decent lead in to that match.
Hechicero, Magnifico I & Ultimo Guerrero defeat La Dinastia de la Muerte (Negro Navarro, Trauma I & Trauma II)
Excellent match. Much of the first fall is eaten up by Trauma II and Ultimo Guerrero mat work and it is really good. Guerrero is so good in this environment, but really he has been pretty great since dropping the mask. This was truly fun, high level mat work. The length and quality of the Tramua II & UG mat portions (not just in the first fall but throughout the match) were a notch above any other mat work from a match this month.
When Hechicero and Navarro are reduced to bit players in a match built on quality mat work, that’s a big positive. Hechicero was his usual great sutff here, mainy working with Navarrao. Trauma I and Magnifico were the least of the pairs, but they also had a really fun first fall section. The first was excellent, the last two falls were merely good, but the end result was still an excellent match. I liked this a little better than the January 1st AAA/indies Cara Lucha trio. This match was lengthier and the mat work was at another level.
Carta Brava Jr., Ciclope, Gran Apache & Mini Psycho Clown vs. Arez, Dinastia, Ludxor & Venum
In my recent experiences (late 2013 – through present) with AAA, the dark multi-man tags are often as fun as anything else on the “normal” shows. In 2014, Carta Brava Jr., Apache, Luxdor & Venum (this match as one example) were usually contributed in significantly in making those matches fun. They contributed similar value to this match. Luxdor & Venum really deserve a higher profile. They are both that solid brand of flyer in that they hit most everything smoothly and their offense looks really good without being unnecessarily complicated. Apache is timeless and takes as good of a rolling bump as anyone. I also thought Carta Brava looked good and is another AAA wrestler (in a seemingly endless series of them) that could be pushed more. Ciclope and Arez did less for me than everyone else in this match as their offense got a little too lucha-indie (in the bad way, not the good way) for me at times. Fun and breezy match overall; in other words, the ideal crowd pleasing dark match/opener.
Australian Suicide & Bengala vs. Los Perros del Mal (Joe Lider & Pentagon Jr.)
Australian Suicide is one of those wrestlers that should never change costumes. The Australian motive is so identifiable. He didn’t look like himself in the lime green get up he was sporting in this match. It is hard to believe Ricky Marvin is only 35 years old. From a pure looks standpoint, it is also hard to believe that the chubby guy in the tiger suit is the same skinny and remarkable high flyer of the early 2000’s. At times though – and this match was one of those times – you can see glimpses of the wrestler he once was. He brought out the smooth offense he was known for here. Not nearly as high of risk as once was, but just as smooth. Pentagon Jr. was his usual fun self. I am not as high on him as I believe others are though I can certainly understand why they are. Pentagon’s standout trait for me is his ability to work methodically and make the most out of a single move or well-placed strike. “Methodical” sometimes has a negative context, but I mean it in a positive. He bides his time, inserts a big slap or move, and it means so much than it otherwise would. He’s a “move guy” that doesn’t try to fit a trillion moves into a single match. That’s impressive and rare.
Aero Star vs. Hijo de Pirata Morgan and Monster Clown and Super Fly in a Rey de Reyes qualifier
Not much of a match but Aero Star and Super Fly had decent showings. Monster Clown gets attacked and Morgan joins in, which leads to both being eliminated without getting beat. No problem with that booking, just wish that Aero Star and Super Fly would have been afforded more time to work one on one after Morgan & Monster Clown’s eliminations. The ending came pretty quickly after the first two eliminations. In the few years I have watched the Rey de Reyes qualifiers, I don’t think there has been a match that was better than okay. This didn’t change that, but okay matches aren’t necessarily something I am going to complain about.
Hell Brothers (Averno, Chessman & Cibernetico) vs. Drago, Jack Evans & La Parka
Typical AAA trios layout with all three rudos staying in the ring most of the match and isolating one opponent at a time. The rudo team are good brawlers in general so this worked. Drago and Evans got in a few spots, but it was more or less a showcase for the Hell Brothers. La Parka adds much to a match just through the heat he brings by being involved. He got pinned which also got some good heat for the rudos. Your baseline AAA trios in terms of quality.
Myzteziz & Psycho Clown defeat La Nueva Sociedad (El Texano Jr. & Perro Aguayo Jr.)
Standard AAA TV main event guys tag – lots of brawling with the tecnicos each getting a chance to stand out. Myzteziz hit a pair of very nice dives. Texando and Perro Aguayo were their usual solid rudo selves, bumping big at the right times and holding the brawling portions together. Not any better or worse than these matches usually are, with Myzteziz crowd dive making it maybe a tad more memorable than usual.
Chase “Cauliflower” Brown vs. Dean Richards
The first four minutes were good. They started what I guess could be described as MMA-influenced stuff, although they did not do anything that hasn’t been a part of pro wrestling for years. I am referring to stuff like takedowns, guard work, cross arm breaker attempts, and Richards throwing some lower leg kicks. The execution was not top notch but it was passable and the effort/idea is what really counted. From there they went to a couple time tested crowd pleasing moves like a monkey flip and hurricanrana. Unfortunately, Richards gassed out around the five minute mark, which is never good but particularly concerning given they were scheduled for a 15 minute draw plus overtime period. The work was okay the rest of the way, just really slow. Richards locked on a choke at one point and held on for almost two minutes, but still never got a real second wind. There was potential for a good match but it got pretty bad after the first few minutes.
Akebono, Genichiro Tenryu & Ultimo Dragon vs. Evolution (Atsushi Aoki, Hikaru Sato & Suwama)
The first Baba tribute show trios was a lot like the main event below in that it heavily featured the guy in the match most heavily associated with Baba, Genichiro Tenryu. Tenryu’s performance was not as good as the one delivered by his counterpart Masa Fuchi in the main event, but it was no less spirited. It looked like it took a few minutes and a few moves for the 65 year old Tenryu to limber up, but once he did was pretty good. The Baba arm bar take down tribute spot was well done. The rest of the match was just sort of there, but it was fun. When you get a bunch of veterans who work hard but cannot or will not go overboard, the result is usually no less than solid which was the case here.
Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori & Masanobu Fuchi vs. Xceed (Go Shiozaki, Kento Miyahara & Kotaro Suzuki)
Masa Fuchi works far harder than any 61 year old man (wrestler or otherwise) should. He was the star and highlight here, giving a great fired up old man performance. Fuchi isn’t what he was 10, 15 or 20 years ago, but I am not sure he works any less hard than he did back then. Fuchi’s performance aside, this was just okay I thought. It built well early (thanks in large part to Fuchi) before the Xceed team hit a spike piledriver on Fuchi outside the ring. There was great potential from there as the move drew some boos and Fuchi getting worked over for the rest of the match would had a lot of drama. They then hit a second piledriver which I figured would put Fuchi out for the remainder of the match which also would have been a fine heat builder. Akiyama and Omori fighting the odds to avenge Fuchi could have been fun. Instead, Fuchi was back in two minutes later and no worse from wear. I am not blaming Fuchi for not selling or anything like that. I don’t necessarily expect him to work like that in a match like this (a feel good Baba tribute). It doesn’t change the fact that it didn’t work. After that, the match felt aimless which was disappointing because it was heading in what appeared to be a good direction. It didn’t help that I just watched Misawa sell a broken nose and his opponents work it over to perfection in an October ’91 six-man. Missing an obvious chance to work something unique in that vain (though to a lesser extent) sort of stuck out to me. Good nostalgia match but not a good match overall, if that makes sense.