First things first, it's a new venue and it's AWESOME. Nice space, good seating and no bad sight lines. While the Excalibur looks cool, in practice it's not the best place for wrestling fans. And I think based on the way this show turned out, the folks at Resistance Pro might want to think about booking this place again in the future. Crowd was hot all night.
Secondly, this show was taped for WCIU(THE U, baby!), and will air on June 10th. That's five days before the next live Resistance Pro show which will be back at the Excalibur. By the way, when they announced we'd be going back to the Excalibur the crowd booed.
Let's get on with it!
BONUS MATCH NUMERO UNO!
THUNDERKITTY vs. AIDA MARIE
Aida Marie had Vickie Guerrero's annoying voice down pat, and so it was really easy to hate on her. Thunderkitty.... oh man, Thunderkitty was awesome. She looks like an old time women's wrestler from the 50's, and even better, she can wrestle like it. It's kind of the perfect package, really and I think a lot of people dug it. The match was so so, but the crowd was having fun with it, and I popped huge when Thunderkitty won with a SLEEPER HOLD. So hells yeah, sign me up for the Thunderkitty fanclub.
BONUS MATCH NUMERO DOS!
CHRIS HALL vs. DACOBRA
Slightly bummed because this meant I wasn't going to get a Chris Hall/Vader interaction. Oh well. DACOBRA, is a Muay Thai master and has snake skin pants(OR IS THAT HIS ACTUAL SKIN?!) and some snake eyes. He also moves like a...um... snake. Rumor has it he's cold blooded and full of venomous fury. And I've also heard he beat the shit out of Rikki Tikki Tavi. So it was extra impressive when Chris Hall started manhandling him. Some big time power moves from Chris Hall like the ol' press power slam which got a nice reaction from the crowd
But fear not, future DACOBRA fans, he survived the onslaught and slithered his way into a comeback using his snappy kicks and slick acrobatics. Too bad for him and Chris Hall that Rhino showed up and Gore'd them all to hell. Hopefully we get a rematch in the future, both guys worked pretty well together.
Lou E. Dangerously came with Rhino and said they were going to win later in the cage, and thus concludes the Dark Match portion of our show.
KICK IT OFF WITH JAY BRADLEY
Jay Bradley hits the ring looking pretty nice in a suit. He says he's got a problem with the Baron Brothers and Billy Corgan - the three owners of the company. He's fine with Rhino and Harry beating the snot out of each other tonight, but he wants to know why he's not booked on such a big show. "You don't send your blue chipper to the bench," he says. The Barons agree and tell him it's time.... IT'S VADER TIME! So it'll be Jay Bradley vs. Vader later on the show.
6 WAY FOR THE RESISTANCE PRO WOMEN'S TITLE
MELANIE CRUISE(c) vs.SERENITY vs. SASSY STEPHIE vs. "THE MATRIX" TAYLOR MADE vs. NIKKI ST. JOHN vs. SHELLY MARTINEZ
So the rules are a little different. It's elimination but the first woman to eliminate some one gets to sit out the match until there's only one other woman left. It's a neat little benefit to get that first pin. Surprisingly, Nikki St. John, one of Melanie Cruise's entourage got the pin, defeating Sassy Stephie, so she got to chill out. Serenity was then eliminated by the other Cruise entourage member Taylor Made. The deck was stacked against Shelly Martinez and she only managed to eliminate Taylor(sporting a new top that doesn't need constant readjusting I noticed) before getting put down by the champ. This was all kind of uninteresting and may have only taken a little longer than it took me to write this paragraph.
So this left Nikki and Melanie. Melanie told her to lay down and Nikki refused and Melanie doesn't like being refused so she slapped her a good one. These two worked really well together and showed more of Melanie's strengths than the matches she's had in the past. I had no idea Nikki was any good, but she really came out tonight and I think folks really took to her. She survived some big moves from Melanie, but just couldn't get it done. Melanie retained and left with Taylor Made. Crowd politely clapped for Nikki as she made her way to the back. Looking forward to a possible Nikki's Revenge Storyline.
ACE HAWKINS vs. JOCEPHUS BRODY
I'll be honest, I kind of wasn't looking forward to a Bruiser Brody tribute act, but Jocephus was a lot of fun. He squashed poor little Ace Hawkins dead, and the crowd loved him for it. Just a typical squash match, which I've been watching a lot of for my WWF New Generation Era Project(see previous posts, do it). So if I were to compare it to one of those, it would be a step above a Ludvg Borga squash, but a few notches below a Bam Bam Bigelow. Fun stuff.
|He's coming to take you to Hogwarts.|
TAG TOURNAMENT QUARTER FINALS MATCH
DA SOUL TOUCHAZ vs. JUST ONE DAIVARI
So apparently Shawn Daivai couldn't make it, so this was a handicap match. I was disappointed with that, as I had really high hopes for this tag. Thankfully, they still managed to put on a fun show. Acid Jaz and Marshe Rocket won the rock, paper, scissors game, forcing Willie "Da Bomb" Richardson to cheerlead with C-Red and Dyamond.
First half of the match was a lot of underhanded tactics from the dastardly Soul Touchaz, with everyone getting involved. Arya Daivari(who shares the first name with the baddest little kid out of Winterfell) did a GREAT job selling and getting sympathy from the crowd. C-Red, was also great trying to get reactions from the crowd. He yelled at one kid to stop cheering behind me and the kid was ELATED that a wrestler called him out. C-Red is the best when it comes to that kind of stuff.
Arya made a big comeback, dodging some big dives from Marshe and Jaz, and even avoided a splash from a desperate Willie Richardson, before catching Jaz with a superkick for the fluke win. Crowd went nuts for it.
Obviously, since I'm the biggest Soul Touchaz fan in the world, I was a wee bit sad to see my guys go out to one guy. Still, I think everyone involved made some fans for their great performances(Acid Jaz in particular was an awesome cocky heel) and this was so much better than the disaster the Touchaz had at the last R-Pro show they wrestled.
HARVARD CHRIS UP IN THIS
Chris Nowinski came out and was introduced as the new head of Athletic Safety. He said that Billy Corgan is doing things the right way, to make sure the wrestlers are taken care of. He also said there would be a line the wrestlers could not cross, which included chair shots to the head. Out came D'Arcy Dixon and her stud, Eric St. Vaughn. She said she's been having head problems and wanted to get his expert opinion on it. Apparently it stems from a loose headboard. Then Rinaldo Piven came out and told Nowinski that the Sheik didn't give a crap about his rules and he and Nowinski left.
D'arcy was still wanting an answer to her head aches, when Mr. Ego Robert Anthony came out. He said that they always seem to be in his ring when he wants to come out. He then told them to leave before he kicked them both in the penis.
Before he could do so, D'arcy said her newest client to the D'arcy Dynasty was Anthony's opponent, Mr. 450.
MR. 450 vs. MR. EGO ROBERT ANTHONY
Anyone who's been reading my silly reviews, knows I think these two are the bees knees. Both guys, every time out, have really tried to stand out and make the most of their time. This match was no different. These two tore it down. They worked quick early on, with some fun counters and some deep ass armdrags. Very fluid and very crisp.
Lots of cool stuff, and I can see people calling this the match of the card. Mr. 450 hit the only big dive of the night, jumping through the ropes and taking out Anthony and maybe some folks in the front row. I want to point this out again: It was the only outside dive of the night. This made it feel so much more important than if every dude on the card was throwing suicide planchas. Just an observation.
Finish was screwy(in a good way for once) as 450 hit his namesake and D'Arcy got on the apron cheering, yelling "ONE MORE TIME!" This of course distracted the ref from the pin and allowed Anthony to catch his breath before nailing 450 with his finisher for the win. Great match.
Afterwards, 450 left with D'Arcy and St. Vaughn, a little confused and a little frustrated. I kind of like where this is going, if it's actually going anywhere.
VADER vs. LONESOME JAY BRADLEY
This match rocked. It was very different than anything else on the card. Vader looked even better than some of the recent Zero-1 footage I've seen of him. He was hammering Bradley something fierce and ended up cutting Jay's eye. Jay tweeted a picture, which can be seen here: http://t.co/Hn0DkWy4.
What I loved most of this match was the psychology of it. Vader dismantled Jay Bradley, first with strikes and then with arm holds. He picked apart Bradley's lariat arm, and the crowd got into it. The section I was in was chanting "BREAK HIS ARM!" I was really happy the crowd was as hot for this, which was a little slower paced and methodical as they were for the more spotty Anthony/450 match.
Eventually Bradley made a comeback and shocked the room when he hoisted Vader up for a bodyslam. Place went for bananas for this. Bradley sold it perfectly, holding his back and looking exhausted(I imagine he really was, that's a lot of man.) He then went for his lariat, but it didn't take the big Kodiak off his feet. Turns out Vader's plan worked and the arm wasn't going to be effective enough to help Jay out. Vader then got back in control and hit a nasty Vader Bomb for the win.
A very surprising result. Bradley was undefeated in the company AND the #1 contender and then Vader kicked his ass. There's no shame in that. He kicks everyone's ass. Maybe my favorite match of the card. Loved it.
THE SHEIK & STEVEN WALTERS vs. JOHN SKYLER & CEDRIC ALEXANDER
This match had a tough spot as it came after two huge matches, but I think everyone involved did incredibly well. It was well paced and never dragged, and even though the crowd was a little drained from Vader, they managed to keep everyone in it. Skyler was a solid face in peril, and Walters and Sheik work incredibly well for a team. Lots of quick tags.
Nowinski was at ringside for this, and let his presence be known when things started to get out of hand. Sheik took a steel chair and tossed it in the ring. He picked it up to use on poor John Skyler, but before he could crush the guy's skull, Chris Nowinski, and I'm not making this up, BLEW A WHISTLE. Sheik turned around with the best "Wut in da hale?" look of the night allowing Skyler to roll out for the hot tag.
While Cedric Alexander cleaned house, Nowinski and Piven got into it on the outside, and Nowinski decked him with a punch. It's crazy, but Nowinski kind of looks like a bad ass when he turns it on. Crowd loved it. I actually can't remember what happened, but during all the shenanigans, the bad guys cheated and won. I'm a bad reviewer. It was still a really good match, maybe the best tag match they've had yet, and it's not even apart of the tourney! I really hope they use Skyler and Alexander more. They're a fun babyface team that do a great job at making their opponents look good.
I'm a little weary of making a storyline out of wrestler safety, but it's too early for me to say if it's bad or good. I can say that Nowinski did a really great job on the mic, and I'd like to see more of him. My favorite line of the night, may have been his when he said, "Some of you may remember me as the guy who should have won Tough Enough."
STEEL CAGE MATCH FOR THE RESISTANCE PRO TITLE w/ guest referee RAVEN
HARRY SMITH(c) vs. RHINO
Jeremy Borash from TNA came out to announce the main event. He put over the show and said he was scouting for talent. Apparently he made a phone call and got Jay Bradley a tryout at Impact in 2 weeks. Interesting.
Crowd was a little more split than in the past. Lots of "Detroit Sucks" chants. I don't think this was as good as their last match, but it was still really fun. These two just work really really well together. Rhino just brings out a very competitive side to Harry Smith that I most folks don't see from him. Both guys look very comfortable kicking each other's ass and it translates to the fans. When they hook up, it actually feels like a fight.
Weird Rhino Spot Of The Night: Rhino yells "WOAH!", stopping Harry from punching him. Rhino then locked on a very loving hug. After an awkward beat, Rhino then started to caress Harry, obviously crossing Smith's line of acceptable contact.
My one complaint was the cage didn't feel like as big a deal as I had hoped it would be. they smashed each other into it a couple of times and that was about it. It kind of felt like their other matches, but with a steel cage window dressing. And the finish, made the cage even more useless.
Rhino hit the gore, Raven counted a near fall that looked.... a little suspicious. Everyone thought it was a three, and it actually looked like Raven stopped before Harry lifted his shoulder. Then Lou E. Dangerously, just waltzed into the cage. A guy next to me said, "Well what the hell is it there for if anyone can just get in?" Dangerously, carrying the ECW title told Rhino that he had his back. Raven came over to confer with them and it looked like poor Harry was about to get screwed.
Then Raven grabbed the title and knocked Rhino out. Harry made the cover and Raven counted to three to end the match.
Lou E. took the ECW title and strapped it around Raven's waist while Harry was awarded his Resistance Pro title. Raven then took the mic, and in a long rambling promo, told the crowd about why he and Harry are now buddies and why Raven would screw Rhino. For one, he says everyone thinks Harry is a good little boy, but it's all an act. He just does it because his mother asked him to. He's really kind of sadistic, a trait he got from his grandfather, Stu. And as for Rhino, Raven said it was BS that Rhino even had the belt, because everyone knows Raven is the most famous of all the ECW champions. So now he was taking the belt back.
He finished it off by saying he was now Harry's new manager, and they did the Raven arm pose to end the show.
The execution of the turn wasn't great, but I think it was the right thing to do. Harry doesn't get very warm reactions, and I think making him a heel champion is something the crowds can get behind. It also allows for someone to chase him, which is part of the fun of wrestling - good guys chasing bad guys for titles. And based on how he works in the ring, I think this meaner Harry Smith will work out great. My one big problem was that Raven did a lot of the talking, and it felt like a lot of the stuff he was saying about Harry, should have been said by Harry. It felt like he was pitching this idea for a new Harry Smith character to the audience. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fitting character idea, but I'd rather have it shown to me, than told to me.
My only real complaint was Raven's promo and the use of the cage, and those are only slight misses. More like glancing blows, really. Other than that, this show was a resounding success. Some great wrestling from lots of talented people. Everyone busted their ass, and for the first time none of the booking hampered anyone.
In my interview with Gabriel Baron forever ago, he said he wanted the company to feel like ECW where you could see anything. Not just one style of wrestling, but a melting pot of different wrestlers busting their ass and putting on a good show. I think they finally captured that feeling tonight. It has nothing to do with Raven or Lou E. Dangerously or the ECW title. It has to do with a strong variety of wrestlers, new and old, performing as hard as they can and having FUN. Rhino/Harry Smith, Mr. 450/Robert Anthony and Vader/Jay Bradley were three good but very different matches wrestled by 6 very different people. What they all had in common was that they wrestled smart and left it all out there.
I'm not saying this is as good as ECW or that it should even be compared to ECW. What I'm saying is that for the first time since they've started, they've actually done what they set out to do in the first place and that gives me a lot of hope for the future.
... Oh. And one more thing.