Welcome back to the Sermon on the Mat, your weekly one-stop shop for news from the wider world of wrestling beyond the big cable TV monoliths that get all the coverage.
In the news
AIW Bloodsport (September 9)
Tim Donst over Eric Ryan, Facade, & Shawn Schultz
BJ Whitmer over Dominic Garrini
Candice LeRae over Britt Baker
Dan Severn over Eddie Kingston
Colt Cabana over Grado
Gringo Loko & Steve Pain over Cheech & Russ Myers
Louis Lyndon over Matt Riddle
Alex Daniels (c) over Michael Elgin (AIW Intense Championship)
Josh Prohibition (c) over Ethan Page (AIW Absolute Championship)
Shayna Baszler over Heidi Lovelace (c) (AIW Women’s Championship)
AIW broke some new ground last Friday, trying for the same kind of “lead up to the big show” indie supercard you get before WrestleMania, but with UFC 203 as the big show in question. And, because John Thorne is a booking mad scientist and man of general good taste, the card was stacked with no less than three crossover superstars.
Shayna Baszler winning the AIW Women’s Championship from Heidi Lovelace (in what I’m sure was an excellent match, based on both women’s recent output) made the headlines, but Matt Riddle made his AIW debut falling to a low blow from Louis Lyndon and third longest reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion of all time Dan Severn got a stoppage victory over Eddie Kingston.
So as usual, if that sounds interesting to you, head over to Smart Mark Video and pick it up when it drops on VOD.
APW War at the Shore (September 16)
Mr. Primetime vs. Tyler Bateman
Beatrice Domino & Kikyo vs. Raze & Shayna Baszler
B-Boy & Willie Mack vs. Reno Scum (Adam Thornstowe & Luster the Legend) (c) (APW Tag Team Championship)
Almighty Sheik vs. Sabu
The Echelon (Boyce LeGrande, Dylan Drake, Levi Shapiro, Synn, & Vinnie Massaro) vs. The Pig Pen (Marcus Lewis, Jacob Fatu, “War Pig” Jody Kristofferson, JR Kratos, & Will Hobbs)
The third annual War at the Shore doesn’t quite have a complete lineup set, but what we’ve got is pretty swell all the same. Headlined by a ten-man tag match (the titular war, in fact) featuring a broad spectrum of quality local talent, the show also features a special attraction match between the Almighty Sheik and Sabu, what should be an excellent tag title defense from Reno Scum against B-Boy & Willie Mack, Shayna Baszler in tag action, and more besides.
APW occasionally stream their Bayshore Community Center shows live on YouTube and while I haven’t gotten confirmation that this one is going to be streamed, I figured I ought to toss it out there anyway. And if you’d like to catch the show live, whether you’re near Daly City, California or willing to travel, you can buy tickets here.
PWX Redemption (September 17)
Andrew Everett vs. Joey Lynch vs. Tracer X (X16 Qualifying Match)
AR Fox vs. James Drake vs. Jeff Lewis Neal (X16 Qualifying Match)
Jason Cade vs. Mason Maddox vs. Trevor Lee (X16 Qualifying Match)
Team IOU (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy) & Tripp Cassidy vs. Ugly Ducklings (Colby Corino, Lance Lude, & Rob Killjoy)
Anthony Henry vs. Matt Riddle
Elijah Evans IV vs. Ethan Case (Last Man Standing Match)
Jake Manning (c) vs. Joey Ryan (PWX World Heavyweight Championship)
Premiere Wrestling Xperience are back this Saturday with a stacked card featuring the debut of everybody’s favorite Bro against another guy who’s knocked it out of the park every time I’ve seen him this year in Anthony Henry. That match alone would be worth your time and attention, but you add a pair of qualifying matches for PWX’s annual X16 tournament, Team IOU facing off against the Ugly Ducklings, and the King of Dong Style getting a shot at Jake Manning’s title and you’ve got a hell of a card.
And that’s before you consider the Last Man Standing! Case and Evans have had a long-running issue here in PWX— I came in late so I can’t claim to know all the ups and downs, but last month Evans hurt Case so bad he couldn’t feel his left side and now he’s finally got a chance for revenge. It’s a good old-fashioned blood feud and it’s gonna get violent. Really looking forward to that one.
So if that looks interesting and you’re in the vicinity of Gastonia, North Carolina or willing to travel, you can pick up tickets here (which will also get you into the Queens of Combat show earlier in the day!), or you can catch it on the Highspots Network when it goes up, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll have a recap here in Sermon when it does.
NYWC presents A Matter Pride (September 18)
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Sammi Pickles
Eddy McQueen vs. Steve Sterling (First Round Match)
Jarrett Foster vs. Tommy Purr (First Round Match)
Jamie Senegal vs. Sonny Kiss (First Round Match)
Bull James vs. Rick Cataldo (First Round Match)
New York Wrestling Connection are presenting pro wrestling’s first ever LGBT event. The main event, such as it is, is an eight-man tournament featuring a boatload of LGBT wrestling talent and former NXT superstar Bull James. Plus Deonna Purrazzo will be in action against Sammi Pickles and there’ll be a raffle to benefit the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
It’s a really cool idea and I’m stoked to be giving it a little space here in the Sermon. Squared Circle Sirens have been running a great series of profiles on each of the wrestlers leading up to the show, presented in their own words. So if that sounds like something you wanna support and you’re in the vicinity of Deer Park, New York or willing to travel, you can go ahead and buy tickets here.
Cedric Alexander vs. Chet Sterling
Another episode of CWF Mid-Atlantic TV for you this week, folks, as Cedric Alexander makes his last independent wrestling appearance before heading to Raw. It’s a championship-heavy show, with the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship, Mid-Atlantic Television Championship, and Cedric’s PWI Ultra J Championship on the line. Check it out, folks!
NJPW Destruction previews
Destruction in Tokyo (September 17 at 5AM Eastern)
David Finlay & Henare vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero)
Hunter Club (Captain New Japan & YOSHITATSU) vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Tiger Mask IV vs. Jushin Liger & TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima)
Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Roa) vs. Chaos (Gedo, Hirooki Goto, & Tomohiro Ishii)
Juice Robinson vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI)
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito)
Bobby Fish vs. Katsuyori Shibata (c) (NEVER Openweight Championship)
BUSHI vs. KUSHIDA (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship)
The first of a record three Destruction shows, the Tokyo line-up is arguably the weakest of the three cards, especially with Katsuyori Shibata suffering a cervical injury that has tossed his status for the show up in the air.
If his match against Bobby Fish does happen, however, I full-well expect it to be the best on the card. Also of note is KUSHIDA’s junior heavyweight title defense against BUSHI which, while BUSHI hasn’t been having the best year, had still ought to be quite a good match.
Rounding out the card is Juice Robinson (the former CJ Parker in NXT, if you weren’t aware) in one of his semi-regular singles challenge matches against Kyle O’Reilly, a Bullet Club vs. Chaos six-man that features no less than three very interesting Kenny Omega matchups, and Big Ace Butt in action against Los Ingobernables, in addition to the usual undercard tag action.
Destruction in Hiroshima (September 22 at 4AM Eastern)
Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Hunter Club (Captain New Japan & YOSHITATSU) vs. Matt Sydal, Ricochet, & TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima)
David Finlay, reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly), & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Katsuyori Shibata, Manabu Nakanishi, Tiger Mask IV, & Yuji Nagata
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero)
Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii)
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, KUSHIDA, & Michael Elgin vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito)
Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) (c) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (IWGP Tag Team Championship)
Adam Cole (c) vs. Will Ospreay (ROH World Championship)
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada
Kenny Omega (c) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (G1 Climax #1 Contendership Match)
The Hiroshima show, as a contrast, is arguably the most stacked of the three.
Not only do you get Kenny Omega defending his G1 Climax winner briefcase against YOSHI-HASHI in a rematch of a standout G1 match, but also Adam Cole defending his Ring of Honor World Championship against Will Ospreay, and Briscoes vs. Young Bucks in a match that could finally unite New Japan’s tag divisions.
Plus Big Ace Juice Time against all four of Los Ingobernables, Bad Luck Fale going one-on-one with IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, and another cross-division tag matchup as Guerrillas of Destiny go up against RPG Vice. That last one ain’t gonna be pretty, but given the amount of issues that unifying the tag divisions solves, I’ll gladly take it in pursuit of having one hot tag division.
Destruction in Kobe (September 25 at 3AM Eastern)
Chaos (Beretta, Rocky Romero, & Will Ospreay) vs. David Finlay, Henare, & Teruaki Kanemitsu
Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Hunter Club (Captain New Japan & YOSHITATSU)
Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi, & Tiger Mask IV
Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata vs. reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly)
Bullet Club (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) vs. Matt Sydal, Ricochet, & Satoshi Kojima (c) (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship)
Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) & Chaos (Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Roa)
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, & KUSHIDA vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA)
Chaos (Gedo, Jado, Kazuchika Okada, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Team NOAH (Atsushi Kotoge, Daisuke Harada, & Naomichi Marufuji) & Toru Yano
Michael Elgin (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental Championship)
The final Destruction card, in Kobe, is another one that’ll take a hit if Shibata can’t compete, seeing as I was really looking forward to his tag match.
But even so, Elgin vs. Naito with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship on the line is another rematch of an excellent G1 matchup, the NEVER trios title six-man ought to be off-the-hook insane, and Ace Juice Time against Los Ingobernables rounds out that trio of matches splendidly.
Plus the continuation of the hottest feud in pro wrestling as Chaos take on a brace of NOAH representatives. I doubt this one will have quite the same heat as the previous two 3rd Gen + Shibata vs. NOAH matches, but it does have some intrigue, as Toru Yano crosses the line to team with his GHC Tag Team Championship partner Naomichi Marufuji rather than teaming with his Chaos stablemates.
Three exciting shows spread out across a little more than a week, folks. Grab yourself an NJPW World subscription and get ready to wake up at butt o’clock, ‘cause it’s gonna be a good time.
Remember folks, no matter what type of wrestling you like, no matter how down you feel about the state of WWE, TNA, ROH, or any other "big-time" pro wrestling, there's something out there for you. There's a pro wrestling product that can hit you in the right spot and make you love wrestling like you thought you'd never be able to love it again. It's there, I promise. You just gotta reach out and find it, and that, my friends, is what the Sermon on the Mat is all about.