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Sermon on the Mat (Jan. 5, 2017): CMLL, AAW, Style Battle, FIP, & RevPro cards, Beyond, AIW, AAW, Progress, & NJPW results, and all the usual free match action.

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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.

Coming soon...

CMLL Super Viernes (January 6, 9:30PM Eastern)

  1. Amapola, Dalys, & Zeuxis vs. Estrellita, Marcela, & Vaquerita
  2. Bárbaro Cavernario vs. Rey Cometa
  3. Blue Panther, Blue Panther, Jr., & the Panther vs. Negro Casas, Puma, & Tiger
  4. Mephisto vs. Volador, Jr.
  5. El Bufete del Amor (Marco Corleone & Máximo Sexy) vs. Los Ingobernables (La Máscara & Rush)
  6. El Valiente vs. Último Guerrero
  7. Atlantis, Carístico, & Místico vs. Los Guerreros Laguneros (Euforia, Gran Guerrera, & Niebla Roja)

CMLL are back at it as always with a very special Best of 2016 edition of Super Viernes. These aren't pre-taped bouts from last year, however, they're rematches. Perhaps most exciting is the Cometa/Cavernario singles, because those dudes hit it out of the park every time they work together, but the one with all the cats and the main had ought to be very good in their own right.

Check it out, as always, for free on ClaroSports.

AAW Tradition Continues (January 7, 7PM Central)

  1. Arik Cannon & Spears & Beers (Mike Hartenbower & Waylon Beck) vs. Brubaker & Zero Gravity (Brett Gakiya & CJ Esparza)
  2. Jessicka Havok vs. Taya Valkyrie
  3. Colt Cabana vs. Silas Young
  4. Michael Elgin vs. Rey Fenix
  5. Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) (c) vs. Hooligans (Devin & Mason Cutter) (AAW Tag Team Championship)
  6. John Morrison vs. Sami Callihan (c) (AAW Heavyweight Championship)

Yep, we have another AAW show already, this time in LaSalle, Illinois. They're picking up where Dreamwave Wrestling left off when they shut down last year, and they've got a card to go with it, featuring a first-time ever meeting between BIG MIKE and Rey Fenix.

Ticket presale is closed, but there will still be tickets at the door, of course you could wait for the VOD on Smart Mark or Highspots.

Style Battle Season 1, Episode 1 (January 7, 8PM Eastern)

  1. Dave Crist vs. Darby Allin (Style Battle First Round Match)
  2. Dezmond Xavier vs. Sammy Guevara (Style Battle First Round Match)
  3. Anthony Henry vs. Fred Yehi (Style Battle First Round Match)
  4. AR Fox vs. Austin Theory (Style Battle First Round Match)
  5. Winner of Crist/Allin vs. winner of Xavier/Guevara (Style Battle Semifinal Match)
  6. Winner of Henry/Yehi vs. winner of Fox/Theory (Style Battle Semifinal Match)
  7. Style Battle Finals

Style Battle makes its debut this Saturday from Ybor City, Florida (although sadly not the Orpheum, but rather across the street at the Ivy Astoria Event Center), and we're looking to start with a bang with eight of the hottest wrestlers on the indies today trying to prove whose personal style of wrestling is superior.

From FIP World Heavyweight Champion Fred Yehi to former Evolve Champion AR Fox to young standouts like Austin Theory and Darby Allin, it's a great field. My pick to take the whole deal home is Anthony Henry, whose mix of technical wrestling and high flying acumen puts me in mind of guys like TJ Perkins and AJ Styles.

Pick up tickets here or get ready to fire up your FloSlam subscriptions, folks, it's gonna be a good one.

FIP Everything Burns 2017 (January 8, 7PM Eastern)

  1. Anthony Henry vs. AR Fox vs. Austin Theory vs. Darby Allin vs. Dave Crist vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Jason Cade vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Sami Callihan vs. Sammy Guevara vs. Teddy Stigma (Get The Contract Fight For All)
  2. Aria Blake vs. Priscilla Kelly
  3. Drennen & Parrow vs. Hooligans (Devin & Mason Cutter) (c) (FIP World Tag Team Championship)
  4. Jon Davis vs. Martin Stone (c) (FIP Florida Heritage Championship)
  5. Fred Yehi (c) vs. winner of Get The Contract Fight For All! (FIP World Heavyweight Championship)

It's a double header in Ybor City, as FIP make their return after a short layoff with Everything Burns. The new-look FIP is, as you can see from the sparse match listing, a bit of an enigma. We've been promised a promotion that is the wild west of pro wrestling, and booker Gabe Sapolsky went on a tear on Twitter recently having a ball promoting it (presumably tongue-in-cheek) as an anti-PC force in pro wrestling before deleting the tweets so that "Uncle H and Mister R" don't find out.

I'm not sure what all that means, but given that we've only got the three title matches, the women's match, and the absolutely crazy sounding and ill-defined 11-man Get The Contract Fight For All officially confirmed, I'm looking forward to finding out.

Pick up your tickets here or fire up your FloSlam subscription and buckle up, because it's gonna be an experience.

RPW Live at the Cockpit 12 (January 8)

  1. Dan Magee vs. Rob Lias
  2. Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman vs. the Revolutionists (James Castle & Sha Samuels)
  3. Marty Scurll & Pete Dunne vs. Ryan Smile & Shane Strickland
  4. RJ Singh vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
  5. Eddie Dennis vs. Josh Bodom
  6. Trent Seven vs. Zack Gibson
  7. Dave Mastiff vs. Tyler Bate
  8. Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman (c) vs. London Riots (RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Championship)

The UK's Revolution Pro Wrestling is back at the Cockpit in London for their first show of the year and while it's not the balls-out supercard that High Stakes will be in a few weeks, it's still got a lot going for it. Most exciting to me are the Moustache Mountain singles matches here, Dave Mastiff bullying young Tyler Bate around as well as Trent Seven and Zack Gibson having what had ought to be a hell of a grappling-oriented wrestling contest. But with the London Riots, Zack Sabre, Jr., and Pete Dunne in action, can you really go all that wrong?

Tickets are sold out, so you’ll have to wait for the show to go up on RPW On Demand shortly with the rest of us schlubs, folks.

Free matches here!

LuFisto vs. Taeler Hendrix

Courtesy of Women's Wrestling Revolution, from the Tournament For Today they co-promoted with Beyond Wrestling, it's wily indie veteran powerhouse LuFisto against Ring of Honor's Taeler Hendrix. Check it out!

AR Fox vs. Fred Yehi

Courtesy of the fine folks over at FloSlam, I can't embed this one but it is absolutely worth your time. From FIP Heatstroke 2016 last August, FIP World Heavyweight Champion Fred Yehi defends his title against AR Fox. Two of the most unorthodox, innovative dudes in pro wrestling today going full tilt at each other and it is spectacular, folks.

Don't miss it!

Courtney Rush vs. Kimber Lee

From the good people over at Smash Wrestling, we've got Courtney Rush (before she went full Rosemary) taking on the newly WWE-bound Kimber Lee. Enjoy!


Beyond Party Animals (December 29)

  1. Chris Hero over Keith Lee
  2. BroSteel (Chuck O'Neil & Matt Riddle) over Team Tremendous (Bill Carr & Dan Barry)
  3. Pinkie Sanchez over "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams
  4. Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Steve Mack) over Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka)
  5. Kimber Lee over Donovan Dijak
  6. Sonya Strong & Veda Scott over Jordynne Grace & Karen Q
  7. John Silver over Joey Janela
  8. David Starr (c) over Jonathan Gresham to retain the wXw Shotgun Championship
  9. American Destroyers (Donovan Dijak & Mikey Webb) over Death By Elbow (Chris Hero & JT Dunn)

Beyond had their last show of the year, with two big stories to it, Kimber Lee's farewell and Death By Elbow and the American Destroyers being so willing to go at it that they threatened to have a literal street fight outside the venue if Drew Cordeiro didn't sanction the match.

You can check out footage of Kimber's farewell here or just watch the whole show on Beyondemand with a subscription.

AAW Unstoppable 2016 (December 30)

  1. Homicide over Connor Braxton
  2. Kongo Kong & Markus Crane over OI4K (Dave & Jake Crist)
  3. Matt Riddle over Davey Richards
  4. Michael Elgin over Dezmond Xavier, Mat Fitchett, and Paco Gonzales
  5. Drew Galloway over Jeff Cobb
  6. Pentagon, Jr. over Chris Hero
  7. Chuck Taylor & Colt Cabana over Davey Vega & Silas Young
  8. Heidi Lovelace over Kimber Lee
  9. ACH over AR Fox (c) to win the AAW Heritage Championship
  10. Sami Callihan (c) over Rey Fenix to retain the AAW Heavyweight Championship

AAW came into town with a new edition of Unstoppable. It was a stacked card, with Hero/Pentagon II, Galloway/Cobb, ACH/Fox, Callihan/Fenix, and Riddle/Richards all standing out as potentially incredible matchups. But perhaps most historically important is Lee/Lovelace, which will stand as both women's final indie match for the foreseeable future.

In other notable news from the show, Hero and Pentagon snapped the ring that holds the top turnbuckle to the ringpost and had to finish their match rather quickly, adapting to using the second rope instead. As well, the aftermath of the show was marred by some insensitive comments from Homicide as he called OI4K a number of homophobic and misogynist names while challenging them to a cage match, but he has since issued an apology.

Check out a 360 degree highlight reel here and a trailer here, and the VOD will be out on Highspots and Smart Mark soon enough.

AIW Jelly of the Month Club (December 30)

  1. Shawn Shultz over Mike Tolar
  2. BJ Whitmer over Dominic Garrini
  3. PB Smooth over Eddie Kingston
  4. Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers & T-Money) over the Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy)
  5. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams over Joey Janela, Laredo Kid, and Sonjay Dutt
  6. Hornswoggle over Britt Baker
  7. Alex Daniels (c) over Matt Cross to retain the AIW Intense Championship
  8. Ray Rowe over Tim Donst

Unfortunately AIW Absolute Champion Josh Prohibition couldn't make the show, so his match against Ray Rowe has been put off for later, but the rest of the show went off without a hitch. It turns out that Britt Baker is just as vulnerable to opponents smaller than her as she is to those larger, as she now has losses to Nia Jax and Hornswoggle in the record books. And "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams didn't suffer any for his fellow Catch Point man and AIW tag team partner Matt Riddle choosing to part ways with the company, winning a four-way against stiff competition.

The show will be available soon enough on Smart Mark.

Progress Chapter 41: Unboxing Live (December 30)

  1. F.S.U. (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews) & Nixon Newell over South Pacific Power Trip (Dahlia Black, TK Cooper, & Travis Banks)
  2. Toni Storm over Kay Lee Ray
  3. British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) over Leaders of the New School (Marty Scurll & Zack Sabre, Jr.) and London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) to win the vacant Progress Tag Tam Championship
  4. Pete Dunne (c) over Fabian Aichner to retain the Progress Championship
  5. Pastor William Eaver & Sebastian over Sex on the Beach (Chuck Mambo & Jack Sexsmith)
  6. Jimmy Havoc over Will Ospreay

As always, when I have a full recap I can point you to I'll keep it short and sweet, but suffice it to say that Progress finally reached full storytelling power again with the events of Chapter 41. Inverting the alignments of the Jimmy Havoc/Will Ospreay feud that put Progress on the map in a completely logical and sensible way, they've really opened some doors for future possibilities, and I cannot wait until Chapter 42 shortly.

Check it out on Demand Progress, folks, you won't likely regret it.

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 / New Year Dash!! 2017 (January 4-5)

—Wrestle Kingdom 11 (January 4)—

  1. Michael Elgin wins the New Japan Rumble
  2. Tiger Mask W over Tiger the Dark
  3. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) over the Young Bucks to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
  4. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) over Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page, & Yujiro Takahashi), Chaos (Jado, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI), and David Finlay, Ricochet, & Satoshi Kojima (c) to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
  5. Cody Rhodes over Juice Robinson
  6. Adam Cole over Kyle O'Reilly (c) to win the ROH World Championship
  7. Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) over Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) and Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) (c) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship
  8. Hiromu Takahashi over KUSHIDA (c) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
  9. Hirooki Goto over Katsuyori Shibata (c) to win the NEVER Openweight Championship
  10. Tetsuya Naito (c) over Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
  11. Kazuchika Okada (c) over Kenny Omega to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

—New Year Dash!! 2017 (January 5)—

  1. David Finlay, Kyle O'Reilly, & Ricochet over Henare, Jushin Liger, & Tiger Mask IV
  2. Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) over Hunter Club (Billy Gunn & YOSHITATSU)
  3. Chaos (Beretta, Rocky Romero, & YOSHI-HASHI) over Bullet Club (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
  4. Team 2000 (Cheeseburger, Hiro Saito, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, & Scott Norton) over Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, BONE SOLDIER, Kenny Omega, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Roa)
  5. KUSHIDA & Michael Elgin over Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito)
  6. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma), Juice Robinson, Katsuyori Shibata, & Yuji Nagata over Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & Will Ospreay)
  7. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi, & Ryusuke Taguchi over Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) (c) to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship

Again, I have a recap to point you towards, so not a lot of time dilly-dallying on Wrestle Kingdom 11, but it was a damn good show, if a bit uneven. The last four matches, though, are a real tour-de-force, the sort of sequence that makes you not regret being up at 5 in the morning watching Japanese wrestling.

New Year Dash!! was delightful as always, with perhaps the ultimate highlight being the tag between KUSHIDA and Elgin on one hand and the two singles champions in LIJ on the other. It was as hard hitting, exciting of a match as you'd hope, but the heat turned up an extra notch when Dragon Lee showed up to even the odds after a ref bump led to Naito handing out dick kicks like he had a coupon and reignite his feud with newly minted junior champion Hiromu Takahashi.

Other notable highlights from the show include Chaos stalwart YOSHI-HASHI pinning ROH World Champion Adam Cole in a fun six-man, Norton throwing Cheeseburger at Bullet Club only for them to throw him right back in their ten man, Ospreay kicking off his ten man by challenging Shibata for his RPW title and giving us a little preview of the match, Juice getting a shocking win over Goto, and Suzuki-gun returning to wreck everybody after that (with Minoru Suzuki himself calling a shot for Okada's title!).

Check 'em out on NJPW World, folks.

As always...

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.

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