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.
CMLL Super Viernes (February 24, 9:30PM Eastern)
- Cancerbero & Raziel vs. Robin & Star, Jr.
- Esfinge, Soberano, Jr., & Triton vs. Misterioso, Jr., Okumura, & Sagrado
- Drone, Guerrero Maya, Jr., & Stuka, Jr. vs. El Terrible, Rey Bucanero, & Vangellys
- Ángel de Oro vs. Dragón Rojo, Jr. (Match Relampago)
- Atlantis, Diamante Azul, & Marco Corleone vs. Los Ingobernables (Pierroth & Rush) & YOSHITATSU
- Bárbaro Cavernario & Volador, Jr. vs. El Valiente & Último Guerrero (Torneo Increible de Parejas Finals)
CMLL are back with their usual Friday night action in Arena Mexico, and with the tournament undercard finally out of the way we have a pretty good looking card. The finals are four of the most exciting dudes on the roster, the second-from-the-top trios match is a bit lopsided but should be fun, and we've got a lightning match, which are always fun.
Check it out on ClaroSports free for nothin' as always..
RPW Live in Portsmouth 7 (February 24, 7:30PM GMT)
- Dan Magee vs. Rob Lias
- Colt Cabana & Hornswoggle vs. Legion of Lords (Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh)
- Marty Scurll vs. Ryan Smile
- Dave Mastiff vs. Trent Seven
- Penta el Zero M vs. Pete Dunne
- Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman (c) vs. Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) (RPW Tag Team Championship)
Revolution Pro are in Portsmouth, England, and while none of their singles titles are on the line, well... Pete Dunne vs. the erstwhile Pentagon, Jr. is a pretty good consolation prize, eh? Especially since RevPro are one of the few promotions who actually seem to be allowed to air Peter's matches through their VOD service!
Add in Mastiff/Seven, Smile/Scurll, and those two incredibly wacky tag matches, and it's a good time for sure.
So pick up tickets here if you're so inclined, or check the show out when it goes up on RPW On Demand.
PWR Revolution IX (February 25, 7PM Pacific)
- El Zucarita vs. Memo Cuevas
- Cazador del Alma, Grappler III, & Papo Esco vs. "War Pig" Jody Kristofferson, Jungle Boy, & Pantera, Jr.
- Arkady Federov vs. Misterioso, Jr.
- La Migra (Derek Sanders & Oliver John) (c) vs. Los Luchas (Phoenix Star & Zokre) (PWR Tag Team Championship)
- Kikutaro vs. Ultimo Panda
- Ultimo Dragon vs. Vaquero Fantasma
We go from Revolution Pro Wrestling to Pro Wrestling Revolution! The northern California lucha promotion is making their FloSlam debut live from San Francisco, California, and they have a big guest at the top of the card. Ultimo Dragon, a veritable legend, will main event the show against Vaquero Fantasma, comedy wrestling superstar Kikutaro takes on Ultimo Panda, the tag titles are on the line against long-time stalwarts Los Luchas, and more!
Get your tickets here or just tune in live or on VOD with your FloSlam subscription. (And as an added bonus, Evolve is a 6PM Eastern start time, meaning you should be able to do a double-header, no problem! But more about that in my preview tomorrow.)
Beyond Under Construction (February 26, 2PM Eastern)
- Gentleman's Club (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy) vs. Massage NV (Dorian Graves & VSK)
- EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) vs. Milk Chocolate (Brandon Watts & Randy Summers)
- Joey Janela & Penelope Ford vs. Ryan Galeone & Veda Scott
- Jay Freddie vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams
- Rex Lawless vs. Sami Callihan
- Jaka vs. Keith Lee
- Chris Dickinson vs. Jonathan Gresham
- John Silver vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
- JT Dunn vs. Michael Elgin
- American Destroyers (Donovan Dijak & Mikey Webb) vs. Chuck O'Neil & Matt Riddle
Beyond are back in Providence, Rhode Island for perhaps the last time, depending on how ticket sales shake out. Hopefully it goes well, because they've got a hell of a card planned, chock full of first-time matchups. Three matches that leap out at me are 2CW standout Jay Freddie in his Beyond debut against Hot Sauce, JT Dunn with the only rematch on the card, against BIG MIKE, and the American Destroyers taking on the shoot-style duo of Riddle and O'Neil, but it all looks pretty sweet on one level or the other, here.
Get your tickets here so Drew Cordeiro can stop sweating, or subscribe to Beyondemand and check it out on VOD after the fact, folks.
Progress Chapter 44: Old Man Yells At Cloud (February 26, 2PM GMT)
- Damon Moser vs. James Drake
- Dahlia Black vs. Session Moth Martina
- Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
- El Ligero vs. Nathan Cruz
- Jack Sexsmith vs. Zack Gibson
- Mark Andrews vs. Shane Strickland
- British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, & Tyler Bate) vs. Flash Morgan Webster, Jimmy Havoc, & Mark Haskins
Progress are back in London for their 44th chapter, and boy, it's pretty packed. Two big debuts, in Session Moth Martina and Jordan Devlin kick it off, and the show sees two notable returns in Damon Moser and Shane Strickland, but the meat is, as always, in the established stories.
The Origin finally explodes as El Ligero, representing the Banter Edition, faces off in a rematch from all the way back at Chapter 4 against Nathan Cruz, representing the No Fun Edition. But wait, that's not all, because Jack Sexsmith is out to prove that he's more than just a pretty face and a condom stretched over his hand by squaring off with Liverpool's Number One and the man that took him out of Thunderbastard last month, Zack Gibson.
And we're not done yet! That main event isn't just a crazy awesome matchup, folks. It's got a heavy stipulation attached-- if Webster, Havoc, & Haskins win, the man that makes the pin or forces his opponent to submit will get a shot at Peter's Progress Championship. But on the flipside, if British Strong Style prevail, the man that takes the fall will not be able to challenge for the title for six months, effectively ruling them uneligible for the Super Strong Style 16 tournament.
Of course, it's Progress, so tickets are long sold out, but you can take a crack at the official ticket resale site, or just wait for the show to go up on Demand Progress.
NJPW / ROH Honor Rising 2017 (February 26-27)
—February 26 (4:30AM Eastern)—
- Chaos (Gedo & Jado) & Silas Young vs. David Finlay, Juice Robinson, & KUSHIDA
- Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) (c) vs. Delirious, Jushin Liger, & Tiger Mask IV (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship)
- Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI)
- War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
- Dalton Castle, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito) & Punisher Martinez
- Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page) vs. Jay Lethal & Katsuyori Shibata
- Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Bullet Club (Adam Cole & Kenny Omega)
—February 27 (4:30AM Eastern)—
- Chaos (Gedo & Jado) & Silas Young vs. David Finlay, Henare, & KUSHIDA
- Dalton Castle, Delirious, Jushin Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Tiger Mask IV vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito)
- Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe)
- Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay Lethal, & Juice Robinson
- Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Punisher Martinez (NEVER Openweight Championship)
- Adam Cole (c) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (ROH World Championship)
- Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) & Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) vs. Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
It's time once again for Ring of Honor to send their stars to Japan, folks. Several titles are on the line, with YOSHI-HASHI finally getting his shot at Adam Cole's world title, Punisher Martinez proving that Goto really is willing to take on all comers for the NEVER title, and LIJ putting the trios title on the line against a reptilian coalition of Delirious, Liger, and Tiger Mask.
Beyond that, there are several appealing tags on these shows, both War Machine matches should be fun, as should Cody getting to partially tick another box on his list as he tags with Adam Page against Shibata and Lethal, and night one's main event of the Briscoes against Cole and Omega.
Check 'em out live at butt o'clock or after the fact on NJPW World, folks.
Free matches here!
JT Dunn vs. Michael Elgin
Coming to us from the good people over at Beyond, we have the first JT Dunn vs. Michael Elgin match to present to all of you ahead of their rematch at Under Construction. Check it out!
Everett Connors vs. Jason Kincaid
That's right, fresh off the presses courtesy of BIG MIKE and all the other awesome people over at Glory Pro, from just this past Sunday, we have raw footage of one of the first round matches from the tournament to crown the first Crown of Glory Champion. Don't miss it!
Kimber Lee vs. Veda Scott
Yep, it's another Women's Wrestling Revolution match as they continue their march to release every last match held under their banner for free. It's the finals to the women's branch of the Tournament For Today as Kimber Lee and Veda Scott battle to end their night with one last victory. Give it a shot!
AAW The Art of War (February 17)
- Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?) over Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett)
- DJZ over Connor Braxton
- Matt Riddle over Jason Kincaid
- Trevor Lee (c) over Matt Sydal to retain the AAW Tag Team Championship
- Low-Ki over El Hijo del Fantasma
- Unbreakable F'n Machines (Brian Cage & Michael Elgin) over Scarlet and Graves (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz)
- Abyss over Eddie Kingston
- ACH, AR Fox, & Rey Fenix over Killer Cult (Dave Crist, Jake Crist, & Sami Callihan)
Once again I'm happy to cede the stage to my man Curtain Jerker, who attended live, for his thoughts on the show—
Went to AAW last night in their return to Merrionette Park. The show, especially the main event, was a good time as always. If you want some pictures check out their twitter feed, they’ve got some good ones.
Rather than go match by match I just want to give some general impressions.
1- Chucky T/DUSTIN is a great character, and he puts on an entertaining match. His character outside of Evolve is different than the one under Gabe, but just as fun. He’s not a spot monkey by any stretch, but the crowd gets into his stuff and he engages with them. My favorite thing he did all match was pound the top turnbuckle in the corner to get people fired up for the tag, then he started selling his hand because hey, pounding the top turnbuckle hurts!
2- Connor Braxton, god bless him, tries hard but he isn’t very good. He was out of position a lot and his striking is mediocre at best. Scarlett deserves better as a manager. Her introducing herself as "Monday Night Raw’s Scarlett" was a great touch.
3- We need to talk about BRO. People, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but that guy is the future of this business. He is a charisma machine and has an aura about him not many other pro wrestlers have nowadays. Guy is legit. I love his semi-polished mma/catch wrestling style that stands in stark contrast to so many indy-riffic spotfest guys, I love his MMA forearms to the head in the mount. Barring weirdness or tragedy he’s gonna be a big deal. If you have the chance to see him on the indies, take it. Especially before he goes to NXT and gets polished, because to me the rough edges are what makes him stand out that much more. But even so, he’s too good to get "ruined" by WWE. When you have that kind of charisma and can get a crowd riled up with a smirk and a hair-flip, you can’t be ruined. To be this good this early into his wrestling career- wow. Just wow. He’s it, ladies and gents.4- This match was good by the way! He fought Jason Kincaid, who is a lot of fun in his own right and is the perfect little guy to get tossed around. I like Kincaid, he’s had good matches with lots of guys on the indies. Plus he reminds me sorta kinda of Street Fighter’s Dhalsim.
5- Low Ki is great, but please, never use that Alberto Del Rio foot stomp to a guy in the corner ever again. Makes wrestling look so damn fake when a guy has to pull himself up so you can stomp on him.
6- Main event was a hoot. Spot city, but that’s ok! Callihan is a heat machine, he gets booed because you want to see him lose - which is the way it should be.
In closing, AAW was a fun show. Not as good as others, but any show with BRO on it is a fun show.
So watch the trailer if you need a bit more convincing, check it out when it goes up on Highspots and/or Smart Mark, and be sure to drop CJ a follow on Twitter, @GAtsaves!
AIW Walk the Plank (February 17)
- Shawn Schultz over Facade, Flip Kendrick, and Lucky tHURTeen
- PB Smooth over Kaplan
- Britt Baker, "Supercop" Dick Justice, & Space Monkey over Brian Carson, Daniel C. Rockingham, & Hornswoggle
- Joey Janela over Candice LeRae
- Crazy Pain (Gringo Loco & Steve Pain) (c) over Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers & T-Money) and To Infinity and Beyond (Cheech & Colin Delaney) to retain the AIW Tag Team Championship
- Mike Tolar over BJ Whitmer
- Louis Lyndon over Paul Burchill
- Ray Rowe over Laredo Kid
- Alex Daniels (c) over "All Ego" Ethan Page to retain the AIW Intense Championship
- Josh Prohibition (c) vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams went to a no contest (AIW Absolute Championship)
AIW's first show of the year held some real surprises. Like the Baker/Swoggle rematch turning into a trios match featuring a Supercop and a Monkey from Space, for one. Candice LeRae filling in for an injured Matt Cross opposite Joey Janela is another, as well as Dominic Garrini causing havoc during the match between Tolar and Whitmer, costing BJ the match and attacking the Duke after the fact. And, in the main event, Tim Donst causing chaos, upset at not being booked since his loss to Prohibition months ago.
Check it out when it goes up on Smart Mark, folks.
APW #WEOUTHERE (February 17)
- Classic Connection (Buddy Royal & Levi Shapiro) & Karl Fredericks over Bison Braddock, Chicano Flame, & Matt Carlos
- Adam Thornstowe over "War Pig" Jody Kristofferson
- Berkeley Brawler over Joey Ryan
- Jacob Fatu & Jeff Cobb over Black Armada (Papo Esco & Synn)
- Luster the Legend over JR Kratos to become #1 contender to the APW Universal Heavyweight Championship
- Vinny Massaro over "Jungle Boy" Nate Coy
- Lion Power (Marcus Lewis & Will Hobbs) (c) over Bad Boys Personified (Boyce LeGrande & Rik Luxury) to retain the APW Tag Team Championship
- Will Cuevas (c) over Zack Sabre, Jr. to retain the APW Worldwide Internet Championship
- Cody Rhodes over Penta el Zero M
You already read about Stardong, folks, do you really need to be sold any harder? You do? Well, our man on the scene rancho king described the main event as rad, so consider yourselves sold!
Check out the replay on FITE.
PWG Only Kings Understand Each Other (February 18)
- Trevor Lee over Cody Rhodes
- Trent? over Rey Fenix
- Chosen Bros (Jeff Cobb & Matt Riddle) over Unbreakable F'n Machines (Brian Cage & Michael Elgin)
- Ricochet over Lio Rush
- Marty Scurll over Jay White
- SuperKliq (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) over OI4K (Dave Crist, Jake Crist, & Sami Callihan)
- Zack Sabre, Jr. (c) over Chuck Taylor to retain the PWG World Championship
PWG kicked their year off with a night of exciting action as expected, although it wasn't without speedbumps, seeing as the ring broke early in the night and the show will have to be edited to remove Trevor Lee swearing about Dusty Rhodes after Cody neglected to instruct him not to. But the night ended with a bang as Zack Sabre, Jr. turned heel after retaining over Chuck Taylor and beat him down with the assistance of his Leaders of the New School tag partner, Marty Scurll.
And hey, what do you know, you can already pre-order the DVD.
Glory Pro Crowning Achievement (February 19)
- Edvin Kudic & Matt Kenway over Barackus & Garrett Shanks
- Paco Gonzalez over Kobe Durst (Crown of Glory Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- "All Ego" Ethan Page over Danny Adams (Crown of Glory Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- Shigehiro Irie over Curt Stallion (Crown of Glory Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- Jason Kincaid over Everett Connors (Crown of Glory Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- Myron Reed over Davey Vega, Gary Jay, Jason Roberts, Mat Fitchett, and Space Monkey (Scramble Match)
- Brandon Espinosa over Sean Orleans
- Jake Something over Shane Sabre
- Matt Riddle (c) over Michael Elgin to retain the Progress Atlas Division Championship
- Jason Kincaid over "All Ego" Ethan Page, Paco Gonzalez, and Shigehiro Irie to win the Crown of Glory Championship (Tournament Finals Elimination Match)
Michael Elgin's Glory Pro made their debut, and it has to be said it seems to have been a real success. Making things even better, BIG MIKE has been super open about the entire process, uploading a video explaining how the booking of the show changed before and even during the event. Certainly, no matter how we got there, Jason Kincaid is a worthy first champion.
So go ahead and check out the fallout video here, and wait for the show to go up in full on Smart Mark soon.
PWX Rise of a Champion XII (February 19)
- Chip Day over Colby Corino, Darius Lockhart, Jason Cade, Tracer X, and White Mike (Opportunity Knocks Ladder Match)
- The Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy) over the Revolt! (Caleb Konley & Zane Riley) following a post-match beatdown wherein the referee reversed the decision
- Martin Stone over Timmy Lou Retton
- Elijah Evans IV over James Drake to win the PWX iTV Championship
- Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy) (c) over Bruiserweights (Corey Hollis & John Skyler) to retain the PWX Tag Team Championship
- Su Yung over Taeler Hendrix
- Anthony Henry over "Manscout" Jake Manning (c) to win the PWX World Heavyweight Championship
- Sami Callihan over Jeff Hardy (Falls Count Anywhere)
As always, when I got a recap I'm gonna take it easy, but suffice it to say, this year's Rise of a Champion delivered on every level you want your biggest show of the year to deliver on.
From the wonderful chaos of the opening ladder match through to Evans stealing the iTV title from Drake, Henry finally triumphing and taking his place as champion, all the way to guest stars Callihan and Hardy tearing the house down, it was an awesome show. Also, I'd like to give commentary a bit of special praise here. Brad Stutts and Ethan Case did a terrific job getting the angles over and just generally making it a very pleasant show to watch.
Go watch it on the Highspots Wrestling Network, I say!
WrestleCircus Taking Center Stage (February 19)
- DJZ over Jervis Cottonbelly and Jonathan Cruz
- Scott Norton over Joey Ryan
- Jax Dane over Grand Hammer & KO Cox (Handicap Match)
- Jax Dane over Trevor Lee
- Dezmond Xavier over Rey Fenix and Shane Strickland
- Donovan Dijak over Ray Rowe
- Scorpio Sky (c) over Jordan Len-X to retain the WrestleCircus Sideshow Championship
- Leva Bates over Scorpio Sky (c) to win the WrestleCircus Sideshow Championship
- Joey Ryan over Leva Bates (c) to win the WrestleCircus Sideshow Championship
- Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) over Andy Dalton & Scott McKenzie, "Texas Lion" Carson & Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Extra Talent-ed (Aaron Solow & Ricky Starks), Pretty Boy Killers (Keith Lee & Shane Taylor), and the Boys (Brandon & Brent) to win the WrestleCircus Big Top Tag Team Championship (Staggered-Entry Battle Royal)
- Jeff Cobb over ACH
- Rachael Ellering over Chelsea Green and Sexy Dulce to win the WrestleCircus Lady of the Ring Championship (Elimination Match)
- Brian Cage (c) over Zack Sabre, Jr. to retain the WrestleCircus Ringmaster Championship
- Ricochet over Sammy Guevara
WrestleCircus had their first iPPV so let's take a look at the good and the bad.
First, the bad: Commentary on this show sucked. Indie commentary is kind of a crapshoot anywhere you go, but there are some really good teams out there, and this was not one of them. It was mile-a-minute references to WWE, CZW, smurf demographics, and literally almost anything but actually getting the action in the ring over. Like, I'm already watching, guys. You don't have to sell me on how this isn't WWE and guys are allowed to do a curb stomp. I know that because I selected you as part of my evening's entertainment. You have me, you do not need to convince me any further, please, just focus on the match.
And, in a much more minor note, the women's eliminator and the Ringmaster Championship match didn't pull me in like I was hoping after seeing Green/Ellering on Shine 40 and Cage/Yehi on FIP. But hey, that happens, and they were both still enjoyable matches for the most part.
On the good side, the action was by and large very good-- I came in a bit late, but the three-way was awesome, Dijak/Rowe was a fun HOSS WAR, and the main was a hoot. And, critically, the video feed was just about perfect. It paused on me a few times, but never for more than a second or two and it was crystal clear HD the whole way through. Really above and beyond for indie wrestling streaming, great job folks.
As for you, Cagesiders, you can check the show out on VOD through WrestleCircus's VOD service soon, if it isn't up when this goes live.
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.