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.
Defy 4 / 5: Gigantic (June 29-30)
—Defy 4: Gigantic Night One (June 29, 7PM Pacific)—
- Ave Rex vs. Santiago
- Eddie Van Glam & Joey Ryan vs. Mr. Fitness & Steve West
- Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Rey Fenix vs. reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly)
- Angelina Love vs. Christina Von Eerie vs. Nicole Matthews vs. Su Yung (Women's Tacoma Cup Elimination Match)
- Cody Rhodes vs. Penta el Zero M
- Matt Cross vs. Shane Strickland (8X Grand Prix Semifinal Match)
- Darby Allin vs. Davey Richards (c) (CZW World Heavyweight Championship 8X Grand Prix Semifinal Match)
—Defy 5: Gigantic Night Two (June 30, 7PM Pacific)—
- Davey Boy Smith, Jr. vs. ???
- Lucha Brothers (Penta el Zero M & Rey Fenix) vs. reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly)
- Defy Championship 8X Grand Prix Finals Match
We welcome Defy Wrestling to Sermon with their double shot in Tacoma and Seattle, Washington. And what a double shot it is, with the finals of their tournament to crown their first champion, a women's championship eliminator, a pair of reDRagon dream matches, and Rhodes vs. Penta!
Get your tickets here, or check the shows out on Defy on Demand. (And I always try to direct traffic to each promotion's individual service, but since it’s their first time here, I’ll note they also upload to the Highspots Wrestling Network as well.)
CMLL Super Viernes (June 30, 9:30PM Eastern)
- Cuatrero, Forastero, & Sanson vs. Drone, Pegasso, & the Panther
- Guerrero Maya, Jr., Rey Cometa, & Titan vs. Polvora, Ripper, & Virus
- Atlantis, Blue Panther, & Soberano vs. Dragon Rojo, Jr., Mephisto, & Sam Adonis
- El Terrible, Rey Bucanero, & Vangellys vs. Los Ingobernables (Pierroth & Rush) & Misterioso, Jr.
- Angel de Oro vs. Dragon Lee vs. El Valiente vs. Hechicero vs. Luciferno vs. Negro Casas vs. Shocker vs. Volador, Jr. (CMLL Universal Championship Tournament Phase A)
CMLL are back with your Friday night dose of lucha libre and surprise surprise, it's tournament time again! This one is the annual battle of the champions that crowns a Universal Champion. The title isn't defended in CMLL after it's won, but it's still an honor that's been won by the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ultimo Guerrero, La Sombra, and Atlantis. Plus a couple of solid looking trios matches and it should be a pretty good show.
Check it out as always free for nothin' on ClaroSports as long as they remember to turn the region lock off.
OTT Born to Be Wasted (July 1, 7:30PM IST)
- Justin Shape & Logan Bryce vs. Pastor William Eaver & ???
- 2 Unlimited (Jay & Patrick Sammin) vs. Charlie Sterling & Zack Gibson
- Chris Brookes (c) vs. Damien Corvin (OTT Gold Ring)
- Mark Haskins vs. Ryan Smile (c) (OTT No Limits Championship)
- Katey Harvey (c) vs. Xia Brookside (OTT Women's Championship)
- British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, & Tyler Bate) vs. Donovan Dijak, Keith Lee, & Sami Callihan
OTT are back in Dublin, Ireland for their last show before their biggest of the year, and my word, just look at that six-man.
Progress: Cologne (July 1, 1:30 CET)
- Chuck Mambo, Jack Sexsmith, & Roy Johnson vs. Jimmy Havoc & London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch)
- Jinny vs. Laura Di Matteo
- Ilja Dragunov vs. Travis Banks
- David Starr vs. Pete Dunne
- Mike Bird vs. WALTER (Progress Atlas Division Championship #1 Contender's Match)
- Jurn Simmons vs. Matt Riddle (c) (Progress Atlas Division Championship)
Progress make their debut in Germany as part of doubleheader with wXw, and it's all about the big lads! With Matt Riddle defending his Atlas Championship and finding out his next contender in the same night, Deep Waters is in for a hell of an night. Plus Travis Banks faces off against a man who finds himself in a very similar position in wXw, Jinny and Laura have one more go, and Regression (sort) of rides again against some of Progress' finest prospects.
wXw Shortcut to the Top 2017 (July 1, 7PM CET)
- Ilja Dragunov vs. Matt Riddle
- Christian Michael Jacobi & WALTER vs. Kim Ray (Handicap Match)
- Angelico (c) vs. David Starr vs. Emil Sitoci (wXw Shotgun Championship)
- Avalanche vs. Jurn Simmons (c) (wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship)
- 30-Man Shortcut to the Top Match
Completing their doubleheader in Cologne, Germany with Progress, wXw have their annual Shortcut to the Top event. Much like the Royal Rumble in WWE, it's a thirty-man staggered-entry battle royal and the winner gets a title shot later in the year. And, of course, guests and surprises are the order of the day, like Chris Hero entering unannounced last year.
NJPW G1 Climax Special in USA (July 1-2)
—Day One (July 1, 8PM Eastern)—
- Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Marty Scurll, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Beretta, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Rocky Romero, & Will Ospreay)
- Dragon Lee, Jushin Liger, Titan, & Volador, Jr. vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, & SANADA)
- Hangman Page vs. Jay Lethal (IWGP United States Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (IWGP United States Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay White, & KUSHIDA vs. Billy Gunn, Tempura Boyz (Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu), & YOSHITATSU
- Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) (c) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) (IWGP Tag Team Championship)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (IWGP United States Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin (IWGP United States Championship Tournament First Round Match)
- Cody Rhodes vs. Kazuchika Okada (c) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship)
—Day Two (July 2, 8PM Eastern)—
- Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)
- Billy Gunn vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) (IWGP Intercontinental Championship)
- IWGP United States Championship Tournament Semifinal and Final Matches
New Japan make their unassisted United States debut in Long Beach, California this weekend and they have all the requisite festivities set up, from Billy Gunn getting an oddball title shot against Hiroshi Tanahashi to a champion vs. champion battle for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, to a tournament to crown the first ever IWGP United States Champion, it's going to be something else.
Tickets sold out basically immediately, but you can follow all the action on AXS TV to see night one live, and night two will be live on NJPW World. (Night one will also be on NJPW World, but it's only live for international subscribers, us American subscribers will either have to wait or catch it on AXS.)
RPW Live at the Cockpit 18 (July 2, 5:30PM GMT)
- Dan Magee & RJ Singh vs. London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch)
- Rob Lias vs. Sha Samuels
- Angelico vs. Max Voltage vs. Ryan Smile
- Eddie Dennis vs. Sami Callihan
- Dave Mastiff vs. Donovan Dijak
- #CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) (c) vs. Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman (RPW British Tag Team Championship)
- David Starr vs. Josh Bodom (c) (RPW British Cruiserweight Championship)
RevPro are back at the Cockpit in London, and while British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre, Jr. is busy with New Japan in the States, they're not slacking on their card. Two big title defenses, with David Starr getting a crack at the cruiserweight title and homegrown sensations Wall & Chapman finally getting their shot at the tag titles, plus Dennis/Callihan and Mastiff/Dijak? And hey, Keith Lee and Matt Riddle are both booked for the show without dance partners as I write this... who could they possible wrestle?
The show is sold out, but as always you can catch it on RPW On Demand with their usual insanely fast turnaround time.
Free matches here!
APW Weekly Episode 006
It's been a while since we looked in at APW's weekly YouTube show, and this week's is jam packed! Cody Rhodes vs. Penta el Zero M, Will Cuevas vs. Zack Sabre, Jr., and Adam Thornstowe vs. "War Pig" Jody Kristofferson. Check it out!
Jonathan Gresham vs. Mustafa Ali
From the fine folks over at Freelance Wrestling, we have one of my favorite indie matches of 2016. From the annual Freelance vs. CZW show (the second installment of which is coming up next month), Mustafa Ali defends the Freelance Championship against Jonathan Gresham in a match that shows he's every bit as competent on the mat as he is in the air. Don't miss it!
Joey Janela vs. Virgil
From the good folks over at Alpha-1 Wrestling, we hav-- VIRGIL?! Yes, Virgil! Fighting the Bad Boy himself for the Outer Limits Championship! Check it out, and also check out this match that Beyond uploaded recently, featuring Janelope vs. XXXL if you want some more, ah, traditional Janela content.
Beyond Go With the Flow (June 24)
- Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy) over American Destroyers (Donovan Dijak & Mikey Webb)
- Joey Janela over Chuck O’Neil
- Shayna Baszler over Penelope Ford
- Massage NV (Dorian Graves & VSK) over Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Monsta Mack) by disqualification
- Wheeler YUTA over Maxwell Jacob Friedman
- EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) over the Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy)
- Tabernak de Team (Matthieu St-Jacques & Thomas Dubois) over Rex Lawless & Ryan Galeone
- Ace Romero over JT Dunn
- AR Fox over Brandon Watts
- Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) over Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver)
- Matt Riddle over Keith Lee
Beyond had another damn good iPPV double-header with Evolve. Absolute highlights are Baszler/Ford, Romero/Dunn, and Riddle/Lee, but for my money match of the night was EYFBO against my boys the Carnies. I also found myself fairly well impressed with Tabernak de Team my first time seeing them.
In other news from the show, Da Hit Squad have pledged to destroy everyone in Beyond, Riddle destroyed Janela after his match, and Dan Barry has taken their opponents under his wing, promising to deliver them to greatness if they'd just start ignoring the fans.
Check it out on FloSlam, folks.
WrestleCircus Dive Hard With a Vengeance (June 24)
- Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) over Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) (c) to win the WC Big Top Tag Team Championship
- Scorpio Sky over Brody King
- Rachael Ellering (c) over Mia Yim to retain the WC Lady of the Ring Championship
- Adam Cole & Britt Baker over Jessicka Havok & Sami Callihan
- Laura James over Joey Ryan (c), Jordan Len-X, and Tessa Blanchard to win the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship
- Tessa Blanchard over Joey Ryan (c), Jordan Len-X, and Laura James to win the WC Sideshow Championship
- Jordan Len-X over Joey Ryan (c), Laura James, and Tessa Blanchard to win the WR Open Invite Scramble Championship
- Shane Strickland over Dezmond Xavier, Lio Rush, and Mr. 450 to win the Carnival Cash-In Ladder Match
- John Morrison over Luchasaurus
- Matt Sydal over Zachary Wentz
- Myron Reed (c) over Michael Elgin to retain the Crown of Glory Championship
- Lucha Brothers (Pental el Zero M & Rey Fenix) over reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly)
- Shane Strickland over Brian Cage (c) and Sammy Guevara to win the WC Ringmaster Championship
The first show of the Twitch era has come and gone and from what I saw it seems to have went swimmingly. The peak of it all was the four-way ladder match, every ounce as crazy as you'd expect, and victory of which gave the King of Swerve a Money in the Bank style title shot that he cashed in successfully in the closing moments of the Ringmaster Championship match.
Check out replays on their Twitch channel!
Evolve 86 / 87 (June 24-25)
—Evolve 86 (June 24)—
- Timothy Thatcher over Austin Theory
- ACH over Chris Dickinson
- Thomas Sharp over Nick Comoroto
- Fred Yehi over Jaka
- "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams over Jason Kincaid
- Keith Lee over "All Ego" Ethan Page
- Zack Sabre, Jr. over Matt Riddle (Battle of the Champions)
—Evolve 87 (June 25)—
- "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams over ACH
- Timothy Thatcher over Jason Kincaid
- Fred Yehi over Chris Dickinson
- Zack Sabre, Jr. (c) over Jaka to retain the Evolve World Championship
- "All Ego" Ethan Page over Thomas Sharp
- Trent Baretta over Austin Theory
- Matt Riddle (c) over Keith Lee to retain the WWN Championship
As always when I have recaps I'll just point you at them (Evolve 86, 87) and keep it short here, but suffice it to say Evolve had another one of those weekends where they started well and finished strong.
Check it out on FloSlam, folks.
Dynamite Cup (June 25)
- Dale Patricks over Dominic Garrini (Dynamite Cup First Round Match)
- Percy Davis over Reed "By God" Bentley (Dynamite Cup First Round Match)
- Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy) over Cole Radrick & Sage Philips (Dynamite Cup First Round Match)
- Mance Warner over Tripp Cassidy (Dynamite Cup First Round Match)
- Ace Perry over Alex Daniels, GPA, and Kevin Ku (Dynamite Cup First Round Match)
- Angelus Layne wins the Nolie Rumble
- Dale Patricks over Ace Perry, Kerry Awful, Mance Warner, Nick Iggy, and Percy Davis (Dynamite Cup Finals Ultimate Match of Survival)
Dynamite Cup has to be considered a rousing success, raising $3,106.29 for Together We Rise, a charity benefitting foster children across the United States. As far as the action goes, I don't think I can put it better than the official results post on Twitter, so go take a read!
Check it out on Powerbomb.tv when it goes up, folks.
Progress Chapter 50: I Give It Six Months (June 25)
- Toni Storm (c) over Kay Lee Ray to retain the Progress Women's Championship
- London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) over Banter Edition (Dave Mastiff & El Ligero)
- "Flash" Morgan Webster over Jack Sexsmith by disqualification
- Pete Dunne over Donovan Dijak
- Nathan Cruz & Zack Gibson over Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins
- Travis Banks over James Drake
- #CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) over British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c) to win the Progress Tag Team Championship
As always when I'll have a recap for you, I'll keep it short, but... BEST BOYS! And also Tall Don making his Progress debut and London Riots taking the first step to turning their losing streak around, but CCK baby!
Check it out when it goes up on Demand Progress, folks.
Remember folks, no matter what type of wrestling you like, no matter how down you feel about the state of WWE, Impact, 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.