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.
Beyond Party Animals (December 29, 7PM Eastern)
- Pinkie Sanchez vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams
- Jordynne Grace & Karen Q vs. Sonya Strong & Veda Scott (Women's Wrestling Revolution Showcase Match)
- Chuck O'Neil & Matt Riddle vs. Team Tremendous (Bill Carr & Dan Barry)
- Joey Janela vs. John Silver
- David Starr (c) vs. Jonathan Gresham (wXw Shotgun Championship)
- Da Hit Squad (Dan Maff & Steve Mack) vs. Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka)
- Donovan Dijak vs. Kimber Lee
- Chris Hero vs. Keith Lee
Beyond are closing their year out with a rare Thursday show tonight in Providence, Rhode Island. Headlined by Chris Hero and Keith Lee in a HOSS FIGHT DREAM MATCH, it's a really strong show overall. David Starr defends his wXw Shotgun Championship in a nigh-guaranteed hoot of a match against Jonathan Gresham, Matt Riddle's feud with Dan Barry spills into tag team territory, Da Hit Squad take on the excellently rechristened Doom Patrol, and Kimber Lee closes out her commitments to Beyond by looking to slay a giant in the form of Donovan Dijak.
Pick up your tickets here or wait for this bad boy to go up on Beyondemand.
AAW Unstoppable 2016 (December 30, 8PM Central)
- Colt Cabana & Chuck Taylor vs. Davey Vega & Silas Young
- ACH vs AR Fox (c) (AAW Heritage Championship)
- Drew Galloway vs. Jeff Cobb
- Heidi Lovelace vs. Kimber Lee
- Chris Hero vs. Pentagon, Jr.
- Rey Fenix vs. Sami Callihan (c) (AAW Heavyweight Championship)
AAW are back in Merrionette Park, Illinois for their last show of the year and as you can clearly see, it's going to be a hoot. Rey Fenix is out to prove that AAW really is his new home by claiming the biggest prize in the company from Sami Callihan, Pentagon, Jr. looks to avenge his previous loss to Chris Hero in their rematch.
Plus pyrotechnics abound as ACH takes on AR Fox for the Heritage Championship, Drew Galloway is queued up and ready to get tossed around by a veritable monster, and Heidi Lovelace and Kimber Lee say goodbye to the indies against each other. And Matt Riddle will be in as-yet unannounced action!
Early ticket sales have closed, but you can certainly try your luck at the door if you're in the Chicago area, or just wait for the show to go up on Smart Mark or Highspots.
AIW Jelly of the Month Club (December 30, 7:30PM Eastern)
- Mike Tolar vs. Shawn Shultz
- Eddie Kingston vs. PB Smooth
- Britt Baker vs. Swoggle
- BJ Whitmer vs. Dominic Garrini
- Joey Janela vs. Laredo Kid vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams
- Jollyville Fuck-Its (Russ Myers & T-Money) vs. the Carnies (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy)
- Alex Daniels (c) vs. Matt Cross (AIW Intense Championship)
- Josh Prohibition (c) vs. Ray Rowe (AIW Absolute Championship)
Matt Riddle may have canceled his membership in the Jelly of the Month Club after an incident of piracy on the high seas, but AIW keep on sailing from their home port in Cleveland, Ohio. The two title matches on the show feature long-time AIW mainstays Matt Cross and Ray Rowe trying to claim the gold, plus you got my boys the Carnies sliding in to try and maybe earn themselves a tag title shot by toppling the boys from Jollyville, what had ought to be a crazy four-way, and stand-out AIW students PB Smooth and Dominic Garrini testing themselves against veterans Eddie Kingston and BJ Whitmer.
Oh, and Britt Baker is wrestling Hornswoggle in the same year she wrestled Nia Jax on Raw. Pro wrestling!
Get tickets here or just wait for the show to go up on Smart Mark.
CMLL Super Viernes (December 30, 9:30PM Eastern)
- El Hijo del Signo & Metálico vs. Flyer & Robin
- Nitro, Sangre Azteca, & Virus vs. Pegasso, Star, Jr., & Triton
- El Sagrado vs. Rey Cometa (Lightning Match)
- Blue Panther, Jr., Drone, & the Panther vs. El Olímpico, Kraneo, & Ripper
- Ángel de Oro, Marco Corleone, & Stuka, Jr. vs. El Terrible, Rey Bucanero, & Shocker
- Carístico, El Valiente, & Volador, Jr. vs. La Peste Negra (Bárbaro Cavernario, Mr. Niebla, & Negro Casas)
CMLL's last Super Viernes of the year is upon us, from Arena Mexico as always, and while they're not exactly going out on a supercard there's still a fair bit to like. Rey Cometa always delivers in a lightning match, plus the main event pits La Peste Negra against the original Sin Cara, the man with the tightest trunks in all of lucha libre, and Negro Casas rival Volador, Jr. Bet on dick kicks in this one, folks.
Check it out, as always, live on ClaroSports.
Progress Chapter 41: Unboxing Live (December 30, 4PM GMT)
You know what that means, folks-- it's another mystery show! Progress have been even tighter lipped than PWG were, so all you can really say for sure is that nobody that's on any of our other 12/30 shows here is going to be on the card. Beyond that? Sky's the limit!
Tickets, as always, as sold out, but you can have a go at the official ticket resale site or just wait for this guy to go up on Demand Progress.
CMLL Sin Piedad (January 1, 6PM Eastern)
- Astral, Stukita, & Último Dragoncito vs. Demus 3:16, Mercurio, & Pierrothito
- Ángel de Oro, Blue Panther, Jr., & Guerrero Maya, Jr. vs. Bobby Z, Pólvora, & Ripper
- Atlantis, Marco Corleone, & Stuka, Jr. vs. La Peste Negra (El Felino, Mr. Niebla, & Negro Casas)
- Carístico, El Valiente, & Volador, Jr. vs. Ephesto, Hechicero, & Mephisto
- Mascara Año 2000 vs. Máximo Sexy (Hair vs. Hair Match)
CMLL kick their 2017 off with another free Sunday stream from Arena Mexico, this time under the Sin Piedad banner. It's headlined by Mascara Año 2000 and Máximo Sexy fighting for their hair in what will... frankly not be a very good match. 2000 is old and slow and Máximo, while a very talented wrestler in his own right, isn't a miracle worker.
Fortunately the rest of the matches should be worth tuning in for on some level, with a rare trios match from the minis opening the show as well as some of the best and brightest taking on La Pesta Negra and Hechicero getting a chance to shine against two-thirds of the Sky Team and the original Sin Cara.
Check it out on their YouTube channel and bring a little lucha libre to your New Year's Day, folks.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 / New Year’s Dash!! (January 4-5)
—Wrestle Kingdom 11 (January 4, 2:30AM Eastern)—
- New Japan Rumble
- Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger the Dark
- Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) vs. Young Bucks (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)
- Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Jado, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. David Finlay, Ricochet, & Satoshi Kojima (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Gauntlet Match)
- Cody Rhodes vs. Juice Robinson
- Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly (c) (ROH World Championship)
- Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) vs Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) (c) (IWGP Tag Team Championship)
- Hiromu Takahashi vs. KUSHIDA (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship)
- Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata (c) (NEVER Openweight Championship)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito (c) (IWGP Intercontinental Championship)
- Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Championship)
—New Year’s Dash (January 5, 4AM Eastern)—
Yes folks, it's that time already-- New Japan Pro Wrestling are back in the Tokyo Dome for one of the biggest shows pro wrestling has to offer. Wrestle Kingdom 11 is the latest in a 25-year line of Tokyo Dome shows to happen on January 4, which means we all get to stay up until butt in the morning on a Tuesday night to get our fill of wrestling. Predictably, it's a stacked card, with every title New Japan has to offer being defended, plus an ROH world title bout, Cody Rhodes making his (presumably victorious) debut over Juice Robinson (the more things change...), and Kota Ibushi once again making career decisions on whether or not he'll be allowed to wrestle dressed up as an anime character.
My prediction for match of the night is the junior title match, since KUSHIDA delivers every time and the former Kamaitachi is no slouch himself, but really all those top four matches ought to deliver enough to make it worth being up all night. And, personally, I look forward to the New Japan Rumble more than anything else-- a pre-show Royal Rumble full of old dudes, guests, and dudes who didn't quite make it to the main card? That's my jam right there! This is Yoshiaki Fujiwara's year, I can feel it.
Plus, with card details kept secret until after the big show as is tradition, New Japan will give us an immediate followup the next day in the form of New Year Dash!!. It's always a tag-heavy show, but usually a pretty good window to see where things will be going. Last year, by example, featured Kenny Omega taking charge of Bullet Club and ousting AJ Styles.
So mosey on over to NJPW World, get your caffeine handy, and get ready for the big one, folks.
Free matches here!
Team IOU (Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy) vs. the Kraken (Chip Day & Murder-1)
From the fine folks down at Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment (who, to my great shame, I don't cover the way I'd like to here, but only so much time in the day, alas), we've got the tag title match from this past July's season two finale. GWC Tag Team Champions Team IOU (in the days when they were still known as such) take on the Hierarchy's mainstay tag team, the Kraken— check it out!
OI4K (Dave Crist, Jake Crist, & Sami Callihan) vs. the Ugly Ducklings (Colby Corino, Lance Lude, & Rob Killjoy)
From the good folks over at PWX, we've got the opener to their most recent show, Season's DELETE-ings, hot off the presses. It's fast-paced action-packed trios action and it has one of my favorite Tower of Doom spots ever in it. Don't miss it!
Candice LeRae vs Johnny Gargano
Good lovers, better enemies, as the saying goes! Smash have been putting up free matches all week and I've picked this one, but be sure to check out their YouTube channel for even more. Even if you're not terribly into intergender matches, give this one a shot, because Candice and Johnny have off-the-charts chemistry and work incredibly well together, folks.
Jaka vs. Matt Riddle
Well it wouldn't be right to send the last Sermon of 2016 out without some Bro, would it? Thankfully Beyond let this bad boy slip out into the wild for us, and our year ends on a positive note. Deep Waters takes on the Smooth Savage, give it a shot.
CMLL Infierno en el Ring (December 25)
- Astral & Shockercito over Pequeño Olímpico & Pierrothito
- Bobby Z, Vangellys, & Virus over Drone, Johnny Idol, & Star, Jr.
- El Terrible, Gran Guerrero, & Rey Bucanero over El Valiente, Stuka, Jr., & Titán
- Atlantis, Marco Corleone, & Volador, Jr. over El Felino, Negro Casas, & Skándalo
- Zeuxis takes Vaquerita's mask to win a steel cage match also involving Amapola, Dalys, Estrellita, Jarochita, Marcela, Metalica, Princess Sugehit, and Sanely
Cutting to the chase here-- if Zeuxis is indeed coming to WWE for the proposed women's tournament, she's going to do so wearing her mask.
The show itself isn't going to win any awards, but it was a fine way to while away a Christmas evening, and you can check out the replay on CMLL's YouTube channel if you like.
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.