Monday, March 27, 2017

Smash Wrestling: Any Given Sunday 3 Review

Chris Hero returns to Smash Wrestling to take on Tommaso Ciampa!!

Smash Wrestling: Any Given Sunday 3
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 3/15/15

1.) Brent Banks vs. Matt Cross: ***1/4

After winning a Triple Threat Match back at Battle Lines, Brent Banks had challenged Matt Cross to a match at this show. I thought this was a pretty solid opening contest. There was a crowd brawl at the beginning, and during this brawl, Cross took the mic and said that what he’s doing to Banks right now is a taste of what TARIK can expect when he does get his hands on him. There was some decent action throughout, and as a whole, it was a good way to kick off the show. Eventually, Cross picked up the victory with a Shooting Star Press. Cross celebrated afterwards, while Banks looked visibly frustrated when he left.

2.) Candice LeRae vs. Kimber Lee: ***1/2

When looking at the card for Any Given Sunday 3, this was one match that really stood out to me. It probably wouldn’t be the best match on the show, it definitely had the chance to be very good. When the dust settled, these two lived up to my expectations. It wasn’t the most memorable match in the world, but for what it was, I really enjoyed it. These two are so good, that it was next to impossible for this to not be good. There was a ton of very solid action in this one, included a vicious Diving DDT off the middle rope that Candice LeRae delivered to Kimber Lee, who got spiked on her head. That looked nasty. Towards the end of the match, Kimber Lee hit a Swanton Bomb, but as she went for the cover, Candice LeRae reversed the pin attempt into a crucifix pin for the victory! Once again, that was a really good match.

The two shake hands and hugged after the match.

3.) The Goat Brigade (Kirk Warmack & Shane Sabre) vs. The Super Smash Brothers: ***1/2

While this was a rematch of Smashapalooza (from July 2014), this was mainly set up after The Goat Brigade attacked The Super Smash Brothers back at Battle Lines. The Super Smash Brothers came out to a version of the Legend of Zelda theme song. Before the match began, The Goat Brigade tore up a pro-SSB sign, and as a retort, Player Uno took a Goat Brigade T-Shirt and dropped an elbow on it. As for the match itself, I thought it was a pretty good tag team bout, but it was a little too long for my liking. It went about eighteen minutes or so, and I think that length hurt the match a bit. They probably could’ve shaved a few minutes off of this. Additionally, it was hard to keep track of the legal man in this particular contest. Normally, that’s not really something I complain about that much, but in this particular case, it was pretty noticeable, to the point where it couldn’t be ignored. Despite those issues, the match was still good. It definitely wasn’t bad by any means. Towards the end of the match, The Super Smash Brothers hit FATALITY! (their tag team finisher) on Kirk Warmack, but Shane Sabre was the legal man. He tossed out Player Dos, went after the mask of Player Uno, and then rolled up Uno for the win. Again, this was pretty good, but their match from Smashapalooza was better.

4.) Johnny Gargano vs. Tyson Dux: ****

These two have met in Smash Wrestling on two previous occasions, with each scoring a victory, making this is the rubber match. I thought this was an awesome match! That really shouldn’t be a surprise, though. Johnny Gargano tends to have one of the best matches on the show, regardless of what promotion he’s working on a given day. He’s always awesome. Meanwhile, Tyson Dux is very technically sound (hence why his nickname is “Cyborg”), and always delivers whenever he’s on a Smash Wrestling event. There was some great back & forth action throughout, and the crowd was really into the match. In a funnier moment, Gargano hit a tornado DDT on Dux onto some fans into the front row, and it sent their beers flying. This contest came to an end when Gargano countered a suplex attempt (or a brainbuster attempt, I’m not sure) by Dux into a tight small package for the win, giving the series to Gargano. Again, this was awesome. Easily one of the best matches on the show, in my opinion. 

The two men shook hands after the match.

5.) Six-Man Elimination Gauntlet Match - Josh Alexander vs. TARIK vs. Scotty O’Shea vs. Gregory Iron vs. Pepper Parks vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey: ***1/2

This is essentially a mini-Royal Rumble, except eliminations occur via pinfall or submission instead of over the top rope. A new entrant would come out every ninety (90) seconds. The order I have the wrestlers in the match listing above is the order they entered the match. Josh Alexander & TARIK started us off, but before this officially got underway, TARIK got the mic, and cut a promo. It was hard to hear TARIK over the crowd booing him, but he appeared to be upset about being in a Gauntlet Match, and also taunted Alexander. There was some early stalling initially between Alexander & TARIK, but then the pace started to pick up. There was some really entertaining action throughout this match, and things got more exciting with each new entrant. The big story told here was that, once everyone was in the match, Josh Alexander dominated. Gregory Iron, Pepper Parks, Mike Bailey, & Scotty O’Shea were all eliminated by Alexander, via Spinning Tombstone Piledriver, in that order. It came down to Alexander vs. TARIK, and there was a really nice closing exchange between the two. However, the match came to a conclusion when TARIK escaped the spinning tombstone piledriver, ran out of the building, and got counted out. This gave the victory to Josh Alexander. That was certainly a flat finish, but still, Alexander was booked like a beast in this match.

6.) Chairs Match - Courtney Rush vs. Vanessa Kraven: ***1/4

Here we have another match that was set up back at Battle Lines. This was a pretty fun Chairs Match. I actually thought the booking here was really well done. Instead of the competitors getting hit with chairs right out of the gate, they actually built up to using those chairs, with both Kraven & Rush initially dodging a number of chair shot attempts. That just made it even better when the chairs were eventually used. I would say the biggest highlight saw Rush hit a sunset flip powerbomb on Kraven through a set of chairs. In the end, Rush would pick up the win with a chair-assisted sharpshooter. Again, this was good, but I would say that Candice LeRae vs. Kimber Lee from earlier in the night was definitely the better women’s match on this card.

After the match, Courtney Rush & Vanessa Kraven shook hands, as the two had earned each other’s respect. However, this moment was interrupted when Candice LeRae & Kimber Lee attacked! Kimber Lee took the mic, and started a “USA” chant. This was clearly building towards CANUSA 2015 (Smash Wrestling’s annual women's show that built around a team of women representing the United States going up against a team of women representing Canada). Rush & Kraven recovered and sent the Americans packing. Kimber Lee then said that, as far as Team USA is concerned, CANUSA starts now (even though the show itself wasn’t until October).

7.) Drew Gulak & TARIK vs. The Overdogs (John Greed & Sebastian Suave): ***1/2

This was originally scheduled to be Biff Busick & Drew Gulak vs. The Overdogs, but apparently, Busick had issues crossing the border into Canada. I believe the same issue prevented him from wrestling at Battle Lines. Gulak decided to bring out TARIK to take Busick’s place in this match, meaning that the hated turncoat would be pulling double duty. This was another pretty good tag team match on this show. There was some good action, and they told a good story with the heels going after John Greed’s leg. While this was very solid, it suffered a similar problem to the earlier tag team match, in that in went a little too long. The Overdogs would fight back, but in the end, it wouldn’t be enough, as Drew Gulak & TARIK scored the victory.

8.) Chris Hero vs. “Sicilian Psychopath” Tommaso Ciampa: ****

Tommaso Ciampa came out dressed in his Doctor Doom-inspired entrance attire, which looks really cool. He also had a lot of tape wrapped around his torso, as he had fractured his ribs on a ROH event a few weeks prior. Before the match, Ciampa took the mic, and mentioned his rib injury from two weeks ago. Despite the injury, he said that he wasn’t going to miss this show, and he wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to wrestle a guy like Chris Hero. Ciampa said he'd give the best performance he could. Hero then took the mic, and said that while he appreciated Ciampa wrestling through this injury, he didn’t need to go after the ribs to knock his ass out, and this kicked off the match. They actually managed to tell a good story early, as Ciampa pretended that his injury was really hindering him. This lured Hero into a false sense of security early, and Ciampa took advantage by blasting Hero with repeated knee strikes in the corner. He was still injured, but it was clear that Ciampa used this trick to catch Hero off guard. As you would’ve guessed, this match was awesome. There was some incredible action throughout, but they also managed to get in some lighthearted moments, such as Ciampa getting into an argument with a young fan at ringside. The closing stretch of the match was particularly great, as both men through vicious strikes at one another in an attempt to put their opponent away. Ultimately, Hero would manage to get the win after hitting Ciampa with a tombstone piledriver. The only thing I didn’t like about this match was the finish. It was slightly unexpected, and it felt like it came out of nowhere, but maybe that’s just me. Still, this was pretty great.

After the match, Hero took the mic, and gave credit to Ciampa for fighting through his injury, and asked him to come back to Smash Wrestling. The two shook hands. Hero then said it was good to be back in Smash Wrestling, and told the crowd to chant “Hero SMASH”. He then said, as far as the current conflict goes between Smash Wrestling and TARIK’s forces, everyone knows what side he’s on. This brought out Drew Gulak & TARIK, and it looked like they were going to to attack Hero, but Matt Cross & Johnny Gargano appeared make the save. Then, in a shocking move, Gargano then took out Matt Cross with a superkick, and joined Gulak & TARIK in beating up Chris Hero! Tyson Dux & The Overdogs came out to even the odds, but then were soon disposed of. This assault included Gulak & TARIK taking out Matt Cross & Sebastian Suave with a horribly botched version of the double team powerbomb that Gulak performs with Biff Busick.

Johnny Gargano then took the mic. He said that the fans hadn’t gotten any answers about what’s happened over the last few months, and they weren't getting any answers tonight. The fans drowned him out with boos. Gargano said he’d been putting on great matches in Smash Wrestling for a long time, and is upset with the reaction he’s gotten. He said that he’s a great human being, and added that their faction is now called Fourth Gunn. Gargano said that his mentor, Alex Shelley, gave him a special present, in the form of the SMASH Wrestling Title, revealing that he was wearing it under his hoodie and t-shirt. Gargano then said that if Smash Wrestling wanted their title back, he wanted something in return: A rematch with Matt Cross at the next show, The Art Of War. Finally, Gargano proclaimed that, at The Art Of War, he’d prove that he’s better than Cross, and that Fourth Gunn is better than Smash Wrestling.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was a really strong outing from Smash Wrestling. The quality of the card was incredibly consistent, as you have a number of really good matches, plus two great matches in the form of Johnny Gargano vs. Tyson Dux & Chris Hero vs. Tommaso Ciampa. I would say that those two encounters are definitely worth checking out. With regards to the rest of the undercard, everything is, at the very least, good. In addition to the matches, with did get a major storyline development with Johnny Gargano turning heel and asserting himself as the de facto leader of Fourth Gunn. As a whole, this is definitely a show worth checking out.

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