SMASH vs. Chikara
July 24, 2016
Franklin Horner Community Center
Smash On Demand: https://ondemand.smash-wrestling.com/
Once again I am back to deliver you with your monthly dose of canadian bred, poutine lovin’, SMASH wrestling goodness. After a heavy smaller town tour circuit, SMASH is finally back in their home of the GTA for another of their recent trend of Versus shows. Back in January we saw the roster of CZW go up against the SMASH regulars—I really loved the Jonathan Gresham/Tyson Dux match from that show and really liked Johnny Gargano/Sami Callihan and Lio Rush/Kevin Bennett altercations as well.
This time it’s something completely different with the stars of CHIKARA making their way to the promotion. Now I’ll be completely honest, I have never been the biggest fan of CHIKARA. I find the clips to their shows amusing and they’ve had some of the best workers come through their but as a product I’m going to invest my money and time in, with soooo much wrestling to choose from, it never tickled my fancy. I also want to preface by saying my knowledge of their product isn’t to the level of most and certainly not the level of Kevin Ford/CHIKARA Special or PWPonderings. Anyways let’s get into it.
Super Smash Brothers def. Oleg the Usurper & Dasher Hatfield
This match was a very strong opener that was well worked—no surprise considering Super Smash Brothers is involved. Honestly, they are one of the best indie tag teams in North America and it’s a shame they haven’t had a run in a major American indie in years (likely Visa issues). I’ve really loved their more serious and vicious direction as a tag team and feel like the change of pace has upped the ante for their match quality. Honestly would love to see them scrap it out with Tommy End & Chris Hero, American Wolves, War Machine, Galloway & Dustin, reDRagon or London Riots. I was surprised how over Oleg was over with the crowd. Actually now that I think about, this crowd was much more into the product then in recent memory. Regardless though Oleg and Dasher got a really really good reaction. I was left kinda impressed by Oleg. I didn’t feel like his gimmick took too much away from his wrestling unlike some Chikara gimmicks and works really well for his size. Essentially the match started with Oleg & Dasher having the early advantage with Super Smash Brothers cutting Dasher off for the heat. After the standard tag ending scramble, Super Smash Brothers with their piledriver/punt kick combination. Really fun opener. ***
Well Oiled Machines (Braxton Sutter & Mike Rollins) w/ Cherry Bomb def. Scotty O’Shae & Brent Banks
This was yet another match of the non-cohesion of O’Shae & Banks competing against a cohesive unit of Well Oiled Machines. The little added wrinkle being, in the promo played before the match, Scotty revealed he is jealous of the fact Brent has the support of the fans despite his cheating nature. It seems they have been giving Scotty a bit of an edge as of late which is a much welcomed changed to his character. He’s dropped some of the goofiness of the character like his rip off Duddley’s glasses in favor of leather jackets and more offensive strikes. Now if only he would fully drop the hacker gimmick. The match emphasized the story of Scotty playing clean versus Banks not being afraid to cheat which was the starting point of their original singles feud. These two have great chemistry through years of working against each other in multiple Ontario promotions and have perfected just how their characters interact with each other. This was a very good tag match ending with Scotty attempting to play Banks’s game and taking the glory of the victory but ends up being pinned. Brent Banks stormed out after the loos. ***1/4
We then had an angle to set up Cherry Bomb and Courtney Rush in a No Disqualification Match at Super Showdown III. Cherry called Courtney out and then they signed the match. Courtney was attacked by Cherry but before Courtney could do an real damage Well Oiled Machines ran down and pinned Rush down. This followed with a series of kicks to the skull to Courtney by Cherry. The boys tried to convince her to stop but Cherry fully snapped. She then pulled a wooden stake and threatened to put it through Courtney’s chest before the boys stopped her. I’m really excited for this match if i’m being honest. I thought their Any Given Sunday 4 match was good but felt they were holding back. I think with the no disqualification stipulation they will be able to fully let loose and have a good hate filled contest like the feud deserves.
Kimber Lee def. Candice LeRae
This is a rematch to their very well received match from Any Given Sunday 3. I really enjoyed this match as it felt more of a hard hitting contest than their original. These two girls went to war on each other and worked really well with the exception of one REALLY lame looking botch. In the first minute of the match Candice attempted to clothesline Kimber Lee over the top rope but Kimber Lee didn’t get enough momentum to flip over the rope. She landed back on her feet and decided to flip HERSELF over the rope and to the floor. It looked REALLY amature which was a surprise for Kimber Lee. She could have dropped off her feet and rolled under the ring, or waited for Candice to redo the spot but her answer was flipping herself over the ropes like she was possessed by the devil. Any other match I would have been completely out of it after that botched spot but their work after that point won me back over. I really enjoyed them reversing each others big spots and made it feel like these two really knew each other well. The match finish came after serious of trading roll ups as a callback to the finish of their previous match but with Kimber taking the win this time. I wouldn’t mind seeing these two go at a third time as these two have had very good matches in SMASH. ***1/2
Kevin Bennett def. Tyson Dux, Space Monkey, Juan Francisco de Coronado
I really dug this match, it was filled with so many things that I’m currently really into. For starters, I’ve never seen him before but Juan Francisco is great. His entrance is amazing. He has such great heel heat and works the crowd well. He just get’s on your nerves and I love it. Secondly, I freaking love the gimmick that is Space Monkey. He’s the most CHIKARA thing on the show, and he isn’t even from CHIKARA. It’s so fitting SMASH brought him up for this show because he typically works for SMASH’s child company Infinity. He’s a fun element to every wrestling show I see but it still a very strong worker to the point the gimmick doesn’t control him. Third of all, you have Tyson Dux who is one of the most steady hands you can have the ontario scene. Honestly he’s a favorite for me on any show just because he’s so solid in ring. You never get a bad performance from him. Last but certainly not least, you have what I have personally just realized is my favorite thing in the promotion, Kevin Bennett. I love to hate this guy. He’s such a tool and is the perfect heel that makes you WANT to hate him. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize but after I let Gold simmer and watched his most recent promos online everything clicked and I realized just how good of a heel he is. He’s a very good worker too and puts on some very good matches, well as long as he isn’t working with the dry Facade. This match had all the elements to be a very fun four way and boy did it deliver. It was very well paced and the crowd was SUPER into it. Not much of note with the match opening with a big scramble that saw Space Monkey hit a sick corkscrew moonsault to the outside. After a lot of move trading, Juan Francisco & Kevin Bennett were able to isolate Space Monkey and build the heat as Tyson Dux recuperate on the outside. Dux ended up turning the tide and hit some of the most VICIOUS looking Powerbombs I have seen in a long time. I’m shocked Bennet doesn’t have a concussion with how vicious they looked. Kevin Bennett Experience ended up getting involved and taken out by Dux but with their distraction it allowed Kevin to hit Tyson with the REMIX. Kevin Bennett called Dux washed up after the match and pointed out the fact he’s failed to win his more meaningful matches as of late. Dux walked away disappointed in his most recent losses. This was a really fun match and I can’t help but be intrigued with the direction of Dux especially with his status in the CWC and his upcoming match with Cody Rhodes. ***1/4
Matt Cross def Hallowicked
The return of Matt Cross to SMASH. He hasn’t been in the promotion since winning a four way at Super Showdown III and boy have I missed him. He’s been a staple in Smash since the beginning of the promotion working the first ever show against Brent Banks and holding the distinction of being the first ever SMASH Champion. He’s honestly such a great worker. This was a good match with Matt Cross utilizing his aerial and speed to combat the power of Hallowicked. My only criticism is I felt Hallowicked was out shined by Matt Cross. He just felt sort of their in the match while Matt Cross felt like the star of the match. I honestly can’t remember a single offensive maneuver by Hallowicked after the match ended, that’s how much of a mark he made on me. It’s amazing how a large man can be so forgettable. He didn’t really come across as powerful as I would have liked. That’s the only nit pick I have with the match itself. Matt Cross won with A Shooting Star Press. I really hope he’s booked for the SMASH vs. PROGRESS shows because I’m dying to see him booked against Mark Andrews or Zack Sabre Jr. ***1/4
The Colony (Worker Ant, Soldier Ant & Fire Ant) def. Pineapple Soda Club (Overdogs & Tarik)
Just to get the nit pickiness out of the way—this didn’t really affect my thoughts on the match—but from a story perspective I have a problem with the Pineapple Soda Club. Why is Tarik, the man who stated he didn’t need anyone and wanted to kill SMASH, teaming with Overdogs willingly. I don’t get it. Sure, they team on other Ontario indies but in terms of SMASH I don’t get why. Maybe if we had a video or something explaining why in the universe of SMASH they would be teaming together but it was just sorta happening for no reason. If I’m going to complain lack of logic in other promotions, I have to do it to SMASH too even though I love them.
Anyways this match was very CHIKARA. With the multiple man submission spots and the typical Overdogs comedy. I have to say as a tag team I’m kind getting over them, no pun intended. It just feels like all I’ve seen from them since September has been the same jokes and that it. I want them to do something, anything different because right now their getting to a point where their matches are just their. I dunno if it was the beer or the fact that I watched an incredible triple trios match hours before this show from Dragon Gate, but this match felt a little long, drawn out and lost my attention. It didn’t really do it for me and I could feel myself looking at my clock anticipating the main event. Maybe I would have enjoyed this when I wasn’t in the wrestling heatwave that is G1 Season, but for the moment this match just seemed to go on. Now don’t get me wrong, all 6 men worked really hard and it wasn’t like the match was bad, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Colony won with the Ant Hill. People will probably like this match more then me so don’t be discouraged by rating. **3/4
Johnny Gargano def. Icarus
FIST explodes in the farewell match of Johnny Wrestling and I wouldn’t have ended the show any other way. Before the match starts Johnny cuts a promo turning himself face saying he wants to fight this match down the middle, unlike his entire run as champ, and wants to finish his time with the company right. Even before the promo though Johnny was so incredibly over as a face and got the best reaction by the SMASH crowd in a long time. Everyone seemed genuinely appreciative of the time he spent to travel up north and entertain a bunch of poutine loving canucks. He’s as much a part of the promotion as any of the homegrown canadian talent betweening working the second ever show of Any Given Sunday with Scotty O’Shae against Kevin Steen and Tyson Dux and being the longest SMASH Wrestling champion of all time (well of two reigns). This guy has truly left his mark on the promotion.
Now as for the match, it was more about Johnny Gargano than anything. Icarus cut off momentum here and there but the Johnny stole the show. The story of the match was Johnny refusing to play into his dirty tricks while Icarus had no problem playing those games. The ending came when, with fan encouragement, Gargano finally gave Icarus his own medicine and clocking him with a chair then hitting him with a superkick. Now being picky, I would have preferred he didn’t use the chair as it would have told a better story. But wrestling isn’t just for me and it’s what the other fans wanted, so he left the fans happy. Ultimately at the end of the day isn’t that the point of this. Anyways I thought this was a very good match and well worth checking out. I’ll definitely be looking out for the rest of the Johnny Gargano Farewell tour but this was a very good start. He cut a really great promo after and honestly came across as such a good humble guy. I highly recommend checking that out too. This guy’s success is deserved and can’t wait to see where he goes from here. I may be overrating out of markdom but… ****
I enjoyed SMASH vs. CHIKARA much more top to bottom than any show in recent memory. If you have a few hours to spare or even minimal SMASH fan, this is really fun watch. If you’re cherry picking because G1 season is a marathon, the highly recommended must watch matches are Gargano/Icarus and Kimber/Candice. I also mildly recommend the four way and the Scotty O’Shae/Brent Banks tag match especially since they have major storyline advancement.