Photo: Mikey Nolan Photography
DEFY offered up an eclectic variety of bouts on both nights, with high-quality in-ring work for the hardcore fans but enough spectacle and creativity to reel in plenty of casuals, as well, but the Defyance, the name given to die-hard DEFY fans, willed this to distinction.
There was a chant for ring announcer and radio host Steve Miggs at the top of the show. The temperature had cooled from the night before but the amount of heat inside Washington Hall was the same.
DEFY Super 8XGP Semifinals: Christopher Daniels def. Cody Chhun
There were “SCU” chants for Daniels as he made his way to the ring. He had black tape on his eye from his match with Schaff the night before, calling Schaff’s kick-out “the hardest in pro wrestling,” which led to the crowd chanting for Schaff. “Don’t let Schaff kick out, just let him pin you.” He told the crowd he went to the hospital after Night 1 and waited five hours to get six stitches over his eye.
Chhun, the hometown boy, entered to a wave of support, the crowd singing the “Cody f***in’ Chhun” song. Daniels asked if the expletive was really his middle name.
1/3 Pre-Match: The Fallen Angel questions Cody’s middle name… pic.twitter.com/ynlBWVXJ7D
— Rey Sacramento (@djrazs) July 29, 2019
The two shook hands. The crowd was ready to chant tonight and chant they did. Daniels would lean into being either a face or a heel depending on how the crowd would react. It sounds like common sense but it’s really impressive to watch when Daniels is in the ring; he understands the today’s capricious crowds, he acts accordingly and never has to force his gimmick in a fan’s face. He just gets over.
Daniels controlled much of the early part of this. He knocked Chhun to the floor at one point but Chhun closely beat the referee’s ten-count and rolled back into the ring, and later came back with a springboard Sliced Bread, a beautiful one that the crowd went wild for, jumping out of their seats.
The last parts of this were lightening fast, lots of near-falls, the crowd on board for everything. Daniels landed a spinning Blue Thunder bomb for two, then hit the double-jump moonsault to win. This was a shock to some as some assumed Defy would pull the trigger and go with two regulars in the finals, but with this win, Christopher Daniels would be on his way to the SuperXGP finals later in the evening.
This was another good match that Daniels led from start to finish. He’s masterful not unlike Hiroshi Tanahashi in that Daniels makes every moment valuable, and understands the game to a point where he can always get both himself over as well as his opponent and regardless of who’s scheduled to win or lose. He and Chhun had a nice moment in the ring together as this may have been the best match of Chhun’s career so far. The crowd gave him a boisterous send-off as he walked to the back.
DEFY Super 8XGP Semifinals: Artemis Spencer def. Matt Cross
Since Spencer was the sitting DEFY Heavyweight champion his title was constantly on the line in the Super 8XGP. His second defense was against Cross here in a match that was all guns a-blazin’, no slow parts, really, just fast action. They shook hands before they got going. Spencer did a few Lucha Things at the top, including a few flying arm drags and a 619 over the top rope, not through the middle one like Rey Mysterio or Tiger Mask do. Cross did a springboard crossbody. Spencer went for a diving senton on the ropes but Cross blocked it and later hit an Open Road cutter for two. Spencer came back and finished Cross off with a corkscrew senton. The finals for the Super 8XGP were set: DEFY Heavyweight champion Artemis Spencer would defend a third time this weekend against AEW’s Christopher Daniels.
Four-way Tag Team match: The Amerikan Guns def. Super Crazy & Guillermo Rosas, Randy Myers & Schaff and the Modern Day Savages
This was all action with some comedy and lots of moving parts. The crowd sang along to Guillermo Rosas’s theme song. Mike Santiago from the Guns was freaking out trying to go after Rosas and added some logical tension to the match before it even got underway.
Here’s @PistolaYRosas coming out to Old Town Road and the whole crowd singing along. This is why wrestling is better than the other things in life. #DEFYS8XGP @defyNW @LilNasX pic.twitter.com/YuwNRTGTse
— TheBrianJ [DotR] (@TheeBrianJ) July 27, 2019
Randy Myers got another rock star reaction tonight, though Super Crazy’s reaction to Myer’s reaction was equally entertaining.
Santiago and Schaff were good together during their piece of the match. This match was a fruit basket of styles and moved from serious in-ring work to surreal comedy; within minutes Myers was riding Rosas around like a pony, then hit a consent-on bomb for two. The Modern Day Savages used some interesting power moves. There was a section of the match where everyone did dives and Super Crazy did a tope con giro over the referee onto the floor. Back in the ring, they did a chain of superkicks, then a chain of kissing spots that wrapped with them teasing teammates Schaff and Myers kissing. Schaff later hit a picture-perfect swan dive senton to the floor from the top rope, and for someone that size, it was awesome to see.
— Justin Hyland (@heavyjustin58) July 28, 2019
The last few minutes of this was move-for-move action between all four teams. There was some interference and even ring announcer Steve Miggs interfered, but Santiago ended up pinning one of the Savages to steal the win. This was solid and the crowd was behind this one, and loudly.
Tama Tonga and Joey Janela went to a no-contest
Janela came out and did a Sandman parody entrance, all with “Enter Sandman” and Zubaz pants, just swap out the beers for White Claw hard seltzers.
— Justin M. Knipper (@justinmknipper) July 28, 2019
When Tonga came out he received pretty much the same reaction he got from the night before, superstar-style. Each wrestler had one cosplayer in the crowd, one Janela clone with sunglasses and a Tonga with old school Bullet Club face paint.
After the bell, the first few minutes of this was just them standing in the ring and letting the crowd get the chants out of their system. It was crazy to watch, the crowd sometimes split between the two, then each wrestler would get their own customized chants, and I remember towards the end of this bit there was even a “New Japan” call. Once they actually started wrestling it was crisp and quick. They did a spot where they kept exchanging middle fingers. There were chants for Super Humman. Janela eventually threw Tonga into the crowd and they brawled all over the venue. The two cosplayers I mentioned scuffled with each other until it was broken up by a cosplayer referee. Tonga then whipped Janela into Other Joey, sending both to the floor, then did gave Other Tama a Too Sweet bump.
As the fight spilled to the outside, @JANELABABY & @Tama_Tonga get their superfans @JoeyJohnela & @JoeyDefy in on the action!#NJPW #AEW #DEFY@njpwglobal @AEWrestling @defyNW @TeddyLonglegs92 pic.twitter.com/hoWKiLTStG
— Rey Sacramento (@djrazs) August 1, 2019
The match came to a halt when Ethan HD and Mike Santiago of the Amerikan Gunz came out and beat down both, though Ethan HD was mainly there to get back at Tonga for beating him in their main event the night before. Warbeast came down and took out AG but didn’t spend time palling around with Janela or Tonga. After the schmozz, Janela grabbed the mic and asked “Who were they? Enzo’s goons?” which the crowd oohed over. He went on to talk about how DEFY was so cool for letting them do this match. Tonga then thanked everyone and received “please come back” chants. Before cutting to intermission Janela shouted this into the mic: “Let’s change the f***’in business.”
Douglas James def. Travis Williams
The recent MLW signee Williams took Williams out in a good match. Williams has a natural instinct and has a look the DEFY crowd loved hating. Williams is 20 years old and looks like he could be even younger. They chanted “Justin Bieber” at him, and some fans shouted things like “It’s past your curfew!” and “Check his ID!” Williams is a slight bit taller than James and leaned into that angle and did some arrogant gestures reminding James how much taller he was than James. He has MJF-type heel vibes but the gimmick hasn’t fully formed yet. Keep an eye on him.
Once things started they took a high-speed tempo with a lucha feel. It was another quick one but was again solid, like a TV match you’d see on MLW’s Fusion, actually. Modern action at a faster-than-usual pace. James used some innovative offense, including a Bloody Sunday-reverse GTR type thing, and later a Last Chancery submission. He used a big frog splash variation to pin Williams here.
Warbeast (Josef Samael and Jacob Fatu) def. La Raza (Sonico & Leon Negro) to retain the DEFY and PCW Ultra Tag Team titles
This was a quick barroom massacre from the get. Sonico, a luchador from the Pacific-Northwest who’ll make his debut for Pro Wrestling NOAH this month, and partner Leon Negro came out in black versions of their regular ring outfits.
— プロレスリング・ノア (@noah_ghc) August 4, 2019
Cookie sheets were used among other wrestling-centric weapons. Samael did a brutal Last Ride power bomb to Negro onto the apron. Fatu went through his signature spots and put La Raza away after a double-jump moonsault onto both members. Warbeast looked like beasts, for sure.
DEFY Super 8XGP Semifinals: Artemis Spencer def. Christopher Daniels to retain the DEFY Heavyweight title
Daniels and Spencer jaw-jacked before the bell. Again, this was another match with all action. Daniels hit Angel’s Wings and went for an early pin. He did a dive to the floor and I had to remind myself that this is CD’s third match this weekend, too. Spencer came back with hard kicks but Daniels responded by slowing the pace and shutting Spencer down with submission holds, including a Koji clutch. When Daniels went for an Arabian Press into the ring Spencer caught him in a triangle choke and started elbowing Daniels in the head. Daniels rallied back and hit the Best Moonsault ever for a close two, but just minutes after 11 p.m. Spencer was able to stick the corkscrew senton landing and win the DEFY’s 2019 Super 8XGP tournament, as well as retain his title. Praise and honor to all involved in this tournament with an extra-special nod to Spencer and Daniels for working three great matches in two nights. I’d go Chris Daniels if I had to choose a tournament MVP.
It was a long weekend of wrestling but didn’t feel too long. The match quality was high and consistent, and not unlike the AEW crowd, the Defyance made sure that this was going to be the most important weekend at Washington Hall so far this year.
DEFY will be back this month in Tacoma and will host the Night 1 of NJPW’s sold-out Super J-Cup tournament, and on the next day will host Defyance Forever featuring a mix of DEFY and NJPW talent. For more info, visit DEFY’s website.