Stadium Series Night 2
September 19, 2020
Marian Catholic High School
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Last weekend, Warrior Wrestling put on an easy to watch and entertaining first show in their Stadium Series and I had quite a bit of fun watching it. Enough fun I decided to continue on and review night two this week. There are matches and stories on this card, I am pretty interested in seeing play out.
Sam Adonis def. Jake Something
Some decent action and both men worked well together. Nothing too fancy, nothing extremely special or hard-hitting. Just solid wrestling in an opening match was neither man hit too much of a higher gear.
I do feel for an opening match it was fine but Adonis got a few too many near far kick-outs. Not every match needs those. In fact, fewer matches could use those! Adonis’s 450 splash to finish was pretty nice though. ***
Beast Man def. Facade, Jack Griffin, Icon Lee, Dani Mo, Dan The Dad
Unfortunately, this match was a mixture of people I don’t know (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and people I can’t stand (Facade, Dan The Dad) so my expectations for this match was absolute zero. The moment Beast Man “took a bug” out of the ref’s hair and ate it pre-match followed by a short football toss courtesy of Dan the Dad I started to cringe about how I was going to feel about this match. This was one of the most uninspiring and flat scrambles I’ve watched. Maybe the occasional nice move was hit but not enough to save this.
If I can say anything positive it did pick up somewhat in the second part of the match which was appreciated, but that wasn’t enough to save it or increase its rating. There was a very nice springboard Canadian Destroyer by Dani Mo in the match so I’ll give her fair credit for that, but really if a Canadian Destroyer is the highlight of a match, it is not a success by any stretch. At least Facade took the fall. I’ll put that in the plus column. Beast Man winning though negates all of that, unfortunately. Let us move on. **
Lee Moriarty def. Tre’ Lemar
With these two competitors, there was a high chance I’d finally be getting the good stuff. With the opening grappling moments of this match, I knew this was going to be a jam I could get into. There’s a lot of upside to both of these guys and this match is a good showcase of what they can offer and what’s great is they will continue to add on and improve upon that foundation. Both men just gel together like peanut butter and bananas on a sandwich (Don’t judge that combo is delicious) and it led to a highly enjoyable contest.
Both men just have an energy about them and by that, I don’t mean they move a million miles a second at all times, I mean everything they do has a bit of animation and feeling to it that. Even the most basic moves don’t feel like simply going through the motions, it feels like they have a game plan or an idea of what they are going to do and then they do it. Both men got in their shots but it never felt like “I get my stuff and then you get your stuff”. This was just fun, entertaining wrestling that didn’t rely on going to over the top or too extravagant to capture my attention. I’m glad this match happened third, after the previous two matches I was beginning to drift from the show. This succeeded in snapping me back to attention. ***3/4
Ace Austin & Madman Fulton def. Violence Is Forever
I had high hopes going into this match up with the names involved, and it ended up being a pretty good contest that by the end failed to keep hold of me. Violence is Forever is one of my favorite tag teams on the independents and their talent both as individuals and a team was on display in this match. Meanwhile, Ace Austin and Fulton accounted for themselves well but with flaws. Ace is excellent and Fulton wants to come off as a monster and there are glimpses there but I’m never sold on it. What followed was a good tag team match that I felt was missing something which is a frustrating way of saying, something kept me from enjoying it fully but for the life of me I couldn’t put my finger on it. There were some good tag team maneuvers from both teams and some nice mixing it up with the competitors each getting some moments to look good.
I feel bad in this instance because I find I’m struggling to have much to say about this match up even though it was good. The work was solid and entertaining enough but the match lost me near the end with commentary bickering on whether or not a pin attempt should’ve been counted as broken up when Fulton chokeslammed Ku on Dominic, and things felt disjointed after that until the end. This did not hit the highs I was hoping but it was an adequate effort from all four men and was by no means a bad match, just one missing a gear I needed it to kick into in order to enjoy it to it’s fullest. If it had found that gear I feel like that rating would’ve been several levels higher. ***1/4
Kimber Lee def. Jordynne Grace
Eh, this didn’t do anything for me. Grace worked adequately but Kimber Lee didn’t do much for me in this match. There were some good things such as Grace hitting a nice spine buster for example, but other than that this match had a hard time keeping me in its grasp, and at times was dangerously close of having me slip away. At one point Lee’s kicks were called intense by the commentary team but there was nothing about them that screamed intensity what so ever. Grace on the other hand hit some brutal moves like the already mentioned spine-buster, and a nice looking muscle buster. I thought she did well in this match.
I don’t want to say this match went at slow motion, that’s a little too much, but it definitely felt like it never went at full speed. Lee hits a nice Swanton at the end of the match which was the only thing she did during the match that made a mark on me, but it honestly didn’t feel like much of an effort. The commentary teamed played it up about Lee defeating Grace but nothing about this match felt like a big deal or important to me. It just was completely flat and in the end, I can’t even bring myself to give it the classy lady’s three stars. Underperforming, underwhelming, underachieving, and as soon as the match graphic for the next match appeared I already couldn’t remember much about it. **
Before the next match, the masked men who attacked Joey Janela show themselves once more. It was… Frank The Clown and Robert Anthony and my interest level tanks immediately. A street fight between Anthony and Janela is announced, Jordan Cross comes out to accept an open invitation to a fight. He gets some shots in but then Anthony and Frank the Clown take charge and get their licks in, it goes on way too long, and you know what, I’m giving this way more attention than I want. Let us get back to the matches.
Alex Shelley vs. Johnathan Gresham – No Contest
This was the match I was the most looking forward to going into this event. Shelley has been consistently good for a long time and Gresham, I hesitate to say he’s on the top of his game because I don’t think he’s reached that yet and that’s scary considering how good he is right now. I was expecting a technical grappling war and that’s what I got and I have zero complaints about that. What I really appreciate is every hold and every movement had purpose and direction, and endgame if you will. Nothing felt like it was done without thought of what the goal of said action was. The term chess match can get overused, but it genuinely felt as if both men were trying to figure out what the other one had planned so they could counter or pre-emptively strike them for it.
Unfortunately and to my massive disappointment just when I felt the match was shifting gears into higher speed and increasing the intensity as some nifty pinfall attempts happen between both men, they maneuver themselves into a double pinfall and the match ends abruptly just when I felt it was beginning to leave the good phase of the match and attempt to reach great. I was very unhappy as I felt I was given an incomplete contest, a film that due to whatever reason had a chunk of it left out from editing leaving me with a product I liked, but damn, I felt I was missing a lot and in the end came up lacking. Given a bit more time and a definite victor this could’ve been a much higher rating and give this show something memorable, which this show needed. ***1/4
Luchasaurus & Tay Conti def. Chris Bey & Ray Lyn
You know, I would not mind a Chris Bey versus Luchasaurus singles match. That was my immediate thought as this match started. I had fun with this. I didn’t really have expectations but this match achieved the level of fun, and all four participants clearly were game to work and entertained and they succeeded. This show needed this match. I’m not saying it was great or a show-stealer, but it was entertaining with a good combination of personalities mixing it up and achieving a worthwhile affair. All four people brought energy some matches were lacking tonight and it made for a difference in feeling and keeping me focused and entertained.
All four were able to contribute to various degrees and while I cannot pinpoint a standout, I can also say no one ended up being the sore thumb. If I had a major negative it would be before the match even began Ray Lyn was the obvious person to take the pinfall, and that is exactly what happened. I had fun, and with wrestling sometimes fun is acceptable, and on this show in particular I will totally take fun. The fun factor pretty much is going to amplify this match to the rating I end up giving it. ***1/2
Trey Miguel def. Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz
All three members of the Rascalz was announced last week as opponents for this show. The winner of this match gets the title shot so I appreciate having a match with stakes and implications.
All three are individual talent and energetic as hell so I had high hopes going into this. I also had a fear it could devolve into either a clustered mess and/or the formulaic three-way style. I think it mostly achieved not falling into this category. This match had a spot I really hated where everyone (even the referee) ended in a sleeper and the ref did a jawbreaker on all three men at the same time. I didn’t need that, I get they were going for cute and amusing but it really came off too contrived and lame.
That out of the way, this match had a lot of movement, a lot of speed, it’s share of flips, dives, and spots, and when it was all said and done, it didn’t do much for me. I appreciate the energy, I appreciate the intensity, hell I recognize and respect the talent, but the match was a bunch of cool good looking moves but not much more than that. You could argue sometimes matches don’t need to be more than that, and that’s true, which is why this won’t get a bad rating, it’ll get an I applaud and recognize the effort rating. ***1/4
Warrior Wrestling Championship
Brian Pillman Jr.(c) def. WARHORSE
And at last, we arrive at our main event. The championship is on the line in a match that turned out to be solid. Brian Pillman Jr still has a lot of growing to do as a performer but I thought he did well here. Both performers clicked pretty well and while I don’t think this was a great main event, I thought it was a good ending to the show and something the show was calling for. Unlike a few matches I was looking forward to tonight I felt it got an adequate amount of time to grow and build and moved at a nice pace at all times without slowing to a crawl over ever sinking to being boring.
As stated in the above paragraph Brian Pillman Jr. has a lot of growing to do as a performer, but matches such as this are the kind of matches he needs to improve and increase his abilities. Warhorse did hit some of his gimmick staples but fortunately, they did not get in the way of his performance and he brought a good energetic feel to the match that I think Pillman doesn’t succeed with, at least right now in his career. Pillman Jr. isn’t bad but I felt Warhorse definitely outperformed him in this match. A Warhorse title reign isn’t meant to be as Pillman hit his jackhammer finisher and got the win. I enjoyed this and felt it gave the show a high note ending it needed. ***1/2
It’s hard to call a show with mostly three-star ratings disappointing, but I had higher hopes for some of the matches on this show, and those expectations did not materialize. This was a step down from the previous show but, by all means, not a bad show.