ACTION Wrestling & Segunda Caida: DEAN~!!
April 4, 2024
H2O Wrestling Center
Williamstown, New Jersey

Watch: IWTV

One of WrestleMania Weekend 2024’s most intriguing shows is ACTION Wrestling & Segunda Caida’s DEAN~!!! took place on April 4 at the H20 Wrestling Center in Williamstown, New Jersey. 

ACTION Wrestling Championship
Alex Kane ( C ) def. Colby Corino

For all of those people who claim that you can’t tell stories within wrestling matches, I would first tell them that they are wildly wrong, and then I would point them to watch the brilliant eight-minute package that these men put together. 

During the in-ring introductions, Colby Corino told the ring announcer that he was tired, having worked a bunch of matches already during the week, and that set the stage for him wrestling out of desperation throughout. 

Corino’s main method of attack was a simple headlock, a reference to a gimmick he’d used earlier in the week for H20. Dylan Hales and John Mosley, on commentary, made great reference to that, living up to what ACTION promoter Matt Griffin had told me earlier in the week—“everything is canon.” 

Corino looked for the headlock at every opportunity, getting the crowd onside and often using Alex Kane’s momentum against him. He went for it one too many times though, with Kane reversing one into a leg capture suplex that just beat Corino. The work was solid, but as a total package, I loved this. ***1/2

Amboss (Robert Dreissker & Laurance Roman) & O’Shay Edwards def. The Good Hand (Suge D, Kevin Ryan & Tyler Stevens)

The Good Hand is a faction of cowardly heels, and they established that early on for the live crowd and IWTV audience by talking smack but actively avoiding O’Shay Edwards. 

Edwards wouldn’t have much input for the rest of the match, with most of the match seeing recent 16 Carat Gold winner Roman getting worked over by The Good Hand. Roman might have got knocked loopy at some point, but he eventually made the hot tag to Dreissker, who ran wild before bringing Edwards back in for a match-winning Moonsault. **3/4

Violence is Forever (Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini) def. The Ugly Sucklings (White Mike & Rob Killjoy)

A late addition to the show, this was probably the most I’ve enjoyed a Dominic Garrini match in a long time. Typically, his look, tendency to gas and awkward, faux-MMA style irritate me but with this match being kept to just shy of seven minutes, the focus was all on the action. 

On the other hand, Kevin Ku is someone I always love watching and he looked good here, laying in some stiff strikes and combining well with Garrini in the finish. **3/4

The Coven of the Goat (Jaden Newman & Tank) (w/Reverend Dan Wilson) def. Manders & Tom Lawlor

I can’t express how much I loved Tom Lawlor’s look for this match. Instead of his normal gear, he came out wearing a polo shirt, dress pants, and a pair of trainers. What a man. 

Before the opening bell, The Coven’s manager, Dan Wilson, announced that this match was being contested under Gypsy Joe Rule and was, therefore, effectively, a hardcore bout. A sensible decision given Tank’s involvement, this ended up being a wild, chaotic brawl that was fun from start to finish and made me see Jaden Newman in a far less jaggy light than I have previously. 

The best spots involved Tank and Manders using ‘The Dean Chair’—the steel chair reserved for the late Dean Rasmussen, whom this show was honoring. At first, they shared a beer, and then, later, they engaged in a headbutt exchange. 

They only hit the ring for the finish, which saw Manders inadvertently wipe our Lawler before being pinned by Newman. ***

Bobby Flaco, Rico Gonzalez & Brayden Toon def. Hoodfoot, Danny Demanto & Isaiah Broner

This was the show’s weakest thing regarding the in-ring work.

The team of big dudes, which included two hardcore specialists in Hoodfoot and Danny Demanto, only used one weapon during the match. That weapon was a door, and Bobby Flaco went through that courtesy of a spear from Isaiah Broner. 

Broner impressed me the most in the match, and he, unsurprisingly therefore, took the pin, eating a double stomp from Rico Gonzalez on the apron before receiving a Springboard Cutter from Flaco. **

Dr Cerebro def. Gringo Loco

For the purposes of this review, I’m grouping this match into one package, even though we technically got two matches between these two, with Gringo Loco winning the first via DQ and then Dr. Cerebro winning the second. 

Designed to transport fans back to their battles in Arena Nacualpan in IWRG back in 2009 and 2010, there was a role reversal early on as Gringo Loco took on the mantle of the tecnico and Cerebro refused his two attempts at a handshake. 

From there the work was entertaining with a nice mix of llave style grappling and brawling on the outside. Dr Cerebro had already snapped Loco’s arm when he decided to attack him with a chair, and that prompted this to restart as a No DQ bout that was… not that violent? Both men hit a couple of chair shots, but otherwise, it was Gringo Loco hitting two big top rope spots before Dr Cerebro superkicked him and eventually tapped him out. 

The DQ finish to the first part of the match made some sense in the context of their feud, which the comms did a good job of putting over, but in the end it felt more like a way to ensure neither man ‘lost’. I can’t help but wonder whether it might have worked better if they’d gone down the two-out-of-three-falls approach. ***1/4

IWTV World Championship
Krule (C) def. Warhorse

For a long time, I couldn’t abide Warhorse. I thought his gimmick was very low rent and his work was sub-standard. He wasn’t for me when he was over, and his schtick unsurprisingly bombed when he got a shot in AEW. I’d seen him wrestle a grand sum of once since that AEW shot, so this match was ultimately a litmus test to see if he’d matured beyond the irony, meme bullshit of a few years prior. 

Luckily for me, he had. He looked like a proper wrestler here and played his part in a logically built match. He worked in bursts, trying to lay in a sequence of shots on the big man before invariably getting cut off with one bit of power offense. 

Less luckily for me was the fact that this ended with an overbooked authority angle. The IWTV Commissioner Avery Good and Adam Priest attacked Krule with a chair, leading to Warhorse getting a visual pin. Warhorse wouldn’t get involved in the angle, though, and that cost him, as Krule threw a fireball in his face and pinned him. *

Post-match, Jonathan Gresham appeared to set up a future title challenge against Krule.

Matt Makowski def. Arez

This was one of my most anticipated matches on the entire card, mostly because of the unique mixing of styles between the two.

It ultimately ended up feeling like an afterthought, though, largely because the show was a bit short on time. There were some cool spots that played to both men’s strengths, but there were also some chemistry issues there that stopped me from getting too invested. **1/2




Slim J def. Adam Priest

Having seen his tweets earlier in the week after his AEW release, I was super intrigued to see the sort of showing that Slim J would have here. Well, in the shop window against one of the best and most polished guys on the indies, he gave a great account of himself.

The main thing I love about watching Adam Priest’s matches is the small things – there’s always some wrinkle in one of his matches that pops me. Here, he was maneuvering a guillotine choke from Slim J under the ropes before snapping back, using the whiplash to break the hold, and immediately putting Slim J on the back foot. A neat, cool spot on a weekend where you see many of the same things goes a long way.

These two had a bunch of good nearfalls down the stretch before Slim J eventually put him away with the Standing Sliced Bread variation. Based on this showing, he should pick up more bookings as the year progresses. ***1/2

Wasted Youth (Austin Luke & Marcus Mathers) def. Sinner & Saint (Judas Icarus & Travis Williams)

While I think people are sleeping on Adam Priest, two guys that have seemingly caught more major attention are the team of Sinner & Saint, who, as per the commentators on Thursday’s DEFY show, are now TNA-contracted talent. 

That’s great news because I think they’re a fun, young team with a ton of room for improvement. One of the immediate improvements that has to be made is getting Judas Icarus to stop doing these goofy, inorganic comeback lariat spots. Just like springboard and diving cutters, they’re a spot that should be banned with the utmost prejudice. 

Icarus hit one of them in this match but that aside, I thought this was good. This was the most ‘modern indie’ match on the show, effectively serving as a showcase for four young guys with high ceilings busting out a bunch of high spots. Sure, there were some timing issues, but this was a lot of fun. ***

Dog Collar Match
Mad Dog Connelly def. Demus el Demonio

THIS IS PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, FOLKS. LET’S GET AFTER IT!

It’s hard for me to express how much I loved this match. About as deep a cut as you could get, this was perfect for this show but also just an excellent bit of professional wrestling from two guys in their absolute element. 

From Connelly whipping Demus in the face with the chain just after they’d been strapped up right through to Connelly tapping him with a modified triangle choke, this was stiff, intense, and every bit as bloody and gnarly as the suggestion should suggest.

You had Demus careering into the fans, MMA-style clinches, over-the-back hangman spots, and vicious-looking throws into the ring posts. 

Just an insane brawl for the 10 minutes this lasted, this had energy like nothing else on this show and during the entire Mania Weekend. Every bit as good as Connelly’s bout with Manders in January, this should be appointment viewing. ****1/4

Daniel Makabe def. Timothy Thatcher

Just as he did in their first meeting almost seven years ago, Daniel Makabe got the best of Timothy Thatcher to retake the lead in their series 3-2 heading into his retirement. 

Although the grapple-heavy style that both of these guys implement isn’t for everyone, I tend to like both of them and I thought they were great here. 

What always impresses me about Makabe is that he’s always doing something. Whether he’s on top or fighting from the bottom, he’s chucking out small strikes or probing for openings rather than just accepting the position. Thatcher, to his credit, did a lot of the same stuff here. 

There were a lot of limb submission attempts, which meant that the strikes that these two threw were sparse. That made them more impactful as a viewer and they were all stiff, not just when they headbutted each other as a result of selling their arms, but when Makabe threw three straight punches to Thatcher to pick up a sudden but definitive victory. ****

Post-match, Makabe tried to give Thatcher his scarf which was a call back to their first meeting back in 2017. Thatcher refused and left Makabe, who’d hit a very fitting Death Valley Driver towards the end of the match, to cut a very emotional promo about the influence of Dean Rasmussen on his career. He was upset, on the verge on tears, and to be fair he got me going as well.

Final Thoughts

From a work standpoint, DEAN~!!! was a bit too bloated a show with 12 matches and a runtime of three-and-a-half hours. 

However, from a vision and enjoyment standpoint, this was the best show from WrestleMania Weekend. There were no two matches the same and that means that there was something for everyone, whether you’re a grappling enthusiast, a fan of exciting young talent doing spotfests or someone like me who was pacing for Mad Dog Connelly and Demus knocking 12 bells out of each other. The top two matches are must-see but I think the whole show is a blast and worth your time. 

When I spoke to ACTION promoted Matt Griffin before the show, he said: “I hope that we do a good job of tipping our hat to influential wrestling fans like Dean, who evangelized and spread the word of promotions or wrestlers who didn’t have exposure, and honoring that part of the wrestling fandom.” 

Matt, you and the team absolutely smashed it out of the park. Wrestling, bloody hell.