It’s back to the Collective as we take a look at Black Label Pro’s Adventures in Wrestling. Complete with Chico.
Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall’s the venue here for a show that had a slight tweak thanks to the Dragon Gate visa issues, as Jonathan Gresham would now face Shigehiro Irie in the main event. Sarah Shockey and Drew Cordeiro are on commentary – yes, it’s Denver Colorado.
No Holds Barred for Black Label Pro Heavyweight Championship: Ethan Page (c) vs. Kobe Durst
We’re straight out of the gate shere as I think Ethan may have another show to get to… he calls out Kobe Durst, who runs out with a chairshot, before he clattered into Page with a slingshot senton to the outside.
Page replies by lawndarting Dursty into a chair he’d wedged between the ropes, before putting a chair on Durst as he ran him into the corner. The aggression continues as Page keeps clubbing away on Kobe, who finds his way back by running Ethan on a chair into the ring post. After an Irish whip was reversed, Durst ended up on the stage, which he moonsaulted off of, before Durst grabbed some plunder.
They finally enter the ring, where Kobe tries to piledriver Page on a bin, but things break down in there as Durst gets caught on the top rope and brought down with a massive fallaway slam. We see some more of the plunder, including a toilet seat, before Durst countered a powerbomb onto a chair by legdropping Page head-first onto it for a near-fall. From the initial camera angle, that looked vile.
Page comes back with a superkick and a Border Toss onto a bin for a near-fall, with Jake Lander pulling the ref out to stop the count. Another guy comes in, Tyler Lemar, to help Lander beat down Page… but Page switched around as Durst’s flying lungblower took out Lander by mistake. Durst gets turfed outside into Lemar, before Lander’s press slammed into the front row. Things settle down as Page looked to superplex Durst through a chair, but another leg lariat takes Page awkwardly into it for a near-fall. Durst takes the initiative and heads under the ring for a door and another chair… makeshift table! Durst looks for a superplex, but Page just cracks him through the table with an avalanche Last Ride, before he began beating him with the remnants of the table. JESUS EFFING CHRIST ETHAN.
He tries to turn it up again by chokeslamming Durst through some chairs, but Lemar and Lander get involved, only for an Iconoclasm into some chairs to take out Lander. From there though, Durst caught Page with a Codebreaker as he was wearing a chair, before a piledriver onto a chair got the win. This was wonderfully wild and violent without any bloodshed – if you like your plunder matches to look wild, then this is one for you. ***¾
IndependentWrestling.tv Championship: Bryan Alvarez vs. Orange Cassidy (c)
This was a match that went through a thousand changes – originally Alvarez was meant to be tagging with Tom Lawlor against a mystery team (originally PCO and Marko Stunt), but then injuries and signings derailed things, so we ended up with this. And yes, Bryan’s still using California Love as his theme, while looking like the grown up, more filled-out brother of Grizzly Redwood.
“I like Rovert” is not a line I ever expected to hear on commentary.
You know the score with Orange Cassidy matches this weekend. Hands in his pocket, enraging Alvarez by not locking up… which got Alvarez slammed on commentary for not taking the time to scout Cassidy. Alvarez tries for a chop, and of course Orange ducks as Alvarez ends up swinging wildly. More shoulder tackles make the little guy mad, so he tries for a German suplex… and yeah, Orange just slips out.
Alvarez gets mad and taped Cassidy’s arms to himself, so his hands have to stay in his pockets… meaning he can’t defend himself as Bryan removes the sunglasses. Chops follow as Orange was taken on a tour of the front row, then into the ring as Alvarez decides to stomp on those sunglasses… only for someone in the crowd to throw in a second pair of glasses for Orange to… ah nevermind, Bryan stomps on them too! That made Orange so mad, he actually showed emotion, fighting through the tape before he chopped away on Alvarez ahead of a Michinoku driver?! Alvarez gets his own back, kicking some orange juice into Cassidy’s face, but he’s suddenly distracted by the sounds of Pat Benatar…
…and after years of ranting about distraction finishes, he got his own as Cassidy rolled Alvarez up for the win. What a geek. **¾
Okay, this commentary is popping me now, with a line from Sarah Shockey: “plans change”.
Sadkampf (Dominic Garrini & Kevin Ku) vs. Manny Fernandez & Tank
I’m not sure if stifled laughter is the best reaction when the veteran team of Tank and Manny Fernandez hit the ring…
We were pretty much straight into the bloodletting as Tank went at Kevin Ku with a fork in the opening minute, before he used the same fork to stab away at Ku’s meatballs. Dominic Garrini’s made to regret wrestling barefoot because of that fork, before Tank began to unload with chops and headbutts. Tank heads under the ring for some skewers, which make Sadkampf run away. They return to get waffled with chairs before Garrini and Tank slapped the taste out of each other’s mouths. Tank’s headbutts Garrini some more while Manny Fernandez just spikes everyone with those skewers. Yep, perfect Friday afternoon graps!
Commentary loses their mind as Kevin Ku’s arse gets skewered… yet somehow he tried to make a comeback with a rear naked choke on Tank… who just cannonballs him into Garrini in the corner. Yep. After Garrini eventually throws Fernandez to the outside, he chop blocks Tank’s leg, and that allows Ku to win with a quick roll-up. Well, this was a spectacle… but not a good one. *½
Post-match, Tank and Fernandez whack Sadkampf with chairs, before Tank pulled out a form from his boots.
Dave Prazak subs for Drew Cordeiro for the rest of the show, having made it over from SHIMMER…
Nick Gage vs. Swoggle
The “Swoggle faces big mean guy” trope continues here as he’s taking on Nick Gage… and yes, we start with the pair of them slugging it out on chairs… which Swoggle throws aside so he can get a height advantage.
Things head outside as Gage whips Swoggle into the crowd, then into the seats, before Swoggle gave Gage a back body drop into the chairs. Only one of these guys seemingly wants to bump on those things… and you can guess who it is! Gage gets sent into the chairs by the stage, as Swoggle heads up for a stage dive… but back inside, a Vader Bomb elbow gets Gage back on top, as does a face-washing boot, before DB Smooth hit the ring and booted Gage. He sets up Gage for an assisted cutter on the chair by Swoggle for a near-fall, as Smooth was now on point to assist Swoggle whenever and wherever he needed.
Superkick spam follows for a two-count, before Swoggle shoved aside Smooth… who then had a fireball thrown at him by Markus Crane. O-kay? Gage throws Swoggle into a chair, but ends up eating a German suplex before a chokebreaker from Gage broke Swoggle in half. One piledriver later, and that’s all folks… except Swoggle shook it off, then ate a second one for the win. Well, they gave us variety, but this felt like they did way too much in terms of run-ins to keep Swoggle strong. **
Million Dollar Intergender Battle Royal
This was set up by Wrestling With Wregret’s Brian Zane – out here as “the Influencer” in his trademark sweatsuits, playing the heel YouTube Celebrity gimmick. Not sure where he got the $1m for this… sure as hell it wasn’t YouTube!
According to Cagematch, your entrants were Allie Kat, Aspyn Rose, Boomer Hatfield, Cabana Man Dan, Danhausen, Danny Adams, Derek Direction, Dr. Daniel C. Rockingham, Eddy Only, Frisco Flame, Jay Freddie, Kody Lane, Levi Shapiro, Maria Manic, Marino Tenaglia, Matt Knicks, O’Shay Edwards, Perry Von Vicious, Philly Collins, Steph De Lander, White Mike and Yuu
I swear this is going for the aura of the early 00s, if only because Levi Shapiro came out to Trapt’s Headstrong. People were joking about that years ago… still, everyone gets namechecked, even if not at the same time they came out, and you know the score with battle royals. It’s a mess in the opening stages, with Matt Knicks nearly being decapitated as Maria Manic looked ot chokeslam him THROUGH the ropes. Yup. Aspyn Rose is all about the stunners, while commentary busts out the Facebook/Facebrooke joke you’ll hear all weekend on these shows.
Aspyn whiffs on a stunner to Manic, who just dumps her out with a press slam, while Danhausen hits a nice slingshot German suplex… before he got caught mugging to the camera and got thrown out. Boomer Hatfield looked pacey, but got thrown out as his quest to win the $1m ended… just as Cabana Man Dan whacked everyone with flip flops. White Mike tries to propose to Maria Manic in a bid to save himself… she just spits at him and throws him out, before DeLander and Manic teamed up on Allie Kat. They turned their sights on each other moments afterwards, which led to Steph getting eliminated… Shapiro’s out second to last, which commentary totally no-sold, before Manic pulled out a knife… she swung and missed at Allie Kat, before ended up eliminating herself, as Manic looked for a slingshot dropkick on the apron… but missed.
Allie Kat thought she’d won, but we got the trope of “guy wasn’t eliminated after all”, as Danny Adams tried to sneak the win, only for Allie Kat to hang on and suplex him onto the apron, before she had to counter a piledriver and hit one of her own to send him to the floor. Allie Kat wins the YouTube belt and $1m after a pretty perfunctory battle royal. **
AJ Gray, Curt Stallion, CW Anderson & Gary Jay vs. Chris Dickinson, Daniel Makabe, Jake Parnell & Rory Gulak
This was originally a trios match, but CW Anderson and Daniel Makabe were added late on to varying responses.
This one was nice and hard hitting, with Jay and Dickinson not holding back as we went through the usual drill of revolving door tags in the opening exchanges. Dickinson catches a leapfrog into a death valley driver before taking Jay to task as the lower thirds have a freak-out. Makabe comes in to try and ground the match, but it’s for nought as Jay gets free to AJ Gray, who clears house and tries to chop through Parnell with a hard shot. Parnell gets slingshotted out of the corner and into a CW superkick for a near-fall as Parnell’s partners hit the ring to break it up, before a series of chops between Stalling and Dickinson led to a thunderous enziguiri.
A punch from Makabe left him stinging as a Parade of Moves breaks out, ending with running into the CW spinebuster, before a running lariat from Gray finished off Parnell. This was fun, but brief – if you like stuff that looks snug, there’s plenty in here for you. **¾
Jordynne Grace, Kylie Rae, Nicole Savoy, Samantha Heights & Solo Darling vs. Charli Evans, Indi Hartwell, Jessica Troy, Shazza McKenzie & Zoe Lucas
Well it’s one approach to having a straight-up women’s match on your card, “just stick them all in one match”.
Dave Prazak mentions how folks here high-tailed it from SHIMMER a few hours ago, so we get a nice grounded affair as Darling tried to bend Troy’s legs early on, before a battle of armbar and leg bars ended with everyone hitting the ring to break it up. Eventually. Tags bring us to McKenzie and Grace flipping around in pinning exchanges, before Kylie Rae tagged in and blasted through Shazza with a cannonball. McKenzie’s back with a facebuster before a blind tag brought in Charli Evans for a facebuster and a Meteora combo for a two-count on Rae. Zoe Lucas is in next with a leg lariat and a one-legged dropkick for a near-fall, before Jordynne Grace came in and cleared house.
A fallaway slam from Grace sends Troy outside, before Troy took a suplex onto the edge of the ring as lowpes follow. A trust fall from Kylie Rae works, before Jordynne Grace’s tope suicida completed the set. Things settled down into another Parade of Moves, with Charli Evans’ Gory special setting it off, then finished with a DDT from Indi Hartwell… who then walked into a rack bomb from Grace. Zoe Lucas slides in to try and capitalise with forearms on Grace, but she can’t lift her up as the battle of Rev Pro and PROGRESS women’s champions quickly ended with a pumphandle driver to Lucas for the win. Another “fun while it lasted” match, and a match that seemed to be more an advert for old podcasts back in the day. Did the F4W website pay for this promotion?! **¾
BLP Tag Team Championship: The Besties In The World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. Robbie Eagles & Sammy Guevara vs. The Space Pirates (Shane Sabre & Space Monkey) (c)
This one instantly spills to the outside for the early going, before the Besties tried their luck with Shane Sabre.
There’s a lot of revolving door stuff as bodies come in and out of the ring without tags, which somehow led us into a Human Centipede of reverse DDTS… sparked by an Asai DT from Robbie Eagles! I guess we’re under lucha rules as the referee doesn’t bother enforcing anything – which gives us plenty of action that was far too quick for even commentary to keep track of. A step-up flip stunner from the Space Monkey nearly got a win, but Sammy Guevara comes in as the revolving door style returned. Robbie Eagles ran into a gamengiri in the corner before hitting Sabre with a backpack driver… Guevara’s back with a double-team death valley driver for a near-fall on Sabre, as Fitchett landed a double Pele kick in the melee.
An assisted cutter’s good for a near-fall on Eagles for the Besties, before a pair of superkicks stopped Fitchett from flying. A monkey tail whip’s next for an assisted Jig ‘n’ Tonic, and yeah, this was way too rushed. Shame, because had they not been a million miles an hour, this could have stood out. **½
Shigehiro Irie vs. Jonathan Gresham
Please don’t rush…
We start with Irie squashing Gresham in the corner, before a snap suplex landed him in place for the sit-down splash. That nearly ended it quickly, but Gresham tries to fire back with dropkicks before a plancha outside was caught and turned into a lawn dart against the ring post. Back inside, the pair trade forearms, before a Gresham enziguiri left Irie staggered ahead of a Shibata-ish dropkick in the corner. A Black Hole Slam puts Gresham down, before Irie headed up for a big splash that flattened Gresh for a near-fall. An attempt at Darkness Falls got countered into a ‘rana by Gresham who stomped away on Irie to try and keep him on the mat.
A rear naked choke from Gresham ends when Irie just piggyback cannonballed him into the corner… then came in with a regular cannonball for a near-fall. Gresham ducks a Beast Bomber and rebounds with a Quebrada, taking Irie outside for a tope con giro that could have gone badly wrong as Gresham clipped the ropes, but he saved himself, then went back in for a shooting star press for a near-fall. The pair trade forearms back and forth for a spell, before Irie dumps Gresham with a German suplex. He’s back up and lands some lariats on Irie for two-counts, before Irie POUNCES him into the ropes… then polished him off with a running Fire Thunder Driver for another near-fall. Another Beast Bomber’s ducked as Gresham came back with headscissors, taking Irie out for a tope… turning it into a rear naked choke on the landing.
Gresham takes it back in as he keeps Irie in the sleeperhold, and after the arm drop gimmick, the referee waves it off as Gresham slew the giant. An excellent sprint of a main event – showing you can go fast and have a logical outing. I’d like to see a rematch with a bit more time… but this was fine for what they had. ***¾
WrestleMania weekend invariably leads to a lot of promotions using guys they wouldn’t usually do – afterall, it’s cheaper to use them when they’ve already flown in for other shows, rather than flying them in yourselves. That being said, it also leaves promotions massively open to the temptation of booking way too many names – and while the battle royal here was a fun gimmick, there were just far too many bodies up and down the card diluting things.
It’s a shame, because this started out with a tonne of promise with the Durst/Page brawl, but tailed off badly until the main event.