We’ve got some Extra Talented entries in Dojo Pro now, as we’re into the top five seeds with Ricky Starks joining the fight.
Having seem off Wheeler YUTA, Brandon Cutler and James Storm, Joey Janela’s on a hot streak with the White Belt… and no doubt “one half of a tag team” being so high above him in the rankings will wind up the Bad Boy. Matt Lott recaps the James Storm match, then acknowledges that Starks is more suited to tag team competition. Then why is he so high up this list?! We go to the B-roll with Janela big leaguing producers, initially refusing to take off his fingerprint-smeared sunglasses before putting them back on. Tired and emotional, I bet.
Ricky Starks is shown next, as he tells us about his childhood where he was targeted by bullies and how he promised his mom he’d be a wrestler. Of course, Janela mocks that…
Joey Janela vs. Ricky Starks
It’s Starks who starts off the aggressor, going for Janela’s arm… but Joey scurries underneath and switches it into a front facelock as the back-and-forth ends with him diving into the ropes for a break.
Back inside, Janela goes at Starks with chops as even the commentator’s bored of him moaning about the rankings. The self-distraction opens it up for Starks to fire back with a Slingblade and a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall, before Janela headed outside and tripped up Starks. We get a tope from Janela, then from Starks, but back inside a missed leap off the top allowed Janela to hit a low dropkick to Starks as the status quo was returned.
Kicks to the legs follow, as Starks was pretty much reduced to hopping on one leg as Janela continued to wear down on it. Eventually Janela telegraphs it too much and gets rolled up for a near-fall as Starks really was fighting from the bottom, absorbing a lot of stomps and chops as the crowd randomly chanted “stuntman” at Janela. When that appears out of nowhere and gets explained rapidly on commentary, you know it’s been a fed line…
Starks mounts a comeback with an elbow out of the corner, but he collapses to the mat as he tried to charge at Janela in the corner. He recovers with a tornado DDT, then an inside cradle as Starks was clutching at straws, before a spear almost got him the win. An attempt at something is stopped when Starks’ leg again gives way, allowing Janela to take him down with a Figure Four again, with Janela holding it on despite the pair of them rolling to the apron then down to the floor.
Despite pulling himself back inside, Starks takes a superkick for a near-fall as you sensed that this perhaps wasn’t going to be plain sailing for the Bad Boy… so he grabs a chair and threatens to use it, only for the referee to disarm Janela and count the pin as Starks scored with a schoolboy! Really old-school stuff here as Janela worked a body part and looked to be sailing, but the plucky babyface Starks kept on fighting and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. ***
Post-match, Janela hits a low dropkick to Starks before a Khali chop laid him out as commentary bemoaned the lack of any kind of authority figure. Janela whipped Starks with the White Belt that he’d just lost, before pulling the new champion off the apron with an arm whip… as he then shoved his knee into the side of the ring as the unseated champion wrenches away on the knee some more. This’d have been good had we seen any of the defeated champions come back, or even mentioned more than in passing… or are they going to break from the template? Medical staff (or “someone with a backpack with a white cross stuck to it”) come out to tend to Starks as the show comes to a close.
During this episode, it seemed that the concept of Dojo Pro had changed somewhat between the filming of the show and it airing. Going from the comments during the pre-tape promos, it’d seem like this was originally meant to be a weekly TV show airing somewhere, as opposed to the binge-format that we got here on Amazon Prime.
That being said, there’s not been any reference to how these matches are meant to be taking place. Are they meant to be all in the same day? A week apart? A day apart? Barring the presence of the White Belt, these shows could all have been in their own bubbles. With nothing else seeming to matter aside from “someone has the belt”, it’s a bit of a struggle to get involved…