Twelve shows in three days is A LOT. Rather than burn out from watching everything in a weekend, here’s some “grab bag” match reviews from Spring Break!
Even if you’re just sitting down to watch them – let alone write them up! I’ve cherry picked stuff from shows that stood out for me for one reason or another, then did the ol’ “background watch” of the rest. Let’s start with… Joey Janela’s Spring Break 4. Sure, it’s not spring anymore, but the brand is established, so eh. Kevin Gill, Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak are on commentary. Picking and choosing matches here…
Lee Moriarty vs. Jonathan Gresham
I’m late to the party on Moriarty, but this weekend alone he had a show-stealing outing with Daniel Makabe – and if you dig into the IWTV archives, there’s a hell of a trilogy with Alex Shelley from the past year. This one should be right up there…
We’ve got a respectful handshake to start, before Moriarty went in for a wristlock that Gresham eventually spun his way out of, taking Lee down into a leg grapevine. Gresham drops an elbow onto the back, but Moriarty spins free and into a toe hold, only or Gresham to trip him into a cover that was right by the ropes.
A hammerlock from Gresham is held onto as Moriarty tries to escape, eventually doing so with his free leg to kick the hold apart. Moriarty’s wristlock is rolled out of, but Gresham’s counter just rolls him back into the hold, before Gresham rolled his way into a headlock takedown… only for both men to get back to their feet.
Gresham locks up and takes Moriarty into the ropes, but a springboard armdrag and a punt to the arm turned it around for Moriarty… even if he just got a one-count from it. Moriarty pulls back on the arm as he looked for a body part, but instead ties up the arm and leg of Gresham ahead of a bridging armbar that eventually rolls Gresham in for a two-count.
Moriarty keeps an armbar on, but a rope break saves Gresham, who’s then hammerlocked and charged back into the corner. He’s rolled down for some two-counts before Moriarty headed into the corner, only to be pushed down as Gresham looked to punt at the arm… but Moriarty lands the kick again. Gresham finally lands it ahead of an armdrag though, before he hammerlocked Moriarty’s arm on the mat in the search for an armbar.
Gresham continues to tie up Moriarty like a human pretzel, with a double armbar and leglock, rolling him to the mat for a two-count before a side headlock from Gresham led to him having to kick out twice. Moriarty has to fight out as Gresham looked to pin both shoulder to the mat, before he just settled for an armdrag as he continued to target that left arm. An uppercut to the arm has Moriarty rocked, but he’s back with a leaping knee and an enziguiri, before floating over Gresham ahead of a running gamengiri in the corner. Another punt to the arm and a big stomp drops Gresham for a two-count, but he couldn’t go for a suplex… so Moriarty heads up top and stomps the arm again.
Moriarty keeps going with a hammerlock DDT for a near-fall, before the Joint Custody armbar ended with Gresham scrambling for the ropes for a break. Gresham manages to lift Moriarty to the apron, following up with a kick in the arm and a shotgun dropkick to the back, sending Moriarty flying. Back inside, Gresham caught Moriarty with a roll through as he then stomped the arm en route to a Magistral cradle for a near-fall, then switched it up for a cross armbreaker. Moriarty rolls through, eventually trapping Gresham in a pin before making a rope break.
They keep going on each other’s left arms, with kicks from Moriarty stinging Gresham before he kipped up and ate an enziguiri. Moriarty hits the ropes and lands a Mistica, but again Joint Custody can’t be locked on, so Moriarty pushes off the ropes to roll back, only for Gresham to grab the ropes on the other side of the ring.
Things descend into back-and-forth strikes, with Gresham breaking the chain with an enziguiri and a German suplex for a near-fall. A sliding forearm gets a near-fall, as did a second and third, as Moriarty just wouldn’t stay down! Gresham ties up Moriarty in an Octopus hold in the middle of the ring, with some hammer fists from Gresham in the hold knocking Moriarty down until he tapped out. Some sublime wrestling that should come as no surprise to fans of either wrestler.
Result: Jonathan Gresham submitted Lee Moriarty in 20:50 (****)
Tony Deppen vs. Alex Shelley
Despite never being away, it really feels like Alex Shelley is having something of a career renaissance, while Tony Deppen is really on the up-swing of his career, biding his time before that big break through.
Deppen comes in with a cravat early on, breaking and reapplying it before he rolled with Shelley to the mat. It’s broken as Shelley locks in one of his own, before he switched things up into a toe hold, with Deppen having issues getting free. Shelley stays on him with an arm wringer, moving around into a side headlock before a shove off and a shoulder tackle gave him the opening for a dropkick. Phew. A missed charge in the corner allowed Shelley to come in with a gamengiri, which sent Deppen rolling outside. They meet on the apron, trading shots before a DDT from Shelley laid out Deppen. Back inside, Deppen rolls out of the corner and wheelbarrowed Shelley into a Figure Four – a transition I don’t recall seeing before. Makes a change from the ol’ wheelbarrow stomps!
Shelley manages to roll the hold over, but Deppen keeps rolling before Shelley got the ropes… and Deppen’s right back up to kick at those legs. Some knees from Shelley forced Deppen to go for a Dragon screw – it’s blocked, with Shelley kicking back before he was caught in the ropes with a clothesline. Deppen drops down to the floor to sweep the leg, then leaps back inside to roll Shelley into a rear naked choke.
A shinbreaker from Deppen earned him a knee to the head… so he just dropkicks Shelley’s knee out for a one-count. Deppen keeps going with a DDT to the leg, but Shelley cuts off that momentum with a Flatliner into the buckles. Chops from Deppen aim for the knee and thigh of Shelley, who’d already had a bad time with that body part… but he cracks Deppen with the knee as he charged in for a takedown.
Shelley grabs the arm and pulls him up repeatedly for some chops, before a back suplex left Deppen laying. A battle for a suplex ended with a rope-hung neckbreaker from Shelley for a two-count, before Deppen came back, sweeping Shelley into the corner ahead of a cannonball and a springboard lungblower for a near-fall.
Deppen tries for another Figure Four, but Shelley’s inside cradle stopped that for a two-count, as Deppen then rolled in with a STF in the middle of the ring. Shelley makes it to the ropes, then had to push away an Asai DDT as Deppen instead pulled himself in for a headbutt and a stomp. Shelley tries to fight back with something off the top rope, but Deppen caught him with a knee in the buckles, before a missed stomp off the top opened the door.
A pair of superkicks from Shelley have Deppen down to a knee, before a third one set up for an Air Raid Crash. Deppen’s up at one from that, so Shelley plants him with Shell Shock for a two-count, before rolling Deppen into a Border City Stretch. Deppen countered out with a roll-up for a near-fall, then rolled his way in for a Magistral cradle for the win! An enjoyable back-and-forth outing as Deppen adds another scalp to his resume…
Result: Tony Deppen pinned Alex Shelley in 13:29 (***½)
Lio Rush vs. ACH
We’ve a handshake and a hug to start, as ACH took down Rush with a wristlock, but that’s countered in kind as the pair scrambled for a hold ahead of a stand-off.
A lock-up takes Rush into the corner, with ACH keeping on a wristlock before standing switches took us to another stand-off. Kevin Gill brings up how the reaction to Rush’s “final match” a few weeks back made him want to come back… right as ACH chops him before some misdirection and a recovery from a trip allowed Rush to hit a springboard ‘rana.
ACH is back with a chop, but Rush drags his legs outside ahead of headscissors off the apron that were blocked. Rush comes back with kicks off the apron ahead of an Asai moonsault off the bottom rope. Back inside, a swinging backbreaker and an overhead suplex from ACH restores the status quo, following up with a chop before he whipped Rush into the corner… bringing him out for another backbreaker.
Rush recovers with some kicks, but he runs into a tiltawhirl backbreaker for a two-count, before he’s taken into the ropes for some choking. ACH is sent onto the apron by Rush, but shoulder charges keep Lio at bay… until a handspring kick knocked ACH to the floor. ACH rushes back inside, but gets met with clotheslines and a handspring back elbow.
Elbows from Rush led to a rebound Stunner off the bottom rope for a near-fall, before he got caught in the turnbuckles with superkicks. Back on the mat, Rush rolls up ACH for a near-fall, before a handspring was countered into a German suplex for a near-fall. A Tiger Driver from ACH is escaped as Rush snuck through, unleashing with some rapid-fire kicks until ACH swept him down for a stomp to the back for a near-fall.
Rush and ACH trade elbow and chops, with Rush starting to fall back in the race as ACH was relishing being the bully. Eventually Rush begins to fire up, but he’s caught in the ropes with a big boot before he sent ACH outside for a high-speed tope. A second springboard stunner’s countered with a low dropkick as a Tiger Driver from ACH nearly put him away.
Rush tries one more comeback, shrugging off a deadlift German suplex to hit the Rush Hour (standing Spanish Fly), before a frog splash off the top got the win. Outstanding stuff here, with ACH slowly slipping into the role of a bully – only to get caught out by some rapid-fire stuff from Rush at the end.
Result: Lio Rush pinned ACH in 15:22 (***¾)
Joey Janela vs. Ricky Morton
You read that right. It’s not even a Spring Break debut for Ricky Morton, who I remember blowing my mind last year by doing a Destroyer. Yup.
We start with a side headlock, before a wristlock saw Janela reverse an Irish whip ahead of a hiptoss to the 64 year old. Another lock-up takes Morton into the corner, before he landed a floatover… only to get charged down with a shoulder tackle and a hiptoss. Janela powders outside, and comes back with a merch table… it’s plastic, which makes me go uh-oh. Back inside, Janela grabs a side chinlock on the mat, before Morton punched him to the outside. Janela wants Morton on the outside, which led to Joey landing a forearm and some chops, which prompts a response from Morton. That ended with him being jabbed in the midsection with a chair, before Joey set up the plastic merch table by the ring.
The pair of them climb up onto it, with Morton actually bending the table with a piledriver! Well, I wasn’t expecting it to give that easy!
Janela recovered to post Morton, then took a chair and jabbed it into Morton’s head – which meant that Ricky got colour. Chops and punches from Janela keep Morton rocked, before Joey stopped to wipe a Clownette sign in blood. Sure that seems safe enough. Back inside, Morton hits a dropkick, before heading onto the apron to drop Janela with a death valley driver.
Heading under the ring, Morton grabs a door, bringing it indoors as Janela whips him into it in the corner. Of course it doesn’t break. A brainbuster drops Morton for a two-count, before Janela placed the door on top of him for a flying elbow drop… which still doesn’t get the win.
From there, Janela rips apart the remnants of the door and whacks Morton in the legs with it, before a Figure Four trapped Morton in the middle of the ring. He’s able to get to the ropes, before a small package nearly got the win for the veteran. A superkick follows for a near-fall in the corner, before Janela lifted Morton up to the top rope… and Ricky comes out with a Destroyer for the fun of it, almost snatching the win there!
Janela sweeps the legs out again as he went back to the Figure Four, but Morton quickly rolls over to reverse the hold – and Janela taps instantly! Sure, the surprise factor of Morton doing Destroyers isn’t as big as it was a year ago, but the spectacle was still there – and made for an interesting match-up.
Result: Ricky Morton pinned Joey Janela in 13:52 (***½)
Elsewhere on this show, Orange Cassidy was the surprise for Ricky Shane Page’s non-title open challenge in the opener (and won)… KTB and Shane Mercer had a fun tag team win against Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz which had my jaw drop, if only for some of Mercer’s insane offence…
On top of that, there was the HOUR LONG PLUS Clusterfuck that was as divisive as Kevin Gill’s commentary. I mean, I get the branding, but at this point it’s beyond being played for shucks, while Matt Tremont’s final match in GCW ended with him losing to Alex Colon.