The Nightmare Factory rounds off their year with their fourth Showcase event.
Franky Filto pinned Trevor Blackwell in 7:10 (*¾)
D’Marceo James pinned Will Purlieu in 11:17 (**¾)
Casey Carrington IV pinned Dylan Lesynd in 10:06 (**¼)
Gabriel Vega & Danny Dragon pinned Luther Hevans & KC Rocker in 10:53 (**)
Kevin Panic pinned JR Miller in 8:08 (**½)
Katie Hebner & Ashley D’Amboise submitted Reka Tekaha & Gizelle Azure in 9:00 (**)
Cliff Hendrix pinned Dean Alexander in 10:28 (***)
It’s the third showcase event from the Nightmare Factory training school – and it’s a free-to-view affair that’s up on YouTube, as usual.
We have the usual Cody Rhodes opening speech and we’re straight into the Nightmare Factory for the action. Glacier (Ray Lloyd) and Jessie Jordan are on commentary…
Trevor Blackwell vs. Franky Filto
Blackwell’s showered with boos for his entrance, and apparently is making his first showcase show despite being in the Nightmare Factory for a while.
We’ve leapfrogs and dropdowns before Filto’s shoulder tackle and dropkick had Blackwell on the back foot, but Blackwell began to pull ahead, landing suplexes for two-counts, before Filto fought back out of the corner… only to get crotched. A swinging sidewalk slam sees Blackwell get a two-count, as did a short reverse DDT, before Filto fought back with a side suplex. Filto finds his way through with punches and clotheslines, leading to a spinebuster, as a diving kick nearly wins it. Blackwell returns with a neckbreaker, then a thrown side suplex, but Filto rolls onto the apron after a kick out, and after he hung Blackwell in the ropes, Filto wins with a crossbody off the top. Pretty basic and short, with Filto coming from behind to win. *¾
D’Marceo James vs. Will Purlieu
We’re dealing with another straight-laced outing here, with James being the baddie.
The pair lock-up and roll around the ropes, as commentary tells us Purlieu’s got a decade of amateur experience. He pulls ahead with armdrags and armbars, but James goes to the hair as he took Purlieu into the corner. After taking a waistlock takedown, James defends a wristlock and a chinlock, but James escapes and backed Purlieu into the corner. A back elbow on the break has D’Marceo pull ahead briefly, but he’s quickly caught with an overhead belly-to-bellly that took him to the outside. The pair’s brief chase sees James miss an elbow drop as Purlieu leaps in for an armbar… but that ends in the ropes.
James takes Purlieu into the apron as he took over, following with a suplex for a two-count, then a nice dropkick. Snake Eyes comes next, then a running kick, before Purlieu tried his luck with an inside cradle. That doesn’t come off, as a double clothesline left both men down, but it’s Purlieu who pulls head with clotheslines and a pop-up forearm. Purlieu followed that up with a Dominator that turned into a neckbreaker for a near-fall, before a cross armbar was rolled out of. Will keeps hold as he kicked out at one, but James powered up and powerbombed his way free. A scissor kick from James nearly wins it, but an attempted piledriver’s countered into an Alabama Slam for another near-fall.
Purlieu goes for something, but gets thrown into the ref… who misses a low blow as James wins with a roll-up. Decent for the experience at hand, but there’s a fair amount of polish needed here. **¾
Casey Carrington IV vs. Dylan Lesynd
Carrington’s done a few shots for AIW this year, and looks to have a rich kid gimmick.
Lesynd takes Carrington down with a wristlock early, but Casey’s able to grab a side headlock after getting free. Shoulder tackles follow, but Lesynd’s able to sneak through a mid kick as a suplex lands for a near-fall. Carrington backs into the rope as he apparently had trouble with his shoulder, but it just distracts the ref as Casey suckered Lesynd in with a mule kick. A clothesline followed for a two-count, before Carrington throw Lesynd into the side of the ring. Lesynd returns with a 619 on the apron as Carrington threw him back in, only to have his dive cut off as Carrington came right back in with a rebound splash a la Shigehiro Irie/Sami Callihan.
A suplex is next for a two-count, while chops followed, before Lesynd countered a double underhook piledriver into an inside cradle. Carrington is right back with a neckbreaker though, before a Code Red from Lesynd nearly won it. Lesynd’s Fisherman’s suplex keeps the pressure up as the pair trade big moves. Carrington’s death valley driver gets him close, while Lesynd’s back with a Codebreaker and an elbow drop, only for a Hidden-ish Blade from Carrington to lead to a missed moonsault. Lesynd’s able to capitalise with a Busaiku knee, but Casey rolls outside… Lesynd rolls him back in, but quickly gets the ropes kicked into him before the double underhook piledriver gets Carrington the win. Solid for the time they had, but it felt a little too short-paced for their ten minutes. **¼
KC Rocker & Luther Hevans vs. Gabriel Vega & Danny Dragon
KC’s back for his third showcase with this outing, as commentary painted him as a “last resort” partner for the 6ft-Hevans.
Rocker and Vega start by working the other’s arm before the masked Danny Dragon came in. A floatover and a hiptoss has Rocker down, before he tagged in Hevans to hit some kicks and chops. Dragon got back with a side headlock before a back body drop flung away Rocker’s attempted save ahead of a headlock/headscissors takedown. A pair of back elbows drop Hevans for a two-count, as Luther kept on getting double-teamed. Eventually Rocker returned to try and wear down Dragon, landing a neckbreaker for a two-count, then an enziguiri, before he trapped Dragon between the ropes with some clubbing blows.
Rocker throws some stinging chops, then lands a side Russian legsweep for a two-count. Hevans distracts the ref as Dragon went for a tag out, which leads to Dragon getting cornered again, before a back suplex on Rocker finally bought him some time. Vega tags in and runs wild, leading to a Hart Attack on Hevans for a near-fall. Dragon throws Rocker to the outside, before a reverse DDT and a step-up splash got the win. **
JR Miller vs. Kevin Panic
JR’s got a fantastic mullet.
Panic had a handshake slapped away, so starts by working the arm before he was taken down in a side headlock. Miller elbows out of a waistlock, but eats a dropkick, then a spinning enziguiri. Miller rolls outside and pulls Panic throat-first into the ropes, which signalled a takeover for JR, who charges Panic into the corner. Miller bounces Panic off the buckles, before a jawbreaker freed Panic from a chinlock… only to run into a short sidewalk slam for a near-fall. A running flip neckbreaker gets Panic some breathing room, as he builds up with a corner clothesline and a roll through into a stunner for a near-fall.
Panic call for a back body drop, but it’s telegraphed as Miller hits a DDT instead for a near-fall. Miller tries to follow up, going for a Pedigree, but Panic superkicks it away before he hit his Panic Button (Shining Wizard) for the win. A decent little match, with Miller coming close, but this one could have gone either way. **½
Reka Tehaka & Gizelle Azure vs. Katie Hebner & Ashley D’Ambroise
Hebner appeared on the last Showcase as a referee – and yes, she’s Earl’s daughter. Both Tekaha and D’Amboise have been on AEW Dark in the past, if you’re wondering where those names sound familiar…
Hebner and Tekaha start us off, with the pair working wristlocks as D’Amboise came in to hit a double sledge to Tekaha’s arm. Hebner’s back to do the same, ahead of a drop toe hold that has Tehaka down ahead of some headscissors. Reka gets free, but is right back down with armdrags, before she threw Hebner down by the hair. Azure tags in but accidentally chopped her own partner, then got blocked a drop toe hold as D’Amboise came in. Shoulder tackles don’t budge Azure, but a dropkick does, before Tekaha tagged herself back in to take over with some ground and pound on the mat. Shoulder charges keep D’Amboise in the corner, but Ashley turns it around with some of her own, before she got caught and taken into the opposition corner.
Tehaka tags out to Azure next, who hits some hip attacks for a two-count, before D’Amboise got kicked in the ropes. A short clothesline from Azure then sees her drag D’Amboise across the ring again as Tekaha returned, landing a back body drop for a near-fall. A cheapshot from Azure’s fought off as D’Amboise rolls free to make the tag out as Katie Hebner ran wild, leading to a bulldog that was followed with a Rings of Saturn. Azure kicks the submission apart as she went for a pumphandle slam – which she’s done (in training, at least based on her social media) into a facebuster before. Hebner’s dropped down as D’Amboise came in with a neckbreaker, but Tehaka’s able to take care of D’Amboise with a kick, then Hebner with a Samoan drop. Hebner crucifixes the pin out of the Samoan drop, and rolls Tehaka back into the Rings of Saturn for the submission. This one varied a little – but you could tell who came in with prior experience, and that’s not a bad thing. **
Dean Alexander vs. Cliff Hendrix
Alexander and his fur coat are back as he’s playing the Showcase Gatekeeper – this time he’s got Angelica Risk out with him as a valet. For like the entirety of his entrance as he dumped her and sent her to the back. Literally.
Alexander gets cocky on an armdrag… and gets dropkicked for it as Hendrix made him cower to the outside. An apron PK awaited for Alexander, as did some chops, before another dropkick back inside had Alexander on the back foot. Hendrix gets lifted to the apron, but returns with a monkey flip before he missed an elbow into the corner. Hendrix gets sent flying into the guard rails, then got dropped onto the apron with a death valley driver. Back in the ring, Hendrix runs into a Kitchen Sink, then had his neck cranked as Alexander looked to dominate proceedings. A second Kitchen Sink’s countered with a roll-up by Hendrix, but Alexander’s right back in it as the crowd began to mock his poor record in these Showcases.
An X-Plex dumps Hendrix next for a near-fall, then a neckbreaker, before a V-Trigger-ish knee left Hendrix laying. Right hands from Alexander lead to a torture rack neckbreaker, but Hendrix returns with a tornado DDT as both men reset with an exchange of rights. Hendrix pulls ahead with a leaping elbow, then a big boot, before he returned from the apron with a slingshot DDT for a near-fall. Another death valley driver from Alexander lands for a near-fall, before a tombstone attempt ended with Hendrix accidentally wiping out the ref. Regardless, Alexander hits a pumphandle tombstone, but doesn’t go for the cover because there’s no ref… but out comes Angelica Risk and Brook Havok to slap and kick Alexander, as Risk’s 619 and Havok’s Dudley Dog left Dean down as Hendrix finished him off with a senton bomb for the win. A good story in this one, with Alexander largely dominating, but Hendrix was able to capitalise on Alexander getting his comeuppance. ***
It’s harsh ranking these shows, but with the first half of the card being particularly rough, even for a trainee show, this was looking ominous for a while. Without any overly wacky gimmicks or even a battle royal, this was a straight-laced trainee show that gave you a glimpse of what could be coming down the track on those Dark tapings in the new year…