It’s been a while since we took a look at Passion Pro, and 2022’s Passion Cup is as good a time as any to check in as their one-day tournament returned to Budapest.
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Peter Tihanyi pinned Kuro in 11:37 (***¼)
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Corey McRae defeats Maverick by count out in 13:02 (***)
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Connor Mills pinned Gulyas Öcsi in 13:46 (***½)
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Tristan Archer pinned Carlos Romo in 14:28 (***½)
Robert Dreissker pinned Orsi in 14:19 to retain the PWÖ Openweight Championship (***½)
Iva Kolasky, Icarus Tamas Szabo & Zafar Ameen pinned Maokai, Mylan, Ricky Sky & Terrible Tamas in 21:16 (***½)
Passion Cup 2022 Final: Tristan Archer defeats Corey McRae, Connor Mills & Peter Tihanyi in 22:03 (***½)
We’re coming from the Analog Music Hall in Budapest as Passion Pro have started to branch out from their initial base of the Thor Gym Csepel in Budapest…
English commentary for this comes from Dave Bradshaw… and the whole thing’s up on YouTube too, so there’s no excuse to not dive in!
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Peter Tihanyi vs. Kuro
Tihanyi’s on a bit of a winning streak in Passion Pro, having beaten Charlie Sterling and Senza Volto on their last two shows.
Tihanyi mixes an energy drink with something and shares it with a fan in the crowd before the bell, as we start with a lock-up that had both men charging the other into the ropes. Kuro broke free for a wristlock, which Tihanyi escaped as we exchange shoulder tackles, armdrags and headlock takedowns before Tihanyi slowed the pace down a little.
Kuro returned with a shoulder block, but armdrags put Tihanyi back in control before a chop and a leapfrog/dropkick combo drew a two-count. More chops follow with Kuro in the ropes, before a chinlock keeps Kuro on the deck, but Kuro got free, then hung up Tihanyi in the ropes as he looked to turn it around.
A back suplex drops Tihanyi, who shook it off… only to get pulled into the turnbuckle. Kuro’s facebuster nearly wins it, before Kuro headed outside and mugged with the crowd, taking selfies before he returned to the ring…and into the path of a back suplex from Tihanyi. Forearms from Tihanyi keep him ahead, as did a slingshot cutter, but it wasn’t enough to put Kuro away as Tihanyi went back to the chops.
Kuro’s uranage out of nowhere gave him fresh hope, as he then followed up with a trip to the top rope… but Tihanyi avoids the leap off the top and returned fire with a tornado DDT. Tihanyi heads up top after that, but Kuro pulled the referee in harm’s way as Kuro then hit back with a buckle bomb.
A back senton cannonball in the corner followed as Tihanyi was rocked, then again with a Falcon arrow, but Tihanyi’s able to kick out at two. Another trip to the top rope allowed Kuro in for a splash, but Tihanyi gets the knees up as an Asai DDT and a 450 splash proved to be enough for Tihanyi to book his spot in the finals. ***¼
We’ve got a video of Corey McRae shadow boxing by the seaside… he’s coming for Maverick, and threatens to squash him under his feet. Maverick’s response tells us that we’ll see an untamed Maverick on display today, before telling Corey to quit boxing the air.
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Corey McRae vs. Maverick
Maverick was a finalist in last year’s tournament, but that came in slightly fortuitous circumstances due to an injury stoppage…
Maverick’s taken to the corner at the start, then climbed the topes to avoid a second tie-up as he leapt over McRae. A shoulder tackle has Maverick down, but he baits in McRae with a neck bridge, before he escaped an ushigoroshi and returned with a shoulder block of his own.
McRae heads outside to mouth off, so Maverick joins him as they scrap in among the crowd, before they returned to the ring… with Maverick landing a leaping forearm off the ropes. A springboard body press followed for a two-count, only for McRae to roll up Maverick into a kick. A grounded abdominal stretch on Maverick gets countered with a roll-up, before Maverick had his elbow stomped on.
More mouthing off from McRae led to Maverick returning with a popped-up dropkick, then an enziguiri and a suplex, taking McRae outside for a tope. Back inside, a leaping knee from Maverick almost wins it, before McRae elbowed out of a Fireman’s carry and took Maverick onto the apron. They exchange chops there, before Maverick caught McRae’s springboard with a Codebreaker…
A Samoan Driver’s next out of Maverick for a near-fall, before an avalanche version of that was fought out of. McRae hits back with a hook kick, then a German suplex, before a package piledriver almost put Maverick away. McRae got no sympathy as he protested the near-fall, then missed with a double-jump moonsault… and staggered into a Destroyer from Maverick.
McRae spills outside and into the path of a springboard body press from Maverick, who followed up with a springboard off the guard rails… but McRae caught him with a hook kick on the way down. Breaking the count, McRae heads outside to post Maverick, before he used cable ties to tie Maverick around the ring post… but Maverick slides into the ring to break the count.
Problem was, Maverick was still tied to the ring post, so McRae kicks him in the head a few times, then swept his legs back to the outside as a knocked-out Maverick ended up losing via count-out. I wasn’t a fan of the finish given the trash talk going in, but I guess the loss comes with a huge asterisk for Maverick? ***
Promo time again, as Connor Mills talks about his European exploits… he doesn’t care he’s up against a hometown boy, as he promised to beat Gulyas Öcsi here and win the Passion Cup. Öcsi’s reply had him say that he’d do anything to keep the trophy in Hungary… for the sake of his cows. I feel like that’s going to be a podcast title. Gulyas then poked fun at how England won’t have any cup come home, just like 2021’s European football championships. Ow.
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Connor Mills vs. Gulyas Öcsi
Mills eventually accepted the offer of a handshake, as we started with Öcsi taking him into the corner.
Shoulder blocks from Mills had little effect, so he opted to throw kicks at Öcsi, whose attempt at a slam was shrugged off… unlike a shoulder tackle that spun Mills down to the mat. Dusty punches from Öcsi follow, as he then sat on the downed Mills’ back, before chops trapped Mills in the corner.
Mills rolled his way out of a slam and nearly put Öcsi away, then landed a dropkick to the back as Gulyas then took a baseball slide dropkick to knock him to the floor. A moonsault off the top from Mills wipes Öcsi out, while a missile dropkick back inside nearly put Öcsi away. More chops follow, as a Mills uppercut sank Öcsi, who then had his knee targeted by Mills with some grounded Dragon screws.
Öcsi is screaming in pain as Mills tried to pop his ankle off, before Öcsi blocked a brainbuster attempt… then tried a suplex of his own that Mills escaped. Öcsi hits back with a back body drop out of the corner, but ended up on the outside as the pair traded topes. A quick return to the ring sees Öcsi land a swinging side suplex for a near-fall, before he pulled Mills into a Pit Stop.
A crossbody off the middle rope squashes Mills ahead of a brainbuster for a near-fall, before Mills avoided a cannonball and came back with a European uppercut off the top rope. A running dropkick followed in the corner, which nearly put Öcsi away, before Mills aborted a 450 splash.
Öcsi returns with a pop-up knee to Mills, whose rebound lariat earned him a diving boot, before a Millshot attempt almost put the Hungarian away. The pair end up on the apron, where Öcsi bust out a Michinoku driver onto the edge of the ring, following up with a cannonball back inside for a near-fall.
Öcsi follows up with a shotgun dropkick, but missed a second cannonball as Mills rebounded off the ropes with a see-saw lariat, then took Öcsi into the corner for a Burning Cutter for the win. ***½
Promo time again, as Carlos Romo tells us he’s using the Passion Cup to prove he’s the best in Europe.
Passion Cup 2022 Semi-Final: Carlos Romo vs. Tristan Archer
This is a rematch from wXw at the start of the year… but Archer’s won a lot of gold since then, as he’s out with his newly-won Hungarian Championship Wrestling title.
Romo works the wrist of Archer to start, taking the Frenchman to the mat ahead of a Magistral cradle for an early one-count. A shoulder tackle from Archer has Romo down, as he then caught a leapfrog and charged the Spaniard into the corner. A crossbody from Archer quickly followed for a two-count, while a backbreaker added another two-count as Archer looked to be in control.
Romo dragged Archer into a butterflied guillotine, but Archer got a foot to the ropes to force a break as he’s then met with a snapmare and a kick to the back. A slam and a back senton looked to get Archer back in it, but Romo got the knees up and eventually took Archer back down for an armbar… but Archer rolled his way out of it and forced the break.
A mounted rear naked choke had Archer in trouble, but the Frenchman just charged the pair to the outside – breaking the hold in the process. Trading chops and forearms, the pair brawl on the outside, before Archer baited in Romo for a chop… and instead pulled him into the side of the ring.
Archer heads back inside and caught Romo with a flying clothesline, then an Olympic slam for a near-fall. Romo tries to elbow out of an Exploder, but it’s in vain… although he’s able to hit back with a diving knee that almost won the match. A moonsault from Romo misses though, before he caught Archer with a stomp between the ropes, while a piledriver almost got the Spaniard the win.
Romo goes back up for a moonsault, which crashed into Archer for a two-count. Eventually resuming with an enziguiri, Romo ends up getting caught with a uranage and a back senton as Archer surged ahead… landing the La Terreur and a clothesline to the back of the head for good measure. A second La Terreur and another lariat still can’t get it done though as Romo proved stubborn, so Archer pulled him up for a Coup d’Etat.
Romo lands on his feet and sat down on Archer for a near-fall, before a boot to the gut from Archer turned out to be a low blow as Romo was leaping towards the Frenchman. The referee doesn’t call it as a low blow though, and with the ref’s back turned Romo hit a deliberate low blow and a roll-up, only for Archer to counter the cradle and snatch the win for himself. Given Archer was the one getting cheers from the Budapest crowd, this change in good/bad guy dynamic wasn’t unexpected, but it was a sign of the pressure that Romo felt he needed to go down that road… ***½
Promo time, as Robert Dreissker’s reciting the AMBOSS mission statement… and gets interrupted by Orsi. She’s got designs on the big gold belt Robert’s gotten, and this ends up becoming a challenge for the title, which is up next!
PWÖ Openweight Championship: Orsi vs. Robert Dreissker (c)
Dreissker is the first champion of the relatively-new Pro Wrestling Österreich promotion, having won a four-way for the title just a week prior to this show.
These two are no strangers to each other, and of course Orsi’s the big favourite going in, although Dreissker started by taking her into the corners. Another lock-up sees Orsi try and return the favour, but Dreissker goes for the hair and turned it into a side headlock, before a push-off was met with a shoulder block on Orsi.
Dreissker ordered Orsi out of the ring, before they resumed with a knuckle lock, which Dreissker kneed Orsi away from. More shoulder blocks stagger Dreissker, who fell into the ropes and headed outside, before Orsi got caught with an eye rake and a back suplex onto the side of the ring.
Back inside, a slam leaves Orsi laying, while a follow-up splash drew a near-fall. A snap suplex keeps the momentum going, as did a springboard crossbody out of the corner, but still Orsi kicked out… then got thrown out. Narrowly beating the count, Orsi rolled back into the path of an enraged Dreissker, who followed her back outside this time as he looked to choke her out on the floor.
Orsi is bleeding heavily from the nose, which is a little ironic given Orsi’d bloodied up Dreissker on a wXw Fight Forever show not too long ago. She’s taken to the back, as Dreissker celebrated with his PWÖ title, and mocked Orsi over the house mic… but the bell hadn’t rung, so this match still continues. Dreissker demanded the referee call the match, but before he could, Orsi fought off the clutches of a medic and got back into the ring.
Orsi fires up with chops and forearms despite the blood, then reversed a Dreissker suplex as she took Dreissker to the corner for a back elbow. A crossbody out of the corner followed for a near-fall, before Dreissker tried to hit back with a superplex. Orsi just popped up from that, then caught Dreissker with a back body drop, then a spear… which got the three count, except Dreissker got a foot to the rope. The bell went anyway, which meant the referee had to reverse the decision and restart things.
As the referee took the belt back, Dreissker raked Orsi’s eyes, then squashed her with a splash in the corner before a Dreissker Bomb settled things. Even if you struggle to get past the whole notion of a company’s belt changing hands on another promotion, this was a fantastic match to showcase Orsi’s heart – even if the result was a familiar one in the end. ***½
Maokai, Mylan, Ricky Sky & Terrible Tamas vs. Icarus, Iva Kolasky, Tamas Szabo & Zafar Ameen
Another showcase match followed ahead of the main event, with a lot of names from the Hungarian scene on show here.,..
Maokai and Kolasky start us off as Maokai’s armdrags just annoyed Kolasky in the early stages. Tamas Szabo tagged in, blocking an armdrag before he kicked out Maokai’s leg as a tag brought in Terrible Tamas, who has a rather old-timey strongman look. Apparently Terrible Tamas used to be a referee here, and matched Szabo with a knuckle lock before he was caught in an overhead wristlock.
Tamas tripped Szabo and slingshotted him into the turnbuckles, while a waistlock takedown gave Tamas a good spot for some one-handed push-ups. Icarus comes in next, as did Mylan, with Mylan tying up Icarus in a wristlock. A lock-up allowed Mylan back in with a wristlock, but Icarus slipped out and chopped Mylan in the back after using the referee for cover.
A schoolboy from Mylan nearly got the upset, while an armdrag out of the corner had Icarus right back in trouble. Icarus got free with the hair as things ended up in the ropes, with Icarus tripping the referee onto Mylan after the break… which prompted the referee to shove Icarus onto his arse.
After calming down, Icarus tagged out to Zafar Ameen, who elbowed Mylan away as Ricky Sky tagged in on the other side. The fabulously-moustachioed Sky gets his hand stood on as Ameen elbowed away on Sky, only to get caught with a short-arm clothesline in return. A bodyslam has Ameen laying, as Terrible Tamas returned to help Sky with a double-team stalling suplex.
Ameen rakes the mouth of Tamas as he escaped a Fireman’s carry, then clobbered him with a clothesline to the back of the head for a two-count. Icarus tags in to chop Terrible Tamas, before some mounted punches on the mat allowed Icarus to go for a submission hold… which Tamas fought out of, only to get the Tim Thatcher-esque slap in return.
Tamas Szabo comes in as we get hot Tamas on Tamas action, featuring elbow drops and kip-ups from Szabo for a two-count. Ameen’s back to wear down Terrible Tamas, while Kolasky came in to choke Tamas with her boot in the corner. Tamas pushed free, but Kolasky feigned an injury as her team mates choked Tamas behind the referee’s back… Tamas manages to fight out though, then leap over Kolasky to make the tag out to Sky.
Ricky Sky’s clotheslines clear house as the bad guys head outside… leading to everyone stopping and staring at the referee… who had a moustache hidden in his pocket for Maokai. Just so he doesn’t feel left out. Cue dives, with Maokai screaming as Ricky Sky press slammed him into the pile for effect, before Icarus hit the ring and got fed up with the referee… who just threw him outside, before the ref hit a flip plancha into the pile. O-kay then!
The madness continued as they fought onto the stage in among the seated fans, with one guy in particular being brought in to hold the baddies one by one for chops. Mylan’s got some balloons as it looked like it was that guy’s birthday, but the celebrations end with Iva Kolasky getting thrown back into the ring… where she hits a facebuster on Maokai.
The Parade of Moves continued from there, featuring a wild Icarus clothesline, a spinning Blue Thunder slam from Sky, then a TKO from Ameen, before the referee grabbed a wristlock on Icarus. I mean, it’s better than referees that wilt into nothingness when they’re pushed into a corner, right? Icarus is tapping, but it doesn’t count, and it also meant that the referee missed Zafar Ameen throwing powder into Maokai’s eyes, allowing Tamas Szabo to hit a taping Pedigree, before Ameen’s package piledriver, Icarus’ Saito suplex and finally Kolasky’s moonsault got the win. As a match, this one had the live crowd going nuts throughout – and while it felt a little loose at times, it was bloody entertaining, which is all you can ask for with these kind of matches. ***½
Elimination Rules – Passion Cup 2022 Final: Tristan Archer vs. Corey McRae vs. Connor Mills vs. Peter Tihanyi
The last man standing here leaves with the Passion Cup, as we’re working under elimination rules…
Unsurprisingly, Tihanyi was the huge crowd favourite, as we start with everyone pairing off into the corners. Things spill outside with Mills and Tihanyi trading blows, while Archer crushed McRae with a crossbody for an early one-count. A stalling suplex from Archer bounced McRae, while Tihanyi and Mills hit the ring as a back suplex from Tihanyi had Connor laying.
Back on the outside again, McRae whips Archer into the post, before he turned his sights onto Tihanyi with some mudhole stomping and boot choking into the corner. Tihanyi boots McRae away, then went up top for a Meteora… Mills takes over from McRae, landing a springboard uppercut for a one-count, before he traded chops with Tihanyi back in the corner.
Tihanyi nearly gets a flash pin with a crucifix on Mills, while a swinging DDT took Mills to the outside. Archer snuck in to try and surprise Tihanyi with a German suplex, but it’s flipped out of as Tihanyi then hit a flip senton to the crew on the outside. Back inside, Tihanyi caught McRae’s springboard and turned it into a cutter for a near-fall. We’re back to Tihanyi and Archer, Archer teased setting off a Tower of Doom… but it all falls apart as we instead got Tihanyi heading up top for a 450 splash.
McRae cuts off Tihanyi and instead rebuilt that Tower of Doom, with Archer this time setting it off. Dualling half crabs followed on Mills and McRae, but Tihanyi superkicks it apart, then hit the Asai DDT to Archer, only for McRae to immediately cradle Tihanyi for a three-count – eliminating him at 9:55 into the match.
Mills and McRae resume as they ganged up on Archer, getting back at him with a pair of half crabs, but the ropes save Archer in the end. A kick-assisted brainbuster from McRae gets him another two-count, as Mills and McRae decided to follow up with a series of kicks. In the end though, Archer caught one from Mills and redirected it to McRae, only for Mills and McRae to return with a rebound lariat/legsweep combo that nearly got an elimination for Mills.
More double-teaming led to Mills heading up top, but Archer uses McRae to stun Mills ahead of a pair of slams onto the Englishmen. The double-teaming resumes though, with Mills laying out Archer with a Burning Cutter… only for McRae to roll up Mills for our next elimination at 14:58. McRae instantly goes to cover Archer, but Mills breaks it up before he wiped out McRae with a hook kick.
Both men got back to their feet as McRae and Archer resumed with forearms going back-and-forth, before a McRae German suplex nearly won him the cup. A standing uranage, then a back senton followed from Archer, whose La Terreur got caught by McRae… Archer quickly maneueverd back into La Terreur, following up with a clothesline and eventually a Coup d’Etat to get the win. That makes it two out of two when it comes to Frenchmen who’ve won the Passion Cup, with this year’s one-night tournament ending with yet more hardware for Tristan Archer after a good showing. ***½
Moving the Passion Cup to a single-show tournament could have backfired, but Passion Pro just about found the right mix of home-grown and international talent to keep the tournament field interesting without having an obvious out-and-out winner.