It’s that time again, as we continue our search on the world wide web for the freely available gems of matches that can provide a quick distraction from what the WWE is currently churning out.  This time, we take a look at two women’s matches, some comic book wrestling, and something from the early days of a promotion that seems to be perpetually at death’s door.

Amber Gallows vs. Veda Scott (Ring of Honor, January 23, 2015 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI5pZCPq3Zo)

Straight out of ROH’s “Women of Honor Wednesday” series, with Ian Riccaboni and BJ Whitmer again providing commentary for this bout. Hailing from “Heaven” (well, it’s gotta be better from the real hometown!), and carrying the NWA women’s title that she’d recently won from Santana Garrett, Amber “wife of Doc” Gallows comes out to the Bullet Club’s theme, all of which is a little jarring given that this is ROH. Veda gets some streamers for her entrance, which seems to catch her off-guard.

As soon as the bell rings, Taeler Hendrix joins the commentary team to watch, and from the get go, Gallows rolls up Scott for a two count. Veda then asks for another handshake, but Gallows outsmarts here, and before long she’s chopping her in the ropes. Veda goes for a back body drop, but Gallows tosses her head to the mat, then hits something resembling an STO for a two count.

Veda misses on an enziguiri, but catches Gallows’ leg and manages to connect with a side Russian legsweep for another near fall. Scott mounts Gallows and hits some punches, before taking her to the corner and choking her with a big boot a la Kevin Nash. Gallows grabs the hair as the referee admonishes Scott, and goes back to work in the corner, ultimately whipping Scott into the other corner and tying her with a rope-assisted headscissors choke. Gallows tries for a tights-assisted pin, but the referee stops the count when he notices the cheating attempt.

Scott dropkicks Gallows to the floor as she tried to exit the ring, as the camera yet again focuses on Hendrix as Veda sits on the top turnbuckle waiting for her opponent to return. Gallows catches Scott and drops her on the rope, before returning to the ring, and kicking the base of Scott’s spine. Gallows drops to a splits and locks in a full nelson to the seated Scott, turning it into a Rings of Saturn, then the Cattle Mutilation. Veda rolls out of it and rolls into what looks like a reverse Triangle choke as Taeler keeps flirting with Riccaboni on commentary.

Scott and Gallows bound off the ropes and collide with a double clothesline, taking each other down. They get back to their knees and start slapping each other, then continue back on their feet. Gallows connects with a superkick that the camera just caught as they tried to focus on Taeler once more, but only gets a near fall from that. Scott connects with something close to a spear and gets a two count, before seeing an attempt at the Mind Trip blocked.

Gallows gets some height on her jump as she drills Scott’s head into the mat with a facebuster, but Scott gets her leg on the rope at the count of two. Scott connects with a springboard bulldog off the second rope for another two, before going for a Fisherman suplex. That gets blocked though, with Gallows punching her way out, and after a brief edit, rolls up Scott with the feet on the ropes for the pin.

Perfectly acceptable wrestling, particularly in a company that has no defined womens’ division or title for them to contend for. That edit at the end came across a little weird, especially as it led to Gallows teleporting a brief distance before the roll-up!

AJ Styles vs. The Amazing Red (NWA:TNA, December 11, 2002 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0NSqXp9g9U)

I think this is the first time I’ve covered a TNA match in this column, and for it we’re going back to the very early days of TNA, back when they had weekly pay-per-views, meaning that AJ Styles could only afford a black headband, a blue ring jacket and some hideous ear-rings. Oh, and he had a manager too, the forgettable Mortimer Plumtree.

Red starts by jumping on Styles’ back and clubs away at his back. Red catches AJ’s leg, sweeps him down, then connects with a standing shooting star press as AJ rolled onto his front. This is going to be one of those “oh God, too much going on” sort of matches, isn’t it? Styles reverses a whip into the ropes, but that culminates in Red connecting with a kick to the head, followed by the 718 to Styles (Rey Mysterio’s 619, but with the Brooklyn area code instead). Styles staggers into the ring and rests on the ropes, but is greeted by a dropkick from Red, sending Styles out to the floor. Everything from this paragraph took place in under a minute, by the way…

Red tries to dive to the outside, but puts the brakes on when AJ walks around ringside instead, but Red tries for a slingshot plancha instead. AJ catches him, and powerbombs him onto his knee. That gets AJ a two count, who follows up with a backbreaker on Red, but he doesn’t go for a pin, and after a few slaps, AJ clotheslines Red, sending the Brooklyn native flipping inside out.

AJ goes to the ground again, locking in a seated rear chinlock on Red, before taking him into the corner for some chops. AJ whips Red into the corner, then walks up him into a backflip, before Red connects with a high boot, then a sunset flip out of the corner, which Red tries to turn into the Code Red, but AJ reverses it into a Styles Clash attempt, only for Red to grab the ropes. Red goes up top for a tornado DDT off the second rope, but AJ catches it and hits a Northern Lights suplex instead.

AJ tosses Red outside, which is just an opening for Mortimer Plumtree to get a few cheap shots in on Red before throwing him back in, but AJ only gets a two count from all that. Red gets whipped into the ropes, but instead slides out into a headscissors takedown on Plumtree on the floor, as AJ rushes out to throw Red into the apron, followed by a Snake Eyes onto the cameraman’s pedestal in the corner. After moving the ring steps, AJ looks to repeat the spot on the steps, but Red blocks it… but only holds off AJ sufficiently before being propelled into the air and brought down face first into the steps.

Red gets thrown back into the ring as AJ gets another two-count, and AJ follows that up with a bodyslam and a standing senton bomb for another near fall. AJ runs the ropes but runs straight into a snap huracanrana for a near fall, but Red’s offence is short lived, as AJ hits a quebrada moonsault over an onrushing Red, before blocking another aerial attack and turning it into a reverse DDT.

AJ then switches up his attack, locking Red in an Indian Deathlock, but relinquishes the hold after a matter of seconds, then cinching it back in with the two of them on their knees. All of that gets AJ a two count, who then picks up Red and whips him into the ropes, but an attempt at a back body drop sees Red counter it with the Code Red which gets him the nearest of near falls.

Red gets to his feet and launches into Styles with some punches, but gets met with a high boot after whipping him into the corner. Styles picks up Red and lands a sit-out powerbomb for a two count, which enrages Styles, who dumps Red in the corner, but an attempt at a Spiral Tap is cut off as Red pops up and crotches AJ on the top rope. Instead, Red goes for a huracanrana off the top, which is blocked by Styles. Red wriggles out of a Styles Clash from the middle ropes attempt and drills AJ with an enziguiri.

Red again tries for a superplex, but AJ fights back to try a super powerbomb; Red then jumps up and hits a super huracanrana off the top, which AJ flips forward 450 degrees to land on his face, as Red gets the pin.

A decent match, but it suffered badly from a lack of psychology and an overwhelming desire to flip, like a lot of indy matches from this era. Still, it’s worth a watch just to go back and see just how far AJ has progressed since this 2002 outing.

Hailey Hatred & Mary Elizabeth vs. Neveah & Ashley Lane (Heartland Wrestling Association, “High Def”, November 22, 2008 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgAt8toKdzA)

The random free match generator takes us to a SHIMMER tag team title match from the HWA, featuring the future Madison Rayne (Ashley Lane) and Kelly Klein (Mary Elizabeth), for those of you who are keeping track of current ROH and TNA.

There’s a lot of muting at the start for copyright reasons, and it’s clear that the champions of Lane and Neveah are playing off a prototype of what would eventually become the Beautiful People act in TNA, with the pair obsessing over themselves in a mirror during their entrance.

Helpfully for a newcomer watching a match where 3/4s of them are blonde, there’s no commentary, and the only on-screen graphic (the HWA logo) constantly flickers in the corner like it was covering up the “REC” wording on an old camcorder. Mary Elizabeth starts with Neveah, and a low hiptoss sends Neveah into the corner, with both teams getting a really early tag.

Hatred comes in, but Lane delays entering the ring. Finally they lock-up, and Hatred gets an arm wringer, which Lane reverses out of. They work the hold back and forth, until Hatred trips Lane to the mat, then locks in a headlock for almost a side-on STF. Hatred relinquishes the hold, instead opting to drop her knee into Lane’s ribs and move into a chinlock.

A bodyslam by Hatred takes Lane back to the mat, with a running elbow drop following up to get the challengers a two-count. Hatred picks up Lane in a headlock, and drags her into the corner so Mary Elizabeth can get the tag in. Mary Elizabeth immediately locks on a waistlock on Lane, and drags her into the middle of the ring, but Lane reverses it, only for her attempt at a German suplex (or similar) to come to nought, instead rolling forward to take down Lane.

Mary Elizabeth follows up with a bodyslam of her own, and hits a rolling senton onto Lane, continuing the roll through to come off the ropes, only for Neveah to grab a handful of hair to stop Mary Elizabeth in her tracks. That threatens to go badly for Neveah, as Mary Elizabeth goes to punch her in the corner, with Lane preventing the attack. Hatred runs in to try and assist her partner, but her efforts fail as the referee turns his back to deal with Hatred, allowing the champions to double-team anyway.

In the midst of that, Neveah was tagged into the match, and gets a two count after clubbing Mary Elizabeth to the mat. Neveah goes to the corner and connects with some shoulder charges, then tags Lane back in. Lane drills Mary Elizabeth in the corner with some forearms, then clubs her to the mat as the heels taunt Hatred’s hot tag attempt.

Lane locks in a sleeperhold on the mat, but picks up Mary Elizabeth only so she can be thrown into Neveah’s boot, which had been placed on the top turnbuckle. A snapmare is followed up by a kick to the lower spine by Lane, who then tags in Neveah for what I guess was meant to be the Mr Perfect-like rolling neck snap. That brings Hatred back into the ring to try and interfere, and this time it works as her distraction prevents Neveah from getting a pinfall attempt.

Neveah catches Elizabeth with some forearms whilst in the ropes before getting a near-fall, and Lane is tagged back in for a double-team move, as the champions successfully pull of a rolling Japanese armdrag, continuing to roll back to their feet to follow up with a double side-Russian legsweep. Lane sends Mary Elizabeth into the corner, but she gets her foot up to block an onrushing Lane, but that doesn’t start anything as Lane swings her opponent’s feet into the ropes and shoves her head to the mat for another near fall.

Neveah comes back in and hits a suplex, rolling through into a guillotine submission attempt, which Mary Elizabeth powers out of, only to be taken down again with a DDT. Neveah drags Mary Elizabeth back to her own corner so Lane can get tagged back in, and Lane immediately goes for a rear chinlock, with some extra double teamwork, with Neveah adding a Boston Crab to the mix as Hatred tries to come into the ring once more. You’d think she’d learn by now…

After a two count, Neveah goes back to the corner and unloads with some forearms and chops on Mary Elizabeth, but Mary fires back with some elbows that looked to be straight out of the Best-Of Kriss Sprules DVD (foreshadowing…), and rolls through to finally make the hot tag to Hailey Hatred, who connects with a clothesline on Neveah, before drilling Lane with a thunderous back suplex. Neveah walks into a kick in the gut that sets up a Fisherman’s suplex, but she kicks out at two.

Hatred and Neveah trade forearms, before switching waistlocks as Neveah wheelbarrows out of a German suplex attempt, with the roll-up getting a two-count in the ropes. After another forearm, Neveah sets up Hatred for an STO, which gets some assistance when Lane bounds off the ropes and hits a dropkick to Hatred’s head, and the champions retain!

That wasn’t bad, but it sure did make the challengers come across as weak. From Mary Elizabeth being beaten on for the majority of the match, to Hailey Hatred’s repeated interference attempts allowing her partner to get beaten on, to Hatred taking the fall after being in for just two minutes… this didn’t need to go longer, but it would have been nice for the babyfaces to have had something resembling a comeback!

The Baltic Siege (The Estonian Thunder Frog & The Latvian Proud Oak) vs. The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive & Max Smashmaster) (Wrestling Is Awesome @ National Pro Wrestling Day, February 2, 2013- viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do8C7xOD4CY)

We wrap up this set of reviews, with a tag team match from 2013’s “National Pro Wrestling Day”, featuring four performers from the “Wrestling Is…” group that ran shows during CHIKARA’s hiatus. These four guys are all straight out of video games, and not necessarily wrestling games either!

The match starts with the Latvian Proud Oak riling up Max Smashmaster into a slap, but the Oak ducks, and Smashmaster slaps his own man instead. Oak locks in a headlock on Smashmaster, but it has about the same effect you’d expect against a man twice his size. Smashmaster throws the Oak into Blaster McMassive, and the Oak goes for comedy, running between McMassive and Smashmaster as if they were ring ropes.

The Devastation Corporation end the Oak’s games by running together and pancaking him, before McMassive lifts up the Oak onto Smashmaster’s shoulders for an assisted powerbomb. Smashmaster hits some jumping stomps to the back of the Oak, before decking him with a right hand after the Oak had crawled back to his feet. McMassive gets tagged in, but the Corporation’s attempt at a double-team back body drop seems to go awry, but perhaps the Oak’s effort at a double powerbomb was never going to come off, as the Corporation instead lift up the Oak and flapjack him to the mat.

As the Oak rolls out of the ring, the Estonian Thunder Frog climbs up to the top rope, and jumps to the mat, hitting his hammer on the canvas as if he were Mario in the original Donkey Kong. That hammer blow sends the referee to the mat, and staggers the Corporation, as the Frog lays in some double axehandle blows to the chest of McMassive and Smashmaster. The Frog dropkicks McMassive out of the ring, but he spends too much time gloating to the crowd, as Smashmaster picks him up for in the Electric Chair position, only for the returning Oak to do a log roll into Smashmaster, sending him crashing to the ground. Timberrrr!

Unfortunately, the Oak and the Frog can’t celebrate for too long, as McMassive runs into the ring and flattens the duo with a clothesline, and Smashmaster picks up the limp body of the Oak, draping him across the top turnbuckle. Smashmaster goes to pick up the Frog’s Thor hammer, but has to drag it (because it’s so heavy… comedy!), but in the end the Corporation give up and start to target the Frog, forcing him to (easily) pick up the hammer. Fortunately for the Oak, the Estonian Thunder Frog is able to stop the Corporation’s attempt to get him to smash his own partner’s prone midsection with it, as he wriggles out, forcing the Corporation to drop the hammer.

The Frog then sidesteps McMassive as he goes for a shoulder charge into the corner, as the Frog then goes on all fours to allow the Oak to hit a cross body onto Smashmaster, who pratfalls over the Frog for a near fall. The Frog then tries to take out McMassive again, but ends up taking a vicious chokeslam on the ring apron for his troubles.

Easily impressed by what he just saw, the Latvian Proud Oak then tries to take out both members of the Corporation with a double chokeslam, but they easily fend that off and send him crashing to the mat with a double military press slam, followed by a Death Blow (body splash off the top rope onto an elevated Oak) for the win.

Knowing that this group was an offshoot of CHIKARA, you knew that you were in for some comic book, tongue-in-cheek wrestling, and as long as you didn’t take this at all seriously, you were in for a pretty fun time.

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