A quick look at some of the wrestling we’ve seen recently, but haven’t written up… Brian Cage! Hardcore Holly! Hell in a Cell! PCW! Yeah, it’s a mixed bag…

We don’t “aim” to post a review a day, but sometimes we see stuff that grabs our attention… but we just don’t write about it. With so much wrestling out there, it’s hard to fully invest in a promotion and write anything informed, especially when there’s just one match that grabs you. So, in the spirit of cherry picking – and not wanting to add to our pile when there’s the Arnold Furious of this world who’s got more in their locker when it comes to some of these random promotions – we’ll be dropping some irregular reviews of cherry-picked matches.

Keith Lee vs. Bob Holly
This is from AAW’s Jawbreaker show on August 5, 2017 – they’re out-Southside-ing Southside with this! It’s a qualifier for the Jim Lynam Invitational Tournament… and Holly’s got his old WWE music. Jerry McDevitt, how do you like that now? Holly’s not wrestling often these days, but he’s not looking too bad for his age. I’m just worried that Keith Lee’s going to make sure he doesn’t see 55. Somehow, Holly got Lee up for an Alabama Slam in the opening minute, but Lee pulled himself to the outside… and I’m floored that even happened.

After that, Lee suckers Holly from a test of strength, but that just gets him a chop as Lee rolled to the outside to try and walk it off. Back inside, a headbutt follows as Lee tosses around Holly, who throws some more chops… and gets receipts in kind. Yup. Commentary is throwing so much shade at the crowd for the usual tropes, mostly kicking off at duelling chops, but instead of a dive from the checklist, we get an elbow drop from the big guy.

Lee envelopes Holly in the corner with a splash before a double-handed chop collapsed the former Hardcore champ. Eventually, Holly tries to chop down Lee with forearms, but he’s caught and trapped in a bear hug. Holly escapes and knocks down Lee with a flying forearm, then gets some boots up as Lee tried to use his size to his advantage.

A ref bump follows, just because, as Holly squashes the ref in the corner… Keith Lee then flattens the ref further. Why would a good guy go to squash a man who had trapped a ref? An Alabama Slam follows, but there’s no ref, so Holly stops his cover as JT Davison head out. It’s a trap as Sami Callihan, whom Holly had buried pre-match, head out and drops Holly with a boot.

Everyone’s left laying as Callihan went to the back, and we go back to a chop battle between the two before Lee catches Holly off the ropes with the death valley driver slam known as Ground Zero for the win. This was fun, and a lot better than I would have guessed going in. Holly can still go, but this is about his place. At least he’s not doing the hardcore plunder shtick in 2017, I guess. ***¼

Hell in a Cell for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso)
We didn’t review Hell in a Cell, but were advised to give the opener a look. To be fair, the New Day and the Usos have had some bangers this year… and we started on the outside with everyone going for plunder!

Of course, with it being a tag team cell match, it’s under tornado rules. Think War Machine rules but with a ruddy great cage around it… and they make it count too, with the New Day looking for an early win with a chain-assisted punch before we headed out into dive city, with Jey Uso clearing the top rope with his tope. Big E succeeds with his spear through the ropes, and that’s a spot that’s going to hurt him badly one of these days.

Trombones get used as weapons, as do cowbells and gongs. Hell, we always need more cowbell! It’s like someone emptied out a music class under the ring. Well, that’s one way to make things different: use plunder that’s never been plundered before! Eventually the Usos come back with some more orthodox weapons (in the context of wrestling, at least), battering Big E with kendo sticks.

They get even more creative as Woods eats a hip attack against the corner of the cell… before he recovered to slide in with a back stabber as Big E threw one of the Usos off the apron with a uranage. That looked like it had to suck. Back inside, a Midnight Hour nearly does it, but instead the cover’s broken as Jey Uso ends up getting pinned into the corner. With Kendo sticks. Like a human version of Kerplunk.

On his own, Jimmy’s placed across the ring steps… but Jay freed himself in time to stop Xavier from stomping off the ringpost and onto his brother. Seconds later, Big E is in a Doomsday Device on the floor, but instead takes a tope into the wall as the Usos continued to innovate in the structure, before reverting to a pair of splashes off the top rope for a near-fall.

After having been trapped by Kendo sticks, the Usos grab some handcuffs to keep their “Uso Penitentiary” tagline alive… but rather than chain someone to the ropes, they end up cuffing Woods’ hands behind the ring post so he’s left wide open for a caning. Once they’d had enough of that, it was time for Big E to fire back, charging one of the Usos repeatedly into the cell walls, before a Big Ending only got a near fall?!

A superkick from Jey’s caught and turned into a stretch muffler, but two Usos on Big E proved to be too much as superkicks left him laying… a Double Uce should have done it, but Xavier Woods makes the save at the count of one… and he’s made to pay as Big E rolls to the outside to recover. A series of cane shots put Woods and his curly-toed boots down after a brief fightback, before a chair-assisted Double Uce gets the win. This was really good – not quite the levels a lot of commentators had this pegged at, but this Usos/New Day feud continues to deliver in the ring. I loved the fire that Woods showed time and time again, but in the end it was not to be. ****½

Christi Jaynes & Shotzi Blackheart vs. Lucy Cole & Saraya Knight
Something utterly random, courtesy of a GIF from Botchamania. We’re off to Preston City Wrestling for this one, and their “Confrontation” show with IPW:UK from June 2017 at the Blackpool Tower. We’ve been impressed with Shotzi Blackheart in the past, but Christi hasn’t exactly had a banner year with some… eye-raising exchanges, shall we say? Jaynes and Blackheart were up against Lucy Cole and Saraya Knight, who weren’t exactly making friends in Blackpool…

The last time we saw Saraya, she was picking fights with fans and kicking people low. She’s even got a t-shirt playing off of that.

Shotzi and Saraya get us underway, and instantly the veteran took Blackheart into the corner for some punches as the baddies looked to take the advantage. Saraya’s advice of “don’t let her tag” was simple once Cole’d come in, before Saraya returned to pull away at Shotzi’s hair. Standard stuff. Knight and Cole worked well over Shotzi, who struggled to get any sort of offence going, not helped by Saraya repeatedly doing her C-kicking shtick. There’s some words I’ll not use here, thank you! A double legdrop gets Knight a near-fall, before a shotgun dropkick to the C kept that motif going.

It’s like Saraya’s only move is a low blow, and Christi Jaynes doesn’t help things with her eagerness to get involved. A vicious DDT drops Blackheart for a near-fall, but she mounted a comeback against Cole, firing off some clubbing forearms en route to a tag out. Jaynes manages to get a bulldog, but Saraya pulls away the pin with a handful of hair, before Christi flips off the top rope and eventually into an armdrag. Double knees into the corner follow, as Shotzi tagged back in for a cannonball and a snapping trust-fall for a near-fall.

Jaynes returns with a snapmare and a Mr Perfect-esque neck snap, but Saraya blatantly ties up the referee to stop a pinning attempt from being made. That allowed Cole to recover with a big boot, before both women tagged out. Yes, Saraya went for a low blow, but Blackheart escapes… and gets a poke to the eye as the rough style of Knight showed once more.

Knight keeps working over Blackheart, hitting a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall. Another comeback’s cut-off with a low blow, and this is getting tiresome now. I don’t mind it as a gimmick, but at least build up to it rather than have it be 50% of your offence! You know it’s not effective when the crowd doesn’t even react to it! Knight stretches Shotzi in the ropes, prompting Jaynes to come in and try and break it up, but it just earns Shotzi a Tower of London DDT that doesn’t get a pin as Blackheart’s foot was under the ropes. It’s a game of endurance for Blackheart, who’s double-teamed by Knight and Cole, before mounting another comeback, crushing Cole with back sentons for a near-fall.

Another back senton had the ref hit the mat three times, but it was just a two-count as Shotzi tagged in Jaynes. Her first move was a low dropkick to Cole, then a double-team clothesline… and despite Jaynes having tagged out, she went for (and was counted) a two-count. Yeah… this is dragging, and stuff like this doesn’t help. Jaynes grabs the hair of Cole, and I’m guessing this is a smaller ring than usual because Knight was able to tag in with Cole in the middle of the ring?

Knight starts to batter Jaynes as the pair grab each others hair – it’s an old-school Attitude-era Catfight! Which gets little reaction, sadly… Saraya monkey flips her away, before we get forearms a-plenty, and then stiff chops! The “big moment” follows as Jaynes climbs the top rope and gives a missile dropkick to thin air. Yep, she got laughed at.

Knight openly mocked Christi for that, as does commentary, before a curb stomp and a seated surfboard seemed to test the Brazilian’s resolve – which eventually gave as Christi was forced to submit. Well, this’ll be known for that random dropkick, but this match just went on for way too long with a lot of stuff on loop. Not something to add to someone’s highlight reel… *½

Brian Cage vs. Shigehiro Irie
We’ll wrap up with something better, at least on paper: we’re watching Pro Wrestling Revolver’s Hallowe’en show from October 28, 2017, “Tales From The Ring”, and this is the opener as Brian Cage took on DDT’s Shigehiro Irie. It’s a bit of a weird visual in terms of size, and that this one’s taking place in a cavernous events centre.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a first-time meeting for these two, and they’re throwing themselves early as Cage takes Irie into the corner for some clubbing lariats. Irie’s shoulder tackles have some effect, as does a clothesline to the outside and a hip attack off the apron… but on the outside Cage throws Irie into the guard rails as the DDT star found himself struggling. Back-and-forth uppercuts gave way to a Cage powerslam, before a Torpedo Moscau-like diving headbutt put Cage into the corner. A cannonball into the corner almost gets the win as I get distracted by the laser show in the entry-way, seemingly playing Asteroids… another cannonball drop off the top flattened Cage, but Irie can’t quite put the big guy away.

That backfired quickly as Cage hits off a release German suplex and an F5, but yep… near-fall! Irie rebounds with the old Tazmission, but Cage powers out and we get a series of powerbombs instead as a discus lariat puts away Irie. Fun while it lasted, but painfully short for my liking. **¾

That wraps up the first round of “Odds and Sods” – if there’s anything you think we should take a look at in this little vacuum, hit us up via that Contact form!