Tag Team Match
Too Cool vs. So Scandalous
I had one request going into this match, and I'm many people shared the same request. I wanted to see Scotty 2 Hotty hit the Worm on someone. I didn't care who, I didn't care how, but I wasn't leaving the Collingwood Centre without seeing a Worm. I would have literally caught Scotty 2 Hotty in a net, and forced him to perform the move if by the end of the show he hadn't performed that move. Luckily for Scotty, he did perform the move and to the delight of the fans in attendance it was to both Ryan Smile and Damian Dunne. I lost my head as the nostalgia mist descended, belting out "DOUBLE YOU-OHHHH-AAAAARRRR-EEEEEEEMMMM" at the top of my voice.
Apart from the Worm, how did the rest of match fare? Entertaining is the word, that would most fairly some up. Whilst I don't think anyone would tell you the match was a technical masterclass, everyone involved in the match worked hard to make it as entertaining as it could have been. Hotty and Sexay clearly know their limitations in 2015 and Smile and Dunne's sneaky heel tactics to stay in control of the middle section of the match kept the crowd engaged in the action. As larger than life as Too Cool can be, So Scandalous matched them every step of the way.
The match was laid out nicely, with a few big spots that allowed the match to peak at the right times. Smile teasing hitting Sexay's signature Hip Hop Drop on Hotty, whilst bad mouthing Sexay, only to miss the move, felt like a big moment because of what was built around it. Classic tag team moves like the Double Noggin' Nocker and just whipping your opponents into each other were also on offer from Too Cool. The strongest wrestling section of the match came between Hotty and Dunne who did string together a decent sequence of action.
With Smile and Dunne picking up the win, with Smile escaping the first Worm attempt with a roll up whilst holding the ropes, it gives them momentum as a team going forward, as even though they got battered post-match they can talk about how they beat former WWF Tag Team Champions, and get even more under the fans skins. Personally, with Smile and Dunne part of a three way bout for the Relentless Championship on March 8th, I would have liked to have seen one of the pair leave the other to take the Worm solo, to add an extra element to their bout on the next show.
Dick Riley (with Chris Walker) vs. Marshall X
|Dick Riley gives one lucky fan some attention.|
Beginning the second half, this match may very well have stolen the show. Two (or three) big characters going head to head in a psychology-based match up, it was almost as if they knew I'd be reviewing the show! Following an arm wringer that caught Riley across the top rope, Marshall X (No relation to Kamikaze Pro Champion Robbie X) went to work with a series of moves focused on the arm, including a lovely arm-trap scoop slam and a dropkick with the arm caught in the ropes. Of course, this type of match would fall apart without the appropriate selling, and luckily Riley pulled this off almost perfectly, with little hints and touches throughout his comebacks to how much pain his arm was in and the match was all the better because of it.
The match built well towards it's climax, with all participants got involved as both Riley's tag team partner cum manager Chris Walker and the referee were dragged into the action. With the ref down, Marshall took out Walker with a steel chair, before Riley managed to dodge the chair himself, meaning the chair ricocheted off the ring ropes hitting Marshall in the face. But with the ref down and Riley unable to get the pin, that left things open for another chair shot from Marshall, this time directly to the injured arm of Riley, before locking in the third cross-armbreaker attempt of the match, with the referee making his recovery, Marshall made it seem like Riley was tapping out. A finish deserving of play-by-play, had me hooked and kept Riley looking strong, whilst keeping the heat on the dastardly Marshall X.
Despite an enjoyable technical encounter, it was the sheer adolescent enjoyment of hundreds of men shouting "We Want Dick" and various other chants, that had me howling in my seat. The comedy wasn't just bound to the fans however, as both Riley and Walker played up their Magnums personas, gyrating on fans laps, crotching Marshall on the ringpost and even getting some kids involved in the action, it was difficult not to get behind these two. Even Marshall has an air of comedy to his character, his over-the-top persona can be laugh out loud funny, whilst seeing him fail can be even funnier. Whilst this comedy could have potentially have detracted from the match, it was done sparingly and timed-well, allowing the more serious action to breathe.
After the bout, Marshall was straight out for a promo, asking for a match with Juventud Guerrera on 1st May, however General Manager/Ring Announcer Lawrie Neal revealed that the Rumble winner at Over The Top 2 on 29th March in Birmingham would win the right to face Guerrera on 1st May. However, Marshall would face an international star on 29th March, as he will take on TNA's Robbie E. To finish the segment Marshall lost his shit delivering telling Robbie that come 29th March it would be "GYM, TAN, WASTEMAN" A short segment, that set up two future matches nicely, can't really complain with that!
Kamikaze Pro Championship Match
Robbie X (C) vs. El Ligero
If you've got us liked on Facebook, you'll most likely have seen El Ligero delivering a beautiful sit-out powerbomb to Robbie X during this match (in slow-motion for fulling effect). However, that was just the tip of the iceberg in what was a belting back and forth outing, with each man throwing a number of heavy hitting moves into the mix, with Ligero's aforementioned Sitout Powerbomb, as well as Robbie X's Brainbuster and Jumping DDT standing out as particular highlights. Seeing two men go at it like this made the title seem like something that was worth winning, and hopefully would have had those fans who'd come in for Too Cool chomping at the bit to make a return to Kamikaze Pro in the future.
Alongside the big moves, there was a strong foundation of storytelling, with a clear and visible divide between Ligero's excitable, Masked persona and the brash, annoying nobhead character of Robbie X. Robbie's really grown into this role, since turning heel at Born and Raised in July, and has added a few little touches to the character that make it easier to boo to him and get behind his opponent in a match. Teasing a Standing Shooting Star Press and not delivering is the mark of an utter bastard, as we all know. I haven't seen as much spitting since my last trip to the Llama enclosure at Dudley Zoo! Of course, it isn't exactly hard to get behind Ligero anyway, he wasn't one ATPW's Top British Babyfaces of 2014 for no reason!
The two performers were clearly comfortable together in the ring, having worked together previously in Kamikaze Pro as well as other companies around the country, and bar a few minor slips on more high risk moves, the action was crisp throughout the match-up. Both men showed what they can do in a brawling scenario as well, battling around the crowd at the merchandise stands, before Ligero hit a dropkick on a seated Robbie. Robbie returned the favour by irish whipping Ligero into multiple chairs on the other sides of the centre. This intensity that the two bought to the performance made me clamour to see them put into a stronger feud, as you could sense that if given a full storyline to get their teeth into Robbie X and El Ligero could really shine.
After Robbie X picked up the win, following a Schoolboy roll up and with more than a handful of Ligero's colourful tights, he moves to face the veteran Jonny Storm at Storm Warning in Bournville on March 8th with the title on the line. It's a big match for Robbie both the performer and character, as a match with a British Cruiserweight pioneer and World travelled athlete with hopefully offer Robbie the opportunity to grow even further as performer, whilst a win over the veteran gives the cocky and arrogant Robbie X character something to play off and boast about heading out of the victory.
Four Way Elimination Match
Tasked with opening the show, this was an entertaining bout that settled the crowd into the show well. The encounter featured strong storytelling, with Lee Hunter and Omari pairing up, whilst Sam Wilder and Dan Maloney formed a tentative partnership that clearly wasn't as comfortable as the babyface pairing was. This played into Wilder's exit from the match as Hunter ducked an attack from Wilder, who collided with Maloney, allowing Hunter to hit a nice DDT. There was one moment that jarred a little however, this being Maloney preventing Wilder from getting a pin on Hunter, despite the match being an elimination bout.
A lot of credit has to go to Maloney, who has come on leaps and bounds over the last year or so, and his performance here was impressive throughout. Most notably his character work and crowd interaction were spot on, garnering decent heat from the crowd. The finish had one eye on Storm Warning on 8th March in Bournville, as Hunter and Maloney (who will be on opposite sides of Tag Team Championship match, also featuring Jim Hunter and Tyler Bate respectively) were the final two in the match. Wilder managed to distract the referee for long enough to allow Maloney to hit Hunter with his title belt and pick up the victory. A post-match promo from Maloney, explaining issues between himself and partner Tyler Bate, was short and sweet, and adds an extra dimension to the aforementioned tag team match on 8th March.
Danny Steel vs. Clint Margera
Hmmm...I'm not sure what to make of this match. Danny Steel came in as a replacement for the advertised Morgan Webster and offered a completely different match to what I'd been expecting. Steel is clearly a more than competent worker, but his "Shall I hit him?" approach rarely gets me engaged in a match, although he did manage to get a decent reaction out of some of the crowd. Of course, this is a personal preference, but I also felt this style didn't gel well with Margera's more in-yer-face offence, or, at least, this clash wasn't played up to as well as it could have been by either man.
For someone coming in as a big heel for the promotion, having attack Chris Brookes at Frost Fight 2, Margera didn't really get a lot of offence in here. Beyond a bit of brawling and the huge out of nowhere, Top Rope Death Valley Driver that finished the match, we didn't get to see a whole lot of Margera. Usually this wouldn't be too much of a problem for a heel, but on a debut I would've expected a little more out of the Fight Club: Pro regular to build him up as a force to be reckoned with in the promotion and someone who could genuinelly make Brookes' life hell, as promised at Frost Fight 2.
Pete Dunne vs. Chris Brookes
Perhaps not what I was expecting from a Pete Dunne vs. Chris Brookes, it was almost certainly not as long as I was expecting. To compensate for the lack of time, Dunne and Brookes went hell for leather with a series of big moves early, sitout powerbombs, tope conhilos, Regal Suplexes and some lovely reversal sequences as Brookes looked to lock in an Ankle lock. The bout was however cut short by Clint Margera who distracted Brookes and allowed Dunne to hit an enziguiri and a DT3 to pick up the win. As a clear set up to get Margera and Brookes feud over, the fact that Dunne is also a babyface hurt the reaction that the finish should have gotten from the crowd, which was a shame. Hopefully the feud is allowed to grow a bit more, with Brookes getting a shot the Relentless Division Championship at the next show there's another perfect opportunity for Margera to cause shit for Brookes.
The top three matches on the show all delivered and remained varied enough that the audience didn't seem to lag at all, perhaps only quieting for the Dunne-Brookes Face vs. Face bout. A little too much stalling for my personal taste with almost all the heels engaging in such tactics, with similar effects, a little more creativity would be nice in this area.
A very good show from Kamikaze Pro and certainly an improvement from the product I reviewed over the Summer. I look forward to being able to catch another show soon.
Kamikaze Pro can be found on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links. Credit to David Marston for the photos, mucho respecto.