Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Action Wrestling 4/27/18 Cherry Picking

This was the debut of this promotion, they showed it on Powerbomb and it has a couple of on-paper bangers in its two main events

Arik Royal vs. Michael Spencer

ER: This is one of those matches where it isn't really fair to criticize, as Spencer didn't really look like someone who should be in a pro wrestling ring, but he was, and the match happened. I feel for the guy, because there were some early exchanges that he got totally crossed up on, an awkward headlock exchange, a really poor wheelbarrow into an armdrag that threatened to fall apart every single step of the way but was muscled through by Royal, and peaking with the moment where he hits his one highspot of the match...and he just fell off the ropes and missed Royal entirely. I think he was going for a leaping back elbow, but he ended up elbowing the mat. He at least attempted a type of superkick after. It's a relatable bad situation, where you're in front of a crowd and you just fall on your face (literally in this instance). I played trombone in high school and college, and I was good, but never got VERY good. But I was good enough to get solos and some standout melodies. And one day after doing a workshop all day and having to play a concert that night, my lip was completely dead and I tanked it, couldn't hit some of the higher notes, not as crisp of a sound, not my best. It was embarrassing, even if I'm not sure anybody else cared, or possibly even noticed, but it was a humbling moment. This match was probably humbling for Spencer, but he did it. He'll do better. He probably won't do a lot worse. I hope he was able to laugh about it backstage. Arik Royal looked great here, and turned some lemons into lemonade. It felt like a fun 1996 WCW Worldwide squash. Royal threw a punch of palm thrusts to Spencer's body, used the middle rope as a weapon by shoving Spencer kidney's first into it, hit the grounded shoulderblock and the big upending running tackle (Royal's versions are two of my favorite moves in modern wrestling), and you know what? Spencer bumped these two different shoulderblocks really great. They aren't easy moves to bump, and his bumps looked good. I hope he focuses on that.

Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. James Brady vs. Donnie Dollars vs. Adrian Hawkins

ER: I gotta support my CWF guys, and I thought they were the standouts in this, but this was pretty short for a "first pinfall wins" kind of match. You'd think you could get an easy 12 minutes just from guys making saves, but this was barely 5 minutes. Dollars looked great with some nasty knees to the gut and a big double clothesline, there was amusing spot where the other three pinballed Sharpe around with strikes, Sharpe pulled out a really awesome headbutt on Brady, just grabbing him with both hands and smashing that head downwards, even selling double vision and straightening his nose afterwards, and Brady had a nice flying kick to the back of Sharpe's head. Fun, but inconsequential.

Cain Justice vs. Fred Yehi

PAS: By far the biggest non-CWF match of Cain's career, and 2018 is clearly going to be the year he branches out to other places. Since leaving WWN Yehi has been under the radar (no Wrestlemania weekend bookings was pretty surprising), so I am glad to see him again. This really delivered what I was hoping for, these are two of the more interesting offensive wrestlers around and they mixed well together. Yehi really dominated the opening section of the match, hitting Cain with his weird stomps and low dropkicks, they spill to the floor and Cain accidentally chops a refrigerator and takes a bump over a merch table. Cain is able to get a bit of an advantage and jam Fred's hand into a hook on the ring post and do a unique looking finger break spot. Then we have a cool story with Cain working the hand to get an advantage and Yehi landing big shots with his other hand. We get some cool submission attempts by both guys and cool finish. Great stuff, and I am excited to see Cain work outside of his comfort zone.

ER: I was really excited to see Cain work outside the Sportatorium, outside of NC, and it's clear he's confident enough to work in front of any crowd. He carried himself with the same swagger, and this was a big match. I loved how the first part of the match was Yehi just totally outgunning him, one step ahead, Cain stumbling away from him as Yehi focuses in all his attacks. Cain is really great at selling the Yehi Stomp, and I love that it started when Cain slid back into the ring and Yehi just stomped his hand. Yehi is smart about setting up a piece of bigger offense with a stomp, like stomping on Cain's inner knee before hitting a low dropkick off the ropes, and he's good at making some reversals feel natural, like when he chopped a Cain elbow attempt out of the air. The brawl around the crowd was really fun, with Cain missing a chop and chopping a refrigerator, then getting tossed over tables and into some wrestling mats. Stumbling Cain is really good, he's not someone who will just do a wandering brawl, walking and holding each other by the hair; he'll fall, lash back unexpectedly, leave his opponent openings, really makes a crowd brawl interesting, and he really shows he's great at reading a room. It's an impressive skill to have so early, as plenty of good wrestlers don't ever really have that. Getting your face smacked on the edge of the apron 10 times in a row could come off hokey, but they read the room and the fans are counting along with all of them. There are a ton of CWF guys who are great at a through the crowd brawl, better than any Japanese garbage fed or old ECW guys. I'm pretty tired of finger breaking spots, but those ringposts were so gnarly that they had to be used in SOME way. You know if Finlay were working a card, and the ringpost had hooks sticking out like that, he'd find a way to hurt his opponent with them, so I totally get Cain jamming Yehi's fingers in there and snapping. Yehi for his part actually remembered what had happened (many guys don't) and Cain kept going back to that hand to torture him. Yehi is really quick in grabbing the Koji Clutch, and I liked Cain grabbing him in a triangle but immediately having to let go due to his shoulders being down, and Yehi rolling into the clutch. Excellent opportunity for Cain, and he delivered.

Gunner Miller vs. Dominic Garrini

PAS: First time matchup between two up and coming indy stars. Garrini has gotten really good at using his ju-jitsu as a surprise attack, Dylan compares him to Fujiwara on commentary (which is a little like calling Harold Minor Baby Jordan) and there are some similarities to the way Garinni attacks from odd angles, and suckers his opponent in. Miller is a naturally aggressive wrestler and there are a bunch of neat spots where his aggression backfires. He turns a test of strength into a monkey flip crossarmbreaker, goes for a flying armbar, turns a shoulder block in the corner into a guillotine choke. Miller uses force and power to get an advantage, hitting some big shoulder blocks, and powering out of Garrini's submissions, including an awesome jackhammer out of a flying guillotine. Just a great match, and I could see this being a long term feud.

ER: This might have been my favorite overall Garrini performance. Sometimes I think he gets a little too stuck hitting strike combos, and those can come off really robotic and slow, here he was just a sentient bear trap working to snap his jaws on Gunner at every chance. Garrini uses his strength to turn a knucklelock into a triangle, dragging Gunner down by dropping to his back and maneuvering into the choke, knuckles locked the whole time. Later he pops up and I think he's going to hit a rana, and instead he just hangs off Gunner's arm to try to twist it off. Gunner was great at using his power, and I loved how a Garrini reversal was always lurking. The guillotine attempt off shoulders in the corner was really cool, and not something you see a lot. There are a lot of pro wrestling spots that are just done through the motions, and it's great for Garrini to remind people that he's not someone who is always going to sit around through typical spots. Garrini does start doing a slow strike combo, and it has a great twist because Gunner blocks a slow spinning back elbow and hits a huge pounce, with Garrini bumping spectacularly into the ropes. The finish was absolutely fantastic. Gunner hits a big time spinebuster but then lingers, so Garrini springs up and grabs a guillotine. Gunner powers to his feet and grabs for the ropes, Garrini kicks them away from the ropes, holding the guillotine the whole time, and Gunner pauses and then muscles Garrini over for an insane jackhammer. Awesome, awesome moment and a fitting finish. Killer match.


2018 MOTY MASTER LIST

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE CAIN JUSTICE

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