May 31, 2009
New York City, New York
– Show opens outside a janitor’s closet with Alexandra Ricci interviewing Steve Harrison in an odd comedy interview. Weird way to start a PPV.
– Backstage, Sarge Sterling and Hugo Sterling agree to a wager involving Sterling and his possible future bride/current fling(?), Paige Johnson. If I’ve learned anything from the advice columns, it’s this: if a relationship is worth risking based on the outcome of a mid-card PPV wrestling match, then it’s a quality relationship.
– Umm…another segment. This one revolves around a family and the taking of mass quantities of Xanax. Is this a wrestling show? A couple more sports entertainy segments follow, but I’m already painfully bored, so we’ll skip ahead to the opening match.
1 – Sean Kage vs. Omnis Ra (w/Alex Drevon) vs. Steve Harrison vs. Everything Begins Again vs. Christian Bryce (Opportunity Knocks Elimination Match)
Kage and Ra are pretty generic. Harrison has some sort of loser gimmick and gets no f’n pop. EBA sports a Guy Fawkes mask. Bryce is like The Marine Lite. No explanation of what the point of this match is, or what the winner gets thus far. We’ll assume for fun that the winner gets a copy of “Opportunity Knocks,” starring Dana Carvey, on DVD (Ebert gave that film **1/2). And now we’ll also see if I rate this match better than that movie. Harrison runs away from EBA early on. After a spear and Semper Fi, Bryce quickly eliminates Ra via pinfall. Not long after this, Bryce grabs Kage in a leg lock, and Kage taps out, despite no work on the leg prior to this. Bryce chills out as EBA and Harrison battle before hopping into the action, looking for a hat trick. But EBA reverses Semper Fi and eliminates Bryce. Man, nobody wants that DVD. I can’t really blame them. Apparently Harrison has never won a match, so the outcome isn’t really in doubt here, and Harrison can’t even properly hit a neckbreaker. At this point, a man in a black ski mask hops the rail and Harrison somehow pokes the ref in the eye, allowing ski mask guy to pull out a minibat and hit Harrison in the shin. EBA hits a sort of piledriver facebuster, the ref gets his eyesight back, and this match is over.
WINNER: Everything Begins Again via not being eliminated. Short, basic match that really didn’t do much of anything for anybody. EBA needed help from a mystery man to beat a jobber? (3/4*)
Post-match, EBA says he’s in business for himself from now on and blames the fans for everything. Try blaming the bookers, dude. What about me? What about Everything Begins Again? He then takes off his mask to reveal his true identity: Michael Polowy. Thrilling.
– Man, these segments between matches are just brutal to sit through. Pointless isn’t a strong enough word for these.
2 – Johnny Donovan vs. Xavier Cross vs. Johnny Murphy vs. Tripp Whipwreck vs. Michael Macbeth vs. Don Tiago vs. Huge Sterling (Legacy Mountain Triple Cage Match)
This is WCW’s triple cage match meets WWE’s Money in the Bank, with bonus weapons (old school ECW, the holy trilogy of ripoffs!), as the winner must retrieve a briefcase from the top. Well, at least they’re not just putting out a gigantic gimmick match as the second match of the evening that has the potential to overshadow more important matches…oh wait. Donovon smokes during his entrance; Cross enters with someone named Satana and wears a “priest robe”; Whipwreck has a chain, and he instigates a fight that soon gets everyone involved. Macbeth climbs the outside of the cage, and Tiago chases up after him and they fight on the roof of the first cage. Sterling comes out in shackles. Did he just bust out of jail or a dungeon? Chairs and ladders are already in play, as Heroic Henry, who is some sort of superhero, enters via a cable line and runs into Tiago and Macbeth, then has trouble getting out of his harness. From the top of a ladder, Sterling dumps Whipwreck with something vaguely resembling a chokeslam. Murphy and Sterling are the first two who get into the second cage. Meanwhile, the trio outside continues brawling.
On a ladder, Donovon rips Cross to shreds with a barbed wire bat, then hits him off before climbing to the second cage. Murphy gets up to the third level as more garbage brawling bores me to tears. He grabs the briefcase. Huzzuh! Wait, it’s not over? Fawk. Now he has to get out of the cage, which Henry conveniently spears Macbeth and Tiago through. Murphy blasts Macbeth in the nose with the case. Blood will have blood! A spin kick sends Murphy down onto the roof of the second cage. Meanwhile, Sterling powerbombs Shipwreck from the roof of cage two to the roof of cage one. Macbeth grabs the case, so Sterling now tosses him from cage two down to the roof of cage one, but he keeps the case. FUMBLE! Tiago picks it up and could…go…all…the…way, but he doesn’t. Henry dives down from the middle cage onto three guys, and Macbeth grabs the case now. FUMBLE! Sterling recovers, and we have a tug-of-snore with him and Henry. Head butts don’t work, but a chop does? Sterling leaps off the cage, but somehow Henry defies physics and grabs the case away from Sterling as they hit the floor.
WINNER: Heroic Henry via retrieving the briefcase. Terrible match with a ridiculously unbelievable ending. I can count the number of wrestling moves on one hand. (1/4*)
3 – “The Preacher” Billy Jacobs vs. “Sexy” Simon Marks (Really Extremely Fabulous Ascension to Heaven Match)
BWAHAHAHA. Worst. Gimmick match name. Ever. So, Jacobs is into God, while Marks is into other men’s butts. Marks entrance features a horse-drawn carriage driven by a midget in a top hat and bondage gear, and him in assless leather pants. Wow. And the goal of this match is to crucify your opponent. Hey, I’m all for crucifying the bookers at this point. Jacobs with an early suicide dive, but aren’t suicide dives a sin in his religion? No stones are around, so Jacobs beats Marks with a steel chair. Marks blades, and thankfully they don’t make any AIDS jokes. Jacobs gets tossed off the stage into a bunch of tech stuff. Marks grabs a pipe, but doesn’t hit Jacobs, pissing off the crowd. Jacobs unsuccessfully tries to tie Marks to the cross once. For no reason, they climb the set, leading to Marks taking a crazy bump through the stage and, ironically, they chant “holy shit.” Then Jacobs jumps down after Marks, and ironically they DON’T chant “holy shit.” Eventually, they fight toward the cross, but Jacobs fights free of being crucified, gains the advantage and is about to win when Jacobs’ brother, Jody, goes all Cain and Able on him with a Jesus statue. Marks ties Billy to the cross and this one is finally over.
WINNER: Simon Marks via crucifixion. Gays? Offended. Religious people? Check. Wrestling fans? Done and done. Human beings. All over that. Well, this one deserves its own rating system, so instead of stars, I’ll hand out crosses. P.S. Jesus wept. -†††††
Post-match, Jody and Simon kiss, then shave Billy’s head. WTFMF?!?!
– In-ring, President James Milenko gives the brand new tag titles randomly to Don Tiago and Ronnie McNeil. Way to kick off a division and make a belt seem valuable, boys.
– Meanwhile, worst show of the year?
4 – Nathan Paradine vs. Chuck Norris
WINNER: Nathan Paradine via submission. Total waste of PPV time. (-****)
5 – Roxy Monroe vs. AirStrife vs. Ronnie McNeil vs. Alexander Anarchy vs. “Beautiful” Bobby Dean (Climb To Salvation Extreme Title Match)
Oh, yay, another stupid gimmick match. Through the magic of editing, we now have a bunch of scaffolding. Roxy is a punk rock princess (never seen that before!). The goal is to climb up to the top level of this theme park worthy structure and retrieve the title belt. McNeil takes a ridiculously stupid fall from 13-feet up on the scaffolding onto a turnbuckle. A bell tolls, and the scaffolding raises. Dean falls, but Airstrife catches him in the ring and then hits an Ace crusher. Oh boy, and they made such a great set that it catches on fire and falls down into the ring. This is like watching grown adults fighting and climbing (and falling off of) a giant jungle gym. Airstrife’s stupid bump involves going through two levels of scaffolding and then almost through the ring as they rig it to bend to cushion his landing. After an eternity, Dean finally uses a ladder to climb up to the top and get the title.
WINNER: Bobby Dean via grabbing the title to become the Extreme Champion. If this were a wrestling match, I’d rate it. But it wasn’t, so I can’t.
– Backstage, Nathan Paradine, Xander Daniels, and Pat Fullam beat the holy hell out of Billy Jacobs.
– I so could be working on my Fantasy Football team right now.
6 – Cody Williams vs. James Milenko (The Battle For Power)
Winner gets Ice T’s “Power” CD? Sweet. HWF knows incentives. Girls, LGBNAF! Dear lord, the ref checks them for WEAPONS? Has he been WATCHING this show? So, a match involving the president, eh? Any doubt who’s going over here? This one’s all Milenko early, as he connects with a top rope backflip kick, and then a suicide dive. Milenko clears off the Spanish announce table (because he really hates him, but not enough that he wants him to get any paper cuts from the PPV script), but Williams catches him with Pure Perfection on the floor. Milenko bleeds from his nose. Arabian press to the floor works, but a double springboard moonsault doesn’t. You know, that would’ve hurt you a lot less if it happened inside. After a DDT, Milenko sets up Williams on the table for a flying elbow drop. Back inside at nine, Williams is able to hit Version 220 (fishermandriver) for a pair of nearfalls. A catapult to the buckles busts open Williams(?). Later, Milenko catches Williams up top with a rana into a triangle choke in easily the best combo of the night, but Williams’ foot hits the ropes. After a long camel clutch by Milenko, he gets caught by Williams’ STO and a double springboard moonsault for two. Milenko unleashes a springboard double axe handle (no, that wasn’t a typo). A Milenko moonsault leg drop finishes off Williams to prevent Williams from getting a World Title shot any time soon. Riiiight.
WINNER: James Milenko via pinfall. Any shocker that the prez had the match of the night thus far? Still, that isn’t saying much with the quality of this show so far. This one was mostly highspots, and gets a decent rating bump for the cool rana/triangle choke spot. (**)
7 – “The Phoenix” Xander Daniels vs. Hooligan (Inferno Aversion Title Match)
Hooligan has some sort of hockey gimmick, I think, but stupid move wearing a Red Wings jacket to Rangers country. As the fire kicks on, I’ve really got to wonder how much they spent on all these gimmick props tonight. It must’ve been a joy sitting there and waiting as they set up all these things, only to get these matches. Seems like the goal is to set your opponent on fire. Matches with stipulations involving pins are so rare a commodity that they could probably save the U.S. economy. Forget the gold standard, introduce the HWF pin standard. Wow, somebody put Tony Romo on waivers? Weird. I’m just glad I got Drew Brees. Yes, I’m recapping my football team. It’s far more interesting, trust me. The match is just lots of fighting so far. Hooligan sets a hockey stick on fire, but of course the referee ends up taking the shot. Ugh. Hooligan’s mask gets burned, but no ref, of course, so he grabs a NEW mask. Thus, it’s the first-ever visual singe. Good thing he happened to stash a new mask in case his got burnt. Fans go fecal for Daniels’ tarantula for some reason, as if they’ve never seen one before. Is this really in New York, or Bizarro New York? In a very weird bit, the fans start chanting “holy shit” BEFORE a superbomb. The psychic fans are wrong, however, as the move never happens, and Daniels’ reverses into a shitty headscissors that takes Hooligan to the floor, igniting his clothes.
WINNER: Xander Daniels via not getting burned to become the Aversion Champion. Another terrible match full of sports entertainment brawling and sloppy wrestling. (1/4*)
Post-match, Xander Daniels ushers in the Era of Daniels, and introduces us to his stable buddies in Violence:Evolved.
8 – Steven Steele vs. Talon (World Title)
They get super special ring announcing for this one. Talon in control most of the way early until Steele reverses a suplex attempt into a DDT. Steele looks for a chair, which brings out Talon’s bestest buddy in the whole world (seriously, Russo isn’t ghost booking here, is he?) Chris Bond, who yoinks the chair. Steele attacks Bond, distracting the referee, and giving Steele the opening to chairshot Talon, which he barely sells. They brawl outside, where Talon hits Claws of Fate (superkick), sending Steele into the front row. Talon heads inside and launches himself into the crowd for Death From Above (missile dropkick). Talon looks legit knocked out as he hit his head on the rail in that move. Note to HWF: people are not cartoon characters; they can break. Steele attacks the medic, so Bond hits him, and the ref threatens to DQ Talon if Bond doesn’t leave. Um, so? Then Talon retains. What’s the bad there? Talon really shows off his moveset with ANOTHER Claws of Fate. Talon won’t even sell a concussion. Back inside, it’s more Talon domination for the most part. Talon accidentally nails the ref with yet another Claws of Fate. A ref bump? In a title match. Whatever could happen now? If you don’t know, you aren’t a wrestling fan. Here’s a hint: it involves getting bashed by a steel chair, no-selling it, brawling, and Chris Bond pretending to save Talon from a chair shot, only for the “shocking swerve” of Bond taking out Talon with a Reality Check, which apparently does more damage than any other thing done to Talon thus far, including chair shots and getting KOd by the guardrail. Steele gets the pin.
WINNER: Steven Steele via pinfall, becomes World Heavyweight Champion. I don’t know what Bond’s motivation is here for the heel turn, and apparently the bookers don’t either. So, this protects Talon, but makes Steele look like a chump (and likely candidate for transitional champion duty) who doesn’t deserve the title. Barely passable match, cliched booking, and a terrible main event. (*)
Final Thoughts: Hostility tried to go all out here, crowning three new champions, but the bad sports entertainment/hardcore hybrid elements made for a bad wrestling show, not to mention there were just too many confusing/pointless segments cluttering up this show. Hostility needs to start treating their wrestlers like humans instead of video game characters. Huge dangerous bumps, unprotected weapon shots, and burning your employees for the sake of entertaining sick mutants increases injuries and shortens careers. Plus, the impact becomes less effective on your audience the more you rely on this type of show. If you want to know why WCW and ECW failed, look no further than a show like this. Thumbs down.