SMASH Wrestling: CHIKARA vs. SMASH Wrestling

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Toronto, ONT – 7.24.2016

Super Smash Bros. (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) [SMASH] vs. The Striking Vikings (Dasher Hatfield & Oleg the Usurper) [CHIKARA]

Grayson is the former Player Dos/Stupefied. He and Oleg pummel each other before the bell even rings. Uno and Hatfield pull them apart, but get knocked down and sent outside. Oleg tosses Grayson to the corner and gives him a chop. Grayson blocks some head shots and rocks Oleg with a pair of uppercuts and a chop. Oleg splashes him against the ropes. Hatfield tags in and gives Grayson an Earthquake Splash. Oleg follows with a rolling senton for two. Hatfield snaps off a pair of armdrags and an underhand chop. He holds Grayson in the corner so Oleg can pick up speed for a corner splash. Uno however kicks Oleg from the apron and low bridges the top rope to send him outside. Uno bicycle kicks Oleg on the floor. Grayson stomps on Oleg after Uno rolls him back in. The SSB take turns wearing down Oleg in their corner until he catches them with a double chokeslam. Hatfield gets the tag and rocks the SSB with forearms. He suicide dives onto Grayson outside, then comes back in with a high crossbody onto Uno. He weaves Grayson into the Cyclone slam. He sends Uno to the corner and Oleg is able to deliver the corner splash this time around. Hatfield charges in with a baseball slide dropkick. Grayson backsplashes the double pin of Hatfield and Oleg. A series of strikes and kicks ends with a Death Valley Driver from Grayson to Oleg, resulting in a two count. Oleg rolls to the floor after tagging in Hatfield. Hatfield ducks Grayson’s flying knee and rolls him up for two. Grayson hits the flying knee, then tope con hilo’s onto Oleg on the floor! Uno bicycle kicks Hatfield. Grayson punts Hatfield into a piledriver from Uno for the pin at 9:09. This was a fun, fast-paced opening match. Hatfield and Oleg worked really well together considering they never teamed before and had good chemistry with the Smash Bros. This type of match is the ideal start to a show. **¾

Well Oiled Machines (Braxton Sutter & Mike Rollins) [SMASH] vs. Brent Banks & Scotty O’Shea [SMASH]

Allie aka Cherry Bomb is in the Well Oiled Machines corner. Although Sutter is able to take O’Shea off his feet with running shoulder block, O’Shea is able to come back with a basement dropkick to the side of the head. Rollins kicks O’Shea in the stomach. O’Shea rolls under his legs and kicks him in the head form the mat. He delivers a boot to the side of Rollins’ head and somewhat reluctantly tags in Banks. Rollins angers Banks by pie facing him twice. Banks responds in kind. He ducks Rollins punch and throws a flurry of punches of his own. Rollins catches his arm and twists up his wrist and forearm. Banks slaps Rollins hoping to escape, but Rollins holds on and applies an extra twist. Banks thumbs him in the eyes and reverses the hold. Rollins kicks his way free. He avoids Banks dropkick. O’Shea jumps in to dropkick Rollins which Banks is not pleased with. This tension allows for Rollins to take O’Shea to his and Sutter’s corner in an attempt to cut the ring in half. However, O’Shea sends both Sutter and Rollins out with one Frankensteiner. Banks does an Undertaker dive onto both of them. In the ring, O’Shea strings an atomic drop and Manhattan drop. Sutter however from behind chop blocks O’Shea’s leg out and chokes him against the ropes. Sutter and Rollins take turns attacking O’Shea’s left leg in their corner. O’Shea is able to roll under a clothesline from Sutter and tag in Banks. Banks throws a series of strikes to Sutter, ending with a Michinoku Driver. Rollins goes to break the pin, accidentally kneeing Sutter in the face. O’Shea hits You’ve Got Mail (a back handspring Ace Crusher) on Rollins. He rolls out. Banks knee strikes Sutter in the corner, sending him into a springback Ace Crusher from O’Shea. Rollins shoves O’Shea onto Banks to break Banks’ cover on Sutter. Sutter whips O’Shea and Banks into one another. Banks gives Rollins a running Alabama Slam into the corner. He drops Rollins with an inverted brainbuster. He pins him, but O’Shea shoves Banks to the floor hoping to get the cover himself. It backfires, as Rollins catches O’Shea in a small package for the pin at 11:51. The whole story here was O’Shea and Banks being reluctant partners and O’Shea ultimately costing his team the match with his hubris. That came across quite well, while also showcasing Sutter and Rollins as a more cohesive unit, but the action wasn’t terribly interesting and there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to the wrestling itself. If you’re a CHIKARA fan like me and don’t know about or aren’t interested in SMASH’s storylines, this is one you can easily skip over. **

Candice LeRae [SMASH] vs. Princess Kimberlee [CHIKARA]

This is a rematch from SMASH’s “Any Given Sunday 3” event. LeRae ducks Kimberlee’s charge and unloads with forearms. They each pull off some armdrags and kicks to the mid-section. LeRae’s kick sends Kimberlee out, but Kimberlee drags LeRae to the floor with her. They trade strikes around ringside. LeRae sits Kimberlee down in a chair and lands a running chest kick, knocking Kimberlee backwards to the floor. In the ring, she kicks Kimberlee into a rolling dropkick for two. Kimberlee gives LeRae a jawbreaker into the splits. She gets two with a delayed vertical suplex. LeRae blocks an overhand chop in the corner and unleashes with her own rapid fire chops. Kimberlee cuts her off with a bicycle kick for another two count. Kimberlee applies a bodyscissors, but releases when LeRae leans back in the hopes of a pin. LeRae puts Kimberlee in an Octopus Stretch, throwing some knees to Kimberlee’s face while holding onto it. Kimberlee drives LeRae to the corner to break, but LeRae spikes her with a tornado DDT for two. Kimberlee is able to get LeRae on the top turnbuckle, then kicks her to the floor. Kimberlee follows with a suicide dive. She throws LeRae back in the ring, only for LeRae to deliver two of her own suicide dives. Back in the ring, LeRae goes for a sunset bomb. Kimberlee holds onto the ropes, so LeRae kicks her legs out and gives her a back cracker for two. She wants a Ballsplex, but Kimberlee escapes. They trade forearms and kicks until both women are down. They trade forearm strikes as they get back to their feet. LeRae ducks Kimberlee’s roundhouse kick and gives her the Ballsplex for two. She goes for the Mustache Ride off the ropes. Kimberlee shoves LeRae to the mat and hits a Swanton Bomb. LeRae counters the pin with a crucifix pin for two. LeRae sunset flips Kimberlee for two. Kimberlee escapes and traps LeRae in the Alligator Clutch for the pin at 10:03. From bell to bell the action was unrelenting, as we were treated to a slugfest with some fun dives thrown in to keep the ball rolling. One thing I really appreciated was the commentary team stressing the importance and quality of their first encounter, and how it served as a gateway for more women to succeed in SMASH. It added some weight to this rematch and made me appreciate the hard fought effort even more. ***

Tyson Dux [SMASH] vs. Space Monkey [SMASH] vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado [CHIKARA] vs. Kevin Bennett [SMASH]

Bennett is accompanied by the Kevin Bennett Experience, Big Tank and the Muscle. Cornado sneak attacks Monkey before the bell. He does so to Dux too, but Dux is able to fight back. Bennett assists Coronado, so Monkey helps Dux with a springboard somersault senton to Bennett and Coronado. Dux tries assisting Monkey with a splash to Coronado, but Coronado avoids the splash. Bennett stomps down Dux in the corner. Monkey and Dux send Bennett and Coronado to the floor after avoiding corner attacks. Monkey follows with a skytwister press off the top turnbuckle! Dux throws Bennett in the ring. Bennett slides out and Coronado sneaks in a roll-up on Dux for two. Coronado gives him an enzuigiri. Monkey ducks Coronado’s enzuigiri attempt. He kicks Coronado from the apron. Monkey tries a crossbody and Bennett cuts him off in mid-air with a dropkick. Bennett and Coronado form a bond pummeling Monkey on the mat. Dux fights them both off and throws their heads together. The Kevin Bennett Experience trip Dux and bring him outside. Bennett follows with a moonsault off the apron. Meanwhile Coronado stomps down Monkey in one corner. Coronado suicide dives onto Dux, as Bennett re-enters the ring and boots Monkey in the face for two. He whips Monkey sternum first into the corner for two. Coronado gives Monkey a Tiger Driver. Bennett and Coronado argue over the pin. Bennett trips Coronado which he does not appreciate. Monkey knocks down Bennett with a kick and drives both his feet into Coronado’s jaw. Dux sneaks back in but takes a bridging German suplex from Coronado. Monkey uses his tail to whip Coronado. Dux assists Monkey with a Frankensteiner to Bennett. Monkey Cactus clotheslines Coronado outside. Dux powerbombs Bennett twice for a two count. Dux fights the Kevin Bennett Experience off the apron, but gets hit in the back and thrown back in the ring by Big Tank. He enters the ring, so Monkey high crossbody’s onto him. Tank catches Monkey and tosses him onto Coronado. Dux drops Tank with an Ace Crusher. Bennett knees Dux in the face and drops him with a spinning neckbreaker for the pin at 8:29. Most of this match was about Dux and Bennett, though Monkey got in a couple cool spots. Coronado was more or less an afterthought. They kept a good pace the entire time and accomplished their goal of Bennett looking like a jerk and Dux looking like a valiant babyface, so kudos for that. **½

Matt Cross [SMASH] vs. Hallowicked [CHIKARA]

Cross sends Hallowicked out to the floor and suicide dives onto him. He sends Hallowicked into two ring posts and dishes out some chops. Back in the ring, Hallowicked catches Cross with Go 2 Sleepy Hollow for a one count. He rams his shoulder into Cross’ mid-section and forearms his back. He throws a knee to the stomach and forearms Cross’ shoulder. Cross counters an Irish whip, knocking Hallowicked down for a senton splash. Cross hooks him, but Hallowicked drives him back into the corner, and brings him off the top with a super snapmare for two. He applies pressure to Cross’ shoulder. Cross uses his other arm to fight free, but Hallowicked jabs him in the throat. He’s able to come back with a flying headscissors, a back handspring elbow, and a springboard crossbody for two. Cross is sent to the apron. He enzuigiri’s Hallowicked and comes back into the ring with a top rope double stomp to the back. He hits a standing moonsault for two. Hallowicked and Cross trade attacks in opposite corners. He catches Cross in mid-air with a yakuza kick for two. Another exchange ends with Cross bouncing off the ropes into an Ace Crusher on Hallowicked for two. Cross tries a top rope maneuver. Hallowicked ducks and turns Cross inside out with a lariat. Cross escapes the Graveyard Smash and takes down Hallowicked with a bicycle kick. He hits a shooting star press for the pin at 9:18. I am surprised this wasn’t longer, but they made good use of the time given. They caught each other off guard with some bigger offense, and Hallowicked kinda sorta worked over Cross’ shoulder, although that story wasn’t properly developed. Although I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help but feel they could have done something more. ***

Pineapple Soda Club (TARIK, John Greed & Sebastian Suave) [SMASH] vs. The Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant & Worker Ant) [CHIKARA]

Suave takes down Soldier Ant with a pair of armdrags and hooks him in an Oklahoma Roll for two. He chops Soldier Ant to the corner and whips him across the ring. Soldier Ant hops to the second ropes and hits a back elbow to an oncoming Suave. He forces Suave to salute while keeping him on the mat. He does the same when he gets Suave in an abdominal stretch. Suave escapes. He gets in a few shots, but Soldier Ant takes him down with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Fire Ant suplexes Suave into an atomic drop from Soldier Ant. Fire Ant lands three sentons before Soldier Ant delivers a falling saluting headbutt for two. Fire Ant weaves TARIK into a tornado clutch for two. Fire Ant armdrags him to the corner. TARIK ducks a flying forearm and cracks Fire Ant with a punch. Fire Ant avoids a pop-up kick and rolling clothesline and takes TARIK over with a Frankensteiner. Fire Ant runs the ropes for a wristdrag, but TARIK kicks Fire Ant in the side of the head afterwards and knocks him down with a dropkick. Greed knocks down Fire Ant with a running shoulder block, prompting Worker Ant to tag in. The two hosses can’t budge each other in a lock-up, and shoulder blocks from Worker Ant don’t move Greed. A running shoulder tackle sends Greed to the corner. Worker Ant dropkicks him. He whips Greed across the ring, but Greed cuts him off with a running boot. Suave and TARIK double whip Worker Ant, but Worker Ant fights them off into opposite corners. A submission chain is formed with all six competitors until referee Jimmy Korderas breaks it. The Colony isolate TARIK in their half of the ring and take turns wearing him down. TARIK avoids a corner splash from Soldier Ant and dropkicks Fire Ant. Worker Ant tries to stop him, but TARIK pops him up into a punt to the face. He misses a legdrop but applies a headscissors on Fire Ant. This starts a headscissors chain which the Colony, Suave, and TARIK engage in. Greed turns everybody over into a Boston Crab. Soldier Ant grabs the ropes freeing everybody from the hold. TARIK drags Worker Ant to the PSC corner. Suave and TARIK try a double suplex, but Worker Ant ends up suplexing them at the same time! Fire Ant and Soldier Ant tag in, throwing shots at Greed. Greed uses elbows to fight them back. The Colony go for a double suplex on Greed. Worker Ant enters to assist Fire and Soldier Ant with it. The Colony all hit Greed with the Ants Marching dropkick. TARIK and Suave break the cover. Greed slams Fire Ant. All three members of the PSC hit elbow drops, ending with TARIK coming off the top rope. FIre Ant and Soldier Ant break his cover. Soldier Ant and Worker Ant are thrown outside. Suave slams TARIK onto Fire Ant. They both try slamming Greed onto Fire Ant, but Fire Ant moves out of the way. The Colony all dive onto the PSC on the floor. Suave is brought back into the ring and takes the Ant Hill for the pin at 21:27. This felt like both teams trying to do an old school CHIKARA match, with the submission chains (though doing it twice was an odd choice) and adding levity to the match. Truthfully, it just came off as a long, watered-down Colony match. If they trimmed the time down and had more cohesion to the action it could have been much better. It’s one of those matches where I like all the competitors, but something didn’t click for me. **½

Johnny Gargano [SMASH] vs. Icarus [CHIKARA]

Gargano recently lost the SMASH Championship to Mark Haskins in PROGRESS Wrestling, which we see a clip of before this bout. Tonight is his final SMASH Wrestling event. Of course, these two were partners for years in the F.I.S.T. faction. Icarus shakes hands with Gargano while crossing his fingers behind his back. The opening exchange sees Gargano looking a chinlock and Icarus wanting a headscissors. Gargano picks up the pace, taking down Icarus in a backslide. He rolls Icarus into a kick to the head. He gets sent to the apron, but comes back in with the slingshot spear. He snapmares Icarus into a single leg dropkick to the back of the head. Icarus takes a seat ringside where Gargano gives him a chop. He throws Icarus face first into a fans upturned shoe. He cracks him with a punch before dragging Icarus back into the ring. Gargano stomps on the small of his back Icarus avoids a corner chop, snaps Gargano’s throat on the top rope and hits him with a spear for two. He gets a one count with a suplex and chokes Gargano in the corner with his boot. Icarus climbs the ropes. Gargano tries throwing him off, but Icarus rolls through and nails a running clothesline for two. He drives all of his body weight onto Gargano’s neck across the middle rope for two. Icarus dropkicks Gargano in the corner. He goes up top once again, but this time misses a frog splash. Gargano strings together some strikes before taking Icarus over with a belly-to-belly suplex. Icarus hops to the middle rope. Gargano superkicks his legs out, trapping Icarus on the middle turnbuckle. Gargano hits him with a gamengiri from the apron. He hits a slingshot DDT for two. Gargano chops Icarus before setting him up for the lawn dart. Icarus slides off of his shoulders. After a back suplex he gives Gargano the Shiranui for two. He goes for the Blu-Ray. Gargano slides out and tries the lawn dart again. When Icarus slides out, he tries for the Blu-Ray again, but Gargano takes him down into the Garga-No Escape. Icarus rolls Gargano onto his shoulders to get a nearfall and break the hold. Gargano kicks out, kicks Icarus in the face, and lawn darts him to the corner for the closest nearfall of the match. Icarus pulls referee Jake Clemons in the way to avoid a corner attack. He blocks Icarus’ groin kick. Gargano almost low blows Icarus but stops himself. Icarus grabs the referee’s shirt and low blows Gargano behind his back. He small packages Gargano who is able to kick out, despite the low blow. They trade chops and enzuigiri’s. Icarus clotheslines Jake Clemons by accident. Gargano pulls Icarus down into the Garga-No Escape. Icarus taps, but Clemons is still down. As Gargano checks on him, Icarus goes under the ring. He throws powder into Gargano’s eyes and drops him with the Wings of Icarus! Clemons makes a count, but Gargano is able to kick out. Icarus brings a chair into the ring with Clemons still recovering. Gargano superkicks him before he can use it. Gargano hesitates using the chair, but ends up hitting him with it! He superkicks Icarus for the pin at 18:31. The fans were really into this, as they were able to cheer the fan who once fought against SMASH in his farewell bout. He and Icarus of course had really good chemistry. The stuff at the end may seem tedious, but It actually fit into the character Gargano played in SMASH during his title reign (which was well explained by the commentators) so I can give it a pass. In that way, it was a fitting way for Gargano to wrap-up his time with SMASH and give the home company a big win on his way out. I haven’t loved a lot of Icarus’ singles matches this year, but this was an exception. ***½

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