To say this show intrigued me is an understatement. We really seem to be on the cusp of an indy renaissance, where people are locking down and making names for themselves no matter where they are, where old school values and new school talent are coming together. This show seems to be the epitome of that, with the Crockett Cup being dusted off, with NWA crowning its new champions on a big stage with some of the best talent in the world. But is this a good show to kick off the NWA revival? Let's find out.
Opening video package: They frame the Marty Scurll finger break as something they can't show on TV, cutting away just as it's done. We then cut to Aldis talking about the prominence of the NWA in a gym with footage of him carrying himself like a champion. We then cut to an interview by The Villain, in which he seems like a flippant, devil may care kind of guy with something just a little dangerous about him. I liked this.a whole lot
Show open: The regal music, the two big banners of Marty and Nick, and the trophy with pyro erupting behind it are all beautiful touches. Our commentary team is Ian Riccaboni, Joe Galli, and Jim Cornette.
Winning team gets the final spot in the Crockett Cup
The Boys vs Will Ferrera/Rhett Titus vs. Jay Bradley /Josephus vs. Royce Isaacs /Thom Latimer vs The Dawson Brothers, vs Cam Connor/Lebron Cozo vs Kevin Blue/Billy Buck
It took me like, 15 minutes to find a google result with even some of the winning teams listed, and some of the guys I just had to spell their names based on how they sounded (sorry if I mispelled your names Connor and Cozo). I think two of the teams got name keys, and one's kept disappearing and appearing.
Anyway, Rhett poses and gets eliminated immediately. This segues into the announcers telling us that both team members had to be eliminated, and if half of a team stayed in and won, that team was eligible. I like this format a lot. Each team gets their spot and gets eliminated. Connor even gets to be eliminated via suicide divng onto some other people which woke the crowd up. We're down to The Boys, Bradley/Josephus, and Issacs/Latimer. Issacs and Latimer collide and bail through the middle rope for no reason.. The Boys eliminate Bradley and Josephus, but Issacs and Latimer, who we learn have never teamed together before, sneak up on The Boys and win.
This was a match that was what it was. There was some goofy stuff, but each team got to shine which manifested in a pretty cool Battle Royal
The commentary team blabs on about footage related to our first tournament match, then blabs on about....
Caprice Coleman ringside corresponds: He just provides exposition, we're also told Latimer and Issacs blew off the interview, but we're not shown them at any pont.
Flip Gordon video: Flip injured himself at this venue a while back. He's not the best promo in the world, but he cuts a serviceable babyface promo about being disappointed he couldn't perform, but now he gets the chance to tonight.
Flip Gordon and Bandido vs Guerrero Maya Jr and Stuka Jr
Flip is wearing a sombrero and Bandido is wearing a Flip Gordon shirt. This was a cool little touch.
Bandido and Stuka start with a lucha exchange, standoff, another lucha exchange, and they tag out to their partners. More exchanges, and an early miscue from Gordon and Bandido that would normally be a finish is just a thing that happens that advances the story of them not teaming regularly. I liked this a lot. Watching Stuka move is like watching an alligator do gymnastics and it's amazing. Bandido really sells for Stuka. Bandido gets hoofed to his corner and tags in Gordon, this leads to cool double team submissions by the CMLL guys, including a Mexican Surfboard which Gordon somehow makes a pin. Stuka teases a dive onto Gordon in the ring, but torpedo planchas onto Bandido on the outside instead. From here we get lots of cool moves, some not so fluid tandem dives and some fluid tandem spots. Maya Jr's finisher is called The Mayan Sacrifice which might be the dopest name for a finisher I've ever heard. Gordon hits a the Star Spangled Stunner to win. Gordon is the next AJ Styles in terms of talent I think.
All four of these guys rule, and as such, this match ruled.
Aldis vs Scurll video package part 1: Interesting. It talks about how they came up together, and how Nick advanced further than Marty did, so Marty created "The Villain" to stand out from the pack. We see a lot of same footage we saw in the opening video package, and Marty seemed out of character here which was weird.
Royce Issacs and Thom Latimer vs. The War Kings (Crimson and Jax Dane)
This is your "Big Hosses vs Wormy Heels" match of the evening. This was your every day tag match that built to a hot tag. Jax really got to show off how powerful and how much of a stage presence he is. The heels get their feet on the ropes to win. We now know one of our semi-final matches are Latimer and Issacs vs Flip and Bandido.
I liked this match a lot. In fact, the only thing I didn't like was Jax's hot tag, which consisted of headbutts which he then had to sell. Other than that, this was fun.
Briscoes promo on the farm: They cut what I can only describe as a crackhead promo about RnR failing in the original Crockett Cup, the RnR being old and whooping their asses.
Jim Cornette interviews The Rock n' Roll Express... but the Briscoes interrupt : Ricky cuts a good babyface promo about a feel good moment and their accomplishments. The Briscoes come out to music that sounds straight out of Deliverance and fits them better than any theme they've ever had. Briscoes heel out on the RnR telling them to leave or be retired. Morton kicks Jay in the nads, so we get...
The Rock n'Roll Express vs The Briscoes
I hope to be as mobile as the RnR are in their 60s. The Double Dropkick gets fucked up but I think it was because the Briscoes weren't in position . Ricky gets busted open iin the opening brawl after a suicide dive. The Briscoes work over Ricky from there. Having Jim giving us facts about the RnR's career and selling the Briscoes as dangerous gives this match that extra oomph that 90 percent of matches with legends don't have. . The RnR can still do false hot tag spots with the best of them. Props to the people in the crowd who fucking get it and are shouting down the Briscoe chants with 'ROCK AND ROLL" Rock n'Roll get a two count on the Briscoes but they fight back and get a Froggy Bow/DVD combo to win.
I was prepared to rate this as a segment, but honestly, this was a better match than the Battle Royal, and both guys teams did way better than they had any right to do.
Villain Enterprises win ROH Tag Wars: AWESOME. I have a soft spot in my heart for tag teams who look like they'd fit right in as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villains and Brody and PCO fit the bill with flying colors.
Anytime Satoshi Kojima is on screen I am 1000 percent down. King and Nagata trade big strikes to a stalemate until Nagata MMA's him down with kicks and teases the Nagata lock. Then Kojima and PCO come in and I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT PCO! His facials, the way he moves around, the way he no sells (which the commentators are completely over dramatic about but that's not PCO's fault). I feel like people in sports overuse the superlative "not human" but PCO genuinely moves and behaves like he's from another planet.
Basically the second PCO tags his team dominates but not in the way that War Kings vs Latimer and Issac was , this is just complete domination as opposed to old school tag heelery. Kojima makes the hot tag to Nagata and he runs wild with kicks, but Brody doesn't even allow for a one count. They trade strikes. Nagata locks in an armbar out of nowhere and tries to work the arm but Brody fighs back, Kojima gets tagged in and fires up with chops. They trade stuff for a while until King hits a Michinoku Fireman's Carry Driver for the win.
This was an awesome showcase for Villain Enterprise, especially as someone who's never seen them.
Caprice bumblles his way through the rest of the card: It was bad.
Madusa promo: Alright. She looks gorgeous for her age, and has the delivery of the guest speaker at a fancy luncheon. She says she was the champion of two "entertainment companies" and some neckbeard yells "WRESTLING" Oh shut up. She gets emotional when she talks about the history of the title which was great.
Allysin Kay vs Santana Garrett
This match was awesome, probably the best one so far
Post match: Allysin Kay doesn't follow the Code of Honor
Aldis and Scurll Part 2" Aldis is a douchier heel this time, and Marty is trying to get under Aldis' skin about having main eventing at G1 Supercard and being a threat to his title.
Caprice Coleman with all three members of The Midnight Express: A heartwarming interlude, especially with Dennis.
Issacs and Latimer vs Flip Gordon and Bandido
This is a power vs speed match up. Gordon and Bandido get to show off some power themselves however, as well as some cool double teams. Gordon tweaks his knee after a 450 and so the heels work the knee. The heels prevent the hot tag and...oh shit, the heels just win!
I wish we'd see stuff like this more often. I want subversion of expectations in my wrestling damn it! This was great!
Villain Enterprises (PCO and Brody King) vs The Briscoe Brothers
Jay and Brody start, doing strike exchanges. Dem Boys powder out, and then Mark and PCO get tagged in, more crazy strike exchanges. PCO only gets knocked down when The Briscoes do tag team things, which is a wonderful piece of storytellng about how good a tag team Dem Boys are. PCO has Brody chop him because he's an insane person. Mark lands on his feet in a back body drop for a hot tag which ruled. We then get a series of crazy brutal looking spot. PCO crash and burns on an apron cannonball, holy shit. FROGGY BO TO THE OUTSIDE! WE'VE GOT A BRAWL ON OUR HANDS FOLKS. Chairs are used which warrants a DQ. and sets up interest in a No DQ match in the future.
This was AWESOME. If anything else tops this tonight I'll eat my hat.
Post match: The Briscoes beat up the ref and do a "chair on face/arm" apron cannonball on PCO which makes a gnarly noise. This is great! They then cut a crackhead promo and hock snot on the NWA logo
Willie Mack (c) vs Colt Cabana
I haven't seen Cabana wrestle since before his "transformation", so I'm very eager to see it.
Willie takes a sick bump out of the ring on a missed dropkick early, and what follows is some brutal strikes by Cabana. Mack fires back with a Meteora for a double down. Mack does a babyface comeback to such a flippy "move"-based degree that it would annoy me but Jim has his working boots on really selling me on Willie Mack. Willie hits a crazy version of the upside down cannonball. Cabana hits more strikes and a springbaard moonsault for a two. Crazy fake out splash on Willie's side for a two. They dodge each other's big shit, and Colt dives into a Superman Press for the quick pin!
This was a GREAT match that was harder hitting than anything else on the card thus far.
Post match: James Storm shows up! James shits on management for screwing him in a match with Aldis, despite him being more like NWA fans than Aldis. James puts over Colt. James gets some streamers stuck in his shoes which Colt helps him remove in a cool unscripted moment. He challenges Colt. This was great.
The Crocketts pose with the trophy and belts: A wonderful moment
Caprice Coleman interviews Nikita Koloff: Koloff will present the belts to the winners tonight. He brings out Magnum TA. It's all smiles, laughter, and happy memories. This was great
Issacs and Latimer (w/Madusa) vs Villain Enterprises (PCO and Brody King
Oh shit Madusa is back in it. This is the best.
Brody tries to fight on his own but it's all Issacs and Latimer. Brody fights back into a double down for a hot tag. PCO sells his hurt arm by lifting it with his other arm to make the tag. He also SELLS THE PAIN OF THE TAG. Wow! Brody puts PCO's arm back in socket with a rope assisted arm breaker. Somehow this dumbshit Superman shit works because it's PCO. PCO and Brody beats up both guys and PCO hits a moonsault for the win
This was a very story based match, but I still love it! This, again was great
Aldis vs Skrull part 3: AWESOME. Nick is full on heel now and Marty is a firey babyface,. Marty breaks Nick's finger. It's amazing how, in three months with the right buid you can push a match with one physical interaction
Nick Aldis (c) (w/ Kamille) vs "The Villain" Marty Scrull)
I like how Tommy Young is so gilded as a senior ref he can just give the instructions and be the enforcer.
We get some World of Sport style grappliing before Marty feigns being tripped by Kamille and gets her thrown out, Eddie Guerrero style. This was awesome. Nick leaves to bitch out Tommy which gives Marty an opening but Aldis fires back ragdolling Villain all around. Aldis chokeslams Marty through a table which is purplexingly not a DQ. Maybe it's one of those Vince Russo "Let them go because it's a title match" logic? Defiant disrespectful Marty makes what's been an extended squash so far work. Marty fights back and stomps a mudhole which really gets the crowd pumped Aldis is now bleeding buckets after a punch to the eye. Aldis is now making mistakes and wrestling like he's on instinct Aldis does a great job selling. NOW we get the finger manipulation! Hooray! This spot making sense! We get finsher teases and a ref bump. Kamille tries to run in but Nick stops her. Marty kicks him in the nuts and hits Black Flag for the 2 1/2. I like how he's earned Nick's respect but Marty is clawing for everything, doing everything for the win. I like the "Huricanrana pin on a sunset flip" spot, they haven't lost sight of Aldis' strength advantage, which most wrestlers do.. Aldis is able to lock in the cloverleaf despite broken fingers for the tap out win.
Other than the table spot and the stopped Kamille interference being a bit too confusing for this match, this was a GREAT match, one of the best I've ever seen, and probably Marty's most believable performance to date.
Post match: Aldis hugs Marty in a show of respect. After the commentators sign off, Marty cuts a promo patting them both on the back. Nick does the same, thanking the crowd for coming.
Skip the Battle Royal and watch everything else. Other than the Battle Royal this was a show that never broke pace or got boring, and I haven't seen a modern show like that in a long time. A must watch for fans of Marty, or even critics of Marty, as this was his best showing