Independent Wrestling: Family Reunion

Family Reunion
Date: April 4, 2019
Location: White Eagle Hall, Jersey City, New Jersey
Commentators: Kevin Ford, Dylan Hales

It’s Wrestlemania weekend and that means indy shows a go-go. I’m going to be covering as many of them as I can and we’ll start with this one from IndependentWrestling.TV. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this show and that’s going to be the case with a lot of events over the weekend. From what I can tell, this is a bunch of promotions getting a showcase under the Independent Wrestling banner. Let’s get to it.

Quick opening sequence based on the old MTV vignettes with the flag being planted on the moon.

Independent Wrestling Television Title: Jonathan Gresham vs. Orange Cassidy

Gresham, challenging here, is a technical wrestler from ROH and Cassidy is a slacker who often sleeps during matches. He’s played to the ring by a woman with a flute and brings the title out of a backpack, which apparently is a thing. Cassidy is billed as being from Wherever and his weight Doesn’t Matter. Oh and he’s Freshly Squeezed, whatever that means.

We get referee instructions and apparently this has a round system (six five minute rounds) and cards for fouls ala soccer. They go low to start and Cassidy, wrestling in sunglasses, almost in slow motion, lays down for a second, with the referee pointing out that under European rules you can’t strike a downed opponent. A graphic with all of these rules before the match would have been a really good idea.

Cassidy puts his hands in his pockets and doesn’t even pull them out when Gresham snapmares him a few times. The sunglasses come off so the referee puts them back on in some bonus work. A very quick pinfall reversal sequence goes nowhere and it’s back to Cassidy standing there with his hands in his pockets. Cassidy headbutts him and runs the ropes, still with his hands in his pockets. They pop out for a quick rollup though and Gresham is pinned at 3:13…for the first fall. That’s something that should have been mentioned earlier. Like, during the rules segment.

Gresham is annoyed and throws down Cassidy’s glasses to start the second round (as the rounds apparently reset due to a fall). They suddenly start wrestling with Cassidy headlocking him down but getting reversed into a headscissors. Cassidy wiggles out and puts his feet on the ropes for a breather as the odd style is working for him at the moment. Back up and Cassidy walks out of a full nelson.

The hands go into his pockets again and he dances out of a waistlock as the method to his madness becomes a little more clear. Cassidy takes him into the corner as the second round ends. Some rather patronizing pats to Gresham’s chest makes him shove Cassidy down so that’s a yellow card.

Round three starts and Cassidy turns it up to about 14, running the ropes and going technical with Gresham, eventually catching him with a rollup called the Mousetrap (an arm trap crucifix) for the pin at 11:34. That came out of nowhere and the stunned look on Gresham’s face sums it up rather well.

Rating: C. That was…actually kind of fun. Cassidy is quite the gimmick and it worked rather well. Gresham is well known as one of the better technical wrestlers around and it was cool to see him get completely confused by Cassidy’s antics. It was kind of weird for an opener, but they managed to take me from thinking it was going to be stupid to being entertained so well done.

The backstage interviewer talks about what’s coming up over the rest of the weekend and doesn’t know what’s coming on Cassidy’s own show on Saturday. Apparently Teddy Hart will be…reading something?

Back in the ring, Cassidy says he still doesn’t understand the rules. Maxwell Jacob Friedman (a rich guy from MLW and various other promotions), the Limitless Wrestling Champion, gets in the ring to talk about how impressive that was…as Cassidy might be asleep on his feet. Friedman talks about being the #10 contender for the title, though he’s not happy with being behind a cameraman at #9. Anyway, he wants to go title for title at some point. Cassidy: “Uh….no.” Friedman kicks him low and hits his hanging piledriver (Orton’s hanging DDT but a piledriver) so he can hold up both titles.

Justin Sane/Kobe Durst/Cody Lane vs. Space Pirates/Brett Michael David

No rounds on this one. These guys are from Alpha-1 Wrestling in Canada and five of them hold all of the company’s titles. I have no idea who these people are so I have no idea what I’m in for here. The referee tries to hold all of the titles but they’re a bit too heavy in a funny bit. It’s a big brawl to start with Space Monkey (and yes he has a tail) moonsaulting onto a bunch of people on the floor.

Sane and David are left alone in the ring for a slugout with Davis blasting him with a clothesline. As assisted moonsault gives Shane Sabre (the pirate of the Space Pirates) two on Sane but it’s quickly off to Lang, the only non-champion in the whole match. Kobe comes in for a Codebreaker on Shane and Lane adds a Swanton, followed by Sane’s frog splash for two with Monkey making a save.

Sabre gets in a DDT for a breather but Sane pulls David off the apron. Shane is fine enough to fight off everyone at once and it’s off to Space Monkey (the Cosmonaut Primate because apparently he’s a Communist) to clean house. Everything breaks down and it’s down to Lane vs. Sabre. Lane gets superplexed down and it’s Monkey adding a moonsault into David’s 450 (with the knees hitting Lane’s shoulders) for the pin at 8:35.

Rating: C-. This was the showcase match and while the titles were all over the place, it was nothing I haven’t seen done better elsewhere. It wasn’t bad at all but it was rather formula based for a six man tag. Monkey is the only one I’ve actually heard of (from Chikara) and no one really stood out all that much. Not bad, but nothing great.

Red Eagle vs. Mike Verna vs. Ethan Page vs. Arik Cannon vs. Mikey vs. Ophidian

This is a six way scramble with one fall to a finish and everyone is from a different promotion. Eagle is from Portugal, Verna is from Italy, Page is from a bunch of promotions, Cannon is from First Wrestling (no country listed), Mikey is from St. Louis Anarchy (he’s rather odd) and Ophidian (you might remember him from the Osirian Portal) is from Demand Lucha.

Thankfully there are tags with Cannon and Eagle starting things off. They trade arm work to start with Eagle whipping him into the ropes for a standoff. A dropkick puts Cannon on the floor and since it’s lucha rules, Verna comes in for a one arm buckle bomb to Eagle. Ophidian tries to come in but gets caught in a slingshot suplex off all four ropes as Verna gets to show off the power.

Mikey comes in to slam a few people but can’t do it to Verna or Page. He sends them into each other though and now the slams work a little better. A top rope splash, with Mikey calling it his finish, completely misses….and the referee slams Mikey for no logical reason. Everything breaks down (yes in this match) and it’s Page getting to clean house for a bit. Cannon’s Total Anarchy gets two on Ophidian with Verna making a save.

The very strong Verna powerbombs Eagle and World’s Strongest Slams Cannon at the same time with Ophidian making his own save. A rather spinning headscissors from Ophidian takes Verna down and it’s Eagle vs. Ophidian for a battle of the masks. They hit the pinfall reversal sequence and Eagle actually gets the pin at 7:30.

Rating: D+. You knew there was going to be something like this on a card promoted by Independent Wrestling. Verna got to show off the power but other than that, no one really stood out and the lack of time didn’t help things. Again it’s not bad, but it’s something that feels like it could be on any indy card. Makes sense, but not exactly inspiring.

The backstage interviewer promotes some other shows as the ring announcer is introducing the next match. Not the best look there people.

Jack Bonza/Mick Moretti/Bel Pierce vs. Unsocial Jordan/Caveman Ugg/Steph Dunander

From Australia. Jordan is from the App Store and Ugg is from the Third Cave On The Left and weighs eight boulders. Bonza and Jordan start things off as the announcers talk about how odd these teams are. Steph (a rather strong woman) and Moretti (the Rapscallion, meaning he’s awesome) trade shoulders with Steph getting the better of things and handing it back to Jordan.

Bonza comes back in to hook something like the third cousin of a Tequila Sunrise on Jordan, who breaks out and kicks Bonza in the face. Bel comes in for the battle of the women and kicks Steph down for a running seated crossbody. It’s off to Ugg for the first time and Pierce throws glitter at him, earning herself a chop to the chest. The announcers yell about how annoying glitter is as we get a big man showdown between Ugg and Bonza, including a loud chop off.

Ugg takes out all three opponents, including a release Boss Man Slam on Pierce. Moretti low bridges Ugg and the announcers mention lucha rules for the first time (Lucha Australia apparently) so Jordan comes in to get ankle locked by Bonza. Ugg saves Jordan from a monkey flip and hits one on Moretti to show off a bit. Steph comes back in for a TKO on Pierce but walks into a Fire Thunder Driver from Bonza as we enter the parade of finishers. Moretti grabs something like a suplex/spinebuster combination to finish Jordan at 9:05.

Rating: C. This was another messy match but I had a good time with the fun gimmicks. It didn’t need to be anything more than it was and as a showcase, I had a good time. If nothing else, those chops from Ugg were worth seeing. This made me think the promotion could be entertaining and that’s exactly the point of something like this so well done.

Isaias Velazquez/Kylie Rae vs. Robert Eagle Anthony/Shottzi Blackheart

From Freelance Wrestling. Rae is basically old school Bayley/Dakota Kai. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Rae who is having a breakout year. Anthony and Shottzi have Frank the Clown (I believe of Noelle Foley fame) in their corner. The women start things off with Shottzi kicking her in the face but Rae gets in a shoulder, setting up a low superkick to the face.

The rather tall Eagle comes in and gets to face Velazquez as things slow down a bit. A dropkick and enziguri have Eagle in trouble so he hands it off to Shottzi for a headscissors. Shottzi hits a basement dropkick which looked very low and the referee just lets it go. Rae comes in and gets caught in a surfboard from Eagle for a weird visual given the size difference.

Shottzi misses a top rope backsplash and the hot tag brings in Rae. That’s not the best idea as Eagle hurricanranas her off the top into the backsplash from Blackheart for two with Velasquez making the save. Rae is fine enough to powerbomb Anthony out of the corner but Frank grabs Velazquez to block something off the top.

Shottzi tries a Sliced Bread on the apron but gets her leg caught in the ropes for a bad looking botch. Eagle’s Death Valley Driver gets two on Rae and Frank gets in the ring to accidentally hit Eagle in the head with a sparkly shoe. Frank takes a double superkick to the best reaction of the night so far and Eagle gets superkicked into a Crossface to give Rae the tap out win at 9:41.

Rating: C-. I can see why Rae is so popular right now as her energy is infectious. This was a rather nice showcase for her and I could see her getting some bigger bookings. I’ve seen Shottzi and Velazquez before so for once, I actually had an idea of what I was watching. Just drop the clown though as it wasn’t working in the slightest.

Action Wrestling Title: AC Mack vs. Fred Yehi

This is from Georgia and Mack is defending. Mack is in a SWAT team vest and declares this his ring while doing his own introduction. Well we certainly have a heel here. Yehi is introduced as “angry, pissed off and short”. Yehi starts fast with an elbow to the face as we hear about Mack’s victories, all of which come in Georgia. Some running forearms in the corner have Mack in trouble and pulls him out of the corner for a crash.

An early powerbomb gives Yehi two and he counters the Mack Ten (looked like a cross arm Pedigree) into a Downward Spiral. The Koji Clutch has Mack in trouble so he goes to the eyes for a smart counter. A standing Meteora and a basement dropkick put Yehi down and Mack is rather cocky in a hurry. Yehi slips out of the corner and seems to hit his head, followed by a quick kick to the head from Mack.

The Mack ten is broken up again and Yehi busts out a giant swing into a catapult (with Mack stopping in the middle so it looked rather lame). Yehi stomps on the hand and hammers away but might have gotten poked in the eye. Mack grabs the title and as it’s being taken away, a low blow sets up the Mack Ten…for two. Mack hits it again to retain at 6:58.

Rating: C+. Probably the best match of the night here even though they were flying through things. Mack has some good charisma and I could see him being something in a bigger promotion down the line. Yehi has been good almost wherever he goes, though I don’t remember him actually winning a big match.

Kris Stadtlander/Solo Darling vs. Jessica Troy/Shazza McKenzie

From Women’s Wrestling Revolution. Stadtlander is an alien and Darling is taller than a stack of pancakes and slimmer than a pint of ice cream. Kimber Lee is on commentary and doesn’t like being brought around to not be in the ring. Troy pounds on Darling to start and it’s quickly off to McKenzie to work on the leg. Darling gets knocked down and kicked in the face to give McKenzie and Troy two each.

The villains chop away at Darling in the corner but a running knee in the corner misses as Lee continues to list off her accomplishments, which aren’t enough to get her on this show. Stadtlander finally gets the tag and starts to elbow away until a kick to the face cuts her off. Everything breaks down and Stadtlander catches a suicide dive from Troy but Darling spends too much time posing and gets baseball slidden to the floor.

Shazza dives onto all three of them and it’s an exchange of suplexes back inside. Stadtlander throws Troy into a Sharpshooter from Darling with McKenzie making the save. Troy’s running Meteora to the back in the corner gets two with Stadtlander diving in for a save of her own. Stadtlander is back up with a kneeling Tombstone for the pin on McKenzie at 8:02 as Darling gets the Sharpshooter on Troy.

Rating: C-. Kind of messy here but I’ve seen a few of these women before and they’re rather solid for the most part. It wouldn’t surprise me to see one or two of them in WWE eventually, but they still have some work to do before they get there. This didn’t overstay its welcome (a common theme tonight) and that’s made the matches a lot easier to watch.

A rather fired up guy named Righteous Jesse from Southern Underground Pro Wrestling out of Nashville introduces the next match and is rather excited to be here.

O’Shay Edwards/Mr. Brickster/Cabana Man Dan vs. Brett Ison/Dominic Garrini/Kevin Coo

The announcers talk about some kind of real life fight that set this match up with some of the wrestlers not wanting to be here. It feels like they’re trying to be some real life promotion and it’s feeling rather out of place. Dan kicks the monster Ison into the corner so it’s off to Garrini who gets rolled up for two. A gutwrench suplex sends Dan flying onto his face and it’s the huge Edwards coming in to clean house.

Edwards deadlift German suplexes Garrini but Ison comes in for a dropkick. Everything breaks down and Garrini dives onto Brickster. Edwards is left alone in the ring against all three so it’s a series of suplexes and some running dropkicks in the corner for two. Brickster and Dan come back in to help triple team Kevin with Edwards hitting a moonsault for two with Garrini making the save. That really should have been the finish is Edwards and company win.

Coo is right back up with a gutwrench Project Ciampa to Dan and Brickster hits a reverse Razor’s Edge into an Iconoclasm but Ison is back with a Jay Driller for no cover. Edwards counters a second attempt into White Noise for no cover again. Garrini gives Edwards a snap piledriver but Dan comes back in with the flip flops to hit Garrini in the face. Coo gets back up and tries a dragon superplex on Dan, which is reversed into a super Sliced Bread for the pin at 9:02.

Rating: D. Yeah this really didn’t work as it felt like they were trying for some ECW inspired stuff and it was rather bad. I have no idea what the story is here or why I should care. It was all over the place and no one got to stand out at all here. Easily the worst match of the show here and the very annoying ring announcer didn’t help.

Jake Parnell vs. Gary Jay

This is from St. Louis and is the culmination of a two year rival so it’s a Last Man Standing match. Why are they feuding? Not worth mentioning apparently. Parnell recently beat Jay in an I Quit match but Jay blacked out and never said he quit so we’re having this match to decide a winner. It’s better than nothing. Jay is slim, not muscular and nearly looks homeless. They exchange chops to start as we hear a bunch of gimmick matches these two have had, including a Last Man Standing match last January.

An exchange of forearms and slaps give us another standoff until Parnell headscissors him to the floor. Back to back suicide dives from Jay have the fans clearing out of the front row but Parnell gets in a clothesline. Parnell hits a suicide flip dive but Jay pelts a chair at his head. They go behind the seats before coming back to ringside with Parnell getting in a posting to take over for a few seconds. A northern lights suplex on the floor gets five on Jay and they head back inside.

They trade chops in the corner, which doesn’t exactly scream hatred to me. Jay kicks him in the face and they head to the apron for more chops. A middle rope DDT plants Parnell onto the apron so Jay goes up, only to get caught with a release belly to back superplex. That means a double count with the referee crossing his arms in the X sign as he counts, which is rather distracting. They both roll outside to beat the count at nine and Parnell climbs onto the stage for a running double stomp to the back, sending Jay face first into a chair.

Thankfully Jay isn’t dead so Parnell sends him head first into the chair again. It’s time for a door (a thing in Game Changer Wrestling, which is using the same arena so it’s actually covered here), which Parnell bridges between some chairs. You know what that means and it’s a Death Valley Driver to send Jay through the door for a big knockdown. Jay doesn’t even bother waiting on the count and finds some wrenches underneath the ring to take off a turnbuckle (callback to a previous match). He takes off all four turnbuckles so we’re down to two ropes.

Back in and Jay can’t get the hook in Parnell’s mouth as Parnell shoves it away and hits a running clothesline. Parnell hooks Jay’s mouth instead and throws him over the top, just as Jay did to him in their previous Last Man Standing match. Also not willing to wait on the count, Parnell pulls out another door as Jay is back in at around eight.

A chair is thrown in as well and Jay gets half and half suplexed through the door in the corner. Parnell still isn’t done and ties Jay’s head in the chair, only to get punched out of the air. Jay ties him in the chair instead and hits a top rope double stomp. A chair shot to the chair around Parnell’s neck for the win at 19:42.

Rating: B-. The violence was good and the ending was rather devastating but this went on too long. It felt like a main event, though I don’t know these people so I don’t know why I should be caring about these them wanting to hurt each other. What we got was good though and it was rather violent, so it was good enough for what it was supposed to be. Nothing great, but a solid main event.

Overall Rating: C. This was kind of a weird one as it wasn’t one promotion but rather a bunch of companies getting together for a series of matches. It’s nothing that I’m ever going to watch again but as basically a sampler of everything that you can see over the next few days, it worked well enough. The stream was good and for ten bucks, it’s mostly worth your money for a quick watch.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up the paperback edition of KB’s Complete 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1 (also available as an e-book) from Amazon. Check out the information here:

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