Culture Clash 19

Culture Clash 19
Date: April 6, 2019
Location: NYC Arena, Jamaica, New York
Commentators: Matthew Ryan Shapiro, JD, Ben Venuto

This is Amazing Red’s House of Glory promotion and as usual, I have no idea what to expect from this show as I’ve never seen the promotion before, but that’s the point of the weekend. The card looked good though and that’s enough to get me to check out the show. Hopefully it’s as solid as it looks, but you never can tell. Let’s get to it.

The announcers welcome us to the show. For some reason, almost no commentators have been shown all week.

Smiley vs. Leroy Green

Casket match (Who starts with a casket match?), with Green seemingly wanting to save Smiley from some evil stable. Green starts fast with a reverse hurricanrana and a regular hurricanrana and it’s already time for the casket. The fans chant for Smiley, which one commentator says is the fans being behind Green. Back in and Smiley takes over as the announcers explain a bit more of the backstory with Green going after the House of Gangone stable, of which Smiley seems to be a member.

Smiley whips him into the casket and pulls out a kendo stick for a beating. Green hits a quick superkick and takes the stick away to beat on Smiley instead. A modified Backstabber sends Smiley outside, where he finds a chair to throw at Green’s head. Smiley puts the chair on Green’s face and beats on it with the stick, eventually breaking it in half. Green is right back up and ties him in the ropes, where Smiley spits in his face. A pull of the ropes sends Smiley into the chair but he’s fine enough to hit a brainbuster onto the turnbuckle.

It’s time to set up a door between the ring and the barricade but Green backdrops his way out of trouble. Smiley is fine enough to hit a pair of buckle bombs and a running powerbomb onto the ramp. Green gets back up again and spears him through the doors for the big knockdown. Back in and Green rips off the mask before pulling out Smiley’s old mask (a smiley face mask), which Smiley puts on. Before we can find out the impact, Green knocks him into the casket for the win at 15:16.

Rating: C-. The action was good but they threw you into what seemed like a big story pretty fast. Commentary explained as much of it as they could though and I wasn’t lost so it could have been worse. Smiley wasn’t very good and while Green was better, neither of them exactly came off as anything special.

House of Glory Title: Anthony Gangone vs. Robby Eagles

Gangone, with his left hand in a cast, is defending and seems to be the top heel in the promotion. He has three belts (the House of Glory Title and both CZW Tag Team Titles since his partner Amazing Red suddenly retired) and a bunch of people with him, including two guys to rap his theme song. Gangone’s minions distract Eagles to start and a thumb to the eye has him in early trouble.

The threat of a right hand makes Eagles duck and Gangone gets two off a DDT. Dreams By The Waterfall (something out of a torture rack) is broken up and Eagles knocks him into the corner for his first offense. What appeared to be Sliced Bread is broken up so Eagles goes with a middle rope Downward Spiral instead. A 450 misses but Eagles slips out of a package piledriver and nails an enziguri. Gangone kicks him in the face again and hits a package facebuster for a rather near fall.

Eagles’ low superkick again looks to set up the 450 but Gangone rolls to the ropes. That’s fine with Eagles as he jumps down and puts on a cross between an Indian deathlock and a Figure four. The goons distract the referee though and the tap isn’t seen but the goons do get ejected. As the goons argue, a mystery woman (the announcers don’t know her name) comes in and kicks Eagles low, setting up Dreams By The Waterfall (torture rack flipped forward into a knee to the face) to retain the title at 9:54.

Rating: C+. Pretty nice match here with Gangone as a good cult style leader. You need a bunch of minions to make something like that work and Gangone had it covered with at least five people helping him out. I wasn’t wild on his in-ring work but he was getting the character stuff down and that’s what matters more.

Post match the goons surround Gangone as he sits in the middle of the ring and talks about all of his injuries. The fans still boo him no matter what he does and now Amazing Red has retired due to a serious injury. WWE even put out a video with wrestlers like Ricochet and Sasha Banks thanking him for everything he’s done. Gangone says he’s going to break character (erg) because Red retiring just showed that he was weak of body and mind. Without Gangone, this place wouldn’t exist and even his house needs to learn that. Gangone yells at his goons, saying none of them matter without him.

Cue about ten people in Smiley masks to jump the House of Gangone…but they fight the Smileys off without much trouble. Commentary says they’re as lost as anyone else as the goons leave. One final man comes in and Gangone punches him to no effect. The guy hits a Scorpion Death Drop and beats up the goons, including a piledriver to the woman. Something like a piledriver plants Gangone and the man leaves with the group of Smileys.

That was quite a bit and straight out of the Sting vs. NWO years, complete with a Scorpion Death Drop. It didn’t make a ton of sense but I’m assuming that the story will be addressed on whatever regular shows this promotion does. It’s a lot to throw at you at once and for what is supposed to be a showcase show, I’m not sure it’s the best idea to have commentary saying they don’t get it either.

Juba vs. Ryan Burgandy vs. Evander James vs. Big Daddy Cruise vs. Kai vs. Matt Travis

The winner is the #1 contender to the Crown Jewel (midcard) Title. Burgandy might be five feet tall but his shirt says that he’s really big (and his theme music is a cover of Larger Than Life). Cruise is a big ladies man, because that’s the most original gimmick in the world. Juba, the biggest man in the match, starts slamming people and shoves away everyone trying to get on him at once.

Cruise hits a sitout powerbomb for two on James and Travis hits a heck of a German suplex for two on Cruise with Kai making the save. Travis and Kai go at it for a bit with Kai getting two off a brainbuster. Juba comes back in and starts throwing smaller humans around until Cruise comes in for some better luck. Evander teases a dive but instead just goes to the floor for a right hand to Juba. Travis and Burgandy hit shooting stars off the top to take out everyone else, leaving us with the two of them going inside.

That doesn’t last long as James comes back in with a Meteora to Burgandy in the corner. Kai comes in with a superkick for two but Cruise makes a save. Cruise’s Michinoku Driver gets two with Juba making the save this time. Burgandy manages to German suplex Juba for two and tries a shooting star to a standing Juba….who doesn’t seem to see him coming and they collide. Juba’s spinning fall away slam plants Burgandy but Travis comes in and steals the pin at 8:53.

Rating: C-. Like so many shows this weekend, this was a bunch of people in the ring at once and everyone trying to get in whatever they can in the limited time they have. It’s not a bad match but it could have been better with some more time for the people to shine. Or just less people involved.

Post match a bunch of people from CZW invade and beat down the people from the match. CZW owner DJ Hyde says he’s coming for his Tag Team Titles and if you want a real show, come see their stuff. He’s coming for Gangone and Red as well. Oh and screw the fans. The locker room comes out to chase them off. Ken Broadway, apparently a rather soft spoken guy, swears a lot and says come back and fight. While he has a mic, Broadway asks if he can take Red’s place against Fenix in the main event. That’s an affirmative.

Low Ki/LAX vs. Great Muta/Pentagon Jr./Tajiri

Diamante is here with LAX. Since the curtain doesn’t quite fit in the entrance, you can see LAX walking around before their entrance. Pentagon and Ortiz start things off and the dueling chants are on in a hurry. Pentagon shows him CERO MIEDO and gets sent into the corner for a running elbow. That just means a Sling Blade and the Karate Kid pose, sending Ortiz bailing into the corner.

It’s off to Tajiri vs. Santana for a feeling out process with Santana taking him to the mat. The big kick sends Santana outside and it’s time for Muta vs. Low Ki. Muta takes him down so Low Ki has the legs up to hold him off as the slow pace continues. Muta’s full nelson into a Fujiwara armbar has Low Ki down again and a Kimura sends Low Ki to the rope. The power drive elbow connects and it’s back to Tajiri, who grabs Low Ki by the tie. Well you knew that was coming.

A slap to the back of the bald head ticks Low Ki off enough that he drags Tajiri into the corner as the heat segment begins. It’s a quick heat though as Tajiri kicks at the leg and brings Pentagon back in. Low Ki kicks him down and goes after the mask with Tajiri making the save. LAX goes into their sequence of suplexes and splashes for two, which somehow fires Pentagon up enough for the hot tag to Muta.

A Shining Wizard sends Santana into the corner but Low Ki drops Muta with a springboard kick to the head. Everything breaks down and Low Ki gets triple teamed for a bit and double red mist takes out LAX. Low Ki goes up for the stomp but dives into the green mist, setting up the Shining Wizard for the pin at 16:44.

Rating: C. Oh come on like the quality of the match matters at all here. This was all about Muta and that’s all it needed to be. It’s a great moment as you don’t get to see a legend like that every day. This was a completely acceptable match and the mist at the end made it all the cooler. The rest of the match was fine too, but just seeing Muta was a great treat.

Post match LAX demands their music be played, which goes on for some time.

Crown Jewel Title: Mantequilla vs. Kikutaro

Kikutaro is challenging. Mantequilla (Spanish for butter) has a cape and is called the Lucha Hero. The early exchange of wristlocks (in slow motions) goes to Mantequilla in the form of some armdrags and Kikutaro wants a timeout on the floor. Back in and Kikutaro gets his own armdrags but the third is blocked to give Mantequilla two.

Kikutaro goes with the comedy in the form of a kick and two fingers to the back of the tights. Back in and they trade superhero poses before three armdrags have Kikutaro in trouble. Kikutaro charges into some raised boots in the corner so he throws the referee into the corner for a Stinger Splash on Mantequilla. Another charge into the boot knocks Kikutaro cold so Mantequilla rolls him over, but Kikutaro keeps rolling to stay on his stomach.

Mantequilla finally gets him up into the corner and whips the referee at him for a missed splash. Kikutaro gets two off a sitout AA but he misses a moonsault. The champ misses a Swanton so they trade low blows and rather soft chops. Double eye pokes are both blocked, as are more low blows. A hug is offered and Kikutaro hugs the referee to show his sincerity. Of course he chops Mantequilla, earning himself a crucifix bomb for two. A spinning palm strike retains the title at 16:17.

Rating: D. The World Title match gets less than ten minutes and this breaks sixteen? I’ll give them this much: it actually didn’t feel that long. I don’t think anyone was believing that the title was changing hands here and I could see Mantequilla having a better match against a serious opponent. It wasn’t the worst, but much longer than a comedy match should be going.

Boss Rob Blatt brings out new Women’s Champion Bobbi Tyler for a chat. Rob leaves and Bobbi introduces herself to the crowd, saying she can’t wait to get out of this horrible country. If any of the women in the back want a title shot, they can come to London and get one because she’s never coming back to this disgusting city again. This brings out former champion Sonya Strong, who grabs the title and says Bobbi better understand that no one else is taking the title. A belt shot knocks Bobbi out.

Sonya Strong/Violette vs. Kris Stadtlander/Nikki Adams

Sonya and Violette don’t have the best history together and Kris is an alien. Sonya headscissors Kris down to start and it’s already off to the partners. Violette slaps Nikki in the face and gets pulled down into a choke. Commentary compares Nikki to the crazy people you see muttering to themselves in the frozen food section. That’s certainly some unique character analysis. Sonya stomps away in the corner and blocks a powerbomb out of said corner before handing it back to Violette for some shoulders to the ribs.

We hit the chinlock for a few moments until Adams fights up and gets over for the tag in a hurry. A Blue Thunder Bomb gets two on Sonya and something like Eat Defeat (knee instead of foot) is good for the same. Adams hits a cutter on Violette as everything breaks down. Sonya German suplexes Kris to send her outside but kicks Violette by mistake, leaving Sonya vs. Adams. With Adams tied in the Tree of Woe, here’s Bobbi to distract Sonya again. It’s enough for Kris to kick Sonya in the back of the head, allowing Adams to steal the pin at 8:45.

Rating: D+. This was fairly messy, though it’s a lot better than some matches you’ll see on a show like this. The women were far more polished than others and Kris stood out, even with the rather bizarre ALIEN gimmick. I know this isn’t the most down to earth (no pun intended) promotion in the world, but an alien? Really? It’s certainly unique but it doesn’t exactly fit.

Ken Broadway vs. Rey Fenix

After the wrong music plays, we’re ready to do. Broadway gets rapped to the ring live and makes it rain in the ring. Fenix shakes his hand but doesn’t seem all that impressed so he starts firing off the kicks. A headscissors is countered but Fenix sends him outside for an early breather. Back in and Broadway slams him down for another trip to the floor, this time capped off by a suicide dive.

A missile dropkick gives Ken two (somewhat impressive as Broadway has some size) and a suplex is good for the same. Fenix misses a charge in the corner but spins to the apron, setting up a springboard missile dropkick for two. Broadway gets knocked outside and it’s a suicide dive to send him into the barricade for the big crash. Back in and Fenix hits his several springboards wristdrag but Broadway is right back with a gutbuster.

The Backstabber gets two more but Fenix ties him in the ropes and goes up. In your HE SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO DO THAT move, Fenix walks the ropes and kicks Broadway in the face, setting up a running Canadian Destroyer. Broadway is on his feet before Fenix though and hits the Currency (Penalty) Kick for the very fast pin at 8:21.

Rating: C+. Well ok then. The ending was as sudden as anything I can remember in a long time as Fenix was making his big comeback and then a single kick to the chest puts him away. That’s not exactly the kind of finisher you would expect from someone called the Self Made Savage or someone of his size. Either way, it’s quite a win for Broadway and Fenix got to be his usually impressive self.

Post match they shake hands and Broadway thanks Fenix for the match. Fenix says Broadway won with honor and thanks the fans. This has been a crazy weekend for Fenix but the fans are a great reason to come here and fight like he did tonight. He’ll be back and he wants a rematch, which gets a handshake from Broadway. After Fenix leaves, Broadway calls out Gangone because the World Title is his.

Private Party vs. Juicy Product

That would be Isaiah Kassidy/Marq Quen vs. JT Dunn/David Starr because DAVID STARR MUST APPEAR ON EVERY WRESTLEMANIA WEEKEND SHOW EVER (not a bad thing as I like the guy)! Private Party has a very energetic entrance and the fans seem to like them. Before the match, Private Party has everyone involved say YEAH very loudly. Starr works on Quen’s arm to a standoff to start. Quen gets taken down by the leg into a rollup for two and gets his lip busted open somewhere in there. Fans: “SAY YOU’RE SORRY!”

Instead, Quen dropkicks Starr in the face and back for one and it’s off to Dunn for some double teaming. A double elbow drops an invading Kassidy and it’s time for the Party to take a breather on the floor. The breather seems to work as they come back in with a camel clutch/stomp combination to Starr, sending Starr and Dunn to the floor. That means a big flip dive to the floor….and Never Gonna Give You Up (the Rick Roll song) starts playing. As everyone dances, Starr and Dunn jump the Party to take over.

The song starts again so Dunn can dance while Starr keeps stomping. Actually make that both Starr and Dunn dancing together, complete with a kiss. And now, with that out of the way, we get back to a normal tag match with Quen being worked over in the corner (Yes, we’re just supposed to go back to a normal match. Why does this surprise you?).

A double dropkick gets two but it’s Quen fighting back with forearms and a double dropkick of his own. The hot tag brings in Kassidy and everything breaks down. A heck of a Swanton gets two on Starr but Dunn comes back in with a top rope double stomp to Kassidy’s back. Kassidy gets powerbombed onto Dunn’s knees but Quen is back up with a bunch of kicks to the head.

Starr blasts Kassidy with a clothesline but a shooting star onto his back puts everyone down. The Party is up first with a pop up Codebreaker on Dunn and another shooting star to the back gets two as Starr makes a save. Starr gets in a knee to Quen’s face to set up an RKO from Dunn for two as frustration sets in. The Party gets back up and Dunn is sat on top for a hurricanrana into a cutter to give Quen the pin at 18:00.

Rating: B. Completely and utterly WHAT THE CENSORED moment in the middle aside, I liked this match more than anything else on the show. Starr continues to live up to his name and Dunn was quite the performer as well. Private Party is a fun team and I could see them going somewhere with some more seasoning. The announcers mentioned that they had wrestled a host of top level teams so there’s clearly something there.

Overall Rating: C. This show was a hard one to rate as you have some good action and VERY deep stories, but that second part is the problem: for newcomers, you’re going to be very lost if you don’t pay very close attention, and even then there’s a lot you’re going to miss. The House of Gangone seems to be connected to everything on the show and there’s a lot of moving parts.

The show itself was a nice mixture of stuff, though they could have trimmed some of the time down by not having so many angles and lost post match sequences. It didn’t feel like a show designed to draw in new viewers, which is kind of a weird choice for a show on this big of a stage. I liked it well enough, but I could use a history lesson to know how all of this ties together.

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