Friday Indie Spotlight Time: ACTION Wrestling Streets of Rage

Independent Wrestling is where the fun is. And so, I propose a new thing for this blog: each Friday, I’ll post a review of a show from IWTV. It may be a very recent show, or it may be one from the archives. I might choose it because of the big names, or because there’s lots of people I’ve met on it, or maybe because I’m on it. But hey, it’s wrestling. And this is a wrestling blog.

My goal is to get people noticed who I feel you should want to see. Maybe you’re just a WWE fan; that’s fine! These are people who would fit in very well in NXT or the main roster. Maybe you’re interested in checking out a local show; great! These are some names that should draw you to spend money on a ticket. Maybe you’re wondering if you should get an IWTV subscription; yes! Especially since they’ve merged with Smart Mark Video and the archives are LOADED. However you see it, consider me your gateway to great wrestlers you’ve never heard of.

With that out of the way, let’s get to today’s choice.

Today, we come to you from Tyrone, Georgia, dateline: January 11, 2020. ACTION Wrestling wasn’t expecting to be in this venue, but circumstances beyond their control required them to move the show on 24 hours’ notice. The wrestlers and fans were all very accomodating, and the result was a great atmosphere and an example of what happens when everyone works together.

The PG Era Rant for ACTION Wrestling Streets of Rage. (Tape runtime: 102 minutes)

From Tyrone, GA.

Your hosts are Dylan Hales and Steven McCash.

In a pre-show promo, Brett Ison promises to KO Gary Jay tonight.

Opening match: Alan Angels vs. Graham Bell.

I’ve seen Bell in person and I like him. He does a “black ops” gimmick, sometimes bringing a bazooka (not a real one, of course) with him to the ring. They tussle in the corner to start, with Angels not appreciating Bell’s show of respect. Angels opens with a rana and dropkick for one. Bell chops Angels down in the corner and kicks away in the ropes. Angels with a Thesz press and a forearm in the corner, but after a series of reversals Angels goes for a springboard and slips on the top rope, splatting on the mat.

Commentary claims Angels has a bum knee, and Bell goes to work on it. Bell chops Angels in the corner and wraps his leg around the ringpost. Angels kicks away in desperation only for Bell to use forearms to stay in control. Bilnd charge misses and Angels uses the good leg to kick away for the comeback. Enzuigiri and kip-up as the knee looks good.

DiBiase rebound clothesline follows, and an avalanche into a suplex try. Bell blocks, so Angels does a roundhouse kick and moonsault for two. Bell bails and Angels follows as they fight on the floor. Bell tosses Angels onto the nearby stage and follows up, throwing him off the stage into the ringpost. Bell goes up back in, and a Heartbreak Elbow gets two. Bell kicks Angels down and puts him up top, looking for the Green Bay Plunge, but Angels with a Frankensteiner and apron STO. Backstabber wins it at 7:20. (*3/4)

THOUGHTS: I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this, but wrestlers always talk about the basic match formula. You open with the “shine”, where the babyface gets off to a hot start; you go to the “heat”, where the heel dominates and the fans want their guy to get back into it; then there’s the “comeback”, where the babyface does get back into it; and you end with the “finish”. You had that here, and it worked. Angels is someone Action is giving a winning streak to, so his picking up the win isn’t much of a surprise. It loses a bit for the springboard snafu, but they were able to cover decently enough.

Jaden Newman vs. Logan Stunt.

Yes, Logan is the brother of AEW’s Marko Stunt, and there is a family resemblance (including size or lack thereof). Jaden teases Stunt with a crane kick, so Logan floors him. Stunt with a front facelock takedown into a quick rear naked choke, with Newman snapmaring out of it and nailing a huge left. Newman celebrates like Bo Dallas, but for too long, so Stunt gives him a baseball slide before following up with a plancha.

Newman with a snap tilt-a-whirl for one, and he drops a knee. Boot choke in the corner and he stomps away. Logan with forearms and a chop, but the shotei is ducked and Newman chops him down before choking him some more. Stunt with a flying schoolboy for two before running into a pump kick; Newman gets two. Snapmare and he just slaps Logan.

This wakes Logan up, and the two strike it out, ending with high kicks and a shotgun dropkick by Logan. Running knees in the corner and Shining Wizard gets two. Newman picks Stunt up and they fight in an electric chair position, ending with Stunt getting a rana for two and a soccer kick for two. Shinbreaker by Newman and a rolling uppercut called First to Last gets Newman the win at 5:54. (**)

THOUGHTS: Once they got down to business, it was a very fast-paced match. Whether you like this might depend in part on whether you like Marko Stunt in AEW; the styles are quite similar. Newman has improved quite a bit over the last 2-3 years, and his heel work here was very good, constantly screaming at the crowd to get them to boo him. I’m not sure a guy who’s 5’4 should be relying on strikes as much as Logan does, though.

Post-match interview with Newman and Al Getz, who calls him “Chattanooga’s Favorite Son”. (Hales: “What about me?”) Newman says he didn’t come here for just six minutes, oh no. Instead, he’s going to scout the rest of the show and see who he wants.

Gary Jay vs. Brett Ison.

Jay had a run in Beyond’s Discovery Gauntlet, so obviously people see something in him. Jay opens with EIGHT planchas to Ison, but can’t knock him down. The ref starts the match with both men on the outside (which is against southeastern protocol, but good luck controlling this) and they fight on the floor. Ison ducks a forearm smash into the post and gets a powerbomb on the apron. He wants the countout, but Jay’s in at nine. Ison smashes the elbows and forearms before adding a facewash dropkick, but the cover doesn’t even get one. Ison floors Jay with an elbow and chops away. He bootrakes the eyes and gets a suplex for one.

We HIT THE CHINLOCK, with Jay getting a jawbreaker to break. Back elbow by Jay gets separation, and he tosses Ison over the top to the apron. Ison remains on the apron after some shots, and Jay goes up top with a stomp to the back of the head to knock both men out… but Ison’s in the ring and Jay outside of it. Back in, Jay with some big stomps and a headscissotrs before a rolling elbow gets two. Ison cuts off a rally with a rolling elbow, Saito suplex, and lariat for two. Jay is dead weight, but Ison tries a piledriver only for Jay to escape and a forearm slug-out begins.

Kingslayer knee by Jay, but he runs into an Exploder suplex. Blind charge eats boot, and Jay with a tornado Flatliner and double stomp… but Ison’s in the ropes. Ison with a right jab to set up a gutwrench GTS, but Jay blocks the short knee with a cradle for two. Ison is pissed off and gives a chokebreaker, powerbomb, and short knee strike to end it at 7:19. (*1/2)

THOUGHTS: This didn’t do it for me. Ison did his part as a “brick wall”, and even then may have overdone it. The big thing, though, is that Jay’s selling was all over the map. One minute he’s dead, and the next he’s exchanging forearms, and there wasn’t much transition between the two. Look, I get that he’s got a style that people love, but a little more selling would’ve gone a long way in this match. I did appreciate the rapid-fire dives to open that sold how Jay knew he was in for a tough fight against a monster heel, though. Oh, and Kevin Ku (Brett Ison’s stable-mate) was in Ison’s corner the whole match but just watched, which is why I didn’t bring it up.

B-Boy is coming to Action on February 7, and at least one wrestler volunteers to face him.

Dani Jordyn vs. Aspyn Rose.

Jordyn says something before the bell, but the cameras don’t quite pick it up. Must have been friendly, though, because the two hug it out before the match. Rose catches Jordyn playing to the crowd with a cradle for two. The two jaw it out, and Rose gets a headbutt and slaps Jordyn around. Jordyn reverses a whip and gets a running uppercut and dropkick for two. Jordyn with forearms but a blind charge misses.

Rose with a running knee in the corner for two. Rose stomps around Jordyn and trash-talks her before choking on the ropes. She no-sells some hope shots, but Rose misses a pump kick and is cradled for two. Rose reverses instantly to a crossface, but Jordyn fights to her feet and escapes. Strikes are exchanged, but Rose blocks a discus lariat and gets a Stunner for two. Rose goes for something but Jordyn elbows out and kicks down Rose, into a German suplex. Discus lariat ends it at 4:21. (1/2*)

THOUGHTS: Kind of a sloppy match. Too much trash-talking and not enough follow-up, especially when you only have five minutes. Look at Newman/Stunt – it was a similar sprint, and the match was all action from about a minute in. Throw in that there were some visible misses and this one was not the best. Rose is a better face than heel, mind you, so that may have had something to do with it. Jordyn will get better with time.

Jordyn helps Rose up post-match and gets slapped for her trouble.

IWTV Championship: WARHORSE (champion) vs. Nick Iggy (challenger).

Okay, this’ll be good. Iggy launches himself up the turnbuckle as Warhorse poses and superplexes him in for two. Iggy with a TKO for two and Warhorse bails. Iggy follows and slugs away, but Warhorse slams Iggy’s head into the apron repeatedly. Warhorse with a running double stomp off the apron. Back in, missile dropkick by Warhorse and he goes back up, and Savage elbow gets two. Warhorse puts on Iggy’s top hat and fires off on Iggy, who blocks and gets a half-nelson knee and big boot for two.

Iggy throws Warhorse to the mat repeatedly, then purs the hat on and fires away in the corner. Warhorse goes outside to recover, but rolls into a kneedrop. Iggy gets two. Iggy ducks a clothesline and gets a Northern Lariat. Fish-hook camel clutch into La Majistral gets two, and Iggy follows with a running knee. Warhorse pulls himself up and fights back, only to get a chop to the throat. Iggy with another kneedrop for two.

Knees in the clutch by Iggy, but Warhorse ducks a discus clothesline and gets a shotgun dropkick. Warrior clotheslines, but he runs into Iggy’s knee only to bounce back with a lariat. Powerbomb gets two. Warhorse headbangs for momentum, but Iggy catches him in the corner and gets a neckbreaker for two. Iggy chops Warhorse, but Warhorse begins to Hulk Up. Iggy runs into a chop and some headbutts.

Iggy tosses Warhorse over and follows with a Trevor Lee dive into a double-jump RKO for a very close two. Iggy loads up a brainbuster, and after a fight, he abandons that for slapping Warhorse around. Warhorse stays standing and changes the momentum with a clothesline, and the Double Stomp ends it at 8:27. (**1/2)

THOUGHTS: Warhorse has established himself as willing to defend the title anywhere against anyone, almost as a throwback to the NWA days. In just four months, he’s defended the belt 25 times, and each match has this high-energy feel to it. The facepaint and mannerisms are Ultimate Warrior-ish (although Warhorse is 100 pounds lighter), and his charisma allows him to get away with it. That showed in this match as he made sure every move looked high-impact. Hey, don’t ignore Iggy’s contribution either; he’s normally a tag team wrestler (his partner Kerry Awful is taking paternity leave), but the past couple months have shown he’s just as good on his own. His style is more Revival-like in that it’s better for long matches, but he adapted to a more sprint-like mentality here. Good matchup.

Warhorse goes into the crowd and headbangs with some kids post-match.

Arik Royal vs. Shawn Dean (special referee Matt Sells).

Okay, full disclosure: in my opinion, Arik Royal is the best big-man wrestler you’ve never heard of. I hope he gets the chance to show it off here. Plot point: Sells figured that since all he had to do was count three, he could hit the bar before the show. Sells has a rivalry with Royal (they’ll have a bounty vs hair match in a few weeks), so it’s likely there will be bias… assuming Sells is sober enough to be in the rivalry.

But before we start, an interview with Sells by Al Getz, reminding him of the stakes of the upcoming match. Is Sells concerned about losing his hair? Sells asks the crowd if he should be concerned (No). Tonight, he’s refereeing a match with Royal and Shawn Dean, and Royal has sent a threat to Sells: call it clean or you may not make it to the hair match. Sells insists he’s an honorable man. He would never (Jericho pause) EVER cost someone a win who cost him his best and only chance to win last year, would he? Sells promises that he’ll share the money with the crowd.

Okay, to the match: lots of jibber jabber to start. Royal with a waistlock takedown and he taunts. Dean gets one of his own and salutes. Royal complains of a hairpull (Sells: “Like this?” Royal: “STOP!”). Royal goes to the arm with a wristlock, but Dean reverses and Royal switches back. Dean cartwheels out into a headscissors and armdrags. Dropkick and Royal bails. Royal avoids a dive as Sells goes for a quick countout, but Royal is back in at eight.

Dean ducks a lariat and chops away. Royal reverses a corner whip, but blind charge eats boot. Royal throws Dean aside and gets a seated senton off the middle rope for two. Royal boots away on Dean before mocking the crowd. Dean runs into a dropkick from Royal for two (although the start of the count was slow).

Royal with a big chop in the corner, followed by another. He works Dean’s gut over in the corner before just picking him up and tackling him into the other corner, and back only for Dean to elbow out. Dean charges into a back body drop, with Royal throwing his weight for extra leverage. Royal wants the countout, but Sells counts… let’s just say much slower than he did before.

Dean is back in, and Royal with a low tackle for two. Royal misses whatever off the ropes, and Dean begins the comeback. Hurricane DDT by Dean and he kips up. Knee strike in the corner, but Royal bails before Dean can follow up. Sells counts Royal, so Dean leaps over Sells and onto Royal on the outside with a tope con hilo! Dean with a running basement knee for two. (And to be fair to Sells, it’s a consistent count to the ones he gave the other way.)

Uranage try for Dean, but Royal elbows out and gets a T-Bone. Running reverse avalanche into a Bossman backbreaker gets two for Royal. Royal is mad about the count (not sure why, it was fine) and yells at Sells. Space Jam (clawhold slam) misses, but Royal recovers with a Karelin suplex into a powerbomb… and at two, Sells pretends to hurt his arm so Dean can kick out. Royal, understandably upset, argues with Sells. He shoves Sells, who shoves Royal back into the Shipwreck (uranage) by Dean for the fast count pin at 12:10. (**1/4)

THOUGHTS: The nice thing about this match is that the “referee hates one of the wrestlers” story didn’t overwhelm it. Both men still got a chance to have a match, with Dean’s tope con hilo a particular highlight. You knew the special referee would be the difference in this match, and he was. Royal as a bully got to show off his heel abilities, and Dean worked well underneath. This match would have been good even without the referee shenanigans, which in my opinion were just enough not to deduct from the match. They didn’t add to it, either, mind you.

An understably upset Royal beats up Sells post-match. Sells blocks and comes back with a knee and neckbreaker combo. Sells warms up the Shotei, but Royal bails.

Curt Stallion vs. Bobby Flaco.

Stallion is from EVOLVE, yes, and… wait, when did he get a haircut? His long locks are gone and replaced with a more conservative hairstyle. Handshake to start. Flaco with a waisltock takedown, which angers Stallion. Stallion slaps Flaco and stomps him out of the ring. He allows Flaco to return, though. Stallion gets a headlock takedown, reversed by Flaco to a headscissors. Stallion escapes but can’t grab the headlock and we get a stalemate.

Test of strength, but Flaco gets a leg trip and cradle for two. Stallion dropkicks Flaco out of the ring and beats him up outside. Back to the headlock takedown in the ring as Stallion wants to own the chain wrestling. Flaco gets up, but Stallion with a shoulderblock for one. Flaco gets separation off the ropes, into a double-jump armdrag and springboard crossbody, and now Stallion bails. Flaco catches Stallion and catches the arm, trying a double-jump into a prawn lock, but Stallion blocks it and does a wheelbarrow suplex.

Stallion calls Flaco stupid and double stomps him for two. Suplex by Stallion, and a kneedrop gets two. Stallion chops away and kicks Flaco down, tying Flaco in the ropes and chopping him hard. A big forearm levels Flaco. Flaco with a shotggun dropkick, but a charge misses and Stallion with a German suplex. Stallion chops Flaco again, but Flaco fights back and goes strike for strike. Stallion wins with a kneelift, but Flaco with a forearm block only to walk into a lariat. Flaco shocks Stallion by reversing a suplex into one of his own and both men are down.

Flaco begins the comeback with forearms in the corner and a big boot. Superkick and he gets an X-Factor off the top. Wheelbarrow into an STO by Flaco gets two. Flaco rolls through off a failed double stomp, and Stallion with a forearm shiver to send Flaco outside. Stallion follows with a bottom rope dive, and back in, big boot and facewash have Flaco out. Stallion with a big hesitation dropkick, Shibata-style. Double Arm DDT and Stallion goes up top, and a big splash gets two. Stallion slaps around Flaco, only for Flaco to come back with forearms.

Both men slug it out, with Stallion winning with a Rock punch. But Flaco won’t give up, firing back again and a hockey fight breaks out. Both men tire themselves out in it, so they switch to a strike exchange. Stallion with a double-leg and jack-knife attempt, but Flaco reverses to something like a Vertebreaker for two. Stallion bails, so Flaco with a double-jump plancha. Back in, Flaco gets a springboard cutter for another close two. Flaco goes up top, but Stallion leaps after him with a headbutt to knock him to the apron. Stallion drapes him in the ropes with a Pedigree, but he doesn’t cover. Stallion with a shotgun headbutt for two. Stallion is now thoroughly pissed off and gives him a tilt-a-whirl shoulderbreaker for the pin at 15:14. (***1/4) Stallion picks Flaco up and fakes an exclamation point, but instead demands a handshake, which is accepted.

THOUGHTS: This had the structure of a “good indy match” with a lot of false finishes, and it worked. Stallion is someone who could have a big future if he were able to carry more muscle. As it is, he wrestles more like Barry Windham but is built like Kendall Windham. Also, I think losing the long hair hurt him; he doesn’t look as menacing with the regular cut. Flaco played the underdog beautifully, constantly fighting for hope spots and refusing to stay down too long. I think the match may have had a few too many near falls designed to pop the crowd – the Pedigree into the headbutt was supposed to be a shock kickout even though it was too obvious – but hey, it worked. Stallion deserves to be on your radar.

Main Event, ACTION Championship and Southern Underground Pro Championship: AC Mack (champion) vs. Kevin Ku (challenger)

That’s not a misprint: Mack holds both titles and both are on the line at once. Mack cuts a promo pre-match while forcing the ring announcer to hold both titles aloft. Ku interrupts it with a low kick and stomps Mack out of the ring, attacking on the outside. He throws Mack on the stage and rings the bell in his ear. Back in the ring, the ref checks on Mack before officially starting the match.

Ku with a spinebuster and half-crab, but Mack makes the ropes. Ku with an Indian deathlock into a curbstomp. It gets two. Ku works the leg some more, with Mack kicking away only to walk into a boot and superkick. Backbreaker follows, for two. Ku works the heel with a twist and stomp. He kicks away at the hamstring, offering a free shot before chopping and slugging away. Snapmare and soccer kick follow, and Ku rests on the ropes.

Spike attempt, but Mack fights out and gets a dropkick. Mack with a leaping neackbreaker off the ropes. He blocks a kick and chops Ku, into a suplex stunner for two. He didn’t hook the leg. Ku with a torture rack slam to stop momentum, and he goes up, only for Mack to meet him with an enzuigiri and superplex attempt. Ku gets the better of whatever that was off the ropes, and a discus lariat gets two. Ku tries a gutwrench, but Mack slides out and gets a superkick and Complete Shot for two.

Mack wakes Ku up with a right hand, and the two slug it out with Ku ducking a shot and getting a snap dragon suplex. Brainbuster is countered by Mack into a Death Valley Driver, nearly running the referee over. Mack with an axe kick in the corner for two. Mack tries a cross-armed Pedigree, but Brett Ison runs in for the DQ at 6:51. (*1/4) Alan Angels returns and takes Ku out to get a staredown with Ison, but Jaden Newman jumps Ison from behind and Ison/Newman/Ku go 3-on-2 until Shawn Dean runs in with a chair for the save.

THOUGHTS: This match was there to bring you what happened after the bell, which makes it weird as a main event. I would’ve liked to have seen this switch places with Warhorse/Iggy on the card – the latter, despite also being short by indy standards, had a finality and a title fight feel to it. This one never really got out of the gate, so at least a match wasn’t wasted by the DQ finish. That’s a nice thing – if you’re going to have a non-finish, don’t get too deep into the match and the fans won’t feel as ripped off.

Mack demands a mic. He says he’s sick of the gang tactics and this time brought backup. He challenges the men outside the ring to a six-man at the February 7 show. While not confirmed then, I don’t see anyone saying no. AC poses with the belts to end the show.

WRAP-UP: Given the chaos the weather brought – forcing a last-second venue change – I’m willing to give this show a little slack. They set things up for their next major show on February 7 very nicely, with Royal/Sells having an apuesta and the six-man main being sold as a turf war (one team is Georgia-based, the other Tennessee-based). As a standalone show, it wasn’t the best, but it built to the next event, and sometimes that’s all you have to do.

As for this show, Newman/Stunt was a very good sprint, and Royal/Dean built to the blowoff at the next show. Stallion/Flaco was match of the night and was what you expect from an indy big match. Lots of short matches meant you got a feel for a lot of the talent, which is a good thing. That said, some of the matches were noticeably sloppy and the main event was there to provide an angle, which I can see being a turn-off.

On the Official Network Recommendation Scale, we call this a SKIM IT. Get Warhorse/Iggy, Royal/Dean, and Stallion/Flaco at the least, but I understand if that’s all you want.