Date: April 13, 2022
Location: UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone
It’s the start of a big week around here as we are on the third of five shows. There are some important matches set up for this card and there is a good chance that we could be in for a fun one. If nothing else, they are coming in off a white hot main event last week so hopefully they can keep up the momentum. Let’s get to it.
CM Punk vs. Penta Obscuro
Alex Abrahantes is here with Penta. Punk isn’t overly intimidated by Obscuro’s entrance and they stare each other down to start. That goes into the big chop off, with the fans getting right into this as soon as they get going. A superkick staggers Punk but he kicks Penta in the ribs to cut him off. Punk strikes away as commentary runs down tonight’s card, including Samoa Joe vs. Minoru Suzuki. The GTS is countered into an ankle lock and Punk gets sent to the floor. Some suicide dives take too long though and Punk takes his place, setting up a dive of his own.
We take a break and come back with both of them going up to the same corner. Punk pulls him down into….something that wasn’t clear as his knee seems to give out. Penta takes him into the corner but Punk comes out with a super hurricanrana, setting up the running knee in the corner. The GTS is countered so Punk tries the Anaconda Vice, sending Penta straight to the rope.
They head to the apron to slug it out but neither can hit a piledriver. Instead Punk hits the running knee in the corner back inside, only to have the GTS blocked. The arm snap is countered into a rollup but that’s countered into another rollup to give Penta two. Another superkick rocks Punk but he’s fine enough to pull Penta out of the air for the GTS and the pin at 13:33.
Rating: B. They worked hard here and the ending was good, though it felt a bit like a match you would see on a big time indy show: no real reason for them to be fighting, but it makes fans go “that sounds AWESOME”. It was good while it lasted though and Punk continues his climb up to the top of the rankings. I’m sure the path will be completely scientific and logical as well.
The Jericho Appreciation Society arrived at the airport earlier but Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz were waiting on them. They beat up 3.0 and took their shoes, as good guys tend to do.
Tag Team Titles: ReDRagon vs. Jurassic Express
Jurassic Express is defending. Jungle Boy gets struck into the corner by Fish, allowing O’Reilly to come in for a headlock. Luchasaurus tags himself in and starts kicking away, only to get caught with some dragon screw legwhips. That’s enough to put Luchasaurus in the corner but he strikes his way out of trouble, allowing the tag off to Jungle Boy.
The suicide dives are on (JR: “It’s Tope Suicida Night folks! And the kids eat free!”), setting up Luchasaurus hitting his own dive. Jungle Boy goes for a dive but Fish isn’t quite ready and has to move over in a hurry (that could have been nasty). Fish twists Jungle Boy off the apron by the arm though and we take a break.
Back with O’Reilly trying a cross armbreaker on Jungle Boy but getting stacked up for two instead. Jungle Boy gets over for the tag off to Luchasaurus to clean house, including the Tail Whip to O’Reilly. There’s the double chokeslam into the standing moonsault for two on O’Reilly. A side slam top rope elbow combination (that looked good) gets two on Fish but ReDRagon is back in for a kick off into a German suplex.
O’Reilly grabs a cross armbreaker (while also trapping the leg) but Jungle Boy makes the rope. Back up and O’Reilly grabs a guillotine on Luchasaurus as Fish jumps over them with a super Falcon Arrow to Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus throws O’Reilly onto the two of them for the break and it’s time to strike it out again. Fish gets Tail Whipped by Luchasaurus and it’s the Throwassic Express for the pin to retain the titles at 13:45.
Rating: B. This was back into the “what’s tagging” formula for the most part and I can with with that after last week’s tag team clinic main event. Jurassic Express getting to add another win to their list is a good idea, but those titles seem destined either for FTR or the Young Bucks to set up the rubber match between the bigger name teams.
Post match O’Reilly chairs the champs down but FTR comes in to scare them off. I think you know where FTR and the Express are going.
The Blackpool Combat Club, now with Wheeler Yuta, are ready to fight the undisputed Gunn Club on Friday. Moxley’s idea: break their faces.
Jamie Hayter and Toni Storm are ready to face each other in the first round of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament. Hayter talks about their history together and how it was a lot like Owen’s rise to prominent. She isn’t going to let Storm slow her down and asks what Storm is going to do about it. Storm smirks and walks away.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Shawn Dean
Shawn Spears is here with MJF. Hold on though as MJF’s scarf gets caught in his jacket, but he jumps Dean from behind anyway. And yes, the scarf is completely fine in case you were wondering. MJF poses but we cut to the back where security has been taken out, with one of them missing a shirt. Back in the arena and MJF takes him to the floor, but Wardlow is behind MJF. The chase is on and security comes out to hold Wardlow back. MJF runs and, despite offering the referee a lot of money, loses by countout at 3:54.
Rating: D. This was a match in name only and that is ok. They are building up towards Wardlow vs. MJF even more and it is nice to see Dean getting some wins, even if they don’t mean anything. MJF begging at the idea of losing makes sense as he is that obsessed with being the best, so they had the logic going strong here. Not a match for the most part but they weren’t trying to make it one.
Post match Wardlow is taken to the back and Spears has to hold MJF back from fighting the referee. We cut to the back where Wardlow beats up security again and says he isn’t going to stop until MJF lets him out of his contract. Then he breaks the camera, which will somehow go on MJF’s bill.
In a video that is a bit more complicated for its message, Darby Allin challenges Andrade El Idolo to a casket match.
Malakai Black talks about how the House of Black is going to destroy Fuego del Sol.
Jericho Appreciation Society vs. Eddie Kingston/Santana/Ortiz
Jericho flips Santana off to start and then hits him in the face, only to get himself into a chop off. Everything breaks down and Santana gets to beat on Jericho a bit more inside. It’s off to Ortiz, who gets caught in a double flapjack from Jericho and Hager to put him down for a change. Hager drives him into the corner again and it’s Garcia getting to come in for some shots of his own. Jericho gets the arrogant cover for two and we take a break.
Back with Jericho missing the Lionsault and, after getting away from Hager, Ortiz manages the hot tag off to Kingston. House is cleaned without much trouble and Santana comes in with a top rope splash for two on Garcia. Ortiz’s middle rope legdrop gets the same and the Street Sweeper is loaded up. Instead, Santana throws Garcia at Jericho to take him out. Cue 3.0 (still missing shoes) but Ortiz hits a big flip dive to take them down. The distraction lets Jericho get in a bat shot to finish Kingston at 11:45.
Rating: C+. It’s far from a disaster, but I’m really not feeling the Society so far. They feel like a rehash of the Inner Circle but nowhere near as good. It’s more of Jericho getting beaten up and then cheating to win, which is a pretty tired style. The match was good enough, but it feels like we’ve done this before and that isn’t great to see.
Post match the big beatdown is on and no one makes the save.
A very angry MJF talks about how he has money and can do whatever he wants. Also, since he owns Wardlow, he’s going to put Wardlow into the ring against the Butcher.
Marina Shafir vs. Skye Blue
This is Shafir’s Dynamite debut and Mark Sterling/Jade Cargill are watching in the back (Sterling more than Cargill). Shafir takes her down to start as we see Red Velvet as part of the Baddie Section. Blue’s attempt at a choke is countered into a bearhug and a slam down. Shafir pounds away and hits a pumphandle suplex. A palm strike sets up a headscissors choke to make Blue tap at 2:22. Shafir really didn’t look good here and they weren’t exactly mixing well. I don’t know what was wrong, but if this was anything more than an off night, Shafir is in trouble.
Tony Nese and Mark Sterling (third segment in a row after MJF and Cargill) interrupt Hook’s interview. Hook throws a medicine ball over his shoulder, hits an interrupting Danhausen, and leaves. Danhausen continues to be unsure what is going on.
The Men of the Year are ready for Sammy Guevara at Battle of the Belts on Saturday.
Swerve Strickland/Keith Lee vs. Team Taz
The fans are way into Ricky Starks as the hometown boy. Powerhouse Hobbs shoves Strickland around to start and doesn’t seem happy at Swerve trying an armbar. JR uses this time to talk about Mid-South/UWF memories and it’s off to Starks to run the ropes into a rope walk. A top rope shot to the shoulder drops Strickland and Starks hits his pose. It’s off to Lee, who sends Starks into the corner for the big chop, with Strickland holding the arms back to make it worse.
Everything breaks down and Strickland uses Lee’s chest as a springboard for a moonsault down onto Team Taz. We take a break and come back with Lee cleaning house. Swerve takes Hobbs off the apron but springboards into a spear from Starks. A Canadian Destroyer plants Swerve for two but he is right back up to put Starks in a fireman’s carry. Swerve goes up and throws Starks into the Pounce from Lee, who is cut off by Hobbs.
Cue Taz at ringside as Starks can’t Ro Sham Bo Lee. Swerve gets shoved off the top but manages to post Hobbs. Starks’ tornado DDT is blocked so he settles for a middle rope spear. Swerve breaks up the cover with a 450 but gets crushed by a running splash in the corner. Taz trips Lee though and the Last Will And Testament finishes Lee at 11:58.
Rating: C+. You build up Starks as the big star and don’t have him get the pin in the match? Anyway, they weren’t going to be able to get Starks booed here no matter what they tried so they didn’t even bother. That’s the right call here and Lee lost to cheating rather than clean. They did things as they should have here and it was a pretty hot match.
Here’s what’s coming at various upcoming shows.
Thunder Rosa is interrupted by Nyla Rose and Vickie Guerrero. They have a cake to celebrate her short title reign but there is no writing on it because she isn’t worth they money. Rosa: “Do you think I’m stupid?” Vickie and Nyla: “YES!” The cake goes in Rosa’s face and she’s so blind that she hits Vickie by mistake. Rosa gets sent into some boxes, with Rose shouting that the joke is on Rosa because she loves cake! This was pretty great.
Video on Hangman Page vs. Adam Cole in a Texas Deathmatch this week on Rampage.
Ring Of Honor TV Title: Samoa Joe vs. Minoru Suzuki
Suzuki is defending and they go straight to the required strike off. This includes chops and forearms for two minutes plus until Suzuki gets knocked to the apron. The armbar over the ropes slows Joe down and we take a break with Joe looking to be more than a bit spent pretty soon into things.
Back with Suzuki fighting out of a Crossface as Joe’s chest is REALLY red. The Gotch Style piledriver is blocked and the chop it out again. Another piledriver attempt is blocked so Suzuki takes him into the corner for some choking. That’s countered into the MuscleBuster to knock Suzuki silly and Joe is champion at 11:34.
Rating: B-. This is going to be the definition of “your mileage may vary” as the chop/strike off stuff loses its charm pretty quickly (the fact that Penta and Punk did the same thing an hour and a half ago didn’t help). They kept this moving and it’s hard to believe that it went as long as it did, but Suzuki was the definition of a transitional champion. That isn’t a bad thing, but this one felt a lot more like something that sounded great on paper fifteen years ago rather than here, with both of them likely near the end of their careers.
Post match here are Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt with a present for Joe. It’s Lethal’s middle finger, but the lights go out. Cue a 7’3 monster (identified by Tony as Satnam Singh, an Indian basketball player who was drafted into the NBA) to take Joe down and crush his head in a Khali style vice grip. Lethal and Dutt seem to have a monster enforcer to end the show. I don’t know how the STUPENDOUS Khali will do but this wasn’t exactly an inspiring debut.
Overall Rating: B-. It was a weird week as they started off great and then fell pretty hard before almost limping across the finish line. The Singh debut didn’t exactly leave on a high note and the show was a bit of a rollercoaster. It doesn’t feel like there is a top story at the moment and the World Title was a complete afterthought this week. Still a perfectly good show, but far from one of their best.
CM Punk b. Penta Obscuro – GTS
Jurassic Express b. ReDRagon – Throwassic Express to Fish
Shawn Dean b. Maxwell Jacob Friedman via countout
Jericho Appreciation Society b. Eddie Kingston/Santana/Ortiz – Baseball bat shot to Kingston
Marina Shafir b. Skye Blue – Headscissors choke
Team Taz b. Keith Lee/Swerve Strickland – Last Will And Testament to Lee
Samoa Joe b. Minoru Suzuki – MuscleBuster
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