Smash Any Given Saturday 5
January 28 2017
We’re in Toronto, Ontario for some Great North Graps. This is my first dive into Canadian wrestling since Stampede so it’s been a while. The Canadian scene is fairly quiet but they’ve been sneakily producing a couple of decent talents. Mike Bailey has been globe trotting. Champion Tyson Dux is a 17 year pro who’s wrestled just about everywhere, including WWE last year.
Hosts are Scott Hunter and Brad Myers. The venue is small, not unlike Fight Club Pro’s Fixxion Warehouse.
Promo Time: Well Oiled Machines (Braxton Sutter & Mike the Machine)
Sutter used to be Pepper Parks. He works for TNA. “Psycho” Mike aka Mike Rollins is his partner. They’re out to address the card this evening. Apparently Matt Cross is injured so Sami Callihan has no opponent. Sutter is stepping into the breach. Sutter calls Sami “a real big fat piece of shit”. Sami retorts by saying Mike got a bigger pop. I suddenly see why people hate Sami Callihan. He’s great over in the UK. This opening chat is absolutely horrid. I would have clipped the entire thing off the tape but hey. They call each other pussies and Sami kisses Sutter. This was seriously awful on every possible level. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, so what do I know?
Video Control then throws to a jarring tribute clip to the Smash-Tron, which was broken by an errant lollipop during a Joey Ryan match.
Scotty O’Shea vs. John Greed
Scotty, “The Hacker”, is a 12 year pro. Greed has been around for five years. Greed is a big fat guy, in jeans and a vest, with a lumberjack beard and a fucking man bun. O’Shea has a Mohawk and is dressed all in black apart from a sparkly silver belt. These are not good looks. They are distracting when the wrestling gets underway. I honestly have no idea who is face and who is heel, if they even have alignments. The Hacker takes a few nice looking bumps, although the flip bump off a lariat sees him land on his head. I’m fairly certain that wasn’t intention. The general standard of the wrestling is pretty poor, presumably because they’ve spent their careers in a Canadian wasteland. They shoot for epic with a few big old spots and Greed reveals his main strength; power spots. It’s certainly not taking a springboard cutter. They run through a bunch of big spots before O’Shea hits the Systems Crash (Gorybomb) for the pin. The controversy is that Greed’s foot was on the rope. Given their combined 17 years of experience I would expect a better match than this. It was fairly sloppy and they didn’t click for most of the match.
Final Rating: **
Franky the Mobster vs. The Kevin Bennett Experience (Kevin Bennett, Big Tank & The Muscle)
This is a gauntlet match. If Franky wins the KBE are to disband. If KBE win then Franky has to join them. Big Tank looks like a fat Kevin Nash. He has a bodyguard/security gimmick too. Franky is terrifying, frankly. He looks like Goldberg with tattoos. The Muscle starts and he’s wearing jeans too. The sheer number of guys who don’t have gear on this show is weird. If you wear jeans to the ring and it doesn’t fit your gimmick then you clearly don’t give a shit about professional wrestling. Franky has a poor gimmick but at least he looks like a wrestler. He dispatches Muscle quickly and in comes Big Tank.
Big Tank has no gear at all. He also looks woefully out of shape opposite the behemoth that is Franky the Mobster. Big Tank is tall, I’ll give him that but until he gets a look he’s just a fat guy in jeans. It’s a weight for Franky to throw around. Everything apart from the Franky power moves is awful. If I had to guess at Franky’s experience level I’d say 3 years tops. He’s a 20 year pro. It’s utterly shocking to me. He pins Tank with a sitout chokebomb.
Last man in is Kevin Bennett and here’s a fucking star in the making. He looks comfortable in the ring and has a defined heel persona. He has some nice moves utilising the ropes. His movement is good and he’s clearly quite creative too. The only slightly off-putting thing is that he looks a bit like Mike Bennett. Even Kevin is probably not as advanced as he should be for a 7 year pro. The crux of the final fall is that Big Tank, and his terrible punches, interfere but the referee misses it. Kevin ends up getting an inside cradle for the win. Two thirds of this match was garbage but the final fall was competent.
Final Rating: *1/2
Post Match: KB points out there’s a tag team tournament next month so he tells Franky, his new charge, that’s he’s teaming with Bennett at the Fateful Eight tournament. Big Tank does his best work here, in batting a streamer away from KB’s face. Nailed that security role!
Promo Time: Anthony Kingdom James
He claims to have travelled the world to find the best wrestler in the world. He brings out Sebastian Suave. Kingdom could sell ice to Eskimos. “Best wrestler in the world”.
Sebastian Suave vs. Xandra Bale
Suave is making his ‘return’ to Smash, although he wrestled Dux for them two days ago on a smaller show. Bale is a petite female wrestler, standing at 5’3”. This is the first match on the show where both participants have good ring gear. Suave is a small guy but his movement is pretty decent. Everything he does, like spinebusters and Russian legsweeps, looks solidly professional. The gimmick is…different. They take a commercial break so Suave can endorse cleaning products. It would have been better if they’d gone to a resthold first. The actual in-ring is the best of the night so far and it builds nicely with Bale hitting a Code Red for a delightful near fall. Suave takes it with a running elbow strike that looked really good.
Final Rating: **3/4
Brent Banks vs. Mike Bailey vs. Mike Rollins
Brent Banks is immediately the biggest star on the entire show because of his entrance. If there’s one thing other promotions should learn from WWE (and Progress to a lesser degree) it’s that the entrance get someone over before they’ve even set foot in the ring. I’m actually a little annoyed that Rollins has been added here, as I was looking forward to Banks vs. Bailey. Speedball is Smash’s top asset. He’s a highlight reel and a global star. As Mike Rollins brings a sack of balls with him the commentator lays this wonderful line in; “if this is your first look at Smash wrestling I apologise”. Rollins is a humongous goofball while the other two are more exciting wrestlers. Mike reminds me of one of the Truth Commission guys, if they’d completely lost their mind. It’s a fairly entertaining gimmick and seeing it in action makes the opening segment make more sense. This is a well-structured and fun match. It does suffer from some of the usual triple threat issues but they’re all solid wrestlers. They hit enough big spots that there are clear cut finishes ahead of the actual one arriving. Bailey in particular lands a lot of head kicks. Bailey misses his SSP knees and Banks hits the Shovel Driver on Rollins for the win. This was really good and way better than anything else on the show. It was pretty spotty but the structuring made sense for the most part.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Braxton Sutter vs. Sami Callihan
This was originally Callihan vs. Matt Cross but the card is subject to change. Sami Callihan comes out dressed as Space Cat because he has issues.
Sami’s bizarre insistence at behaving like a feline aside this has some decent intensity. Sami’s trademark spots, outside of the violent ones, are all a bit silly and that causes issues here. When people say they don’t like Sami I didn’t get it but this is the kind of match so showcase the reasons people dislike him. The shocking part, for me, is that I find myself preferring the work of Sutter. Even down to the most simplistic of things like punches. Everything about Sutter looks better here. I know I’ve mentioned gear quite a lot but Sutter looks like a wrestler. Sami looks like a crazy guy who hangs out in the bar near the train station. Sometimes he turns up wearing a cat mask and nobody says anything because there’s a rumour he knifed a cop back in the 90s. Some days he seems pretty cool but he’s been in prison (NXT) and it changed him, man. While it starts out on shaky footing, this becomes a really solid match. Then they throw a bunch of chairs into the ring and it goes a bit weird again. Callihan Deathlock, with chair, gets the job done as Sutter taps out. If you lose the start and end of the match, which were both tonally odd, this would have been really good.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Le Tabarnak de Team (Mathieu St-Jacques & Thomas Dubois) vs. The Super Smash Brothers (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson)
Part of Canadian wrestling is that every now and again something really French pops up and it’s considered perfectly normal. Stu Grayson, aka Player Dos, is one of those guys that’s really good and it’s weird that he’s not booked in more places. He reminds me of a less good Sami Zayn. Like you could slip that El Generico mask on him and I’m sure he’d be fine. TDT both rock lumberjack gimmicks and have similar looks. To the point where they could do twin magic switches. Dubois is thinner, taller and has slightly shorter hair on the sides but otherwise they’re very similar. Evil Uno does veteran shenanigans while Grayson takes fairly generic heat. That’s the kind of match it is.
It kicks up a notch when they get into the double teams and Dubois, who’s not a small man, hits a moonsault to the floor. Grayson has some excellent timing, especially on the kick-outs, which isn’t shared by the French Canadians. In particular when bumping to the floor. The double teams get increasingly intricate towards the end and Uno even gets to knock a cameraman over as part of his ‘I destroy equipment accidentally’ gimmick. Grayson ends up planted with an Alabamaslam for it. This served as a preview for the tag tournament in February.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Video Control gives us a little clip of Jimmy Havoc, with a hatchet, aiming to repeat the achievements of Mark Haskins in Canada. He says he’s never lost in SMASH. This was a pretty cool promo, although it felt like Jimmy had been rehearsing it. It also looks like he recorded it in his house, which gives us a nice insight into how much Gothic stuff he has just lying around.
Smash Wrestling Championship
Tyson Dux (c) vs. TARIK
Tyson won this title after the end of 2016 after Mark Haskins had to forfeit the belt with injuries. These two are super serious about the wrestling, which confirms this is the Main Event. While both guys come across as competent there’s very little to draw me in to the match and this is reflected by the crowd’s relative disinterest. Occasionally Dux reminds the crowd that he’s incredibly talented but TARIK doesn’t force the pace as much as he should as a challenger. Even when they try something spectacular on the floor it ends up being all slow and awkward. It lacks the presence of a big match, even though they work quite hard. It’s not an effort issue. TARIK eventually gets it going with a series of Enzuigiris from various angles. Suddenly the match jumps to life with a series of ridiculous near falls. Dux gets the crossface and TARIK is forced to tap out. This was probably a little too long as it crawled into the latter stages before getting good.
Final Rating: ***1/4
This looked like a fucking disaster after the first few matches but the wrestlers and the wrestling got better as the show progressed. There were some solid eye-catching performances during the show. I’m particularly impressed with Brent Banks, who’s flown under my radar to this point. If I come out of a show with a new name to watch out for that’s usually enough of a positive for a thumbs up. If you happen to get this using WrestleCrate’s free code you can pretty much skip the first half and go right in to the triple threat onwards.