Friday, January 9, 2015

House of Hardcore VII

House of Hardcore VII - November 15, 2014 - Philadelphia, PA

1. Danny Doring vs. Stevie Richards - 3
2. Brian Myers vs. Christian York -5

Stevie looked in great shape. Danny wore the significance of being back in the old ECW Arena on his face and in his eyes, and while a few steps off, and guilty of some exposing "ring talk", he did hit a swank top rope legdrop. Knocked a point off as they mistimed the Stevie Kick finish and it whiffed but Doring still took the bump and fall. Myers is the former Curt Hawkins of several failed WWE tag teams (with Ryder, Reks, Archer, Croft, etc.) fame. I was ready to write this match off but gave it a "5" just on York's performance alone. Christian really had his working boots on, busted out some great kicks like a spinning thrust kick and Rolling Koppo, nimbly leapt onto the steel guardrail then moonsaulted off, and hit a crushing cannonball senton onto Myers in the corner. Post-match Alberto El PatrĂ³n makes a surprise appearance to a "Fuck McMahon" chant and gets over on Myers as well because why the hell not?

3. Anthony Greene, Ben Ortiz & Vik Dalishus vs. Team Tremendous & Guido Maritato - 4
4. Eddie Kingston vs. Eddie Edwards - 5

Man, the harsher critic of me from ten years ago would have tore the six-man tag apart but while admittedly ridiculous it captured a particular type of goofy charm really synonymous with old ECW Arena undercard bouts and the crowd at the old Arena approved. Not sure what, or more specifically whom, was the eyesore most difficult to peel your eyes away from. Team Tremendous were two guys work 1970's NYC movie beat cops complete with mustaches, suspenders, etc. then there's Ben Ortiz who looked like a 500lbs. man poured into one of MVP's old bodysuits, lastly Vik Dalishus, a portly white guy literally carried out to the ring horizontal like royalty led by his valets two African American women with breasts the sizes of small Pacific islands. And in proper ECW fashion the referee even got involved including a moonsault off of the top onto the wrestlers on the floor -- again, why the hell not? So, Matt Striker just put Chris Benoit over on commentary. Yeah . . that just happened. Kingston is in rare company with the likes of Necro Butcher, Billy Ken Kid, and Don Kernodle as oddballs I'd like to see wrestle just about anybody because of their idiosyncrasies. Somewhere under a stack of back issues of Ebony in my closet I've got a Best of Eddie Kingston three-disc set I've been meaning to watch. If only Eddie hit the treadmill as hard as he hits Del Taco and his opponents. A head drop exchange got zero reaction. I enjoyed their attempt at delivering a hard-hitting affair and had the crowd agreed with me and responded this would have gotten knocked up into recommendable status.

5. Alex Reynolds vs. Lance Anoai vs. Tony Nese - Elimination Match -  5
6. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. Team 3D - 4

Maybe I'm feeling generous but I'll toss the three-way elimination match a "5" too. Anoa'i, a fourth generation member of wrestling's grandest family, looked real good. He did a Samoan Drop on Nese while simultaneously dropkicking Reynolds which I'd never seen before. I hope WWE calls him up sooner than later. Reynolds looked the least polished of the lot, Nese we know from DGUSA & TNA, and the set-up here was "let's just throw everything we have out there" which led to a fun sprint with a few legitimately impressive highspots like the match-ending Super Reverse Frankensteiner off the top. IWGP champs in the house! After dethroning TenKoji in NJPW and claiming that WWE, TNA, & ROH were scared of them, they ended up in the ECW Arena but were interrupted by Team 3D and Bully said they were "in the wrong place, at the wrong time!" Mild brawl to start, Dudley's working on autopilot, tepid formula affair that I found a bit disappointing. I would have liked to have seen KES get some shine but this was a Dudley reunion in the Arena complete with table bump finish.

7. Austin Aries vs. Drew Galloway - 7

During intermission some cool stuff with Stevie talking off the cuff about how not just matches but shows themselves have psychology. How each match tonight served a specific purpose, etc. Galloway better known as Drew McIntyre needs to get signed by ROH or Lucha Underground so I can see him on my TV semi-regularly. Drew follows up a very stiff chop with a . . . crotch chop? Tilt-a-whirl slam onto the hard ring apron by Drew a standout spot. Galloway does cool Finley homage. Aries' chest is purple and welted. Austin busts out some top-shelf stuff too including his patented huge air double-ax handle off the top to the floor and Heat Seeking Missile suicide dive. Finish was good, wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, seemed too sudden, but upon a re-watch I was satisfied. I really liked this. I'll be seeking out some of Drew's stuff in EVOLVE.

8. Tommy Dreamer vs. Bobby Roode - Extreme Rules Match - 4

Tommy's bringing Beulah down! Seems a bit on the nose that instead of holding up hands for high fives people in the crowd are holding up food and beverage for Tommy to devour. "I'll never forget the night Tommy Dreamer took a bite out of my turkey panini!" Roode a surprise replacement for an injured Ethan Carter III. Velvet Sky does a run-in leading to Beulah getting involved and Striker doing old pastiche screaming "Cat fight!" like Joey Styles with bronchitis. Dreamer looks in terrible shape but damn it I'm not mad at him. If he wants to work meandering brawls in his own vanity fed that's alright  (just if you're reading this, Tommy, keep booking Young Bucks, and maybe bring Low Ki in?). CW Anderson interferes leading to a Sandman run-in and then one by Spike Dudley for good measure. Striker says it looks like Spike's been cooking meth. Then weakly tries to clarify it was only a Breaking Bad reference. Another buxom bimbo I don't recognize gets in the ring and does a moonsault off the top onto Dreamer which he no-sells like Undertaker wearing a stupid ash gray Phantom of the Opera mask. Finish sees Tommy eat a Death Valley Driver onto a barbed wire board. This was the definition of overbooked but Dreamer's such a class act it's too hard to find much fault in it. Dreamer does a sweetly sentimental promo post-match with wife Beulah and daughters the Twinovators of Violence.

9. Young Bucks vs. The Hardys - 8

This next match I'm going to put down the pen and notebook and just watch and marvel. Two of my all-time favorite tag teams. I'll be back with my collected thoughts -- and here I am returned from my superkick sojourn. Loved hearing the Bucks coming out to "MMMBop" again. Strikers said Bullet Club shirts are the biggest things in wrestling merch since Austin 3:16. Loved Matt Hardy's Elmer Fudd expression after Matt Jackson crotch chopped him early. Nick and Jeff's early parity exchange was fluid. Loved Jeff eating a superkick mid-springboard to the outside and selling it by taking a "Trust Fall" backwards onto both Matt's. Nick sells a Twist of Fate like he just ate some bad tamales. I once bumped into Matt Jackson buying a smoothie in Palo Alto. Who do you think wore their VHS tape of the Razor vs. HBK ladder match out more -- Matt J. or Matt H.? Tommy please book this as a Best of 7 Series. Not too many other people would bump for a neck snap on the top rope by spinning off the apron and leaping chin-first onto a steel guardrail but we thank Matt Hardy for it. Matt Hardy looks like he's working a kangaroo gimmick with that pouch. Nobody strings offensive flurries together like the Bucks. Loved Jeff doing a headstand on the top buckle like Ultimo Dragon only to eat a superkick. The Bucks busted out a Twist of Fate/Swanton combo on Jeff for a gripping nearfall! Soon after I totally bit on the Meltzer Driver ending it. I won't detail each step of the finishing act but it had some nice peaks and valleys and I was genuinely surprised that the Bucks won clean with More Bang For Your Buck. This was a few steps behind one of my 2014 MotY candidates Briscoes vs. Hardyz but that's not feint praise. Hell of a main event!

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