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Watch the episode in full here:
-I fully expect to review the DVD of this show, so I will not post match times or ratings until I see everything in contest.
-The show begins with a highlight package of the first few shows. Jay Bradley’s ridiculous lariat on Icarus is included. Poor guy is in the promotion 90 seconds and that’s his legacy. At least the action of the promotion is gotten across, and the music isn’t some crappy death metal. I’d put this over any video package Ring of Honor has ever put together.
-Zach Thompson, the host of this first episode, talks about the background of Resistance Pro, an old school promotion with new school values. Billy Corgan talks about the wrestlers being successful and moving onto greater success. Storylines are mentioned. Everyone is going to have to talk. Considering it’s Billy Corgan who said this, well, it’s little bit on the ironic side considering what happened at a certain other promotion’s first taped iPPV. Mr. Thompson talks about the importance of women’s wrestling to the company. Thankfully, the gong is ignored. I sincerely hope they sent that sucker back from whence it came. We see Melanie Cruise’s run through every female competitor and even get introduced to her enrourage.
-Cut to the “A Vicious Circle” as six girls are battling it out. The screen shows a graphic but not the names. The rules of the match are also not made clear right away. Taylor Made, Nikki St. John, Sassy Stephanie, Shelley Martinez, Serenity, and champion Melanie Cruise were all a part of this insanity. St. John gets a pin around a minute in and thus gets to sit out until one girl is left. Cut to Cruise hitting a death valley driver on Martinez for a pinfall. Since St. John is a part of Cruise’s stable, the champion of course wants her to lay down. St. John won’t lay down. Cruise slaps her so hard, the glasses come off. This is serious! Boot and a series of right hands. Torture rack position but she decides to drive St. John down in a burning hammer. 1-2-NO! St. John again goes up and gets dropped down. 1-2-NO! Forearms by St. John. Big clothesline doesn’t move the champion at all. A second one does no better. A third one drives her to the mat. X-Factor. Two count on Cruise. Whip to the corner and a bulldog. St. John places Cruise on the top rope. Superplex attempt fails. Leg drop off the top ends St. John’s night.
Even though there was a short final portion, Cruise is starting to establish herself as a dominant champion. St. John did a fine job playing the underdog babyface as she was booked to get a few hope spots in before ultimately succumbing. Good to see R-Pro continue to emphasize women’s wrestling. Now they just need to find quality challengers for Cruise.
-Very cool advertisements for R-Pro’s first few shows. Not only did they make the shows look cool, but they were edited in such a way that looked professional. The final promo advertises the next Resistance Pro show.
-Zach Thompson talks about new stars breaking out new stars like ACH and Robert Anthony. This transitions into a conversation about Jay Bradley. He’s dominated every single opponent he’s been in the ring with leading up to the May show. Extended highlights of Bradley’s match with Sean Waltman are shown. I am very much looking forward to reviewing and rewatching that again.
-Jay Bradley is now in the ring at “A Small Deadly Space.” He wasn’t booked on the show, yet is undefeated. That suit looks quite dapper if nothing else. He demands the owners come to the ring. Cut to the Baron brothers in the ring. Apparently, it’s Vader time!
-Seriously, what are the odds of two Vader matches airing in some form or fashion during the same week in 2012? That’s exactly what happened with this and then his Raw match against Heath Slater the next night. Series of lock-ups. Clubbering blows from Vader. Big splash off the ropes. He stretches the arm and focuses on a series of punches to the arm and the body. Chinlock. Big lariat. Back to the blows. Bradley begins firing back. Vader pokes him in the eyes. Hammerlock and then a series of uppercuts to that arm. Short clothesline. Modified armbar. Bradley comes back with punches. Shoulder block goes nowhere. Boot and then back to the strikes. Running boot to the midsection. Bodyslam with ease. He waves his arm around. Lariat doesn’t send Vader down. Why? Cause his arm was worked over! Running splash from Vader again. Vader bomb hits. Vader comes out the victor.
Although I question the booking a bit with the elder statesmen getting the victory, it was a really fun big man battle, something you don’t get to see very much on the independent wrestling scene. I very much enjoyed this seven minute slugfest because it actually made sense and featured some psychology. It also painted Bradley in a sympathetic light for once. Considering what would happen later in the night and the position Jay Bradley finds himself in, it makes a lot of sense to have Bradley not be just a complete and dominant bad ass.
-More commercials. This time for Resistance Pro’s third, fourth, and fifth shows. I give them credit for advertising their shows in this hour like it’s their job. The benefit of this being a paid hour is no commercial breaks in the literal sense so R-Pro can just put itself for the entire 60 minutes.
-Zach Thompson talks about the heavyweight champion, Harry Smith. A video package shows Smith’s first few months as he won the Resistance Pro heavyweight championship and then engaged into a feud with one Rhino. This would lead to three consecutive matches, the last of which took place in May. Rhino wanting to take the first picture with Harry Smith at Rise was still a creepily awesome moment. We also learned that Billy Corgan has quite the potty mouth. This all leads to…
-Raven is the special referee. Jeremy Borash is the ring announcer? Wonder how TNA feels about one of their on-air guys being a part of this television show. Back to Raven. Considering his defamatory comments directed toward Harry Smith at the last show and relationship with Rhino, you’d think the result would be pretty obvious, right? This is Harry Smith’s first cage match. Quick armdrag sends Rhino down. Rhino comes back with one of his own. “Detroit sucks” chants from the Chicago crowd. Shoulder tackle by Smith. Hip toss blocked. Rhino… hugs Smith. Hip toss. Armdrag into the armbar. Forearms from Smith. Rhino prevents himself from being sent into the cage. Smith goes back to the armbar. Transition into the crossface. Roll-up for two. Rhino grabs the arm. Smith rolls around but gets poked in the eye. Whip across. Boot up from Smith. Rhino tossed into the cage. Takedown but the sharpshooter is blocked with a poke to the eye. Back elbow by Rhino. Smith’s head tossed into the cage. To the choking. Smith comes back with headbutts and an uppercut. Clothesline misses. Rhino hits a DDT. Series of forearms. Smith grated across the cage and a choke. Snapmare followed by a leg drop. Forearm into the corner. Whip and a running shoulder tackle. Champion tossed into the cage. Knee placed into the back as he bows the arms. Smith tosses Rhino into the cage. Series of clotheslines and an atomic drop. Running boot. Forearm and a TKO by Rhino. Smith gets a side kick out of nowhere. 1-2-NO! Backbreaker and Smith begins ascending to the top rope. Leg drop misses. Headbutts by Rhino. To the top rope for one final headbutt. That was impressive. The former Lou E. Dangerously claps for Rhino. Headbutt misses. Smith covers for two. Rhino hooks a modified belly-to-belly suplex and sets up for the GORE! Rhino misses. Smith takedown into the sharpshooter. Dangerously climbs on the apron. Smith breaks the hold and talks with Raven. Swinging back suplex. 1-2-NO! Back elbow and spinebuster by Rhino. 1-2-NO! Powerslam. Piledriver. 1-2-NO! GORE! 1-2-NO! Dangerously comes into the cage and shows the ECW title to Rhino. Raven hits Rhino with the belt. Smith covers and gets the win. Say what?
Dangerously puts the ECW title around Raven’s waist. Post-match promo from Raven. Harry Smith is not a good boy and is in fact a sadistic man. He of course puts himself over as the best and most popular ECW champion. Raven, Smith, and Dangerously celebrate.
Not sure what to think about this angle. Smith as a babyface clearly wasn’t working considering some of the boos he was hearing from the crowd. While the cage match was going along pretty well, it’s a bit questionable to put Raven over so strong. Based on his behavior at the Extreme Reunion show, should we really expect him to get in the ring? And what was up with him putting himself over so strong? If Smith is to be successful as a heel champion, he must be separated from Raven as quickly as possible. Smith as a potential heel champion has a lot of potential.
-Zach Thompson talks about the upcoming show.
Final Thoughts: Resistance Pro has been a mixed bag, with some good and bad. This hour was certainly had its good points and bad points. The wrestling was good for the most part. However, I question the show ending angle as far as how it translates to the future of the promotion. The video packages and quality were excellent, far above any other independent professional wrestling television show. However, someone really needed to turn the lights on so I could see everything that was going on. Picture a 2003 Ring of Honor DVD as far as lighting goes. This was at least an easy hour to watch. Despite some quibbles, there was some very good pacing and some well put together video packages. I’d absolutely encourage someone who’s never seen R-Pro to give this show a watch.
For more information on Resistance Pro, including event information and the opportunity to purchase this and all other DVDs, please check out their website.
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