The Fight Before Christmas 2012 on December 1st, 2012
Pre-Show Match: Jun Hado vs. Nathan Knox
Hado connects with two consecutive basement dropkicks and begins working over the left leg. He catches Knox with a hesitation dropkick in the corner to the left leg. Hado grabs the ring bell but the referee takes it away. He tries to spit mist into Knox’s face, but Knox sneaks in a rollup for the win at 3:17. ½*
Pre-Show Match: Tyler Priegel vs. Tony Rican
Ace Martino is in Priegel’s corner. He attacks Rican from behind but gets caught by a standing moonsault. Rican hits a bulldog. Priegel pokes him in the eye and hits a backbreaker. Martino yells at the referee for his slow counting, saying that he went to LaSalle High School. Rican hits an inverted DDT. Martino starts rolling dodgeballs into the ring to wake up Priegel. Rican comes off the top rope but Priegel throws a dodgeball at him. Priegel hits a torture rack backbreaker for the victory at 2:36. Martino was hilarious at ringside and Priegel seems to be progressing nicely. *
Opening Match: Matt Cage, Matu, Markus Crane, and Alex Castle vs. Waylon Beck, Cousin Bobby, Cousin Dixie, and Bucky Collins
If Team Overkill loses this match, Waylon will receive a singles match against Justin McIntyre III at Season Premiere. Waylon blocks a tornado DDT attempt from Crane and hits a brainbuster. Collins connects with shotgun knees on Crane and takes him over with a flatliner. Bobby snaps off an armdrag on Castle. Dixie and Matu start headbutting each other. Matu charges but Dixie takes him down with a body block. Cage blind tags into the match with a slingshot ace crusher on Collins. Team Overkill isolate Collins until he hits a crucifix bomb on Castle and makes the tag. Waylon rolls through a hurricanrana from Crane and hits a styles clash. Cage lays out Waylon with a leaping russian leg sweep and catches Bobby with a codebreaker. Collins plasters Cage with a running knee strike. Castle hits a sick implant DDT on Collins but falls victim to a chokebreaker from Dixie. Dixie runs wild on all of his opponents in the ring. Crane tries to german suplex him and fails miserably. McIntyre interjects himself by low-bridging Dixie to the floor. He slaps Waylon. Cousin Nikki low blows McIntyre to the crowd’s delight. Waylon hits a death valley driver into the turnbuckles on Crane for the win at 11:53. Waylon will receive his singles match against McIntyre. What a way for me to be reintroduced to DREAMWAVE. When I last watched, the crowd hated the Beck Family. However, they have transformed into a fresh new babyface stable that has great cohesion and is easy for the crowd to get behind. Meanwhile, Team Overkill is full of deserving talent and this was mostly everything you want out of an opener. ***¼
Match #2: DREAMWAVE Tag Team Titles: Dan Lawrence and Shane Hollister © vs. Justice Jones and Matt Knicks
PRIDE does not seem to be on the same page. Hollister hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Knicks and Members Only back drop him across the ring. Lawrence cartwheels out of a monkey flip from Knicks and connects with a basement dropkick. Jones drags Knicks into their corner and tags into the match. He connects with a lariat on Lawrence and PRIDE work him over. Jones accidentally cannonballs Knicks and Lawrence makes the tag. Hollister hits a backbreaker on Knicks and connects with a springboard enzuigiri on Jones. He overbombs Knicks into the turnbuckles. Knicks responds with a reverse hurricanrana. Jones hits a death valley driver on Lawrence, sending him into Hollister. Hollister counters a powerslam attempt by Jones into a tornado DDT. If Looks Could Kill run out. Greg Glover hits a tiger driver on Hollister while Brian Nelson distracts the referee. Jones and Knicks start arguing over whether they should win the titles dishonorably. Jones military presses Knicks onto If Looks Could Kill. He overhead suplexes Lawrence into the turnbuckles. Ace Martino appears on the apron and hits Jones with the Alternative Title. Members Only hit a neckbreaker-double stomp combination on Jones to retain their titles at 11:00. Jones is banished from PRIDE. Fortunately, the miscommunication between the challengers didn’t overwhelm the in-ring work and these two teams delivered a solid match. Members Only make a good team and watching kids in the crowd do the Shug Step makes Hollister’s role in DREAMWAVE so radically different from AAW. Despite the overbooking down the stretch, I think everyone came out of this match for the better. ***
C. Red comes out for an interview. He insults the crowd for spending so much money on Christmas gifts while people are starving around the world. The man has a point. Red says that while the Revolution might be dead, change has just begun and it’ll happen through Prince Mustafa Ali. Ali joins Red and continues to run down the crowd. In order to create a better America, the fans need to join Ali’s brotherhood. We transition into Ali’s match…
Match #3: Prince Mustafa Ali vs. Lamar Titan
Ali snaps off a few armdrags and tries a rollup to no avail. Titan hits a northern lights suplex out of a knucklelock. Ali goes back to the armdrags but can’t quite get the rollup once again. Titan uses some armdrags and rollups of his own. They shove each other and exchange slaps. Titan snaps off a hurricanrana and clotheslines Ali to the floor. Ali and Red threaten to walk out but Titan gives chase. Titan crotches Ali on the ringpost twice. Red provides a distraction, allowing Ali to land a kick to the shoulder blade. Ali hits a neckbreaker onto the concrete floor and takes control in the ring, working over Titan’s neck. Ali lands a nice corkscrew plancha to the floor. Titan blocks a charge and powerbombs him onto the ring steps. Titan goes up top but Red crotches him. Ali connects with a coast-to-coast dropkick. Titan finds life with a pumphandle olympic slam but gets sent into the middle turnbuckle. Ali charges but eats a flying kick. Titan hits a half nelson backcracker for a nearfall. They battle up top and Titan gets sent to the canvas. Ali lands a 450 splash onto the left shoulder and locks in a new shoulder submission for the victory at 14:19. They had a difficult time getting on the same page early on but found their rhythm once the match settled down. Titan is very talented with a unique look and I think he’d be a valuable addition to any promotion’s roster right now. The same could be said for Ali. I was surprised by how much time this match received since Titan is a new to DREAMWAVE, but the action was better for it. ***
Match #4: DREAMWAVE Alternative Title: Ace Martino © vs. Marshe Rockett
Ryland Foxx is in Rockett’s corner while Tyler Priegel accompanies Martino to the ring. Rockett snaps off an armdrag and connects with a dropkick. He lands a flying crossbody. Martino retreats to the floor but Rockett punishes him with chops at ringside. Priegel interferes behind the referee’s back, allowing Martino to take over. The champion applies a koji clutch at one point, but Rockett is able to reach the bottom rope. Foxx prevents Priegel from interfering again by hitting him with a cane. Rockett fights back with a series of clotheslines. Martino runs away from the M80 and tries leaving. Justice Jones appears at the entrance set and military presses Martino back into the ring. Rockett hits the M80 to become the new Alternative Champion at 7:39. I don’t know how serious of a champion Martino was, but I prefer Rockett in this role as he has a tremendous upside. This contest wasn’t anything special, but they were able to pay off Jones’ banishment from PRIDE and the crowd popped huge for the title change. **½
Match #5: Greg Glover and Brian Nelson vs. Dan the Man and Judd the Janitor vs. Steve Boz and Knight Wagner vs. Brett Gakiya and CJ Esparza
Members Only are on commentary. If Looks Could Kill mock Dan the Man’s size until he powerslams both of them. Judd the Janitor follows by utilizing his plunger. Boz connects with a leg lariat on Nelson. Esparza connects with a springboard lariat on Glover. Gakiya adds a springboard blockbuster. Nelson saves his partner from the Flippy Cup and hits an overhead suplex on Esparza. Boz cleans house on If Looks Could Kill with a series of kicks. Glover interrupts stereo superkick attempts by Boz and Wagner by taking them down with a body press. Dan the Man spikes Glover with a tornado DDT and hits a double stomp-senton combination on Nelson. Esparza hits a lungblower on Dan the Man and Gakiya follows with double knees from the top rope. Judd the Janitor sticks his plunger onto Gakiya’s forehead. Boz and Wagner connect with stereo superkicks on Zero Gravity for nearfalls. Dan the Man and Judd the Janitor hit a doomsday crossbody onto Nelson for a two count. If Looks Could Kill hit a powerbomb-backcracker combination on Judd the Janitor. Wagner superkicks Glover but Gakiya breaks up the pin attempt with a flying leg drop. Esparza connects with a shooting star elbow drop on Judd the Janitor. Nelson pulls the referee out of the ring. The match is ruled a no contest at 11:26. That finish completely took the wind out of everyone’s sails. A no contest in a #1 contender’s match doesn’t make sense, especially when there are multiple teams. However, the majority of this match was fun in a car-crash sort of way, with If Looks Could Kill having entertaining exchanges with every other team. Despite the no contest, it seems as though If Looks Could Kill are on their way to a title shot. **¾
All of the teams begin brawling after the match. JC Costilli threatens to take away title shots if the teams cannot stay out of each other’s business.
Match #6: Christian Rose vs. Matt Hardy
Hardy takes down Rose with a shoulder block and hangs onto a side headlock. Rose cheap shots Hardy in the corner and receives some chops for his troubles. Rose gets back dropped to the floor. He shoves the ringside table into Hardy’s midsection. Rose continues to target the midsection back inside the ring. He tosses Hardy to the floor and attempts to win via countout to no avail. Hardy is met with a flash kick upon reentering the ring. Rose lands a dive to the outside. He mocks Hardy’s pose on the middle rope but misses a leg drop. Hardy connects with a few clotheslines and hits a neckbreaker. He follows with a bulldog and comes off the middle rope with an elbow drop. Rose elbows out of the Side Effect and connects with a double stomp out of the corner. He crotches Hardy on the ringpost and finds success with a springboard dropkick. Hardy hip tosses Rose into the turnbuckles and hits the Side Effect for a nearfall. Rose won’t stay down after a second Side Effect. Hardy hits three more Side Effects for a two count. Rose counters the Twist of Fate into a backslide for a nearfall. He connects with a roaring elbow to the back of the head for a two count. Rose is in disbelief. He plasters Hardy with a knockout kick and hits a falcon arrow for a nearfall. Hardy hits a beautiful splash mountain powerbomb for a two count. He goes up top but Rose shakes the ropes to crotch him. Rose hits a superplex and both men are down. They exchange blows. Rose shoves Hardy into the referee and connects with a mafia kick. He hits Hardy across the back with a chair. Rose props Hardy’s head in the chair and attempts a flying double stomp. Hardy stops him by hitting a back suplex. However, on the way down, Hardy lands on the chair. Rose covers for the win at 18:45. DREAMWAVE has called this encounter their match of the year. While I might not go that far, Hardy had his working boots on and cemented Rose as a major player in the promotion. Seriously, Rose withstood five Side Effects and never even came close to falling victim to the Twist of Fate. He should be the one to eventually dethrone Nick Brubaker. While the finish came off awkwardly, I can understand the point that they were trying to make. Rose’s need to win this match drove him to use the chair, which ended up inadvertently giving him the victory. Impressive showings from both men. ***½
After some hesitation, Rose shakes hands with Hardy after the match.
Match #7: Career vs. Career: Jason Hades vs. Austin Roberts
Hades respectfully sends Ryland Foxx to the back, as he wants this match to be one-on-one. Roberts tries a quick pin attempt to no avail and shows Hades how close he was to winning. Hades does the same. Roberts irish whips him hard into the turnbuckles and begins working over the back. Hades comes back with a basement dropkick and a gamengiri. They battle on the apron. Roberts catches a kick and drives Hades back-first onto the apron. He bends Hades’ back across the ringpost and continues to work him over. Hades comes back with an inverted pedigree but Roberts sends him back-first into the ringpost once again. Hades creates an opening with a mule kick followed by a pele kick. Both men are down. Hades goes up top but Roberts hip tosses him to the canvas. Hades hits a rope-assisted inverted pedigree but Roberts responds with a 2k1 bomb. Hades can’t lift Roberts for a powerbomb and drops him to the canvas. He lands a frog splash for a nearfall. Hades hits a pedigree from the middle rope to retire Austin Roberts at 19:40. The slower pace worked early on, as Roberts was trying to wrestle his style of match and slow Hades down. However, they just couldn’t keep the action interesting for twenty minutes and some moments of sloppiness took the crowd out of the action. When I reviewed DREAMWAVE in 2011, Roberts was always fun to watch and it’s evident that he played a crucial role in the promotion’s early success. His post-match speech and the respect from the crowd is evidence enough. **½
Match #8: DREAMWAVE World Title: Nick Brubaker © vs. Vic Capri
Capri retreats to the floor after a flurry of offense from Brubaker. Capri blocks a dive attempt and connects with a knee strike in the ropes. Brubaker hits a nice tornado DDT onto the apron. He goes to the bar and hits Capri with a drink. In the ring, Capri fights off a swinging fisherman buster and hits an exploder. He takes control with rolling northern lights suplexes. Brubaker reverses a sliced bread attempt into a backbreaker and hits a fisherman buster. He connects with a basement enzuigiri but Capri is able to hit his sliced bread on the second attempt. Both men are down. Brubaker avoids a third sliced bread attempt and hits another fisherman buster to retain his title at 10:34. With so many big matches on the card, I appreciate DREAMWAVE’s persistence regarding the world title match going on last. However, it’s clear that this match got cut short due to the show running long. They had some decent back and forth exchanges but the action felt rushed and lacked any story holding everything together. Brubaker is just as solid in the ring as he was back when I last saw him in 2011. **¾
JC Costilli comes out after the match. He announces that Jason Hades will receive a title shot at ANNIVERSARY IV. Christian Rose interrupts and threatens to cash in his Good as Gold briefcase at ANNIVERSARY. Costilli tells Rose that he’ll be busy at ANNIVERSARY…with John Morrison!
Overall: When I reviewed DREAMWAVE on a regular basis in 2011, my thoughts on most shows were that the storylines were engaging and rewarded fans that paid attention to them but the in-ring wrestling didn’t feel fleshed out. One of my major complaints was the lack of time that some matches received. Well, the Fight Before Christmas showed that the storylines are still just as solid but the in-ring wrestling has seen a dramatic improvement. Nearly every match on the main card received over ten minutes and there was quality wrestling to be found up and down the card, with Rose/Hardy being the standout. I cannot understand why DREAMWAVE isn’t given more of a look among independent wrestling fans and I will try my best to review their major shows moving forward. With talent like Nick Brubaker, Jason Hades, Prince Mustafa Ali, Christian Rose, Marshe Rockett, Shane Hollister, and Matt Cage, DREAMWAVE could seriously make an impact in 2013. The Fight Before Christmas earns a recommendation and can be bought via SmartMarkVideo or their official store.