The show will be starting fifteen minutes late after 2014: A Wrestling Odyssey started nearly thirty minutes late earlier. Why does this keep happening?
Opening Match: Open the United Gate Tag Team Titles: Harlem and Lance Bravado Â© vs. Anthony Nese and Caleb Konley
Colt Cabana is on commentary. Lance traps Konley in a surfboard but gets backed into the Premiere Athlete Brand corner. Nese shows off his mat wrestling before the Bravados attack with some double team offense. Konley intervenes by knocking Harlem off the apron and attacking Lance from behind. The Premiere Athlete Brand isolate Lance until he catches Konley with a powerslam and makes the tag. Harlem cleans house with a series of clotheslines and lands a dive from the top rope to the floor. In the ring, Harlem lands a flying crossbody onto Nese. Konley connects with a missile dropkick on Harlem followed by an enzuigiri. Lance rattles off a series of lariats on Konley and throws Nese to the floor. Lance hits a TKO on Konley for a nearfall. Nese connects with a spin kick on Lance and kind of lands a lionsault onto Harlem. Everyone connects with strikes and all four men are down. Nese and Lance trade strikes. The Bravados double team Nese and Konley barely breaks up a pinfall to save the match. Konley connects with a corner yakuza kick on Harlem. The Premiere Athlete Brand hit a pumphandle slam-neckbreaker combination on Lance for a nearfall. Su Yung is livid. Mr. A enters the ring but Moose spears him. The Bravados hit the Gentlemen’s Agreement on Konley to retain their titles at 16:00. This was a very good tag team match until the final minute, when the inevitable interference came into play. You also have to get over the fact that the Bravados just acted like babyfaces for absolutely no reason. As usual, a perfectly fine match was plagued by the insistence on furthering storylines. **Â¾
Nese tells Mr. A after the match that he needs to fix things. This leads toâ€¦
Match #2: AR Fox vs. Mr. A
Fox connects with a springboard dropkick and lands three consecutive dives to the floor. Fox follows with his guillotine leg drop from the top rope onto the apron. In the ring, Fox comes off the top rope but Mr. A catches him with a spin kick and takes control. Fox comes back with a springboard codebreaker and both men are down. Su Yung trips Fox as he’s about to charge. Ivelisse barges out and attacks Su Yung. This is unbelievable. Fox bicycle kicks Mr. A but now Larry Dallas comes out and distracts him. TEDDY HART COMES OUT. Hart attacks Fox and hits Project Ciampa. The referee sees none of this. Dallas and Hart celebrate. Hart hits a neckbreaker on Mr. A and lands a moonsault. Fox bicycle kicks Mr. A again and hits a springboard ace crusher. Fox lands a swantan for a nearfall. Mr. A trips him on the apron and hits a powerbomb onto the apron. Mr. A hits a spinebuster for a two count. Fox responds with Lo Mein Pain for the victory at 14:00. That is not a typo. This match was fourteen minutes, which seemed completely unnecessary. The Teddy Hart angle was completely absurd. Bracketing the fact they’re even using Teddy Hart, the fact that the referee saw none of the interference is completely unbelievable. This was not good. 1/2*
Match #3: Biff Busick vs. Rich Swann
They trade control on the mat and Swann seems to hold his own. Swann snaps off a headscissors and connects with a dropkick. They battle on the apron and Swann takes a bad spill to the floor. In the ring, Busick takes over. Swann humorously goes for a piledriver at one point but Busick makes him pay with a doctor bomb. Swann creates an opening with an axe kick and fights off a powerbomb. Both men connect with kicks and fall to the canvas. Swann hurricanranas Busick off the middle rope. Swann finds knees on a standing 450 attempt. They trade quick pin attempts to no avail. Swann is able to rollup Busick for the win at 11:00. This was a good example of a match that was the right length and made both participants look good. Though I think the action was missing something and they didn’t completely capture the crowd, the match was fun enough. I’m a bit confused about Busick losing, especially after Swann was hurt after his match last night and Busick’s win over Gulak. **Â¾
Match #4: Chuck Taylor and Drew Gulak vs. Fire Ant and Green Ant
Taylor hits an overhead suplex on Fire Ant. Green Ant charges and has a very nice exchange with Taylor. Green Ant hits a slingshot senton on Taylor and Fire Ant adds a flying crossbody. The Gentleman’s Club almost get into it after some miscommunication. The Colony take them out with stereo dives. Gulak throws Fire Ant into the ringpost and the Gentleman’s Club work over Green Ant. Green Ant takes advantage of Taylor stalling and makes the tag. Fire Ant cleans house. He hurricanranas Taylor and hits a tornado DDT. Green Ant hits a michinoku driver on Gulak. Taylor hits an exploder on Fire Ant, sending him into Green Ant. He then hits a sit-out powerbomb on Fire Ant for a nearfall. The Colony come back with some superkicks. They hit Ants Go Marching. Gulak traps them in a double figure four. Taylor misses a top-rope moonsault and Fire Ant hits the Beach Break for a nearfall. Gulak hits a chokebreaker on Fire Ant and applies an ankle lock on Green Ant. Green Ant counters into the Chikara Special for the win at 16:00. Orange Cassidy is limited by his character to some extent, so I found that Gulak makes a much better partner for Taylor. They obviously had very good chemistry with the Colony and that should come as no surprise. The match length threatened to lose the crowd down the stretch, but they were able to finish the match strong with a great sequence between Gulak and Green Ant. ***
Gulak attacks Taylor after the match as the Gentlemanâ€™s Club fully explodes.
Time for intermission. Everyone cross your fingers.
Match #5: Trent Barreta vs. Low Ki
Barreta backs Low Ki into the corner and slaps him. Low Ki returns the favor with a shot to the face. Barreta retreats to ringside and throws Lo Kiâ€™s ring jacket into the crowd. Back in, they exchange some loud chops, with Low Ki coming out on the winning end. Low Ki lays in some more chops and kicks. Barreta fires back with a running knee strike and takes control. Low Ki fights back after Barreta foolishly starts another chop battle. Barreta slows him down with a dropkick. Low Ki flips out of a german suplex and connects with a double stomp. Low Ki follows with a hesitation kick to the back of the head and a springboard gamengiri. Barreta hits the german suplex on his second attempt. Low Ki shrugs off a tornado DDT and connects with a shotgun dropkick. Barreta gets crotched on the top rope but is able to block the flying double stomp. Barreta connects with a running knee strike FOR THE WIN at 18:00. There was an initial pop when Barreta won because, letâ€™s face it, everyone thought Low Ki winning was inevitable. Every eighteen-minute Low Ki match follows the same formula to some extent. Barretaâ€™s snobby attitude meshed well with Low Kiâ€™s seriousness and this match ended up being just fine without being too remarkable. Barreta winning is certainly the story here. ***Â¼
Lenny Leonard announces that WWN Live will have a presence next year at WrestleMania Weekend.
Match #6: Chris Hero vs. Masato Tanaka
They wrestle to a stalemate. They avoid each other’s kicks and both attempt roaring elbows at the same time. They have a shoulder block battle and Hero connects with a dropkick. Hero follows with a senton. Tanaka asks him to strike harder in a great moment. Tanaka then proceeds to absolutely lay into Hero with a series of forearms. Hero responds with a straight right hand. He blocks a charge but runs into a lariat. Hero connects with a roaring elbow and both men are down. Hero kips up and finds a burst of adrenaline. He hits a rolling neckbreaker for a two count. Tanaka fights back with another lariat. They battle over a suplex and Tanaka transitions into a DDT. Bryce Remsburg applies the count as both men are down once again. Hero connects with a roaring elbow and the roaring mafia kick for a nearfall. Hero lays in more stiff strikes. Tanaka hits a brainbuster out of nowhere and lands a frog splash for a two count. Hero blocks a charge and attempts an Awesome Bomb to no avail. Hero settles for a vicious liger bomb for a nearfall. Hero misses a top-rope moonsault and Tanaka connects with a lariat. They trade forearms. Tanaka connects with a roaring elbow and Hero kicks out at one! Tanaka connects with a discus lariat for another nearfall. Tanaka connects with a sliding lariat and a sliding forearm for the win at 18:00. This match delivered exactly what it promised, something I’m having a hard time saying about this weekend thus far. The crowd was visibly excited for this match and as I said on our preview podcast, this was the one match I was sure wouldn’t be screwed up by any external effects. Hero was a terrific opponent for Tanaka and the best way to sum up this match is to say that itâ€™ll meet your expectations. This one certainly injected some life into the weekend along with the terrific Gulak/Thatcher outing on todayâ€™s show. ****
Match #7: Open the Freedom Gate Title: Johnny Gargano Â© vs. Ricochet
Gargano has been champion for 873 days and has 21 successful defenses. Gargano hangs onto a side headlock but Ricochet is able to power out of the hold. Ricochet comes extremely close to hitting the Benadryller and Gargano retreats to the floor. In the ring, Ricochet applies a surfboard and transitions into a crucifix pin attempt for a nearfall. Ricochet back handsprings into a headscissors and connects with a dropkick. He teases a dive but Gargano cuts him off with a slingshot spear. The champion lays in a basement dropkick and takes control. Ricochet comes back with an ace crusher and lands a dive to the floor over the top turnbuckle. Back in, Ricochet connects with a springboard lariat as my stream cuts out for a second. Ricochet counters a slingshot DDT into rolling suplexes. He blocks a superkick but Gargano counters a standing shoot press into a Gargano Escape attempt. Ricochet rolls out. Gargano hits a sit-out powerbomb and both men are down as we approach the twenty-minute mark. Ricochet escapes a lawn dart and back flips into a pele kick. Gargano catches him with a superkick and lawn darts him into the turnbuckles for a nearfall. The crowd chants â€œyou canâ€™t beat himâ€ at Gargano. Gargano spits at Ricochet. They have a great strike exchange and both men are down once again. The action goes to the apron where they trade forearms. Ricochet catches Gargano on a dive attempt and hits a death valley driver onto the floor. In the ring, Gargano hurricanranas Ricochet off the middle rope and hits Hurts Donut for a two count. Gargano transitions into the Gargano Escape. Ricochet counters into a dead-lift regalplex but Gargano hangs on! Ricochet now counters into a regalplex into the turnbuckles. Ricochet lands the 630 for a nearfall. He is in disbelief.
Ricochet accidentally dropkicks the referee. Here we go. Ricochet hits the Benadryller but thereâ€™s no referee. Gargano grabs his title belt and hits Ricochet with it. Gargano covers for a nearfall. Gargano now grabs the chain and starts choking Ricochet with it. Gargano blocks the Benadryller and reapplies the Gargano Escape. Ricochet counters into a cradle for a two count. Ricochet catches a crossbody attempt and connects with the Benadryller to become the new Open the Freedom Gate Champion at 31:00. This was an excellent match and light years ahead of the thirty-minute main event on EVOLVE last night. The uniqueness of this match will be evident from the counters they had to each otherâ€™s offense and the atmosphere they were able to build for their nearfalls down the stretch. The referee bump was a neutral event. While the overbooking probably wasnâ€™t needed, it did lead to a huge nearfall that really popped the crowd. Iâ€™m also glad that the chain made an appearance, even though I think it could have played a more important role if built properly. This was my favorite match of the weekend thus far, and an amazing way to end a great second half of this show. ****Â¼
Chuck Taylor and the rest of the locker room come out to celebrate with Ricochet.