NOVA Pro Wrestling “RELoad” Review

February 17th, 2017

Opening Match:  Bobby Shields vs. Rayo
Rayo closed out 2016 by winning his independence from Money Greene and this was a nice way to carry that momentum into the new year.  They had a fluid back and forth match that certainly would have benefitted from more time.  I’ve watched Bobby Shields for years and he has always been competent in filling whichever role a given promotion needs him to fill.  At some point this year, I wouldn’t mind seeing Shields be more prominently featured.  A fun enough opener.  Rayo won in 4:49 with a sunset flip.  **¼

Match #2:  John Kermon and Brittany Blake vs. Tripp Cassidy and Priscilla Kelly
This match started as just Blake vs. Kelly, but Kermon and Cassidy were inserted into the match to compensate for Josh Woods missing his flight.  There was a ton of miscommunication down the stretch that stopped this match from ever really getting off the ground.  The finish was also a bit lame, with Cassidy polishing off Blake rather easily.  I understand that the cheap victory is a heel thing to do, but I’m not sure how you can walk away from this contest feeling satisfied.  Perhaps I’m just ornery because we missed out on a Kermon singles match.  Cassidy and Kelly won in 5:49 when Cassidy hit a Pedigree on Blake.  *

Match #3:  The Carnies (Kerry Awful and Nick Iggy) vs. The Sammich Squad (Mecha Mercenary and Aaron Biggs)
The Carnies are aligned with Cassidy and Kelly, so this contest flowed from the previous one.  After Cassidy started interfering, Cutie and the Beast came out to chase Cassidy and Kelly away.  The action lacked structure at times and the finish kind of came out of nowhere, but there were also some enjoyable moments when The Carnies had to use their resourcefulness to find a way around the Sammich Squad’s massive size advantage.  I could see the Sammich Squad uniting with Cutie and the Beast to feud with the Carnies for a few months.  The Sammich Squad won in 7:22 with stereo splashes.  **

Match #4:  Ethan Alexander Sharpe (w/ Money Greene) vs. Percy Davis vs. Slade Porter
These three never really clicked in the ring.  I certainly don’t think there is any value in belaboring the point – all three men simply didn’t deliver a cohesive match.  However, given that the card is four matches deep at this point, I was hoping for something more impactful.  I think Rayo’s association with Greene and his eventual breakaway was productive, but I’m not quite sure how Sharpe logically progresses up the card moving forward.  Sharpe won in 6:13 after hitting Porter with Greene’s crutch.  *¼

Match #5:  Jordynne Grace vs. Veda Scott
This match was going along quite well until the abrupt rollup finish.  I had never seen Grace before and she was impressive.  Grace seems to have great command over her power offense and Scott was more than game to bump around the ring for her.  They have had matches against each other in other promotions and showcased solid chemistry together as a result.  It seems entirely possible that Scott got shaken up throughout the course of the match and they just ended the match early.  Nevertheless, I think these two have a better match in them.  Scott won in 6:19 with a small package.  **½

Match #6:  Donovan Dijak vs. Sonjay Dutt
Pro wrestling will teach you very quickly that sometimes the predictable route is the best route.  Here, for instance, they told the obvious, predictable story of Dutt working like a mad man to overcome the size disparity and the result was a joy to watch.  There is a point in the action when Dijak just picks Dutt up and hurls him across the ring.  You can actually see a majority of the front row put their hands over their mouth in horror.

The crowd had been waiting for a reason to come alive and this match finally gave them a chance to come unglued.  Every time Dutt wrestles for NOVA Pro, you get the sense that he’s defending his home turf, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more threatening challenge than Dijak right now.  This was really good as expected.  Dutt won in 12:58 with a top-rope splash.  ***½

Match #7:  Cutie and the Beast (Beau Crockett and Innocent Isaiah) vs. Brandon Day and Ken Dixon
I actually think there was some pretty subtle storytelling throughout the course of this match that made it fun to watch.  Day and Dixon often felt out-classed, but it wasn’t due to them being big meatheads who fell for Cutie and the Beast’s tactics.  Rather, it was simply due to them being a fairly new team competing against a well-established team.  I think if Day and Dixon stick together, watching them gradually appear more cohesive as the months pass would be interesting and helpful.  This tag team match had great energy and Cutie and the Beast did a good job of commanding the action.  Cutie and the Beast won in 8:29 when Crockett hit a spear on Day.  **¾

The Carnies, Tripp Cassidy, and Priscilla Kelly attack Cutie and the Beast after the match.

Match #8:  Fred Yehi vs. Arik Royal
Royal ended up with another strong showing here, although I wonder how his undefeated streak will be handled moving forward, especially throughout the Commonwealth Cup .  Yehi was impressive as expected.  Yehi was so successful at implementing his offense that the crowd went from a general lack of familiarity with him to perhaps supporting him over Royal by the end of the contest.  I’ve said before that Royal could stand to look more vulnerable against these big-name opponents, and one of the keys to this match’s success was how credible Yehi looked.  Royal having to bust out a hurricanrana to setup Yehi for the eventual pounce was further evidence of Royal reaching down deep.  If you are a fan of Yehi’s matches in EVOLVE, this will be right up your alley.  Royal won in 12:45 with a pounce.  ***¼

Match #9:  PWI Ultra J Title: Chet Sterling © vs. Logan Easton LaRoux
For better or worse, I will remember this match for one spot.  The action quickly went to the floor and Sterling threw LaRoux head-first into the ringpost.  LaRoux appeared to be knocked out.  He eventually gets to his feet (to applause from the crowd) and enters the ring.  In a matter of seconds, LaRoux collapses on an Irish whip attempt by Sterling.  Staff members and a doctor come out and the bell is rung.  The crowd applauds LaRoux for even trying to finish the match.  As LaRoux slowly walks to the back, he suddenly runs at Sterling and pushes him into the ringpost.  As someone who believes that fake injury spots should be used very sparingly if at all, this was by far the most believable fake injury spot I’ve ever seen.  Having been at the show live, I can attest that everyone around me was completely and utterly fooled.

The rest of the match featured decent back and forth action that successfully illustrated that these two do not like each other.  The thought occurred to me while watching this main event that NOVA Pro could very plausibly have its own title to showcase.  Though, I certainly do not blame them for being cautious about the timing of introducing a title.  The main takeaway here is that in the NOVA Pro universe, LaRoux is the scummiest man alive.  Sterling retained his title in 19:08 with a sunset flip.  ***¼

-Show Grade: C+
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: Dutt/Dijak, Yehi/Royal, Sterling/LaRoux
You Should Avoid:

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