NOVA Pro Wrestling: Great Expectations Review

Taped on March 10th, 2017

Pre-Show Match:  Angelus Layne vs. Penelope Ford
Layne interrupted the beginning of the show and laid out an opening challenge so she could begin to make an impact in NOVA Pro.  I remember watching Layne wrestle about four years ago in IWA Unlimited and thinking she had all of the tools to make a name for herself in professional wrestling.  The nice thing about Layne is that when she plays a bully role, as she did here, she makes all of her offense look painful and gets the crowd to react.  This was essentially a squash match for Layne, but I look forward to seeing her in NOVA Pro moving forward.  Layne won in 3:27 with an overhead suplex.  *

Opening Match:  The Sammich Squad (Aaron Biggs and Mecha Mercenary) vs. Dante Caballero, Isaiah Frazier, Jeremiah the Prophet, and Timmy Danger
As a personal aside, hearing our very own Kevin Ford do commentary with Bryce Remsburg is very cool.  As you would expect, this match consisted of the Sammich Squad throwing human beings around the ring and generally faring extremely well for themselves in a four-on-two handicapped contest.  My stance on the Sammich Squad is that as long as the crowds are enjoying their matches, they more than serve their purpose on Nova Pro shows.  Six minutes was the right amount of time here.  The Sammich Squad won in 6:36 by splashing all four of their opponents.  *¼

Match #2:  Dominic Garrini vs. John Kermon
Kermon is actively seeking out opponents to test his grappling and MMA abilities.  They certainly prioritized the grappling, which ended up playing to both men’s strengths.  This style is not for everyone, yet I believe it’s a style certainly worth presenting or at least trying to present to your audience because the upside is huge.  If your crowds can become invested in the wrestlers grappling to grind out an advantage, it allows you to diversify your cards in a way that makes for a well-rounded show.

After about four minutes of trading control on the mat, Garrini decides to lift Kermon into a huge german suplex.  That was the real test of this match’s success.  If the crowd comes alive for the german suplex, all of that mat work paid off.  The crowd certainly came alive.  Interestingly enough, this match really established Garrini in Nova Pro despite it being unclear whether or not he will be coming back.  Regardless, Kermon looks strong for surviving Garrini.  This was a compact, well-executed match that succeeded on multiple levels.  Kermon won in 6:56 with a cross armbreaker.  ***

Match #3:  Brandon Day vs. Ethan Sharpe Alexander vs. Bobby Shields vs. Ken Dixon vs. Slade Porter vs. Lucas Calhoun
An unfortunate consequence of freestyle matches is that the stories and personalities of everyone in the contest get lost in the shuffle.  Aside from a fun sequence consisting of Calhoun using his karate offense, that’s what happened here.  Shields winning was certainly the right call, however.  Shields won in 5:29 with a superkick on Calhoun and is now entered into the Commonwealth Cup.  *½

Match #4:  Veda Scott vs. Rachael Ellering
I don’t believe I’m saying anything novel when I claim that Ellering is really talented.  She brings a great energy to her matches it seems trivially easy to get behind her as a babyface.  This was by far the most brawling we’ve seen from a women’s match in Nova Pro thus far and they delivered a strong effort.  I liked the idea of Scott resorting to underhanded tactics instead of trying to match Ellering in the intensity and flashiness departments.  Some of the exchanges down the stretch didn’t come off super cleanly, but the action overall was enjoyable.  Angelus Layne attacked Ellering after the match.  Ellering won in 9:32 with a TKO.  **¾

Match #5:  Alex Daniels vs. Rayo
Maybe I’m in the minority in feeling this way, but it’s great to see Daniels wrestle without Gregory Iron and company at ringside.  The way he carries himself combined with how good he is in the ring when he can just let loose makes for an extremely impressive professional wrestler who is still new to the business.  The action was proceeding really well until the finish.  Bobby Shields walked into the ring, lightly slapped Daniels in the face, and the referee immediately disqualified Rayo.  Shields vowed that Rayo would never win another match.  Although the spirit behind the finish was creative, I think it sets an awful precedent moving forward.  Shields’ intent should surely be considered when deciding whether or not to disqualify Rayo.  Even on commentary, Bryce Remsburg raises a good point: “Why didn’t Shields come out right away and do that?”  Oh well.  Daniels won in 6:56 via disqualification and is now entered into the Commonwealth Cup.  **¼

Match #6:  Arik Royal vs. Rickey Shane Page
The intrigue behind this match was framed correctly on commentary: how is Royal going to maintain his undefeated streak against someone who may be legitimately out of his mind?  Unfortunately, the match didn’t really play out in that context.  In fact, I never sensed that Page was presenting much of a threat to Royal here.  Instead of employing mind games or perhaps even involving weapons, Page was rather tame and spent time imitating Matt Hardy.  It’s possible that these two just don’t have amazing chemistry together, but I think they could have done more to set the atmosphere and tell a story.  Royal won in 10:32 with a pounce.  **¼

Match #7:  Cutie and the Beast (Beau Crockett and Innocent Isaiah) vs. The Carnies (Kerry Awful and Nick Iggy)
They started brawling during intermission and the match then naturally kicked off the second half of the show.  Giving Cutie and the Beast an actual blood feud is refreshing because it demands they bring a different attitude to the matches.  These two teams delivered a solid tag team match that leaves me optimistic about the rest of their feud.  Having the Sammich Squad involved also gives them something meaningful to do.  This was simply an enjoyable tag team match with good energy and urgency from Cutie and the Beast.  Cutie and the Beast won in 9:43 with a double team splash.  ***

Match #8:  PWI Ultra J Title: Chet Sterling © vs. Alexander James
What an odd match.  Going in, I didn’t really buy James as a credible challenger and the first half of the match didn’t do anything to change that.  It didn’t need to, though, if they instead told some kind of interesting story.  For instance, I was expecting Sterling to take out his frustrations on Logan Easton LaRoux by running through his ally.  Unfortunately, the first half of the match was them just trading offense without much rhyme or reason.

Then, in the second half of the match, James started busting out some impressive offense and they were able to string together exchanges that made the crowd believe the title could change hands.  It was such a stark contrast to the first half.  The action got to the point where you almost wanted to root for James to upset Sterling because he was on fire in the ring.  I’m not sure what exactly happened here, but the crowd was on their feet by the end of it.  Sterling retained his title in 12:36 with a blockbuster.  ***

Match #9:  Logan Easton LaRoux vs. Joey Janela
I was surprised by this match insofar as they used it to highlight LaRoux’s resourcefulness more and Janela’s craziness less.  Everything ended up working out, though, and this was the best match on the show thus far.  LaRoux tried to control Janela’s intensity by working over his arm.  Janela sold the limb work extremely well and there were points down the stretch where Janela would hesitate or not even be able to follow through with his offense because of the bad arm.  This might not be the match they would put on in a PWG ring, but that’s perfectly okay with me.  LaRoux won in 9:59 with an ace crusher.  ***¼

Match #10:  Sonjay Dutt vs. Trevor Lee
This match was setup as a cross-promotional match between friendly rivals NOVA Pro Wrestling and CWF Mid-Atlantic.  You also have the interesting story of Lee being the current X-Division champion, a title that Dutt never managed to win (yet).  Framing the match in this context was smart, as it helped explain Lee’s demeanor.  Lee was smitten to come into enemy territory and dominate their flag bearer, but you sensed that Dutt would inevitably be able to use Lee’s cockiness to his advantage.  The match played out in that way and they unsurprisingly delivered an excellent finishing stretch to cap off the action.  Sonjay Dutt has been absolutely killing it in the ring throughout the past year and I don’t think enough people have taken notice.  Dutt won in 13:03 with a hurricanrana.  ***½

-Show Grade: B+
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: Dutt/Lee, LaRoux/Janela, Sterling/James, CATB/Carnies, Garrini/Kermon
You Should Avoid:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *