It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
When I last took a look at Tier 1 Wrestling, it was a year ago, at their first-anniversary show. Since then, a lot has changed; Sonny Kiss has earned a place near the top of the card, Tier 1 vs. The New York State Athletic Commission reached a fever pitch, Tier 1 made, even more, friends and business partnerships, and Darius Carter has become your reigning and defending Tier 1 World Champion.
While I was not able to review the last couple of shows they’ve had, I’m now making it a mission to look at Tier 1’s latest two offerings in their last full show “True Will” and today’s offering, a collaboration show with Battle Club Pro, another new New York indy that started operation last year in the Bronx. The thing I really do appreciate about Tier 1 is their willingness to work with other Indy promotions in NYC and co-promote shows to strengthen both brands. Will tonight’s show be a home run for both or will both promotions end up with egg on their face? Let’s take a look.
Match #1: The Fella Twins (Eddy McQueen & Rick Cataldo) vs. The Cutthroat Kings (Connor Claxton and Logan Black)
Have you ever seen a match that you can’t describe how to feel about it? You just have a mix of emotions and thoughts that whirlwind so much you can’t form a logical and cohesive thought? That is me after watching this match. On one hand, I absolutely hated most of it. From the bad timing to the painfully slow spot set ups, to Eddy McQueen just having a really off night, to having the CANADIAN DESTROYER AS A TRANSITION MOVE, I was setting up to give this match a proper thrashing. But by the time the Cataldo comeback happened, things felt right again.
And then the finished happened. Claxton blind sighted McQueen with a kiss, allowing Black to hit the Samoan Drop and get the victory. This confused me greatly, as I would imagine the exotico team would pull something like this, but I think it’s the shock of seeing this that actually made it work. Of course, you’d expect the Fella Twins to do something like this, but by subverting the expectation, the spot feels more shocking, but in a good way. I could totally see this throwing off McQueen to allow Black to blindside him.
So all in all, a really bad match, but a finish I actually really enjoy, which saved the whole thing.
Cutthroat Kings def. Fella Twins
Match Rating: *
Match #2: Myron Reed vs. Archadia
This is not my kind of match. I want to state before I continue, for the record, I’m not a fan of matches that focus more on spectacular flips rather than storytelling and matches that place emphasis on choreographed sequences rather than a realistic simulated fight. I’m the kind of dude that gets pissed seeing the Spanish Fly (which is funny considering the finish to the match). However, even with that said, I do think matches like these can be really fun when done right and I’m not going to grade it badly purely because I am not a fan. But understand when these matches occur, it’s a very steep hill for them to climb.
As for the match itself, it was fine. Reed and Archadia had good timing, both were given time to shine, and the end result was a decent little match that had the crowd reacting well to it. I will say that with a little bit more of a steady pace, this could have ended up being something really good, but as is, it’s a solid match.
Myron Reed def. Archadia
Match Rating: **½
Match #3: The Carnies (Kerry Awful and Nick Iggy) vs. The Gate Keepers (Blaster McMassive and PB Smooth)
When I saw that this match was on the card, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoy Blaster as a big brawler wrestler, I am enjoying how quickly PB Smooth is progressing as a wrestler, and I adore the Carnies. So I shouldn’t be surprised when this match turned out to be pretty good.
The story of this match was the size differences between the two teams. Nick Iggy started and was rightfully manhandled by the two bigger men, only for Awful, the muscle of the Carnies, to come in and equal everything out. Everyone played their roles perfectly, from the Gatekeepers as the cocky yet dangerous big men to the scrappy underdogs of the Carnies. Iggy was tremendous as the face in peril, being tossed left and right with reckless abandon and selling it all incredibly well. I’m also pleased to see McMassive and Smooth work well as a team and I wouldn’t mind them partnering up more in the future. If there was one complaint I have with this, is that it wasn’t longer. Maybe given a few more minutes of killing Iggy (not just because it was fun to watch), this could have been even better, but as is, definitely worth a look at.
The Carnies def. The Gatekeepers
Match Rating: *** ¼
Match #4: Anthony Bowens vs. Fred Yehi
Don’t have much to say about this match. For me, this was an average 50/50 encounter between two young men with a ton of potential that showcased both’s move sets and had some neat spots. This is High Tiered Indy Wrestling at it’s most basic. Bowens was fine, if a little underplayed, but then again when you are facing Fred Yehi, it’s not hard to get overshadowed. Overall, fine.
Anthony Bowens def. Fred Yehi
Match Rating: **¼
Match #5: PROGRESS Atlas Championship: Matt Riddle © vs. Mike Verna
This was good, but sloppy in places. The story of this match was Riddle out wrestling Verna in terms of skill and agility, but Verna fights back with pure raw strength and heart. Verna has struck me as a guy who can go on to do really good things with a great look and a damn fine power move set. In this match in particular, while there wasn’t that much to overtly showcase him, I feel Verna did make a good impression as a big buff dude that slams people and doesn’t give up easily, which is all good in my book. Riddle has always been Riddle, ridiculously talented while dripping in charisma, I’m actually surprised he didn’t completely overshadow Verna here. The match itself was a very nicely told story, with a very awesome referee stoppage finish as Verna couldn’t continue after being repeatedly kneed in the stomach. However, there are places where a move was botched or the timing of a sequence faltered to where I can’t give this more than I want to. But still, this is a good outing for both men.
Matt Riddle def. Mike Verna to retain the PROGRESS Atlas Championship
Match Rating: ***
Match #6 Eight Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Team BCP (Brute VanSlyke, Craven Varro, Jordynne Grace & Sean Carr) vs. Team Tier 1 (Anthony Bennett, Curt Stallion, Joey Janela & Mike Orlando)
This might have been a really fun match. All these people are very talented and could have come together and provided a lot of fast paced and cool looking action. This match could have been a nice match to just sit down and turn your brain off at and enjoy the chaos.
Too bad I could only see 5% of the whole match thanks to the awful camera work and directing. I never knew how important the hard cam was until I saw this match, be it Brute VanSlyke doing something really cool and the camera being behind a turnbuckle post or even Joey Janela stripping down being superkicked and both cameras are not on it at all. And the choice in switching was really odd. One moment we are on VanSlyke setting up do an awesome power move, next moment we are on Orlando for 2 seconds, then back to Van Slyke. Why? I know I’m devoting more time to the technical aspects than the actual match, but I feel when it comes to providing a DVD/Digital Download product, you have to be sure the people at home who PAID to see this match can actually SEE it.
As for the match itself, it’s an 8 man elimination scramble fest. People did cool spots and it was fun to watch. Not great and the Orlando exit was kind of “eh”, but for the most part, alright. But please, get a better director or more cameras.
Team BCP def. Team Tier 1
Match Rating: **½
Match #7: Matt Macintosh vs. Ethan Page
I always maintain there are 3 kinds of bad matches: there are those that are poorly worked, there are those that are offensive or insulting to watch, and then there are those that are just flat out boring.
This was the boring kind of bad match.
For however long these men wrestled, I could not muster to care about any of this. I don’t hate Macintosh and I think Page is criminally underrated on today’s Indy scene. But man, I don’t think I’ve seen a more lifeless match from either men. Again, it’s not that it was poorly worked or cringe-worthy, but I didn’t get the sense that this was anything more than a series of moves. I didn’t care about these two wrestling because I was not given a reason to care. I’ve seen much better matches from these two, and I know I’ll see better from them in the future, but this is a definite skip of a match.
Matt Macintosh def. Ethan Page
Match Rating: ¾*
Match #8: Chris Dickinson vs. Keith Lee
I wanted to enjoy this more than I did. When I saw this on paper, I was 100% sure this would be my match of the night. Two big men beating the piss out of each other with Lee flying everywhere? That sounds awesome! And to be fair to the match, we did get a bit of that. I really enjoyed the beginning with Dickinson going after Lee’s legs, but after that, it kind of stopped. Then we got some ultimately unexciting outside brawling before going back to the ring. Then we started getting power moves that looked cool and were awesome, but never really got out of 2nd gear. Then we had the Lee powerslam and that was it. There was a lot of potential to make this an extremely awesome match, but I didn’t feel like any build up was paid off. I would like to see a rematch to see if they can fix the problems and deliver a truly great match, however. As is, this isn’t that great, sadly.
Keith Lee def. Chris Dickinson
Match Rating: **½
Match #9: Tier 1 World Championship: Darius Carter © vs. Darby Allin
WHY DID IT END SO SOON?! This match was great! Everything I wanted in a good main event is here: great pacing, a big match feel, both men brought out their best, lots of heat, it’s just a lot of good stuff here. I know I have spit nothing but praise for Carter upon his introduction into Tier 1 back in 2015, so for now, I’ll leave him to praise Darby Allin. In this match, Allin was a terrific babyface, doing some really innovative and awe-inspiring moves, while still being sympathetic with the damage done to him. If anything, Allin made this match as with every attack on the back Carter did, Allin made you want to root for him, to break out and beat Carter within an inch of his life. Carter is brilliant, as usual, using every old school heel tactic in the book to make him truly despicable and worthy of a beating. My only complaint, and it’s a big one, is that just as the match got going, it ended with a Foreclosure out of nowhere. I could have totally seen this going 2 more minutes, but here, the match ended just as it was shifting into 3rd gear. I guess the mindset is “leave the fans wanting more” but I doubt that Allin and Carter will rematch (though I’m totally for it). Despite my problems with the ending, this is still a really good match and a damn fine ending to the show.
Darius Carter def. Darby Allin
Match Rating: ***½
This was a mixed bag of a show. Though some of the matches were horrendous and others were painfully average, there were some very fun and interesting matches that came out of this, specifically Carnies vs. Gate Keepers and Carter vs. Allin. If you are looking for a Hodge podge sampler of New York indy wrestling, I feel last year’s “Empire State of Mind” show by Tier 1 and W.O.W was a better show for that. However, if you are looking for a show that’s a showcase for Tier 1 and Battle Club Pro and some big Indy names, this is the show to look for. Though if you are looking for a more consistent card of quality, I can’t personally recommend it as such.
Average Rating: 2.3 Stars
If you wish to purchase this show, you can do so via digital download from Smart Mark Video here.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @RVDinator and be sure to follow PWP @PWPonderings.