NOVA Pro Wrestling: The Great Grapsy Review

May 19th, 2017

Preshow Match:  Timmy Danger vs. Isiah Frazier (w/ Money Greene) vs. Percy Davis vs. Sage Philips
Six-minute preshow four-ways are generally pretty harmless and this one was no different.  Frazier was the standout here, as he moved around the ring well and made his time on the offensive count.  Frazier’s straightforwardness looked even better because the other three got overly silly with their offense.  Basically, Frazier should be on the main show next month.  Frazier won in 6:01 with a flatliner.  *

Opening Match:  The Sandwich Squad (Aaron Biggs and Mecha Mercenary) vs. John Kermon and Dominic Garrini
In theory, the story they set out to tell was intriguing and had real potential.  In practice, the action likely fell short of maximum potential but this was a solid opener nonetheless.  Kermon and Garrini failed here for two reasons: (1) their ground and pound style just could not compensate for their incredible size disadvantage and (2) they were a brand new team going up against an established team.  All it took was one mistaken, errant kick from Kermon for the Sandwich Squad to take advantage and win the match.  I admittedly had my doubts about the Sandwich Squad when I first saw them, but they have been strong role players in NOVA Pro who the crowd loves to cheer on.  The Sandwich Squad won in 8:47 with stereo splashes on Garrini.  **½

Match #2:  Angelus Layne vs. Jordynne Grace
This was very much a women’s match where they tried to out-power each other, which is something you don’t see too frequently.  I thought they did an excellent job of giving off the appearance of violence without putting themselves in danger.  There weren’t any burning hammers or apron piledrivers.  But when Layne hit a death valley driver, the crowd responded with a vocal reaction.  I also appreciated that Layne didn’t have to cheat to win.  Here is someone who has vowed to bring ruin to NOVA Pro.  As such, I want Layne to be a badass and not someone who is cheating to gain every possible slight advantage.  In this match, Layne came off as a badass and this was a strong exhibition.  Layne won in 9:09 with a gutwrench suplex.  ***

Match #3:  Chip Day vs. Tim Donst
Firstly, it’s important to note that they accomplished their goal of introducing Day to the NOVA Pro crowd.  By the end of this contest, everyone in attendance wanted to see him return to the promotion.  That alone renders this match successful.  I thought the action was just okay with a smart finish.  I found the action to be enjoyable in spurts.  They would have a great exchange and then there would be a lull.  The contest was structured quite similarly to Donst’s outing against Donovan Dijak from the Commonwealth Cup, but that match felt more consistent and was able to maintain its intensity for the entire duration.  I will say, however, that I really liked the finish here as Donst won yet another match with a crucifix rollup.  Donst becoming the master of that pinning combination would be fun to explore.  Donst won in 14:19 with a crucifix rollup.  **¾

Match #4:  Veda Scott vs. Faye Jackson vs. Sis
The story of this match, Scott trying to outsmart her two larger opponents, was good in theory but just okay in execution.  The action didn’t flow very well and the finish was also a bit confusing.  Jackson hit a michinoku driver on Sis.  Scott ran into the ring and covered Jackson while Sis was on top of her for the win.  However, it seemed like Sis was also pinning Jackson.  The best part of this contest was Jackson’s comeback, as the crowd came alive for her offense.  Scott won in 8:54.  *¾

Match #5:  Jonathan Gresham vs. Fred Yehi
As you would expect, these two delivered an excellent match.  Yehi’s shtick for some time has been finding his opponent’s pressure points and stomping on them.  Usually, the pressure point strategy is just a part of Yehi’s matches, but here the strategy engulfed the action and it was a ton of fun to watch.  Gresham also found a limb to work over and at that point it was off to the races for these two.  The real value in this match comes when you least expect it.  Sure, the action has its big moments.  But just watching Gresham and Yehi in their transactions or how they respond to each other’s irish whips was fascinating.  These two move around the ring better than just about everyone else right now so watching them work together was a real treat.  The referee stoppage finish did not come off well, but that’s a minor criticism of a tremendous showcase.  Yehi won in 17:43 with repeated kicks to the head.  ***¾

Match #6:  Logan Easton LaRoux, Bobby Shields, and Tripp Cassidy vs. Arik Royal, Chet Sterling, and Rayo
This was all about Royal and friends getting revenge on LaRoux for cheating his way to the Commonwealth Cup last month.  The heels smartly kept Royal out of the match for most of the duration but then Royal was able to run wild down the stretch.  Royal pinning Cassidy again felt inconsequential and the impromptu nature of the match meant they weren’t positioned to steal the show.  However, Royal and Sterling standing tall after last month and keeping LaRoux in check was something that the crowd seemed ready to get behind.  Royal, Sterling, and Rayo won in 9:17 when Royal pounced Cassidy.  **½

Match #7:  Sonjay Dutt vs. Jimmy Rave
I have never spoken to Sonjay Dutt in my life, but it’s quite easy to tell from the way he wrestles that he loves NOVA Pro Wrestling.  Being from the area, I imagine coming to northern Virginia to wrestle feels like a homecoming for him.  I also believe that Dutt is having a phenomenal year in the ring regardless of where he wrestles.  He has been delivering every time out and people are starting to notice.  Jimmy Rave did not look good here.  He was returning from a MRSA infection in his elbow and was out of shape, at least compared to when I last saw him wrestle.  After about eight minutes of okay wrestling, Dutt decided to end this one early and demanded the referee count a pinfall.  It obviously was not the planned finish, but Dutt was frustrated.

I do not get to be a keyboard warrior and criticize Rave.  I imagine that returning from injury is not easy.  I’m also not going to blame Dutt for wanting to give the NOVA Pro fans something spectacular every time out, because he is certainly capable of doing so.  This was just an unfortunate situation.  Dutt won in 8:09 with a top-rope splash.  **

Match #8:  Street Fight: Cutie and the Beast (Beau Crockett and Innocent Isaiah) vs. The Carnies (Kerry Awful and Nick Iggy)
The first ten minutes of this street fight were enjoyable.  They managed to use various weapons in creative ways and showcased their hatred for each other.  Then, the Carnies found an opening to handcuff Isaiah to the ropes and took control of the match.  While the Carnies are quite good at being menacing and evil, you got the feeling that the match was just going on for too long.  Isaiah was able to break free and made his comeback.  Then it happened.  Crockett leveled Isaiah with a spear and joined the Carnies.  As of right now, I don’t know if I buy it.  There certainly could be a reasonable explanation, but these two teams brawled for nearly half an hour before Crockett turned.  Why not do so at the opening bell?  When Isaiah was handcuffed?  Maybe it took Crockett thirty minutes of brawling to realize that Isaiah was a weak link and holding him back?

Crockett turning on Isaiah is not a bad idea.  Certainly, Crockett spearing Isaiah and leaving him for dead at the thirty-minute mark could be easily explained.  But if Crockett’s intentions were to join the Carnies, this was a long way to get there.  A combination of the long duration and confusing (at least to me) finish left me underwhelmed.  The Carnies won in 29:48 when Crockett turned on Isaiah.  **

-Show Grade: C+
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: Gresham/Yehi, Layne/Grace
You Should Avoid:

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