NOVA Pro Wrestling: Pumpkin Spice Lariats Review

October 27th, 2017

Pre-Show Match:  Donovan Danhausen vs. Breaux Keller vs. Ace Perry
These three tried to pack a lot of action into five minutes and while the action was fine for the pre-show, it felt overly choreographed.  The standout was Perry, who has a fun personality and is someone I could see on main shows moving forward.  Also, as we’re about to see with Sage Philips in the opener, I like the idea of there being a progression from pre-show wins to main show appearances.  Perry won in 5:05 when he hit an ace crusher on Danhausen.  *

Opening Match:  Sage Philips vs. Ken Dixon
Dixon defeated Philips on the pre-show of One Crazy Summer a little over a year ago.  Dixon brought some good aggression here and showcased himself as much as possible in four minutes.  The finish came rather abruptly with a quick sunset flip.  These two worked well together however and I could see this being a matchup that gets revisited in the future.  Philips won in 4:14 with a sunset flip.  *¼

Match #2:  Ethan Alexander Sharpe vs. “The Progressive Liberal” Daniel Richards
This was pretty much what you would expect, with trash talk before the match followed by a fairly easy victory for Richards.  I’m not quite sure in what capacities NOVA Pro is interested in using Richards at this point, but I don’t think he can keep this kind of match interesting many more times.  Whether or not Richards can hang in a longer, more competitive contest remains to be seen.  Richards won in 4:12 with the Liberal Agenda.  *

Match #3:  Chip Day vs. Beau Crockett vs. Isaiah Frazier vs. Sugar Dunkerton
These four put together a fun match that had comedy and dancing but that’s okay because it’s not done to death in NOVA Pro.  Crockett forming an alliance with someone else named Isaiah was great and there were other nice touches to keep everyone invested in the action.  Dunkerton seems extremely underrated at this point and I hope he starts getting booked in singles matches.  In fact, this plausibly could have just been Dunkerton vs. Crockett, with Dunkerton doing whatever he could to frustrate Crockett.  Crockett winning was predictable but the journey to the finish was entertaining.  Crockett won in 9:55 when he hit a spear on Dunkerton.  **½

Match #4:  Faye Jackson vs. Laynie Luck
Jackson will be captaining a team against Veda Scott’s team next month in a survivor series-style tag team match.  The action here was nothing special but the booking was incredibly smart.  Everyone thought that this would be an easy win for Jackson, but Luck actually won after the referee didn’t notice Jackson’s foot on the ropes during a pin attempt.  It was then announced that Veda Scott called and quickly recruited Luck for her team next month.  The booking transformed Luck from a relative unknown to someone that Jackson will be trying to get revenge on next month.  Good stuff.  Luck won in 5:32 with a DDT.  *½

Match #5:  Anarchy Triple Crown Championship: Gunner Miller © vs. Tim Donst
Donst has been adhering to a “Safety First” construction worker gimmick in NOVA Pro as of late.  The gimmick requires some extra suspension of disbelief.  At one point, Donst puts on a helmet and creates a landing zone before allowing Miller to dive onto him.  I don’t know if the silliness worked as well in a title match, but the crowd loved it.  Actually, Donst’s popularity made this contest relatively successful.  The crowd was furious at Miller while he was working over Donst’s legs and they were more than vocal for Donst’s comeback. Miller winning after a wrench shot to the knee was underwhelming and Donst getting in offense after the match felt cliché.  Unless the plan is for Miller to return, I’m not quite sure if this match served a purpose.  Miller retained his title in 12:57 with a jackhammer.  **½

Match #6:  PWI Ultra J Title: Logan Easton LaRoux © vs. Sage Philips
Philips was answering LaRoux’s open challenge, hence why he’s wrestling twice tonight.  The story of this match was LaRoux getting into multiple altercations with the referee, leading to the referee fast-counting a pin to give Philips the win and title.  LaRoux came out at intermission and threatened to sue PWI if the result was not erased.  Mike King, NOVA Pro’s promoter, ended up erasing the decision, leaving LaRoux still the champion.  I think Philips’ stock was raised throughout all of the shenanigans, which was the good news.  I’m generally not a fan of referees having a vendetta, whether that means fast-counting or referee offense.  I think it sets a bad precedent.  Still, this was an interesting experiment at the very least and Philips comes out for the better.  The result was erased due to referee fast-counting; LaRoux retained his title at 8:38.  **

Match #7:  Angelus Layne and Dominic Garrini vs. Brittany Blake and John Kermon
Following intermission and the LaRoux angle, I think the crowd had a difficult time coming alive for this match.  There was also a moment where the referee did not see Layne tapping out, which played poorly after the referee acting foolish in the previous match.  This match basically served as a way of advancing these two feuds into December.  A Garrini-Layne alliance could be a lot of fun, however, and I hope the promotion continues to explore that.  Layne and Garrini won in 10:39 when Garrini submitted Kermon.  **¼

Match #8:  Bobby Shields vs. Tripp Cassidy
This match was an extension of the current tension between the Carnies and the 1%.  Cassidy’s singles matches have been largely underwhelming in NOVA Pro and this one followed that trend.  The crowd was surprisingly quiet, and I think the strength of this feud is the multi-man matches that you can have between the groups.  The action became a bit sloppy down the stretch and the finish fell flat as a result.  This was by no means the end of the issue between the Carnies and the 1%.  Shields won in 7:43 with the Body Bomb.  *

Match #9:  Arik Royal and Chet Sterling vs. The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude and Rob Killjoy)
This was a rematch from Cool for the Summer in August, which saw Royal and Sterling pick up the win.  They structured this one very similarly to the first.  It was a ten-minute sprint which featured the Ducklings hurling their bodies around the ring to try to overwhelm Royal and Sterling.  Their first match together turned out great and I’m glad they stuck to the same formula here.  I slightly preferred their last match due to the more decisive finish and hotter crowd.  However, this outing was exactly what the card needed to get back on track and the Ducklings’ win signals a rubber match at some point down the line.  The Ugly Ducklings won in 9:23 when Lude rolled up Sterling.  ***¼

Match #10:  Fred Yehi vs. Jordynne Grace
Grace chose Yehi as her opponent and Yehi seemed visibly frustrated at having to wrestle her.  It’s also worth noting that Yehi has a match against Jonathan Gresham next month and Grace is Gresham’s wife.  After a few stiff strikes, Gresham appeared at ringside to watch this match.  These two had great chemistry together and setup the match as Grace’s power advantage against Yehi’s mat wrestling and striking.  The finish came when Yehi held Grace by the arms and laid in repeated bicycle kicks.  Gresham “threw in the towel” for Grace and was furious that Yehi “went too far” to get the win.  Although this had the potential to come off as lame, it felt extremely genuine and personal.  Grace looked awesome here and I think the unconventional booking paid off.  Yehi/Gresham next month is going to be insane.  Yehi won in 11:58 with repeated kicks.  ***¼

Match #11:  Sonjay Dutt vs. Zema Ion
I’m admittedly a huge Ion fan.  This was the statement match that you may be used to seeing from Dutt on NOVA Pro shows.  Dutt and Ion put together some crazy exchanges and you would have to be intimately familiar with their work to really comprehend how intricate the counter wrestling was at times.  This match was inconsequential as it was an exhibition, but you would be hard-pressed to find many wrestlers better at going all-out while making the action coherent.  This was a lot of fun to watch and pretty clearly the match of the night.  Dutt won in 10:19 with a pinning combination.  ***½

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

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