NOVA Pro Wrestling: Such Great Heights Review

December 28th, 2017

Opening Match:  Tim Donst vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Donst is donning his “safety first” character but Jacobs doesn’t want anything to do with it.  They begin with some downright innovative measuring tape antics.  Jacobs lays in a few punches and sends Donst into the ringpost.  Donst puts on his hard hat and returns the favor.  Jacobs grabs a pair of scissors out of frustration.  He uses them to cut the caution tape that NOVA Pro uses as a guardrail.  Donst ties the caution tape back together, allowing Jacobs to catch him with a dive.  Jacobs throws a garbage can at Donst multiple times.  Donst responds with a dive of his own.  In the ring, Jacobs hits a suplex out of the corner and takes control.  Donst fights back with an ace crusher and connects with a lariat.  Both men are down.  Jacobs applies the End Time but Donst suplexes out of the hold.  Donst hits an STO for a nearfall.  Jacobs answers with a spear for a two count.  Donst counters the Contra Code into a backbreaker.  Jacobs lands a top-rope senton.  Donst anticipates another spear and hits Safety Last for the win at 15:52.  These two worked well together and played around with Donst’s “safety first” character just enough.  The antics with the hard hat and measuring tape were a lot of fun, but they let the action become more serious at the right time.  This did not feel like sixteen minutes at all.  ***¼

Match #2:  Fred Yehi vs. Alexander James (w/ Bobby Shields)
Yehi gets the better of an opening exchange and James regroups at ringside.  Yehi connects with a loud basement dropkick.  James finds an opening to connect with a double stomp to Yehi’s left arm.  James works over the limb until Yehi comes back with a few chops.  James slows him down by synching in a london dungeon but Yehi counters into a german suplex.  Both men are down.  Yehi hits a dragon suplex and tries a quick pin attempt for a nearfall.  He locks in a koji clutch but James refuses to tap out.  James kicks away at the bad left arm and hits an elevated DDT for the victory at 13:57.  They delivered a technically sound match insofar as James never forgot about the arm work and Yehi sold quite well.  However, the action was missing some of the explosiveness and drama that Yehi’s matches usually have.  As a showcase for James, this contest served its purpose.  **¾

Match #3:  Elimination: Allie Kat vs. Angelus Layne vs. Brittany Blake vs. Jordynne Grace
Everyone targets Layne to start but she holds her own.  Blake missile dropkicks Layne, causing her to DDT Kat and Grace.  Layne hits a huge german suplex on Kat.  Grace powerbombs Layne out of the corner.  Kat plants Blake with a piledriver.  All four women are down.  Grace carries Blake on her back to the middle rope and hits a vader bomb on Kat to eliminate her.  Blake applies a sleeper hold on Grace to eliminate her.  We’re quickly down to Layne vs. Blake.  Layne hits a death valley driver into the turnbuckles.  Blake knees out of a brainbuster and rolls up Layne for the win at 8:13.  Given the eight-minute duration, making this four-way an elimination match meant that the action needed to be rushed.  The eliminations of Kat and Grace were too close together to stand out, for instance.  There were some entertaining sequences and good ideas, but an eight-minute elimination four-way were not the best circumstances.  **¼

Match #4:  No Ropes Match: John Kermon vs. Dominic Garrini
They immediately start trading punches at the opening bell.  They exchange strikes around ringside.  Kermon counters a powerbomb into a triangle choke.  Garrini squirms to the floor and powerbombs Kermon onto the apron.  Garrini hits a fisherman buster for a two count and goes back to the triangle choke.  Kermon uses the hooks on the ringpost to power out of the hold.  Kermon lays in multiple knee strikes but Garrini traps him in a fujiwara armbar.  Garrini transitions into a snap piledriver for the victory at 7:48.  This contest was unexpectedly quick and decisive, which signals to me that this will not be the end of their feud.  Eight minutes was not a ton of time to play around with the stipulation, but they showcased some cool ideas such as utilizing the ringpost hooks.  **½

Match #5:  PWI Ultra J Title: Logan Easton LaRoux © (w/ Bobby Shields) vs. Sage Philips
LaRoux attacks at the opening bell and hits a german suplex.  He aggressively strikes Philips around ringside.  Back in, LaRoux connects with a missile dropkick and hits an ace crusher.  Philips has not been able to get anything going.  He lands a dive to the floor and hits a slingshot flatliner back in the ring.  Philips locks in an octopus hold but LaRoux reverses into an air raid crash.  They trade strikes and fall to the canvas.  Shields distracts the referee and throws a crutch into the ring.  Philips intercepts the crutch but doesn’t use it.  LaRoux delivers a low blow and rolls up Philips for a nearfall.  LaRoux hits an ace crusher to retain his title at 7:57.  Much like the previous match, this one had solid wrestling and storytelling elements that referenced the underlying feud, but eight minutes wasn’t enough time to elevate the action to something special.  I wonder where they go from here with Philips vs. the 1%.  **½

Match #6:  Arik Royal and David Starr vs. The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude and Rob Killjoy)
Lude fights off Royal by coming off the top rope with a hurricanrana.  Killjoy and Starr have a fast-paced exchange ending in the Ducklings showcasing some double team offense on Starr.  Royal reenters the match and cleans house with exploders.  Starr dropkicks Killjoy off the apron and follows out with a dive to the floor.  Royal hits a swinging backbreaker on Lude.  Lude is isolated until he finds an opening to make the tag.  Killjoy hits a saito suplex on Starr and lands an asai moonsault to the floor onto Royal.  Starr and Lude add dives of their own.  Back in the ring, Starr catches Killjoy with a powerbomb and follows with a backcracker for a nearfall.  Royal kind of hits a splash mountain on Lude and everyone resets.  Royal interrupts a launch pad by tackling Lude in midair.  Starr DDTs Killjoy onto the apron and Royal adds Space Jam for a two count.  The Ducklings hit the Ducksday Device on Starr for the victory at 14:07.  The first Ducklings vs. Royal/Sterling match was successful because of the frantic yet smooth sequences and innovative offense.  This match followed that formula and stood out above the rest of the card thus far.  Starr was unsurprisingly an excellent replacement for Sterling and everything clicked here.  Gunner Miller attacking Royal after the match should lead to quite the battle next year.  ***½

Match #7:  Street Fight: Faye Jackson vs. Veda Scott
Jackson attacks Scott during her entrance.  Scott blocks a dive with a cookie sheet shot.  Jackson hits Scott with a giant box of chocolates.  They battle towards the concession stand.  Scott wipes ketchup on Jackson’s forehead so the doctor at the venue will think it’s blood and stop the match.  That’s pretty awesome.  They battle on the apron and Jackson hits a DDT.  Scott tries to throw her into a propped chair but Jackson reverses.  Jackson jumps off a chair and lands a corner cannonball.  Scott avoids a DDT and Jackson lands on a chair.  Scott connects with a chain-assisted punch and applies a chain-assisted muta lock.  Scott wraps the chain around her foot and connects with a shining wizard for a two count.  She dumps thumbtacks across the ring.  They battle for leverage.  Jackson hits a samoan drop into the thumbtacks.  Jackson lands a splash and chokes Scott with a baseball bat for the win at 14:57.  The ketchup spot was incredible, but unfortunately something just seemed off for these two on this night.  A lot of the offense did not look great and although they set an appropriate tone as far as violence was concerned, the execution wasn’t completely there.  **¼

Match #8: Independent Title: Jonathan Gresham © (w/ Stokely Hathaway) vs. Sonjay Dutt
They trade control on the mat, with Gresham trying to target Dutt’s left arm.  Dutt creates some space with a dropkick but a distraction by Hathaway allows Gresham to shove Dutt into the ringpost.  Gresham distracts the referee while Hathaway gets some shots in.  Dutt goes back to a dropkick again to create an opening.  He follows with a missile dropkick from the middle rope.  Dutt lands a standing moonsault but Gresham responds with a german suplex.  Gresham punches Dutt low and tries to apply an octopus hold.  They exchange reversals and Gresham stomps Dutt’s left arm.  Dutt tries to avoid Gresham and may have tweaked his leg.  Gresham applies a figure four to retain his title at 17:36.  Dutt seemed to have suffered a real injury down the stretch, leading to an out-of-nowhere finish.  They easily had five more minutes left and were just turning up the action there.  Still, they delivered a solid match as you’d expect with Dutt using his agility to avoid Gresham’s focused submissions.  The injury was certainly unfortunate but they had set the groundwork for a great match.  ***

-Show Grade: B-
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: Ducks/Royal+Starr, Donst/Jacobs, Gresham/Dutt
You Should Avoid:

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