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RADICAN'S TAKE
RADICAN'S RESISTANCE PRO DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Black Friday" 11/25 - Steen vs. Smith, Briscoes vs. Akuma & Hart

Jan 13, 2012 - 1:58:46 PM
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RADICAN’S RESISTANCE PRO DVD REVIEW SERIES
“BLACK FRIDAY”
NOVEMBER 25, 2011
CHICAGO, ILL
blackfriart.jpg


“Black Friday” is the debut show for Resistance Pro, which is a new promotion headed up by Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins with Raven as the main agent. The show was held at a small venue in Chicago that provided a fight club style atmosphere throughout the night.

The opening video package set a good tone for the night. The package featured videogame-style graphics with pounding drums and singing in the background. The package ran down the lineup, but the matches went by very quickly. The graphics they used for the wrestlers throughout the night reminded me of the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” movie.

The show started with Danny Dominion on commentary. Joel Gertner entered the ring and delivered his usual lewd promo much to the delight of the fans.

The announcer then introduced Kevin Steen, the Sheik, El Generico, and Harry Smith as the participants in the Resistance Pro Heavyweight Championship tournament. Sheik’s manager Rinaldo Piven got on the mic and heeled on the crowd. Sheik has the stereotypical Middle Eastern gimmick with Piven playing the role of the rich manager. Piven said Sheik was the future of Resistance Pro and promised he would win the title.

Steen got on the mic and said nobody cared about Piven. He said Sheik would have to get through him to win the title. Steen also promised to make Smith tap to the sharpshooter in their semi-final match. Smith then got on the mic and said he does his talking in the ring and promised to win the title.

Piven got back on the mic and said that he was taking Sheik to the back to pray before he wrestled Generico. Gertner then yelled at Piven for taking the mic from him earlier. Gertner said Sheik was going to be a curtain jerker tonight and his match would take place right now.

Sheik began praying in the ring on a mat. Generico turned his attention away from Sheik, which turned out to be a bad move because Sheik stopped praying and attacked Generico from behind.

1 - - EL GENERICO vs. THE SHEIK (w/Rinaldo Piven) Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final match

Generico fired back on Sheik, but got cut off going for a step-up arm drag. Sheik worked over Generico and used all the old school heel tactics such as raking his eyes and using the ropes for leverage to choke him. The announcers tried to put over Sheik as a dangerous man, but he just doesn’t come across that way in the ring. Generico made a comeback and hit a big flip dive to the outside that got the crowd excited. Generico hit a Yokuza kick on Sheik in the corner, but Piven got up on the apron when he went for the brainbuster. Sheik grabbed a spike out of his boot behind the ref’s back and applied a cobra clutch that forced Generico to tap.

Winner: The Sheik

Star rating: (**) The crowd was behind Generico, who made a nice comeback, but they kept this short and sweet with Sheik getting a win using his spike.

2 - - TEAM AMBITION (Kyle O’Reilly & Tony Kozina) w/ The Canadian Destroyer vs. HALLOWICKED & MATT CLASSIC – Tag Team Title Tournament match

Classic stretched before the match and they displayed a counter for his headstand. Hallowicked went at it with Kozina and O’Reilly at different times, but Classic was busy stretching each time Hallowicked tried to tag out. Hallowicked hit Go 2 Sleepy Hallow on O’Reilly, but Kozina broke up the pin. O’Reilly eventually a tornado DDT on Hallowicked and rolled him right into a guillotine choke for the win.

Winners: Kyle O’Reilly & Tony Kozina

Star rating: (*3/4) – This was mostly a comedy match with Classic being the center of attention doing his stretching routine. Kozina and O’Reilly worked well together and pulled off some nice combinations, but they kept things short. The tag title tournament wasn’t explained very well throughout the show, which is something that should have been addressed before this match, as the announcers briefly mentioned on commentary that this match was part of the tournament.

Hallowicked was interviewed after the match and he talked in gibberish. He seemed upset with Classic. Team Ambition was then interviewed. Kozina said they were going to get the tag titles. O’Reilly then thanked “J.C.” upstairs and mentioned that they had had a great training camp.

3 - - ICARUS vs. JAY BRADLEY

Icarus got a rollup early, but Bradley fired right back and nailed him with some chops. Icarus hit a dropkick, but Bradley shook it off. Icarus went for a suplex, but Bradley blocked it and nailed him with a big clothesline for the win.

Winner: Jay Bradley – This was a good and effective squash to get over Bradley as a dominant force in the ring. The announcers did a good job of playing him up as a future contender for the Resistance Pro Hvt. Championship.

Bradley was interviewed after the match. He heeled on the announcer and wiped his nose with his tie. Bradley said he had been out for a year, but he was here to win. He said winning made the whisky and women go down easier. I don’t know why Bradley has the lonesome moniker if he wants to be with women, but I digress. The announced debated about whether or not Bradley’s arrogance and women chasing ways was a good thing for him.

D’arcy Dixon came out and was interviewed. Her delivery was really bad and the crowd immediately turned on her. She said she had conquered the fitness world and wanted a new challenge. She then introduced the Briscoes, who came out to a big pop.

The announcer then mentioned some guests at the venue including Shane Douglas, a local sportscaster, Lisa Maria from TNA, and Mike Adamle of all people. The crowd booed Adamle heavily. Dixon got back on the mic and gave some inspirational words about the Briscoes. She said they had been putting it in. Jay then got on the mic and suggested they had been putting it in with Dixon. He asked the crowd not to tell his wife about it. Jay said he and Mark would double team Dixon after their match.

Gran Akuma made his entrance, but Teddy Hart was nowhere to be found. Hart finally came out and the match began.

4 - - THE BRISCOES (Jay & Mark Briscoe) w/ D’arcy Dixon vs. SWEET LEAF (Teddy Hart & Gran Akuma) – Tag Team Title Tournament match

Hart went for a springboard over Jay during the early stages of the match, but Mark nailed him with a superkick. Hart fired back a short time later with a powerbomb into a lung blower on Jay, which drew a big pop from the crowd. The action spilled outside with the Briscoes in control. Hart climbed up the turnbuckles and onto a balcony, but Mark followed up to the balcony and nailed him with a superplex and the crowd went nuts again.

Hart managed to tag in Akuma, who ran wild. He hit the Akuma driver on Jay, but Mark broke up the pin. The Briscoes fired back a short time later and hit a suplex/running kick combination on Akuma for a nearfall. Hart got the hot tag and started hitting all sorts of crazy piledrivers on the Briscoes. The crowd went nuts after Hart hit a code red DDT on Jay at one point. Hart continued to go at it alone with Akuma down on the mat.

The Briscoes ended up on the outside. Hart crawled back up to the balcony and took them out with a moonsault to the floor. The crowd went ballistic with everyone down on the outside. Hart appeared to hurt himself hitting the moonsault. The Briscoes ended up getting Akuma alone in the ring where they eventually finished him off with the springboard doomsday device.

Winners: Jay & Mark Briscoe

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a crazy match. Both teams went back and forth and pulled off some great exchanges leading into the finish. Hart is crazy and left it all in the ring to give the fans a memorable performance, but it wasn’t really worth him going so hard that he threw up in the ring after the match.

After the match, the Briscoes drank beer.

The announcer announced a Gauntlet match to determine the first ever Resistance Pro Women’s Champion. The match had all sorts of odd rules that scrolled on the screen while the ring announcer read them. The rules were if you were tossed over the top rope, you were eliminated, any of the women could enter the ring at any time, and the first pinfall won the match, so you couldn’t win by throwing someone over the top.

Arika Cannons, who was clearly a guy dressed up in a cheerleader outfit, cut a promo before the match. He said he would win the title.

5 - - CHEERLEADER MELISSA vs. SASSY STEPHANIE vs. MISS DECEMBER vs. SIMPLY LUSCIOUS vs. ARIKA CANNONS vs. TAYLOR MADE vs. SERENITY

This was a mess at times. A gong would ring each time a new woman decided to enter the match. Eventually everyone entered the match and they did a spot where all of the women tried to gang up on Cannons. Lisa Maria aka Tara from TNA did a good job stepping in on commentary and putting the various women in the match over. It ended up coming down to Melissa and Serenity. Melissa looked to have gotten the win after pinning Serenity with the air raid crash, but the gong rang and Melanie Cruise got into the ring. She ended up slamming an exhausted Melissa to get the win.

Winner: Melanie Cruise to become the first Resistance Pro Women’s Champion

Star rating: (*1/4) – The Arika Cannons inclusion in the match made it hard to take any of this seriously. Things were a bit of a mess with everyone in the ring at one time. The announcers did a good job of making the females in the match seem important, but having a guy dressed up in the ring like a female and eliminating them didn’t make for a great viewing experience. Cruise was a nice surprise coming out at the end to win the title.

After the match, Cruise got on the mic and promised to hold onto the title for a long time while running down Melissa. Cruise said Melissa was a future legend, but she already is a legend to close the segment.

6 - - COLT CABANA vs. NECRO BUTCHER vs. THE CANADIAN DESTROYER (w/ Team Ambition) – King of the Night Time World match

I have no idea what a King of the Night Time World match is, but I’ll go with it. They did a lot of comedy early with Cabana giving Destroyer a hard time and saying he was obviously Petey Williams. They did some comedy spots with Cabana trying to step on Necro’s bare feet, which he no-sold. Necro pummeled Cabana in the corner at one point, but Cabana dragged Destroyer in front of him to take Necro’s assault.

Necro set up a barrier on the floor on the outside. The announcers said chairs were illegal in Resistance Pro, but Necro could get away with using a guardrail. Destroyer and Necro went at it, but Destroyer ended up hitting a sunset bomb to the outside that sent Necro into the barricade and the crowd popped for the spot. Cabana and Destroyer went at it and Cabana looked to have the match won with the Billy goat’s curse submission on Destroyer. The ref got distracted and O’Reilly ran in and hit Cabana with a bucket. Destroyer then hit the Canadian Destroyer on Cabana for the win.

Winner: The Canadian Destroyer

Star rating: (**) – They did some fun comedy in this match and there was some good action as well, but the finish fell flat with O’Reilly interfering and costing Cabana the match. Cabana is a lot of fun to watch and Petey Williams wearing a mask with the Canadian leaf on it is a pretty funny gimmick.

After the match, Destroyer was mad at Kozina and O’Reilly for interfering in the match. He took out Kozina and O’Reilly. Cabana and Necro then ran in to make the save.

7 - - KEVIN STEEN vs. HARRY SMITH – Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final match

Steen put on Smith’s vest and mocked him during the early stages of the match. Smith ended up getting the upper hand and worked over Steen’s arm. Steen fired back and taunted Smith, but Smith caught him with a big slam for a 2 count. The action spilled outside and Smith nailed Steen with a big forearm that sent him flying into the gong at ringside, which made a loud noise. Smith went up top a short time later, but Steen cut him and tossed him to the mat. Steen worked over Smith with a chinlock on the mat before connecting with a head butt to his back.

The crowd was split and Steen continually taunted some Smith supporters that were up in the balcony as he worked over Smith. Steen told the fans they could blame themselves as he drove Smith back-first into the ringpost on the outside. Steen went up top and continued to jaw with the fans, but Smith cut him off and hit a superplex that popped the crowd. The Smith fans roared as he mounted some offense on Steen. Steen fired back and hit a cannonball in the corner for a 2 count. Smith fired back and hit a big powerbomb for a nearfall. Smith then applied the sharpshooter, but the bell rang because the time limit expired.

The announcer said they would get five more minutes. Steen immediately went after Smith’s knee when the bell rang. Steen then slammed Smith’s leg against the ringpost before locking in a single leg crab in the ring. The crowd chanted for Smith to tap, but he ended up getting the ropes. Smith’s fans got vocal and Smith fired back. Steen went for a figure four, but Smith countered it into a rollup for a nearfall. Smith mounted some offense and hit a suplex with a bridge, but his leg gave out. Steen slipped out of a slam and locked in the sharpshooter with the announcer saying there was a minute left in the match. Smith dragged himself to the ropes and crawled up the turnbuckles with his hands before locking in the sharpshooter. Steen struggled as the announcer said there were 30 and 15 seconds remaining in the time limit. The announcer counted down the final seconds of the match and Steen tapped right after the time expired.

The match was declared a time limit draw. Douglas was shown down at ringside and the announcer said they would wrestle until there was a winner. Steen got on the mic and said Billy Corgan wouldn’t want him to wrestle injured because he cares about the talent. He said if Corgan had a problem, he could tell him in person. The announcer then declared the match an official draw.

Match result: Time limit draw

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a good back and forth match. The amazing thing was by the end it seemed that Smith was over as a babyface and Steen cemented himself as a heel by jawing with the fans. It was nice to see the wrestlers get the desired reaction, as that is a rare occasion on the independent scene where just about everyone gets cheered. It was clear Steen still had some supporters, but Smith’s cheers got much bigger by the end. They didn’t do a good job of setting up the time limit expiring during “regulation” time, but it was executed much better in the overtime period with the announcer running down the time.

The announcers said at the next show that Steen, Smith, and Sheik would face off in a Triple Threat match to determine the first Resistance Pro Champion at the next show on Jan. 13. The announcers also quickly mentioned the tag team tournament would be crowned at the next show as well.

Piven came out with Sheik and said Sheik should be declared the champion. The crowd booed. Sheik then attacked Smith. Steen then got involved and they both attacked Smith in the corner. Smith ended up firing back with a double clothesline. Sheik and Steen bailed and the crowd eventually gave Smith a big applause once the post-match activities were over.

Overall thoughts: (7.0) – The crowd appeared to be packed in a small venue that provided a fight club atmosphere for the show. I really dug the entire vibe of the show that featured dark lighting, smoke, strobe lights, and fun graphics for the wrestlers. The show featured a lot of storytelling and character building and Corgan and his crew have come up with something that’s very different from other promotions.

Not every match was great, but almost all of the matches either established someone to the audience or advanced a storyline. The post-match interviews conducted throughout the night were also a nice touch that added a sports-like feel to this release. The commentary was also really good throughout the night as the commentators got the storylines across and gave some background for the wrestlers in the matches.

There were some downsides to the show. The Tag Team Title tournament wasn’t explained very well and seemed like an afterthought the way it was introduced during the show. The announcers even struggled to throw in that the tag champions would be crowned on the next show during the aftermath of the main event, but it was never made clear how many matches or teams were in the tag team tournament.

The Women’s Gauntlet match was also a bad way to introduce a women’s division in Resistance Pro. The match had some good moments, but having a guy dressed up like a women wrestling in the match brought things down, as did the convoluted stipulations for the gauntlet. It was also distracting to have a gong ring each time a woman decided to enter the match. I’m hoping the company has plans for a solid female division because this match was hard to follow at times.

The Briscoes-Sweet Leaf match was the best match on the undercard. Dixon, who was introduced as the Briscoes manager, brought things down a notch with some terrible mic work before the match that saw the crowd turn on her, but once the bell rang, both teams delivered a ton of crowd-pleasing action that built to a nice finish. Teddy Hart did some insane things in the ring, which is kind of sad in a way, as he’s so talented, but no mainstream company will touch him given his attitude. It was a bit much to see Smith vomit after the match after wrestling at an insane pace for a lengthy stretch of time.

The main event was really good. The crowd was split at first, but Steen seemed to turn the tide towards Smith by jawing with the fans. Both guys did some really good submission work and built up to some nice exchanges before the finish. The only letdown was that the initial time period expired out of nowhere, which is something that the announcers should have touched on. They could have also used an on-screen graphic to count down the time in the overtime period. Speaking of the overtime period, they got things right counting down the time and building to a dramatic draw. Steen’s post-match mic work was really good and Smith ended up getting some cheers after clearing the ring of Sheik and Steen.

I like how they used the main event to tell a story and build to the next show. It wasn’t perfectly told, but they got the finish right in the end and it was nice to see Steen use his speaking ability to turn most of the crowd in Smith’s favor in the end.

There were some rough patches on the show, but the good outweighed the bad. Resistance Pro had to offer something different and they did hear with a unique atmosphere featuring different camera angles and graphics than most people are accustomed to on independent releases. Each wrestler had new entrance music and more often than not, I liked the music that was used for each wrestler. If the company can iron out some of the rough patches, this could evolve (no pun intended) into really good storyline and character driven promotion that’s built around good angles and solid in-ring action.

You can purchase this release at ResistancePro.com

Contact Sean at PWTorchSean@gmail.com


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