RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S WRESTLING IS ART REVIEW SERIES: "Pop" 2/16 - Cabana-Donst, Fox-Taylor, Batiri-Thunderfrog & Gulak
Mar 29, 2013 - 3:23:26 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S DVD REVIEW SERIES
WRESTLING IS ART
FEBRUARY 16, 2013
This is Wrestling is Art’s debut show. The gym they are holding the show in is fairly large, but the crowd they drew for this show is fairly impressive for a debut show. There looks to be around 300-350 fans in attendance.
(1) Francis O’Rourke vs. Sugar Dunkerton. O’Rourke is a talented up and coming independent wrestler, who usually goes by the name Biff Busick, but he’s got a new gimmick in Wrestling is Art where the fans taunt him with Francis chants, but he prefers to be called Frank. Dunkerton eggs the fans on to chants Francis and O’Rourke does not like it. In a funny moment, the crowd is all fired for both men to lock up and one fan yells out “boring” and Dunkerton addresses his complaint. Dunkerton teases O’Rourke with a butt bump before going behind him, jumping over him, and delivering one to his face. Dunkerton locks in a leg submission and calls O’Rourke Francis. O’Rourke fired up and poked Dunkerton in the eyes before going back on the attack. O’Rourke used a lot of shortcuts to maintain the upper hand before finally snapping Dunkerton’s neck over the top rope.
Dunkerton fired back and hit a bridging butterfly suplex, but only got a 2 count. They went back and forth and O’Rourke hit a blockbuster for a nearfall. Dunkerton fired back and hit a running knee to O’Rourke’s head for the win.
Winner: Sugar Dunkerton – This was a fun opening match with the crowd vested in the match thanks to O’Rourke’s heel tactics. The crowd was very happy that Dunkerton won the match.
(2) Kobald vs. Jervis Cottonbelly. Before the match, Kobald made his entrance and tried to steal anything he could get his hands on from the fans in attendance at ringside. Cottonbelly is a masked wrestler with a top hat and cane. He came out waving and bowing to the fans at ringside. Chuck Taylor came into the commentary booth with Denver Colorado and called Cottonbelly a fraud and not a real gentleman like him. Kobald started acting like Hogan, so Cottonbelly did the Ultimate Warrior ring rope shake. Cottonbelly challenged Kobald to a test of strength, but Kobald bit his hand when he had the upper hand. Kobald continued to work over Cottonbelly’s hand. Kobald bailed to the outside after Cottonbelly fired back. Cottonbelly did the gentlemanly thing and held the ropes down for Kobald to get back into the ring. Kobald put on Cottonbelly’s hat and jacket and shook Cottonbelly’s hand. This is too funny. Kobald took off Cottonbelly’s coat and folded it up with his hat. Kobald teased handing the items back to Cottonbelly, but threw them at him instead. Kobald put the boots to Cottonbelly before tossing him to the outside.
Cottonbelly countered a submission with a headstand and applied a leg submission, but Kobald got the ropes. Kobald went right back on the attack and took Cottonbelly down with an elbow to the back of the neck for a 2 count. Cottonbelly did his version of the people’s elbow, but switched his elbow pad to his other arm before dropping it down on Kobald for a 2 count. Kobald fired back and hit a spear before going up top for the demon’s toilet. Kobald connected successfully for the win and the crowd booed.
Winner: Kobald – This was another fun match with the crowd engaged in the goblin Kobald mocking Cottonbelly’s gentleman personality. The highlight of the match was the Hogan-Warrior confrontation between both men. This was another entertaining undercard match.
(3) The Batiri (Obariyon & Kodama) vs. The Estonian Thunderfrog & Drew Gulak. Thunderfrog is a masked wrestler that carries a hammer like Thor. Gulak hit a huge lariat on Obariyon early in the match that fired up the crowd. Thunderfrog then tagged in to a big ovation. Kodama switched with Obariyon and pretended to be still down on the mat. Thunderfrog went up top, but Kodama tossed him to the mat. The Batiri tagged in and out to work over Thunderfrog. Sydney Bakabella was in on commentary and mentioned he had read about Gulak in the dirtsheets in the past. The crowd tried to rally behind Thunderfrog, but the Batiri cut him off before he could tag out. Gulak ran into the ring, but got sent right to the outside by Obariyon. Thunderfrog slipped out of a double suplex and tagged in Gulak, who ran wild. Gulak hung Obariyon upside down in the corner and suplexed Kodama into him. Gulak followed up with a big slam on Obariyon, but Kodama made the save.
The action broke down and Thunderfrog hit a sledgehammer to the top of Obariyon’s head, but Kodama made the save. Thunderfrog got his hammer and came off the top, but instead of hitting his opponents, he hit the mat and everyone including the ref went down and the crowd popped. Thunderfrog hit a huge powerbomb on Kodama, but Obariyon made the save at the last second. The Batiri got Thunderfrog alone in the ring. He took down Obariyon, but Kodama hit a blockbuster off the top for the win.
Winners: Kodama & Obariyon
Star rating: (***) – I continue to be impressed with The Batiri. They’ve gotten really good in the ring. This was a fun match that the crowd was into throughout. Thunderfrog’s gimmick is a lot of fun and when he hit the ring with his sledgehammer and bumped the Batiri and the ref, I nearly died laughing. Gulak’s offense also looked really crisp in this match and he’s someone to keep an eye on in 2013.
(4) Chuck Taylor vs. A.R. Fox. Fox sent Taylor to the floor with a dropkick during the early stages of the match. He went for a flip dive to the outside, but Taylor got out of the way. Fox landed on his feet and a short time later, Fox hit the kick flip off the ringpost to the floor on Taylor and the crowd went nuts. Fox set up Taylor on the apron and went for a leg drop off the top, but Taylor got out of the way. Ouch! Taylor went to the outside and hit an atomic drop on Fox. Taylor hit a pair of slams on Fox back inside the ring and flexed for the crowd. Taylor hit soul food and a huge running kick, but Fox kicked out. Fox fired back and hit a springboard missile dropkick that sent Taylor to the floor. Fox hit a series of dives starting with going through the first and second rope, then the second and third rope, and finally over the top onto Taylor. The crowd went nuts, but Fox only got a two count after tossing Taylor back into the ring.
The crowd fired up as Fox went back on the attack. He went for a charge into the corner, but Taylor hit him with a butt bump. Fox tried to matrix up off his back a short time later, but Taylor nailed him with a German suplex for a nearfall. Taylor hit an uranagi and a soccer kick to Fox’s chest for another 2 count and the crowd applauded. Fox cut off Taylor up top and hit a twisting brainbuster. The crowd applauded as Fox went up top. Fox went for a big swanton, but Taylor got his knees up and applied a single leg crab. Fox struggled, but got to the ropes to break the hold. Taylor went up top slowly and ended up missing a moonsault. Fox followed up a short time later with a running SSP into the corner. Fox went for Lo mein pain, but Taylor dropped it and hit the awful waffle for the win.
Winner: Chuck Taylor
Star rating: (***1/2) – Fox and Taylor brought it in this match. Taylor controlled a lot of the action until Fox began his comeback and hit some incredible dives to the outside. I loved the finish with Taylor countering Lo mein pain into the awful waffle for the win. That was sick.
(5) Mike Quackenbush vs. Jaka. I wonder what Jaka does outside of wrestling with a haircut like that. The savage Jaka is apparently an adept technical wrestler, as he dominated Quackenbush on the mat during the early stages of the match. Quackenbush baited Jaka into charging at him in the corner and ended up nailing him with a nice twisting arm drag. Quackenbush then hit a springboard moonsault to the outside and the crowd applauded. Quackenbush rolled Jaka up back inside the ring, but Jaka kicked out sending Quackenbush into the turnbuckles before hitting a big shoulder breaker. Jake continued to work over Quackenbush before raking his face. Jaka then applied a nerve hold on Quackenbush. The crowd tried to rally behind Quackenbush. Quackenbush went for a rollup, but Jaka held onto the ropes and he took a hard fall to the mat.
The crowd tried to fire up behind Quackenbush once again as Jaka raked away at his face in the corner. Jake hung Quackenbush in the ropes and nailed him with a running punch on the apron. Jaka covered Quackenbush, but only got a 2 count. Jaka applied another nerve hold and the crowd tried to rally behind Quackenbush again. Quackenbush tried smashing Jaka’s head into the turnbuckle, but he shook it off. Jaka sent Quackenbush to the mat and went up top, but ended up missing a splash. Quackenbush mounted some offense on Jaka and the crowd fired up. Quackenbush hit the BTS on Jaka, but only got a 2 count. A short time later, Jaka ducked a palm strike and suplexed Quackenbush across the ring. That was a nice spot. Jaka covered Quackenbush, but only got a 2 count. They battled up top and Quackenbush shoved Jaka to the mat and hit a swanton, but could only cover Jaka with one arm and he kicked out. Jaka charged at Quackenbush a short time later, but Quackenbush countered him and got a rollup for the pin.
Winner: Mike Quackenbush – This match dragged in spots, especially when Jaka was on offense, as he is just too methodical to maintain my interest. There were some nice sequences down the stretch and the crowd was into Quackenbush’s comebacks.
After the match, Jaka teased bringing a chair into the ring and sold frustration. Quackenbush asked the fans if he had pinned Jaka fair and square. The crowd cheered and Quackenbush said the people had spoken and he left the ring. Quackenbush went into the stand and shook hands with several children before heading backstage.
Tim Donst was out next and the fans booed. Colt Cabana then came out to a big ovation from the crowd. Cabana hugged a man at ringside with a WWECW Championship belt. Donst went after the man a short time later and Cabana told Donst not to touch his dad. That was hilarious. The crowd started a “Mr. Cabana” chant. Cabana told his “dad” he had things under control. Cabana’s dad did Zach Ryder’s woo woo woo woo routine and Cabana told him to settle down and not embarrass mom.
(6) Tim Donst vs. Colt Cabana. Cottonbelly came in on commentary sounding like a child from an 1800s Christmas play. Cabana tried his usual comedic antics on Donst early and they proved to be effective. Cabana went for the flying apple in the corner, but Donst caught him and hit a suplex. Donst went to grab a chair, but the ref took it away from him on the outside. Donst suplexed Cabana from the apron back into the ring, but only got a 2 count. Donst eventually went up top, but Cabana got his feet up. Cabana fired up on Donst and hit his signature punches followed by the big elbow.
Donst went for an ace crusher a short time later, but missed. Donst ended up catching Cabana in a submission on the mat by surprise, but Cabana got the ropes. Donst hit an ace crusher followed by a gator roll a short time later, but Cabana managed to kick out. The fans fired up behind Cabana as Donst went after him on the turnbuckles. Cabana got Donst on his shoulders and dumped him over the top turnbuckle, but Donst rolled to the outside. The crowd applauded Cabana hitting the big move. Cabana struggled to get Donst back into the ring, so he only got a 2 count. Cabana went for a suplex up top, but Donst hit him with the ringpost covering. The ref didn’t see it. Donst went over to Cabana and lightly covered him for the win.
Winner: Tim Donst – This was a good way to establish Donst as a heel getting the win over Cabana by cheating. There was some good action in this match and the crowd was into the action, but it also dragged at times.
Sidney Bakabella got into the ring and interrupted Gavin Loudspeaker, who was trying to introduce the main event. Bakabella asked Loudspeaker about the $10 tickets on the show and said those people hadn’t paid enough to see his face. He told the people in the $10 seats to stare at his back. Bakabella cut an odd promo saying he wanted Kerry Von Erich to come back to the Sportatorium in Texas so that he and Fritz could exploit him.
(8) Devastation Corp. (Max Smashmaster & Blaster McMassive w/Sidney Bakabella) vs. Assailant & Green Ant. Green kicked things off with McMassive. McMassive shoved Green to the mat and flexed, but Green flexed at him and he backed off. Assailant and Smashmaster went at it. Assailant sent Smashmaster to the outside and went for a dive, but McMassive cut him off with a one arm black hole slam. McMassive covered him with one foot, but only got a 2 count. Smashmaster hit a long delayed vertical suplex on Assailant, but only got a 2 count. McMassive hit a big gut wrench suplex on Assailant as the Devastation Corporation continued to dominate the action. Assailant took a double slam and McMassive covered him for a 2 count.
Assailant ducked a double charge and Smashmaster and McMassive ran into each other. Assailant tagged out, but the ref didn’t see it and he forced Green out of the ring. The crowd tried to rally behind Assailant, who finally managed to tag in Green, who ran wild. Green ducked a kick from Smashmaster and rolled backwards onto him. He went for a rollup and Smashmaster tried to sit on him, but Green got out of the way and nailed him with a dropkick. Green tried to take down McMassive, but he wouldn’t go down until Green and Assailant nailed him with a double running dropkick. The action broke down and Green went for a German on Smashmaster, but McMassive nailed him with a kick. Assailant ran in and all four men went at it. McMassive and Smashmaster ended up on the outside and Green and Assailant hit a pair of dives to the outside to wipe them out and the crowd fired up. Assailant hit a doublestomp off the top before Green applied a cloverleaf on McMassive, but Bakabella helped him get to the ropes. Green went after Bakabella, but Smashmaster pulled him to the floor and slammed him into the ringpost. Smashmaster then tossed Assailant off the top to the mat from the apron and the Devastation Corp. finished him off with the death blow.
Winners: Max Smashmaster & Blaster McMassive – This was a fun main event. The show ended on a flat note with two heel wins, which was an odd choice. The crowd wasn’t happy after the match. The match itself was solid given that Smashmaster & McMassive don’t have a lot of in-ring experience, but Green Ant and Assailant did a good job selling for them.
After the match, Assailant and Green Ant tried to strip Bakabella, but Devastation Corp. dragged him to the floor.
Overall thoughts: If you like Chikara and want to see some of their new talent, Wrestling is Art’s debut show is a good place to start. The show was light on storylines and a lot of the action is more geared towards a live crowd than someone viewing at home. That being said, there were also some really good matches on the card that are well worth checking out.
The first half of the show is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the interactions between Dunkerton and O’Rourke in the opener and then Kobald and Cottonbelly in the next match. O’Rourke’s gimmick of not being like to be called Francis makes for an entertaining gimmick in the Chikara/Wrestling is Universe. Dunkerton is another character that is a lot of fun to watch in the ring and these two put on a fun match. The interaction between Kobald and Cottonbelly was also a lot of fun with Kobald putting on Cottonbelly’s jacket and hat and mocking him.
The Batiri-Thunderfrog & Gulak tag match featured one of my favorite spots of all time when Thunderfrog came off the top with his hammer and hit the mat causing the ref and the Batiri to go flying up in the air and crash to the mat.
This card had a little bit of everything and fans of great in-ring action are going to want to check out the Taylor-Fox match. These two put on the match of the night and Fox had the crowd roaring with his spectacular offense. The finish of the match is also something you’re going to want to check out with Taylor countering Lo mein pain into his awful waffle finisher.
The card ended on a down note, which I wasn’t expecting with two straight heel victories. Tim Donst cheated to beat Colt Cabana in the semi-main event and then Devastation Corporation beat Green Ant & Assailant. Both matches were solid and I was impressed with the performance of Devastation Corporation here, as they were able to wrestle a longer style of match and keep up with Green Ant and Assailant.
The sub-five dollar price tag is a big draw if you're thinking about making a purchase. You get a full card with some really good matches that stacks up well compared to other independent shows I've seen charging three or four times the price tag for this event. If you're a fan of Chikara or interested in what Wrestling is Art is all about, this card warrants a purchase.
You can purchase “Pop” on MP4 HERE at Smartmarkvideo.com or visit SMVOD.com to watch “Pop” as a VOD.
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