A week before TNA’s Turning Point Pay-Per-View, several of the company’s stars appeared at the latest Blood, Sweat, and Ears show in Mississauga held this past Sunday. Though the card would have been a solid indy show without the TNA presence, the big names definitely helped the company deliver the fans more than their money’s worth in entertainment value.
The main event was advertised as Sabu vs. Abyss, which would have been a preview of the barbed wire match the two will be having next Sunday. Unfortunately, Sabu was not able to attend, but the company more than made up for his absence with their replacement, another hardcore icon, former (and possibly next) NWA Heayweight champion, Rhino. Not surprisingly, once the opening bell sounded, the two behemoths immediately started brawling, eventually making their way into the crowd of about 300 people who filled Club 107/108. After a few minutes of this melee, the match headed back to the ring, but not before each man smashed his opponent’s head against the ringside barrier. Once there, the two continued to pound each other mercilessly with a chair that somehow got into the ring. Abyss gained the advantage, and with his opponent prone, Abyss took the opportunity to set up a table in the ring. Apparently, the strongest table ever made, or at least that’s what it looked like when Rhino was chokeslammed through it. The ref had been knocked out earlier, so couldn’t count the fall, prompting Abyss to lean another table up against the turnbuckles. A reversed Irish Whip attempt left him standing in front of the table, and a GORE! by Rhino put him through it hard. The ref had awoken by this point, and counted the 1-2-3 for the Man-Beast. After the match, Abyss showed his displeasure by delivering the Black Hole Slam to the ref, and hitting the hapless ring announcer, Dave Blezard from Toronto radio station Z103.5, with a Shock Treatment, to put the show to a close.
The other main event pitted Team Canada’s Petey Williams and Bobby Roode against local indy star James Champagne and Monty Brown. Brown, who was announced as a surprise partner replacing the scheduled Chris Sabin, received a huge ovation when he came to the ring. Even his promo wherein he ranted against his upcoming PPV opponent (and fellow Canuck) Christian Cage couldn’t stop the crowd from cheering the Alpha Male. Much of the match featured Monty using his size and strength to bully the smaller Team Canada, especially X-Division title contender Petey Williams. Brown and Champagne dominated for several minutes before Williams fought back and eventually made the hot tag to Roode. The end came when Petey was setting up Champagne for the Canadian Destroyer, but was blindsided by Monty who delivered a POOOOOUNCE, allowing Champagne to pin the downed Williams. The two heels left before Williams and Roode could recover, and one can only hope that Champagne, who has been egging on the Canadians at every opportunity, will get his comeuppance next time around. A good performance by all four, including Champagne, who held his own with the marquee names — his skills, both in-ring and on the mic, would make him a good candidate for a TNA roster spot someday.
Match One: Vlad the Penetrator vs. Josh Taylor
Taylor started off quickly, but before too long, the bulbous Vlad stopped him with a big powerbomb. The big Russian takes control, but his cockiness cost him and as he posed for the crowd, Taylor scrambled up to the top and hit him with a missile dropkick, followed by a climb-the-corner DDT. Taylor went to the well once too many, and as he tried for a high-cross body, Vlad caught him, hit a Michinoku Driver, and got the pinfall victory.
Match Two: Tiana vs. Danyah
The BSE beauties had the crowd hooting and hollering throughout this short match, which saw Tiana assault Danyah’s back for the lion’s share. As Danyah started to mount a comeback, Tiana pulled out some more chicanery, rolled her up, and using her legs on the ropes for leverage, got the 1-2-3.
Next, Brampton death metal band Shatterpoint warmed up the crowd with a few rocking numbers. I guess I’m in that stage that Jethro Tull sang about — too old to rock and roll, too young to die. It was a good performance, but I found it mighty loud for my tastes.
Match Three: Dan Paysan vs. Sombra vs. Ash vs. Jake O’Reilly vs. Michael Elgin vs. El Vigote (Suicide 6-pack match)
Naturally, given the cruiserweight talent involved, the match started off quickly and didn’t slow down until the final bell rang. Often, these types of matches end up being total spot-fests, with bodies flying around recklessly with no meaningful story being told. This one, however, was well-paced and had some logic to it, with the undercurrent being some heat between Jake O’Reilly and the fan favourite Ash. Some funny stuff here as well, as the Mexicans would frequently get into the ring only to blind tag in another unwilling participant in order to avoid having to face off against one another. The highlight of the match had to be a nice spot where the three bad guys delivered a chain vertical suplex on the three good guys and followed that up with three simultaneous planchas. Eventually, El Sombra would get the win by pinning Jake O’Reilly. But, despite not winning, the breakout performer in this one was definitely Michael Elgin who impressed with his in-ring abilities and, even more, his intense angry reactions to the crowd’s taunting.
Match Four: Sinn vs. Kobra Kai
This match was somewhat disappointing, particularly after the last one. It appeared that there was a lack of chemistry between the two, as the match didn’t seem to flow as well as it could have. Sinn hit a creative variant of the RKO on Kai. Kai came back with a lionsault, and then locked on a crossface armbar to gain an anti-climactic submission win.
Match Five: Flesh (w/ Vlad the Penetrator) vs. Shawn Speers
This was a glorified squash, as Flesh used his power to thwart any of Speers’ offense. Just when it looked like Shawn would be able to fight his way back, Vlad interfered from the outside. Flesh capitalized, hit a Tiger Driver, and got the win.
Match Six: The Terror Unit (T. Gomez and Anton Arakis) vs. Twisted Steele (Otis Idol and Completely Cody Steele)
Twisted Steele was hugely popular with the crowd, in no small part due to Cody’s mullet which received its own cheer at one point. Pretty standard tag match here. Otis took a beating from the Terror Unit for some time, before Cody finally got his chance to clean house. They hit a double standing suplex on one of the Unit and covered him for the easy win.
During the intermission, Shatterpoint performed again, while I called my broker to invest in a hearing aid manufacturing company.
Match Seven: TNT (Tyson Dux and Tornado) vs. The Blackouts vs. The Suicide Kings (Extremo and Cody 45)
Another quick-paced tag team match that showcased the high-flying arsenal of all six guys, save for Dux who has more of a ground game (and his trademark wacky dance). Unfortunately, one of the Blackouts apparently injured himself during a melee, as he left for the back halfway through the match. Good storytelling here, as the friendly rivalry between the Kings and TNT slowly escalated into a full-fledged fight. In the end, the mean streak of TNT showed through, and after they laid out the Kings, they invited the remaining Blackout to make the cover and get the win. After the match, TNT continued their assault, hitting a spiked piledriver on Cody and beating down Extremo without mercy, until the Blackout made the save. Looks like a feud between the Kings and TNT has started.
Match Eight: Hellvis vs. Frankie the Mobster
I’ve been wanting to see Frankie live since reading about some of his matches in IWS, and this, his BSE debut, was my first opportunity. Unfortunately, possibly due to his facing a (I presume) new opponent for the first time, they just didn’t seem to click as well as I’d hoped. The match was rather plodding, with Hellvis keeping the action grounded on the mat. The Mobster was able to hit a nice DDT, but his momentum was stopped by a Hellvis bulldog. As Hellvis was looking to end things with a top rope superplex. Frankie pushed him down, and then landed a neat somersault pinning combination that had Hellvis locked up as if hit with a fisherman’s suplex.
With this event, BSE has also reached a “turning point” of sorts, as in a rather short time, the promotion has gone from an independent promotion with good potential into a very good independent promotion with potential to be even better. A couple of slow matches aside, Sunday’s show was generally well-booked, and featured a selection of matches that catered to different tastes. The company handled the absence of Sabu very classily by offering refunds at the door for anyone who wanted one — and even letting them watch the first four matches for free (anyone who has been to a show where they simply said “too bad, so sad, card was subject to change” will appreciate this kind of respect from a promoter). Of course, there are still things that can be done better — not the least of which is the lighting, which was pretty bad and definitely should be changed next time. And, over time, the company should consider defining their homegrown talents a little more — giving them some promo time, setting up feuds, and possibly introducing a title (the Adrenaline Cup tournament from a couple of shows ago was a good starting point in that direction, and they might consider spinning that off into a Suicide 6-Pack championship division) — so that even when the main events aren’t as stacked as these ones were, the importance of the undercard is still somewhat boosted. Either way, there is still room for the company to get better — though the growth they’ve shown in its short existence thus far is still pretty impressive.
The next BSE show, which will feature “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels in action, takes place on February 5th at the Club 107/108 hall in Mississauga.
Bob Kapur can’t hear you. So if you have anything to say, feel free to e-mail him at [email protected].