Saturday, February 9, 2013

She Earned Those Cupcakes: ACW Queen of Queens '12 Review

She's fierce, everyone
Photo Credit: Texas Anarchy
In the questionably original but undoubtedly awesome TH style

  • Athena tapped out Su Yung with a roll-through Koji Clutch in the first of the first round tournament matches.
  • Christina von Eerie took out Veda Scott with a Ferris wheel-style facebuster.
  • In one of the most unique and amazing matches in wrestling this year, Rachel Summerlyn put down the fierce challenge of Jazz with a Gory special bomb.
  • Summerlyn paid back Lady Poison for jumping her after her own tournament match by distracting her long enough for Jessicka Havok to roll her up for the 1-2-3.
  • Rodney Mack laid down the White Boy Challenge to Matthew Palmer. Palmer answered it with a superkick and a pin before the five minute expired.
  • In a four-way elimination match for the ACW Tag Team Championships that also included Mojo Bravado (JoJo Bravo and Jordan Jensen) and the Electric Company (Ricky Romida and Bolt Brady), Darin Childs and Khris Wolfe retained their titles over the Lost Boys (Jason Silver and Sky de Lacrimosa) with a Fall from Grace (Samoan drop Michinoku Driver II) by Childs on de Lacrimosa
  • In the first semifinal, Athena pinned von Eerie with the O-Face.
  • In a relatively short but intense match, Havok punched her ticket to the final by dropping Summerlyn on her head with the Air Raid Crash.
  • Portia Perez fell victim to a distracting video from RD Evans stalking her sister and a belt shot to the back of the head by Joshi Champion Angel Blue.
  • Jack Jameson's open challenge turned into Scot Summers and Matthew Palmer beating the ever loving shit out of Mojo Bravado.
  • In the most intense brawl of the night, Athena took home the 2012 Queen of Queens Tournament over Havok with an O-Face that draped Havok's throat over the peak of a folding chair.

General Observations:
  • JT LaMotta on commentary for the whole show. I don't know if it was Stockholm Syndrome or whether I actually grew to like him, but I think I finally "get" his character of the oversexed pighead. OF course, I still wouldn't root for him, but I get him.
  • Su Yung, according to the announcers, promised to "tap that ass." Wrestling double entendres!
  • There was a sequence where Yung bashed Athena's wrist against the canvas before wrenching it, which led to Athena trying to bit the hand trying to get out of it. It's the little things (The Wrestling Blog, 2011™).
  • Veda Scott did her Ring of Honor ring interviewer shtick before her first round match with Christina von Eerie started, and of course, it kinda ruled. Between this and her stuff in AIW, I'm beginning to think this Scott character is going places as one of the best heels on the circuit.
  • Of course, von Eerie answered it with a headbutt, because what's more punk rock than headbutting a journalist?
  • And of course, Scott answered that by working over von Eerie's mohawk.
  • So yeah, Jazz brought her own old-school WWF Championship belt to the ring with her. I thought it was cheesy, but then again, I feel like if you could run into a herd of velociraptors and come out of it unscathed with a kill count greater than one like Jazz could, then yeah, she could have brought whatever the fuck she wanted to the ring with her.
  • For a match between two wrestlers the announcers were billing as the best strikers around, it was based HEAVILY around submissions. I didn't mind at all, obviously, and I dug how Jazz especially worked in her strikes with submission holds. It added layers of brutality to the match.
  • Fun fact: Summerlyn told me that this match was done completely on the fly with no called spots, which made everything they did in there that much more impressive.
  • Jazz doesn't look like the kind of person who should be doing a hip press, but when she busted hers out on Summerlyn, good lord, my gawd, Jesus Christ, and so on and so forth.
  • I got the vibe that they wanted to sell the match as an upset given how much of the match Jazz dominated and how abruptly Summerlyn was able to hit the Gory special. It was probably the most appropriate way to end the match on a pinfall.
  • LADY POISON! LADY POISON! Jack Jameson and Ricky Romida came out to try and make the save, but they kinda just stood there until Jessicka Havok made her grand entrance.
  • Havok came into the match wearing a gas mask, which not only was great psychology to ward off random Poison Kisses, but also fit in with the general oeuvre of her character. I was always interested in what Havok had to offer, but this show sold me on her as a performer.
  • Poison spent the entire match actually obsessing over removing the mask. I know Jessica James is great and all, and the split personality stuff is awesome story fodder, but I think if I had my way, she'd be Lady Poison all the time. It's such a unique character, and she throws EVERYTHING into it.
  • Yes, the biggest reason for having Cheerleader Melissa vs. Jessicka Havok would be that it's a legit dream match. J-Hav busted out the curb stomp on Poison, and it gave a great ancillary reason for that match to happen now.
  • After the distraction caused Havok to get chance to roll up Poison, Poison went HAM. That's all I could describe her tirade as.
  • Rodney Mack showed up with his own title belt, a stylized version of the NWA World Championship. Hey, like gal-pal, like dude-man.
  • Okay, I didn't know what a White Boy Challenge was until afterwards when I asked on Twitter why it took so short for Matthew Palmer to dispatch Mack. For those who don't know or remember (I wasn't watching WWE when Mack was there), the White Boy Challenge is when you get five minutes to take out Mack. So yeah.
  • Gonna make a confession here. While I liked mostly everyone involved in the match, one of the things I probably dig the least about ACW are their four-team tag matches. I usually can't get into them.
  • That being said, Jojo Bravo did his best to make me change my mind, at least about this match.
  • Semifinals time! von Eerie against Athena, which at least started out as a sporting technical affair.
  • Of course, then von Eerie busted out a cookie sheet (which wouldn't be the last time someone broke it out) and Athena countered her with a van Daminator.
  • Athena went for her Koji Clutch to finish von Eerie, so of course CVE countered it with a spike to the ribs. Wrestling!
  • I will never not mark out for the O-Face. Never.
  • After she defeated Jazz, Havok ran in to save Summerlyn from certain Lady Poisoning. Here, Havok attacked Summerlyn before the bell. Wrestling is a fickle business.
  • Havok followed up a backbreaker with the STOMACH CLAW? Be still, my beating heart. BE STILL.
  • I had high hopes for this match, and it kinda just ended out of nowhere too quickly. I get the story implications of it. That being said, I wanna rematch down the line.
  • Angel Blue's theme song - "We Are the Champions." I may have misjudged her.
  • Portia Perez wrested Blue into a simple keylock in the opening phases of the match, and the crowd went into a raucous "TAP! TAP! TAP!" chant. Then, Blue reversed a headlock into one of her own, to which she yelled at the crowd "I AM THE GREATEST WRESTLER EVER!" After one crowd member told her to "shut the fuck up," they all joined in a "Worst in the world! Worst in the world!" chant. I wonder, is Icarus single? Because if not, his soulmate lives in Texas.
  • Blue's flared leggings came off during the match, revealing zebra-patterned kickpads. Of course, the crowd chanted "Zebra gear! Zebra gear!" because of course they did.
  • For a match where there was so much hate between the two, Perez and Blue worked it grounded and almost too technical. But then again, you'll never hear me complain about technical wrestling if it's done well, which it was here.
  • Perez dodged the belt shot and picked it up for herself. I really dug her struggle of conscience before tossing the belt aside. That's real character building.
  • On the surface, having RD Evans distract Perez with the TV screen is such a WWE finish, but you have to realize that just because WWE overuses a trope to high heaven doesn't make it off-limits for other companies to use.
  • It WAS creepy, though.
  • Jack Jameson sighting! And his theme song is "Now You're a Man" from Orgazmo? YES! YES! YES!
  • Seeing him from last summer and then meeting him at National Pro Wrestling Day really gave me an appreciation of how far he's come in his beard game.
  • Mojo Bravado answered Jameson's open challenge, which drew out Scot Summers and Matthew Palmer to pretty much spend the next 10 minutes beating the shit out of them. It's not an ACW show if Summers isn't there to do some kind of mayhem, is it?
  • Havok Pearl Harbored Athena before the final, because hey, it worked the two other times she did it.
  • Havok was working over Athena on the outside. The ref started giving her a five count, and Havok started counting along with him. She broke on five, and then high fived the ref, who accepted, because why would you risk getting murdered by not accepting a high five from the most dangerous person in the building?
  • Havok was about to give Athena a chokeslam, but Athena countered it with a bulldog that put Havok's face right into her knee. It was probably the most amazing counter I've seen all year.
  • O-FACE... wait, Havok kicked out of it? WUT?
  • The moment I saw Havok pile chairs on top of each other, I knew she was going to proverbially fall on her sword. Then Athena crossbodied her onto the chairs, and I felt smug vindication.
  • Athena closed the show with a winner's speech promo, ending it by saying "Now excuse me, I've gotta go eat two dozen cupcakes." I have to say Wrestling Goddess, you deserved those damn cupcakes. Eat 'em all.

Match of the Night: Rachel Summerlyn vs. Jazz, First Round Queen of Queens Tournament Match - The advance hype on this match was that it was amazing. Given the principals in it, I believed that it would live up to the billing. But good lord, Summerlyn and Jazz went out in front of the crowd at Hooligans and had one of the most unique matches of the year. It was back and forth without gratuitous rest holds. The ease in which both wrestlers were able to cycle in and out of holds and into counters was amazing. Hell, the fact that there was so much submission grappling going on was almost surprising.

Here we had two of the best reputed strikers in the game right now, and they went hold for hold for three-quarters of the match. It wasn’t just namby-pamby wrestling school feeling out either. At one point, Jazz went from being corralled by Summerlyn on the mat in a waistlock into slapping on a cross-legged Boston crab in a second flat. Then she segued from that hold into a butterfly Muta Lock. It was like Jazz focused all the energy she put into her strikes normally and converted it effortlessly into submission prowess. The thing was that the strikes DID manifest themselves, only they were integrated into the grappling. Knees went into kidneys. Boots met faces. It was almost like what the actual art of what we know as professional wrestling would look like as a shoot.

In the end, it would be Summerlyn, who fought the uphill battle most of the match against the lean, mean, Diva-crushing machine known as Jazz, pulling out the win with her Gory Bomb that came almost out of nowhere. Through taking an ass kicking and doling out an impressive array of offense herself, Summerlyn proved yet again why she was Queen of Texas in 2012. This match needs to be seen by everyone. EVERYONE.

Overall Thoughts: First off, a note on the venue. Hooligan's doesn't have the same atmosphere of the the Mohawk. I don't know if it's better or worse, as there were things that I preferred about both venues. However, the fact that its bar was far more in the picture for the wrestling surely enhanced some of the matches, especially the American Joshi Title Match and the Tournament Final. I think the venue being indoors helped keep a constant lighting throughout the whole event. One of the very few beefs I have with the Mohawk is that it sometimes feels like a different show from beginning to end because of changing light in the skies.

But this isn't a referendum on venue, it's a show review, and once again, ACW delivered with what is probably their signature event (even if Guilty by Association is their flagship). The women in the tournament were absolutely correct. They sacrificed symmetry from '11, but it turned out the final they did go with was absolutely an awesome choice. While I wasn't enamored with most of the other non-tourney matches, it was appropriate that the best match outside the playoff was the American Joshi Championship match. Even if I thought Angel Blue and Portia Perez could have played up the "they hate each other" angle a little more, it was still a fine contest.

In closing, when you put on a tournament and you get no fewer than two LEGIT Match of the Year candidates plus a lot of other fun action, I think you're going to have a successful event. ACW showed with this installment why the Queen of Queens is quickly becoming one of the premiere events on the wrestling calendar.