Friday, April 18, 2014

Pick Three: Two iPPVs and a Cup

Steen will have his hands full with Alex Shelley tonight
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Welcome to Pick Three, a new feature here that will preview three of the best wrestling shows this weekend. As always, these shows aren't the only ones going on, but they're the best in my view, the ones to which you should pay attention if you will.

GOLD - 2CW Living on the Edge IX

Squared Circle Wrestling's signature event, Living on the Edge, is live on Internet pay-per-view this year, and so far, the card looks like one of the most loaded yet surreal of the year. 2CW's ethos reminds me of Pro Wrestling Syndicate in how the matches are put together, but it has far less of a scuzz factor and more of a local charm. The company has experimented with iPPV in the past, only it offered shows for free as both a sign of goodwill and a test of its systems. Now, the show will be offered for a fee. As an aside, the way 2CW eased into iPPV is probably the best way to go. Wrestling Is Fun! used a similar approach as well.

The main event is a unique-sounding concept, a "Captain's Challenge" match for the 2CW Heavyweight Championship. Capt. Nick Ando will defend against former Champ Isys Ephex, Supercop Dick Justice, Gregory Iron, Colin Delaney, and Dalton Castle. The match ends either when the Champion is pinned or when he's the last one let standing. Ando is at a distinct disadvantage here, which makes me think he'll survive by the hairs on his chinny-chin-chin, of which he has many.

The title may be the main event here, but a trio of dream matches anchor this show. First up, the team of Mikey Whipwreck and Yoshihiro Tajiri will reunite and greet AR Fox and Rich Swann in tag team battle. Both Whipwreck and Tajiri represent the old guard of smaller indie spot guys. I will be interested to see how this match is structured though, since both former ECW wrestlers have segued from their high octane styles into more cerebral ring games, making this match an apparent clash of styles. The second match pits Johnny Gargano against AJ Styles. Styles has made the rounds since being released from TNA, but he hasn't really hit up the Dragon Gate USA talents yet. Finally, Kevin Steen will take on Alex Shelley. Steen has wrestled nearly everyone. I'm not sure if he's ever wrestled Shelley before, but the Motor City Machine Gun has spent a lot of his tenure recently splitting time in New Japan. I wonder how fundamentally his time there changed his style. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if this match was the best on the card.

Those four matches don't even comprise half the card. This show will be jam-packed as most 2CW shows are wont to be. If you're in the area, head to the Fairgrounds Arena in Watertown, NY at 6 PM tonight when the doors open. If you would like to order, click here, sign up for an account, and lay your money on the line.


SHIMMER weekends tend to be the pinnacle of the half-year for women's wrestling, but they are often only the beginning of an extended period when the ladies continue to take center stage. SHINE 18 looks to keep that momentum rolling with another huge card on the horizon. In addition to SHINE's normal roster, the various imports from Europe and Oceania stick around to make the pot just a little sweeter.

The main event will pit Ivelisse Velez and her SHINE Championship against the one-woman hurricane known as Sweet Saraya Knight. Knight is no stranger to gold on American soil; she did have a lengthy reign with the SHIMMER Championship up until Mania weekend last year. She also has upped her evil ante exponentially by murdering Pegaboo in cold blood last weekend. And if the threat of Knight's oncoming storm isn't scary enough, Velez still has the spectre of Valkyrie, SHINE's villainous master stable of which Velez was once a member, looming behind her back. While I do think the Huntress will leave Tampa with her title belt, she may incur some extra bumps, bruises, and lacerations in the process.

Speaking of bodily harm, former friends turned ferocious enemies will attempt to settle their score once and for all in a Ybor City Street Fight. Jessicka Havok, the one woman death panel herself, will look finally to quash insurgence from Valkyrie's spiky-bra assassin Allysin Kay. The two have wrestled to no-contests in their prior battles, contests that left scant few survivors within the Orpheum. I fear for the safety of the Floridian peninsula with this match. In addition, New Zealand's wunderkind Evie will bring a mystery partner to challenge the Lucha Sisters of Leva Bates and Mia Yim for the SHINE Tag Team Championships. Evie came to the States with a lot of hype, and she's certainly lived up to it, and I'm glad she's getting a shot in a high profile match. Her partner is the missing piece to the puzzle. In another high-profile contest, Amazing Kong will conclude Nikki Storm's proper initiation into American wrestling culture. Storm has made quite the name for herself both in SHIMMER and AIW, but Kong, even after all these years, is still the measuring stick.

The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL will play host to this show, but you can view it on iPPV via WWN Live at 9 PM Eastern Daylight time TONIGHT.

BRONZE - NWA Smoky Mountain Cup

NWA Smoky Mountain has been doing some work in the last year to help get Tennessee back on the wrestling map. The promotion turned heads last year when it had Ricky Morton, yes, that Ricky Morton win the Smoky Mountain Cup Tournament. This year, no such venerable veterans are to be found in the tourney, but the field is stacked regardless. Additionally, the Smoky Mountain Championship, held currently by Jason "The Gift" Kincaid, will be on the line, so not only will the winner emerge with the prestigious Cup, he might also have a matching belt around his waist.

To have a chance at the Cup though, a competitor has to win a preliminary match to gain access to the finals. Six spots are open. Kincaid will wrestle Georgia wrestling phenom and TWB mancrush Fred Yehi in his qualifier. Sugar Dunkerton will participate in the tournament as well; his qualifying opponent will be Jimmy Nutts. Zac Vincent battles Ron Mathis, while Vince Brett battles Chris Richards. Finally, NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion Chase Owens will look to punch his ticket to the final six-way fray when he takes on Facade. The six winners will then get together in an elimination match to bank not only the Smoky Mountain Cup and the promotion's Championship, but also a shot at the NWA World Championship in the future, currently held by Satoshi Kojima. A good old-fashioned War Games match will also take place. Everyone (except Vince McMahon, it seems) knows those matches are always fun.

If you want to attend, head on down to the Kingsport Civic Coliseum in Kingsport, TN. The bell-time is a special 7 PM local start on Saturday, so don't be late. The event will not air live; however, keep checking back to their Smart Mark Video On Demand page, as I'm certain this card will be available for purchase later on.

These three shows aren't the only ones happening this weekend, but they're the best bets from my view. However, if you don't live in those areas, or if you don't want to view them on iPPV where available, do some research and check out some wrestling in your area. For example, Anarchy Championship Wrestling will be running live from the Mohawk in Austin on Sunday, InterSpecies Wrestling hits up Danbury, CT tomorrow, and of course, the folks over at NWA SAW will be continuing their weekly residence tonight. Wrestling can only grow if you support it. Go out and see a show this weekend. Who knows, maybe you'll find that favorite promotion or wrestler that you didn't know you had yet.