wrestling / Video Reviews

Furious’ Smash Wrestling vs. Progress Review 8.07.19

September 13, 2019 | Posted by Arnold Furious
Toni Storm PROGRESS Image Credit: WWE
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Furious’ Smash Wrestling vs. Progress Review 8.07.19  

We’re in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Midtown Event Theatre. I’ve seen some Smash before so I think I know who everyone is. I had someone request that I review more Canadian wrestling and this counts. I’ll go on a deeper dive later.

Trent Seven vs. Psycho Mike Rollins: Rollins has been wrestling for 12 years and is a prime example of how hard it is to break out of regional wrestling in countries that are absolutely huge. He almost broke into ROH five years ago but perhaps didn’t look quite so intimidating in a company with actual Big Lads in it. He’s 6’ 2” and 225lbs and is built. He makes Dad Bod Trent look like a slob. Rollins’ hardcam work is amazing. “There are so many more people at home”. There’s a lot of comedy here before Mike eventually decides to take it seriously. Trent has been known to take it easy when there are no eyes on him and yet here he goes from not giving a fuck to his better work in the blink of an eye. It ends up as a belting sprint, once they get going. Rollins escapes the Burning Hammer and eeks out a win. This got really good, although I did enjoy the early comedy stuff, and they beat the shit out of each other. Final Rating: ***1/2

Aussie Open vs. The Pillars (Brent Banks & Tyson Dux): Dux is a cracking technician but I prefer Brent Banks, who is one of those top notch hybrid wrestlers. Of everyone it’s Dunkzilla who’s on the rarest form, going nuts on lucha stuff, hitting a Spinneroonie (of sorts) and lighting Banks up with stiff shots. The chemistry perhaps isn’t what I was dreaming of but there are moments where the match does click and it’s proper tasty. Too often they can’t quite find the same page. It’s never massively noticeable but as they don’t quite trust each other to be in the right place it suffers a little. In spite of this it is Davis who stands out. He seems determined to show off. There are just too many awkwardly ambitious spots like Banks countering the Fidget Spinner into a poison rana. Banks ends up pinning Kyle, which is a bit of a shocker and Smash go into a 2-0 lead. Final Rating: ***1/4

Progress Women’s Championship: Jordynne Grace (c) vs. Alexia Nicole Smash don’t exactly have a deep women’s division so I’ve never seen Nicole wrestle because I don’t think I’ve seen a women’s match on a Smash show. My first take on Nicole is that I don’t like her gear. She has these weird garters for no apparent reason outside of fashion. I don’t really like gear that resembles lingerie as that’s very Attitude Era/stripper bullshit. I’ll give Scarlett Bordeaux a pass because she’s based her entire gimmick around it. In the ring Nicole is passable but Grace dominates the match. The match is largely fine because of Grace just controlling it but a few of Nicole’s moves don’t look right due to either her timing or Grace’s bumps. Nothing approaches disaster though and I come away very impressed with Alexia in spite of her flaws. If she works a higher standard of opponent she’s likely to rapidly improve. They go nuts here with the near falls and it’s perhaps a bit too much but it does get Nicole over. There’s a sitout powerbomb that really should finish but the match continues for another 2-3 minutes after that. Grace retains and this was mostly good. Final Rating: ***

WALTER vs. Kevin Bennett: There is a significant difference in size and stature between the companies respective champions. The match is Bennett trying to avoid taking an absolute ass-kicking and this evolves into him working the leg. This is not the match I was hoping for. At least it makes sense as Bennett continually goes to the knee to stop himself from being murdered in quick fashion. The ending, when it does come, isn’t a flurry of offence but rather the John Woo/Powerbomb combination and that’s it. This was very disappointing. Final Rating: **1/4

Jordan Devlin vs. TARIK: Devlin is here to steal the show. His transitions and chaining in the opening sequence is just stunning. Basically he will have this great fucking match with anyone that’s capable of going at his pace and people only know him in the mainstream as a “shit Finn Balor”, which is hilarious because Finn Balor is a shit Jordan Devlin and Devlin has had his worst match this year with Balor. TARIK is also very good and they have an excellent little match. It wouldn’t look out of place on a FCP or OTT show whereas everything else on this show has felt a little below that standard. It’s clearly very important to both these guys that they stand out. It’s not at the level of Devlin’s better stuff but it’s close. The execution on the big spots is so clean and crisp. Piggyback Stunner sets up the diving knee strike and TARIK picks up the win in what was clearly the best match on the show to this point. Final Rating: ****

Toni Storm vs. Jody Threat: Jody was over in the UK right before this so I’ve actually seen her live. She’s only 3 years in, which is when wrestlers tend to get good if they’re getting good. This is certainly a good test, against one of the world’s most established women’s wrestlers. Which isn’t bad for a 23 year old to be considered the bar by which everyone else on the indies is judged by. The match is decent, although it occasionally suffers from poor chemistry. There is one too many spots where one of them is waiting for the other. A lot of this show has suffered from the first-time bouts. Jody manages to lose a shoe, which may or may not lead to Strong Zero and Toni levelling the scores up ahead of the main event. Final Rating: ***

Team Gress (David Starr, Travis Banks, Chris Brookes & Paul Robinson) vs. Team Smash (Daniel Garcia, Idris Abraham, Joe Coleman & John Greed): I don’t really like Greed and I’ve never seen Garcia before but I do like Halal Beefcake. The opening sequence of Greed vs. Starr just confirms my issues with Greed as he’s nowhere near ready for the pre-planned spots. They switch gears a bit with Travis Banks getting offered a spot in Halal Beefcake but there’s no stringer so we don’t get Stupid Sexy Trav. There are a lot of moving parts here and it slides in and out of being good depending on who’s driving the action. Team Progress on offence is usually a good thing. Brookes orchestrating some sick fuckery with the wet willies being a highlight. Garcia reminds me of Jason Jordan. Only younger and less jacked up. The Smash guys are clearly a level below the Progress guys and the longer the match goes the more blindingly obvious this becomes. There’s a subplot here with Robbo vs. Starr, which leads to Starr arguing with the crowd about who’s legal and a misunderstanding over who tripped who. During this the Progress lads show they’re better at telling stories too. As they argue Greed splashes Brookes for the pin. This was fine but probably five minutes too long and there was a gulf in talent between the two teams. Final Rating: ***1/4

The final score: review Average
The 411
This is a solid show, stolen by the Devlin/TARIK match. Everything else was fine and while I’ve seen and enjoyed several Smash shows this versus show rather exposed where they’re at globally. Only a few of their wrestlers looked at the level of their British opponents. You can see this on Progress on Demand.