Trent Beretta . . . shows exactly how little being the “best worker” of the Best Friends really means when Bryan Danielson can only get a “just barely watchable” match out of him.
Q.T. Marshall . . . puts in a perfectly fine performance while getting mostly squashed, proving that the passable matches with Cody Rhodes weren’t a fluke or carry job.
Wheeler Yuta . . . takes the next step in his young career by bleeding buckets whilst being on the receiving end of an ass-stomp that would make Fuchi proud.
BRYAN DANIELSON vs. TRENT BERETTA
It’s no surprise that this is good, with Danielson involved, but it seems like Danielson could wrestle anyone with a warm body and produce something at least this good. Trent isn’t bad, but he doesn’t add anything outstanding to the match. His best moment was probably his inability to get Danielson into position for his Strong Zero finisher because of his neck. Once Trent’s neck becomes the target, it works because of Danielson’s creativity and viciousness, rather than Trent’s selling. It would also help if he toned down the big spots like the superplex and half nelson suplex, which don’t wind up meaning a whole lot here. The half nelson suplex was only there to set up a lariat (complete with huge bump from Danielson). Hell, Trent’s best near fall was turning over on Danielson’s super backdrop where all he had to do with shift his weight. Compared with Danielson using familiar spots like the rolling elbow, the Regalplex, and the running knee all of which clearly have a specific purpose, and Danielson adjusts the LeBell lock to more of a neck crank for the quick finish. Trent has always been considered to be the ‘worker’ of the Best Friends stable, but praise like that only goes so far when Danielson can only get this much out of him.
SWERVE STRICKLAND vs. Q.T. MARSHALL
Between Swerve’s flashiness and Marshall’s overdone bumping and stooging, this is mostly a fun show. It gets a little slow when Q.T. takes over and it sucks that we don’t get to see exactly what happens to allow Swerve to regain control, but they both seem to react well to what the other person does. It’d would have been nice if Swerve had a better finish than that running kick, especially since he busted out several flashy spots that would have made a better finish, like his rolling flatliner, but Q.T. is ranked so low that nobody would think that Swerve would need to do very much to beat him.
RED VELVET vs. WILLOW NIGHTINGALE
The size versus speed story is a good idea theory, but it doesn’t work out so well in practice. They have a few cute moments, and Red takes a couple of hellacious bumps from Willow, but everything is far too rushed for anything to matter. Red gets hit with a big pounce and then a cannonball in the corner for a near fall, which was OK by itself. But they follow that by having Red escape a vertical suplex and hitting a backstabber and then an ugly rolling transition to get Willow into position for Red’s corkscrew kick finisher. You’d think the two big bumps would have taken more of a toll on her, and that she’d need to do more in order to get Willow set up for the kick. For all of the things that one might argue that this match needed, more time to work with isn’t among them. They just needed to slow things down so that the bigger spots of the match mattered, and for Red to get a more believable comeback to set up the finish.
JON MOXLEY vs. WHEELER YUTA
This is one of those matches that’s better appreciated after tempering expectations. If one expects something on the level of the May ’91 classic between Jumbo and Kobashi, or even something like the Flair/Sting match from the first Clash of Champions, then they’ll likely feel disappointed afterwards. This isn’t that sort of star-making match, where the underdog looks so good in defeat that it elevates him. This is just an over-the-top exhibition of brutality where Yuta bleeds like crazy and simply refuses to stay down unless Mox kills him, and Mox eventually obliges by choking him out. Aside from Yuta’s dive to jumpstart the match and the later table spot (which had no business even being a table spot) Wheeler gets in precious little offense of his own. But he didn’t need to. Wheeler wanted to earn Mox’s respect, and he does just that by taking the mother of all thrashings and daring Mox to do more. Wheeler gets busted open a little bit from a trip to the stairs, and by the time Mox is finished with him the phrase “Crimson Mask” doesn’t quite do it justice.
There are a few moments that reinforce the notion of where Wheeler is ranked compared to Mox, the main one is the way that Wheeler has to scrape and crawl and fight his way out of the bulldog choke compared with Mox easily countering Wheeler’s crossface into a cradle for a near fall. Wheeler does manage a few revenge spots, such as biting at Mox’s face and raking his back with his fingernails as a means to hold him off, but he doesn’t get in much of anything that anyone thinks would beat him. You know all you need to know when you see Mox’s reaction after Wheeler kicks out of the first paradigm shift, and then the second ramped up version. It’s not the shock and frustration that would be expected out of a Jericho or MJF, it’s genuine surprise and begrudging admiration for the kid’s guts and/or stupidity. Mox and Wheeler do what’s expected of them and do an admirable job in getting over the story of the match, but this is in no way a good wrestling match, it’s just a very brutal and memorable one.
Conclusion: This isn’t anything must-see, which I guess should be expected on the B-show, but it’s a fun little hour of TV with only the women’s match being completely skippable.