Date: August 23, 2019
Location: Temple Grand Ballroom, Tacoma, Washington
Commentator: Rich Bocchini
This is another promotion that I have heard a lot about over the years without ever actually seeing one of their shows. The promotion is based in Seattle and Tacoma is close enough. I’m really not sure what to expect from this one and that makes things a lot more interesting, at least most of the time. Let’s get to it.
I don’t follow this promotion so I apologize in advance for not knowing anything involving storylines, characters etc. Please bare with me. I’m also not sure if this is a full show or a TV show that is comprised of matches from Defyance Forever.
Rich Bocchini runs down the card and there is some star power to this one.
Matt Cross vs. Judas Icarus vs. Cody Chhun vs. Guillermo Rosas
One fall to a finish and commentary keeps talking about a recent tournament, which seemed to involve a lot of the roster. Chhun and Rosas seem rather popular here, though it’s a loud MATT CROSS chant as soon as the bell rings. They literally go in a circle to start until Icarus and Cross kick the others in the face. Cross dives out onto Rosas but Chhun breaks up Icarus’ dive.
Rosas monkey flips Chhun until Icarus comes back in to hit Rosas in the face. A jumping back elbow to the face gives Icarus two on Rosas as the fans want Icarus to PUT SOME SHOES ON. Rosas reverses a whip into the corner and hits Icarus in the face, only to have Cross come back in with a clothesline. Cross’ charge is countered with a heck of a backdrop to the floor but Chhun crashes on a springboard to put himself down as well. That leaves Icarus to knock Rosas down and mock him, earning a heck of an overhand chop.
Icarus is back with a front chancery before kicking Rosas in the face a few times. A few more kicks make Rosas Hulk Up and it’s a standing Spanish Fly to plant Icarus again for a delayed two, with Chhun and Cross making the save. We get the big circle of shots to the face until Rosas clotheslines Icarus down, leaving all four on the mat for a bit. Cross pulls himself back onto the apron and hits (or close enough) a springboard double stomp to Chhun and Icarus before getting two on Rosas.
Icarus is back up with a dive onto Rosas but Chhun kick shim in the face. Chhun airplane spins Icarus and uses his swinging feet to drop the other two. Back up and Rosas hits a superkick into a Death Valley Driver on Chhun, only to get taken down by Cross’ cutter. Chhun is back up to send Cross outside and a springboard cutter gives Chhun the pin on Icarus at 12:40.
Rating: B-. This is the kind of match that is always going to work and it is a great way to start a show. Have four people out there flying around and doing all kinds of stuff until one person gets the win. There might not be much in the way of storytelling, but it’s the kind of fun match that gets the people into a show. Classic formula and it is always going to work.
Post match Chhun gets on the mic and talks about how awesome it is to have Jushin Thunder Liger on the show. The fans want to see Chhun vs. Liger and he seems to like the idea. Chhun seems to say he’s coming for someone on September 27 (when he would face Darby Allin, though he was hard to understand).
Rocky Romero vs. Clark Connors
Connors is a New Japan Young Lion and the hometown boy. The fans are split to start as the two of them fight over a lockup to start. Romero’s headlock takeover doesn’t work but neither does Connors’ headscissors counter, meaning it’s a standoff. They go to the mat again and this time Connors’ wristlock doesn’t get him very far, meaning it’s a HARD shot to the face to rock Rocky.
The exchange of big chops doesn’t last long as Romero kicks him down and avoids a dropkick to take over. More strikes keep Connors in trouble as Romero is looking more serious. There’s a shoulder to put Connors down again and Romero knocks him into the corner without much trouble. Romero takes him down by the arm and gives it a good kick before driving it down with a top rope knee.
Back up and Romero slaps Connors, which is enough to trigger the ticked off comeback…for all of two seconds before Romero takes out the arm again. Connors fights out of a cobra clutch and snaps off a powerslam though and they’re both down. Back up and Connors wins a chop off and tells Romero to COME ON. Romero does just that with a big wind up and then pokes him in the eye to send Connors into the corner.
The Forever Lariats connect for a bit before the sixth is cut off by a heck of a dropkick. Connors stomps a mudhole in the corner and then does it again in another corner. Back up and Connors hits a spear to set up a Boston crab, sending Romero (eventually) crawling over to the ropes. Another spear only hits post though and it’s a tornado DDT from Romero. A Falcon Arrow into a cross armbreaker finally makes Connors tap at 13:17.
Rating: B. Romero continues to be one of the most back and forth wrestlers I’ve ever seen as he can go from having the most ho hum matches to something good like this. It’s almost fascinating to see just how good or bad he can be but he tends to be better when he is on a smaller stage like this one. Connors looked great here too and you can see the potential that New Japan and a lot of other places probably see in him.
Post match Romero gives Connors a nice show of respect.
DEFY Tag Team Titles/PCW Ultra Tag Team Titles: No One Lives vs. Warbeast
Warbeast (Josef/Jacob Fatu, better known as part of Contra in MLW) is defending both titles against No One Lives (Derek Drexl/Dr. Kliever), who seem to be rather evil. The fans are certainly behind the champs here and it’s weird seeing them as faces. No One Lives jumps the champs before the bell but Fatu isn’t having any of that and clears the ring, setting up a heck of a suicide dive to the floor.
That leaves Josef to hammer on Drexl, including a loud chop in the corner, as I don’t think the bell ever rang. Fatu knocks Kliever silly again, leaving Drexl to come back with a staple gun to Josef. The stapled Josef is fine enough to hit a neckbreaker onto some open chairs to drop Drexl. That’s not enough though, as Josef staples some paper to Drexl’s head. They switch off and Drexl (who bounces right back up) uses the paper to cut Fatu’s foot open.
You don’t do that to…well anyone really, as Fatu sends him into the corner for a Cannonball. Fatu hits a handspring moonsault onto a chair onto Drexl and Josef pelts a chair at Drexl’s head. Again, that doesn’t keep Drexl down long as he’s right back with chair shots of his own for two as Kliever and Fatu slowly strike it out on the floor. Now the chair is thrown around Josef’s head but it just annoys him this time, meaning he throws it at Drexl’s head instead.
Josef drives the chair into Drexl’s throat so Drexl staple guns him in the head. Fatu is back up with a powerbomb onto the apron to drop Drexl again but he’s right back up one more time. That means a pop up Samoan drop (dang) to give Fatu two, leaving Kliever to get superkicked into Josef’s DDT. Fatu’s triple jump moonsault retains the titles at about 9:00 (as I don’t think there was an opening bell).
Rating: C. Your mileage may vary on the brawling but e pluribus gads Fatu is a sight to behold and they treated him as a star here….at least when he was actually doing stuff. The majority of the match was either in a wild brawl or spent on Josef vs. Drexl, making this kind of a weird match. Fatu is worth the look though, and that is enough to make up for the bad.
Juice Robinson vs. Randy Myers
That would be Ravenous Randy Myers, who was the final champion of the late 90s Stampede Wrestling revival. I know this because I have far too much time on my hands to spend looking up defunct wrestling promotions. This is Robinson’s Defy debut and we get a mini bio on him, including his time in NXT and New Japan. Myers has some new music and he lip syncs to the song on the way in during a rather flamboyant entrance.
Various fans (male and female) are kissed on his way to the ring, with Robinson looking to think this is a bit much. The fans say Myers is going to kiss Juice and the streamers fly in. Instead the bell rings (after about eight minutes of entrances) but Myers heads outside to grab a chair. The chair is sat in the corner, with Myers asking Robinson to have a seat (Fans: “HAVE A SEAT!”).
Robinson finally sits down so Myers puts on Robinson’s ring coat, sunglasses and hat (Fans: “SEXY B****!”) before stripping it back off (Fans: “THIS IS WRESTLING!”). Myers puts the glasses on Juice and leads towards him but Robinson pulls out a dollar, which goes into Myers’ mouth. That means some strutting before Robinson rolls him up for a fast two, which makes things a bit more serious.
Now we get to more traditional start, four minutes after the bell. Hold on again though, as Myers needs to put on lip gloss. Myers closes his eyes and leans his head down for a kiss but gets headlocked instead. Robinson: “I’m sorry, I’m here to wrestle!” They run the ropes but Myers says stop, allowing him to slap Robinson in the face. Robinson hits his snap jabs and it’s a backsplash to set up a bodyscissors to keep Myers down.
That’s reversed so Myers can kick away at Robinson’s back but a spinebuster plants Myers for two. Back up and Myers strikes away to put him down with a backsplash of his own getting two more. A fisherman’s suplex gives Myers two but Robinson is right back with the Juice Box to cut Myers off.
Robinson hits a cannonball in the corner to set up a Jackhammer for two more and frustration starts to set in. Myers is fine enough to crotch him on the top but Robinson headbutts his way out of a kiss attempt. A high crossbody drops Myers again and it’s back to the snap jabs. The big one misses though and now Myers gets in the kiss. The kissed Robinson rolls him up into a cradle for the pin at 11:10.
Rating: C+. Robinson was the star but Myers is one of those guys who is so into the gimmick that it is hard not to watch him. I can get the idea of someone as over the top as him getting to showcase his star power and a lot of it feels like mind games. The match itself was pretty good, but this was much more in the way of showmanship.
Post match, Myers says that since he didn’t have consent for that kiss, he owes Robinson a beer. Myers goes outside to get said beers and they drink together, with Myers kissing him again. Robinson shakes his hand and leaves, allowing Myers to say this world is a garbage fire right now and everyone knows it. Sometimes the voices in his head are not so great and sometimes he is just playing a character. The voices in his head were cutting promos on him all week but then he walks through that curtain and he sees the people and his head is just fine. These people are his heart. That was a pretty cool thing to hear.
Dragon Lee vs. Douglas James
Lee has been around the world but his biggest American exposure has been in Ring of Honor. James has been in a variety of independent promotions and I remember him being pretty good. We get a handshake to start and we’re ready to go. Feeling out process to start and neither of them can get very far with the grappling attempts. James takes him down for a front facelock, which is broken up just as fast.
Lee puts him on top but gets caught with a middle rope hurricanrana to the floor. That means a big suicide dive from James and it’s Lee in trouble first. A drop suplex gets two back inside and they head straight back out to the floor. This time Lee hits a hard chop and a posting for two of his own as James is rocked for a change. A running seated kick to the shoulder gives Lee two Back up and they strike it out with James nailing a superkick, only to get caught in a quick German suplex.
They headbutt the heck out of each other and an exchange of knees gives them a well deserved double knockdown. Back up and James charges into a raised boot in the corner but comes right back with a Codebreaker for two. Lee unloads with forearms in the corner to set up a running delayed dropkick for two of his own. Some kind of a suplex is countered into a guillotine choke to put Lee in major trouble but he manages to muscle his way up for a suplex.
Lee goes up so James plays some possum, allowing him to catch Lee with a superplex. A spear gives James two and he blasts Lee with a spinning backfist, only to get nailed with a jumping knee to the face. James is back with a running clothesline into a top rope splash for another near fall. A twisting top rope splash only hits raised knees though and Lee hits a hard German suplex for two more in a good false finish. Lee goes up so James joins him for some slaps to the face, setting up Lee’s Alberto double stomp for two more. A running knee (with the pad lowered) hits James and a Falcon Arrow gives him the pin at 14:30.
Rating: A-. This was the all action match that leaves you wondering who was going to win and how they were going to keep kicking out of these things. It was pure excitement, which tends to be the case in any Lee match. It’s not about selling or anything more than surviving against the other one. That might not be traditional, but it is certainly entertaining and that is what they made work very well here.
Respect is shown post match.
Here’s what’s coming at the next show.
Jordan Oasis vs. Brian Cook
Oasis is the hometown boy…who won’t be wrestling here as New Japan’s El Phantasmo runs in and jumps both guys. No match.
Phantasmo rants about how terrible America is….except for its President. He doesn’t like Tacoma and Seattle is even worse, because this place is a PWG wannabe. The fans are REALLY not happy with him, as I can barely understand his promo. Phantasmo calls them all trash and issues an open challenge for September 27.
Alex Coughlin/Karl Fredericks/Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Brian Pillman Jr./American Guns
The Guns are Ethan HD/Mike Santiago while Coughlin and Fredericks are New Japan Young Lions. Liger gets the great legends pop and my goodness is that song still catchy. We get dueling Liger vs. Pillman chants before the bell and those two get to start with some circling as Bocchini plays up Liger vs. Pillman Sr. as the big deal that it was. Without doing anything, Pillman tags in HD so Liger brings in Fredericks as well. Fredericks bounces out of a wristlock and grabs one of his own before they head to the mat for the grapple off. HD’s arm gets tied up but he manages to bridge into a cradle for two and a break.
Back up and HD hits a hurricanrana driver and a double stomp to the back to keep Fredericks down for a change. Coughlin comes in for a shoulder and we hit a fairly early chinlock. That’s broken up and HD grabs a headscissors, which is reversed into a leglock. The surfboard goes on but HD is out of that in a hurry. Some chops stagger HD again but he rolls through a sunset flip and hits a jumping double stomp. Santiago comes in for a jumping knee drop but Coughlin wrestles him down in a simple but effective counter.
A double arm crank sends Santiago over to the ropes so it’s back to the grappling. Coughlin spins out of a wristlock and grabs a headlock but can’t get the Boston crab. That doesn’t last long either as Santiago is up with a dropkick for two. Coughlin chops him back though and it’s a double tag to bring in Pillman and Liger (the fans are WAY more into the latter this time). Pillman drops to a knee and extends his hand, which has Liger cautious. As expected, Pillman pulls him into a headlock and takes it to the mat, meaning it’s time for some cocky posing.
That doesn’t last long as a Liger kick puts Pillman down and it’s time for the eternally awesome looking surfboard. HD breaks that up so it’s back to Fredericks for some chops in the corner. Pillman is right back with a running slap so it’s time to chop it out in the middle. Fredericks hits a dropkick to the floor so it’s off to Santiago for a butterfly suplex. The Guns double team Fredericks down though and it’s a running shooting star press to give Santiago two. HD fires off some kicks to the chest, with Fredericks telling him to bring it on.
That works for Pillman, who comes back in for a seated abdominal stretch. A superkick cuts off Fredericks’ comeback and Pillman sits down on the chest for two. Santiago offers a quick distraction so some lame double teaming (I’m not quite sure what they were trying) can take place. With the referee back, a double suplex gets two on Fredericks to complete an odd sequence. A Codebreaker into a windup knee sets up a springboard enziguri for two, with Liger having to make the save.
Fredericks finally manages a spinebuster for a breather and the hot tag brings in Liger to clean house. The Shotei palm strike in the corner staggers Pillman but he’s right back with a dropkick for two. Everything breaks down (Bocchini: “You knew it would happen.”) and it’s Santiago getting splashes in the corner. Liger Shoteis him down for two, followed by the brainbuster for the pin at 20:11.
Rating: B. This got a lot of time and they did a good job of making the Liger part feel like the bigger deal. He’s an absolute legend and by far bigger than everyone else in the match put together so this went well. It was special to see Liger in the ring and they treated him as such. The Young Lions got in their time too and you can see the talent there, with the ring time being what they needed. This was long but it held up, with Liger of course being the highlight. Well done.
Post match Pillman shows Liger the respect that he deserves, with Liger shaking/raising Pillman’s hand.
DEFY World Title: Artemis Spencer vs. Schaff
Spencer is defending and they have a lot of time for this. The fans are split during the entrances (Fans: “OH, ARTEMIS SPENCER/SUCKS!”) and it’s an early exchange of shoves to the face. The bigger Schaff slugs away but Spencer kicks him in the chest and hits a running dropkick up against the ropes. A springboard is broken up though and it’s time for the corner stomping. The Cannonball connects as well and there’s the big toss suplex to send Spencer flying.
Back up and Spencer jumps to the top for an armdrag back down, setting up a run up the corner for a very bouncy wristdrag. A 619 to Schaff’s standing face gets two and we hit the Octopus, which Schaff spins off without much trouble. Schaff’s delayed vertical suplex sends Spencer rolling to the floor but he has to elbow his way out of a Death Valley Driver on the apron. That means a headscissors to send Schaff outside, where Spencer puts him in a chair.
The required Daniel Bryan YES Kicks set up a big one to knock Schaff back out of the chair but Spencer puts him back in (make up your mind dude). A big run around the ring takes WAY too long, allowing Schaff to launch him into the air for a nasty crash down onto the apron. Schaff throws him up the aisle and then back down (again, make up your mind dude), with Spencer driving him into the barricade. Spencer slips off of Schaff’s shoulder for a posting as they have been on the floor for about five minutes now.
An Asai moonsault with a chair takes Schaff down but Spencer needs a breather of his own. Spencer uses the chair as a launchpad for a running knee to the face but a tornado DDT is powered off. Schaff gets on the apron but still not back inside, as Spencer hits another 619, setting up a top rope double stomp to FINALLY get them both back in the ring. A backdrop puts Spencer right back on the floor (of course) and it’s a big flip dive (of course again) to drop Spencer (who he only kind of grazed).
Back in and Schaff’s top rope splash gets two, though he seems to come up favoring his hand/wrist. Spencer is fine enough to slip out of a superplex and Project Ciampa gets two. Some clotheslines with a handful of Schaff’s hair put him down a few times, with Bocchini saying this is testing the referee’s patience. That’s the same referee who let them stay on the floor for about eight minutes so I don’t want to hear about his problems.
Schaff comes back with a torture rack neckbreaker for a close two so it’s time to put Spencer on top. Some headbutts put Schaff right back down and there’s a top rope double stomp. A kind of shaky piledriver sets up Spencer’s Spiral Tap for a VERY close two, with the referee’s hand hitting the mat anyway. Spencer misses a moonsault though and Schaff’s torture rack neckbreaker gets two more. Another torture rack neckbreaker is countered but Spencer spends too much time talking trash/flipping him off, allowing Schaff to hit a third torture rack neckbreaker for the pin and the title at 19:46.
Rating: B. This was another good one as they beat the fire out of each other, with the last five or so minutes being rather good. The title change felt like a big deal and the reaction on the pin made it even better. I wasn’t wild on how long they spent on the floor as it became a bit ridiculous, but most of what we got here was good. The important thing is that it felt like a big time main event and that’s what they were hoping for here.
Post match Schaff can’t believe he did it and talks about his time in Defy. This place gave him a chance and he is grateful to both the company and the fans. Schaff talks about his grandmother watching the show and we get a THANK YOU GRANDMA chant. One more thank you ends the show.
Overall Rating: A-. I came into this with no expectation and got one heck of a show so I’m rather pleased. There were all kinds of good matches and a nice variety of stuff throughout the card. It was also a nice mixture of their regular roster and some guest stars to keep things from getting dull. This was a lot better than most independent shows I’ve seen and I had a really good time with it. Nicely done and I wouldn’t mind seeing some more from them, which is a rare feeling. Great show.
Remember tocheck out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with 30 different cheap wrestling books at: