That Time The Young Bucks
Had A Superkick Party...
Yes, the above photo is really me and yes, that's really The Young Bucks delivering their patented finishing move to yours truly. And no, the cartoon "BAM" didn't really appear - it was electronically added to protect my identity, and also to symbolize that Matt and Nick Jackson can kick HARD!
I'll get into all of that later, but first -- a look at the record-setting House of Hardcore 9 show that was held last weekend in Toronto.
I had the privilege of attending HOH 9 with none other than 2014 Manager of the Year Stu Stone, who is in town working on one of his many film projects.
For those unfamiliar with Stone's career, click on the link in the above paragraph. Up until very recently, Stu was a main fixture on Championship Wrestling From Hollywood and was "fired" as per a match stipulation involving one of his clients.
So when the man behind The Family Stone told me he was going to HOH 9 to scout some new talent, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see this generation's version of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan in action.
When we arrived at the Ted Reeve Arena (a repurposed hockey arena near Toronto's Greektown district), the building was packed - not to mention hot and sweaty from the lack of air conditioning. This would become a serious problem later on.
As I watched legends such as Team 3D, Rhino and HOH owner Tommy Dreamer work their gimmick tables, Stu found time to introduce us to the many contacts he's made in the business, including Chris Hero, John Hennigan and Matt Striker.
Because there were so many people in the building who wanted a piece of Mr. Stone (potential clients, disgruntled proteges, angry fans), Stu opened up his wallet and hired Ronnie Lang, the former head of Atlas Security (which used to be the security force from ECW back in the day) to protect him.
Okay, in all seriousness.... there was no protection money or bodyguarding duty here. Lang was simply working the show, and Stone engaged him in a conversation before the matches began, thus creating a very unique photo opportunity.
But we did use that coincidence to sneak into better seats because - hey, even if some fan complained, what were they going to do? Complain to our new pal, the head of security?
(Apologies, folks -my ringside photography is pretty terrible, due to the fact that the lighting grid was tough to compensate for from five rows back, and my iPhone's battery was quickly dying).
The opening match saw Tommy Dreamer (complete with Dusty Rhodes tribute polka dot pants) lose to Chris Hero in a fun match. Afterwards, Pepper Parks and manager Cherry Bomb berated Dreamer, which brought out the first surprise guest of the evening... TNA's Bobby Roode! Roode won in a fast-paced, competitive match.
The next match (which, by the way, included introductions by former WWE announcer Justin Roberts and refereeing by former WWE ref Jimmy Korderas) was an eight-man tag team match featuring mostly local talent.
I may have offended Vik Dalishus on Twitter when I said his team (which included Bam Bam Bigelow lookalike Ben The Beast Ortiz, RJ City and Ethan Page) worked at a local Target before the retailer disappeared from Canada. I was of course kidding.
The heels were against Matt Striker, Hacker Scotty O'Shea and Team Tremendous in a match that was actually lots of fun and may have even been considered the match of the night!
All eight competitors worked their butts off, hitting their finishers at a rapid-fire pace and even taking turns diving off the top rope. Korderas teased going over the top himself, but thought better of it. Team Striker eventually won when the Big Bubba Rogers-lookalike member of Team Tremendous hit a Canadian Destroyer.
Stone was thoroughly impressed with the locals and told me he will continue to monitor the career of the Hacker (master of the dreaded Control Alt Delete) going forward.
This led to a surprise run-in by former TNA knockout Havoc on one of the heel team's valets. There were actually a ton of underadvertised surprises on this show (and big names, too) that made it all a must-see event.
The next match featured Lucha Underground's John Hennigan (a/k/a John Morrison/Johnny Mundo/Johnny Nitro) taking on Tony Nese, whom I don't think I had seen in action before. The two had a surprisingly-good back and forth encounter, which ended when Hennigan landed Starship Pain.
After that was another fantastic tag team effort, featuring The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) against The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian).
The most "over" person in this match was actually The Kingdom's manager Maria Kannelis, who was cheered like crazy by the Toronto crowd.
During a ref bump (wouldn't have happened if Korderas were in charge!), Maria attempted to interfere, but was thwarted by Kazarian's wife Traci Brooks, and The Addiction won the match.
Following the match, Kazarian took the microphone and asked for the audience to turn their attention to the "TommyTron" (think a scaled-down version of the TitanTron) to watch a tribute to Traci Books, who was making her final wrestling appearance that night.
Brooks, a native of the Ontario city St. Mary's, thanked the audience for their support over the years, as she was presented with flowers by El Fuego and Scott D'Amore. Stone and I started a "Please don't go!" chant for the former TNA standout.
This led to intermission, in which Stone and I tried to find a bottle of water, Gatorade, Steveweisers, green mist.... anything to drink so that we could cool off, but unfortunately the vendors were all sold out of beverages.
Note to whomever supplied Dreamer with concessions for the show: next time, stock more sodas or whatever, especially because the building reached a record-high temperature. After the hot and sweaty intermission (we went across the street to a Kwik-E-Mart or whatever to re-hydrate), Roberts announced that this show set a record attendance for House of Hardcore, which should bode well for future appearances in the city by HOH. I know Ring of Honor has worked this venue before, so it's quickly becoming a local staple.
The next match was Eddie Kingston against "Psycho Killer" Tommaso Ciampa, where the bottom rope snapped off during a spot. Ciampa won the match and a "BOT-TOM-ROPE!" chant was started by Stone and I as the ring crew attempted to fix the structure. "That's the first time I've ever heard a chant for the bottom rope," Roberts quipped.
Following that, Canadian television star "Spenny" (don't worry; I don't know who the hell he is, either) claimed that he was offered $10,000 to take a gore by Rhino - which seems a little high for an indy show booking, Stone confirmed. In any event, Spenny refused the goring, which led to manager Thea Trinidad introducing her client for the evening.... Austin Aries! Another huge surprise for the Toronto faithful, which saw Aries winning after a 450 Splash. Rhino did manage to gore Trinidad at one point, which was just about the only non-family friendly spot of the night.
The final match of the evening was a "Toronto Streetfight" between The Young Bucks and Team 3D.
While this wasn't a match of the year candidate, it showed off the talents of both teams and had fans leading dueling chants for both duos. At one point, both team's finishers were delivered and kicked out of, and the call of "D-Von.... get the tables!" was met with a huge pop. A member of the Bucks was given a 3D through a table and was pinned to end the contest.
Afterwards.... Bully Ray and D-Von both extolled the virtues of The Young Bucks, shaking their hands and calling them the best young team out there today. We half-expected this to turn into an angle with 3D getting hit with a Superkick Party, but it never happened.
All in all, House of Hardcore put on a phenomenal show that I'd recommend any fans in future making the effort to check out. And as for The Superkick Party delivered to me by The Young Bucks? For legal reasons, I can't say anything right now about the situation. Please feel free to send any queries to my manager, Stu Stone.