Two reviews in two days as I checked out the second show of Combat League Wrestling’s 2022 season called House Champion. The first show was very good, plenty seeds laid for growing over the course of the year with it being a good introduction to the rules.
So, once again thanks to the Combat League Wrestling team I loaded up the show on the big telly to have a watch and a ramble for your eyes to enjoy.
House Championship Tournament – Semi Final – RJ Cash w/Derren J Blair defeated Lucha DS by pinfall to advance.
Speaking of rambling, RJ Cash had some time on the microphone to kick off the show, telling everyone that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real, that Connor Rose was a hairy fairy, and that Santa was… absolutely real but informed the crowd that they were all on the naughty list and the only way to get off the list was to cheer for RJ Cash.
Oh he got me with that Santa line, very well played. He then introduced Logan Smith’s stand in for the evening in Derren J Blair.
Even though the promo was maybe a bit too long, he dealt with heckles confidently and hit that killer line about Santa.
Lucha DS entered in my favourite of his many attires, the Spider-Man inspired gear. It’s so cool.
After a flurry of offence in the opening minutes, DS almost finished the match with a 619 and Swanton but Blair stepped up on the apron to distract, only to be chased to the back.
Lucha was on fire with flips and even throwing in a Coffin Drop. RJ Cash showed a remarkable improvement from Wargames Rumble in both his in-ring and translating his character into his swagger in the ring.
Blair returned to the stage, while Cash distracted the referee, and ran in to elbow DS from behind to the back of his head for Cash to pick up the pieces and the pin.
After Wargames Rumble I was curious how Cash would do following his debut as it was fine but certainly would need stepped up which he did in his first one on one match of the season. It wasn’t perfect but he’s certainly grown in confidence since the January, with this show taking place in the March.
Lucha DS is always going to be popular with his look and penchant for high flying with Cash providing a steady support for DS to let loose. A good opening match.
House Wildcat (Derren J Blair & Lucas Craig) defeated House Wolf (Glen Dunbar & Damian Ryans) by pinfall.
After interfering in the opener, Derren J Blair got a major chorus of boos and dafty chants during his entrance. Excellent.
Ryans and Craig had a nice opening exchange before Blair tagged himself in to square off with Glen Dunbar.
This got super scrappy in the middle with bodies, arms and legs flailing about. The referee had no control, or any authority really as he wafted about the ring.
Lucas Craig hit a second rope flatliner on Dunbar for the win. Which also got him booed.
This was a bit of a mess to be honest. Started off okay but it broke down really quickly and it felt like there was no structure. On a positive note, Damian Ryans did look a little more committed to his strikes which was an improvement.
Craig fell victim to his team dynamic, much like he did at Wargames Rumble. After Cash and Blair were so loathsome in the first match, out comes Craig on the same team trying to gain some crowd support, which they weren’t willing to give seeing as Blair sneak attacked the immensely popular Lucha DS less than 10 minutes prior. They were all in on House Wolf.
The Dunbar-Blair interactions were good, as was Ryans-Craig on the most part but overall it got too cluttered. A bit of a miss for me.
The crowd were still loud and active throughout the match so that’s always a plus.
House Championship Tournament – Semi Final – Connor Rose defeated Lad Chapman by pinfall to advance.
With two wrestlers that are very familiar with each other there’s always a higher expectation that the match will deliver.
This took a few minutes to get going, with Rose even getting a smattering of boos during his entrance with some kids clearly not risking being on Santa’s naughty list if RJ Cash was to be believed, but once Rose took Chapman to Gutwrench Burgh the crowd started to get invested.
Chapman regain control to boos but Rose showcased some lovely power based attacks, muscling Chapman out of a Dragon Sleeper into a Fallaway Slam, throwing Chapman around with relative ease.
It went down to big impactful moves and heavy strikes as the two just couldn’t keep the other down. Rose fought out of another Dragon Sleeper to hit a compactor for the win.
This was a war. I like Lad Chapman’s personality but in the way intended, very arrogant and cocky so to see him being taken down is always satisfying.
Rose’s strength was literally his strength, a highlight was him hitting a falling Gutwrench Powerbomb before hoisting Lad up for a second Powerbomb, that was cracking.
A great match.
House Stag (Taylor Vite & Albion de Quincey) defeated House Raven (Brodie Adler & Eric Arkham) by disqualification.
Vite entered with what I thought was a great reception but it turns out it was a Taylor Swift chant and I’ve made a note to get my hearing checked on Monday. Once again Vite was blistering on the microphone, promising to knock out what was left of the crowds teeth if they continued to chant Taylor Swift before once again telling them not to cheer for Albion de Quincey.
Which of course meant that Albion got another big reaction when he entered. Taylor Vite, I can’t give him enough praise because he played the crowd like a fiddle again. Wonderful.
Whereas the Lucas Craig-House Wildcat situation isn’t garnering the desired reaction, Vite and Albion are big enough characters to make it work with Vite really able to run the play to make sure he gets all the boos so that Albion gets cheered. He is a vastly underrated wrestler.
The real test would be to see if Albion still gets the reaction in a singles match.
Vite refused to tag in de Quincey which deflated the crowd a bit but after Arkham dragged Vite into the ring post crotch first, for a public warning, he eventually relented to tag Albion in.
Arkham, and his team, was disqualified after his third public warning for continually breaking up a 10 count to assault de Quincey.
Vite celebrated up to the stage, Adler and Arkham attacked de Quincey. The crowd shouted for Vite to help, begged him, Vite ran back to the ring… only to spit on de Quincey and leave, allowing Arkham to stuff Lego into Albion’s mouth and superkick him in the face while Adler held Albion back.
The match, was good. de Quincey had a bit more in ring time and continues to be solid. There’s definitely room to add some more flair but I’ll reserve further judgement for when I see him have a singles match.
I’m definitely interested to see how it works now with Lucha DS being so popular but having the dastardly duo of Adler and Arkham working together to cause chaos in House Raven.
It also caused some additional friction in House Stag with Lad Chapman coming out to help de Quincey to the back. Someone hilariously shouted at Chapman “WHERE WERE YOU!” which lightened the moment.
House Championship Tournament – Final – Best of 3 Falls– Connor Rose w/Glen Dunbar & Damian Ryans defeated RJ Cash w/Derren J Blair & Lucas Craig by two falls to one to win the House Championship.
Foreshadowed in RJ Cash’s opening promo, Cash aimed some of his ire directly towards Rose and ended up finding himself across the ring from him in the main event. Funny how that works out.
Subtleties aren’t dead with RJ Cash having Blair and Craig carrying the House Wildcat flag while Connor Rose entered wearing the House Wolf flag over his shoulders. It really keeps the thought that Cash finds House Wildcat beneath him.
Rose won a dominating first fall with a pull in powerslam, which had some confusion as it looked like Cash kicked out but it may’ve been a little late.
The second fall was chaotic with the two houses brawling to the back, then the referee being knocked down, THEN Eric Arkham and Brodie Adler came out to attack the referees and both Cash and Rose. Lucha DS entered but refused to take part. Cash and Rose disposed of Adler and Arkham. Cash hit Rose with a chair for the referee to make the slow three count.
The third fall was a much tamer affair with Rose on the back foot. Cash eventually tried to bring the chair back into play but ended up bouncing it off the top rope into his own face. Rose hit a compactor (I’ve no idea what the move is actually called but it’s an inverted backpack stunner) for the win.
I won’t lie, when I saw over 30 minutes left in the run time I was worried about letting RJ Cash loose for that long. Fortunately the match was structured pretty well into three acts. First had Rose dominate with Cash out of his depth, second saw enough shenanigans for Cash to sneak a win, with the hero conquering in the finale. An easy story to tell and they told it well.
It can be a bit of a harder sell when you don’t have the attraction of a rumble match but only the second match really fell short in my opinion, plenty of positives coming out of this with the new faces on the whole really improving.
Connor Rose stood out on this show with two very strong outings. RJ Cash was no slouch and definitely made a better impression, a stark contrast to Wargames Rumble. I think if he gets some boxer style shorts (ala Grayson Waller on NXT 2.0) I think that might just pick up his presentation a bit more but his in-ring is coming together and he had the opportunity to show a bit more character.
Taylor Vite is excellent and made Albion de Quincey such a bigger fan favourite effortlessly.
Derren J Blair was a good substitute for Logan Smith, I missed seeing Smith but Blair slotted into the show well.
Overall it was a strong show, and I’m still invested to see the next event, The Trade Off, if I get a hold of footage.