Welcome back to H2O and the world of the Hardcore Hustle. Matt Tremont’s hybrid company of carnage decided that one show wouldn’t be enough for one day and put on a double-bill of epic proportions on the same day. Here we’ll be focusing on show one, You Shouldn’t Have Done That, where the rising stars of the company got a chance to shine against the established stars. Who would be successful as we’d see Ryan Redfield take on Brandon Kirk, Darien Hardway take on the Preacher, Mitch Vallen take on the Dignified Administration and so much more? There’s plenty to dig into so let’s get started.

Stan Stylez defeated Marc Angel via Whipped Cream Stunner

Up first was a match between the two invaders of Cross/Lyon at the last event. Stan Stylez, the whipped cream shake-weight master would do battle with Marc Angel to prove his first win wasn’t a fluke. What played out was a sprint of a comedic opener with Stylez doing all his comedy shtick. There was a tearaway pants assault, whipped cream chops, and shake weight shenanigans with Angel trying his best to be the straight man and give Stylez a taste of his own offence. We even had a moment where the ref had to be resuscitated after going mad with power. It was all a bit silly but it was a fun way to open the show and didn’t go long enough to annoy anyone.

Darien Hardway defeated Preacher Finneus James via Torture Rack Tap-Out

Next up was H2O’s Kryptonian taking on one of its best trainers. Would the Preacher be able to use all his technical skill and trickery to best the raw power of Hardway or was he going to learn a lesson himself, the hard way? In the beginning Preacher did a good job at keeping up with Hardway using dirty tricks and clever techniques to nullify Hardway’s power and had him on the back foot for a lot of the match. Hardway eventually found a way back into the match and hit a series of high-impact moves before finishing the Preacher off in statement-making fashion with an arm-trapped lungblower and a torture rack. Hardway was not amused by the Preacher’s mocking or disrespect and finished him off in anger. The Kryptonian definitely felt more like General Zod than Superman in this one.

Reid Walker defeated Lucky 13 via Small Package

After that was another proving match as Reid Walker went to war with the devious Lucky 13. The once-beloved former Hybrid Champion had taken on a villainous edge and had no problems with beating up his opponents in dickish fashion. Would Walker be another victim? Lucky pushed Mittens about on the way to the ring and initially refused to fight until he’d been removed. Thankfully, he relented and got into the action with Walker. Well, it wasn’t good for Walker at first as after a hot start, 13 punched him out of the air and bullied him for the next several minutes. Walker came back from the dead countless times tanking a lethal double stomp and Piledriver to hit a beautiful Tiger Bomb and steal the match from 13 with a small package. This was pure wrestling brilliance brought about by a fired-up babyface and controlled by the sheer villainous energy of 13. It all flowed perfectly and 13’s clear lack of fucks to give about the rules always makes his matches so much more interesting. This was a great win for Reid after a serious amount of resiliency.

3 on 1: Mitch Vallen defeated The Dignified Administration (Edward Hawkins, Nicholas Grande & Miss Blakely) via Sit-Out Chokebomb on Blakely

Mitch Vallen is an absolute beast. I am not surprised that The Dignified Administration felt they needed to have a numbers advantage to take him. Would three people be enough to keep the former tag champ down though? Mitch went on a rampage, blasting through the Administration’s attempted double team and throwing himself into them with reckless abandon. He’d even throw them into each other proclaiming, “Now Kiss,” and stood tall for the first part of the match as the Administration scrambled to regroup. It took all three of them in the ring at once to make a dent on Mitch and gave him a barrage of triple-team attacks and combos. They couldn’t keep him down though and he just got angrier and angrier as time went on. He eventually battered away Hawkins and Grande with Strong Slams and finished off Blakely with a Sit-Out Chokebomb to take the win. He had put down three opponents and proven once again he was a monster in the ring. He called out another monster, SHLAK

Sean Henderson defeated Conor Claxton via Code Red Destroyer

So, this is a match I never knew I needed. Sean Henderson is one of H2O’s most beloved stars. He has had a hard road in the company through his own ambition and often self-destructive willingness to win. Now, he was being given another chance to prove himself against one of the company’s best, Conor Claxton. These two gave us an amazing contest. It was a back-and-forth bout of Claxton’s calculated savagery meeting the unstoppable heart of Sean Henderson. It might have been on the short side but it had all the hard-hitting moves and crazy counters you could want. Henderson got his hot start and fought upwards to get an upset win over Claxton. it was an excellent way to come back to the show after an entertaining trip down memory lane during intermission.

Ryan Redfield defeated Brandon Kirk via Red Dead Redemption

We were back to the proving ground matches as Ryan Redfield was giving his chance to get his name out there against one of wrestling’s most reviled (well kind of) Brandon Kirk. Would Redfield topple the Rogue or would Kirk find a way to best this rising star? It wasn’t a pretty match for either of them. This was a full-on fight of brutal proportions. Brandon Kirk might be a deathmatch guy but his deadliest weapons are his hands. Both guys threw bomb after bomb with neither man giving an inch. This was a bonafide slugfest with some extra power moves thrown in between the lariats and fists. There were so many shots here that would have felled lesser men but these two somehow kept going until the Red Dead Redemption finally put Kirk away for the win. Redfield picked up a massive win over an established star but it definitely hadn’t been easy. He’d fought through Piledrivers and Brainbusters to land that finisher and I imagine both men felt the after-effects of this match the day after.

H2O Tag Team Titles: The Kidz (Marcus Mathers & Austin Luke) vs The Brand (Chris Bradley & Kristian Ross) ends in no contest

It was put up or shut up time for the new tag team champions. They’d bested White Trash Forever but could they prove that victory wasn’t a one-time thing by taking on The Brand. Who would win in the battle of rising stars vs former rising stars? It turned out neither would as Nick Papagiorgio would get the match thrown out by being a dick. This was a shame because it was a genuinely great tag match. It took the traditional tag match formula as The Brand looked to show that their brand of strong offence and size advantage mixed with some rule-bending could overpower the heart and scrappy determination of The Kidz. Both teams brought their A-game and showed a lot of what they were capable of. We saw excellent displays of double team manoeuvres, double team submissions and so much more across the space of this match that ended in a wet fart of a finish because of WTF’s slimeball ref appearing. I’d love to see another match between these two teams later down the line as it had potential show-stealer written all over it. Oh, and of course Papagiorgio’s interference was all a ruse so WTF could run off with the tag titles to use in their own nefarious reasons in the second show of the day.

Anything Goes: Jimmy Lyon defeats Xavier Cross via Headlock Driver onto Tack Chair

Last but not least, the main event. It was time for a bit of the old ultraviolence as we got the original match from Nightmare After Xmas. Jimmy Lyon and Xavier Cross would finally get the chance to go one on one in a match with no rules, no whipped cream, just violence. A Violent masterpiece to be precise. I wasn’t exactly expecting much but this went above and beyond what it needed to do. It had a bed of nails, broken mirrors, stop signs, thumbtack pits, and a whole lot of tubes. These two genuinely went above and beyond to put on an emotional, jaw-dropping battle of spots that genuinely could have ended credibly about seven or eight different times. The finishing stretch saw Lyon hit a powerbomb through a reinforced table followed by a fisherman buster onto a tube bundle followed by a headlock driver onto a tack chair. Now, that is hardcore. As I said, it wasn’t all spots either. It was a genuinely well thought out match with both guys taking some questionable bumps in the name of the story. This was definitely main-event material and not one to be slept on out of the double bill. Xavier Cross was looking to leave a lasting impression, I think even in the loss, he achieved that by showing just how hardcore he could get. It was an excellent way to end a fun show full of chaos, brawling, and technical masterclasses. Be sure to check back in the coming days for the review of show two.

All images courtesy of H2O Twitter, Earl Gardner Photography