WARNING: STRONG VIOLENCE AHEAD
Welcome back to H2O and the start of a new beginning for the company. Matt Tremont finally freed the company from the tyranny of 44OH! when he destroyed RSP and took back the H2O Title. His first order of business was to vacate it and set up a tournament to crown a new champion. It wasn’t his belt to hold and so, he gave 8 of H2O’s best the chance to claim it in a No Holds Barred tournament. Alongside that, Storm of Entrails challenges for the H2O Tag Titles, Kennedi Copeland fends off another five challengers to her Hybrid Title, Jimmy Lloyd and Dyln McKay battle it out to be a new contender to the Danny Havoc Hardcore Title, and much much more. It was all to play for this time so let’s jump into the carnage.
Tournament Round 1: Chuck Payne defeated Brandon Kirk (w/Kasey Kirk) via Lariat
The show opened with everyone’s favourite student killer and Mariah Carey enthusiast, Brandon Kirk. After falling short in previous tournaments and title matches, it was time to strike again and try to claim the H2O Heavyweight Title. Unfortunately for him, he was against the Monster Chuck Payne. He had a tall order ahead of him. Alas, Kirk fell to the Monster but it might not necessarily have been his fault this time. Payne had been the dominant force in this match and had forced Kirk to pick his moments and spots to strike. Throughout the beatdown, he’d managed to use a door to stun Payne and pay tribute to Jimmy Rave but that wasn’t enough. As he was setting up a finish, Kasey interfered and got smashed in the mouth by ref Nick Papagiorgio. Kirk was despondent, allowing Payne to end him with the lariat. Can we really say Kirk lost fairly here? He’d put on a nice little traditional wrestling match and it had been outside forces that had cost him here. Payne advances to the finals.
Tournament Round 1: Ron Mathis defeated Mitch Vallen via Piledriver
Next up, the action got even harder as Ron Mathis and Mitch Vallen prepared to beat the hell out of each other. Vallen was flying solo for this one and seemed focused on picking up the win to spite Jeff Cannonball, whilst still making time for the people. His opponent though had other ideas and wanted to make that title his FOREVER. This was probably the most evenly-matched contest of the opening matches so it was going to get competitive. That it did as we saw Crafty Shooter Ronnie take on a brick wall. It started out as a bit of a Mitch match but the tables turned as Vallen smashed his hand off a ring post. Mathis worked the limb for all its worth and forced a Vallen comeback before taking the match and the title away from him with a Piledriver. It was good fun and another interesting wrestling display that chose to break limbs without plunder. Life was a Mitch then he died at the hands of Mathis. Ron Mathis advances to the finals to make them just a bit trashier.
Tournament Round 1: Devon Moore defeated Jeff Cannonball (w/Duncan Aleem) via Count Out
With Mitch falling it was up to Jeff Cannonball to see if he could fly the solo flag of the fallen Lone Rangers. He had a new social media liaison in Duncan Aleem and was going against one of the trusted vets of H2O in Devon Moore. That new manager was paired with new music and a new attitude as the Soda Baron had become the Gatekeeper, walking to the ring with an air of dignity. He clearly had the size advantage but could he keep Moore down for the count? That was definitely under scrutiny as Cannonball hadn’t bothered to bring his ring gear and didn’t want a fight. After failing a roll-up, Cannonball spent as much time as he could stalling because he “wasn’t ready.” From there, he and Aleem tried to twist as many rules and situations to their advantage. Moore was left fighting off two enemies as Cannonball tried to do as little work as possible. He had the previous trophies and just wanted everything handed to him. When Moore refused to die, Cannonball called it a day and just let the match end in a count-out. Moore advances to the finals by default as Cannonball felt this victory was beneath him. What an attitude adjustment from Cannonball, gone is that fun-loving hardcore hero, in is this arrogant asshole who expects everything handed to him. I already miss King Ugly. What an odd one. it told an interesting new story with minimal action.
Tournament Round 1 Raver’s Rules: G-Raver (w/Evelyn Sage) defeated Marcus Mathers via Low Blow Up
Lastly, for the first round, we had Raver vs Mathers. These two have danced a lot in H2O and always bring out the best in each other. Now, they were doing it for even higher stakes as they were fighting it out for the final spot in that four-way final. These two got the biggest match of the night, clocking in at 20 plus minutes but in honesty, it didn’t feel that. It flowed well as the pair went hell for leather against each other. They played off how well they knew each other and kept bringing out the big guns to no effect. As the match became more unwinnable for G-Raver he changed up the rules and brought out the tattoo needles. Even then, he couldn’t stop Mathers and found himself tapping to him. But the ref never saw it because of one particular individual, Evelyn Sage. She’d been plaguing Mathers and Raver for weeks, leaving them envelopes and invitations in black envelopes. She saved Raver and distracted Mathers enough for a low blow roll-up. Raver won but it was under dirty circumstances. At first, Raver seemed just as disgusted but it was just a play as the pair sealed their evil deal with a kiss. This wrestling epic ended in a new partnership being formed and another new betrayal for Mathers. He was left with a lot of questions, a lot of disappointment, and another invitation.
H2O Hybrid Title Five-Way: Kennedi Copeland defeated Bam Sullivan, Mouse, Bruce Grey & Tyler Voxx via Knee to Head on Sullivan
Kennedi Copeland always gets the toughest of challenges. Ever since she won that Hybrid Title, she has had some of the hardest challenges the company can throw at her. Now, she was yet again doing battle with multiple opponents at once. Firstly, she had the trashy duo of Bruce Grey and Tyler Voxx, the rabid Mouse, and the Trash with the Stache, Bam Sullivan. It would be weird to see the interactions here since Copeland has worked with WTF and Mouse might be more interested in tearing Sullivan’s head off… again. Okay, props to this match it had me in stitches. It was a clusterfuck of comedy as we had Bam become public enemy number one, arguments over who was who in the WTF Shield (spoilers Kennedi was Rollins), Grey and Voxx trying and failing to take the fall for the other, arguments over who was going to kill Bam and so much more as all five fighters had physical and verbal sparring contests. It was all good fun with Copeland picking up the win over Sullivan. Matches like this can get a bit tedious so I love that they infused it with the comedy and jokes that they did. I don’t think Mouse is going to be threatening Copeland any time soon since she could euthanise him now.
Reid Walker defeated Austin Luke via Bridging Roll-Up
One of the sleeper hits of the last H2O show was Reid Walker vs Austin Luke. The pair had blown away the Massachusetts crowd and were now going to do it again on their home turf. They’d gone hard last time, how were they going to up the ante and show they’d learned from their last encounter? Well, it hit harder, was way more competitive, and was nasty as hell. These two beat the shit out of each other from bell to bell, Luke being an asshole and Walker chasing him the whole time. It was a straight-out kicking, slugging, and Suplex fest as a simple bridging pinfall counter took the win. Walker showed he’d learned from the last encounter and incorporated as many different things as he could into this round of action. He managed to counter Luke’s submissions and landed a lot more of his signature offence. It was down to the wire for both fighters with Walker evening the score between them. Dare I say we need a rubber match now? Like, these guys have the crowd in the palm of their hands. Their dynamic is incredible and they just keep putting on bangers. Let them keep fighting.
Contender’s Deathmatch: Jimmy Lloyd defeated Dyln McKay via Tube Crate Assault Driver
It was time to get gory as we had a deathmatch to settle who would be the number one contender for the H2O Danny Havoc Hardcore Title. It would be the Different Boy Jimmy Lloyd taking on Straight Edge Ledge, Dyln McKay in a ring full of fuckery. This was going to be good. Damn, it was way better than even I expected. These two went from 0 to 100 fast as they started with some tentative shunting then descended into the madness of tube breaking, head drops, and fuckery based shenanigans. These two found multiple creative ways to break tubes and made full use of the weaponry at their disposal. Lloyd found himself aggressing with tubes and defending himself from the high-flying horrors McKay could unleash on him. Both were bloody messes by the end of this one as McKay had crashed on a razor board and ended up going through a tube crate contraption. Lloyd had secured his place as the next competitor for Lucky 13’s Danny Havoc Hardcore Title and seeing what he could do here against McKay, I’ll be intrigued to see what extra layers of violence he brings to his match with 13.
H2O Tag Titles: Chris Bradley & Kristian Ross defeated Storm of Entrails (SHLAK & Dan O’Hare) via SHLAK Rampage DQ
The horrors continued as Chris Bradley and Kristian Ross had to defend their H2O Tag Team Titles against some deathmatch veterans. Storm of Entrails were back and in better shape than ever as Big Scare Dan O’Hare and SHLAK were looking to add some H2O Gold to their collections. This was going to be a nightmare for the champs but if they could survive it, one that would seriously cement their legacy. That didn’t happen. It started with a nice hoss grappling session between O’Hare and Bradley and quickly went off the rails as SHLAK had the match thrown out by using a spike on his opponents. Everyone got attacked and the two teams brawled around the H2O Centre. It didn’t last long but it left an impact and a lot of blood behind. The champs retain but they weren’t thrilled with this victory. Chances are we’re going to see these two teams throw down again and it will be gloriously violent. Clearly, enforcing a DQ rule is not going to fly for this team.
Tournament Four-Way TLC Final: Devon Moore defeated G-Raver, Ron Mathis & Chuck Payne via Belt Retrieval
Last but not least, the main event. We had our four finalists, G-Raver, Devon Moore, Ron Mathis, and Chuck Payne and now, it was time to watch the tables, ladders, and chairs break as they tried to secure that title for themselves. They’d all fought through their own hells to get there and now it was time to take the grand prize. Moore was instantly taken out by a table and Raver got Payne’s metal board to the mush. Mathis and Payne were left to hash out old wounds and wars with nasty slams, Payne getting the worst of it with an SOS Toss onto a chair pile. That chair pile saw more action as everyone flew into action and ate shit for doing so. Raver brought the ladder into play but Moore was cognisant and started breaking bodies and chairs. Mathis took out Raver with a table Piledriver to the outside and Payne was taken out of play when everyone teamed up to push him from the ladder through a table pile. The remaining fighters battled around the ladder as desperation drove them to do riskier and riskier things. Devon Moore was the last man standing as he avoided Raver’s table antics and hit a ladder cutter to Payne. He’d been a dependable hand in the company since its inception and now he had a singles title as a reward. This had been pure fast-paced anarchy with plenty of broken bodies and broken tables. It delivered the bang for your buck and left us with a surprising but deserving winner. It’s funny, Moore had shut Cannonball’s title boasting up in a single night. But… his night wasn’t over yet.
H2O Heavyweight Title: Deklan Grant defeated Devon Moore via Belt shot Spike Driver
Firstly, Chuck Payne attacked him post-match, levelling him with a lariat. Then, Deklan Grant came out to rub salt in the wounds. Moore had finally won something but it wasn’t going to last. Grant had travelled here to prevent this. With Jess Moss at his back, Moore was fighting the numbers and now, with battered balls, he put the title on the line. He didn’t do this willingly, he was stuck in a damned if you do, dead if you don’t situation. The match was on and Grant struck with a TKO. Moore kicked out so he and Moss ended him with a Spike Driver onto his newly-won title. Moore lost the belt just as quickly as he won it and Grant was the new face of the company. He’d struck when the time was right and spoiled a great feel-good moment for one of the most reliable men in the company. The young blood, the Grimy Bastard was running the show now.
All images courtesy of H2O, Chris Grasso