On January 13th, 2012, Resistance Pro held their second show, Rise, at Excalibur in downtown Chicago. The show featured the crowning of the first Heavyweight champion as well as the first defense of the women’s title. There were also a number of fresh-faces, notably the Resistance debut of Ring of Honor Champion Davey Richards and international sensation PAC. Creative director Billy Corgan would also make his first appearance before his unique, standing only, underground fight club/pro wrestling carnival creation.
The show opened with D’arcy Dixon interrupting ring announcer Chet Coppock as he attempted to introduce the opening contest. D’arcy, who was sporting a fitness model bikini, informed the crowd that she had advised the Briscoe Brothers to sit this show out whilst she scouted the other teams involved in a tournament to crown the first Resistance Pro tag team champions. She assured everyone, though, that she would give them something to look at, and proceeded to show off her physique with a series of poses.
It wasn’t long before Resistance Pro Women’s Champion Melanie Cruise approached the ring with her entourage: Taylor Made, going as The Matrix (cue leather), along with her personal assistant Nikki St. John and an adorable little pug. Melanie took the mic from D’arcy, who thought it wise to make her exit. Cruise demanded that she have her title match now as she had things to do, people to see. Her opponent, the tropical Skittles colored Serenity, made her way to the ring.
Resistance Pro Women’s Title – Melanie Cruise (with The Matrix, Personal Assistant Nikki, and Montgomery the Dog) (c) defeated Serenity – Serenity brought a lot of heart to this match, but it just wasn’t enough to get through the powerful Melanie or her devious entourage. Serenity did her best to get Cruise off her feet early, but Melanie was immovable, and quickly used her strength to beat down the challenger. Things didn’t get easier for Serenity when she went to catch her breath on the outside. Cruise brought her pug into the ring and used its cuteness to distract the referee while Taylor Made stomped Serenity on the outside. Not long after, Serenity found herself helpless across Cruise’s shoulders. Melanie dropped her on her face to take the three count. Post match, Taylor Made straddled the dazed Serenity and delivered a kiss.
P-Dog Millionaires (Arya Daivari and Shawn Daivari) defeated Robert Anthony and Mr. 450 – Two debuting teams took part of the ongoing tag team title tournament. Robert Anthony and Mr. 450 were quick to start hurling insults at fans and crew alike. The Daivari brothers were, oddly, much friendlier as they took the ring dancing, clapping, and encouraging the crowd to cheers. The match started strong and was a very good introduction for both teams. Anthony and 450 isolated Arya, encouraging more taunts from the crowd and protests from Shawn. Shawn eventually entered and things got explosive. The duos battled back and forth, with Anthony and 450 hitting the Taco Salad; a surfboard face buster/swanton combo. But it was the P-Dog Millionaires who got the upper hand, hitting a diving splash/guillotine leg drop combination on 450 for the win.
El Generico defeated PAC, Canadian Destroyer, and Matt Cross by a Turnbuckle Brainbustah on Destroyer – This match started out at singles match between the El Generico and PAC, who would tour the country competing against one another. The two well-known high-fliers exchanged holds early on, with neither gaining an advantage. The pace was starting to pick up when the masked Canadian Destroyer appeared. He said he was insulted that he wasn’t a part of this showcase of high-fliers and demanded to be added to the match. Generico and PAC agreed and Destroyer stepped in to the ring. He quickly exited, suggesting the first two competitors work on each other. PAC and Generico obliged, squaring off again, only for Destroyer to land a cheap shot on both of them. His advantage wouldn’t last long, as he was caught outside the ring between his two opponents, and they sent him back into the ring. At this point, Matt Cross pushed his way through the crowd and expressed his displeasure in Destroyer’s actions. And, being a high-flier himself, he naturally joined the match making it a four-way.
Cross entered the match as if he were going to join in on the pummeling of CD, but immediately formed a rough alliance with him. Much of this match involved Cross and Destroyer keeping Generico and PAC grounded. Eventually, though, Pac and Generico gained the upper hand. The match started to build up steam after a blue thunder bomb from Generico on Destroyer. The high-flying really began with a series including ranas, double stomps, and cross bodies. Generico murdered Destroyer with a Michinoku driver. PAC landed a picture-perfect Shooting Star Press on Generico. Everyone brought out their big guns, but it was Generico who landed the turnbuckle BRAINBUSTAHH!!!! on Destroyer for the win.
“Lonesome” Jay Bradley defeated Steven Walters – At Black Friday, Jay Bradley took apart Icarus in a matter of seconds. This match was longer, but with the same result. Bradley used his power to control the smaller Walters, who made a valiant effort to stand up to the “Ass-Kicker.” His efforts proved futile, however, as Bradley knocked Walters back to when the Bears were still a playoff hopeful. Walters woke up asking to the start the match, unaware he had even wrestled.
Colt Cabana defeated Davey Richards with a counter Knee strike – Colt Cabana tends to start his matches off with a smile, and surprisingly enough, Davey Richards didn’t attempt to instantly kick the smile off Colt’s face. The two actually threatened to towel-snap each other prior to the bell and Davey took to Colt’s antics during the match with good spirits. Of course, these two men are also competitors looking to win a match, a match which was probably the best of the night.
After some grappling, Davey landed a few of his signature kicks and locked on some painful submissions, but the Chicago favorite Cabana had apparently done his scouting. The American Wolf went for his signature handspring Damage Reflex kick, but Colt caught Richards mid-air with a dropkick. Davey recovered and applied an ankle lock, but Colt got free and cinched in the Billy Goat’s Curse.
In one of the more surprising ends to a match I’ve seen, Davey shot on Colt hoping to bring him down for another ankle lock, but Cabana whipped around and knocked Davey out with a monster knee strike. Yes, Colt Cabana KO’d Davey Richards with a brutal knee strike that brought back memories of Takayama vs Nakamura. Once Colt realized what he had done, he fell on Davey and got the win.
After the match, Richards’ corner man and fellow Team Ambition member Tony Kozina attacked Cabana, outraged that he managed a knock out strike on his man. Canadian Destroyer returned to the ring claiming that he is the leader of Team Ambition, and scolded and attacked Kozina. Colt made the mistake of getting in between the domestic squabble, and was quickly beat down by both men.
Da Soul Touchaz (Marshe Rockett and Willie Richardson) defeated El Gringo Loco and Heros with a Pounce from Willie onto Heros – Another set of debuting teams were up in the tag title tournament. Da Soul Touchaz, being a three-man team, played rock/paper/scissors to determine who would participate in the match. Marshe Rockett and Willie Richardson won, leaving Acid Jaz to hang in their corner with manager C-Red and valet Dymond. Each team was having trouble keeping control of the other, which led to a lot of missed opportunities. Eventually, the frustrated Soul Touchaz managed to pick up the win after Willie landed a devastating Pounce on Heros.
After the match, Da Soul Touchaz were looking to show some sportsmanship by shaking the hands of their defeated opponents. Out of nowhere, though, Marshe landed his M-80 cutter on Heros and Jaz sent Gringo out of the ring. Richardson ascended the top rope and landed an absolutely fatal guillotine leg drop on the prone Heros.
Sassy Stephie defeated Cheerleader Melissa with a “Makeover” DDT – The semi-main event was a number one contender’s match for the Resistance Women’s Championship. The much favored Melissa took control early, but Stephie used some underhanded tactics to gain control. Stephie kept the bigger Melissa grounded for a time, but slipped up and gave the Female Terminator an opening. Things fell apart for Stephie quickly and she ate a brutal curb stomp from Melissa as the destruction reached a crescendo.
It was at that point when Melanie Cruise and her entourage came to the ring. Yet again, the pug would come in to play. The champ used the pooch to distract the referee as Taylor Made snuck around to the other side of the ring. Melissa was about to finish Stephie off with the Air Raid Crash but Taylor lifted her makeup compact and blew the powder into Melissa’s eyes. That left Melissa open to a DDT from Stephie, who picked up the upset win.
Resistance Pro Heavyweight Title Match – Harry Smith defeated The Sheik and Kevin Steen to become the first champion – Kevin Steen was focal point of this match, continuously jawing with the fans and his fellow wrestlers. He even managed to convince some innocent children into chanting his name. He orchestrated an alliance with the Sheik and the two spent a lot of time teeing off on Smith. Eventually, though, the Sheik showed signs that he was going to stab Steen in the back, literally. He pulled a spike out of his boot and was going to impale Steen with it just before Mr. Wrestling turned around.
Smith took this opportunity to mount a comeback, landing a huge power bomb on Steen. Sheik and Steen momentarily gained control again, but this time Sheik managed to connect with his spike on Steen. Sheik tried to finish off Smith, but Harry survived. Steen found his way back into the match as Sheik looked to use his loaded boot on Smith. Steen took the boot, and leveled Sheik with it instead. He then set his sights on Smith. However, Steen seemed to grow a conscience at that moment threw down the boot. Instead, he tried for a Sharpshooter, only to have Smith reverse it into one of his own. Trapped in the middle of the ring with no place to go, Steen was forced to submit. With that Harry Smith became the first Resistance Pro Heavyweight Champ.
Throughout the night, fans were encouraged to purchase R-Pro merchandise as those who did would be given an opportunity to take a picture with the new champion and creative director Billy Corgan. As the Smashing Pumpkins front man brought the belt to Smith and they prepared to let fans into the ring for the photo op, Rhino charged the ring. He said he bought a ticket and wanted to be the first take a picture with the champ. He leaned close to Harry, telling him how lonely it was for him after he’d fallen from grace and how he wanted to be friends with Smith and chat with him on Skype and wanted a title shot at the next show.
Rhino asked for several pictures to be taken, and told Billy to step out of the shot as he draped the Resistance belt over his own shoulder. Billy Corgan put a stop to Rhino’s shenanigans and asked him to step out of the ring. Rhino snapped, threatened to punch Billy’s teeth out, and told Smith that he was making people bleed when Smith was still in diapers. He raised a gym bag he was carrying, saying he had a belt, too (presumably, the original ECW belt was in the bag), and told Harry that he would beat him before leaving the ring.
This concluded Resistance Pro’s Rise event. Overall, I found the majority of the matches went much better than those on the debut Black Friday show. The Daivaris vs. Anthony and 450 and Cabana vs. Richards were both great matches, and there were some impressive moments in the four-way match. Melanie Cruise is proving to be a dominant female force, although she seems scared of facing Cheerleader Melissa one-on-one. Rhino’s creepy friendship request/title challenge/psychotic break was something I’d never seen before and it has me interested in what he will do in the future. This was a large step in the right direction for this new company. If they continue on this path, Resistance will very well find their own niche in the American wrestling scene.
Below see the preview video of Rise’s’ DVD release, and tons more photos! See you February 17th for Resistance Pro: Vicious Circle.