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House of Hardcore 37 1/26/2018

House of Hardcore kicks off 2018 with the first round of the Twitch TV Title Tournament! Plus, Tommy Dreamer teams with Billy Gunn in a tag team match against Joey Mercury and the NWA World Champion Nick Aldis!

House of Hardcore 37
Date: 1/26/2018
From: Philadelphia, PA

The Squad comes out to kick off the show with Kenny cutting a promo to get the crowd to boo the Squad World Order. Kenny introduces Squad member in training, Randy. Mikey will be wrestling in his first singles match in HOH. Mikey does some awful dancing while Kenny introduces him.

Opening Contest: Swoggle vs. Mikey in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Mikey pie faces Swoggle to the mat and wants to do a test of strength but decides to shake his butt in Swoggle’s face. Swoggle proceeds to bite Mikey’s ass. Mikey slaps Swoggle and gets knocked to the mat with a few strikes. Swoggle comes off the ropes looking for shoulder strikes and manages to knock Mikey to the floor after a strike to his midsection and a shoulder block. Randy comes in the ring and puts face paint on Mikey to look like a football player. Swoggle superkicks Mikey while Mikey was on all fours and hits a splash. Mikey stops Swoggle by sending him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Swoggle fights back with a few German suplexs. Swoggle chops Mikey several times but gets shoved down. Swoggle low blows Mikey with a kick between the legs. Swoggle delivers a butt splash in the corner. Randy gets on the apron and Mikey nearly collides with Randy. Swoggle rolls Mikey up and wins the match to advance in the tournament. (*1/2. It wasn’t an awful match but I don’t really enjoy these kind of matches. I get why Swoggle won and he’ll add a different dynamic to the tournament moving forward. Mikey didn’t really do much in the match and it was focused more on Swoggle.)

Second Contest: Kenny vs. Lisa Maria Varon (formerly known as Victoria) in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Varon blows a kiss towards Kenny after backing him into a corner. Kenny shoulder blocks Varon and gets tripped after playing to the crowd. Varon nearly wins with a rollup. Kenny argues with the referee on the apron. Kenny goes behind Varon and acts like he’s doing doggy style sex. Varon takes Kenny down to the mat and puts a figure four leg lock on but doesn’t get a submission. The referee ejects Randy from ringside. Varon focuses her attack on the left knee with several kicks. Varon does the same doggy style spot on Kenny and slaps him. Kenny drops Varon with a clothesline which was noticeably weak and the commentators mentioned it. Kenny takes his time going to the top but Varon shoves the referee into the ropes to crotch Kenny. Varon hits Spiders Web but Kenny kicks out at two. Varon drops Kenny with a standing side kick but Kenny kicks out at two. Varon tries for Widows Peak but Mikey distracts on the apron. Kenny proceeds to hit a dropkick and pins Varon. (*. I don’t know. I guess I found the sexual stuff to be unneeded and it didn’t seem like it got over with the crowd. I get the whole attempt of Kenny being an asshole and discrediting a female in the ring, but it just wasn’t executed very well. I can’t remember a time when a match ended following a dropkick.)

Third Contest: Bull James vs. Eddie Kingston in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: James starts the match pummeling Kingston with strikes in the corner. James sends Kingston back first into the corner and continues to deliver punches. Kingston boots James in the corner followed by a back elbow. Kingston comes off the middle rope to knee strike James knocking Bull to the floor. Kingston takes Bull out with a suicide dive and sends James face first into the ring post. Kingston casually stomps on James followed by a few headbutts. Kingston keeps control of James on the mat with a chin lock. James elbow strikes Kingston but runs into a back elbow. Kingston jumps off the middle rope but Bull hits an exploder suplex and splash in the corner. James drops Kingston with a lariat for a two count. They proceed to trade chops and forearms in the middle of the ring. Kingston hits a side suplex and an STO for a two count. Kingston hits a back fist but James is able to nearly win with a slam. Kingston stops Bull with a big boot in the corner and sits Bull on the top turnbuckle. Kingston chops James several times but James hits a powerbomb out of the corner followed by a sit down splash. (*. That was a boring match. This “strong style” kind of match is tough to keep my interest especially when it’s just strike oriented offense. I didn’t think they do a very good job making this an entertaining match. Eddie Kingston is one of my least favorite wrestlers on the independents.)

Fourth Contest: Super Crazy vs. Alex Reynolds in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: The fans are heavily behind Super Crazy. Reynolds arm drags Crazy to the mat and gets a rollup for a two count. Crazy leg sweeps Reynolds and keeps control with an ankle lock but Reynolds reaches the ropes to break the hold quickly. Crazy comes off the ropes and arm drags Reynolds, but Reynolds comes back with an arm drag of his own. They have a standoff when neither man gets the advantage. Reynolds flips off Crazy and gets clotheslined over the top to the floor for doing so. Crazy takes Reynolds and MJF out with a springboard moonsault to the floor from the apron. Crazy goes to the top rope but MJF crotches Crazy while the referee was distracted Reynolds stomps on Crazy while he’s stuck in the tree of woe. Reynolds delivers an elbow drop to the lower back for a two count. MJF continues to help Reynolds by choking Crazy over the middle rope. Crazy gets out of a sunset flip and dropkicks a seated Reynolds. Reynolds sends Crazy to the floor where MJF continues to attack Crazy. Reynolds rubs Crazy face into the mat several times before controlling Crazy with a headlock.

Reynolds knee lifts Crazy several times but Crazy nails Reynolds with a spinning heel kick. Reynolds almost collides with MJF on the apron, but Crazy backdrops him followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Reynolds boots Crazy in the corner but Crazy drops Reynolds with a tilt a whirl backbreaker. Crazy a bottom rope moonsault, but Reynolds cuts Crazy off on the middle rope. Crazy takes Reynolds over with a hurricanrana but Reynolds hits a Codebreaker for a two count. Reynolds hits a bottom rope moonsault followed by a second rope moonsault. Reynolds attempts a top rope moonsault but Crazy moves. Crazy has a rollup on Reynolds for a two count. MJF is on the apron and is kicked off by Crazy. Reynolds rolls Crazy up from behind and wins the match. (*1/4. I didn’t like the match and I didn’t like that they used a rather similar finish that was used in the first match. Reynolds has been promoted as a big time heel in HOH and he might be a favorite to win the tournament. I can’t say I’ve been overly impressed by Reynolds in recent showings.) After the match Reynolds and MJF celebrate before the next match.

Fifth Contest: MJF vs. Crazy Steve in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: They shake hands and MJF tries to cheap shot Steve but is met with a bite. Steve gets a two count with a rollup and MJF bails to the floor to regroup. Reynolds distracts Steve on the apron and MJF slams Steve down to the mat by his arm to get control of the match. MJF stomps on the left arm a few times, as well. MJF hits a Codebreaker from the apron into the ring onto the arm of Steve to keep control of the match. The fans are chanting that MJF can’t wrestle, which is actually not accurate. Steve bites MJF on the middle rope and hits a sunset flip powerbomb. Steve clotheslines MJF a few times including a short arm version. Steve uppercuts MJF in the corner followed by a cannonball for a two count. Steve stands on the middle rope but avoids MJF and is met with an elbow strike. MJF double stomps the left arm of Steve. MJF nearly collides with Reynolds, but Steve knocks Reynolds off. MJF nearly wins with a rollup. MJF argues with the referee and shoves him. The referee shoves MJF back and Steve comes off the middle rope with a DDT to pin MJF. (**. There were a few decent moments and the match was enjoyable. MJF wasn’t presented as a big deal like he is in other independents, which confuses me. I don’t know why they are obsessed with distraction finishes on the show. I’d prefer if they just had clean finishes.)

Sixth Contest: Little Guido vs. Killer Kross in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Guido gets into Kross’s face but Kross just stands there until the bell rings. Guido takes Kross down to the mat to hammer away on Kross with forearms. Guido continues to work over Kross in the corner and gets an arm bar on for a moment and Kross bails to the floor. Kross keeps calling Guido “Jimmy”, which Guido doesn’t like. Kross gets back in the ring and works over Guido with several kicks to the chest and focuses on Guido’s bad left knee. Kross continues to work over Guido with an overhead suplex out of the corner. Kross tosses Guido out of the corner. Guido comes off the ropes and is able to get an arm bar on Kross in the middle of the ring. Kross rolls through and spears Guido. Kross taunts the fans while Guido is laid out. Guido fires back on Kross with chops but gets sent into a corner. Guido comes off the middle rope with a legdrop for a two count. Guido puts a chokehold on Kross. Kross counters with an Angle Slam and forces Guido to give up with a chokehold. (*. I didn’t like this match either. I didn’t see anything out of Kross here to make interested or believe in him as a threat to anyone.)

Seventh Contest: Dan Maff vs. Ace Romero in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Maff decided it would be a good idea to wear a Tom Brady jersey in Philadelphia a week before the Super Bowl showdown. Maff attacks Romero on the middle rope during his entrance. Maff continues to hammer away on Romero with several right hands. Maff acts like he’s going to dive to the floor but stops and flips off the fans. Maff casually goes to the floor and is met with a chop and forearm from Romero. Romero delivers a series of forearms on the floor to keep control followed by a kick to the chest. Maff is rolled into the ring and stomps on Romero as Ace tried to get back into the ring as well. Maff blocks a clothesline to hit an ace crusher. Romero quickly fights back with a quick senton splash. Maff bails to the floor and Romero takes Maff out with a suicide dive. Romero delivers a second running senton splash on the floor. Romero hits a discus clothesline but Maff powers out at two. Romero tears off the Brady jersey in the corner and chops Maff several times. Romero splashes Maff in the corners a few times. Maff misses a clothesline and Romero hits a powerbomb for a two count. Maff pokes Romero in the eyes while the referee was out of position. Maff hits a couple of cannonball splashes in the corner managing only a two count on the cover attempt. Romero back elbows Maff in the corner and goes to the middle rope and leaps off right into an ace crusher for a two count. Romero boots Maff followed by a slap. Maff forearms Romero and decks Romero with a clothesline. Romero gets out of a suplex attempt and plants Maff with the Big Slice for a two count. Maff stops Romero on the middle rope and manages to hit the Burning Hammer for the win. (***1/4. This was a solid big man match as they hit a lot of highspots and they got the crowd to be invested in the match. I’ve been a fan of Maff’s for many years and Romero is someone that should probably have a big 2018. Easily the best match of the tournament thus far.)

Prior to the next match, the federal official that screwed over Tommy Dreamer in a first blood match against Joey Mercury reveals that the next match will not be a hardcore match but rather a regular tag team match. Blue Meanie comes out acting as if he’s the mystery tag partner for Dreamer and Gunn but that’s not the case. Meanie says he came to the show for the cheap pop and catering. Meanie introduces the surprise…. Bully Ray! The federal official reminds Dreamer he will shut down the show if there is anything hardcore or touching of managers.

Eighth Contest: NWA World Champion Nick Aldis & Joey Mercury vs. Tommy Dreamer & Billy Gunn: Aldis and Dreamer start the match with Aldis working over Dreamer with strikes and stomps in the corner. Aldis drops Dreamer with an elbow strike and jabs Aldis several times. Dreamer drops Aldis with a biotic elbow before tagging in Gunn. Gunn works over Aldis but a knee lift cuts off Gunn. Mercury tags in and is hip tossed by Gunn. Dreamer grabs Mercury and hammers away on him. Aldis knee lifts Dreamer from the apron and Mercury delivers a quick clothesline. Mercury delivers several more forearm strikes over the middle rope and dumps Dreamer to the floor. Aldis gets a cheap shot on the floor and Mercury keeps control with knee drops. Aldis gets tagged in and continues to work over Dreamer with strikes and a snap suplex. Aldis pummels Dreamer with right hands on the mat. Dreamer avoids a clothesline and drops Aldis with a cutter. Gunn and Mercury get hot tags with Gunn cleaning house. Gunn tosses Mercury into the corner and tosses Aldis to the floor. Gunn splashes Mercury and goes for the Fame-Asser but Mercury avoids it. Gunn hits a neckbreaker and all four men are in the ring. Gunn and Dreamer get control with strikes in the corner, but Aldis low blows Gunn and the referee accidentally gets splashed in the corner. Bully Ray tries to get in the ring but Shane Douglas sends Ray face first into the ring post. The federal official comes into the ring and has a referee shirt on. He changes his mind saying it is a hardcore match now.

The Sandman makes his way out. Sandman has a cane as the federal official is the only one left in the ring. Sandman hits the official over the back. Sandman gets triple teamed by Aldis, Mercury and Douglas. Bully Ray tosses a trash can into the ring and along with Gunn and Dreamer they use weapons. Gunn hits the Fame-Asser on Aldis and Mercury. Douglas begs off in the ring but Bully Ray grabs Douglas and slams him down. That leads to Dreamer using the cheese grater on Shane’s groin. Gunn does to the floor and grabs a table. Dreamer hits a Death Valley Driver on Mercury, but the table doesn’t break. The table wasn’t laying flat. Douglas tries to save Mercury, but Gunn grabs Mercury. Dreamer puts Mercury through the table with a Death Valley Driver for the victory. (*1/2. I would have preferred the match to have been a hardcore match. It felt like this was lacking the violence and bloodshed that previous encounters had. This felt like a house show main event you’d see to send the fans home happy. It wasn’t great but it at least flew by when watching it.) After the match, Tommy Dreamer puts over John from Twitch who he helped out years ago. He puts over Billy Gunn for being sober for eight years.

Ninth Contest: Matt Riddle vs. Austin Aries in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Riddle gets to the apron to avoid a submission attempt by Aries. Riddle takes Aries down to the mat and goes for a cross armbar but Aries is able to break free. Riddle tosses Aries with a suplex and a gut wrench suplex as well. Riddle kicks Aries several times and follows up with forearm strikes as well. Riddle splashes Aries in the corner followed by an exploder suplex. Aries blocks a senton splash with a double knee strike. Riddle springboards off the middle rope to drop Aries off the apron with a knee strike. Aries gets back in the ring with a clothesline and elbow drop for a two count. Aries keeps Riddle on the mat following a rolling neck snap. Aries delivers a running elbow strike in the corner and comes off the middle rope to uppercut the upper back of Riddle for a two count. Riddle chops Aries from his knees but Aries delivers a quick knee strike. Aries continues to work over Riddle delivering chops and a side slam. Aries hits a slingshot senton from the apron back into the ring. Riddle fights back with a series of strikes and chops. Aries avoids a kick and the Bro To Sleep. Aries claps Riddle’s head followed by a discus forearm. Riddle is able to connect with the Bro To Sleep. Aries kicks Riddle and goes for the brainbuster but Riddle counters with one of his own for a two count! They trade forearms in the middle of the ring with Aries knocking Riddle down to the mat. Riddle attempts a tombstone but Aries counters with a dragon sleeper.

Riddle manages to flip over but Aries counters a tombstone with a rollup for a two count. Aries gets the Last Chancery locked in right in the middle of the ring. Aries stops Riddle with a few knee strikes and goes back to the Last Chancery. The bell sounds as Riddle isn’t moving. However, it’s because the time-limit expired. They want to go five more minutes and they agree. They begin to trade chops until Aries nails Riddle with a few forearm strikes. Aries overhand chops Riddle against the ropes and comes off the ropes being met with a kick. Riddle hits the Bro To Sleep followed by a German suplex for a two count. Riddle attempts a piledriver on the apron but Aries blocks it and stomps on Riddle’s feet. Riddle kicks Aries several times on the apron. Aries blocks a kick and botches a Death Valley Driver on the apron as Riddle landed on the ropes before dropping to the floor. Aries waits on the top rope as Riddle struggles on the floor. Aries comes off the top to nail Riddle with a forearm strike. Aries delivers a neckbreaker over the middle rope but Riddle kicks out at two. Aries attempts a brainbuster but Riddle counters with a powerbomb and a knee strike to the face for a near fall. Riddle delivers a senton splash and nails Aries with a series of elbow strikes. Riddle has the Bro-Mission on Aries but the bell sounds because the five minutes expired.

The fans want other five minutes and so do the wrestlers. Aries low blows Riddle and hits the brainbuster for the cheap win as the referee had his back turned. (***1/2. This was a really good match and Matt Riddle showed me that he is a top level talent with this showing. Prior to this, I hadn’t seen many of his matches, but I really enjoyed the match. The finish was nicely done since it was a hard fought match and they both played face roles until Aries took the cheap route. I’d say this was the match of the night, thus far.)

Tenth Contest: Luchasaurus vs. Matt Cross vs. Willie Match in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Mack chops Lucha after pretending to work with him on attacking Cross. Mack and Cross decide to double team Lucha until Lucha takes them both out with elbow strikes. Lucha is stopped by a double dropkick and double kick to the face. Lucha bails to the floor to regroup. Cross trips Mack and runs the ropes taking Lucha out with a suicide dive tornado DDT onto the floor! Cross kicks Mack from the apron and avoids Mack in the corner. Mack arm drags Cross a few times. Lucha leaps off the top to hit a double crossbody. Lucha splashes Cross in the corner and Mack kicks Cross. Lucha boots Mack and drives Cross down with a backbreaker. Lucha loses his footing and nearly drops Mack on his head from the fireman’s carry position. Lucha waits for both men to get up and attempts a double chokeslam. Cross and Mack both counter and kicks Lucha followed by a double forearm strike to stop the big man. Cross double stomps Mack for a two count. Mack comes off the ropes to hit the Flying Human Centipede on Cross. Cross stops Mack on the top turnbuckle with a strike. Lucha gets up and puts Cross on his shoulders. Mack hits a Doomsday kick and Cross takes Lucha over with a reverse hurricanrana as a result.

Lucha knee lifts Mack in the corner and delivers a couple of bicycle kicks. Mack takes Lucha over with a standing Spanish Fly. Cross prevents Mack from getting a submission on Lucha. Cross kicks Mack in the corner and comes off the top to double stomp both men. Cross nearly pins Lucha with a standing moonsault. Lucha rolls through and misses a clothesline but a second attempt turns Cross inside out. Lucha grabs Mack but Mack trades blows with Lucha. Lucha is able to plant Mack with a chokeslam and a standing moonsault for a two count. Lucha nails Cross with a headbutt. Cross connects with a handspring cutter and goes to the top missing a shooting star press. Mack takes Cros out with a Pounce. Mack drops Lucha with a stunner and wins the match. (**1/2. To me, this was a complete filler match before the main event after a really good Aries/Riddle match. They did some good stuff, but this would probably have been better off starting off the show and putting the Swoggle match here to cool off the crowd.)

Main Event: Brian Cage vs. Sami Callihan in a HOH Twitch TV Title Tournament match: Sami was promoted as a mystery opponent for the match. Sami runs into the corner and kicks Cage on the chin followed by a powerbomb. Cage kicks out at one and he’s pissed. Sami tries to keep it cool and kicks Cage again. Cage head scissors Sami to the floor and misses a baseball slide. Callihan hits a suicide dive but Cage comes back with a somersault dive over the top to the floor. Cage sends Callihan into the guard railing followed by a kick to the head. Cage drops Sami over the apron and pulls Sami back into the ring. Cage hits his trademark delayed vertical suplex from the apron into the ring. Sami bails to the floor to regroup. Cage sends Sami into the guard railing and grabs a steel chair. Cage slams Callihan face first onto the chair and sits Sami on the chair. Cage gets a running head start but JT Davidson distracts Cage. Sami tosses the chair into Cage’s face and hits a tornado DDT on the floor. Cage tosses Callihan into a corner and clotheslines Sami several times. Cage uppercuts Sami followed by a kick and German suplex. Cage is fired up and plays to the crowd. Davidson holds Cage from the floor and Sami drops Cage over the top to the apron. Sami goes to the apron and trades forearms with Cage. Sami eye rakes Cage before delivering a piledriver on the apron!

Cage falls to the floor and appears to be hurting. Callihan delivers a second piledriver in the ring for a two count. Cage counters a Canadian Destroyer attempt by hitting a sit-out Alabama Slam. Sami and Cage trade strikes and kicks. Cage plants Sami with an F-5 for a two count. Sami slaps Cage and avoids Cage in the corner. Cage powerbombs Sami into the corner but Sami counters a second attempt with a face buster and a knee to the face for a near fall. Cage drives Sami into a corner but is met with a kick. Cage kicks Sami on the middle rope but Sami gets off of Cage’s shoulders. Sami drives Cage down with a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Cage elbows Sami and hits Lucha Destroyer for a near fall. Cage misses Sami in the corner hitting the middle turnbuckle face first. Cage boots Sami but Sami comes back with a forearm. Sami knees Cage but Cage plants Sami with a Canadian Destroyer. Cage powerbombs JT Davidson. Sami almost gets Cage with a rollup. Cage powerbombs Sami and hits Weapon X for the win. (***. They worked a good match and finished the show on a good note. Brian Cage is a guy that I’m excited to see on a regular basis in Impact Wrestling. Sami just doesn’t entertain me all that much when he’s not competing in death matches.)

Final Thoughts:
The first half of the show was a chore to get through, but the second half was mostly quality wrestling and made up for the slow start. Riddle/Aries was a good match, Maff/Romero surprised me, and the main event was a good way to end the show. I’ll give the show a very mild thumbs up as it is overall probably an average show, but I enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading.

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