Written by: Bob Colling
House of Hardcore 35
From: Philadelphia, PA
This show originally aired live on Twitch.
Opening Contest: Hot Young Briley vs. Bull James: Early on, Briley outwrestles James and makes it a point to keep score on his own point system. Briley knee lifts James but is met with a shoulder block as he tries to run the ropes. James shoulder blocks Briley again and misses a strike in the corner. Briley runs into an elbow and climbs to the second rope, but Briley trips James causing him to crash to the mat. Briley does a headstand while keeping a hammerlock on James. The crowd is chanting “Ziggler’s better” since Briley is the brother of Ziggler. Briley spears James in the corner and plays to the crowd. James avoids a DDT twice but Briley delivers a kick to the face. James blocks a DDT a third time and slams Briley to the mat gut first. James delivers a headbutt to drop Briley to the mat. James splashes Riley in the corner followed by a scoop slam. James heads to the top rope and hits the Whoopee Cushion for the win. (*1/4. A relatively short opener, but I liked that James won here and did so rather easily. I can see James being a bigger deal in HOH over time.)
Second Contest: Lance Anoai vs. MVP: MVP starts the match with a big boot for a near fall. Lance stops MVP with a boot to the midsection but MVP manages to get him on his shoulders and drops Lance gut first to the canvas. MVP follows up with a boot to knock Lance to the floor through the middle rope. Lance yanks MVP off the apron and MVP hits the apron face first. Lance rams MVP back first into the apron to continue his advantage. Lance takes MVP out with a suicide dive to the floor! Anoai continues to work over MVP with chops but MVP fights back with a forearm. Anoai drops MVP after a series of forearm strikes for a two count. Anoai misses a splash in the corner but MVP misses a boot. Anoai connects with a splash and delivers a running butt splash for a two count. Anoai connects with a standing moonsault but MVP kicks out at two. MVP tosses Anoai with an overhead belly to belly suplex. MVP uppercuts Anoai and quickly transitions into a lariat for a near fall. Anoai avoids the Play of the Day and Samoan Drops MVP. Anoai heads to the top rope but misses a big splash. MVP delivers the Drive By and wins the match. (*. MVP may be my least favorite guy on the independents. I don’t enjoy his matches and they just feel like they take forever.)
Third Contest: Ace Romero vs. Vik Dalishus: Vik’s posse gets ejected from ringside after one of them grabbed Romero’s ankle within the first five-seconds. Vik attacks Romero from behind and hammers away on Romero for the cheap advantage. Romero battles back with a backdrop. Romero misses a splash in the corner but dropkicks Vik to the floor. Romero takes everyone out on the floor with a twisting dive. Hale Collins holds onto Romero’s ankle on the apron but gets kicked off. Vik takes Romero over with a German suplex and pummels Romero with right hands. Vik continues his offense with a snap suplex for a near fall. Romero gets out of a sleeper hold and chops Vik. Romero comes off the ropes with a cross body. Romero delivers an uppercut in the corner. Vik boots Romero in the corner but Romero catches Vik with an overhead belly to belly suplex and a quick senton. Mind you, the NOW group hasn’t left ringside. Romero goes to the top rope but gets distracted by Vik’s ladies on the apron. Romero grabs them and rubs their faces into his chest. He rubs his face into their chest, too. Romero clotheslines Hale Collins over the top to the floor but is stopped by a low blow from Vik. Vik leaps off the top hitting a corkscrew senton but Romero kicks out. Vik gets ready for a super kick but misses. Romero nails Vik with a discus clothesline and wins the match. (**1/2. An enjoyable match and both men performed impressive moves. Romero is another guy that HOH could build around in 2018.)
Fourth Contest: Billy Gunn vs. Nick Aldis: Gunn slaps the butt of Aldis in the opening moments of the match and plays to the crowd. Aldis elbows out of a hammerlock and is met with an uppercut. Aldis elbows Gunn but is met with a kick to the gut. Gunn super kicks Aldis to the floor and again plays to the crowd. Gunn punches Aldis on the floor and slams Aldis face onto the apron to keep control of the match. Aldis stops Gunn with an eye rake and rams Gunn face first onto the apron. Aldis rolls Gunn back into the ring and continues to work over Gunn with a right hand. Gunn comes off the ropes with a standing dropkick to send Aldis to the corner and does the crotch chop taunt. Aldis holds onto the ropes and bails to the floor. Aldis slams Gunn’s right knee onto the apron and drives Gunn’s knee down on the floor. Gunn goes to the corner but Aldis drives Gunn’s knee down onto the apron. Aldis wraps Gunn’s knee around the ring post.
Aldis goes for the Cloverleaf but Gunn punches his way out of it. Gunn clotheslines Aldis and hits a splash in the corner. Gunn tried for the Fame-Asser but his right knee is bugging him. Aldis drops Gunn with a strike and grabs a steel chair on the floor. Aldis misses a chair shot and Gunn attempts the Fame-Asser. Aldis whacks Gunn with the chair on the knee and wins the match. (*1/2. There wasn’t much substance to this match either. HOH seems to have really short undercard matches, which I’m perfectly fine with. Aldis could be another major piece for HOH.) After the match, Aldis whacks Gunn on the knee with the chair to drop the veteran. Aldis locks in the Cloverleaf and Gunn is tapping out. Officials finally escort Aldis out of the ring.
Eddie Kingston makes his way down to the ring wearing a suit and looks like a hired gun. Kingston decides to sit down at ringside.
Fifth Contest: Petey Williams vs. Matt Cross: They shake hands to show respect for each other. Williams backs Cross into a corner but cleanly breaks away. They both ruin the ropes and try shoulder blocks and drop downs. They catch each others kick attempt and on the count of three decide to let go. Williams holds onto the ropes to avoid a dropkick, which sees Cross do a backflip and they have another standoff. Cross sends Williams to the floor with a dropkick and kicks Williams again. Cross follows to the floor and works over Williams with an overhand strike. Cross brings the action back into the ring attempting a handspring elbow but Williams catches him. Petey drop toe holds Cross across the middle rope and delivers a dropkick for a two count. Williams puts Cross in the tree of woe and stands on his groin. Williams kicks Cross in the midsection and works over the left knee for a few moments. Cross nearly wins with an inside cradle but Williams cuts him off with a forearm. Williams comes off the ropes to deliver an awkward strike to the back. Cross stops Petey with a knee lift to the midsection and a leg sweep. Cross nearly wins with a standing senton splash. Williams manages to get a half crab on Cross but switches to a cross face. Williams switches to a Rings of Saturn but Cross refuses to give in and reaches the ropes. Williams drives Cross down with a backbreaker for a two count.
Williams dropkicks a seated Cross for a two count. Williams puts Cross in a tree of woe but Cross counters with a German suplex! Cross strikes Williams in the corner and drops Petey with a few clotheslines. Cross hits a springboard elbow and a springboard cross body for a two count. Williams takes Cross down with a side Russian leg sweep for a two count. Williams hits an elevated Flatliner for a two count. Williams signals for the Canadian Destroyer. Cross drops Petey neck first over his knee for a two count. Williams drop toe holds Cross over the middle rope and goes for the Canadian Destroyer but Cross counters with a rollup. Williams gets the Sharpshooter on Cross, but Cross quickly reaches the ropes to break the hold. Cross kicks Petey on the apron and hits a double stomp to the back for a two count. Cross rolls through to deliver another double stomp to the gut of Petey for a near fall. Williams kicks Cross in the midsection but Cross knocks Petey to the apron. Williams hits a slingshot Codebreaker from the apron into the ring. Cross elbows Petey and comes off the ropes but Petey stops Cross with a power bomb. Cross counters a Canadian Destroyer and hits a sit down backpack piledriver for a near fall. Williams stops Cross on the top turnbuckle and hooks Cross for a superplex. Cross knocks Williams off the top rope. Williams avoids a kick and attempts the Destroyer but Cross avoids it. Cross comes off the ropes to hit a springboard ace crusher. Cross goes to the top rope but went to the wrong corner based on Petey’s position. Cross hits the shooting star press for the win. (**3/4. There were a few noticeable issues with the match and it took awhile for the crowd to get into the match. I think the story of Petey trying to hit the Canadian Destroyer is a played out angle to work with and since the move has already been seen earlier, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. It turned into a solid match by the end.) After the match, Eddie Kingston attacks both men and clears them of the ring. Kingston takes off his suit and that apparently symbolizes a new Kingston.
The Squad comes out and they cut a promo putting down Philadelphia and they get just general heel heat.
Sixth Contest: Super Crazy & Little Guido vs. The Squad (Kenny & Mikey): Kenny and Mikey attack from behind as Guido and Crazy were playing to the crowd. Guido and Crazy hit stereo dropkicks and hip toss a third Squad member in and deliver a double dropkick to him. I guess his name is Randy. Guido rams Kenny and Mikey into each other and all three Squad guys are met with a moonsault from Crazy on the floor. Guido gets caught by Kenny with a scoop slam. Mikey tags back in and drops Guido with a right hand. Mikey chokes Guido over the bottom rope. Kenny tags in and drives Guido down with a delayed vertical suplex. Guido goes for a sunset flip on Kenny but Mikey tags in and dropkicks Guido on the back. Kenny continues to work over Guido with strikes in the corner. Guido fights out of the corner and connects with a double middle rope leg drop to the back of their heads. Crazy got yanked off the apron preventing Guido from tagging out. Regardless, Guido tags out to Crazy and Crazy cleans out. Crazy hits a tornado DDT out of the corner. Crazy nails Kenny with a spinning heel kick. Guido hits the Kiss of Death on Mikey and Crazy hits a top rope moonsault for the win. (*1/2. Honestly, when the Squad was in control the match felt like it was taking forever to end. The match just felt like a nostalgia visit for Crazy and Guido.)
Seventh Contest: Matt Riddle vs. Willie Mack vs. Luchasaurus: All three men are making their HOH debut in Philadelphia. Lucha starts off with a kick to Riddle and a headbutt to Mack. Riddle and Mack fight back double teaming Lucha in the corner. Lucha avoids a double clothesline and takes both men out with a top rope moonsault. Lucha sends Riddle to the floor and gets met with a spinning back fist from Mack. Mack arm drags Lucha and plays to the crowd but is met with a headbutt from Lucha. Mack ducks a clothesline and nails Lucha with a jumping kick. Mack clotheslines Lucha in the corner and delivers a running boot. Mack hits a cannonball on Lucha in the corner causing Lucha to bail to the floor. Riddle gets in the ring and has a standoff with Mack. Riddle overhand chops Mack and they exchange chops. Riddle delivers kicks to the chest while Mack delivers chops. Riddle hits a forearm strike in the corner several times. Riddle forearms Mack in the corner and hit an overhead suplex. Riddle hits a standing senton but Mack kicks out at two. Lucha is on the apron and catches Riddle but Riddle gets an arm bar on him before having to break the hold. Riddle delivers another senton onto Lucha. Riddle delivers another senton to Lucha, who sits up again. Lucha gets his knees up to block a senton attempt. Lucha goes for a chokeslam and tosses Riddle over the top onto Mack! Lucha takes both Riddle and Mack out with a moonsault off the apron. Lucha rolls Mack into the ring and Mack takes both men out with a somersault dive over the ropes to the floor. Mack goes to the top but Lucha cuts Mack off with a right hand. Lucha goes for a superplex but Riddle puts Lucha on his shoulders and Mack connects with a blockbuster on Lucha! Riddle and Mack begin to trade strikes. Riddle connects with a running knee and hits the Bro To Sleep on Mack. Mack rolls to the floor and Lucha enters the ring. Riddle chops Lucha several times followed by a knee strike. Lucha plants Riddle with a powerbomb. Lucha has Riddle on his shoulders but Riddle wiggles free to deliver a knee strike. Lucha counters a tombstone and hits the Jurassic Dark Driver. Mack breaks up the cover and hits a Samoan Drop followed by standing moonsault on Lucha. Lucha tries for a chokeslam but Mack gets loose and kicks Lucha followed by a stunner. Mack goes to the top and hits a frog splash! Mack goes for the cover and pins Lucha. (***1/4. Well, that triple threat match completely surprised me with the level of work rate and entertainment. All three men worked hard and looked pretty good in the ring. Lucha was really good in there and Mack had a strong performance. This was just an excellent undercard match.)
Austin Aries comes out to cut a promo and says it’s great to be back in Philadelphia and in House of Hardcore. Aries plugs his book Food Fight. He says this isn’t about his book and then proceeds to describe his book. Aries says that professional wrestling isn’t a dirty word here. Aries wanted to be able to tell people that he was a professional wrestler when people asked him what he did for a living. He notes that his moniker for his first match was “the Truth” but Ron Killings screwed that up for him, but gives him a shoutout. Aries goes through his various monikers throughout his career. He’s going back to being known as “the Truth”. The promo started off with the fans excited to see Aries and by the end of it the fans didn’t care about him. I stopped typing this promo about five minutes ago and he’s still talking. The crowd has basically completely turned on him.
Alex Reynolds and MJF come out and cut off Aries, but the damage has been done for killing the crowd. MJF tells Aries to play a game to get out of his spotlight. MJF is a rising star on the independents and gets great heat from the crowd. MJF puts over Reynolds for carrying the company for five years. Aries insults MJF’s suit choice. Reynolds tells Aries that he left HOH and failed in the WWE. Meanwhile, Reynolds stayed in HOH and thrived. Reynolds tells Aries that this is his company and slaps his book to the floor. Reynolds suggests that Aries leaves his ring. Aries punches Reynolds.
Eighth Contest: Austin Aries vs. Alex Reynolds: MJF bails to the floor and Reynolds is backdropped over the top to the floor. Aries takes Reynolds out with a suicide dive. Aries hits a slingshot senton back into the ring. Aries delivers a running forearm in the corner and hits a middle rope elbow to the back of Reynolds. Reynolds rolls to the floor but Aries continues to go on the attack. Aries drops Reynolds over the middle rope and apron with a neck breaker. MJF holds the leg of Aries and that allows Reynolds to knee lift Aries to the floor. MJF works over Aries with a few strikes before rolling Aries back into the ring. Reynolds delivers an elbow drop to keep Aries on the mat. Reynolds comes off the ropes with a big boot and a sit down splash. Aries elbows Reynolds in the corner followed by a boot. Aries goes to the top rope but gets crotched by Reynolds after MJF briefly distracted Aries. Reynolds grabs a banana that Aries had brought to the ring. Aries chops Reynolds several times and backs Reynolds against he ropes continuing to deliver shops. Aries comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Aries gets backdropped to the apron where Aries rams Reynolds into the top turnbuckle. Aries shoulder rams Reynolds and hits a neck breaker over the middle rope. Aries goes to the top rope hitting a missile dropkick. Aries hitting a running dropkick in the corner and slingshots MJF into the ring. Aries forearms MJF and plants him with a brain buster. Reynolds nails Aries with a discus forearm. Aries takes Reynolds over with a back suplex and locks in the Last Chancery to win the match by submission. (**. The promo prior to the match completely deflated the crowd, but they were able to work a decent match and kept a good pace. I want to see MJF actually wrestle in HOH.)
Prior to the next match, a guy who is part of the athletic commission cuts a promo. At the last show, he had to stop a match due to violations of federal regulations. Had he not stopped the match he would have shut down the whole operation and there wouldn’t be wrestling in Philadelphia. He promises that the main event will end at the first sight of blood.
Main Event: Tommy Dreamer vs. Joey Mercury in a first blood match: Dreamer pulls Mercury to the floor after a little difficulty. Mercury cuts Dreamer off with a right hand and continues to work over Dreamer on the floor with strikes. Dreamer hits Mercury with a replica ECW Championship from a fan. Dreamer hits the ring bell on Mercury’s groin. Dreamer drops Mercury over the guard railing groin first. Dreamer comes back from the backstage area with a trash can full of weapons and hits Mercury with a cooking sheet. Dreamer rolls Mercury into the ring and misses a shot with the sheet. Mercury tries for a sunset flip but is met with a sheet shot to the head. Mercury kicks the middle rope to stop Dreamer from getting back in the ring. Mercury drives Dreamer down with an elevated DDT over the middle rope. Mercury signals for the Superman punch but Dreamer avoids it and goes for a Death Valley Driver. Mercury breaks free and super kicks Dreamer. Mercury hits Dreamer with the cooking sheet trying to bust Dreamer open. Mercury drives Dreamer face first into a chair and sits Dreamer down in the chair. Dreamer drop toe holds Mercury face first onto the chair. Dreamer grabs a cheese grater but Mercury is able to block the grater. Mercury plants Dreamer with a double arm DDT. Mercury grabs a kendo stick on the floor and works over Dreamer hitting him with the stick several times to keep Dreamer on the mat. Mercury goes to the top but Dreamer cuts Mercury off. Dreamer hits a superplex off the top and they are both down.
They both get up and trade right hands with Dreamer getting the better of the exchange dropping Mercury with an elbow strike. Dreamer grabs the kendo stick and Mercury begs off. Dreamer gets some revenge hitting Mercury several times with the kendo stick. Dreamer accidentally hits the referee and Mercury delivers a low blow to stop Dreamer. Mercury lays a chair over the body of Dreamer and goes to the top rope. Dreamer crotches Mercury and puts him in a tree of woe. Dreamer puts the trash can and steel chair in front of Mercury’s face. Dreamer proceeds to hit a running dropkick. That causes Mercury to be busted open, which would end the match. Dreamer goes for the Death Valley Driver and hits it. Dreamer wants the match to end but the doctor is refusing to end the match. Nick Aldis enters the ring and attacks Dreamer. Aldis helps Mercury get rid of the blood coming from his mouth. Here comes Shane Douglas to make the save for Dreamer. Oh wait, Douglas turned on Dreamer and hit a belly to belly suplex. Mercury sends Dreamer into the ring post face first. Fans are tossing trash into the ring showing how thrilled they are about this angle. Mercury uses the cheese grater on Dreamer to bust him wide open. That’s good enough to have Mercury win the match. After the match, Mercury plants Dreamer with a pedigree. (*1/2. The promo before the match made it rather evident that there was going to be some kind of screw job here. The action was just typical basic hardcore brawling that didn’t do much for me. The Douglas turn on Dreamer didn’t seem to go over well with the crowd. I mean, it’s not 1995. It’s not ECW. HOH needs to be doing things differently instead of rehashing old angles.That brings me to the Triple Threat of Douglas, Aldis and Mercury in HOH. I like Mercury and Aldis is fine. I guess the idea of Shane Douglas being a main focus in HOH just doesn’t appeal to me.)
The triple threat match was the best thing on the show, and there were a few decent matches in the mix as well. There just isn’t enough quality wrestling to recommend this one. Plus, the finish doesn’t leave me excited for future HOH shows. We’ll see how long this Triple Threat angle lasts.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.