Welcome, one and all, to my latest OVW TV review. This week, we’re looking at episode 1039, which is titled A Midsummer’s Nightmare. The event follows Saturday Night Special 102, so I’m hoping there’s going to be some cool stuff set up to move us towards the next one. Let’s dive in.
OVW Episode 1039
We start with a recap of last week’s TV and Ted McNaler’s match against Justin Smooth, as well as the champ’s confrontations with Dustin Jackson and Dimes afterward. That segues into highlights from the SNS 102 main event where Justin Smooth successfully defending his OVW Heavyweight Title against both Dustin Jackson and Dimes.
We then throw it over to Josh Ashcraft and Ted McNaler on commentary, who confirm that we’re now heading into the Midsummer’s Nightmare Tournament to decide a new number one contender for Smooth’s title. We learn that, as he was pinned at the SNS, Dimes is not included in the brackets. However, as he did not take the fall, Dustin Jackson will be competing, and will also get a bye in the first round. He will face the winner of Brandon Espinosa vs. Drew Hernandez in the semi-finals. On the opposite end, Aamon gets a bye and will face the winner of Randall Floyd vs. Corey Storm.
First Round: ‘The Real Deal’ Randall Floyd vs. Corey Storm
On paper, this is a great match. Floyd has been gloriously consistent in the TV Title division, and Storm has a lot of potential. The opening moments really told you what the overall story would be: Randall Floyd will control things with his mat work, and Corey Storm will get on top when he has the chance to use his speed and agility. The commentary team did a good job of pointing out that Floyd was placed in the tournament due to his record in the TV Title division, and Storm was entered as ‘wild card’ pick.
The match was clipped, but what we saw was a decent mix of styles. Things built up to the competitors trading pinfall attempts and, in the end, Storm reversed Floyd’s Deal Breaker into a roll-up for the upset victory. Post-match, Floyd was incredibly angry, letting his frustrations loose on the ring ropes. He had a face-to-face with Storm, but eventually shook and raised the youngster’s hand. That was a really nice touch as it not only made it clear that both guys are still faces, but in Floyd’s reaction, showed how important the tournament is for those involved.
First Round: Brandon Espinosa vs. Drew Hernandez
This is another one I’ve been looking to. Drew Hernandez is one of the better heels in the TV Title Division, and Espinosa is always consistent in his work. I suspect that, with one wild card entrant having gone through, Espinosa may come up short in this all heel clash. The commentary team built it as a case of both guys not being shy about bending the rules and the competitors played up on this by trying to out-cheat each other in the early going.
While not a pure wrestling classic by any means, this was a lot of fun. Both guys deployed a good mix of shenanigans to try to stay on top until Hernandez picked up the win with a low blow. The match only went four minutes but managed to go back and forth at a reasonable pace. Good stuff.
Semi-Final: Aamon vs. Corey Storm
Aamon was an easy pick to reach the semi-finals. He’s pretty much done it all in OVW, and his character work is strong. The problem I have with him is that the character means his matches can be a bit hit and miss for me. Once again, the commentary team put over Aamon’s previous success and Storm’s inexperience. It’s a clear – but fine – attempt at getting Storm over as a future prospect.
Storm came in selling, putting over the punishment he received from Randall Floyd earlier on, and continued to sell through most of the match. The pace was kept slow, with Aamon controlling the action throughout. In the end, Aamon got distracted with trying to bring his chain into play, and Storm hit the Storm Breaker for the win out of nowhere. The match went a little over six minutes. While watchable, I do take issue with Storm getting the win with one move.
Semi-Final: Dustin Jackson vs. Drew Hernandez
This is another good match on paper. Hernandez is great in his role, and Dustin is another young competitor with a bright future ahead of him. There was an interesting moment from the commentary team with them putting over how even heel commentator Josh Ashcraft – a self-proclaimed scumbag – dislikes how Justin Smooth does things.
The match went back and forth for four minutes, with Jackson coming across particularly well with his mix of speed and power. Then we got some shenanigans: Hernandez dropped to his knees and claimed Dustin low blowed, and the referee inexplicably believed him and called for the bell. Two more referees came out to confirm what happened, and the match was restarted. A high paced home stretch then saw Dustin escape a Mayan Apocalypse and nail his Frog Splash for the win. This was good, but I’d like to see them have a longer match down the line.
We get a highlight package showing the finish to each of the tournament matches so far, then cut to the commentary team. They put over both finalists, Storm as having gone through a hard path, and Dustin as someone who feels they should be the number one contender. They talk a little about the upcoming SNS on Augusts third, then throw us back to the ring.
Final: Corey Storm vs. Dustin Jackson
Both Dustin Jackson and Corey Storm are young, and both have plenty of potential to be big stars for OVW. On a personal level, I’d say that Jackson is better at the moment; he has a good look, he’s charismatic, and his ringwork is a good balance of speed and power. Storm is also showing promise too, with a very recognizable look and an exciting style that the crowd is connecting with.
As you’d expect, OVW Heavyweight champion Justin Smooth came out before the match started. In a really nice touch, Ted McNaler left the commentary table and he and his wife vacated the premises. That did a great job of playing up on Justin’s actions over the last two weeks. The champ joined Ashcraft on commentary.
The match itself saw both guys throwing everything they had at their opponent from the get-go. Smooth spent the match cheering for Corey and talking about how Dustin never could get the job done. That was a clear indication as to where this was going result-wise, as well as what the long term plan is. Sure enough, after a couple of minutes of smashing each other, Dustin set up the Frog Splash, but Smooth interfered and knocked him off the top rope. Corey shoved Smooth and refused to take an easy win. Shortly after, he hit a springboard Diamond Cutter for the pin. This was a good, five-minute sprint.
Face To Face
Smooth got in the ring after the match and admonished Corey Storm for shoving him after his assist. There was a loud Corey chant going up here, and Smooth played off it well, proclaiming it was all about him, not Corey Storm. He put over how confident he was and how much he could hurt the youngster and offered him the chance to lay down for him right now. Storm took the mic and said that he’s glad Smooth – like everyone else – underestimates him. He told the champ that he’s gonna knock his teeth down his throat, and left. Smooth got the last word, telling the crowd that they all love him and that Corey’s disrespect will not go unpunished. The show ended with Smooth holding his title aloft.
Overall, this was a really good show. With the sheer number of matches squeezed into the hour of show, things were mostly kept short, but the competitors made the most of the time. The show was a good mix of styles and everyone managed to tell a story, no matter what their role. This was tidy work all round. Well worth a watch for fans of the product.
Let’s pick some highlights:
MVP: Everyone had their working shoes on this week, and it would easy to pick almost anyone on the show here. I’m going to go with Corey Storm though. The tournament win sets him up for a title shot that I fully expect him to lose. There’s no denying that he’s capable of filling the role though. His ring work looked good, he kept selling when he needed to, and he showed some fire in the promo against Justin Smooth. Good work.
Best Match: This goes to Dustin Jackson vs. Corey Storm. The match was put together to get a number of points across. Obviously, setting up Storm vs. Smooth was one of them. It also succeeded in getting Dustin Jackson over though. On top of that, Smooth’s involvement made it clear that Dustin is the next in line, and no matter what he says about him not getting the job done, his actions say that he fears Jackson. This was short, fun fight that built everyone involved in one way or another.
Best Angle/Promo: This one is a tie for me. Randall Floyd’s post-match freak out is the first one. Here, Randall put over how important the tournament is to everyone entered, and also managed to maintain his status as a face. It was simple but effective. Meanwhile, Ted McNaler leaving ringside was also well done. After Justin Smooth’s action the last two weeks, Ted and his wife getting up leaving made perfect sense, and really continued to build Smooth up as an unpopular figure.