By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Battleground Championship Wrestling “Turn Up the Heat”
Streamed on FITE TV
August 6, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Joe Dombrowski was on commentary.
1. Brian Kendrick defeated VSK at 8:18. Kendrick has grown his goatee out again. They shook hands before the bell. Good mat reversals early, and Kendrick was frustrating VSK by repeatedly slapping on a headlock. VSK dove through the ropes onto Kendrick at 3:00. They got back in the ring and Kendrick immediately hit a Sliced Bread #2 for a nearfall. VSK hit a Lungblower for a nearfall. Kendrick hit a superkick for a nearfall. Kendrick went for another Sliced Bread #2, but VSK blocked it and turned it into a sit-out powerbomb at 5:30.
VSK hit a neckbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. He went for a frogsplash, but Kendrick got his knees up to block it. Kendrick slapped on his headlock submission hold. VSK hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly for a nearfall; Kendrick reversed the rollup and got the pin. That topped all expectations, as Kendrick really brought his working boots here. VSK remains a good hand who just can’t quite break into the next tier.
2. Ray Jaz defeated Facade (w/Dani Mo) at 11:08. Dombrowski noted that Facade, who has neon green short hair in dreadlocks, is a 16-year pro. We’ve seen Jaz a few times on AEW Dark. Facade showed off his ability to bounce off the ropes and hit an armdrag. They brawled to the floor at 3:00, and Facade crotched Jaz on a guardrail. Facade ran at Jaz, but Jaz moved and Facade crashed awkwardly against the guardrail, allowing Jaz to take control. In the ring, Jaz hit a snap suplex for a nearfall.
Facade ducked a clothesline and he hit an enzuigiri, then a powerbomb for a nearfall at 8:00. Jaz rolled to ringside and got a chair, but Dani Mo jawed at him. Facade jumped off an open chair in the ring, did a springboard off the top rope, and hit a 450 to the floor. In the ring, Facade hit a springboard cutter for a nearfall at 10;30. However, he missed a coast-to-coast Van Terminator, and Jaz immediately got a backslide for the clean pin.
3. Afa Jr. & Charlie Haas defeated Beast Man & Steve Gibke at 11:28. Gibke is now dressed like an evil-looking Vampiro with white and black makeup on his face and upper chest. Again, Afa Jr. is the former Manu from WWE a decade ago; he is now just 37. Haas looks healthy and in good shape. However, Beast Man is so heavy he looks quite unhealthy. Gibke and Haas started. Beast Man slammed Haas and got a nearfall at 7:30. Beast Man nailed a butt drop then a body splash onto Haas for a nearfall. Gibke accidentally speared Beast Man. Afa hit a top-rope frogsplash on Beast Man for the pin. Not good at all, really.
4. Rich Swann defeated Willie Mack at 13:02. Former Impact Wrestling teammates collide! They both danced before the bell. The ref tried to do the splits and hurt his groin. Funny. Mack hit a huracanrana, and they tried simultaneous dropkicks and had a standoff. Quick reversals ending with Swann hitting a dropkick at 3:00. They brawled to the floor, where Mack hit some loud chops in front of the fans. In the ring, Mack hit a headbutt and remained in control. He hit a huge Stinger Splash for a nearfall at 6:30. Swann fired back with a clothesline and some jabs to the jaw.
Swann missed a Phoenix Splash, and Mack immediately hit a Samona Drop, then a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 8:30. Swann hit a Rude Awakening neckbreaker. They traded punches and slaps. Mack collapsed to the mat and clutched at his right wrist and began favoring it. However, Mack hit a pop-up roaring forearm for a nearfall at 11:30, and they were both down. Mack hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. However, Mack missed a frogsplash. Swann hit a handspring-back-spin kick for a believable nearfall. Swann immediately nailed a top-rope Phoenix Splash for the clean pin. That was fun and really good.
* BCW will return Sept. 17 with an “Extreme” reunion featuring Rob Van Dan vs. Rhino, Bully Ray and D-Von teaming up, plus Sandman and Shane Douglas to appear. They went to intermission!
5. Jazmin Allure defeated Myka at 7:02. My first time seeing Myka, she has dark brown hair and wore purple top and bottom, and Dombrowski said she is an 11-year pro. Jazmin has competed on AEW Dark and she came out to a nice babyface pop. Basic standing switches early on. Allure hit a nice head-scissors takedown. Myka tied her in a bow-and-arrow hold on the mat, then she nailed a Stomp at 3:30. Myka tied her upside down in the corner and hit a basement dropkick to the face for a nearfall.
Myka tied her in a Tajiri-style Tarantula in the ropes at 5:30. Allure fired back with a second-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Myka nailed a Lungblower to the back. Allure tied Myka along her back, did a spinning slam, and got the pin. Passable; Allure has promise but is still quite green.
6. Buddy Matthews and Tony Nese defeated Brian Cage and KC Navarro at 14:27. I have said this a few times recently, but Navarro and Ace Austin are almost identical now. Nese & Murphy are the heels here, and they attacked Cage to start the match. They chased KC, who stalled until Cage recovered from the early attack. Cage nailed a sit-out powerbomb on Nese at 2:30. Cage and Navarro began working over Nese, with Cage nailing his delayed vertical suplex, then an impressive standing moonsault for a nearfall at 4:30.
Strange booking as KC kept Nese grounded, even though I feel they established that Nese and Buddy are the heels. Cage hit a fallaway slam, and they kept Nese from tagging out. Nese finally hit a Frankensteiner at 8:30 and made the hot tag to Buddy. Buddy glared at KC as he slowly entered the ring, like a stalker. Buddy hit a pop-up kneestrike to the jaw, then a Meteora flying double knees on KC for a nearfall. Buddy nailed a Bucklebomb, then a Rollins-style Stomp to the head. Cage hopped in the ring for the save, so all four brawled. (If Cage could have done this all along, why didn’t he? No tags necessary?)
They did a tower spot out of the corner, with everyone down on the mat at 11:30. They all got up and traded blows. Buddy hit the Stomp on Cage. Buddy hit a DDT on KC as KC’s feet were in the ropes. Nese hit an impressive 450 Splash on KC for the pin. The crowd cheered, so I guess Nese and Matthews were the babyfaces after all. A strange match, but good action.
* KC got mad at Cage and yelled at him, so Cage dropped him with a forearm. Cage, Nese and Murphy took turns beating up on Navarro, which is a great jerk character.
7. Ken Shamrock defeated Harry Smith at 7:39. Wow, Shamrock looks a lot older than the last time I saw him compete in Impact Wrestling just a couple years ago; he has a lot more gray in his hair and just looks like a grandpa. They shook hands but Harry immediately hit a kick to the gut. He rolled Shamrock to the floor and beat him up alongside the guardrail. In the ring, Harry applied a cross-armbreaker, with Shamrock fighting to keep it from being locked it. He hit a bodyslam at 4:00 and made the one-foot cover, but of course, Shamrock kicked out.
Shamrock fired up and hit some rising knee lifts to Harry’s head, then he applied an anklelock on the mat, but Harry powered out, and he turned it into a Sharpshooter, with Shamrock reaching the ropes at 7:00. Smith hit a Bulldog Powerslam. Smith again went for a Sharpshooter, but when he bent over, Shamrock grabbed Smith’s head, rolled him up, and scored the fluke pin. This was far below what I expected here.
* A board covered in barbed wire was brought to ringside. Yeah, this isn’t my style…
8. Bully Ray and PCO vs. FMW Leather and Atsushi Onita in a hardcore match at 14:25. Bully Ray carried a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. FMW Leather carried his chainsaw to ringside. What is the average age of these four? (A quick Wiki search says Onita is 64, PCO is 54 and Bully Ray is 51.) Onita smoked a cigarette and took his time getting to the ring. They brawled at ringside, but this is like watching 50-year-old men play basketball. Onita slammed a chair over Bully Ray’s head, then he hit a DDT.
PCO hit a flip dive through the ropes at 4:00, but he crashed hard on the floor; no mats here. In the ring, Bully Ray slammed a guitar over Onita’s head. Onita got slammed through the barbed-wire board in the corner. PCO hit a senton splash for a nearfall on Onita at 9:00. PCO did the “D-Von flying headbutt” to the groin. PCO hit a top-rope flip dive onto Leather, who was lying on a table on the floor. That left Bully Ray and Onita in the ring, and Onita used the barbed-wire bat on Bully Ray’s forehead. Bully Ray hit a frogsplash on Onita, who was lying on a table, for a nearfall. Onita sprayed red mist in Bully Ray’s eyes and got a nearfall. Onita hit a double-arm DDT to pin Bully Ray. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed that Swann-Mack match, as they are clearly good friends, and I’m sure I haven’t seen it before. I know Impact Wrestling has a limited budget, but they really should find a way to bring back Willie Mack, and Jake Something too. This match was by far best of the show.
While I didn’t understand the booking, I’ll still give Nese/Buddy-Cage/Navarro second-best. The solid Kendrick-VSK match gets third best. I don’t care for the hardcore matches, and seeing guys in their 50s and 60s doing hardcore is even worse. The show clocked in at about three-and-a-quarter hours.