Taking a look at Santino Bros. Wrestling’s “No Rest For The Wicked” from February 2nd featuring Douglas James vs. Tyler Bateman, DoomFly vs. True Grit, and Jake Atlas vs. Matt Vandagriff. Click for review, videos, and GIFs!
Jake Atlas w/ The Bomb Squad vs. Matt Vandagriff
First, the Kathy from H.R. and Terry Velour segment
Some lady named Kathy in business attire came out with a clipboard saying she’s from the “Human Resources Department.” She said she was there to address allegations about the school and promotion being unstructured and unsafe. During her promo, she was doing a really annoying office lady voice. This angle is already very contrived.
After some babbling, she introduced some guy who is the “General Manager” from the California State Athletic Commission named Terry Velour (wait, isn’t that a fabric?) to do an investigation. Terry then comes out wearing a suit and tacky rings. His entrance music was “The Bomb” by Pigeon John. Hmmm, where could this be going? Terry Velour got on the mic and talked about how Santinos needs to be fixed. He also said that he’s going to take Santinos from “square to fair.” I ended up cringing at this.
This would lead to Jake Atlas and the Bomb Squad coming out. Everyone shook hands, and Jake Atlas got on the mic to talk. He talked about how the Bomb Squad are training under him and that they’ll be good because they’re not training with Robby Phoenix. Jake cut a decent promo, but the other people brought nothing to the table. They seriously weren’t needed at all for this storyline. None of this made any sense either. Even when this storyline advances, it still won’t make sense. Sorry for the small spoiler alert. My bad.
And now, the actual Jake Atlas w/ The Bomb Squad vs. Matt Vandagriff match
Before the match, Jake Atlas said that Vandagriff’s entrance music sucked .He’s very right. Imagine Dragons are fucking awful. With that said, his music wasn’t much better. You won’t hear it on the YouTube version of this match though, so you’ll have to go to the Santino Bros. Facebook page to see it.
I was expecting this to be a really flippy match. I wouldn’t be disappointed as there were a fair amount of flips in this one, as well as Jake doing some heel work. Vandagriff had the flashier style here, and kept fighting back as Atlas bullied him around while working a more aggressive style. This was a really well structured match that did a good job at building around Vandagriff’s comebacks and spots. The Bomb Squad also got involved at the right moments too, which added to the match.
The finishing sequence saw Atlas counter Vandagriff’s attempt at a Frankensteiner, followed by a knee from the middle rope, followed by a Cartwheel DDT from the top rope. This was a pretty good match. As I said, this was a well worked match. Everything that was done here was put together wisely, and the match flowed really well because of that. All the spots in the match were layered out nicely too, which is something most workers who do spotty style matches in SoCal don’t do well. I highly recommend that people watch this match.
Post Match Shenanigans
Jake got on the mic and Vandagriff that if he wants to be Rookie of the Year like him, that he should join his crew. After extending his hand, Atlas had the Bomb Squad jump him. Watch the swerve gimmick, bros.
Alonzo Alvarez vs. Dom Kubrick w/ Halston Boddy
Alonzo got on the mic after his entrance and exaggerated about how he won his wrestling medals while insulting the crowd. He was then interrupted by Dom Kubrick, who had some effeminate fat bald dude dressed as a bootleg Elton John with him. The effeminate fat, bald dude got on the mic and introduced himself to the crowd as Halston Boddy. He made some creepy double entendres towards Alonzo and offered to form a tag team with Dom, to which Alvarez turned down.
Alvarez started off with a really nice grappling display. Dom would counter those grappling tactics moments later by dry humping him in the corner. As the match went on, Dom continued to play mind games with Alvarez by doing things such as molesting and borderline sexually assaulting him. Yeah, I really wrote that cause that was really happening.
As the match went on, Alvarez would continue to out grapple Dom, while Dom kept getting some type of sexual gratification from being beat up by Alonzo. Again, I wrote that because it really happened, or it seemed that way. Even though he relied heavily on character work, Dom had a solid performance that was overshadowed by antics. Halston Boddy got involved at times as well to distract Alonzo. Dom got the win after hitting a Tilt-A-Whirl into a pin, which was looked sorta cool. The match overall was solid and Alvarez had a good showcase. I couldn’t stand Halston Boddy though.
Post Match Shenanigans
Dom and Halston Boddy took Alonzo’s medals. Alonzo was mad and chased after them after they left.
Triple Threat Match: Robby Phoenix vs. Koto Hiro vs. Lucas Riley w/ The Bomb Squad
Jake Atlas was providing commentary for this match, while the Bomb Squad joined Lucas Riley at ringside. Jake was rooting for Lucas throughout the match. The match itself was a formulaic triple threat match. There were some sequences with everyone going at it, then one guy would hang at ringside while the other two went at it in the ring, and so on.
Some of the spots in this were mistimed, but the match was still solid. Koto and Lucas worked at a faster pace, while Robby did power moves when he was on offense. Lucas hit a really cool standing Spanish Fly on Koto Hiro, which was the best spot of the match. During the match, Jake’s commentary would distract Robby, and the two started talking shit. This was really entertaining and helped advance their storyline a bit.
After exchanging words with Atlas at one point, Robby would hit Koto with a Tiger Driver ’98. As Robby was pining Koto Hiro, he went outside the ring where he punched one member of the Bomb Squad. He then threw Lucas in the ring, and went outside to attack Jake Atlas. As Robby threw Jake in the ring, the Bomb Squad attacked Robby resulting in a No Contest. He would proceed to do moves on them, including some powerbombs into the turnbuckles. Like I said, this match was pretty solid aside from some sloppy moments.
Post Match Shenanigans
After the match, Katie From H.R. and the fake CSAC guy came out and yelled at Robby with Jake Atlas egging them on. The fake CSAC dude suspended Robby. They left. Robby left. I was left flabbergasted. Before this, I had never been down on anything the Santino Bros have done that I’ve seen, and I really hate that I said that as they’re honestly one of my favorite promotions in SoCal.
True Grit (Jesse James & Hoss Hogg) vs. DoomFly (Eli Everfly & Delilah Doom)
This was an entertaining match. While there were some off moments, it was still really good overall. Eli and Delilah played the part of the speedy underdogs, and True Grit were the bigger, more powerful team. It’s a basic formula, but they made it work really well with some really fun spots thrown in. At one point, Eli did a crazy dive and kinda overshot Hoss. After that, Jesse caught Delilah and powerbombed her on the ring apron. That was a really sick looking spot.
During the finishing sequence, Hoss would hit Eli with a Package Piledriver on the ring apron. That would allow True Grit to have a 2 on 1 advantage against Delilah. They would go on to hit High Noon, a Powerbomb-Neckbreaker combo, on Delilah for the win. After the match, they destroyed Delilah with some Lariats, and Hoss hit her with an unassisted Con-Chair-To. This looked like it was setting up an angle between DoomFly and True Grit.
This was a really fun match overall. It had good pacing, it told a good story, and had some sick spots. DoomFly had some really fun offense in this as well. It really makes me want to see them team up more. I hope True Grit and DoomFly have a feud. I imagine it could produce some really good matches. Everyone check this out.
Santino Bros. Wrestling Submission Championship Match: Douglas James (c) vs. Tyler Bateman w/ Sarah Wolf
Prior to the match, referee Jeremy Marcus went over the rules. The match could only be won by submission, KO, or a closed fist DQ. Make sure you keep that last rule in mind. Sarah Wolf was at ringside. She kept talking shit to Douglas James. I have to say that even though I hate most managers and valets in wrestling, she was pretty solid in her role. Her shit talking was pretty entertaining.
Both guys had a good series of technical stuff in the opening part of the match. Eventually the match broke down to Bateman doing some striking on Douglas, and Douglas trying to use high flying and Lucha stuff to mount comebacks. As the match progressed, the story focused around Douglas selling a knee injury, allowing Bateman to get an upper hand throughout.
At one point towards the end of the match, Douglas countered Bateman’s Death From Above elbow smash with a nicely worked Triangle Choke. He also did a flying armbar on Bateman, and countered a suplex attempt from Bateman with a Marcelotine. As Douglas had Bateman in the Marcelotine, Sarah Wolf got on the apron to distract referee Jeremy Marcus. As Jeremy’s back was turned, Douglas made Bateman tap.
Now remember when I told you to keep the closed fist DQ thing in mind? Well after the distraction spot, Bateman got up and hit Douglas with a strike and the referee determined that it was closed fist. This resulted in Bateman losing the match by disqualification. Aside from the finish, this was a pretty good match. Watching it made me feel like Douglas and Bateman could have a killer program with each other and produce more fun matches if given the chance. They seem to work very well together.
Post Match Shenanigans
Ruby Raze, who lost to Bateman in a “Loser Leaves Town” match on Halloween night 2017, made her return after the match. She had to be held back by a bunch of trainees, but she eventually beat everyone up. Sarah Wolf tried to attack Ruby, but Ruby grabbed her before she could hit Ruby with Bateman’s cage. This would cause Bateman to jump on the ring apron. Ruby would let go of Sarah to go after Bateman, but Bateman and Wolf got away. The Santino Bros. trainees tried to stop Ruby again, but like before, she destroyed everyone.
After this, she got on the mic and challenged Bateman to a Three Stages Of Hell match to close the show. Oh, and she also has Bateman’s cane now. I don’t know if that’s important or worth caring about, but I figured I should mention it. Either way, this was a good angle to close the show.
First the bad…
The segments and angles with Kathy From H.R., Terry Velour, and Halston Boddy weren’t good. The post match angle with Jake and Robby wasn’t done well either. It felt like some overly gimmicky segment you’d see in a TNA angle from 2009-2010 because of the unnecessary non-wrestler characters. It sucks because this Robby vs. Jake angle had so much potential to be a great Student vs. Teacher storyline.
With the Santino Bros. offering manager classes, it’s only natural that they utilize those students somehow. I can’t blame the school for using these people on shows, but at the same time I feel like the professional wrestling industry needs to start evolving on this aspect of the business. I feel like pro wrestling needs to be getting away from overly gimmicky angles with goofy characters such as Kathy From H.R. and Terry Velour, as well as characters like Halston Boddy. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a place for non-wrestling characters in wrestling, but they need to be used more as background characters you don’t hear much from but still add to the story instead of trying to be the story.
The Robby/Atlas angle was hindered a bit with this. Before this show, this angle was doing a great job at developing a character for Jake, but now I feel like there’s too much unnecessary shit going on and that it distracts from the main angle between Robby and Jake. It doesn’t feel organic or genuine, and when promotions try to force things (like the “suspension” thing) from a gimmick authority figure, it doesn’t really feel right, like Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch or Seven from Married With Children.
As for the good….
Despite not being into the non-wrestling stuff, the actual wrestling stuff on this show was really fun. Atlas vs. Vandagriff was a really good spotfest that had a story to go along with it. With both performers still being young in their careers, it’ll be interesting to see how much they evolve in five years. If they’re already putting on matches like that at this stage of their careers and keep improving, they’ll likely become stars like the Young Bucks have become.
Douglas James vs. Tyler Bateman was another really good match aside from the DQ finish. The two of them seems like they could produce a series of really good matches if they were put into a program together. Their styles seem to mesh very well. Douglas James had a really good performance here, and it was cool to see him busting out some jiu-jitsu techniques in this. If you’re a worker and want to know how to work a submission properly, watch Douglas James in this match.
DoomFly are probably my new favorite tag team in SoCal. It is no secret that Eli and Delilah are a couple in real life, and it seems like that chemistry translates really well inside the ring. They blend so well together, and their styles really compliment each other’s. If they’re booked together as a team more often, I could easily see DoomFly winning the SoCal Tag Team of the Year award.
The DoomFly vs. True Grit match was loads of fun. It featured a lot of things that modern professional wrestling needs. There was action, excitement, and crazy moments. Delilah taking the apron powerbomb from Jesse James was sick, and Eli taking the Package Piledriver from Hoss on the apron was even sicker.
Overall the wrestling on this show was really good. There wasn’t a bad match, and the last two matches were very good along with the opener. Watch those.