Taking a look at Santino Bros. Wrestling’s October 12th, 2018 event. Featuring Douglas James vs. Matt Vandagriff, Jake Atlas, True Grit, and more.
Heather Monroe and Viva Van vs. Vulcana and La Subrina Dos
This was a fun match with a decent story behind it. La Subrina Dos had some sloppy spots inside the ring when she was on offense, but she had her moments. The formula for this match was simple. Heather and Van worked over Subrina Dos, who then got a hot tag to Vulcana after Van accidentally hit Monroe. The finish would see Heather walk out on Van, who went on to beat Vulcana and Subrina Dos on her own. As I said, this was a fun match. Heather had a really good performance in this. Viva Van was also solid here and shows so much potential to be a really good in-ring performer in the future. I could picture her being a strong contender for Rookie of the Year next year.
After the match, Heather returned to the ring and raised Van’s hand. She then hit Van with a Paul Orndorff-style clothesline and finished her off with a Michinoku Driver. Heather then yelled “I’m better than you. Never forget that” at Van.
Darwin Finch vs. Vinny Wasco
This match is playing off an angle from the previous show where the two got into a fight backstage. I could be wrong, but I believe this was Vinny Wasco’s first match. He wasn’t very spectacular. He mostly did a lot of basic offense, and also had some pretty sloppy moments in the ring. With that said, this was his first match, and he could improve over time. I can’t really judge him as a performer based on this performance. Darwin Finch had a really good performance in this though. He seems to have improved a lot this year. The match overall was solid and mostly character driven, but Darwin’s in-ring work was good here.
I’d really like to see Darwin work more serious matches with higher quality performers. I think he’d be able to do really well if given the chance.
True Grit (Jesse James & Hoss Hogg) vs. The Bomb Squad (Dylan Kyle Cox & Cameron Gates)
The Bomb Squad have been having a really solid rookie year so far and blend well as a team. They still have some improvements they could make, but they’re another solid pair of prospects from the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy. True Grit had a really good showing here. The pacing of the match was good, and the in-ring work was solid. There were a lot of solid double-team spots in this, and the action was good. All four workers in this match meshed pretty well with each other. If the Bomb Squad continues to improve, I could see them and True Grit having tons of great matches in the future with each other. The finish of the match was great too, with Jesse James and Hoss Hogg hitting a Death Valley Driver/Powerbomb combo onto Cameron Gates for the win. I highly recommend this match.
Jake Atlas vs. Dom Kubrick w/ Halston Boddy
Dom Kubrick has been getting a lot of hype this year as one of the top rookies in SoCal. While I think he could end up becoming really good in the future, he can be sloppy inside the ring at times. Still though, he’s capable of putting on good matches with the right opponents. This was a good example of that, as he and Jake Atlas had a solid match. They did some comedy and character work that I didn’t really care for, but the action was mostly good. This match had tons of creative stuff, but it’s one flaw was that it had sloppy moments. Despite that, this was a good match. Jake Atlas has really grown this past year as a performer, and this match was a good showcase of what he could do.
Santino Bros. Submission Championship Match: Douglas James (c) vs. Matt Vandagriff
I was really interested in seeing this match the most on this card. Vandagriff is currently my top pick for Rookie of the Year, and Douglas James has been making a solid case for the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Year award. I was sort of let down by this match though. The layout was weird, as it felt like this was just a normal match for the most part without pinfall attempts. There also wasn’t much emphasis on the need for a submission finish for most of the match up until the final moments. This match also had some sloppy moments, but not enough to hurt the match overall.
Despite the flaws and sloppy moments, I thought this was a reasonably worked match. Even though Vandagriff didn’t look as polished when it came to grappling and chain wrestling, he had a good showcase of high flying spots here. Douglas James had a good performance in this match. While this match was disappointing, it was still solid for the most part. I’d really like to see them have another match in the future. I think they could have a better match if given the chance.
After the match, Robby Phoenix entered the ring and said he will be facing Douglas for the Submission Championship in November.
The only part of the show I didn’t like was the commentary from Tim and Adnan. Both guys seemed like they wanted to get jokes in whenever they could. One of the commentators, Adnan I believe was his name, was pretty annoying as well. He yelled way too much and at the wrong times. I can understand trying to sell the action but when a simple stomp gets the same loud reaction as a higher impact move, it just takes away from the impact of the bigger spots of matches. He can also sometimes go a bit overboard at times. Don’t get me wrong, enthusiasm is not a bad thing, but sometimes it can be a bit much.
With that said, while Adnan and Tim aren’t very good, they’re not the worst commentators in SoCal. Hopefully, these dudes learn to balance things and don’t end up like the other commentators in SoCal, who come off as two-bit comedy hacks.
With that said, this was a very solid show. Some of the newer prospects from the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy need some work, but most of them showed a lot of potentials. Viva Van and the Bomb Squad were the more impressive workers out of the new batch of Santino Bros. students. Viva Van seems like someone who could end up in WWE in a few years. The established and experienced performers were really good on this show as well. Heather Monroe, Darwin Finch, and True Grit all did well in their respective matches. Jake Atlas was the best overall performer of the show in my mind, while the True Grit vs. Bomb Squad match was the best of the show.
While these shows aren’t producing the best overall matches in SoCal when compared to other promotions, they are always consistent in terms of match quality. If you have time to kill, I would say this show is worth a watch.