On Sunday, March 24th, Smash Wrestling presented their ‘Tell All Your Friends’ event in downtown Toronto. The main event of the sold out show saw Smash Wrestling champion Tarik face off against Brent ‘Money’ Banks. The combatants in the title match were in a tough spot, as they followed an outstanding bout between ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey and Brian Cage that had the crowd on its feet for much of the match, and left them spent. But though the crowd was a bit low key in the early stages of the tilt, they got more and more vocal as Tarik and Banks brought them in simply by putting on an outstanding contest. As the crowd got more and more lively, it also became clear that they were pretty evenly split between the two combatants.
Tarik and Banks are far from strangers. They are two of the ‘Four Pillars of Smash (along with Tyson Dux and Sebastian Suave). Indeed, Tarik is the second of those Pillars (after Dux) to hole the Smash title, and in this match Banks was striving to become the third. Tarik and Banks have been tag team partners not only in Smash but several other independent promotions in Ontario and Quebec. And on several occasions they have faced off one on one in a Smash ring, though this was the first time a title was on the line, and their first match up in over a year and a half.
Their familiarity with one another was clearly on display throughout the match. Tarik, whose slogan is ‘Punch, Kick, Chop’ is known to be a fierce striker, so in response Banks went toe to toe with him, employing a great deal of striking of his own. The frequent striking exchanges that occurred during the match featured more chops than a premium steakhouse. Both men were left with their chests reddened by the end of the contest. In the latter stages of the bout, Banks even employed the backpack stunner that Tarik uses as a finishing move, another moment where imitation arose from familiarity, and was not just the sincerest form of flattery.
The match went over 20 minutes, and was, as the previous paragraph indicates, a pitched battle. The crowd grew louder and louder as multiple near-falls brought them to the edge of their seats. Banks not only hit the champion with Tarik’s own move, he also hit his own signature move, Sliced Bread #2 off the second rope. But in each case the champion kicked out. In return, Banks kicked out when Tarik managed to land a backpack stunner of his own. The story of the match was not just about two men with a long history performing like mirror images of each other, it was also about them having extraordinary resiliency that enabled them to continue despite their opponent’s devastating offence.
Banks carried the majority of the offense during the match, but at its climax, Tarik fired up and hit a three move sequence, including another stunner and ending with a flying knee off the second rope, that led to a three count and a successful defense for the champion. This brought the crowd to its feet one final time to show their appreciation for both participants after one of the best title matches Smash has ever presented. After the match ‘The Remix’ Kevin Bennett came out to a chorus of boos and challenged Tarik to a future title match. But that did not change the fact that at the end of the event the ring announcer proclaimed ‘And Still Smash Wrestling champion…Tarik!’
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