Smash Wrestling presents The Northern this coming weekend. Tournaments are always an exciting wrestling event, and when fans get to witness one at an independent show it is a great opportunity. Promotions in different countries all over the world have annual tournaments that feature top talent from the indy circuit. Canada’s own Smash Wrestling has also presented tournaments at their events, such as the Gold tournament they held in years past. Last year they launched The Northern, and the weekend of June 1st and 2nd they present the second one. Unlike last year, this time The Northern will take place over two days. Day one will feature eight quarterfinal bouts, while day two will have the semi-finals and the fatal four-way final match, as well as a couple of championship matches that will be the cherry on the sundae. Both shows will be at Smash’s old home, the Franklin Horner Community Centre.
After attending last year’s tournament with our esteemed Editor Marc Madison and it was a fantastic show that featured, among others, Matt Riddle and Mia Yim shortly before both signed with WWE. This time around, the tournament will feature several established members of the Smash roster, the debut of two standouts from the independent circuit, the return of independent legends, and even a bona fide international legend and sure-fire Hall of Famer. It promises to be a great couple of days of wrestling for fans to enjoy. Here is Pro Wrestling Post’s preview of the 2019 edition of Smash Wrestling and their event The Northern.
Tyson Dux vs. Carter Mason
This quarterfinal match presents an interesting contrast: on one side you have Tyson Dux, a Smash mainstay and one of The Pillars of the promotion who has been on the independent circuit for over two decades. He is also a former Smash champion and the winner of last year’s tournament. On the other side is Carter Mason, a young performer who is on the rise in Smash, and recently got his first opportunity at the Smash title during a fatal four-way match just last week. Mason will have a lot to prove against the veteran Dux and were he to defeat the reigning tournament champ it would be a massive upset and quite the feather in his cap. But Dux has experience and his continued excellent athleticism in his favor, and so the match may very well just another trip to the learning tree by his opponent. Either way, this match goes, there will be a compelling told with some significant ramifications. Who walks away victorious in this tournament match for The Northern for Smash Wrestling?
Jason ‘The Gift’ Kincaid vs. Jim Stryder
Similar to the previous match, this bout also pits an established veteran against a fledgling in-ring performer. The athletic, acrobatic but always dangerous Kincaid has over fifteen years of experience under his belt, while Stryder is just cutting his teeth in the business. The young man’s answer for the savvy of ‘The Gift’ will be the size advantage he possesses, and he will no doubt seek to keep his opponent ground so he can leverage his height and weight in his favor. Smash fans have seen Kincaid a number of times and well know what he is capable of, but this will be the biggest showcase Stryder has had in the promotion so far. The audience can expect to see both men go all out as they seek to advance in the tournament.
LuFisto vs. Sebastian Suave
This match will be the only intergender contest in The Northern; last year’s tourney featured two. For the most faithful Smash fans, this might be the match they are looking forward to most, as it pits one of the Pillars, Suave, against a veteran of the independent circuit, and someone who has been in a Smash ring several times before, LuFisto. It is also a very positive development to see her back, as in February she indicated she will be retiring at the end of the year due to health issues. She actually had to bow out of her last Smash booking due to those issues. But put aside any preconceptions you may have about intergender matches; LuFisto is a veteran of such battles, and this will be as physical a contest as you will see at the show. As with any Suave match, there is always the chance that his advisor Anthony ‘Kingdom’ James will take the opportunity to twist things to his own benefit, perhaps by laying LuFisto out on the linoleum.
Mike ‘Speedball’ Bailey vs. John Greed
And once again we have an independent veteran that is very familiar to the Smash audience pitted against a day one member of the roster. It has been great for Smash that Bailey has been able to appear for them more regularly lately, and here the man who combines hard striker, aerial attacks and, of course, speed will have his hands full with the much larger Greed. As noted previously, Greed has had a much darker, nastier outlook lately, and will no doubt be very physical with Bailey. But Bailey has proven in previous contests with bigger men that he can take the harshest abuse and come back with just as stiff a response. Greed, meanwhile, is not afraid to take to the air despite being a larger man so the styles of these two men should mesh well and produce a compelling contest.
Stu Grayson vs. Josh Briggs
By now many have heard that the Super Smash Bros tag team have joined up with AEW, and soon a much broader audience will see what these two veterans are capable of doing, But Smash fans are already very familiar with them as they have been mainstays on the roster. In this match, one half of the team, Grayson, will face off with a rising star on the independent circuit, someone who is making what is, in essence, his Smash debut (after wrestling on a jointly promoted Smash/NSPW show in Montreal in January), Josh Briggs. For those not familiar with him, Briggs is a huge man, measuring about 6 feet 8 inches. Minus his tag team partner, Grayson will have a daunting task in dealing with this big man. He does possess the experience advantage, as Briggs has only wrestled for about three years, and he will need every bit of that. That being said, the Smash audience will likely not mind seeing Grayson take a beating from his large opponent.
Player Uno vs. Anthony Greene
The other member of Super Smash Bros also has a match as part of the tournament, and he is also facing a rising independent star making his Smash debut. Another parallel is that ‘All Good’ Anthony Greene, who also goes by the name the ‘Retrosexual’ is signed to the EVOLVE promotion like the previously discussed Josh Briggs. While Uno brings a methodical, physical style to the ring, wearing down his opponents and using whatever means he can to abuse them, Greene brings an all-around game to the ring and will present a big challenge. Greene’s Smash debut has been long anticipated, and fans should expect him to make an impactful, impressive inaugural appearance. Look for both men to put their best foot forward in this one. Could retrosexual advance in The Northern tournement for Smash Wrestling or will Player Uno prove to be all elite?
‘Psycho’ Mike Rollins vs. ?
As of this writing, it is unknown who Psycho Mike will be facing in the first round. He had been slated to go against his former tag team partner in the Well-Oiled Machines, the man who, after his betrayal of Rollins dispensed with the Pepper Parks name and now only calls himself ‘The Blade.’ However, after Rollins sought out and got a modicum of vengeance at Smash’s ‘Get Your Fight On’ event last week, The Blade was withdrawn from the tournament and all future Smash bookings. So in the wake of this heelish display of cowardice, the Psycho needs a new first round adversary. It is quite possible that this will stay unknown right up until the event and a surprise opponent is announced. It is worth noting that Smash roster regulars Brent Banks, Kevin Blackwood, and Scotty O’Shea are not booked for any Smash matches this weekend. Could it be one of them, or someone more shocking? We will see.
Matt Cross vs. Ultimo Dragon
Here we have a Smash first, perhaps wrestling first, and definitely a dream match. A legend of the independent circuit who is no stranger to the Smash ring, Matt Cross, will face off against an international legend who does not make too many forays outside of his native Japan anymore, Ultimo Dragon. Longtime North American fans will remember Dragon from his days in WCW when he carried around nine championships simultaneously and had the match of the year worthy battles with Rey Mysterio among others. After the demise of WCW, he even appeared for WWE for a year. Some may know that it is he who christened many wrestling moves that are common today: the Asai moonsault, the ‘Dragon Sleeper,’ ‘Dragon Suplex’ and the ‘Dragon Screw leg whip.’ They may also know the legend that his name came about because he was the last, or ‘ultimo’ student of the ‘Dragon,’ Bruce Lee. Ultimo Dragon does have a martial arts pedigree, but even after his decades-long career, he can still utilize an aerial attack. But he is facing an equally gifted flyer in Cross, who never ceases to impress audiences with his smooth, crisp offense and athleticism. This will no doubt be the standout match of night one, and perhaps the tournament. The only unfortunate thing is that these two men are facing off on night one when either could be a favorite to win the whole thing. Smash Wrestling has brought together one of their greatest champions to face Ultimo Dragon for The Northern tournament.
Meet Our Friends
A fun little extra as part of this two day extravaganza is that, before the show proper kicks off on Sunday, June 2nd, earlier that afternoon Smash presents Meet Our Friends, which will give young wrestlers not already on the promotion’s roster, but rather part of partner promotions, a chance to shine for the Smash audience. Admission to this is free to anyone attending day two and will be well worth it for anyone who can’t get enough wrestling action. Smash Wrestling once again proves to be another fan-friendly show with this event during The Northern tournament.
Semi-finals and final
As stated at the outset, day two will feature the semi-finals, which will actually be four one-on-one matches involving the eight victors from day one, and then the final which will be a fatal four way involving the winners from the semis. The final was an hellacious battle last year, and this year will surely be no different. Any of the fifteen previously discussed competitors would be a worthy winner, so it will be intriguing to see who is standing tall at the end of day two.
Jody Threat vs. ???
Right now, a mainstay of Smash’s distaff division is scheduled to be in action on day two, but her opponent is unknown. The best bet is that she will face a competitor who was unsuccessful on day one, but we won’t know who until bell time. Could she face veteran LuFisto in what would doubtless be a dream match for young Threat? Or could she face off with her old tag team partner John Greed, who as mentioned has undergone quite a change in perspective? There are lots of possibilities here. Who could go one on one with Jody during Smash Wrestling and their The Northern tournament?
Smash tag team championship match:
Halal Beefcake (c) vs. Lotus
The champions have been able to hold off any and all challengers so far. Having gone through all of the established teams that call Smash home, the team of Idris Abraham and Joe Coleman now face off with a team that is brand new to the promotion, Lotus. This team, who have been standouts on the independent scene in Michigan, is comprised of Gavin Quinn and Junthai. Together they have made a big impact in promotions like Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (XICW), Collective League of Adrenaline Strength and Honor (CLASH) and Pro Wrestling All-Stars of Detroit (PWASD), capturing tag titles in all of them. They are looking at adding another belt to their resume by taking the Smash tag championships. They bring a hybrid style to the ring, in contrast to the brawny, bludgeoning style of the Smash tag champs. It will be interesting to see if the challengers can make their Smash debut a momentous one.
Kevin Bennett vs. Choclair
The challenge that led to this battle was laid down when ‘The Remix of pro wrestling’ interrupted a friendly interview with lifelong wrestling fan and noted Canadian rapper Choclair. It was quite presumptuous of the young man from Buffalo, who fancies himself a talented bar spitter, to interrupt a man with well over two decades in the business. But interrupt he did, first by opening his mouth and then by physically attacking Choclair. The end result is this rap battle, and though it took a few months to happen due to Bennett’s dodging, it will take place on this night. Despite his propensity for trash-talking his opponents, it’s hard to imagine Bennett getting the better of his more experienced adversary, but we’ve already seen he can turn things physical when they aren’t going his way. Smash Wrestling and The Northern tournament could be Choclair’s house after this night.
Smash championship match:
Tarik (c) vs. Kevin Bennett
At long last, this match is here. It may be another victory for Bennett or may be another ignominious loss. But regardless of the outcome, he is finally getting the opportunity he has long wanted. He has lobbied for a championship match for some time and was not satisfied with being one of three participants in the fatal four way last week at ‘Get Your Fight On,’ especially since he didn’t capture the belt. But now he will go one on one with the man who has held the Smash title for over nine months, Tarik. The two have been exchanging unpleasantries on social media for a while now, and it has come to a head in the last week. Now it will be settled in the ring, and the only regrettable thing about it is that given the animosity between these two it’s a shame this is not a no holds barred match. But even without that stipulation, you can expect Tarik to bring a vicious assault, adding pain, blues, and agony to his motto of punch, kick, chop. Bennett will respond by being opportunistic and underhanded, even if he can’t match the sheer physicality of the champion. Will Bennett finally get what he has sought for so long? Or will Tarik have yet another successful title defense in a stellar championship reign? The answer will come on Sunday, June 2nd during Smash Wrestling and their The Northern tournament.