Wow. That’s all I can say, just wow. House of Hardcore 9 was as close to a perfect wrestling show as anybody could ever dream of. From bell to bell, the action was intense, hard-hitting, athletic, and absolutely as good as it gets. As House Of Hardcore continues to grow, each event is better than the last. And, lets face it. A lot of big things have happened for the company between House of Hardcore 8 and House of Hardcore 9, including an international television deal with The Fight Network, and an expansion into Canada, having Toronto’s Ted Reeve arena host what has arguably become the most successful House of Hardcore event to date.
As a matter of disclaimer, I was in attendance for this event. Not only was I in attendance, but I actually manned one of the RF Video ringside cameras.
More than that, I spent the entire week in Toronto, along with the man himself Tommy Dreamer, and Jan Murphy (my much greater Chinlock.com counterpart) between multiple media events, and special appearances, including interviews with Michael Landsberg on Off the Record, and a visit to the Sick Kids Hospital of Toronto, helping promote the event. Is my review slightly biased based on that? Absolutely. But believe me when I tell you, if you’re a fan of professional wrestling, you need to go out of your way to see this event. It is perfect.
I purchased this event from RF Video Now, RF Video’s video-on-demand website. For $21, I was given immediate access to download a high definition .MP4 version of the event, at 4.50 gigabytes, along with a 157 megabyte “extras” file. Both files were quick to download. I have access to a 55mbps cable internet connection, and at peak time (9pm EST), I was able to download both files in a little bit more than 5 minutes and save them directly to my hard drive. Being a bit of a tech nerd, and having upgraded to Windows 10, I was going to attempt “casting” the show from my laptop to my 60 inch Samsung Smart TV, for the very first time. The process worked flawlessly, with absolutely no issue. The video played without a single stutter all the way through.
And lets talk about the video quality. Again, maybe I’m a little bit bias, but this is the best looking independently produced wrestling DVD, possibly ever. Rob Feinstein’s equipment is as top-of-the-line as it gets. What’s more amazing to me is how great some of the shots came across in the editing process. I have never filmed anything before in my life (the most expensive camera I’ve ever touched is the one built into my Blackberry z30). Rob thrust a $10,000 camera into my hands and said “Have you ever used one of these before?” Me: “No.” Rob: “Oh, it’s easy as sh*t. Press this button here, point it at the ring, film whatever you want….I’ll take care of the rest.” And that he did. Holy crap, the video quality is out of the world good. Ted Reeve is an older arena, but between the lights, the entrance, and the video quality, it created a pretty incredible atmosphere.
Oh, the atmosphere in the Ted Reeve arena. As announced by former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts, the Ted Reeve arena hit a mild 51 degrees Celsius (that’s 123 degrees Fahrenheit) that…uhhh….cool (?) night in Toronto. It was hot. Ridiculously hot. My sweat was sweating. My sweat’s sweat was sweating. You get the picture. But, if you think the crowd was overcome by the heat, especially given that as the event took place, it clocked in at more than 4 and a half hours including intermission and VIP autograph signings, you couldn’t have been more wrong. The crowd was just as alive for the main event as they were for the opening match. Toronto is a notoriously great city for professional wrestling fans, and they showed their passion and their House of Hardcore pride like nobody could have possibly expected. My hats off to you Toronto (and given the temperature, you’re lucky I didn’t take a lot more than that off that day).
Another reason to love Toronto? They set both the all-time attendance record for Ted Reeve Arena, and for House of Hardcore, coming in at over 1700 strong. They were literally hanging from the rafters.
But enough of my jibber-jabber, lets get down to the HITS and MISSES of House of Hardcore 9 (and I think you know where this is going):
House of Hardcore 9 HITS:
Team 3D vs. The Young Bucks: 30 days after this event, Team 3D would re-debut in WWE and attack The New Day, immediately reintroducing themselves as a top tag team in the world of professional wrestling. At this event, Bully Ray and Devon proved why they still have what it takes to bring the goods to the table. Unfortunately, I think the nuance of them entering without entrance music (as they did at the beginning of their career in ECW) was slightly lost in translation, but my good god, the match sure wasn’t. The Young Bucks, without question, are the most exciting tag team in professional wrestling today. This was an excellent hard-hitting street fight, with the satisfying finish of Nick Jackson getting powerbombed through a table. As a match, it could have main evented any event, anywhere. As the main event of House of Hardcore, it was perfect.
Team Tremendous (Dan Berry and Bill Carr), Matt Striker and ‘Hacker’ Scotty O’Shea vs. Vik Delishus, Ben ‘The Beast’ Ortiz, RJ City, and ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page: Part of me really wanted this match to succeed because of the local interests participating in the match. I’ve gotten to know Ethan Page, RJ City and Scotty O’Shea well throughout the years as I’ve traveled the roads during my independent wrestling career. Each bring something unique and palatable to the table, and it is easy for me to celebrate their successes as each have worked very hard to achieve them. That said, this was arguably the match of the night. There was every reason for it to be a trainwreck, and in a lot of cases, it was. However, that trainwreck turned into an incredibly fun match that I think more people went home talking about their any other match on the card. Dan Berry and Bill Carr are tremendous (as their tag team name suggests). Bill Carr busted out not one, but two picture perfect flying head scissors. For a gentleman of his size, that’s a 14 on a scale of 1-10. This was just a really, really fun match. Also, a quick shout out to former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas, who got caught up in the moment, and almost dove off the top rope into a crowd of wrestlers brawling on the floor. Go get ’em Jimmy!
Johnny Mundo vs. Tony Nese: Tony Nese is a House of Hardcore mainstay, for all the right reasons. Why he doesn’t have a contract with one of the major professional wrestling companies, whether in the United States, or elsewhere is mind-boggling. He has the look, the skill, and the presence to be a superstar. Johnny Mundo is, well, Johnny Mundo. Since becoming a part of the Lucha Underground roster, Mundo has seen somewhat of a career renaissance, and his in-ring work reflects that new energy. I think this was pegged by many to be the match of the night, and it was great. The match was helped by the incredible commentary given by Vik Travagliante and Daniel Morrison (former ECW star Danny Doring). They told a wonderful story throughout this match, and really showed why they make an excellent commentary team. Excellent, excellent stuff, all the way around.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Chris Hero: How do you open House of Hardcore the right way? Have the patriarch, the mind, the body and the spirit of House of Hardcore open the show. Here comes my bias again. Was this a 5-star classic match? No, it wasn’t. But knowing the pain that Tommy Dreamer was in going in to the match, and knowing the absolutely brutal media special he kept for the 3 days leading into the event, it didn’t have to be. It was exactly what I expected. One of the most passionate human beings on this planet painting on his canvas and giving his body to his art. And hey, who doesn’t love Chris Hero? I know I do.
Traci Brooks Retirement: Traci’s retirement video was one of the most touching pieces I’ve ever seen. The words spoken over the video package of her career were articulate, thoughtful, inspiring, and heart-felt. Traci still looks like a million bucks, and like she could whip my ass at any given moment. It was an honour to be in attendance for her send-off, and this was a wonderful piece of business.
The Addiction vs. The Kingdom: Every bit as awesome as it sounds on paper. Kazarian and Daniels wrestle like guys 15 years younger than them, and The Kingdom wrestle like guys who have been doing this for 15 years longer than they have. This was tag team wrestling personified, and for those fans out there who love a great no-nonsense tag team match like I do, you need to go out and find a copy of this video. Like, right now. This was excellent. Bonus points that Maria Kanellis was within inches of me. She smelled so good.
Bobby Roode vs. Pepper Parks: Surprise factor!! Bobby Roode received a King’s welcome from Toronto, every single ounce of which was deserved. Roode, who is from Peterborough, Ontario (approximately 100KM or 60 miles from Toronto) has seen the most success in the professional wrestling world since Edge and Christian 15 years ago. A multi-time World Heavyweight Champion, and Tag Team Champion, it was easy to get lost in the appreciate the Toronto crowd showed their hometown hero. Pepper Parks is another great independent wrestler from the area, and he more than held his end of the bargain in this match. This was the second match of the night, and came after the emotionally charged appearance by Tommy Dreamer. It was the perfect match to keep the crowd hot, and ready for what was to come for the remainder of the evening.
House of Hardcore 9 MISSES:
None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nadda damn thing. Okay, colour me slightly disappointed that the Spenny/Rhyno segment was cut from the final DVD. Rhyno absolutely tore Spenny’s head off with a closeline, and its a shame that may never see the light of day. But, beyond that, it was as perfect as it gets when it comes to a professional wrestling show. The production of the DVD was top-notch (as good, or better, than you would get from a nationally produced DVD with a serious amount of money invested in the production). The digital download was Blu-Ray quality, and downloaded at lightning speed given it’s size. The commentary was excellent through-out the entire evening. The venue was hotter than a fart on the surface of the sun, and everybody brought their absolute A-Game to the table. It’s an exciting time to be a House of Hardcore, and Tommy Dreamer fan. Big things are coming, and this show was just the beginning of what will surely be an incredible ride yet to come. BUY THIS DVD. You can order a physical copy from RF Video or the digital download at www.RFVideoNow.com. For more information on House of Hardcore, please visit their website: www.HouseofHardcore.net