Match of the Week (11/05-18/05 2018): The Young Bucks vs. Super Smash Bros (ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds 2018 – Night 2)

Added by Miguel Camilleri

The Young Bucks are undoubtedly the men of the hour in the world of professional wrestling (along with Cody Rhodes) after selling out the 10,000-seater Sears Centre in just under half an hour for their self-funded ALL IN event, which shall be taking place on September 1. What was once a pipe dream has transformed into an extremely vivid reality. Nobody has independently achieved what they did in America since 1994, which is a testament to the popularity they have built up over the past few years.

Preceding their current marketing-monster “Being the Elite” phase was an incredible run in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, where they became the de facto staple tag team. Their most critically acclaimed matches (aside from the incredible drama-filled match they had against the Golden Lovers earlier this year) have all taken place in PWG, such as their brutal Guerrilla Warfare match against Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae in 2014, or the 5-star rated 6 man tag they were involved in during the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles weekend. Arguably their best match in PWG, however, was a three-way ladder match against Future Shock (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, who currently form part of NXT’s The Undisputed Era), and the less-heralded Super Smash Bros (Player Uno and Stupefied, now known as Evil Uno and Stu Grayson). That match is often cited as the best tag match in PWG history, and as one of the best ladder matches in independent wrestling history.

Whereas The Young Bucks, as well as Future Shock, have since moved onto bigger things, that ladder match seemed like a career pinnacle for the Super Smash Bros. Issues with sealing a permanent work visa in the United States have hampered the Canadian duo from consistently proving themselves on the major American independent promotions, limiting them to wrestling in Canada only. It was with this in mind that the Young Bucks, in deciding who they’d face in the Toronto leg of the ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds Tour, chose to rekindle an old rivalry by giving Super Smash Bros the chance to prove that they belonged on a major stage. The Young Bucks and Super Smash Bros were once again set to do battle, 6 years down the line.

The respect between the two teams was evident at the beginning of the match, with all 4 men exchanging handshakes with each other. The match started with Matt Jackson hitting Evil Uno with a number of quick moves such as a flying elbow, a hurricanrana and a dropkick. You could tell this was a man at the peak of his ability, and he knew it too with the confidence with which he was carrying himself in the ring. Their tag partners then tagged in, with the two men exchanging a series of chops in the corner, followed by a lucha wristlock armdrag and dropkick by Nick Jackson to Grayson, followed by a double team dropkick by the Bucks to Uno. The Young Bucks were dominant, and the crowd was showing their appreciation for it.

The Bucks continued to work over Grayson in the corner, with both men tagging in and out at intervals after hitting a few moves of their own. After hitting a scoop slam in the middle of the ring, the Bucks then proceeded to whip out their classic “parallel muscle flex” taunt. This, along with Matt Jackson spitting his gum at Evil Uno (who promptly picked it up, put it in his mouth and spat it back at Matt) and hitting an exaggerated theatrical backrake on Grayson, was a bridge too far for SSB.

The Bros finally got riled up enough to get themselves back into the match after Uno hit a huge back bodydrop to the ring apron on Matt Jackson, weakening the latter’s already injured back, along with payback for the backrake. Back in the ring, SSB continued their momentum by working on Matt Jackson in their half of the ring, followed by a snapmare/kick-to-the-face combination. It was now the Smash Bros who were controlling proceedings, with Matt Jackson’s back once again hindering his team. Although Matt eventually managed to fight back momentarily, sending Grayson flying into the ringpost, Uno managed to cut him off at the last second and prevent the tag. This allowed SSB to hit a backdrop/flying elbow combination that Matt just about managed to kick out of at 2.

After hitting a superkick on Uno outside the ring, it looked like Matt finally had his chance to tag his brother in. Grayson had other ideas, however, and once again sent Nick crashing to the outside, preventing the tag for a second time. Third time would finally be the charm, after a spear by Matt on Grayson allowed him to muster enough energy to tag in his brother. This led to a quick flurry of moves by Nick on both Smash Bros, including an incredible facebuster on Grayson followed by a moonsault on Uno to the outside in quick succession, swinging the match right back in the Bucks’ favour.

Back in the ring, the Bucks managed to hit stereo sunset flips, which they transformed immediately into a double sharpshooter…in Canada. Both Smash Bros managed to get to the ropes, but not before the Bucks called for a Superkick Party, to which the fans promptly responded. This would not last, however, as Uno countered both Bucks’ superkicks, even using the ref as leverage to hit a swinging neckbreaker on Nick Jackson. Uno followed this up by slingshotting Grayson to hit a plancha onto both Bucks on the outside.

SSB built on this momentum by hitting an incredible double team manoeuvre on Matt Jackson, whereby Uno lifted him up in a suplex position, only for Matt to be helped on the way down by a vicious kick to his neck by Grayson. This would only warrant a 2 count, however; the Bucks were still in it. Trying to finish proceedings off, Uno held Matt in the corner for another running knee to the face. Matt managed to dodge in time, however, causing Grayson to knee his own partner in the face. The Bucks set up for them to do the same to Grayson, only for Grayson to move out of the way himself, leading to Nick kneeing Matt right in the face. Grayson then went on to hit an incredible Pele kick on Nick, after pulling off a Matrix/kip up combination dodge from a Nick Jackson clothesline.

The fans had firmly swung in their countrymen’s favour at this point, with “SSB” chants ringing out through the Ted Reeve Arena. This fervour increased with the exchange of punches between Matt Jackson and Evil Uno, which sent Jackson into the corner. Despite this, Matt managed to distract a charging Uno long enough to be able to hit another superkick on his larger opponent. This was followed up by an incredible sequence where he hit a twisted springboard neckbreaker on Uno, immediately after which Grayson hit a frog splash on Matt himself, followed by a Swanton Bomb attempt by Nick Jackson – for which Grayson managed to get his knees up.

This primed the SSB to hit one of their finishing moves, the Fatality, on the second attempt. It seemed like they had the win in the bag. Matt Jackson had other ideas, however, and promptly hurled Grayson into his brother to break up the pin. It was at this point that the arena went crazy with “This is Awesome” chants, a sentiment which they were not wrong about in the slightest. The awesomeness had not yet peaked though, as Grayson used the shoulders of Nick Jackson and his tag partner to launch himself into a hurricanrana on Matt Jackson. Grayson followed this up by launching Nick into his brother in the corner, which allowed the SSB to hit stereo aerial moves on their opponents. It once again seemed like it was over, however the Bucks once again just about managed to kick out at 2. The “Fight Forever” chants had now started – again, not a wrong sentiment on the crowd’s part.

SSB set up for their old finisher (the Tandem Piledriver), which Matt managed to fight out, allowing Nick to hit a Superkick to each of their opponents. He then smartly dodged out of the way of Superkicks by both of SSB, which caused both men’s legs to get tangled in each other, allowing the Bucks to hit stereo Superkicks on their opponents. After smartly setting Grayson up to by held by Uno in the Piledriver position, they once again hit stereo Superkicks on Uno’s legs, causing him to spike his partner on his head, followed by which they hit even more stereo Superkicks on Uno.

After riling the crowd one final time, the Bucks set up to finish off the match. Although Grayson almost managed to roll Nick up for the 3 count, and continued trying to fight off his opponents single-handedly, the Bucks eventually managed to hit the Meltzer Driver to pick up the hard-earned victory over a team they had not hit that move on in nearly 6 years. After the match, the old rivals once again showed immense respect for each other by raising each other’s hands, as the crowd chanted for their compatriots.

Although obviously not as good as the Bucks’ classic encounter against the Golden Lovers in March, this will still be one of the best tag matches you’ll have seen all year once December comes around. The perfect way to rekindle an old rivalry, and a match which I hope is the cause of an American promoter seeing the light and signing off on a work visa for each of the SSB lads. These guys absolutely need to be given more visibility, because they truly are tremendous workers, and deserve more than what they’ve been dealt so far in the industry. I definitely recommend watching this match, especially if you’ve seen their old PWG matches.