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Samoa Joe makes a big splash in Montreal
By YVES LEROUX - SLAM! Wrestling


Samoa Joe in Montreal. -- Richard Leroux

MONTREAL - Ring of Honor champion Samoa Joe made his debut in Montreal Friday when he faced off against Quebec phenom Kevin Steen--and what a debut it was. Steen, who had fought Christopher Daniels and Jerry Lynn in the last year, took on his biggest opponent to date, at least for a while.

The wrestling card, promoted by famed Quebec wrestler Marc le Grizzly at the N.D.R. Center, had the making of a memorable event. The 300 or so fans present all left in awe of the evening, even though the card lasted about four hours.

The main event lived up to its advance billing. Steen, the Internet Wrestling Syndicate and Elite Wrestling Revolution champion, fought tooth and nail for twenty minutes against Samoa Joe, with some loup slaps that could be felt throughout the venue. Samoa Joe even treated the crowd to a mid-rope jump outside the ring onto a dazed Kevin Steen. These two kept the crowd on their feet until Chase Ironside and Mobster arrived at ringside and stopped the match by telling Kevin Steen that they were both more worthy than him to confront Samoa Joe. Out came Marc the Grizzly to try to get them backstage only to turn the match into a tag team match with Kevin Steen teaming with Samoa Joe. After some incredible high flying from Kevin Steen, some solid reversal and chops from Joe and pure strength from Chase and Mobster, the crowd was treated to an additional twenty minutes of wrestling at its best with Samoa responding very well to the different chants from the crowd, and interacting with a few fans, who were just delighted such a huge Indie star was taking the time to respond. Samoa Joe and Kevin Steen won.

Apart from the fact the show lasted more than four hours, the fans were up and standing for most of the final match and were treated to Samoa Joe in absolutely splendid shape and really felt they got more than their money's worth. The card finished near 12:45 a.m. and even though it was way too long for any wrestling card, the fans left satisfied.

Hopefully, this was not the last time Samoa Joe graces Montreal with his presence as the overwhelming reaction to the card was all positive. Maybe the fans will be treated by an appearance in an American ring for Kevin Steen in the coming months? After wrestling Jerry Lynn, A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe in the last few months, that might be the natural progression for Kevin Steen, who was showing signs of a brutal match with swollen lips and cheeks from Joe's stiff slaps and forearms. Nevertheless, his future is bright.

The first match of the evening had Lufisto against Julie Red Fuxx. The women's match featured many slaps and often carried out side the ring with Lucy/Lufisto having the advantage for most of the match, even putting on her version of a modified tarantula but only to loose to a reverse small package.

The second match had the Flying Hurricanes against Alex Price and Big Larry, replacing Mr. Extreem at the last minute. This match featured numerous arm drags and quick flips, all the while using chairs and tables, with incredible pop going to Big Larry (who looked to be related to El Generico!) especially when he used a chair to drop kick one of the Hurricanes in the face. The Hurricanes won with a 360-degree reverse flip on top of Big Larry.

Next was an eight man tag team elimination match with the MWF (Montreal Wrestling federation champion) Kid Kamikaze, Sexxy Eddy, Chris Stevens and Raid going against Nighmare Manson Jay Phenomenom, Diablero and Dave le Tiger. With Sexxy Eddy, Kamikaze and Nightmare Manson doing the bulk of the action, it's no surprise the team of Sexxy Eddy and friends won when Kamikaze pinned Nighmare Manson.

This was followed with a heavyweight tag team match featuring veteran Sunny War Cloud and Manuel Vegas versus Professor Abid Mansoor and partner Jason Reaper. Mansoor dominated the match with the expected slaps and kicks but even with some incredible chair shots to the back of Sunny and many double team moves on the part of Mansoor and Reaper, Sunny and Manuel Vegas still won the pin. One of the most impressive was Manuel Vegas walking the top rope "a la Undertaker' with Mansoor in his grab.

In the comedy match of the evening, the crowd was entertained by Beef Wellington and Wonder Fred against 2.0. This was pure comedy where they had the crowd laughing from the beginning to the post-match antics, where the wrestlers and special guest referee Crazy Manny all ended up cooling off in an inflatable kiddy pool set up near the entrance, sipping beer.

After a 20-minute intermission, a video showing an impromptu meeting between Kevin Steen and Samoa Joe and an exchange of wits and looks only fed the appetite of the crowd for the finale match.

The next match, a scramble with four teams consisting of the Angry Aryans vs. New Breed vs. Fan Favorites vs. Kobra/Shogun. The Tag Team Scramble was fun to watch because many kinds of wrestling genres were present, from Damian's submissions to Viking's brutal head dropping moves and New Breed's tag team moves and all the wrestlers were into high flying. Shogun is very quick and his twisting dive to the outside is something to witness. New Breed won after a long, exciting match.

The next match had Excess 69 against Frankie the Mobster. Mobster, true to his reputation, would engage with insult screaming contests with fans, berating the referee, and slapping 69 around. Technical moves were mixed with pure brutality from Mobster and incredible agility from 69. Mobster won with surprising ease, dropping a knee for the pin.

That was followed by a tag team Grudge Match with Paysan & El Generico vs. Arsenal & Chase Ironside. This was one hell of a match where all four wrestlers busted their butts real hard for this one. There were loads of dangerous spots, kicks, tables, chair and ladder shots. It was brutal, but brutality is what you can expect when Arsenal is in the ring so it wasn't really a surprise. But the surprise of the match was Chase Ironside going move for move with the smaller and quicker guys. The chair shots to Paysan's back were insane and could be heard and felt all the way to the food stand. El Generico and Paysan won after a long and grueling match.

Next was a three way dance with the Northern Championship Wrestling champion Chackal vs Pierre Carl Ouellet vs the Canadian Pro Wrestling champion Jake "Paranoid" Matthews. This was an old-fashioned, hard-fought match with Jake using his famed shovel may times to his advantage, and his manager Lollipop using her charms for outside interference. The best pop came when PCO set up Lollipop between Chackal and Jake in a corner only to crash them together. Chackal won the match with a surprising pin over PCO.

Yves Leroux has been contributing to SLAM Wrestling since 2000 and grew up watching Lutte Internationale/Grand Prix Wrestling. He can be reached at: yves_l@videotron.ca.