MKW Episode 5 Review

Who will face Dalton Bragg to determine the first Middle Kingdom Wrestling champion?

Part one of the season finale opens up with a video recap of all that’s transpired so far. Eddie Strong is once again joined by Dr. Cam Ferguson (PhD) on commentary.

CWE Title Match: Black Mamba w/ Da Li Sam vs. THE SLAM (c)

Black Mamba attacks THE SLAM from behind before the bell and shockingly remains on offense for more than five seconds. THE SLAM turns things around right after Sam’s first attempt at interference. Sam gets blatantly involved numerous times. Most ridiculously, he grabs the ref and holds his head while Mamba sprays THE SLAM in the face with a can of something. Annoyingly, this does not lead to a prolonged heat segment. I think they’re trying to tell the story that THE SLAM is better than Mamba, but Sam’s involvement is a huge obstacle for him to overcome. Unfortunately, the wrestlers switch control back and forth without much in the way of transitions, and so this tale comes across as if it’s missing several chapters.

The moves they do look good, I’ll give them that. Mamba’s DDTs and THE SLAM’s flying forearms are much smoother than the storytelling. The big spot of the match is when THE SLAM goads Sam into coming into the ring and bodyslams him. Guess we’re not saving that for a Hogan/Andre-type encounter, then. THE SLAM wins with his suplex-into-ace-crusher move that I believe is called “unstoppable lightning” in Chinese. The commentators don’t seem to know that. Sam carries Mamba to the back.

Winner – THE SLAM

Rating – OK

After a short photo montage, Voodoo comes out with Sam in a sped up entrance under dirty punk music. Bragg comes out, too. Then comes the request to watch part 2

MKW Title Tournament Final: Dalton Bragg vs. Voodoo w/ Da Li Sam

Voodoo wears a lucha devil mask and carries a chain. We can tell he’s British because he sure likes to talk. Too bad most of the crowd can’t understand English. He starts the match by insisting on a handshake with Dalton’s left hand. Remember, Dalton’s arm was injured when LEN BAI attacked him after their second-round match. Of course, Voodoo attacks that arm with arm wringers and such. The have a good opening sequence of moves before Dalton gets enough of the upper hand that Voodoo retreats into Da Li Sam’s arms. Seems we might actually have a structured wrestling match on our hands.

Sam catches Dalton on a dive and holds him for Voodoo to attack his arm. Voodoo attacks that arm brilliantly while also jeering at the audience. Arm breakers, divorce courts, yakuza kicks, stump pullers, every attack is directed at the arm. It would sure be nice if Dalton would SELL it to the degree that Voodoo is assaulting it! He should be wincing in pain at every strike. He should do the superplex with one arm. There’s more to selling than just putting tape on your arm and holding it a little higher than normal.

If viewed in a bubble, the finishing stretch is very well done. They both dodge spin kicks, Dalton hits the wraparound DDT, Voodoo misses with the chain shot and hits Sam, and Dalton gets the pin with a springboard codebreaker. Easily the best match from all of the MKW TV episodes. It’s just very, very frustrating that Voodoo put so much effort into working over Dalton’s arm only for Dalton to shrug it off like he’s Super Cena.

Voodoo, I must say, is a breath of fresh air. After watching so many green wrestlers who don’t know how to tell stories in their matches, to see someone like Voodoo – who obviously knows how to connect with a crowd and work over a body part – is like watching a B-movie that features a late appearance by a classically trained actor. I hope he sticks around and imparts some knowledge.

Winner – Dalton Bragg, 1st MKW Champion

Rating – Good

After the match, Dalton is awarded the MKW title belt. After the credits, music plays over clips of THE SLAM coming out with his CWE belt and getting in Dalton’s face. I actually watched this match on THE SLAM’s YouKu channel weeks before MKW finally put the show up. This confrontation was kept in its entirety there. Basically, THE SLAM says he’s already the champion of China. Dalton fires back that he won his belt with a broken arm (ha), so he’s ready for any challenge.

And that’s season one of MKW TV. As many flaws as I see in this promotion’s presentation and the wrestlers therein, I’m really rooting for them going forward. I love that there’s wrestling in China and I hope that it creates a solid underground niche following in the coming months and years. I’ll be excited to see someone like Dalton Bragg or THE SLAM on cable television in the far future.

Watch Part 1 of MKW episode 5 here:

Watch Part 2 here:


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