Ho Ho Lun. Hoho Lun. Hoholun. In traditional Chinese, it’s 何顥麟, and in simplified, it’s 何颢麟. Mandarin Chinese would pronounce it He Hao Lin.
However you arrange the name, he’s one of Hong Kong’s most experienced wrestlers. He’s a world traveller and one of wrestling’s best-kept secrets. But he’s about to be shown to the fresh eyes of WWE fans as part of the Global Cruiserweight Series. Is he any good? Until now, I’ve really only seen him in Middle Kingdom Wrestling, and they haven’t been around long enough to give him a lot of matches. So I thought I’d look up some of his other work and see how he compares to his GCS counterparts like Akira Tozawa, Noam Dar, and Rich Swann.
Ho Ho Lun vs. Dr. Love (爱情博士) – New Taiwan Wrestling
I assumed Ho Ho Lun would be the heel here, and it seems like it at first. He comes out and sings along with his entrance music in Cantonese, which makes him seem like a show-off. And the crowd laughs whenever he retreats from Dr. Love’s pervy advances, thus communicating to me that Dr. Love is the crowd favorite. But later on, Dr. Love seems to be getting the heat on Ho Ho Lun, beating on him for a bit longer and going overboard with the perv moves. If you can’t stand dry humping, you might want to avoid this match. If you can overlook it, it’s a pretty solid outing from both guys. Of particular note is the spot where Dr. Love puts a banana peel on the mat, comes off the ropes, and slips on it, delivering an elbow drop in the process. Ho Ho Lun hits his signature second rope missile dropkick and a less head-droppy Michinoku driver, and later gets the win with a German suplex hold. Afterwards, both guys shake hands and hug, showing respect.
(No, I’m pretty sure it was not a sign of them hooking up.)
Winner – Ho Ho Lun
Rating – OK
Ho Ho Lun vs. “The Statement” Andruew Tang – Singapore Pro Wrestling
There’s English commentary on this one.
Here we have a Singaporean defending a Hong Kong title against a Hong Konger in Singapore. Tang (pronounced like the orange drink) is the AWGC Junior Heavyweight Champion, and Ho Ho Lun wants to take that title back to his homeland so badly that he goes right after Tang before the bell. There’s no feeling out process, as both guys are very familiar with each other. They just throw out everything from the get-go, and it’s definitely exciting. They go back and forth with the advantage. Tang kicks out of the German suplex hold and eventually wins after a Bloody Sunday and a Superfly splash. The only knock I have is that Tang’s tilt-a-whirl DDT, which the announcers build up as being so impressive, isn’t landed well. Nevertheless, this is an intense, compact contest that I recommend watching.
Winner – Andruew Tang
Rating – Good
Ho Ho Lun vs. Xander Cooper – Great Bear Promotions (UK)
There’s English commentary on this one, too…until the bell. Then no one talks. Technical difficulties?
This is part of a light heavyweight tournament. Ho Ho Lun is the definite babyface, as the crowd seems to be familiar with Cooper’s arrogance. Overall, it’s a solid back-and-forth match where both guys look good. Ho Ho Lun hits all his spots, but once again, his German suplex hold isn’t enough to put his opponent away. Cooper hits some good moves, like this one backbreaker I really liked. He does botch a powerbomb; he picks Ho Ho Lun up but can’t lift him all the way, so he puts him back down and they do something else. That’s the only thing the wrestlers themselves mess up, but the camera brings the one thing worth really complaining about. They only use one camera, a stationary hard cam that must have no one behind it since it doesn’t follow the wrestlers while they fight on the floor. At one point, Ho Ho Lun gets a long running start, bounding halfway around the ring on the outside to do something to Cooper, but we never see what it is because it hits off-camera. The crowd seemed to like it, at least. There’s also a little bit of a blur on the camera lens in the middle.
Thus, I declare the match good but the camera’s limitations just short of unwatchable levels. So watch it if you can stand it.
Winner – Xander Cooper
Rating – OK
Ho Ho Lun vs. Kenbai – ZERO1 Hong Kong
I think Kenbai is Japanese. Pretty sure he’s wrestled for Michinoku Pro, ZERO1, and other Japanese indies. He looks like a little high-flying Luchador, but he attacks from the start like a dirty heel and pretty much keeps that style throughout. Ho Ho Lun takes a lot of punishment but eventually fights back and gets several nearfalls. He hits all his spots, and his Michinoku driver variation actually looks like it could get him the win this time (but it doesn’t). Kenbai does a lot of nice moves, too, not just rulebreaker tactics. He almost gets a submission win with a crossface, but he wrenches too hard and allows Ho Ho Lun to turn his body and get to the ropes. There’s a pretty hot finishing stretch, and once again, Ho Ho Lun’s German suplex isn’t enough to get the pin. He also tries a shining wizard, but still no dice. Kenbai really cheats when he pulls the ref close to him so he can low blow Ho Ho Lun where the ref can’t see. Kenbai gets the win with a 450 splash.
Winner – Kenbai
Rating – OK
So what did I learn about Hong Kong’s “Cool Star”? Well, his signature moves are the second rope missile dropkick, the superkick, and a type of Michinoku driver, plus various other kicks. His finisher is the German suplex hold, which he sometimes sets up with an enzuigiri, but it isn’t a well-protected finisher since people are kicking out of it left and right. He’s quick and pretty smooth in his motions. He seems like he’d fit in well in Japanese indies. He’ll surely have at least one good match in the WWE Global Cruiserweight Series. Personally, I’d like to see him against Akira Tozawa, but I think he’ll do fine with anyone. I hope he advances past the first round, but considering the qualifications of the other talent involved, I’d be a bit surprised if he does.
Still, hopefully he’ll answer the challenge with his best performance and the exposure will get him more bookings around the world.