It’s marketed as a war, but does it settle the score?
It’s billed as being the biggest match in MKW history, and that’s surely true all around. It’s got more bodies in the ring than any other single match. It’s got arguably bigger stars than any other match (the two guys from Singapore have been wrestling for a several years). And it’s got a longer backstory than any other match.
(Also, MKW has a very short history.)
I’ve gone over it before, but in case you missed it, here’s what led up to this match: Ash lost to Black Mamba* in the first round of the MKW Championship tournament due to interference from Big Sam. Ash then had a pair of matches with JASON (Jason Wang), the second of which ended in a loss for Ash after a run-in by Mamba. Logically, a tag match against Mamba and Sam made sense if Ash could find a partner. MKW added Singapore Pro Wrestling’s Andruew Tang and Eurasian Dragon to the match, but that still left the two sides unbalanced, and they stayed that way until the it was time for the match itself.
(NOTE: This match was filmed last fall, several months before the CWF show I reviewed previously. JASON and Big Sam are involved with both, but this one happened first.)
Ash Silva, Eurasian Dragon, & JASON vs. Black Mamba, “The Statement” Andruew Tang, and Big Sam
Mamba gets on the mic and basically says to the babyfaces, “You only have two people. We have a champion. You only have two people.” Ash and Dragon then introduce JASON, who comes out wearing thick headgear. Commentary mentions (later) that Ash and JASON developed a mutual respect for each other after their pair of matches, so they’re buds now.
The main story I want from this match is Ash getting payback on Black Mamba for all his cheating ways. Since Ash ultimately gets the pin on Mamba, and it’s due in part to an attempt at cheating that backfires, then I do get what I want, yet I can’t help but feel like something is missing. I guess it’s just the fact that they didn’t really play up the beef between Ash and Mamba during the match. I would have expected Ash to be daring Mamba to get in the ring with him, and Mamba to be avoiding him unless Sam or Tang can weaken him first. Instead, while this is a match with clearly defined babyfaces and heels, that’s pretty much where the storytelling ends. Ash is barely involved with Mamba at all, and when he does finally face him near the end, it doesn’t come across as the wronged hero finally getting his hands on his nemesis, but rather as a generic babyface fighting a generic heel.
There’s unfortunately something about Ash that keeps me from getting into his performances. He sometimes looks lost between moves, and I see too many miscommunications between him and his opponents. I saw two or three in this match. I think he gets ahead of himself too often. On the plus side, he’s got an okay look, he hits a lot of his moves well (especially his jumping superkick), and he seems to work hard. He just doesn’t click with me.
Black Mamba doesn’t have a very good look, but he seems to work well with certain wrestlers, especially JASON. That’s probably because they train together a lot. His movements flow together pretty well, something I feel is missing from Ash’s work. I think he needs to play up his heelish-ness more. In this match, he mostly does moves and moves on to other moves. I’d have liked to see him gloat over his accomplishments more.
Eurasian Dragon is doughy and Andruew Tang is ripped (and spells his name funny), but both are obviously skilled and experienced, particularly with each other. They’ve probably done the spots they do together in this match a dozen times before, but since this is a new audience, it’s fresh. Tang acts like every move he does is the best thing ever (the kind of heelish attitude I’d like more of from Mamba), and he flexes and yells a lot. Dragon screams a bit too much for my tastes, but he has some funny comedy shtick and can still wrestle pretty well. I’d like to see him one-on-one with Big Sam, because they don’t get a lot of time together here.
Speaking of Sam, this is his first match since MKW started, as he’d previously just been Mamba’s bodyguard. He brings the power moves and big-guy cockiness, and he mostly dominates when he’s in the ring. Ash runs wild on him for a little too long, I think, in the middle of the match. It’s still kind of a big deal when JASON gives him a fireman’s carry throw late in the match. One nitpick I have, though, is that Sam uses a tombstone piledriver on Ash mid-match, and Ash still avoids a Mamba elbow after it. I’m a stickler for the tombstone being protected as a finisher, so I didn’t like that. Also, there’s a spot where Ash dodges and Sam hits both of his own partners. Seems like a good spot for an Ash comeback, but Sam turns around and goes back to beating on Ash like nothing happened. Not sure what’s up with that. Mis-timed hot-tag spot, maybe?
JASON is actually the standout performer for me, not because he’s the best wrestler in the match but because he’s shown the most improvement. His matches in season one didn’t impress me, but his work here is much better. He doesn’t botch anything and his miscommunications are kept to a bare minimum. He works well with all three guys on the heel side, even Tang, whom he’s probably not worked with before. At one point, he removes his headgear to reveal that he’s shaved almost half of his head. I think it’s a good look for him; definitely makes him stand out. Between this match and his match with Shooting Star at the CWF show in May, JASON has been winning me over recently.
Before I run down the finish, I must touch on the commentary and production. The commentators are improving with time, I think. Cam Ferguson has a man-crush on Big Sam, which is a fine gimmick for a heel color guy. I don’t appreciate all the references to WWE matches and wrestlers that both Ferguson and Eddie Strong drop in. I’ve long thought that the more comparisons a promotion makes to other promotions, the more low-rent said promotion looks. Dropping in a line like, “shades of the great Bruno Sammartino” every once in a while is fine, but constantly pushing how this move is like the Undertaker’s and that spot reminds me of Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania only makes you look cheap. I also didn’t like how one of the commentators ripped off Steve Corino’s “SUPERKICK!” call (which you’ll recognize if you watch any ROH match involving the Young Bucks), though. Not only is it tacky to cop someone else’s line, but I already hate it when Corino does it! I don’t want to hear other people doing it, too.
All right, so the finishing stretch of the match is well done. JASON shows his strength by tossing Sam, then Tang hits JASON with Ryback’s Samoan drop thingy. Mamba holds Ash so Tang can hit him with his title belt, but Ash ducks and Mamba takes the shot. Ash superkicks Tang, bodyslams Mamba, and hits a Superfly splash to get the win for his team.
Winners – Ash Silva, Eurasian Dragon, and JASON
Rating – OK
And there you have it. It was a big match with a lot of participants, so it got a pretty long write-up. In spite of its flaws, I would recommend watching it. Keep an eye on JASON.
This episode ends with teaser clips for the last two matches from this taping, both of which will apparently be included in the next episode. We’ll get M.A against King of Man in a “Kung Fu Showcase Match,” and Dalton Bragg defending the MKW Title against King Michael in a hardcore match. Looks like there will be a makeshift table involved. I’ll probably make a joke about Chinese craftsmanship or something. Should be fun.
*I feel the need to once again point out that this Black Mamba has absolutely nothing to do with either Kobe Bryant or the Kill Bill films.