The season finale features two newcomers and a hardcore main event! Plus, I’ll give my thoughts on Season 2 as a whole.
We’re down to the final two matches of last January’s tapings. Eddie Strong does commentary solo this time because Cam Ferguson has been held up by a typhoon (the weather phenomenon, not John Tenta’s tag team partner).
The lead-in video to the first match promises a merging of kung fu and pro wrestling that’s never been seen before.
M.A. (Mofi Angus) vs. King of Man
You know, I just began to wonder why a wrestler with a name like King of Man’s doesn’t come out with a crown and robe. Missed opportunity, I guess. Anyway, MA is noticeably bigger than KoM. He holds up a chain, and KoM jump-kicks it away. They go at it and actually do a decent job of trading offense. It takes a little while before MA asserts himself as the heel with an eye poke and a couple low blows, but he never gets a prolonged heat segment. Fortunately, I don’t think this match needed that. When MA’s in control, he uses moderate power moves and hits, while KoM favors leaping and running strikes and splashes. KoM also goes for a couple neck submissions in two of the better parts of the match.
Most (though not all) of their moves look good, but the things they do (and don’t do) between the moves tend to be lacking. This has been common in Chinese wrestling and is usually what gives MKW and CWE a backyard wrestling vibe. They don’t spend hardly any time interacting with the crowd. They stand back and twiddle their fingers in the “come on” gesture while the other guy stays on the mat, not knowing that he’s supposed to get up. They get all their moves in even though it means kicking out of would-be finishers (like MA’s chokeslam/spinebuster thing). I know these guys don’t get to wrestle much, so they probably want to do all their fun stuff whenever they get in there, but it really doesn’t help their matches stand out. In fact, it probably hinders their storytelling because it doesn’t leave room for the little things like crowd interaction and character-building.
Also, there’s not a lot of kung fu going on here, so I don’t know why they’re pushing that concept so hard on commentary. KoM does kicks, but they’re no different than any other
After KoM kicks out of the choke-spinebuster, MA lets him up but misses a clothesline. They struggle for position before KoM hits a weak slam that probably should’ve been a German suplex. Then he sets him up and lands a springboard twisting splash to get the pin. I think these two guys could play the “evenly matched” card and work a series of match where neither man can seem to get the upper hand. They work that kind of style together.
Winner – King of Man
Rating – OK
By the way, there were a bunch of kids in the crowd during that match who seemed to enjoy spanking MA while he was outside the ring, and they also got to throwing little bits of trash into the ring. No one did anything to stop them because discipline in China sucks. It really made me wish Chuck Taylor had been at ringside…
MKW Championship Hardcore Match: Dalton Bragg (c) vs. King Michael
This match was set up because Michael interfered and hit Bragg with a Singapore cane during the big tag match from earlier in these tapings. I think this is Bragg’s first title defense on Chinese soil because it happened before the CWF show from last May.
The match has a few interesting ideas, but overall, it’s pretty slow. This is most likely due to Michael being so big and Bragg being unable to do much with him. Bragg takes the first “table” bump early on from a neck-hanging tree slam. The “table” is makeshift, a board placed on two stools, and it doesn’t actually break, but falls down when the stools bounce away. It probably would look better if Michael could get some more distance on his throw. They beat each other with the Singapore cane, and Bragg tries to impale Michael’s head with it. Bragg also tries to chop Michael as loudly as possible. In a clipped segment, Michael brings Bragg through the crowd so some guys he knows can get some shots in on him. He sets up another makeshift table , but Bragg unloads some roundhouse kicks on him and does a leaping kick off the top to topple him “through” the table (again, it doesn’t break, just falls down) for the pinfall victory.
Winner – Dalton Bragg
Rating – OK
THE SLAM comes out afterwards with his CWE belt and once again pronounces himself China’s wrestling champion (he did the same after Bragg won the MKW title in the first place; he really thinks he’s the top cat, I guess). They face off in the ring to measure…belts, and it breaks down into fisticuffs. Other wrestlers run in to break it up as Adrian the promoter yells, “No, next show, guys!” Then we get a teaser saying that Season 3 will comes in spring of 2017, followed by plugs for the MKW/APWA joint shows in April and the upcoming Thailand shows in November.
And thus, MKW Season 2 comes to a close. Was it better than Season 1? Production-wise, yes, they definitely progressed when they added the video game motif and the replays. Also, they got rid of the silly slow-mo three count gimmick. However, the first season did have the title tournament to hold the whole thing together. Also, I still think that the tournament finals of Bragg vs VooDoo was the best match in MKW so far. It’s a tough choice, but if there were a gun to my head, I’d have to go with Season 2 simply because of the progression. Stories moved on, Big Sam got in the ring, Bragg and SLAM finally came to blows, and there were a bunch of international imports.
I’m anxious to see how things go in Season 3. I hope the crowds become more familiar with the wrestlers, and I hope the wrestlers do all they can to get their characters across. I’d prefer them to spend more time on that and less on getting their moves in. Maybe Kongo Kong can help when he comes in April.
Updated September 21, 2016: I originally wrote that these matches were from November 2015, but they’re actually from January 2016.