Referees are dumb.
We start off with more footage of Dalton Bragg telling someone on the phone that he won’t be cleared to wrestle in Thailand. It’s a continuation of the clip we saw last episode. Bragg says he’s gotten Hayden Pearce from Australia to take his place against THE SLAM. Then we get a “BREAKING NEWS” graphic and an explanation of what we just heard. Pearce will face THE SLAM for the Kingdom Wrestling Federation title…
Wait, what? You just told me that THE SLAM will fight Hayden Pearce. Who’s “Hayden Zenith”? Why does “The Slam” include lower-case letters? Did I step into a parallel universe in the middle of this video?
Okay, let’s just clear my head by watching the first match, and maybe things will get sorted out later.
Black Mamba & Big Sam vs. Malkeet Brawler & Maxim Risky
Have I mentioned how much I hate this enormous kickboxing ring that makes everyone look tiny? I’m going to try to overlook it again and focus on the wrestlers’ performances. So, Malkeet and Maxim wrestle for WrestleSquare in India (and it turns out that Mickey Rawaz from last episode does, too).
They get jumped before the bell, and it’s chaos for several seconds. Things settle down when the ref gets Big Sam out of the ring, leaving Maxim with Mamba. Malkeet tags in and has control of Mamba until Sam kicks him in the head to break up a pin. The ref is distracted a lot. Mamba and Sam have complete control for a while. Sam does some power moves and showboating, and they pull off a couple double-team spots, including a modified Hart Attack. Malkeet catches Mamba with a TKO and slowly tags Maxim as Mamba tags Sam. Sam takes a big DDT, while Mamba takes a Twist of Fate and a leapfrog Famouser. Malkeet is just kind of back in there now and slams Sam. He hits a leg drop, but Mamba distracts the ref. Mamba low blows Malkeet from behind right as the ref turns to check on Sam, but tagging Maxim seems to cure him so they can both suplex Sam (there is a clip in this part). Maxim hits a superkick, but Mamba distracts the ref again, and then low blows Maxim. Sam chokeslams Maxim and Mamba hits a splash for the pin.
Full disclosure: Big Sam is actually one of my sources, and I think he’s a cool guy. But I can’t sugarcoat this match just because I like him. Nothing gels when I watch it. Nothing feels organic. It comes across as just guys doing their spots because it’s their turn. The referee looks like the most gullible fool for being successfully distracted so many times. There are two low blows, and the first one is essentially no-sold. What a mess.
Oh, but look! WrestleSquare has a highlight version of this match on their Facebook page! It’s definitely an easier watch, though it’s edited to make it look like the Indian team won.
Winners – Black Mamba & Big Sam
Rating – Bad
Interesting to note that one of the camera angles has changed since last time so that you can’t see how small the crowd is anymore.
A rather rotund and hairless man with several tattoos cuts a promo from a hallway. He says he’s Humungus, creator of World Underground Wrestling. He’s impressed by MKW’s wrestlers, but he can beat all of them. He’s going to beat Eurasian Dragon tonight for the Singapore Pro Wrestling title. Just wait until he brings Underground Wrestling to China.
So I just did a search for World Underground Wrestling, and apparently they’re based in Austria, but they also run shows in Japan. That’s really odd. Anyway, I can’t fault Humungus too much for his odd promo because English is obviously his second language. At least he looks imposing.
SPW Championship: The Eurasian Dragon (c) vs. Humungus
This isn’t initially a title match, but Humungus goads Dragon into putting the belt on the line by implying that he’s afraid of him. Dragon gets the fans’ approval before making it official.
This is a short and slightly ugly match that looks like it could set up something else down the line. Humungus attacks right away but then begs off when Dragon turns the tables. He offers and handshake but then flips Dragon off. They do some hold trading. Dragon misses a bionic elbow and takes a short arm clothesline. Dragon comes back with a sunset flip, Humungus tries to punch him but hits canvas. Dragon hits a dropkick and rolls him into a La Magistral cradle to get three. That’s it.
Humungus’s strikes look really weak, but at least he has an attitude. He has the air of someone who might be a bit clumsy. There wasn’t much else here to scrutinize because it was so short.
Winner – Eurasian Dragon
Rating – OK (for what it was)
Afterwards, Humungus attacks Dragon and angrily drops the belt on him.
KWF Championship: Hayden Zenith (c) vs. THE SLAM
All right, looks like we’re sticking with Zenith instead of Pearce. Don’t know why they couldn’t just make it “Zenith” from the beginning.
Right off the bat, I can tell that Zenith carries himself like a wrestler and not just a guy playing wrestler. He walks, talks, sells, and reacts in ways that seem natural to him. THE SLAM gets some shine on him early, but then squanders it by celebrating too much after a bodyslam. He’s supposed to be a babyface, right?
Zenith hits him from behind and begins to pick him apart. SLAM tries to fight back a little, but Zenith cuts him off. Zenith follows SLAM out to the rampway and gets distracted arguing with the referee, allowing SLAM to fire back with punches and kicks. He throws Zenith back into the ring and hits him with a jumping knee, an exploder suplex, and a diving forearm. Zenith escapes a suplex and throws SLAM into the referee. (Remember that Austin Powers movie where they ran over that guy with a steamroller even though he had more than enough time to get out of the way?) Dalton Bragg hobbles into the ring with a three-toed crutch as SLAM counters Zenith and hits his suplex-into-Ace-Crusher finisher. Bragg acts like he want to help the referee, but then hits SLAM (in slow motion) with the crutch. It’s not until the second replay that we actually get to see the shot at normal speed. Bragg puts Zenith on top of THE SLAM and revives the ref so he can count three.
Zenith impresses me, if you can’t tell. He makes SLAM’s moves look pretty good, and he doesn’t put up with his no-selling like most guys have to. He does the best with what he’s got. I definitely want to see more of him.
Winner – Hayden Zenith, still KWF Champion via shenanigans
Rating – OK
Bragg resumes beating and choking SLAM with the crutch. He gets his MKW title belt and tells SLAM that he (Bragg) will always be champion. For some reason, the picture freezes as he says this, and then we get a close-up of the the fallen SLAM. A graphic says that SLAM was diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome, so he won’t get a championship match anytime soon. Then there’s a clip of Bragg vs. Selfie King from an upcoming episode.
Overall: OK. There are two main reasons why this show doesn’t quite hit “Bad” territory. The first is Hayden Zenith. The second is the improvement of commentator Al Leung. He’s not outstanding, but I think he shows more passion here than in his previous efforts. I’m also glad that they advance a storyline (Bragg vs. SLAM) and introduce us to Humungus, whom I find unintentionally funny. On the negative side, the first match was bad, the second match was nothing, and the weird production choices (replays that stop the flow of the matches, a spot shown in slow-mo twice before we actually get to see it in normal speed) are still annoying. I really think they should save all replays for after their respective matches.
The teaser for the next show (subtitled “Hunan Hustle”) has me anxious to see MKW get back onto Chinese soil in front of bigger crowds. You should probably skip this show and wait for that one, sad to say.