MKW: Hong Wan vs. Big Sam (December 16, 2017)

Here it is, possibly the biggest match in Chinese wrestling history, and surely the biggest and most hyped in MKW history. The video before the match will fill you in on the story, but the gist of it is that Sam and The Stable formed to counter MKW owner Adrian Gomez. They blame him for picking favorites like “Selfie King” Hong Wan and propping him up without giving chances to guys who deserve it. Sounds like a babyface position in writing, but when you see it in practice, it’s easy to tell who the heels are. Anyway, there was a big press conference a week or so before this title match, so they went all out to highlight its importance.

This is for Hong Wan’s MKW World Championship.

Hong Wan can’t match Sam’s strength at first, of course. He gets clubbed, tossed, and slammed before dodging a corner charge and getting some shots and cannonballs in. Sam’s manager, Chairman Al, gets in his way when he tries an apron moonsault to the floor, and Sam takes over and slams him on said apron. He manages to fight back in the ring but still can’t suplex Sam. He gets an ankle lock attempt in between taking moves from Sam, but then he wriggles free and pulls off a release German suplex. Then he’s finally able to get that traditional suplex. He hits the standing moonsault (his finisher), but Al throws money and distracts the ref. Hong Wan is still able to maintain offense until the ref is accidentally (or not) bumped. Ash Silva and Uncle Money run in and attack. Hong Wan is able to repel them, but Sam kicks him in the junk and drops him with a jackknife powerbomb to get the pin and become the new champion.

Notably, Adrian Gomez refuses to hand Sam the title belt. Instead, he flippantly tosses it into the ring and walks away.

So it’s not a great match, but the story made sense and it was far from a trainwreck. Things looked a bit awkward at points. My impression is that Hong Wan got a little ahead of himself, trying to rush from spot to spot and not letting things breathe long enough. Sam tried to slow things down when he was in control, but it was really obvious when Hong Wan bumped weird off a clothesline or dropped Sam on his first fireman’s carry attempt that he wasn’t operating with a firm foundation. Sam did his best to slow it down when he was in control. His character work was mostly on point; he came across as an entitled bully, especially when he shoved the ref around before and after the match. Chairman Al looked good at ringside. He’s like a Hong Kong businessman supporting in a big athlete and breaking rules to make sure his investment pays off.

I definitely recommend watching this one. It’s not a masterpiece, but I think it’s important in the overall scope of Chinese pro wrestling.

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