KOPW: Gao Yuan vs. Yang Gang (March 17, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ video service, you can watch the whole show here.

Our Story So Far…
– This is part of a mini-tournament to crown the KOPW Champion. The winners of the first four matches on the show will advance to a four-way for the title in the main event.
 Gao Yuan is a veteran of the Chinese wrestling scene, and in this reviewer’s opinion, he’s probably the best wrestler in all the mainland. He’s worked with guys like Pete Dunne, John Skyler, Zack Gibson, and Jason Lee, and he’s the founder of We Love Wrestling and the current Fighting Spirit Champion.
– I don’t know anything about Yang Gang.
Now on to the match!

They start with headlocks and arm wringers. Gao counters a leapfrog with a dropkick like a vet, but then Yang slips free from a suplex and surprises Gao with a roll up and a string of offense. They go to the floor for a moment, and Yang hits a second-rope crossbody. Yang looks to have things in hand until Gao finds an opening and capitalizes with a dropkick to the leg and then head. He controls his man with impactful offense and some nose gouging in a rest hold, taking time to boast to the crowd in the moments between moves. He even gives Yang a free shot, then punishes him for taking it. He also expresses his inner vampire by biting Yang’s neck during a camel clutch!

Yang gives a sense of his undying determination by fighting back with forearms, but Gao sends him down with one shot and tosses him from the ring so he can recline on the ropes. Once he’s back in the ring, though, Yang avoids a corner attack and fires up, running through a series of moves that caps off with an airplane spin and a DDT. Yang’s chest is quite red from Gao’s chops, but he fights on. Gao retreats to the outside, luring Yang to come after him. Gao counters a whips Yang into the post, then hits him with a piledriver on the apron.

Gao takes him back into the ring, but Yang avoids a frog splash and gets right back on offense (this is the part that kind of takes me out of things). A powerbomb out of the corner can’t get it done, but a superplex can’t get it done for Gao, either. Gao hits a sling blade, a tiger suplex, and a buzzsaw kick, but he can’t put Yang away until finally planting him with an electric chair into a DVD.

I really liked the tenacity of Yang Gang in this match. He reminded me a bit of a Japanese young lion going up against an experienced main roster member; I figured he had little chance of winning, but the heart he showed – constantly fighting back and refusing to give up until taking a finisher – really endeared him to me. Gao, of course, looked as good as ever. He was his typical cocky heel self, and thankfully, he played up the heel stuff without also trying to babyface himself at the same time.

The one thing I would change is the apron piledriver. I like seeing a normal piledriver being a finish, and an apron piledriver should always require someone being helped to the back, at best. The fact that Yang was up and fighting again less than two minutes later, not selling his neck or anything, just bugged me. I can’t really hold it against either guy because I doubt they have the same philosophy of selling in wrestling as I do. But I can’t say that it didn’t bug me.

Anyway, change that one spot – maybe make it a slam on the apron instead – and I would’ve had a much harder time complaining about this match.

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