When I reviewed the matches from King of Pro Wrestling’s first show, I failed to recognize a storyline that had been building since before the show and now seems to be the top angle going into their second big show, “King of Pro Wrestling II” (《摔角之王II》). A lot of that is due to my lack of fluency in Mandarin Chinese and the fact that there were no subtitles on my version of the video (even Chinese subtitles can help me look words up or recognize words I can’t hear clearly). But thanks to KOPW’s official WeChat account and the video above, I think I can adequately rectify my error and also catch readers up on what’s been happening since the KOPW debut.
Our main players are KOPW’s CEO Ryan Chen (陈虾仁) and General Manager Barney Wong (大王蜂). Prior to the debut, Wong was assaulted not once, but twice, by a masked man. At the beginning of the debut show, Wong came out all bandaged up and in a wheelchair, only for Black Dragon (黑龙) to push him off the ramp. After he was helped to the back, Dragon had a match with Ho Ho Lun (何颢麟) which he lost by DQ for refusing to release a choke in the ropes. Then the masked man who had injured Wong came to the ring and left with Dragon.
During the main event KOPW Championship 4-way match – which Ho Ho Lun had advanced to thanks to his DQ win over Black Dragon – the masked man returned and attempted to help Gao Yuan (高原) win the title. Ho Ho Lun outsmarted him, won the match and the title, and unmasked the man to reveal…Barney Wong!
Yes, it was all part of a big ruse so that Wong could control the KOPW Championship, and even though it failed, Wong wouldn’t go away. He was belligerent on social media, particularly towards Ryan Chen. At a fan convention in April, he and Black Dragon took out their frustrations by attacking the referee from the championship match.
So that’s a big deal. Meanwhile, KOPW did have a small promotional show in Shenzhen on May 4th that featured five matches and a couple debuts. Three match videos have been released, but rather than reviewing them thoroughly, I’ll just relay the results of all five matches with a bit of commentary about the ones I’ve seen.
At the start of the show, Han Guang (寒光) interrupted Ryan Chen to promote himself and more or less set himself up as a challenger to Ho Ho Lun’s title. He also furthered his feud with The Slam, saying that he beat him at the KOPW debut even though Ryan Chen restarted the match. Most importantly, he indicated his allegiance to Barney Wong.
In the first match of this show, The Slam defeated Jun Jie (俊杰, translated as “a person of outstanding talent”) in a no DQ match after powerbombing him through a makeshift table. Not a bad match, actually, and Slam even took a bump through the board himself before coming back to win. This Jun Jie guy could be a solid hand.
Next, in a match I haven’t seen, Shen Fei beat Assassin (阿萨辛, a transliteration). The WeChat report seems to indicate that it was a relatively easy victory, though the photos show some back and forth.
Bitman (贤必文) returned to defeat a Singaporean wrestler called Smart Dave (@Dave_gpmax). I believe he either does or has wrestled for Singapore Pro Wrestling as Dave Vindictus. Now he’s affiliated with a dojo called Grapple MAX. This was a solid match, though the German suplex finish didn’t look that good because Dave’s shoulders were hardly down.
The next two matches actually bleed into one. Hong Konger Chen Zai (陈仔), who looks like a skinnier Ho Ho Lun, technically beat Black Dragon, but it was by DQ. Dragon was accompanied by Barney Wong, of course, and refused to release a camel clutch. Ho Ho Lun came in for the save, and then Han Guang arrived, so Ryan Chen made a tag match. Ho Ho Lun ultimately got the pin on Han Guang after a pair of basement superkicks. Chen Zai was able to get some offense in during this match, too, so I guess he isn’t just a jobber.
King of Pro Wrestling II Preview
I’ll probably write a full preview for the show when it gets closer and the card is filled out (unless I’m too busy with the new baby). Until then, here’s what’s been announced so far…
KOPW Championship Match
Ho Ho Lun (c) vs. Sam Gradwell
Riho vs. Makoto
The Grizzled Young Vets (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs. ??? (a team of Ryan Chen’s choosing)
The Stable (Big Sam, Ash Silva, & Uncle Money w/ Chairman Al) vs. ??? (a team of Ryan Chen’s choosing)
That’s all I’ve got for now. Looking forward to KOPW’s future. It’s definitely a good time to be a pro wrestling fan in China.
Photos courtesy of King of Pro Wrestling’s official WeChat account. Used with permission.