Big pair of shows coming up from MKW tomorrow and Saturday. They’re crowing their first Belt & Roach Champion in a 12-man tournament that features wrestlers from countries that are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. I’m not going to get into what that is or what I think of it; just look it up and read both sides. Instead, I want to look at the first-round matches that have been announced and make some predictions.
The first round of the tournament will consist of six singles matches, all taking place on night one (August 10). Then, to streamline things a bit, the second round will include two triple threat matches, taking place on night two (August 11). Finally, the last two survivors will battle in the main event of night two in a ladder match for the title.
Both of Mainland China’s representatives will square off right away when “Selfie King” Hong Wan faces Black Mamba in a rematch from April. Former MKW Champion Hong won that match, so Mamba has something to prove. He’s coming off a June victory over Uncle Money. I’m a fan of both guys, and Mamba has particularly impressed me since returning earlier this year. From a pure sports perspective, Hong Wan is probably the favorite to win the whole tournament, but I’m going to be bold and say that I think Black Mamba will pull off the upset. This will even their score and set them up for a rubber match, which could be for the title.
Prediction: Black Mamba
South Korea’s Shiho takes on Mirko Panic of Slovenia. Shiho has been wrestling for six years. He works (or at least has worked) for Professional Live Action in Korea, and he seems like a bit of a flyer.. Here’s a highlight video of a match he had with a guy called Rockstar. Panic wrestles for WUW, a promotion that looks like they don’t use ropes. I can’t find any videos from them, but I did find this old match of Panic wrestling in a ring in a German-speaking country.
Neither of these guys are regulars in MKW, but Shiho lives closer to China, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he returned every once in a while. And he seems to fit better into my predictions for the second round.
Russia’s Vladimir Kulakov battles Austria’s Martin Pain. Kulakov has held multiple titles in the IWF in Russia and has also worked in Singapore for SPW. Here’s a highlight video of him wrecking people from a couple years ago. Martin Pain is an 11-year veteran and has wrestled around the world. He also participated in a New Japan Dojo training camp in LA. I can’t find any videos of him on YouTube, unfortunately.
This one’s a toss-up because they actually seem pretty similar. I’ll pick Pain to win because why not?
Prediction: Martin Pain
Triple T of New Zealand faces Nuwakote Tiger of Nepal. Triple T is on a roll in MKW ever since falling to MKW Champion Big Sam. He won a grudge match with Uncle Money and then took out Coldray. Tiger wrestles for the Nepal Ring Wrestling Association, and he looks like a big fellow. Here he is in a ladder match against the Pro Wrestling Gamer. Despite his experience in ladder matches, I don’t think he’s going to make it to the one on night two. Triple T ought to continue his winning ways here.
Prediction: Triple T
The Philippines’ Sandata battles India’s Baliyan Akki. Sandata has wrestled for Philippine Wrestling Revolution and the Manila Wrestling Federation. He looks to be a masked high flyer. Here he is against The Apocalypse (a wrestler, not the world-ending event, I assume). Akki wrestles for Wrestle Square, an Indian promotion that has worked with MKW in the past. He’s also wrestled the Eurasian Dragon and has worked for SPW. I’m predicting Akki will advance because he seems like a bigger star.
Prediction: Baliyan Akki
And finally, representing Hong Kong and The Stable, Ash Silva will face a mystery man from Mongolia, Killer Kublai. Ash is on a vicious streak, having taken out his former trainee Michael Su in brutal fashion a couple months back. He’s also got manager Chairman Al in his corner, and you never know when Big Sam or Uncle Money might show up. Kublai is apparently a wrestler from a while back who has experience in Mongolian freestyle wrestling. There are no pictures of video of him, and for all I know, this could be a big swerve and its really VooDoo in another mask and traditional Mongolian dress or something. Either way, I’ll pick Ash to win.
Winner: Ash Silva
So, based on all those predictions, I’m looking at the second round being Ash Silva vs. Triple T vs. Shiho and Martin Pain vs. Baliyan Akki vs. Black Mamba. I would then choose Ash and Mamba to advance to the ladder match, which I think Mamba will win, putting the gold on a babyface. I think a time will come when The Stable will consolidate every belt in MKW (maybe after the introduce tag titles?), but I don’t think that time is now.
Outside of the tournament, two other matches have been announced…
In association with Canada’s Battle Arts promotion (run by former WWE star Santino Marella, by the way), MKW is presenting a big 8-man tag match on night one. MKW Champion Big Sam teams with Stable-mate Uncle Money, arrogant rookie Cam Ferguson, and a guy I know nothing about, Johta Suzuki. They take on Battle Arts regulars Buck Gunderson and Runyan Lee (or Junyan Lee) team with Zombie Dragon and a mystery partner (just recently revealed to be Michael Su). Have a look around Battle Arts’ YouTube page to see some of Gunderson and Lee. This match should be a heck of a thing with all these personalities and debuts in one segment. I’m looking forward to it.
Then, on night two, Zombie Dragon and Uncle Money will lock up again, this time in a singles match with managers in each corner. Uncle Money will have Chairman Al, of course, while Dragon will be seconded by Harbin native, martial artists, stuntman, and film producer Luan. Luan KO’d Chairman Al back in April after Big Sam won defended his title, so Al probably has some revenge on his mind.
And that’s that, I think. Maybe there’s another match on night two that I missed, but I’m running out of time to post this, so this will have to do. I’m looking forward to seeing this show on YouTube in the coming months since I can’t be there live. I can’t guarantee that I’ll review everything, though, since my life has gotten a bit more hectic recently.
Anyway, really hoping for more from MKW’s partnerships with international promotions, as I like seeing wrestlers from places I didn’t even know had wrestling.