OWE: CIMA, Gao Jingjia, and Wulijimuren vs. Dezmond Xavier, Shingo Takagi, and Zachary Wentz (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch this match here (it’s not included on the full-show video). It comes around the 01:07:00 mark.
A version of the show is also available on Twitch. This match starts around the 1 hour and 9 minute mark.

Our Story So Far…
– CIMA is the founder of Dragon Gate and one of the first graduates of the Toryumon dojo. He’s also the president and head trainer of OWE. After A-Ben fell to Masaaki Mochizuki in the previous match, CIMA apologized to Mr. Fu, the owner of OWE, and asked for one more chance.
– “Flowing King” Gao Jingjia wears leathery tights and gloves, and he sports a nice entrance vest.
“Big Head” Wulijimuren wears what looks to be a Mongolian-style outfit, so I’m guessing that’s his heritage. His name is also not in the common Chinese format.
– Shingo Takagi is a long-time Dragon Gate star, being the first graduate of their dojo after Ultimo Dragon left. He’s one of the more powerful wrestlers ever in that company, and he’s held almost all the titles. He’s also a former tag champ in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling NOAH.
– Desmond Xavier is the 2017 Impact Wrestling Super X Cup Champion, and he has held the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Combat Zone Wrestling Tag Team Championships with Zachary Wentz.
Now on to the match!

This one is just too chaotic to run down everything that happens. It’s also clipped somewhat. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of flips and flying moves, no submission attempts, and everything shown looks good to me. It’s not as fast-paced or as slick as a top-flight Dragon Gate trios match, but it’s definitely the most balls-to-the-wall match on this card from my point of view. Wentz and Xavier do some double-team stuff. Wulijimuren does some big guy stuff. Gao Jingjia gets some major air, leaping over the top rope from the apron to do a double stomp. CIMA and Shingo work together well, obviously, having wrestled so many times in DG. Gao gets the pin in the end with a 630 on Wentz, giving the OWE squad their first victory over the invaders. Confetti galore!

After the match, Masaaki Mochizuki comes back and tells CIMA that he surrenders and will return to OWE. Everyone is extremely happy about this, and the OWE wrestlers throw CIMA in the air like he just scored the winning touchdown in the big football game. Then everyone stands and looks up at the OWE Championship belt as it’s epically lowered from the rafters to cinematic music.

OWE: A-Ben vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch most of the show here. This match comes around the 02:31:00 mark.
A version of this show is now available on Twitch. This match starts around the one hour mark.

Our Story So Far…
Masaaki Mochizuki is a founding member of the Dragon Gate roster. After interfering in the first match on this show, he disparaged OWE and Chinese wrestlers by saying that real wrestling comes from Japan. The OWE roster’s captain, A-Ben, stood up to him and challenged him to a match. Mochizuki ultimately accepted when his manhood was challenged, saying he would crawl back to Japan on his knees if he lost.
Later in the show, after A-Ben saved Chen Xiangke from a vicious attack by the Whirlwind Gentlemen, Mochizuki got in his face again and reiterated that, if he loses their match, he will leave OWE for good.
– OWE and Dragon Gate wrestlers are outside the ring, but they stay far enough back that it’s not a lumberjack match.
Now on to the match!

Mochizuki schools A-Ben with kicks, making him look very overmatched at first. As he’s beating on him outside the ring, he misses a kick and hits the ring post. A-Ben takes control with some unspectacular offense, and even when Mochi fires back, A-Ben is able to regain the advantage quickly and hit a trust fall dive. Mochi stays down a bit, allowing A-Ben to hype up the crowd. Back in the ring, A-Ben hits a chokeslam and an elbow form the second rope (he seems to like elbow attacks), but he gets caught with a yakuza kick to the head in the corner. He won’t stay down, and they have a kick-to-the-chest battle, which A-Ben surprisingly wins when he ducks a kick and hits a superkick. They chop each other until Mochi slaps A-Ben in the face. A-Ben fires up against a kick to the chest, but a kick to the head sends him down. A Sankakugeri to the face put him down for good. Mochi looks pretty spent, though.

Afterwards, A-Ben refuses to be consoled by anyone, lying in the ring with a spotlight on him as sad music plays. As the ring announcer starts to close the show, a man in a yellow-green Under Armour-type shirt stops him. I believe this is Fu Huayang, the founder of OWE (or maybe it’s Fu Zhenglong? Pretty sure he’s called Fu at some point). Mr. Fu picks A-Ben up and gives a speech about how, even though he let everyone down, failure is just a step towards success. He then has a group of OWE wrestlers chop him, ending with A-Ben.

After a soft song by female pop group SNH48 set to videos of the OWE guys training, Dragon Gate founder and OWE head trainer CIMA walks to the ring. He apologizes to Mr. Fu (I guess for not training A-Ben well enough?) and asks for another chance, one more match. He bows to Mr. Fu to a big reaction, and they hug.

I actually wasn’t into this match on the first watch, but when I went over it again, I liked it a lot more. It told a pretty good story, I thought, of A-Ben fighting to prove himself and his home worthy against the rude yet much more experienced foreigner. A-Ben’s offense left a bit to be desired; he doesn’t seem to be a spectacular high flyer like some of his comrades, and the way he performed elbow drops looked very novice to me. He also was unable to land a backflip at one pint on a backflip. But he really seemed to be working hard, and his big dive was joyously reckless. His look, height, and drive make him the obvious “ace” of OWE, and in time, I think his in-ring ability will catch up.

The post-match stuff was great. So Asian. And I was impressed to see CIMA speak some Chinese. I know he spoke a good deal of English during the Dragon Gate USA days, so I’m wondering how much Chinese he’ll learn now that he’s staying in China and running OWE.

One final nitpick: The commentary in this match was insufferable at times, IMO. I think it was the ring announcer who kept trying the get the crowd to chant for A-Ben, and while I appreciated his enthusiasm, his scream when A-Ben did his dive was the height of cringe for me.

OWE: Chen Xiangke and Zhao Yilong vs. Whirlwind Gentlemen (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch most of the show here. This match comes around the 02:10:00 mark.
A version of the show is also available on Twitch. This match starts around the 50 minute mark.

Our Story So Far…
– Masaaki Mochizuki disrespected China and OWE after the first match of the show, bringing out OWE captain A-Ben to challenge him.
– Jack Manley and Remy Marcel came out earlier with Mochizuki. They normally wrestle for West Coast promotions like Future Stars of Wrestling and Paragon Pro, where they wear purple tights and look like party guys. Here, they’re dressed like hitmen (or the Blues Brothers) and come out to that one tune I associate with Quentin Tarantino films.
“Little Vajra” Zhao Yilong is not only bald, but his scalp is painted gold. He wears Buddhist monk garb and does a headstand so that “Lightning Leopard” Chen Xiangke can jump over him on the ramp. Chen, of course, wears a leopard print hooded shirt and leather-looking tights.
Now on to the match!

Oh, gosh, the commentators get in on the “You suck” chants to the Whirlwind Gentlemen, and then they translate the meaning into Chinese for the viewing audience. One translates it as “你们真垃圾,” or “You are real trash.” The other says “你们泻,” or “You have diarrhea.” Ew.

Okay, anyway, Chen starts with Remy and eventually sends him scurrying to the corner. Then Manley calls out Zhao, who comes in and shows off the power of his golden head, as well as some acrobatics. There’s some comedy involving both Gentlemen hurting their hands on his head and getting knocked into praying monk sitting positions, and then some teamwork leads to them outside taking a space flying tiger drop from Zhao (who just about lands on his feet). Zhao is caught getting back into the ring, and the Gentlemen work him over for a bit. When he makes the hot tag, Chen comes in with some flying offense, taking on both guys mostly by himself. Marcel distracts the referee so Manley can low blow both Chen. He catches Zhao with a lariat and powerbombs him, and then he powerbombs Chen to Hades, but pulls him back up. The Gentlemen hit Chen with a doomsday device, but again, they pick him up from the pinfall at 2. Manley gets him up for another powerbomb, but A-Ben runs in for the save, causing a DQ.

Masaaki Mochizuki comes in and goes chest-to-chest with A-Ben. He says A-Ben has no muscle, and he’s so confident in victory that he promises to leave OWE if he loses to A-Ben tonight. He plants a kiss on A-Ben’s cheek, and Marcel says, “That’s the kiss of death!”

I thought that this was a very nice match. Everyone looked good and had a chance to show some skill. Zhao was especially impressive with his hard head gimmick. Chen also looked capable in the ring, but his character wasn’t as pronounced as Zhao’s. And props to the Whirlwind Gentlemen for being able to wrestle so well in those suits. They don’t look very comfortable for athletic activities.

The DQ finish didn’t bother me because it plays into the next match. I understand that on one hand, they probably didn’t want the OWE side to suffer two losses in a row to the outsiders, but on the other hand, it’s not realistic (at least in Japanese booking logic) for such novice wrestlers to beat an experienced team in their first outing.

The only thing I would really change is Zhao’s choice of using the space flying tiger drop. While impressive, that spot was already used in two previous matches, so it’s kind of lost its novelty already.

OWE: Lu Ye and Yang Hao vs. Susumu Yokosuka and YAMATO (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch most of the show here. This match comes around the 01:53:00 mark.
A version of this show is now available on Twitch. This match starts around the 43 minute mark.

Our Story So Far…
Earlier in the show, the Dragon Gate wrestlers disrespected the Chinese OWE wrestlers, saying that they’re all small, short, and skinny, and that real wrestling comes from Japan.
– Susumu Yokosuka has been with Dragon Gate since they were Toryumon in 1998. YAMATO has been there since 2006. Both have held tag, trios, and singles titles, including the Open the Dream Gate Championship. YAMATO also held the Open the Freedom Gate Championship in Dragon Gate USA.
“Storm Boy” Lu Ye and “Happy Ghost” Yang Hao are part of the O team in OWE. Lu comes out in basic Asian pop or hip-hop clothes with a baseball bat. Yang is dressed in a Qing Dynasty outfit that is often associated with Jiangshi (僵尸), the Chinese “hopping zombie,” during his entrance. But he looks a lot friendlier than a normal Jiangshi.
Now on to the match!

This is what I’ve been looking most forward to – an OWE vs. Dragon Gate match.

YAMATO starts with Yang, and then Yokosuka wrestles Lu, and both periods follow the same theme: the veteran Japanese guys get cocky and are surprised by their novice opponents. Then they start brawling at ringside, including YAMATO taking Lu into the crowd. Team DG work over Yang with a lot of stomps, slaps, face-raking, and choking. Yang finally makes the tag after hitting a lovely dropkick on YAMATO. Lu manages to send both guys outside so Yang can land a space flying tiger drop (with extra twist). The commentators then get overly excited for Lu’s simple scoop slam on YAMATO. After an acrobatic double team, Yang gets a very close nearfall with a sunset flip, but it’s not long after when Lu falls to a Yokosuka cutter.

Afterwards, Yang helps Lu up while YAMATO and Yokosuka insultingly kick at them. Lu looks fairly heartbroken for the loss, but he and Yang both bow to the crowd.

I thought this was another decent, yet unspectacular, match. A couple spots were highlight-worthy, but most of the match was just basic stuff. I guess I expected more fast and innovative offense from the Dragon Gate team, but since they were the bad guys, they had to focus on the slow, rule-bending stuff instead. Lu and Yang both looked good for their level, but it made perfect sense for them to lose, even with a bit of a sudden finish. They’re not experienced enough to stretch the veterans to a long finishing sequence. I look forward to the day when they are.

OWE: Eight-Man Tag Match (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch most of the show here. This match comes around the 01:13:00 mark.
A version of the show is also available on Twitch. This match comes at about the 33 minute mark.

Our Story So Far…
– Read all about Oriental Wrestling Entertainment by scrolling down to the second-to-last segment of this article by NuclearConvoy.
– The OWE roster is split into three teams representing the three letters of the promotion’s acronym. Team members wear generic black, red, or blue gear depending on their assigned team.
– All of the OWE wrestlers were recruited from the Shaolin Temple, so even though they’re mostly debuting on this show, they all have experience in martial arts, live performances, stunt work, etc. They also opened the show with an elaborate dance routine.
– The E team is in red this time. They are “Red Bull” Xiong Zhiyu, “Savage” Ren Yuhang, “Scorpion” Liu Xinxi, and “Teardrop Magic Star” Fan Qiuyang.
– The W team is in blue. They are “Dashing Swordsman” Duan Yingnan, “Warrior” Mao Chenxiang, “Warm-Hearted Oba*” Duan Dihang, and “Little Guan Yu” Zhao Jungjie.
Now on to the match!

Oy, there are a lot of dudes to try to keep up with here, and two of them have the same last name. I apologize in advance for getting anyone mixed up.

Ren and Duan D start with standing grappling, with Duan giving him the slip and gloating about it. Fan and Duan Y mix it up next. They do the shoulder blocks, leapfrogs, and dropkick stuff, and Duan gets the upper hand. The announcers keep insisting that he’s handsome for some reason. Then we get Ren and Mao taking a couple bumps. The powerful Xiong tags in and the whole W team is afraid to engage him. Zhao eventually has a go and gets knocked down and stomped by all of the E team. This leads to everyone coming in and having a little brawl. Duan D gets picked up and dropped by the E team. Liu accidentally kicks Ren when Duan escapes a double team, and then he escapes another to let Zhao come in and take down both guys. Things pick up with a dive from one of the W guys. Everyone’s kind of taking turns coming and and doing stuff now. It all boils down to Duan D taking Ren down with a Russian leg sweep and hooking him in an octopus stretch, which Ren ultimately taps out to.

This match didn’t impress me as much as the previous one. It was slower and pretty short for the number of wrestlers involved. Each wrestler got one brief showing in the ring, and then everyone came it at once, but only a couple of them got to really show off before the finish. None of them really stood out to me except Xiong, and that’s more because of his look than anything he actually did. He was a stocky guy with a doughy physique and a mohawk surrounded by skinny dudes with faces made for teen girl magazine covers.

Basically, everyone looked competent and ring-aware, but no one had time to do anything to separate themselves from the rest except the one guy who looked different. Hopefully, I’ll get to see these guys in regular tags or singles matches soon and find out what each one is really capable of.

*”Oba” is a Chinese word transliterated from the Korean word “oppa.” It literally means “older brother,” but Korean girls use it to refer to their boyfriends…or perhaps pop stars they wish were their boyfriends.

OWE: Fan Hewei and Sun Chaoqun vs. Tang Huaqi and Wang Jin (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch most of the show here. This match is about an hour in.
UPDATE: A version of this show is now viewable on Twitch. This match is about 25 minutes in.

Our Story So Far…
– Read all about Oriental Wrestling Entertainment by scrolling down to the second-to-last segment of this article by NuclearConvoy.
– The OWE roster is split into three teams representing the three letters of the promotion’s acronym. Team members wear generic black, red, or blue gear depending on their assigned team.
– All of the OWE wrestlers were recruited from the Shaolin Temple, so even though they’re mostly debuting on this show, they all have experience in martial arts, live performances, stunt work, etc. They also opened the show with an elaborate dance routine.
Fan Hewei and Sun Chaoqun are on the W team. Fan’s nickname is “Wild Wolf.” Sun’s is “Tank.”
Tang Huaqi and Wang Jin are on the O team. Wang’s nickname is “Tiger Tooth.” Tang’s is “Mr. Cool” and is said in English.
Now on to the match!

Fan and Tang don’t spend much time before tagging out. Wang messes with Sun by booting him in the backside and tricking him into kicking the referee. He’s a bit of a scamp. Sun is pissed and follows him out, so Tang and Fan go back at it. Tang really shows the kung fu with his flips and kicks, but a dragon screw turns out to be a good counter. Fan and Sun do some simple double teaming. Wang comes back in but isn’t really a match for the bigger Sun. More kung fu-esque action mixed with a bit of Lucha from Fan and Tang, and then the black team work over Fan’s arm. Fan overpowers Wang, but Wang makes with the flips and fast dropkicks. Sun then chokeslams him to Hades. The red team slams Wang around, then everyone pairs off. Sun is unmoved by Tang and flattens him, but Tang saves Wang from a double team. The black team work together with several stereo kicks and combos on the red team. The highlight reel spot comes when they do synchronized space flying tiger drops. Their cartwheel backflip elbows don’t look quite as good, but their stereo 450 splashes do, and that’s how they win the match.

Afterwards, they help Sun and Fan up, and all four bow to the crowd.

This was a really nice opener. Yes, there was a match and a lot of dancing before it, but this felt like the true introduction to the promotion and its homegrown talent. Plus, it actually had a finish.

I immediately assumed Wang and Tang were the heels when Wang did his tricky stuff, but as the match continued, I got the sense that Wang’s mischievous antics were meant to be endearing and funny. That kind of stuff seems to be very popular in Chinese comedy films and TV shows. Sun and Fan were very aggressive and mean-mugging after it, so I think they were actually supposed to be the unruly ones.

All four guys impressed me. I assume they were all making their professional debuts as wrestlers here, but they looked like they’d been at it for a little while. Having experience in kung fu and stunt work helps, I’m sure. The didn’t do a lot of selling or psychology, but their moves looked much more polished than most debutants I’ve encountered. Their athleticism was undeniable, and it’s crazy to think how impressive they’ll be in a few years if they keep training with CIMA and the Dragon Gate guys.

Tang’s kick combinations were unique. Wang’s personality was the most obvious of the four. Both of them were very precise with their flipping. Sun was an effective power man, and I’m assuming that will be his main role among the whole crew. Fan seemed pretty good all around, with no specific style standing out as his specialty.

I might have liked Wang’s hijinks to continue through more of the match so that it could be a deeper part of the story, but I as solid as everyone was on this first outing, it’s hard for me to entertain my nitpicks.

OWE: Eita and T-Hawk vs. Bandido and Flamita (February 2, 2018)

If you have access to China’s QQ streaming site, you can watch most of the show here. The wrestling begins around 44 minutes in.
UPDATE: A version of this show is now viewable on Twitch. This match starts about 14 minutes in.

Our Story So Far…
– Eita and T-Hawk are from Dragon Gate. They’re former Open the Twin Gate and Open the Triangle Gate Champions  (once with Flamita, interestingly). They’re Japanese, and Chinese people tend to dislike Japanese people even today due to Japan’s atrocities during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II. So it shouldn’t be hard for them to be heels.
– Flamita and Bandido are from Mexico and have held tag titles there. They’ve also both worked for Dragon Gate, and Flamita is a former Open the Brave Gate Champion. You may also recognize him as Night Claw on Lucha Underground or the second Octagon Jr. in AAA.
– Before the match, Eita and T-Hawk say (in Japanese but translated by the ring announcer) that the wrestlers in OWE are too short, skinny, and small, and that they’re nothing but dreamers. Flamita says (in Spanish but translated) that they know kung fu. I think he actually said more, but that’s all the announcer translated.
Now on to the match!

This match has a really strange ending, but until then, it’s a solid, high-flying affair. The luchadores get jumped while the ring announcer is talking. Eita and T-Hawk beat on them outside the ring. Eita works with Bandido a bit in the ring, and the latter shows some really nice agility. The Mexicans do stereo tope con hilos onto the DG boys. Eita and T-Hawk outsmart their opponents back in the ring and take over on Flamita. No one holds the advantage for all that long though, and Flamita and Bandido are back to flipping and kicking shortly. They hit Eita with a string of double team combos. T-Hawk makes the save after a Flamita 450, then suplexes both guys at the same time. A splash mountain powerbomb gets two. Flamita escapes a Gory special and hits the Flam Fly, but T-Hawk saves again.

Now the wacky part. Suddenly, music plays and lights flash, and out comes founding member of Dragon Gate Masaaki Mochizuki, flanked by YAMATO and Susumu Yokosuke of Dragon Gate, as well as US indy wrestlers Zachary Wentz, Dezmond Xavier, Jack Manley, and Remy Marcel. He beats up Eita and T-Hawk, and the ring announcer gladly introduces him. But Mochizuki runs down OWE and China, saying that real wrestling is in Japan and he refuses to fight here. The ring announcer asks him in English, “Are you afraid?” Mochi steps up to him, but out come the Chinese OWE wrestlers in color-coded outfits.

Mochizuki tell their leader, A-Ben, that he could beat all of them by himself. A-Ben crudely tells him to clean his mouth out, then implies that he’s an old man. He says that talk doesn’t prove things, strength does. Mochizuki says fine, he’ll fight him later, and if A-Ben wins, Mochizuki will return to Japan on his knees.

Mochizuki heads to the ramp with his posse (including Flamita and Bandido, so I guess they’re suddenly heels now?). They all stop to give a big thumbs down to the guys in the ring. A-Ben then turns to his OWE compatriots and says they’re going to compete against each other first. More on that next time.

So, yeah, that was a heck of a thing. Kind of a bummer that the match itself didn’t have a finish, but it was entertaining while it lasted. I want to watch more Flamita.

A Little About Oriental Wrestling Entertainment

I think I first discovered Oriental Wrestling Entertainment through one of my WeChat wrestling groups, but I didn’t really find out anything about it until I read Nuclear Convoy’s extensive article about Chinese wrestling at his WordPress blog. (Someone needs to pick that article up and get it on a major wrestling website yesterday, by the way.) If you really want to get in-depth info about OWE, check that out.

I have access to video of OWE’s first show, so of course I want to review the matches. But I feel like I must make note of something before I do. OWE is not a typical wrestling promotion, either in China or elsewhere. They have big-time production values. Their local wrestlers all come from kung fu backgrounds. They’re backed by Dragon Gate in Japan, so much so that they recently announced that a group of DG wrestlers (including founder CIMA) are moving to Shanghai full-time to work with the promotion. They also partner with Future Stars of Wrestling out of Las Vegas to share talent.

Most peculiarly, their shows (or at least the first one) featured several non-wrestling segments, including elaborate dance numbers and costume exhibitions by the wrestlers, as well as performances by Japanese and Chinese “idol” pop groups,

Now, this is a wrestling match review blog, and I’m not into J-pop, Mandopop, Cantopop, or any of that pop. Heck, as a Christian, I believe I’ve got to stay away from idols (1 John 5:21, among other verses)! So when I review these OWE matches, I’m not going to spend time on any of that stuff. I’m just going to focus on the matches and the wrestlers. That’s my wheelhouse, and while I respect those who like the other stuff – and I’m definitely impressed by the talent of those who perform it – I’m not the guy to rate, rank, or otherwise judge its quality. Even if I liked it, I wouldn’t have the words to properly review it.

If any of that stuff bleeds into the wrestling stories, then I’ll touch on it, but until that time, you’ll just have to judge it for yourself (if you can).