MKW: Belt and Road Tournament Round 2 (August 11, 2018)

Black Mamba 🇨🇳 vs. Baliyan Akki 🇮🇳 vs. Martin Pain 🇦🇹
Mamba defeated Hong Wan. Akki defeated Sandata. Pain defeated Vladimir Kulakov.

I like this match. Lots of good spots. Akki and pain team up on Mamba at first, and then Akki turns on Pain in the middle of an elaborate handshake. Mamba gets to pick his spots while the other two work with each other a lot. Akki does a big tope con giro. There’s some good stuff down the stretch, like when they’re trading off running into each other in the corner. There’s one major flub when Pain fails to catch Akki coming off the top, but he recovers well and lifts him into a military press. Mamba then kicks his leg out from under him so Akki falls on him. Mamba and Akki trade shots, and Mamba gets out of a Akki’s finisher attempt and hits a roll of the dice to get the pin and advance to the finals.
Winner – Black Mamba

Ash Silva 🇭🇰 (w/Chairman Al & Lady Marie) vs. Nuwakote Tiger 🇳🇵 vs. Shiho 🇰🇷
Ash defeated Killer Kublai. Tiger defeated Triple T. Shiho defeated Mirko Panic.

I thought this match was OK, but I didn’t like it as much as the previous one. It doesn’t have as good of a flow to it, and some of it is a lot rougher. Shiho actually seems to be the weak link, as he messes up a leapfrog early (or did Tiger not duck enough?), and later, he awkwardly dawdles in the ring while waiting for his opponents to get in the right position for him to dive onto on the outside. He hits the dive rather well, though. And there are some bright spots, like when Tiger is unimpressed with his chops and makes him try a few times before chopping back harder. Ash does the proper heel thing and lets Shiho and Tiger fight until he feels like jumping in to catch one of them off-guard. It boils down to Tiger hitting a big flying elbow on Shiho, but Shiho rolls away, and while Tiger is staggering over to pin him, Ash comes in with a one-knee codebreaker and gets the three count.
Winner – Ash Silva

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MKW: Belt and Road Championship Tournament Round 1, Part 1 (August 10, 2018)

Ash Silva 🇭🇰 (w/ Chairman Al & Lady Marie) vs. Killer Kublai 🇲🇳
Ash represents Hong Kong. Kublai represents Mongolia.

Hey, insert promos! Ash says that management tried to keep The Stable out of the tournament, but since he was born in Hong Kong, he’s eligible. (Remember, this tournament is only for people from countries that are part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.)

I had to mute commentary early when Al Leung went into the Belt and Road propaganda. I know any business in a country like China needs to placate the powers that be, but I just loathe propaganda, whether it be from a government or a company. That’s one reason I can’t take WWE seriously anymore.

Anyway, onto the match. I liked it at first, but it kind of lost me once I realized that the pace wasn’t picking up. Ash shows an appropriate amount of jerkiness, and Kublai has some good throws and submission holds, but there were things happening late that seemed like they should’ve happened earlier (such as Kublai going outside and letting himself be distracted by Al and Marie). Kublai didn’t look too rusty, though, for a guy who’s supposedly been retired for a long time. It was just kind of slow for an opener, and the finishing sequence wasn’t much of a sequence. Ash hit the zig zag for two, then moved Kublai over and hit a Superfly splash for the win. If Kublai had enough to kick out before, why did he stay there for the splash?
Winner – Ash Silva

Sandata 🇵🇭 vs. Baliyan Akki 🇮🇳
Sandata represents the Philippines. Akki represents India.

Sandata says that he’ll show the Chinese fans how a Filipino fights. Akki says he doesn’t care who his opponent is, but asks that management makes it fun. They should turn the arena noise off when they play these promos; Akki is hard to hear.

I like this match. It’s rather rough around the edges – I’ve never seen a sunset flip pulled off like that – but they seem to be working hard. The ring doesn’t always cooperate with their ideas, but they make it work, I think. Neither guy works as a heel, but they stay competitive. Most importantly, there’s a good finishing stretch where Sandata avoids a 450 and lands a dropkick, but then gets caught coming in with a kick to the head, and Akki finishes him with a fisherman buster on the knee.