MKW: Big Sam vs. Gabriel Martini (April 29, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
– Big Sam is the MKW Champion and the defacto leader of The Stable. His manager is Chairman Al. This match is Sam’s third title defense.
– Gabriel Martini from Italy doesn’t win a whole lot, but he won a battle royal at the last show to ear this shot (leaving me questioning the legitimacy of battle royals for determining worthy contenders).
– Before the match, Martini says that since Sam has Chairman Al in his corner, he’s bringing out his own backup in the form of local celebrity Luan Yanwu (or something like that). He’s an actor, martial artist, film producer, etc. He’s so famous that commentary doesn’t seem to know any of his films.

I liked this better than any other Gabriel Martini match I’ve seen. He seems to be trying hard, and he looks sober. I still think that his execution looks awkward most of the time, though. A lot of the moves he does require some finesse to make them look good, and he doesn’t seem to have it. I feel like he would be better suited as a brawler than a guy trying to do tilt-a-whirl headscissors.

Sam does a lot of roughneck stuff here, choking Martini and dropping him on the guardrail and apron. He’s pretty brutal in the early goings, but Martini seems like a guy who can take it. He also throws in tributes to Earthquake and Dr. Death, so that made me happy. 

Luan doesn’t do much during the match. He doesn’t get involved when Chairman Al punches Martini on the floor; he just stands there and lets Sam use him to distract the referee. He does face off with Sam for a moment on the floor before Martini jumps on the big man.

Martini kicks out of Sam’s powerbomb and manages to hit one of his own out of the corner, but Chairman Al grabs his leg when he climbs up the ropes (Luan does nothing about this, even though that was the whole reason Martini brought him out). This allows Sam to catch him and use the tombstone for the win. Logical heel finish, but I would have liked Martini to have a bit more offense before getting caught at the end.

Afterwards, Sam moons the crowd and mocks Martini, so Martini dropkicks him out of the ring. Al is left facing off with Luan. He makes fun of him, so Luan gives him a kick to the leg and a roundhouse to the head. Then he and Martini celebrate to send the fans home happy.

So “Pro Wrestling Is Alive” was a pretty good little show, all things considered. Not my favorite Chinese wrestling show, but perhaps my favorite complete MKW show since their inception.

MKW: Michael Su and Gabriel Martini vs. Ash Silva and Uncle Money (March 17, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
– Khan Spirasi is the manager of the Flat Earth Foundation, a tag team that believes we’re all being conned into thinking the earth is round. They’re not very understanding of those who don’t agree with them.
– Ash Silva and Uncle Money are members of The Stable and are both coming off of wins in Shenzhen last year.
– Italy’s Gabriel Martini lost to Ash in Shenzhen thanks to Uncle Money’s interference.
“The Masterclass” Michael Su is the first graduate of the MKW wrestling school, and Ash was his trainer. He was the referee for Ash’s tainted win over Martini.

Before the match, we have Khan Spirasi’s “Conspiracy Corner” interview segment. Spirasi talks like a stoned surfer dude, which is funny. He brings out Michael Su, and their conversation turns to Ash Silva. Su says Ash betrayed him when he joined The Stable and cheated to beat Gabriel Martini. Ash comes out and berates Su, telling him it’s all about success and money. Uncle Money comes out, and they attack Su until Martini makes the save and issues the challenge for a tag match. Khan Spirasi has disappeared.
This was all done in English, and it was a pretty good segment for the level they’re at.
Now on to the match!

I spent most of the match focusing on Gabriel Martini because I was hoping he would redeem himself after his performance against Ash in Shenzhen that I really didn’t like. Unfortunately, I don’t think he looks much better here. Some of his moves are all right, but a lot of the time, he looks more like a layman trying to be a wrestler (alá David Arquette or Karl Malone). He doesn’t seem to be taking things seriously. He gets off the apron and gets a drink of water while his partner is in trouble. He gabs with fans while his partner is in trouble. He He really just doesn’t seem to care that his partner is in trouble. He sits on the apron or the turnbuckle when he’s in the corner. He just comes across as very unprofessional throughout the match. Al on commentary says that he’s working with a hurt back, so maybe that explains some of it, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

I thought that Michael Su looked fine in what may be his first match. He has some teacher/student chemistry with Ash. His strike rush works for him. His small package (if that’s what it was) needs work. I question him using a chokeslam as someone who isn’t all that big (probably the smallest guy in the match). But I’m interested in watching him develop. I wish he could work with someone with a lot of experience, but its hard to find people like that around these parts right now.

I would like to see Uncle Money work more power moves into his repertoire. He’s got a big upper body, like a football player. I feel like he should be doing more shoulder breakers and power slams or something. And I don’t like his corner splash. He tries to do it like a frog splash, but it just makes it look weaker. Just do a regular stinger splash. The cocky push-ups work for him, though, and the spear is a good signature.

Ash looked the best. Not perfect, but he carried the match as far as I could tell, and most of his moves looked good. I’d like to see him wrestle Su in a singles match sometime.

I really thought that the whole thing was too long. They did two hot tags, both to Martini, as if they didn’t like the results of the first one and decided to have a do-over. Also, there were too many scoop slams. Vary things up a bit, please, guys.

Ash and Uncle Money got the pin on Su with a Samoan drop/neckbreaker team move.

MKW: Ash Silva vs. Gabriel Martini (December 16, 2017)

This is Ash’s first match since turning heel and joining The Stable. He did turn against Jason Wang way back in late 2016, but that didn’t go anywhere as far as the MKW YouTube videos are concerned. What matters is this promo where Ash states that he’s “seen the light” and is tired of the way MKW promoter Adrian Gomez runs things, so he’s joined up with Big Sam and company.

Italy’s Gabriel Martini has been wrestling here and there in China for a couple of years, but this is my first time seeing him in a full match…at least, under this “Party Boy” gimmick. MKW did post a wacky match in a bar between him and VooDoo, but it was just highlights.

I don’t want to go over every move and spot in this match because I’d be stuck typing for a long time about how most everything Martini does is awkward. He seems to stumble on a lot of moves, and at one point, he drops Ash dangerously with a powerbomb. He’s also out of position for a couple things, like the weird flying elbow that Ash does. And even from a character standpoint, he looks like a foolish babyface multiple times, just standing there and allowing his opponent or Uncle Money (who’s in Ash’s corner) to hit him when he’s looking right at them and should really know better.

Now, a caveat: I saw on that Martini was, in fact, the man who wrestled under the Mad Tiger mask in the opening match of this Shenzhen show. If you remember, he took a bad shot in that match and was nearly unresponsive for a large chunk of what followed. He finished that match (and actually didn’t look too bad) and still came out for this one, so it’s quite possible that his injury played a part in his performance here. I’m personally willing to give him another chance, especially because I thought he looked all right as Mad Tiger when he wasn’t hurt. But I can’t recommend watching him in this match.

Ash does all right for himself, particularly as it pertains to his new persona. I liked him trying to bribe Martini, and I liked him working the leg (though I didn’t like how Martini sold an elbow drop to the leg that clearly missed). I liked how he tied Martini’s shoelaces to the rope so he could attack the leg. I wish he would’ve kept up the leg work; he sort of drops it for a bit before going for a half crab. I know most of his signature moves aren’t leg attacks, but if you’re going to start on the leg, I think you should keep it as the focus.

I also thought Uncle Money was a very good cornerman. He made sure to vocally hype The Stable numerous times, and he interfered  at least twice, including throwing the punch that led to the finish. I wish that whole sequence could’ve looked a little more natural, but awkwardness seemed to be the unintended theme here.

The good news is that Ash won with the Superfly splash, and he and Uncle Money both came off looking strong within the storyline.