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.