MKW: Sam, Money, Ferguson, and Suzuki vs. Gunderson, Su, Dragon, and Lee (August 10, 2018)

Big Sam, Uncle Money, Cam Ferguson, & Johta Suzuki (w/ Chairman Al & Lady Marie) vs. Buck Gunderson, Michael Su, Zombie Dragon, & Junyan Lee (w/ Luan)

I like this match all right, but I’ll admit that I watched it in a bit of a rush and with no sound so as not to bother the other people in the room with me. Everyone looks competent; Su seems the greenest, but he gets a lot of experience taking bumps and selling for Big Sam here.

I’ve never seen three of these guys before – Gunderson, Lee, and Suzuki. Gunderson and Lee work for Battle Arts in Canada. I really like Gunderson’s intensity and hard work. Lee doesn’t get to do much in the match, but he does have one nice tope con giro spot. Pro Wrestling Alive’s Suzuki gets to do a bit more than that, and he looks fine, though I didn’t see anything that made me think, “Wow, I’ve got to look for more from this guy.”

The match starts as a brawl all over the place, then settles into the regular tag format. Su takes the heat for a long time. Then, in a bit of a reversal from the norm, multiple tags happen where guys on one side each challenge a specific guy on the other side to come face them. That usually happens earlier in these kinds of matches. Anyway, things get wonky when Zombie Dragon brings his flaming book into the ring and seems to hypnotize Uncle Money. Clips and images appear on the video screen that seem to be embarrassing old footage of Money. Dragon then chases Money out the door. This leaves Gunderson in the ring with Suzuki – the others are on the floor – and Buck pins him after a cross-legged suplex.

I definitely want to see more of Gunderson and Lee, especially to see what the latter can do in a less-convoluted environment.

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KOPW King of Pro Wrestling II Review (August 18, 2018)

UPDATE: KOPW seems to be adding matches from this show to their YouTube channel, so I’ll be adding them to this review as they appear in my subscription feed.
You might be able to watch this whole show here, though it may not work outside of mainland China.

The big story for this show is the feud between CEO Ryan Chen and GM Barney Wong. Each match features a wrestler or team representing each man. The leader of the side that wins the most matches at the end of the show gets to shave the other’s head.

To simplify things, I’ve listed each match with Ryan Chen’s representative(s) first and Barney Wong’s second.

The show opens with Ryan Chen and Ho Ho Lun talking, then Barney Wong comes out with Black Dragon and Sam Gradwell. He talks a lot and runs down Chen’s team. Gradwell says some things in English, but the video gets choppy and I can’t make much of it out. Gradwell and Dragon attack Ho, but Buffa runs in for the save. They all brawl to the back.

The Slam vs. Han Guang
If The Slam uses his regular finishing move, unstoppable lightning, he’ll be disqualified. Their match at the first KOPW show is probably my favorite Slam singles match. This one isn’t as long, I don’t think, but it’s fine. After Han attacks before the bell, it’s pretty straightforward. Slam fights back, then Han gets some more in, but Slam comes back again. Slam apparently wasn’t paying attention when the rules were made, because he tries for his move a couple times. The second time, the referee tells him no, so he shoves him. Han takes the opportunity to boot him in the loins, then hits a pair of codebreakers and gets the three count.
Winner – Han Guang (CEO 0-1 GM)

Afterwards, Slam gets his heat back by hitting his move (it’s actually a TKO now, I see).

“Selfie King” Hong Wan, Bitman, & Yang Gang vs. The Stable (Big Sam, Ash Silva, & Uncle Money)
This is an elimination match. Yang Gang is replacing King Michael. This is the second match in a row to start with an attack before the bell. Hong Wan gets beat up for a while before the first elimination. Ash looks rather foolish when he spends a long time jawing with fans, back turned to Hong Wan, allowing Hong to recover and tag Yang. Yang dropkicks Ash into his partners, then school-boys him and gets the first pin. (I’d forgotten the elimination stip, so I was like, “Wow, that was sudden.” But then I remembered.)
After some time, Hong Wan is in control of Uncle Money, but Big Sam fusses with the ref about Bitman, and this distracts Hong (his turn to look foolish) so Money can spear him and pin him.
At 2-on-2, Yang Gang and Bitman show some fine teamwork. Big Sam and Uncle Money isolate Bitman like pros. Sam looks particularly vicious. Bitman suplexes Sam a little too easily, IMO. Yang gets to run wild on a hot tag, but he ultimately gets pinned with something like a doomsday powerbomb.
Bitman is overwhelmed until he outsmarts them a couple times. There’s a little too much convenient wobbling here for my tastes; Sam and Money standing around looking woozy while Bitman sets his stuff up. Bitman pins Uncle Money with a backslide after he accidentally runs into Sam.
Sam stalls on the outside for a bit before he gets back in. He takes control until Bitman throws more suplexes. After a big German, Ash and Money run back in. Bitman knocks them off the apron, but Sam boots him low (right in front of the ref) and hits the tombstone to end the match.
Winners – The Stable (CEO 0-2 GM)

Afterwards, Sam kicks the ref around (he should probably be thanking him for not disqualifying him) and The Stable throw Bitman out of the ring. Uncle Money goes over and shakes Barney Wong’s hand.

AWGC Championship: Datin Z vs. Smart Dave (c)
This is a chair match, and both guys go grab one at the bell. Datin Z gets the better of the duel when Dave’s fingers get hurt. He slides out and won’t get back in until Z puts his chair aside. They wrestle for a bit, then Z gets some offense with a chair. These chairs, by the way, are plastic with metal frames, not like the all-steel chairs we’re used to in America. Dave smashes Z’s leg with a chair against the post (though the leg doesn’t specifically come into play again). Dave methodically takes Z apart in the ring without chairs. Z fights back with high-impact moves. Dave lays a bunch of chairs in a couple rows but ends up powerbombed onto them. Dave gets a nearfall with a spin kick similar to Aleister Black’s, and then he’s able to finish Z off with a brainbuster on a chair. Solid work, but I would’ve liked more selling of the leg.
Winner – Smart Dave (CEO 0-3 GM)

Barney Wong gets on the mic to point out that his side only needs one more win.

Buffa vs. Black Dragon
Buffa doesn’t take as long as usual to get his bling off, so he’s obviously taking this fight seriously. He gets some good stuff in on Dragon. Seriously, I think he looks really good here. But when they take it outside, Dragon starts whooping on him. He rams his back into the post. Back in the ring, he continues dominance until Buffa mounts a comeback. It doesn’t last too long, though, and Dragon catches him with a powerbomb out of the air (he falls down on it, though). He can’t seem to put Buffa away, so he ultimately grabs a chair and whacks him in the back, getting disqualified. Barney’s not too happy about that.
Winner by DQ – Buffa (CEO 1-3 GM)

Super Asia Championship: Riho (c) vs. Makoto
It’s the battle of the traveling Joshi wrestlers. The pace here is much faster than anything else so far. There’s a lot of back-and-forth action. Makoto is vicious with her submissions on Riho’s arms and back. Riho is bendy and takes big bumps. There’s a great sequence where they trade moves off the ropes – forearm, forearm, jumping knee, spear, sunset flip into double stomp. Very well done. This is definitely more my cup of tea than the exhibition-y style match Riho had with Emi Sakura last time. Makoto crushes Riho with cartwheel knees a couple times. The ending is sadly marred when Riho hits a flying double stomp and Makoto kicks out, but the ref calls for the bell anyway. Not sure if it was planned.
Winner – Riho (CEO 2-3 GM)

Makoto kicks the ref afterwards, but Riho pulls her away. Makoto doesn’t attack her, but she leaves very upset, like…well, like she lost a big title match by no fault of her own.

Dancing Lion Brothers (Shen Fei & Jun Jie) vs. Zombie Dragon & James Drake
Zombie Dragon is replacing Zack Gibson because Zack’s busy challenging Pete Dunne in NXT. The Brothers come out in the traditional lion dance outfit to a traditional lion dance song, and the crowd sings along. Dragon and Drake don’t play up the weirdness of their team, unfortunately. They work together all right, but Shen and Jun are better with the combos. Shen Fei and Zombie Dragon are both guys who look better each time I see them. Shen could maybe sell a little better, and Dragon ought to tighten up on some of his kicks, I feel, but otherwise, I enjoy them. Jun I’ve only seen a little of before. He seems to have good fundamentals and looks to have a good base for throwing suplexes. James Drake is a fine heel, though he doesn’t do anything for me yet that makes him more than the guy who tags with Zack Gibson. Anyway, Shen eventually gets put in peril and has to make the hot tag. He and Jun do a synchronized cutter spot that’s cool. They squash Zombie Dragon with a frog splash and a 450, but Drake makes the save. In the end, Dragon accidentally mists Drake before accidentally kicking him. The Dancing Lions put Dragon away with a powerbomb/flying forearm. I like the Dancing Lion Brothers as a team; I hope they stick together.
Winners – Dancing Lion Brothers (CEO 3-3 GM)

Barney Wong is not so confident anymore. Ryan Chen shows off the electric clippers.

KOPW Championship: Ho Ho Lun (c) vs. Sam Gradwell
Forgot to mention it in my preview, but this is a lumberjack match. Most of the male wrestlers from before are at ringside. No Black Dragon or Zombie Dragon though. Maybe they’re at a dragon meeting. And no Slam. And James Drake is still wiping green liquid from his eyes. Anyway, Gradwell starts aggressively. Ho Ho Lun gets distracted by the heels, allowing Gradwell to catch him. The faces get back at him by beating on him when he rolls to their side. Pretty soon, everyone’s brawling at ringside, but then they actually settle down again. Gradwell keeps pounding on Ho until Ho fires up and battles back. Ho does a dive onto the heels on the floor, so Gradwell does a tope onto the faces. Ho is lining Gradwell up for something when Barney Wong punches him from the apron. Ho kicks out of a sit-out powerbomb, though. Wong tries to interfere again, but the faces beat him up. They go back and forth in bursts before Gradwell misses a flying splash. Ho has Gradwell beat with a fisherman’s suplex, but Wong breaks it up (kind of; he barely touches them, but the ref just calls it two). The faces hold Wong back so he can’t break up the next pin (which comes after a move the camera misses), and Ho retains. Pretty good, but the camera missing the finish really hurts my enjoyment.
Winner – Ho Ho Lun (CEO 4-3 GM)

Wong is dragged back to the ring. The babyfaces hold him down while a long-haired guy (commentator Shuai Ge, whom Black Dragon attacked at a press conference previously) shaves his head. Wong throws a major tantrum around the ring before he leaves. Then a bunch of non-wrestlers talk to the fans to end the show.

Overall, I think this was a good show. Everyone seemed to be working hard, and all the matches were solid or better. My favorite was definitely the women’s match. It was full of so much action and kept surprising me even though I already knew who would win. Shame about the finish. I also really liked that there was an overarching angle throughout the show. This was similar to their first show, which featured a tournament to crown a champion. I wonder if they’ll continue this theme with their next show.

Was it better than the first show? Hmm…I think it was at least on par. The first show had Gao Yuan in two matches, but it also had an inferior women’s match. I both shows ended with some chaos, but the good guys ultimately sent the fans home happy. I figure a third show has to have Barney Wong come back with a vengeance and perhaps even take over the company, so that could be interesting.

Anyway, I would easily recommend this show to someone interested in Chinese wrestling.

WLW x MMC May 11, 2018 Review

In mainland China, you should be able to watch this show here. Anywhere else…I dunno, it might work for you if you’re lucky. It was originally broadcast as a livestream, so the matches start around 53 minutes in.

Mars Martial Championship, who previously worked with MKW to host their title match on an MMA show, partnered with We Love Wrestling to produce an all-wrestling show in Shenzhen just this May. Familiar talent from mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. were featured, as well as a few names that were new to me. I’m gonna review the show as a whole this time around.

Buffa vs. Chen Wenbin
A fine opener. Chen is confident and very game. He’s all, “Come at me, bro,” and Buffa’s like, “Oh, is that how you want to play it?” Buffa’s size and experience give him an advantage until the speed and striking come into play. This frustrates Buffa, and he becomes rather grumpy and indignant. Then they go back and forth until Chen reverses a suplex into a small package for the pin.
Winner – Chen Wenbin

Afterwards, Buffa holds up Chen’s arm but then sucker punches him and cuts a promo on the fans for booing him.

 

Saka & Black Ho vs. Xue Weigang & Yang Gang
Saka and Black Ho have teamed in New Taiwan Wrestling for a while. Saka is easily distinguishable because he only has one arm. Meanwhile, I haven’t seen Xue very often since the Gao Yuan/CWF split. He gets to be the big babyface power guy here, leaving Yang to take the heat. Interestingly, they don’t really do a hot tag. Instead, Yang comes back after the heat and has the advantage when he casually tags Xue. Saka and Ho don’t like to keep everything in the ring, and they manage to take out Xue on the floor so they can double team Yang. Saka gets annoyed at Yang refusing to lose, so he puts him in a read choke of sorts and refuses to release it when Yang gets the ropes. The referee calls for the bell, but the damage is done and Yang is out.
Winners by DQ – Xue Weigang & Yang Gang

Afterwards, Xue has to help Yang to the back.

Gao Yuan Promo
Gao comes out with VooDoo, Wang Qiushi, Xiong Kuohai, and someone else I should probably recognize. Gao talks about being the best wrestler in China and puts over how long he’s been WLW Fighting Spirit Champion (I think he says 500 days). He says his match with Liu Xing tonight will be no different from any of the others he’s had during his reign, and he’ll still be champion at the end. Then he introduces his group as the Army of Insolent Devil (Gao’s nickname), and they all pose.

VooDoo vs. Bitman
Much of this one is comedy, and it worked for me. VooDoo makes a big deal about Bitman’s abs, and it leads to a hip-swiveling competition that the referee also participates in, Then VooDoo puts on the ref’s shirt and tries to get him to fight Bitman, but they both smack VooDoo instead. Then they actually do some wrestling. VooDoo hurts his arm trying a low blow for some reason. Finally, the guy I didn’t recognize from the last segment puts on a VooDoo mask and distracts Bitman so VooDoo ca roll him up with a handful of tights for the pin.
(BTW, the ref for this match was Wang Qiushi from the last segment. He didn’t do anything heelish, though, so I guess I wasn’t supposed to recognize him.)
Winner – VooDoo

New Taiwan Wrestling Openweight Championship: A-Yong-Go (c) vs. Heisenberg
Heisenberg looks like a New Japan young lion with his black tights and Boston crab. A-Yong-Go is a veteran with a look that says, “I’m a cool, old cowboy.” This match is lengthy with a bit of fighting on the outside, but it’s mostly kept in the ring. Heisenberg is strong and takes the fight to the veteran, and Yong just can’t seem to keep him down no matter what he throws at him. In the end, he has to resort to cheating by pulling the referee in close while he kicks Heisenberg low. Then he pins him after a pedigree. Good stuff.
Winner – A-Yong-Go

There’s some kind of non-wrestling presentation before the next match. I didn’t pay attention.

Big Sam, Ash Silva, & Uncle Money vs. Xiong Kuohai, King Michael, & Shen Fei
The Stable have Chairman Al with them. Xiong is accompanied by the guy from the VooDoo match. The Chinese team are the babyfaces, though. The pairings at the beginning are all fun. Shen Fei and Ash, Xiong and Uncle Money, Michael and Sam. The good guys shine for the most part, so the heels have to yank Shen Fei out of the ring and beat on him to get the heat. They then proceed to have their way with him in classic heel team fashion, just tossing him about and taunting his teammates at their pleasure. There’s a great tease of a hot tag, and then the Hart attack shows up before Shen Fei finally makes the real hot tag. The big guys run wild, and there are a couple slip-ups, but they set Shen Fei up for the 450 splash on Ash. He hits it, but Xiong pulls him off and takes the pin for himself.
Winners – Xiong Kuohai, King Michael, & Shen Fei

Afterwards, we get some bad camera work. The camera follows The Stable as they go and pose on the stage (even though they lost), mostly missing Xiong and Shen Fei having words and Xiong taking him out with a slam.

Makoto vs. Shining SAMURAAAI
Makoto seems to be making the rounds through Asia these days. SAMURAAAI is Hikaru Shida. I don’t know much about either, but I just discovered that Shida’s English is pretty good (and maybe her character here is based on the one in that video?). They both show aggressive sides here, but SAMURAAAI is presented as more of the plucky underdog. She seems super hopeful whenever she’s on offense or going for the pin, and she plays to the crowd a lot. Her umbrella gets involved without any DQ’s called, but it’s fun. They fight really hard on the top at one point, and the superplex that results feels really well-earned. After that, they trade a couple kicks, Makoto kicks out of a falcon arrow, and SAMURAAAI finally puts her away with a running knee. This definitely felt like more than just a Joshi exhibition to me, so I liked it a lot.
Winner – Shining SAMURAAAI

After a video about the Mars Martial Championships’ MMA stuff, we get our main event.

We Love Wrestling Fighting Spirit Championship: Gao Yuan (c) vs. Liu Xing
Gao’s whole Army of Insolent Devil is at ringside for this one, while Liu Xing is all alone. This doesn’t go very long before Liu Xing hits a somersault to the floor and both guys stay down for a bit. Eventually, Gao recovers first, rolls Liu Xing into the ring, and…pins him.
Winner – Gao Yuan

Xue Weigang, Yang Gang, and Shen Fei come out (in WLW shirts) to help Liu Xing to the back. I guess he hurt himself on the dive and they had to call an audible. That’s a bummer of an ending to…wait a minute, he’s back in the ring already and seems fine. He wants an immediate rematch. They shove each other and Gao angrily says something into the mic, but it cuts out. The bell rings, and we’re starting over.

We Love Wrestling Fighting Spirit Championship: Gao Yuan (c) vs. Liu Xing
I don’t know what all that was about, but here we go. This one’s much longer, and maybe a bit of overkill, but since it’s for the title, I can understand it. There’s no long-term selling, unfortunately. Liu Xing takes a piledriver and a Canadian destroyer at different points, but he never acts like his neck or head have been specifically damaged. Ditto for Gao after he takes a reverse DDT onto the apron. Gao’s friends get involved several times, but Liu Xing’s are nowhere to be found. It all boils down to Liu Xing surprising Gao with a couple of spears, then hitting a shiranui. Gao’s too close to the ropes, so Liu Xing does a pump handle side slam and a second shiranui to get the pin and win the title.
Winner and new champion – Liu Xing

Gao is helped out by his crew, and VooDoo does some lamenting. Liu Xing seems appropriately exhausted and Wei and Yang come out to check on him. Unfortunately, they don’t do much in regards to celebrating his victory.

Overall: Pretty good show, I thought. There was a good deal of variety to the matches, and I didn’t dislike any of them. My favorite was probably the six-man, even with the flubs near the end and the convoluted bit with Xiong and Shen Fei. There seemed to be a lot of little angles happening, and I hope they get followed up on whenever WLW has another show. The overbooking of the main event was weird, and I hope it isn’t just a way for Gao to get an instant rematch and win the belt right back.This is actually Liu Xing’s second time with this belt, as he won it briefly when he and Gao were in the CWF. I hope he gets to hold it longer this time, maybe defend it against someone besides Gao at least once.

MKW: Uncle Money vs. Triple T (April 29, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
Tommy Tuamasi Tamati was doing pretty well in his MKW Championship match with Big Sam until Sam’s Stable-mates Ash Silva and Uncle Money showed up to spoil his night. Uncle Money speared Triple T on the floor while Ash distracted the referee, and this weakened him enough for Sam to hit him with the tombstone and retain the title.
– Triple T challenged Uncle Money to a relaxed rules match via a WeChat promo, and Uncle Money accepted in the same forum. Both promos were quite good, I thought, but they’re not posted anywhere I can share them from. Relaxed rules seems to mean a no DQ match where nothing really crazy is going to happen.

I thought this was decent. The execution was a little rough around the edges, perhaps due to the quality of the ring (particularly the saggy ropes), and it also felt a few minutes too long.

I liked Triple T’s intensity. He went hard after Uncle Money whenever he was on offense, just pounding on him and trying to flatten him into the ground. I could tell he had a grudge and was out for revenge. I also liked his full body tights. They slim him down a bit.

I also liked that Uncle Money approached things differently. He wasn’t emotional; he was just doing his job beating up a guy, just like he’d done when he attacked Triple T at the last show. It wasn’t personal to him, but he’s not about to step aside when someone calls him out. I liked how he spent most of his offensive periods focusing on the crowd, flexing and doing push-ups. Good dichotomy to both men’s goals. And I like his belly to belly suplex.

The main thing I didn’t like was the lack of variety. Triple T did at least one elbow drop too many. Uncle Money did a lot of stomps and steps onto Triple T’s midsection. They went back to the body slam too often. There was a heat segment about 12 minutes into the video that was nearly identical to the one that came before it. I really would have preferred that they cut that section and gotten to the finish faster.

That finish, by the way, featured Uncle Money running into the turnbuckles he had exposed, leading to Triple T pinning him after a top rope somersault senton. I was kind of surprised to see a member of The Stable lose already, but I could see an interesting angle or two coming from it.

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 Cagematch.net 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.

MKW: Shen Fei vs. Uncle Money (December 16, 2017)

Uncle Money is a member of The Stable with Big Sam, Ash Silva, and Chairman Al, and this is his first match in China. The Stable was formed with this promo video not long before this event. Basically, they’re three wrestlers and a manager who blame MKW owner Adrian Gomez for picking favorites. More on that when the main event gets uploaded. Shen Fei doesn’t look familiar to me. He sure takes his time getting into the ring.

Usually, I like to recap a match in the present tense before switching to the past tense to give my reactions. So here’s my recap of this one: Uncle Money does some moves and gloats. Then Shen Fei does some moves and gloats. Then they switched once or twice more. Shen Fei does a Pelé kick and a flying forearm in tribute to AJ Styles. He misses a phoenix splash, and Uncle Money spears him and get the pin.

I watched this match at least twice, and I’m still having trouble recalling much about it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very interesting, either. Neither guy’s character stood out. Despite their size difference, it wasn’t worked as “big man vs. small man.” Both guys had equal amounts of offense. There was no heat. Uncle Money – the “hitman” of The Stable –  didn’t look particularly dangerous or dominant. Without commentary or prior knowledge, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell if he was the heel. He didn’t do anything particularly dastardly, and Shen Fei taunted just as much as he did.

Shen Fei looks like he could be a solid high flyer, but I’d like to see him work from underneath and sell more. He obviously wants to be like AJ Styles; well, AJ is a great seller and storyteller in the ring. Shen Fei will have to copy more than his moves if he wants to be like him. Also,

I know MKW has a small roster, and all the guys want to look good, but if everyone looks good, then no one looks good. If Uncle Money’s going to be a hitman, I’d like to see him wrestle like he’s someone to fear. It’s not a very successful hitman character who can be kept to a stalemate for most of a match.

Long story short: These guys can do moves, but they need to tell a story if they want me to care. I think they can do that if they want to.