MKW: Big Sam vs. Triple T (March 17, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
Big Sam is the MKW Champion and essentially the leader of The Stable. Chairman Al is his manager. He won the title from Hong Wan in Shenzhen, then successfully defended it against him at a mostly MMA show. This will be his first defense against someone other than the former champion.
– Tommy Tuamasi Tamati (Triple T) is a 16-year veteran from New Zealand. He once trained at the Heartland Wrestling Association, a former WWE developmental territory.
Now on to the match!

I like the layout of this match. They’re both big guys, so Sam can’t throw Triple T around like he’s used to. He’s still cocky at the start when T is unable to move him, but as soon as T takes him over for the first time, Sam retreats to the floor. A distraction from Chairman Al allows Sam to get control, but T actually counters a slam and hits Sam with several moves before Sam retreats once again. T looks like a threat already, but he makes the mistake of going after Sam on the floor.

The ringside area seems to be Sam’s wheelhouse, at least in this match. He bails whenever he’s in peril, and he ends up taking the advantage soon afterwards. Triple T tries to hit him with one of his trademark left hands, but he punches the ring post instead, and Sam works over that hand a bit. When they get back into the ring, T fights out of a sleeper and goes back on offense, crushing Sam with a top rope somersault senton. Another distraction from Al allows Sam to kick T low and powerbomb him, but T kicks out.

It boils down to Sam retreating to the floor again and T going after him. This time, Ash Silva appears to argue with the ref, and Uncle Money spears T on the floor. Sam takes T back into the ring and tombstones him to retain the title.

The story of the match worked well for my tastes. It had ups and downs, and they didn’t seem like they were trying to go long to make it more “epic” or whatever. Sam is firmly entrenched as a heel with a gang of pals who will always be around to help him keep his title.

I liked the big man vs. big man aspect, but there were a couple points where Sam had trouble getting Triple T up for things, particularly the side slam and the drop onto the guardrail.

The one thing I would change about the match is Triple T’s selling of his hand after punching the ring post. I would have liked that to have played more into the story, but after Sam slams it on the apron a couple times, it’s kind of forgotten. T hits his big left punch once or twice afterwards with no sign that the hand is suffering. I’d have liked to see him hit the punch but be unable to capitalize due to the pain. In fairness, though, I see a lot of matches that do the hand-into-post spot and seem to forget about it later.

Overall, this was a pretty decent main event, at least by MKW-in-a-bar standards.

Now, one last complaint I have is actually about the entire “Wrestle Rescue: Year of the Dog” show. I hate the lighting. It’s dark, and every match seems to be tinted in red through the hard cam. Meanwhile, when the dynamic camera follows wrestlers fighting on the floor, they’re nearly impossible to see. The camera work is particularly hindering to the interference of the main event, because I couldn’t even tell that Uncle Money was there, nor could I see the spear he hit Triple T with. If MKW runs at this bar again, I hope they can fix the lighting for the sake of their videos.

MKW: Hong Wan vs. Cam Ferguson (March 17, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
“Selfie King” Hong Wan recently lost the MKW Championship to Big Sam in Shenzhen, then lost a rematch at a big MMA show.
Cam Ferguson used to be the color commentator for MKW TV. This is his in-ring debut.

Cam cuts a pre-match promo. He insults the crowd and declares himself the “director of studies” of MKW. He also says that he’s the first graduate of the Middle Kingdom Wrestling school (even though we learned last time that Michael Su finished before him). He issues an open challenge, and Hong Wan answers. Hong Wan says that he respects Cam, but Cam needs to respect the people. Cam slaps Hong Wan, and it’s on. Pretty good segment here. Cam has a way with the microphone.
Now on to the match!

Now here’s a match that tells its story and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Cam gets the upper hand through crafty-yet-legal means and methodically works over Hong Wan. Hong fights back but gets caught with a big slam, and then Cam gets cocky and jaws with the fans. This of course allows Hong Wan to take over. Cam does get control again later, but he can’t put the former champ away, even after killing him with a lariat. After a confusing bit where the ref counts three but doesn’t actually call for the bell, Hong Wan gets the pin with his standing moonsault.

Cam impressed me. He knows how to talk with confidence and string sentences together in a more natural and impactful way than a lot of other guys around here. He looks comfortable in the ring. He knows how to milk holds and fill the gaps between moves; he doesn’t rush through things. He seems to me like he knows how to tell a story and not just copy the flashy stuff he’s seen on TV. He’s not Arn Anderson quite yet, but he’s certainly a breath of fresh air.

Hong Wan looked fine. There are still moments where he seems to me like he doesn’t quite know his way around the ring or where he wastes time trying to figure out what to do. But his moonsault looks better than ever.

The botched three count hurt things a little for me, but not as much as stuff like that usually does. I actually would have believed it as the finish if they would’ve gone with it, and maybe they were supposed to. I don’t know whose fault it was, but it’s not a big deal.

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: Zombie Dragon vs. Black Mamba (March 17, 2018)

Time for a new format.

Our Story So Far…
– Black Mamba hasn’t been seen since the MKW Thailand show. According to commentary, he and Big Sam have gone their separate ways, so he has no connection to The Stable. Normally a heel, he’s wrestling in his hometown of Harbin today.
– According to commentary, Zombie Dragon used to wrestle in the U.S. as Curry Kid until he was “sacrificed” and resurrected as this new persona.
– This match is part of MKW’s “Wrestle Rescue: Year of the Dog” benefit show in its home base of Harbin, China.
Now on to the match!

I did not like this match. Zombie Dragon’s got the look, the music, and the weird, reptilian way of slithering around the ring. But when the bell rings, he runs right into a boot, then takes a headscissors and a dropkick. Right out of the gate, he looks like a putz. He sort of no-sells the dropkick and hits Mamba with a nice leaping side kick, but his aura is already shattered in my eyes.

From there, he proceeds with some pretty slow and boring offense. Then Mamba just fights back after taking a leg drop on the apron. Oddly, his offense is more interesting than Dragon’s, but he really shouldn’t be the one getting his stuff in when he’s up against a debuting character of this sort.

Dragon crawls under the ring and tries to attack Mamba with a hammer, but the ref takes it away. While he’s busy disposing of it, Dragon spits green mist (and totally misses, but Mamba still sells it) and hits a shining wizard for the pin.

Commentator Al Leung says it was an impressive debut performance from Dragon. I strongly disagree.