Middle Kingdom Wrestling
Date: February 17, 2017
Location: Pattaya Boxing Stadium, Pattaya, Chon Buri, Thailand
Commentator: Al Leung
We’re going to wrap up this very abbreviated season and hopefully head back to China where things are a bit better. The first show was a pretty mixed bad with one horrible match and one that was quite entertaining so it’s hard to guess what’s coming this time around. Let’s get to it.
Same opening sequence as last time, which isn’t the worst thing in the world given some of the eye candy in there.
We hear more of Dalton Bragg’s conversation. It’s true that he can’t wrestle but he’s found a replacement named Hayden Pearce, who is something called the Kingdom Wrestling Federation (no idea what/where that is) Champion. Tonight, he’ll defend against the Slam, though the graphic lists Pearce as Hayden Zenith. That’s the kind of thing that needs to be tightened up as I’m not even two minutes into the show and it’s already an issue.
Black Mamba/Big Sam vs. Maxim Risky/Malkeet Brawler
Maxim and Brawler are from India and one of them charges to the ring early, earning a good looking powerbomb from Sam. A boot to the chest drops Brawler but it’s Risky and Mamba starting things off as we hear the second bell. The commentator says this is in China, which doesn’t quite work after the whole point of this show is being in Thailand.
A suplex gets two on Mamba and Sam comes in….for some jumping jacks of course. Well you can’t do those on the apron. Sam comes in again for a regular save before distracting the referee so Mamba can choke. That second one threw the idea off a bit and it would have been a lot better if he had said it was a cramp or he was stretching or something like that. If you do it before and after but not in the middle, it weakens what you did in the first place (which was good).
Back to Sam for a clothesline on Brawler and what looks like a Sid Vicious pose. A gorilla press drop keeps showing off the power (smart) and it’s off to a camel clutch. Brawler makes the ropes so it’s another slam into a one finger cover. Mamba comes in again and plays Bret on something like a top rope Hart Attack but the referee is putting Sam out of the ring instead of counting. What would Danny Davis think of something like that?
Brawler gets in a TKO (love that move) and it’s a double tag to Sam and Risky. Sam takes a DDT and Risky gets in some really, really bad looking right hands in the corner. Follow through with those things. Brawler hits a running Fameasser (called XYZ) on Mamba and a slam on Sam in a fairly impressive power display.
A double suplex is another power display and Risky gets two off a superkick. I’m not sure how wise is it to have your monster getting beaten up and thrown around like this. Mamba sneaks in a low blow (second of the match but the first one meant and changed nothing) and Sam grabs a chokeslam on Risky. Mamba adds a frog splash for the pin at 10:39.
Rating: D+. There’s a LOT to talk about in this one. This is the best example I can think of to show how important psychology and match layout are to making something a success. Let’s look at Sam. He has the most unique look in this promotion (much bigger and Caucasian instead of the mostly Asian roster) and in this match he was acting like the opponents were beneath him (the one finger pin and various times where he acted like he didn’t even need to try). That’s playing to his character and very good. Sam is different and he should act like he is.
His move set made sense too. It was a lot of power stuff like the powerbomb, gorilla press and chokeslam. Back at Wrestlemania XIII, Shawn Michaels said there was no reason for Sid Vicious to deviate from his power game because the power was going to take him wherever he needed to go. That makes a lot of sense for someone like Sid/Sam as their offense is going to be more devastating due to their power so it should be the majority of what they do.
That brings us to the rest of the match, which had some issues. As I mentioned, Mamba hit two low blows. The first one just slowed his opponent down for a bit and then it was right back to where they were going before. Something like a low blow should be a match changer, not something on the same level as a clothesline or a few right hands. If you’re going to do those big spots, use them sparingly. Otherwise they’re just a regular move and people won’t care when they’re used in important spots. If you need proof, look at WWE’s main event style of spamming finishers.
There were good things in the match but there’s also a lot that needs to be tightened up. I didn’t really feel a flow to the match. One team was in control, then the other was in control, then the heels won. The ending felt like it came out of nowhere and the match just ended instead of building up to something. I’d also like to know a bit more about Risky and Brawler. All I know is they’re “stars in India”. How long have they been wrestling? Should I cheer for them? How long have they been teaming? Stuff like that can go a long way.
A big guy covered in tattoos whose name sounded like Humungous says he’s bringing underground wrestling to China.
Eurasian Dragon vs. Humungous
Dragon is the Singapore Champion and Humungous wants to make it a title shot. The request is accepted and we’re ready to go. This was another example of the disappearing and reappearing subtitles.
Singapore Title: Eurasian Dragon vs. Humungous
Dragon is defending and gets driven into the corner as we hear about Humungous wrestling around the world. A few forearms sends Humungous into the ropes like a cowardly heel and he flips Dragon off after teasing a handshake. Dragon misses a Flip Flop and Fly but grabs La Majistral for the pin to retain at 2:28.
Humungous hits him from behind and says he wants a rematch. I’m not sure if debuting someone and having them job immediately is a good idea but Humungous had a good look.
KWF Title: Hayden Zenith vs. The Slam
Slam is challenging and his CWE Title isn’t on the line. One side note here: all of the titles that I’ve seen around here look really good. There are a lot of ugly belts in wrestling but these are all very nice. Granted part of that might be due to the fact that the KWF Title is a WWF Attitude Era World Title replica. Eh if you’re going to use a replica, use one of the best looking of all time.
They start fast (a rarity around here) with Slam sweeping the leg but stopping to pose, allowing Zenith to pull him off the ropes and hammer away. Some loud chops set up a hard Saito suplex on Slam and we get a cocky cover. A hard kick to Slam’s back sends some sweat flying (always a good visual) and we hit an octopus hold. Zenith switches over to a few more submission attempts as this is already by far and away the most polished match of the two shows.
Slam fights up but eats a pair of superkicks (giving us a Superkick Party reference) and they head out to the ramp. Some rather hard forearms knock Hayden back in and Slam’s top rope forearm gets….no cover. Instead Zenith slips out of a Jackhammer and we get a ref bump. Cue Bragg to check on the referee as Slam hits a suplex into a cutter (not a Jackhammer as the announcer puts it). It’s a ruse though and Bragg hits Slam in the head with the crutch so Zenith can retain at 8:33.
Rating: C+. This was the first time I really felt like I got an angle this promotion has tried to run. It’s a very simple idea and I got the point without having to figure anything out. Zenith and Slam were some of the more polished guys and Bragg as the champion who is scared of Slam is a good enough story. Throw in Bragg having a #1 contender in Selfie King and you have the makings for something interesting. I haven’t felt that around here too often and it’s very nice change of pace.
Bragg beats on Slam with the crutch to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. Much like the tag, there’s good and bad on here. Let’s get to the good first: this felt like a more complete show. There were three matches here and each one felt like it served a purpose. The tag match was good and made Sam look like a threat to someone down the line. Dragon vs. Humungous looks to be the start of a feud and Humungous has some charisma to him. Finally you have the main event which felt like a good angle. I’m pleased here and while the show had some quality issues, it had a good structure, which might be more important.
On the other hand, the promotion is still lacking in character development. Let’s take a look at the two shows combined. Other than having Sam in his corner, what separates Ash, Jason and Black Mamba? They have a similar look and wrestle a similar style. I barely know anything about them and they really lose me when I’m trying to remember which is which.
Finally, the offenses need to be varied up a bit. In the first three matches of these two shows, three people used a frog splash. There are a ton of moves to use from the top and just because a frog splash is cool, you can use something else. Drop an elbow, drop a knee, do a spinning splash. Just don’t do the same thing that so many people have done. It was annoying in the Cruiserweight Classic and it’s the same here.
I liked enough of the show and this episode showed some promise but they need to find a way to keep that momentum going. Maybe it was just a lucky night with an angle to help tie things together at the end but they need to build on that instead of having a bunch of one off shows before advancing the story. Have people cut a thirty second promo (throw in subtitles if necessary) and keep things moving. It’ll keep people coming back and that’s the key at this point.
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