One Night Only: Amped Anthology Part I: The Weight of the Wait

One Night Only: Amped Anthology Part I
Date: August 11, 2017
Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Cyrus Fees, Chael Sonnen

So this exists. Back in 2015, Global Force Wrestling FINALLY got around to their TV tapings and over two years later, we’re FINALLY getting to see the things. Most of these people have moved on to different promotions but I’m really interested in seeing how these things were going to be. There were eight one hour episodes and I believe we have four of them here tonight. Let’s get to it.

We open with a quick intro, basically saying that none of this is scripted. It also comes off like a partial reality show with a lot of focus on people working as hard as they can to get here. It’s amazing how many of these names are already in WWE and in many cases have already won titles there.

The announcers welcome us to the show with Chael playing a heel and loving the idea of tournaments to win titles.

It’s a six sided ring because of course it is.

Nex Gen Title Tournament First Round: Seiya Sanada vs. PJ Black

The production values are quite good, probably better than today’s Impact. We get the crazy spinouts from the wristlocks to start and it’s off to a standoff. Black flips him down to the mat and grabs a headlock as the announcers explain Black’s background. A kick to the back of the head gets two on Sanada but he pops right back up with a dropkick. Black springboards into a dropkick to the ribs and we hit the abdominal stretch.

That goes nowhere (like you would expect it to in this kind of a match) so Black spinkicks him down, only to miss the top rope Lionsault. Sanada misses his own though and it’s a double breather. Back up and Black fires off some kicks but gets caught on top. A tiger suplex gives Sanada two and a TKO gets the same. Sanada loads up a superplex but gets shoved off, setting up the springboard 450 to send Black on at 8:45.

Rating: C+. So you know all those other X-Division style matches that don’t have much of a story but feature a bunch of pretty good flips and dives? Well this is one of them. Black is a good high flier and Sanada is a bit more well rounded but these matches just kind of come and go for me. It was good but another X-Division/Cruiserweight Title doesn’t do much for me anymore. We’ve seen it so many times that seeing it again isn’t the most thrilling thing in the world.

Here are the brackets for the first time.

Black

Sonjay Dutt

Jigsaw

TJP

Andrew Everett

Trevor Lee

TBD

Video on Kevin Kross. Believe it or not, he was inspired by Japanese wrestling.

The resident lucha libre team is ready for their six man tag later and two of them are ready to win the Tag Team Titles.

Here’s Bobby Roode, to his own Against the Grain TNA theme, for a chat. Roode says he doesn’t belong here because he’s always been and always will be a TNA guy. He lists off a bunch of people he’s held the TNA World Title than, which is better known as a list of people who will never be here. He’s here tonight to take the GFW World Title from Jeff Jarrett (who isn’t champion mind you) but here’s Nick Aldis, better known as Magnus, to interrupt. Aldis says this isn’t the Impact Zone and Jarrett brought everyone here to join the force. Cue Kongo Kong (who looks just as bad as he does now) to jump Aldis, allowing Roode to grab a Crossface.

Black is ready to move forward towards the title.

Video on Jarrett creating the company.

Bestia 666/Blood Eagle/Samu Jr. vs. Los Luchas/Misterioso Jr.

Zokre and Eagle start things off with a lucha sequence, which Sonnen says is reminiscent of the Hart Foundation. Everything breaks down and Zokre gets beaten down with a wheelbarrow Codebreaker planting him. The triple teaming makes things even worse with all of the technicos taking a beating as we head to a break.

Back with Eagle powerbombing Zokre for two as the announcers are trying to keep up with everything going on to little avail. Misterioso hits an Asai moonsault onto Samu and Los Luchas add stereo running flip dives. A Codebreaker and a hurricanrana driver plants Eagle and something like a Lionsault gives Misterioso the pin at 6:14 shown.

Rating: C. This was your run of the mill lucha insanity but I have no idea who any of these people are. Commentary did a horrible job of telling us who they were and there was no reason to like one team over the other. It wasn’t bad but the days of just doing lucha for the sake of doing lucha are long behind us. Well save for around here and on 205 Live of course and it’s no wonder that neither is the most successful product in the world.

Here are the brackets for the Tag Team Title tournament:

Bollywood Boyz

Akbars

Los Luchas

Reno Scum

Celo/Misterioso

Teaze N Sleaze

Bullet Club

Killer Elite Squad

Preview of the rest of the season.

The second episode begins with a recap of last week’s show, even if it didn’t seem like much happened. The big focus is on Roode vs. Kross for a spot in the GFW World Title tournament.

Virgil Flynn and Kushida are ready to go after the Nex Gen Title.

Kushida vs. Virgil Flynn

Non-tournament and non-title with Kushida’s IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title not on the line. I’ve never heard of Flynn but Kushida is probably my favorite New Japan guy. They fight over a wristlock to start until Kushida grabs a front facelock to take over. A drop toehold puts Kushida into 619 position though and a kick to the head staggers him even more. Back in and Kushida kicks him down before sending him shoulder first into the post.

Bored of that, Kushida hits the basement dropkick for two. Virgil gets in a jawbreaker, which Chael describes as old school. It’s too early for the Hoverboard Lock and Virgil snaps him off the top with a hurricanrana. Kushida wins a slugout but his crossbody is countered into a powerslam for two. A 450 hits knees though and Kushida fires off kicks to the arm before just punching him in the jaw. The Hoverboard Lock makes Flynn tap at 10:37.

Rating: C+. Flynn wasn’t bad though this was just a step above an extended squash. Having Kushida around is a good idea as he’s one of the best in-ring talents in the world, though having the IWGP Title out there didn’t look good. You’re trying to convince people that you’re the best in the world. Don’t mention other promotions every chance you get as it makes you look like you’re riding their coattails instead of standing on your own. See also a major problem for GFW and ROH today.

Aldis says he’s fine and can appreciate Kong trying to make a name for himself. He’ll be winning the GFW Title though.

Kushida and Flynn endorse each other.

Video on the women of GFW. This includes Karen Jarrett talking about how many opportunities the women will be getting because she’s this company’s Stephanie McMahon.

Video on Kevin Kross, who seems to be a shooter/MMA guy with some anger issues.

Video on Chris Mordetzky, who is totally different than when he was in WWE.

Video on the Bollywood Boyz, now known as the Singh Brothers.

GFW World Title Tournament Qualifying Match: Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Kross

Roode works on the arm to start before lounging on the top rope. Kross reverses a hammerlock and runs him over, which isn’t exactly what I think of when I hear someone is a shooter. A quick breather on the floor seems to do Roode some good as he comes back in and sends Kross into the post.

The bad arm is rammed into the barricade a few times, which I guess isn’t MMA style as Kross is in even more trouble. Back from a break with Roode hitting the Hennig necksnap and cranking on the arm some more. The spinebuster looks to set up the Roode Bomb but Kross escapes into a rollup. Not that it matters as Roode reverses into the Crossface for the tap at 7:39.

Rating: D+. So much for the shooter/MMA guy. I know Jarrett did the thing where he was a fake MMA guy but does he know that there’s such a thing as real MMA style wrestlers? Kross was every run of the mill angry wrestler here with nothing that suggested he had a shoot background whatsoever. That left us with little more than a glorified (though not glorious) squash, which doesn’t do much for Kross.

Video on the Akbars, doing the standard “we’re treated differently because we look different” stuff.

Episode three begins with another recap.

Here’s a lounge singer named Henry Maxwell for no logical reason other than to be beaten down by the Akbars before their match.

GFW Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Akbars vs. Bollywood Boyz

The Akbars are Ali and Omar, both of whom are best known from OVW. Gurv and Omar start things off and it’s a small package for two on Omar. That means it’s already off to Ali, who is sent scurrying back to Omar thanks to an armdrag. They have quite the low tolerance for pain.

Some double teaming puts Harv in trouble though and it’s a double suplex for no cover. Back from a break with Harv still in the wrong corner and a snap suplex into a chinlock. A running knee and elbow drop get two but hang on because we need to plug an upcoming Karen Jarrett appearance.

We get the classic fight to the corner for a tag the referee doesn’t see, which always makes me smile a bit. Omar misses a middle rope leg and there’s the hot tag to Gurv. A DDT and spinwheel kick get two as everything breaks down. Harv hits a top rope back elbow to the jaw, setting up a top rope elbow drop for the pin on Ali at 8:52.

Rating: D+. This was quite a bit of nothing special with the Akbars being as generic a set of villains as you could find. The Boyz were better, though still not exactly setting the world on fire. Their actual wrestling has never been great though at least they seem to have found their calling as the crash dummies for Jinder Mahal.

Sonjay Dutt is ready to win the Nex Gen Title to go with his bachelor’s degree.

Jigsaw is a masked man who has wrestled everywhere and sounds very standard for having such a cool name. He’s a hybrid wrestler and wants to win the Nex Gen Title too.

Another video on Mordetzky, with a lot of the same material being covered.

Here’s Karen Jarrett, who is introduced as the Queen of the Knockouts. She makes a women’s match for the main event but Lei’D Tapa and her manager Royal Red cut her off. Red doesn’t want to hear about the old news that is Mickie James. Karen tells her to shut up because she’s all tough and awesome. She wants Tapa to cage up her husband before her triple threat tonight with James and Christina Von Eerie.

Video on Kevin Kross, who wants to fight Bobby Roode again.

Nick Aldis is ready to face Kongo Kong.

GFW Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Lei’D Tapa vs. Mickie James vs. Christina Von Eerie

The winner is in the finals because this tournament isn’t exactly deep. Tapa shrugs off an early double teaming attempt and we’re off to a way too early break. Back with more double teaming working better and Tapa being sent outside. Mickie hurricanranas Christina out of the corner as Tapa gets back in.

A double Samoan drop….hurts Tapa as well as she bumps her head on the way down. The Barbarian’s niece shouldn’t be hurt by a blow to the head like that. Come on and get your stereotypes right already people. James and Von Eerie double team Tapa down again but get in an argument over the cover (you might have seen this idea before). The MickieDT (and a bad one at that) drops Tapa but Von Eerie sends James outside. A Backstabber to Tapa puts Von Eerie in the finals at 6:58.

Rating: D+. Another lackluster match that followed the same formula you’ve seen for this match a dozen or more times. Von Eerie going over is interesting and probably a better call as James is an established star and Tapa, no matter how many companies hire her, still isn’t interesting. Not terrible here but I’m already forgetting parts of it.

Von Eerie gets the winner of Katarina Leigh, the Bullet Babe and Lauren James. She’s ready for any of them.

Here are the brackets for the World Title tournament:

Chris Mordetzky

Brian Myers

Nick Aldis

Kongo Kong

Shelton Benjamin

JR Kratos

Bobby Roode

TBD

The lounge singer from earlier turns out to be Kong’s manager. Uh….ok then.

Episode four means another recap.

Video on Sonjay Dutt vs. Jigsaw.

Nex Gen Title Tournament First Round: Sonjay Dutt vs. Jigsaw

They speed things up to start and it’s the fast paced moves with little to no impact that almost always start these things off. Jigsaw scores with a few shots to the face and a dropkick gets two. Cyrus talks about Jigsaw taking a title from Dutt in CZW to put him on the map. Chael: “You did NOT see that match.” Cyrus: “Uhhh…..”.

After making the face announcer look like an idiot like that, Dutt fights out of a Gory Stretch and dropkicks him to the floor. Back in and Dutt kicks him in the face before grabbing an Octopus Hold. Jigsaw sends him outside for the required flip dive, followed by the missile dropkick back inside.

Neither can hit a piledriver so we’ll go with the standard superkick to drop Jigsaw instead. A standing shooting star gets two and a tornado DDT gets the same. Jigsaw avoids a charge and hits a double stomp to the back, followed by a kneeling reverse piledriver (Jig and Tonic) to advance at 10:15.

Rating: C. Another good, fast paced match here though still nothing that hasn’t been done before. Dutt is a name that has been around forever while Jigsaw, who I’ve liked in the times I’ve seen him, was basically lost as soon as I heard him talk for the first time. His name and look suggests something mysterious but he’s just another guy from New York. Think this stuff through people.

Video on Kongo Kong attacking Nick Aldis on the first episode to set off their feud. Or whatever you can count as a feud here as they’re just having one tournament match.

Jigsaw is happy and Dutt praises him for his win.

Here’s Chael Sonnen in the ring for a chat. He immediately heels it up by telling everyone to be quiet and insults MMA fighter Phil Baroni in the front row. Sonnen issues something of a challenge and says the fight would be one more for the bad guy. Now he calls out Virgil Flynn and mocks him for the loss, only to say that he’s in the Nex Gen Title tournament anyway. I guess Kushida was too busy. PJ Black comes out, tells Flynn that he’s awesome, and superkicks him for a heel turn. Eh you have to turn someone.

Video on Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins) who wants to win the title.

Video on Reno Scumm.

GFW World Title Tournament First Round: Kongo Kong vs. Nick Aldis

Maxwell does Kong’s entrance and is a pretty lame heel manager. The fight is on in a hurry with Kong missing a charge in the corner and falling out to the floor. Back in and Kong hammers away some more because he’s big and fat and therefore strong. Maxwell gets in a cheap shot from the floor so Kong can get two off a legdrop. We hit the nearly required bearhug and a belly to belly gets two on Nick.

Back from a break with Kong yelling at the referee so Maxwell can get in a cheap shot. That means another bearhug as they’re certainly staying within the lines of the paint by numbers formula. Aldis fights out and hits a belly to back suplex, followed by some clotheslines for two. A superplex plants Kong and the top rope elbow gets two. Maxwell offers a distraction so Kong can hit the Cannonball for two more. Kong misses a moonsault though and the Spine Shaker sends Aldis on at 9:27.

Rating: D+. What in the world does Jarrett see in Kongo Kong? He’s embarrassing looking and doesn’t do anything of note in the ring. We’ve seen big guys do moonsaults for over twenty years now and it’s certainly not as impressive as Vader’s or even Bam Bam Bigelow’s. He’s just a big guy who looks like a monster, which isn’t exactly the most impressive thing in the world. Aldis was the only option here and thankfully he slayed the monster in relatively short order.

Overall Rating: C-. This is one of the trickiest things I’ve ever had to grade. First of all, it’s really hard to look at this as it was originally intended. These shows were A, meant to be seen week to week and B, aired two years ago. In 2017, it comes off like a bunch of Impact guys and people who have left for the greener pastures of WWE. That’s a very different presentation than they were shooting for but it’s really hard to look at it as originally intended.

As for the show itself….it’s really just ok at best. I look at the lineups and matches here and all I see is a group of people who aren’t good enough to be in WWE. Myers and Mordetzky stand out for me above all others. They’re the definition of WWE rejects and neither showed anything here to make me think that they’re anything more than generic wrestlers. That’s the case with a lot of people on the show and it doesn’t do it many favors.

You also have the severe lack of stories, though that’s to be expected on the first set of shows. This is ALL about the tournaments and really nothing more. The only other story is Roode wanting to mess with the company and even then he’s in the tournament. That’s fine for something like this but it needs to change going forward.

Another big problem is the commentary. It really felt like neither of these two knew a lot about professional wrestling. Sonnen sounded like he knew the combat stuff but his heel shtick felt really, really forced, especially his in-ring promo (which I remember hearing was literally just thrown in because Sonnen wanted to do it and Jarrett said sure). It seemed like they were given some notes about each wrestler and little more, which doesn’t mean you know something about the wrestling itself. It was really noticeable and became annoying very quickly.

Let’s talk about some of the good things because they definitely do exist. First of all, the presentation is great. The show looks like an upper level production with good lighting, good graphics and no major errors or flaws. It feels like you’re watching something with a budget and some effort and that can make all the difference in the world.

It also helped that the wrestling was all perfectly acceptable. There’s some stuff that wasn’t as good as the rest but it was all watchable enough with nothing embarrassing. They weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel with the matches and it made for a good enough outing, which is often all you can ask for from something like this.

Overall, the show isn’t bad but it’s also nothing that really stands out other than a historical (work with me here) curiosity. I’ll probably watch the other parts in the series (Part II, likely out of four total, has already been given a release date) and hopefully things pick up a bit. This could have been something, though it’s hardly anything that blows you away like New Japan or unique like Lucha Underground. It’s really just the not quite good enough for WWE troupe going out and putting on a pretty standard set of shows. Nothing bad, but also nothing memorable.

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