I am starting with some NWA content. Specifically, we're looking at Crockett Cup night two action. I actually watched this stuff prior to my vacation but lacked the time to do anything.
Can we take a second to talk about this belt? I have to give the NWA some credit because I think their belts are far better looking than fans give credit for. To each their own, though, and all of that jazz.
Up first is the match with that strap on the line. Dipshit Austin Aries, Homicide, Colby Corino, and Darius Lockhart were the competitors and they were given ten minutes to work with. They made it work, giving us a chaotic sprint where everyone got some decent shit in. Homicide winning was the cherry and, in all, I'd call it a pretty good starting point for the revived division.Next up, a three-way for NWA's top prize of the women's division. Does anyone else remember when TK was asked about the AEW division and he got super offended and revealed that he was mad about the way NWA handled things?
Anyway, Kamille isn't an amazing worker but I do think she has improved since the earlier days of NWA's revival. Green is one of the best women's workers in the US. Rae is typically decent as well. They worked hard and put in for a borderline great three-way battle. The last minute or so was a bit hit-or-miss, but the rest overdelivered. Can Green win the strap soon, though?
Early on, JJ changed this to no-count out rules.
Remember when TNA was constantly closing shows with overbooked, circus act main events?
I'm sure that I am mentioning that for completely unrelated reasons.
I do give Cardona credit because the dude is clearly having a good time and seems more motivated than he has in a while. I am unsure of the reason why he is getting pushed more all of the sudden, but it's not necessarily bad. Aldis is a fine worker in his own right and I actually enjoyed much of his last reign.
They did put in a lot of work and it essentially helped keep this from being a trainwreck.
Still, it was a mess and even ended with one of the most fucked, "protected" finishes I've seen in a while.
NWA is arguably putting out better content right now than they have since the golden days, but they just can't help themselves.
Hey, speaking of Aldis, here he is in another title match, this time against Gresham! I mean, that just sounded very promising.
Note that I watched the closing seconds of the opener and saw Heather Monroe drop gold, for those that care. I tend to think Monroe must have pissed someone off or that she hasn't kissed enough ass or something.
Anyway, the production on this was trash and the crowd was bingo hall on a Tuesday morning levels.
I would warn of two major things.
First, there are a lot of commercials thrown in here. That means that not only did that extra income not help boost the production rate, but that it also ate into the momentum and quality a bit by fucking the general pacing right in the ear.
Equilibrium. Or whatever.
Anyway, the other issue was the finish.
I admittedly should have watched this before watching those Crockett Cup matches because Aldis went up, a clip of Cardona played, Nick came off the top rope awkwardly, Gresham locked the challenger in a figure four, and then the ref counted 1, 2, 3 moments later on Nick.
Fans in attendance were likely even more annoyed, because they didn't even see that clip.
Jon promised a rematch would happen somewhere, sometime.
I really wanted to like this, but there were far too many problems. I enjoy technical wrestling, but a bonus third issue is it never really pushed pack 2nd gear, either.
Next, lets take a stop in North Carolina for some DEADLOCK action, starting with episode six of FIRE.
I watched two of the matches from this one, starting with the opener, which saw Donnie Ray take the W in a three-way also featuring Jay Malachi and Yoya. They tried for a lot and not all of it landed as planned, leading to it ultimately being a rough around the edges contest that still did just enough to still be good.
Fun shit if nothing else.
The other match I pulled from this one was the episode main event and saw Kidd Bandit fall to JTG in a teacher versus student angle. The storytelling was fine, Bandit has a lot of charisma, but that was about all I can say about this one. It was a touch above average. Kidd recently trained at New Japan's LA Dojo and I bet the dude is a big star as he continues to progress.
JTG looks like he's in the best shape of his life.
Next, we move to episode seven.
Lince Dorado debuted, and lost, against Diego Hill. Good shit with a good energy. The finish was a bit off and there wasn't enough meat on the bones to rate it higher than a base 3, but I had a good time. The outcome was a surprise.
Diego has a lot of potential.
The episode's main event saw Everett fall to Lucky Ali. Another interesting outcome, for sure. It was also a very good encounter and a nice showcase for both workers as well as this brand.
I closed Deadlock up for the meantime by watching two from their second season final.
Tankman and NJPW's Coughlin was far better than expected, overdelivering for a borderline great experience. Both men worked hard, the spots worked well, the pacing was nice, and the crowd was hot.
Lastly, we had Bojack retaining the brand strap in a victory over JTG. This was actually a strong title match in its own right and I also enjoyed it far more than I had expected. Bojack is a solid performer and JTG stepped up.
Seriously, go give this company some of your time.
Over to IMPACT!, I have a nice handful of matches and shit to check out.
The Bullet Club and MCMG rematch was another worthwhile encounter. I really want to see MCMG against fucking everyone this year. Bey and White continue to be a very fun duo.
Next, Bullet Club and Honor No More had a very good multiman. I am a sucked for unit rivalries so perhaps I might be higher on this one than some.
Want to know how TK should book ROH? Have Gresham put together a new unit, or have him reboot his recent tech wizard group, and have them rival with an invading style angle against Honor No More for the better part of 2022. Have Gresham turn heel and join HNM at Final Battle.
Next, we had a tag match featuring Laredo Kid, the X-Division Champion and Trey on one team and Bailey and Ace Austin on the other side. This was a PPV builder and another very enjoyable contest as well.
Can you tell that I'm really digging this brand this year?
After, Ace continued to attack. Bailey faked like he was set to join him before nailing Austin instead.
Bailey is over af right now and IMPACT! needs to step the fuck up and do something about that ASAP.
Oh, before I move on I urge you to check out this:
This angle has been fire and this was an excellent display ahead of Rebellion. Like I said, this show has been highly entertaining lately and I am hopeful that my words might bring them back a few fans. They've earned it and you deserve the entertainment they're providing.
Moving on, we have two from Major League Wrestling. You know, that brand Court runs where he underdelivers on basically every promise. That's what I think, at least.
The other MLW pull I had saw Hammerstone defending against those same two gentlemen. Basically the exact same problems I had with the previous encounter were also true here, with the puzzle pieces just barely being out of place. It was fine, but I was once again left felling underwhelmed by something MLW produced.
I closed on high notes, at least.
Both were very good.
I've appreciated Jay and Chris' little program they've been in on IMPACT! and New Japan. Both are good workers and they've tied in MCMG and BC nicely into the whole thing. A fun throwaway for sure.
Lethal and Ren was actually better than I had expected and served as a very good match albeit a forgettable one.
I then moved to Windy City Riot for two more.
Ishii and Suzuki was simple, yet fantastic. I'm easy to please, and two dudes beating each other with blows and occasional power moves can be art when performed by the right performers. This was essentially art.
Moxley and Ospreay was brilliant and a top shelf way to close this half of the set.
Mox has been on fire and Will is always on. They killed it in this MOTYC and even the finish was admittedly well done, even if I thought Ospreay tapping out so quickly after the pinfall call was a bit of an off choice.
From this side of things, I have to give IMPACT! loads of credit as well as New Japan. Both provided strong state side content to enjoy and I appreciate that. I also thought Deadlock continued to be far more enjoyable than it should be and I thought NWA did rather well for their Crockett Cup content.
Part Two should be up soon, but consider watching some of these when you can.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
- NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title: Aries vs Homicide vs Corino vs Lockhart ***1/2
- NWA World Women's Title: Kamille(c) vs Green vs Rae ***1/2
- Crockett Cup Finals: Briscoes vs Commonwealth Connection ****
- NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title: Cardona(c) vs Aldis ***
- ROH World Heavyweight Title: Gresham(c) vs Aldis **
- Ray vs Malachi vs Yoya ***
- JTG vs Bandit **1/4
- Hill vs Lince Dorado ***
- Everett vs Lucky Ali ***1/2
- Coughlin vs Tankman ***1/2
- DPW World Title: Bojack(c) vs JTG ***1/2
- Bullet Club vs MCMG ***1/2
- Bullet Club vs Honor No More ***1/2
- Laredo Kid, Trey vs Bailey, Ace ***1/2
- Stairway to Hell: Mads vs Fatu ***
- MLW World Heavyweight Title: Hammerstone(c) vs Mads vs Fatu ***
- White vs Sabin ***1/2
- Lethal vs Ren ***1/2
- Ishii vs Suzuki ****1/4
- Moxley vs Ospreay ****1/2