Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WWNLive in China: Night 1 Review

WWNLive makes its debut in China!!

When it was announced that WWNLive would be running four shows in China of all places, I was both incredibly surprised and genuinely curious. 2014 had been an up & down year for the WWNLive Promotions for a number of reasons, and it looked like this China Tour could help them end the year on a high note. Let’s see how they turned out!

WWNLive in China: Night 1
Grand Epoch City, Xianghe Province, China 11/10/14

I should note that Lacey (who you may remember from her time with ROH), is working with WWNLive on this tour of China. Apparently, she’s been doing work in China for quite some time since leaving the wrestling business. She basically serves as the MC/English Ring Announcer for all of these shows.

Also, none of these shows have any commentary.

1.) AR Fox & Rich Swann vs. The Bravado Brothers: ***1/4

The show kicks off with tag team action. A pretty solid opener here. Good stuff for everyone involved. The Bravado Brothers would end up getting the win, which makes sense, since they have an Open The United Gate Title Match on Night 2.

2.) Timothy Thatcher vs. Jody Kristofferson (with Larry Dallas & Earl Cooter): **1/2

I believe Jody Kristofferson is a former WWE Developmental Talent. Here, he’s managed by Larry Dallas & Earl Cooter (yes, these two are on this tour), and is going against Timothy Thatcher. This was an ok match. They brawled around for a little bit, under Kristofferson got disqualified for failing to answer to a five count when he was beating up Thatcher in the corner. Weird finish, but with a crowd that’s probably unfamiliar with pro-wrestling, it’s a good move to show that DQ’s can happen.

After the match, Kristofferson yells at the referee for calling for the DQ, and chases him off. Earl Cooter then attempts to beat up Timothy Thatcher by himself, but Thatcher ends up getting the better of him and sends him packing (this will be a reoccurring theme on these shows).

3.) Allysin Kay vs. Mia Yim: ***

In addition to the male wrestlers, we have four female wrestlers from SHINE participating in this tour. In this case, it’s Allysin Kay vs. Mia Yim. Both have shots at the SHINE Title on upcoming shows (the former on Night 2, the latter on Night 4). A pretty solid match here. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but these two put on a very solid performance. Mia Yim would get the win and, in an interview after the match, said she’s coming for the SHINE Title.

4.) Johnny Gargano vs. Biff Busick: ***3/4

These two had a match at Evolve 29 in May of 2014, and Gargano broke his jaw during that match, so these two do have a history. This was a really good match. They haven’t met often, but every time they do, you’ll always get a quality match. Very much enjoyed this. In the end, Gargano would get the win.

After the match, he says he’s going to win the Open The Freedom Gate Title (he challenges Ricochet on Night 4), as well as the CITIC Guoan Cup. I’m not sure if it was ever explained, but from what I was able to gather, I’m assuming it would be rewarded to whoever won the most matches over the course of the weekend.

5.) SHINE Title – Ivelisse vs. Su Yung: **1/2

Our second women’s match of the night sees Su Yung challenge Ivelisse for the SHINE Title. This was a little disappointing. Most of the match saw Su Yung in control, with Ivelisse only getting a few moves in. Then, Ivelisse wins with a sunset flip out of the corner, which was very weird. Most of the action was fine, but it didn’t work for me.

6.) Open The United Gate Title Match – The Premiere Athlete Brand (Caleb Konley & Trent Baretta) vs. The Colony (Fire Ant & Silver Ant): ***1/2

Seeing Trent Baretta on this tour was a major surprise. Back in July of 2014, in a match for Beyond Wrestling, Trent Baretta suffered a serious knee injury. He was scheduled to be sidelined for several months, and I had assumed he’d be out until 2015, but here he is. He’s teaming with his Premiere Athlete Brand partner Caleb Konley, and they’ve evoked The Freebird Rule, as Anthony Nese isn’t on this tour. They successfully retain their titles against The Colony in a really good match. As a fan of The Colony, it’s nice to see Fire Ant & Silver Ant on this tour. I’m happy to see them get this opportunity.

After the match, The Bravado Brothers attacked The Premiere Athlete Brand, setting up their title match for the next show.

7.) Open The Freedom Gate Title – Ricochet vs. Chuck Taylor: ***3/4

The Main Event of Night 1 sees Chuck Taylor challenging Ricochet for the Open The Freedom Gate Title. These two do have a bit of a history (as both are from Kentucky and have faced off against one another many times). This was a really good Main Event. Ricochet always delivers in these big matches, and Taylor looked good even in defeat.

After the match, Ricochet is cutting a promo, when he is interrupted by Johnny Gargano. He says that he’s going to beat Ricochet for the Open The Freedom Gate Title on Night 4 (which is in Beijing), and that he’ll also win the Citic Guoan Cup.

Overall: 7.5/10

If it seemed like I didn’t have a lot to say, it’s because that these shows are very bare bones, in terms of what’s being presented. There aren’t any real storyline advancements (as it relates to Evolve) going on, and these shows are mainly focused on the wrestling matches, which is actually a nice change. As far as this show goes, it was a pretty solid one. Given that they’re doing shows in a country that (I assume) is relatively unfamiliar with pro-wrestling (especially the kind you see on the US Independent Scene), they didn’t really need to put on an amazing show. All they needed was a show with quality matches (for the most part), and that’s exactly what we got here.

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