Monday, November 30, 2015

WWNLive SuperShow: Mercury Rising 2015 Review

Generation Next reunites, while Drew Galloway & Johnny Gargano do battle in a Unification Match!

WWNLive SuperShow: Mercury Rising 2015
San Jose, California 3/28/15

The show kicks off with Rich Swann coming out and singing “All Night Long”. Swann talks about the injury he suffered the night before at Evolve 40, and how he wants a rematch, teaming with Johnny Gargano against The Premiere Athlete Brand, with the Open The United Gate Titles on the line! This leads to The Premiere Athlete Brand coming out, and they attack Swann, going after his injured ribs. Johnny Gargano & Ethan Page run out to make the save, and Page calls out Caleb Konley for a match right now!

1.) Ethan Page vs. Open The United Gate Champion Caleb Konley (with The Premiere Athlete Brand): **1/2

This was a fine opening match. It wasn’t spectacular, by any means, but it was decent. The only real notable items here are that Brian Cage tried to interfere, but accidently hit Konley, which led to Page getting the win via heel shenanigans (pulling the tights on a rollup). Not much else to say about the match itself.

Afterwords, Andrea gave Brian Cage a low blow for screwing up, and Konley hits him with his Open The United Gate Title.

2.) Six-Women Tag - The Canadian Ninjas (SHIMMER Champion Nicole Matthews & Portia Perez) & Andrea (with SoCal Val) vs. SHINE Champion Mia Yim & SHINE Tag Team Champion The Kimber Bombs (Kimber Lee & Cherry Bomb): **1/4

I was actually looking forward to this match, but then SoCal Val sends Andrea out to attack Nikki Storm, and take her place in the match! Why would you take out arguably the most entertaining woman of the six involved in this match?! Plus, Nikki Storm is a much better wrestler than Andrea. As far as the match goes, it was pretty slow when the heel team (The Canadian Ninjas & Andrea) was in control, but it got better in the closing stretch, particularly when Mia Yim was in the match. The team of Mia Yim & The Kimber Bombs would pick up the win in the end.

After the match, SoCal Val is berating The Canadian Ninjas, when Nikki Storm comes back out and takes down Andrea! She then challenges her to a match at Shine 26 on April 3rd (just a week later).

Up next, we have Evolve World Champion Drew Galloway coming out. He talks about how he’s been trying to prove that he’s one of the Best in the World over the past several months. This leads to him saying that he has to catch a flight to Scotland, as he’s wrestling in ICW the next day, and he calls out Johnny Gargano to have their Title Unification Match right now! Gargano comes out and the match is on!

3.) Evolve Title vs. Open The Freedom Gate Title - Drew Galloway vs. Johnny Gargano: ****

So just to be clear, this is a Unification Match, but the winner will be holding both titles, which will continue to be separate entities. I’ve seen a lot of criticism towards this match with regards to some of the things that were done here. First, there was the fact that the first part of this match consisted of a lot of crowd brawling. While it wasn’t totally “ideal”, I didn’t hate it as much as other people did. Then there were two ref bumps when they made their way back to the ring. Now, I could understand the first one, since it led to Ethan Page coming out, as he tried to convince Gargano to use a rope on Galloway, like Gargano did against Shingo two years prior (leading to Gargano’s heel turn). However, the second one was a little excessive. As far as the action in this match goes (and it took me this long to get to it), it thought it was a great. Was it the “greatest match in WWNLive history?”, as commentary proclaimed? No, it wasn’t. Was it as bad (not really bad, but disappointing, I suppose), as others claimed, due to all of the shenanigans? No, it wasn’t. I thought, despite the issues, this was a really great match. In the end, Drew Galloway picked up the win, becoming a Double Champion in the process.

After the match, Galloway cuts a passionate promo saying how this is his “WrestleMania Moment”. Then, as Gargano is recovering, Ethan Page turns heel on Gargano, and starts beating him down! Page says he’s going to end Gargano’s career. It’ll be interesting to see how this Ethan Page/Johnny Gargano feud works out (I know, but I obviously won’t say that now), but I’m glad that Ethan Page turned, as he’s much better as a heel.

4.) Four Way Freestyle - Tommy End vs. TJ Perkins vs. Drew Gulak vs. Biff Busick: ***3/4

This match had a lot of potential going into it, and I think that it definitely lived up to my expectations. Easily one of the most entertaining Four-Way Matches that I’ve seen in quite some time. I was curious to see how the styles of these four guys would work in this type of match, and it turned out pretty well. I had a lot of fun watching this match. TJ Perkins would end up getting the victory, forcing Drew Gulak to tap out.

5.) "Darewolf" PJ Black vs. AR Fox: ****

At Evolve 40, we saw PJ Black take on an excellent high-flyer in Ricochet. Here, he’s taking on another high-flyer in AR Fox. I thought this was a pretty great match. I would say it was about on-par with the PJ Black/Ricochet match from the previous night. It was pretty entertaining, as you would expect this kind of match to be. If we’ve seen anything from PJ Black’s run in Evolve, it’s that he’s much better suited against high-flyers like AR Fox & Ricochet. In this particular encounter, PJ Black would get the win, in what would end up being the final match in WWNLive for both wrestlers (more on that later).

6.) Chris Hero vs. Timothy Thatcher: ****1/2

The concluding chapter in the story of Chris Hero vs. the new generation of Evolve wrestlers comes to a head in this match, as Hero takes on Timothy Thatcher. Hero is coming off of victories over Thatcher’s contemporaries, Drew Gulak & Biff Busick, at Evolve 38 & Evolve 40, respectively. Going against Thatcher, however, proved to be an incredible challenge for Hero. This was an awesome match!!! It was just as good as the Hero/Busick encounter from the night before. The first half was very much Thatcher’s kind of match, and while that was definitely good, the second half was just an incredible battle. After a lot of hard-hitting action, Thatcher locked on a Fujiwara Armbar out of nowhere and gets the submission victory!!! Just an incredible match.

7.) Generation Next (Austin Aries & FIP World Heavyweight Champion Roderick Strong) vs. Ricochet & Uhaa Nation: ***3/4

Here we have a reunion of arguably the greatest tag team/stable in Ring of Honor history in Generation Next, taking on two of the best to come out of the WWNLive Universe in Ricochet & Uhaa Nation. It’s match that you don’t realize is a dream match until it actually happens. While it wasn’t quite as good as the amazing Hero/Thatcher match that preceded it, this was still a really good Main Event. All four guys put forth a good effort that resulted in an entertaining match. In the end, Strong would get the victory after scoring the pin on Ricochet.

After the match, Strong cuts a promo thanking the crowd, and putting over Austin Aries & Uhaa Nation. Things go south very quickly, however, as Strong attacks both Aries & Uhaa Nation. He calls out Galloway, saying he’s going to take both of his titles. Timothy Thatcher comes out and chases Strong off to close the show.

Overall: 8.5/10

While this wasn't quite as good as Evolve 40, I thought it was still a really, really good show. Hero vs. Thatcher was spectacular, and there were some other very good matches on here as well (The Four-Way Freestyle, AR Fox vs. PJ Black, & The Main Event). Obviously the big controversy was with the Galloway/Gargano Title Unification Match, and some of the things that were done. I know some people really disliked it. While there were some bits in it that weren't the best (two ref bumps), the last portion of the match is just too good to ignore, and the crowd being really into it certainly lifted the match up in my eyes. If the first two matches on this show weren’t as average (or disappointing, in the case of the women’s match), then this would have definitely been on par with Evolve 40. Despite that, this was still a pretty great show.

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