PWX X16 Night One review (1.13.18)

PWX X16 Night One review (1.13.18)

PWX X16 Night 1

 

January 13 2018

 

We’re in Charlotte, North Carolina (that’s Flair Country baby) at the Carole Hoefner Center for Premiere Wrestling Xprience’s “SIXTEEN” tournament or X16 as HighSpots have described it. American Indies are a bit of a no-go area for me so I’m looking forward to seeing some names I’ve heard in passing. John Skyler, White Mike, Corey Hollis, American James Drake, Harlem Bravado etc. Plus I love a tournament. Let’s check it out…

 

Announcers for this is Kevin Kelly and “Brutal” Bob Evans. Kelly is such a pro. If you need an announcer he has to be top of the US Indies list.

 

Harlem Bravado vs. Chip Day

Harlem comes out here to the Axl F tune, aka the music from Beverly Hills Cop, which I dig. They do some perfectly dine wrestling and I appreciate Chip taking a powder as a response to a move, avoiding the pin and then again avoiding a dive by catching Bravado coming through the ropes. While both guys are technically sound they both are a little flabby around the mid-section. They need to work harder on the presentation aspect. No disrespect intended but where’s the hook here for anyone outside of the Indie bubble? I have a beer gut too lads but I’m not a professional wrestler. Chip has to work really hard to draw me in. On the mat it feels like a struggle, which I appreciate but when they’re trading it’s nowhere near as effective. Bravado isn’t good at selling the strikes but he can deliver them. He batters Chip with a few tasty elbows and finishes him off. If I was Bravado I’d worry that my matches aren’t convincing because I can’t get the other guys offence over. This was ok.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Video Control gives us a lengthy pause before Anthony Henry turns up with the belt in tow.

 

Drew Adler vs. James Drake

Drake is Henry’s tag team partner. So naturally no shenanigans will possibly happen. This is the Other James Drake. Not the one who works Progress and came through the Camps. This James Drake is significantly larger. Drew Adler has a better physique than the lads in the first match. Drake looks like a chunky Arn Anderson. It’s fine being overweight as long as that’s part of the gimmick. Drake is a fat guy it doesn’t look accidental like the other two lads. Drake’s mobility isn’t effected by his weight and he puts his weight to good use on strikes too. Adler needs to work on his impact. He stomps on Drake’s spine at one point and Drake doesn’t notice. Not everything should be stiff but it should, at least, appear to have some impact in the move.

PWXDrake

Like Drake’s Cannonball looks awesome but I’m not seeing Adler rolling around in agony after he takes it. The level of athleticism is impressive, with Adler impressing me with his range and Drake surprising me with his general mobility. Drake takes it and he clearly had the crowd support. Good showing from Adler, for the most part.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Corey Hollis vs. Joe Black

Hollis is a dude that is embracing his Southern heritage. Both of these guys have worked on NXT, as enhancement, Hollis more so than Black. Corey wrestles in a ripped vest, ripped jeans and black boots. He’s got greasy hair and you can feel his character. Joe Black has a good look too. He’s clearly familiar with the gym and his ring gear is cool. While both these lads have a better look than the boys in the first two matches the match is considerably slower paced. Corey does some classic Southern heel work and I appreciate his match structuring. His blind side pull on the tights is nicely done. Hollis beats Joe by throwing him into the ring post and dropping him with a draping DDT. The Honma Killer. This made good sense throughout and Hollis is my favourite wrestler on the show so far.

Final Rating: ***

 

Tracer X vs. Billy Brash

Is Tracer X an inker in comic books? He’s a tiny little guy and Brash is 6’4”. It’s a good contrast. They go right into a little flier vs. big power dude match right from the off. Tracer X is really fast and he clearly lives in the gym. Rock hard abs, etc. Brash is not only a powerhouse but he’s agile and apart from some obvious rest holds this is good shit.

PWXBrash

Brash has issues with making his stuff look impactful but it is at least safe. Brash boshes out his slingshot cutter finish but Tracer X slips out of the pinfall. They try a few counters and they’re on the awkward side. Tracer X is super comfortable coming off the ropes though and nails a 450 Splash to progress. He’s one to watch if this match is anything to go by.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Myron Reed vs. Darius Lockheart

Myron vs. Tracer X please! However Darius Lockheart has amazing facial hair. It’s a tough call.

PWXDarius

This is immediately the best match of the night thanks to slick countering and near flawless work. It’s effortless. There is an issue that it doesn’t look like a struggle and Darius’ punch sucks but otherwise it’s fluid as fuck. It’s well planned but it also looks planned. Some of it looks Very Planned. It’s weird but I go from enjoying the match a lot to almost hating it for the same reasons. Then Myron hits a wacky dive and we’re good again. The match has the odd issue from there but it’s mainly excellent. Myron throws some selling in there and Darius is calm and calculated.

Of course Myron can also flip over the buckles so he’s winning. Darius does some great striking work in the latter stages of the match. Ducking, bobbing and weaving around Myron’s stuff and laying in them strikes in between. It’s really well done. The 15 minute time limit runs out after a top rope spot and both guys are eliminated. A shame but neither of them deserved to lose. Terrific performances from both.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Post Match: Chip Day cashes in his title shot at Darius Lockheart.

 

PWX Innovative TV Championship

Darius Lockheart (c) vs. Chip Day

Darius is fucked so Chip roundhouses him for the pin in a matter of seconds.

Final Rating: NR

 

David Starr vs. White Mike

PWXStarr

White Mike has his own list of introductions to counter David Starr’s. Someone’s been watching Chris Brookes.

PWXWhiteMike

Among his nicknames are the “negative five star king”. The list of nicknames goes on forever. Mike is fucking blown up after it’s been read out. Mike decides to get “Look At It” out of the way so Starr pummels him instead. Aww, I wanted a comedy match. It would have been a nice change of pace. Anyway, Starr controls with superior technical work and Mike responds with the unexpected. He’s a clumsy looking comedy wrestler but he’s good enough to have a passable match with Starr. The character is great, better than the in-ring. Starr gets a lot of near falls before winning with Product Placement. Starr was clearly the better competitor and I’m looking forward to him in the later rounds. However Mike impressed me by getting his character over here. He’s been one of the most memorable first round guys.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Elijah Evans IV vs. Sugar Dunkerton

Sugar comes out to Uptown Funk and by god is he the funkiest dude on this show. Dunkerton is a bigger name, working for Impact now, and Evans is a local guy. Evans runs heat for a while, which I completely tune out of. When you get this deep into a show a predictable pattern to your match is a definite turn off. This is three matches from the top chaps. Evans wins with a spear out of nowhere to advance. This did nothing for me. Sorry guys.

Final Rating: **

 

John Skyler vs. Juice Robinson

This is the final first round match. Skyler carries himself like a star, despite his lack of size. Meanwhile Juice has gotten so much better since going to NJPW. It’s hard to even equate this man to the guy from NXT who got massacred by Kevin Owens when he debuted. Skyler is announced at 214lbs and I let out a little chuckle. Get them exaggerated weights in early boys! Skyler gets his mouth busted during some intense striking. The standard is high here, with Juice bringing that Japanese Strong Style. Skyler meanwhile brings the Southern psychology and sells the hell out of the beating instead of firing back.

PWXSkyler

As the match progresses one thought is in my mind…”damn, this show is long”. My need for a tight runtime on a show cannot be underestimated. American shows often overrun. Luckily these are both very talented guys so I’m able to maintain attention (mostly). They tell an excellent story over the near finishes and Juice grabs the rope on the blind side of the cameras and the commentators so it looks like the match is over and the ref fucked up. There’s a danger of the time limit expiring again with the guys loading up the desperation kick outs on everything that looks like a finish. Even when Skyler gets fluke roll ups that look like definite finishes. Pulp Friction finally puts Skyler away and Juice wins just barely before the time limit expires. Really good match, which got better down the stretch.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Ducks, Ladders & Chairs

PWX Tag Team Championship

The Syndicate (Timmy Lou Retton & TJ Boss) (c) vs. The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy)

Ducks?

 

Anyway, the arena is dark so it’s hard to see the action when it spills out into the corners of the building. Which means some of the more spectacular offence gets missed entirely; like Lude hitting a tope and TJ Boss turning it into a powerslam on the floor. Would have looked awesome…if it wasn’t so fucking dark. All I could see was the back end of Lude going through the ropes. The editing does the match no favours either, often focusing on someone watching a move happen rather than the move itself. The match does have spectacular moments, like a hideous backdrop onto a ladder, but the venue is an issue. “I didn’t even see stuff that happened on the floor” – Bob Evans. Indeed. A lot of the storyline features TJ Boss and what a big fucker he is. So the challengers throw all manner of shit at him in an attempt to get an opening.

The match is generally innovative. The execution isn’t always spot on but the ideas are strong.

PWXducks

The trouble with introducing ducks to a relatively serious match is they’re blatantly intended as a comedy spot and that creates tonal issues. If they’d started with the ducks and built up to more violent stuff I’d be ok with it but this is just silly. It made for cracking Twitter content though.

They follow that with the two managers fighting on a two foot tall ladder before dramatically toppling off. Again, it’s funny but it’s tonally weird to have that after all the carnage. They go back to the madness and unfortunately decide to build some furniture first, where everyone lies around waiting for Killjoy to stack chairs. This match has been great at times but it’s all over the goddamn place. Regardless of content the Ducklings impress me with their capacity for silly high spots. The work is hard and they’re a great tag team. I’d love to see them in a better constructed match. Lance Lude gets absolutely killed here, with a side slam off the ladder through a stack of chairs. The match rumbles on for too long but the high spots are delectable so I’m conflicted. It’s a mess but it’s a really entertaining mess.

PWXtacks

We go from comedy rubber ducks to thumbtacks.

To the death of TJ Boss. For the first time in the match the Ducklings have the advantage. The Ducklings double team and pull the straps down to get the belts. This match was insane. It was all over the fucking place but massive credit to the creativity and violence. None of these guys were on my radar until this match. They went out there and killed themselves for my amusement. Fair play, lads. Get yourself noticed.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Summary:

I went into PWX not knowing what to expect. I came out with a slight dislike of the arena and the lighting and production of PWX. However the work is what we’re all here for, as Indie fans. There was a lot of positive in the work. Tracer X impressed me. Darius Lockheart was good. Myron Reed was good. John Skyler was good. The stand-out performance was from the Ugly Ducklings (Rob Killjoy and Lance Lude). They killed themselves in that main event and not only took dangerous bumps but also nailed dangerous offence. Great performance from those guys and the Syndicate had a good match too. Tonally the show was messy. It was overlong with no flow. It’d be an easy show to cherry pick from. Which if you’re doing so I’d recommend watching the main, Skyler/Robinson, Lockheart/Reed and Tracer X/Brash if you’ve never seen Tracer and you want another flier on your radar.

 

 

 

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