WWN Supershow Mercury Rising
April 6 2018
We’re in New Orleans, blah, blah, blah. This is Gabe Sapolsky’s Wild Ride, the non-EVOLVE madness show where anything goes and a multitude of Mania weekend guests appear under the WWN banner. There’s usually something great on this show. Let’s check it out.
AR Fox, DJ Z & Trey Miguel vs. Austin Theory, Travis Banks & Zachery Wentz
We kick off with a trios match featuring Progress champ Trav and newly minted WWN champ Austin Theory. There’s a theory here that these lads will be dominating the Indie scene in 2018 and beyond. DJ Z has certainly grown a lot as an act since TNA. Miguel is one for the future and Wentz is starting to get the love he probably deserves. It’s a nice little match to watch quite a eat a quiche and consider smashing into my energy drinks collection. Too early at 7pm? Don’t want to lose the burn too early. AR Fox & DJ Z are one hell of a team. I’d love to see more of them as a unit. As the action continues it becomes jarringly clear, from a British perspective, that the commentator doesn’t know any of Travis Banks’ moves. They fly through this at 100mph and DJ Z gets the win with the 450 Splash. Seeing as he beat Theory yesterday he didn’t need to pin him again but it would have made sense to build to a match.
Final Rating: ***
Jason Kincaid is due to have a match but Jarek 1-20 jumps him in the aisle and stops that. Apparently Jarek is mad he didn’t get booked. Just goes to show everyone hates magicians.
He handcuffs Kincaid to the rail and chokes him before a parade of zebras (wait, what’s a multitude of zebra’s called? A pack? A swarm?) break it up. They got this the wrong way around. Kincaid looks like he should snap, considering he’s shaved his head and got it tattooed, and Jarek should be cuffed so he can magic his way out.
Munenori Sawa vs. Zack Sabre Jr
Well this is certainly a match I did not expect to see over Mania weekend a year ago. I figured Zack would be in WWE and Sawa was retired. It goes to show how wrestling is unpredictable. There’s definitely a few people singing “Mother” on this show. Which is an improvement on EVOLVE. Sawa is one of the few guys who can do the mat work at Sabre’s speed and skill level. They give up on this to slap the shit out of each other. Sabre reddens up Sawa’s neck by repeatedly slapping it in the same spot. It’s an intense match up. Sawa, for a guy who’s barely wrestled in 7 years, is in fantastic form. The Shining Wizard he hits in this match is picture perfect. It may be the best Shining Wizard I’ve ever seen.
Sabre’s takeover of the action, via an assortment of stretches that would discombobulate just about any grappler, shows his dominance but Sawa knows his way around holds in ways that many of Sabre’s NJPW opponents did not. It’s telling that he twice comes back from certain death, escaping seemingly inescapable holds. This hold:
Orienteering with Napalm Death finishes and Sabre picks up a win to rebound from losing the Evolve strap yesterday. Excellent showing from Sawa. The crowd were very into his performance here and rightly so.
Final Rating: ****
Tracy Williams & Dominic Garrini vs. Anthony Henry & James Drake (The American One) vs. The End
Another Evolve tag showcase where they just brawl all over the place. I cannot get into this division at all. This is another one of those crazy brawls they’ve been doing. Then presence of Henry & Drake improves matters slightly but not by much. It’s just a big old mess. They break some tables, and fail to break some others. Parrow takes a horrible looking bump on the floor. I get quite distracted by Garrini’s gears again. He needs to get trunks that don’t look like they’re falling down. Henry & Drake do me a solid and break both his feet so he can’t stand and his trunks stay in place. Garrini gets killed in this. Takes an absolute shellacking. Drake has it won with a moonsault but Henry stops the count, for some reason, to “finish it”. But it was already finished you goon! They then do another spot with one guy under the table and one on top and the table doesn’t break. Which is good news for Parrow but not so good for the visual. I wasn’t into most of this, again, but at least they tried hard. Garrini died out there. Poor guy.
Final Rating: **1/2
LuFisto (c) vs. Holidead
I hear this was beset by streaming issues live. There are definitely holes in the replay. LuFisto finishes rapidly the Burning Hammer anyway. We’ll call this ok.
Final Rating: **
Post Match: LuFisto calls everyone else on the scene “barbie dolls” and looks forward to Shine 50 and doesn’t care who she faces. “I’m gonna have this belt until I retire”. She’s joined in the ring by Kimber Lee. Shine 50 eh? Ok then.
Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Keith Lee
Amazingly this has already taken place, in XWA in England. Until Keith lost the WWN title this was going to be for that title. Instead it’s just a big old hoss fight. If, in my head, I can hear JR reeling off the wrestlers height and weight then it’s a hoss fight. Those are the rules. Keith isn’t in a introspective malaise after his belt loss and throws in a flying rana for shits and giggles. These two beat the shit out of each other, as you’d expect. There have been a few wars on this weekend’s shows. Big Daisuke does a fine job of conveying Keith’s sheer size by making it look hard to slam him.
This is a battle if two very strong men throwing each other around for our amusement. I’m very happy with it. Keith has won me over of late with his entirely believable selling. So no matter the situation I feel he’s genuinely in trouble. Then I get more fired up for him doing Big Man Things in his comebacks. Keith lands badly on a moonsault, and I’m worried for him but it’s just Keith doing his selling and Sekimoto beats him with a German suplex. I enjoyed this a great deal. Post match Nick Gage runs out here to attack Keith Lee and the referee and trainees who run in to help.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Keith Lee is not happy that a fan yells “shut the fuck up” as soon as he picks up the microphone.
Evolve Tag Team Championship
Chris Dickinson & Jaka (c) vs. Ringkampf
When Ringkampf roll into a promotion it’s a reminder to all the local Indie scrubs that they’re not big and they’re not Professional Wrestling Sports Figures. Ringkampf give a dominant performance, which it should be. Just look at them! As with every Ringkampf match it eventually turns on them and Tim Thatcher takes a beating. Considering the man’s size this is a strong point of Tim’s game.
WALTER’s hot tag goes over mildly, thanks to a crowd that hasn’t been good all night. WALTER absolutely chops the hell out of Dickinson. He really doesn’t hold back on those. There will be some sore chests around the US Indies next week. There’s an underlying theme in all Ringkampf matches, which they lose, where Tim cannot stop the opponent from breaking up the Gojira Clutch. It keeps WALTER permanently strong and continues to cast this image of Thatcher as fallible. Something he continually tries to overcome. wXw told it as an outstanding story, culminating in Thatcher winning tag league/belts last year. Here he comes up short again. Failing to stop the submission break-up and then getting pinned.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Post Match: more Evolve storyline. Tracy Williams is out here to celebrate and he fires Stokely Hathaway! Only Big Stoke owns the Catch Point contracts so he can’t be fired. Dom Garrini jumps his partner and beats Tracy down. It’s Williams who is out of Catch Point, not Hathaway. Bye Hot Sauce!
Matt Riddle (c) vs. Will Ospreay
This is a no rope break match because that’s Riddle’s jam, even though the ropes saved him versus Zack Sabre Jr. Ospreay is in horrible shape, having gotten badly injured in Japan a week ago. He just cannot wrestle at a reduced rate though. He goes full bore here, flipping out of everything and landing on his totally fucked neck. He doesn’t care! It’s a beautiful mentality. Although one that is going to shorten his career. He needs to make dollar and get out while he can still walk. Even the fans are telling him not to do stupid moves and then he takes a German on the apron.
I get a flashback here to Will’s first clash with Riddle in Progress, when Riddle made a name for himself in the UK overnight. Coming in as known but not well known and leaving a goddamn hero in Camden. What a night that was. They’ve both grown since that night and in place of that frantic sub-ten minute sprint is a layered, complex bout with tips of the hat to both men’s now established arsenals. Ospreay, neck totally fucked, gets destroyed at times and manages desperation kick outs. It’s painful to watch, knowing Will is just barely together but feels he needs to do loads of wacky shit Mania weekend to continue to grow his brand/reputation. Riddle has a good showing too, focused on Ospreay’s neck and not doing his standard MO of big strikes/no sells. Riddle is slyly developing range as a performer and it’s lovely to watch him grow. Ospreay is the one who gets all fired up, dragging Riddle on his back onto the ropes and then dying in the resultant crash to the mat.
This is where the match turns as Riddle becomes the jerk champion who wants to keep his belt at all costs. As soon as Ospreay is willing to continue he kills him with the knee strike.
Then Riddle goes after the tape. What an asshole. The new ruthless champion Riddle is a completely different guy than we’ve ever seen before. Big knee should finish but Will kicks out at ONE! Will then trying to get a submission with a triangle is wonderful stuff. Fighting Matt at his own game. Big bombs, sneaky holds and channelling Okada with wrist control.
Oscutter is countered right into the Bromission though and Will has to tap out. God damn. Ospreay was amazing here and Riddle, what can I say about Riddle? It’s like he was waiting to win the Evolve belt to unleash a new layer to his character. What a performance from him and these two killed it. Imagine how good this would have been if Will wasn’t horribly injured? Holy shit.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Match of the weekend so far, plus a tonne of good matches. This is probably the best show of Mania weekend so far. I really, really enjoyed it.