Thursday, April 6, 2017

WWN Supershow 2017 Review

WWN Mercury Rising 2017
April 1st, 2017 | Orlando Live Events Center in Fern Park, Florida

This year’s WWN Super Show focuses on a series of matches pitting Evolve against PROGRESS. Yes, two of my favorite wrestling companies in the world against one another.

As expected, the show opened with Lenny Leonard in the ring. He introduced the show but was interrupted by Drew Galloway. He said that he wants to save WWN from itself by becoming the first WWN Champion. He mentioned trying to break Matt Riddle’s neck, which brought Riddle out for an attack. Galloway turned it around and hit another piledriver but Catch Point made the save. Galloway went to leave but was stopped by the arrival of Keith Lee. Galloway offered him a spot by his side but Lee declined. Drew made the mistake of calling him a “dumb fucker”, so Lee planted him with a Spirit Bomb and moonsault. Lee grabbed the microphone to say WWN is now his company, as is the entire wrestling world. Great way to start the show. Galloway appeared at NXT TakeOver later on this night, so Lee taking out was a great way to help solidify the new “it” thing in WWN.

Austin Theory vs. Gatekeeper Blaster vs. Jason Kincaid vs. Keith Lee
Originally, this was Lee vs. Kincaid but it was changed to a four way for whatever reason. Then, Timothy Thatcher was scheduled for this but Stokely Hathaway arrived to tell us Thatcher has been added to the WWN Title match tonight. Darby Allin came out to take Thatcher’s spot despite not being cleared, but Ethan Page and the Gatekeepers jumped him. One Gatekeeper randomly replaced him. That was a lot to go through to get to a thrown together four-way. Blaster and Lee played the powerhouses, but we got to see Blaster hit him with a rana, which was cool. Theory and Kincaid got their stuff in too, but I think everyone knew this was a Lee showcase. Priscilla Kelly came out for a closer look. In the end, Lee hit a crazy impressive powerbomb and ground zero on Blaster to win at 6:08. Glad they kept the match short considering the excessive stuff to start the show. Fine action but it felt like they had nothing for these guys so Lee got to strut his stuff around them. [**¼]

After the match, Keith Lee reminded everyone that WWN is his promotion so he wanted to be the first to welcome Kyle O’Reilly. He promised to give Kyle an opportunity to bask in his glow.

Su Yung was scheduled to get her Shine Title match here. She’d been built up for quite some time in Shine and had a big show closing segment on the last event. However, Su Yung didn’t come out. LuFisto cut a promo saying Yung didn’t show up because she was scared. She nobody could beat her in the world. Toni Storm jumped in from the crowd and got the shot instead.

Shine Championship: LuFisto (c) vs. Toni Storm
I’ve heard tons about Storm but haven’t seen much. She dove onto LuFisto to get the action started. From there, they brawled around ringside, with LuFisto getting the better of her. Maybe it was her not wrestling in standard gear, but Storm looked sloppy at times. She rallied and had the crowd behind her but LuFisto cut off her top rope attempt and planted her with the Burning Hammer to win at 7:25. Toni didn’t look good here. I know they had to make something up with Yung not showing but they never made me buy into Toni Storm and it just felt like a collection of moves for the sake of it. For the second straight year, I came away disappointed with Shine at Mercury Rising. [**]

Trevin Adams and Jim Smallman came out to plug the Evolve vs. PROGRESS Series, which begins now. Smallman got to do a short version of his typical PROGRESS intro stuff. He and Adams tag teamed the intros of the teams.

Ethan Page vs. Jimmy Havoc
Jimmy Havoc didn’t wear his mask or anything in his entrance. He seemed to be lacking something. He did flip off Page before the bell, so there’s that. Like the previous match, this went outside but it worked since both men are good at brawling. Havoc had fun in the crowd, taking a selfie with a fan while beating Page up. The fight went all through the crowd for most of the match. Back inside, they had countered for the signature moves of the other. Just when Havoc got near winning, a Gatekeeper distracted him which allowed Page to hit the Spinning Dwayne to win at 10:28. Lackluster match but fine and the best thing so far. The finish was cheap though. [**½]

Ethan Page cut a promo saying he doesn’t care about the Evolve/PROGRESS friendship because this is his company. PROGRESS can kiss his ass. He and the Gatekeeper jumped Havoc until Darby Allin and his lead pipe made the save. Allin and Havoc hugged as the heels ran off.

Chris Dickinson and Jaka vs. The South Pacific Power Trip w/ Dahlia Black
When Joanna Rose says Jaka, it sounds like “jackass.” Cooper and Jaka had a fun exchange to start before Banks and Dickinson took to the mat. Dickinson wanted the “pretty boy”, leading to Dickinson taking the heat. The strange Catch Point guys were vicious in their offense. Things moved outside, where Jaka hit a suicide dive only for Cooper to top him with a spiral tap off the top. The four men went into a barrage of offense inside, with kicks, strikes and suplexes. Seeing SPPT fire up after suplexes from guys like Jaka and Dickinson was great. Banks nearly lost after taking a combination of offense but Cooper made the save. They did another combo but Banks kicked out. Cooper cut off their next attempt and SPPT went into their stuff. Dickinson kicked out at one from a springboard 450 to pop the crowd. However, he just got spiked with a DDT after for the SPPT win at 15:12: Great tag team wrestling. They hit each other with everything and the match got better as it went on. SPPT winning was the right call as they’re quickly becoming a favorite of mine and have delivered consistently. [***½]

They announced that Drew Galloway was out of the WWN Title match due to injury.

PROGRESS Championship: Pete Dunne (c) vs. ACH
I’d say this was one of the more interesting matchups of the weekend on paper. ACH failed to dethrone Zack Sabre Jr. at Evolve 80. We get a feeling out process since they aren’t familiar with one another. ACH was goaded into a one upping battle so Dunne could lay him out with a forearm. Though both guys are popular, the crowd was quite silent for a lot of this. Dunne picked apart ACH, wearing him down methodically. ACH snapped off some athletic hope spots. He brought strikes but Dunne dared him to hit harder. It’s a smart strategy for Dunne, since that’s his game. As ACH made his stand, Dunne hit a low blow but it was shaken off and ACH came close with a brainbuster. He missed a 450 splash and Dunne made him tap to a Regal stretch at 18:40. Good but not great. It started slow and they lost the crowd for a bit. The finishing stretch was hot though it went a bit long and nobody bought ACH as PROGRESS Champion. [**¾]

Evolve Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Mark Haskins
Sabre needs to retain to give Evolve at least a tie in this series. Both guys are excellent technical wrestlers, so that’s just what we got in the opening exchanges. All of it was crisp too. They played it evenly, which we don’t see often in Sabre matches. He tends to be in control. Sabre’s left leg became a target until they decided to up things with a forearm battle. They progressed to kicking, which was a mistake for Sabre’s beat up leg. Down the stretch, both guys came close with the signature stuff. Sabre’s octopus hold, Haskins’ armbar and his cradle to the grave moves were all used for close calls. They jockeyed for position, escaping each other’s submissions before they could fully get locked in. Sabre eventually locked in Ode to Breaks and Haskins gave up at 19:52. Though this was methodical like the last match, everything they did felt important. They were two technical experts locked in a struggle. It was gritty and well executed, which is my kind of match. [***¼]

WWN Championship Elimination Match: Fred Yehi vs. Jon Davis vs. Matt Riddle vs. Parrow vs. Timothy Thatcher vs. Tracy Williams
Parrow is the ACW Champion and got almost no reaction. Jon Davis is a formerly of the Dark City Fight Club. He’s won the FIP Title in the past and two Style Battle tournaments. Yehi shouting “THEYRE ALL IN BIG TROUBLE” during his entrance was great. This started with everyone brawling. They tried to play into Parrow being a beast, so everyone ganged up on him and he was choked out at 4:28. No matter what they tried, nobody bought him as a threat. Thatcher was next to go at 9:11 when Tracy made him tap. The Catch Point guys surrounded one another before realized Davis was still around. They worked together against his size and toughness. Davis fought hard and got some near falls. Finally, it took a trio of submissions to make Davis tap at 13:21. It call came down to Catch Point. No surprise. The Tag Team Champions now worked together and took it to Riddle. They kept dropping Riddle on his busted up neck. From out of nowhere, Williams rolled up his buddy and eliminated him at 17:38. Yehi was livid and Tracy got tons of heat. Considering the way Tracy has dodged giving a title shot to his fellow Catch Point teammates, this seems to be building towards a full heel turn. Tracy told Yehi was just business but shouted to Riddle that with him, it’s personal. They went at it, channeling their Mercury Rising match last year, which Tracy won. They exchanged submissions and Tracy nearly won with a super DDT. Considering the stuff done to Riddle’s neck this weekend, that should’ve been it. Riddle finally got the Bromission in and made Tracy tap at 28:06. That was some superhuman shit to survive down the stretch. The match told the story it had to but I wish the non-Catch Point guys weren’t afterthoughts. I’m mixed on the finish too. I like that it showed how the Bromission can finish things at any point but it felt anti-climactic. [***]

Matt Riddle talked about defending the title against everyone all over the world to make it a World Title.

Overall: 6/10. I came away disappointed with this show. Most of the show ranged from lame (Shine Title) to average. The best matches were SPPT/Catch point and Sabre/Haskins. I thought the main event was good but had a few too many moving parts to be great. For a super show featuring two of my favorite companies around, I wanted a lot more than a pretty good show, which is what I got.