NWL Episode 64

Well, the NWL has gone out of business, but there are still three matches from the 64th episode of their TV show on their YouTube channel for me to review. They haven’t uploaded the complete episode yet, and they may not ever, so I’ll just cover these matches as they are.

Our Story So Far…
– In a recent NWL Tag Team Championship match between the Howletts and the Besties in the World, the referee called for the bell when he thought he saw Leonel Howlett tap to Davey Vega. Leonel and Marco were enraged, claiming that Leo was only reaching for the ropes. They nearly assaulted the ref backstage, but Matt Jackson talked them down.
Stephen Wolf used to wrestle in NWL STL as Marcellus Gaines, but they’re not going to mention that on this show. Just thought you might like to know.
Anthony “Sharkbait” Gutierrez has been teaming with Jet Royal recently, but now that Jax Royal is back from injury, the Royal Blood have reunited, and Sharkbait seems to be back in the singles division.
Christian Rose enjoys making people mad.
Will Lowe is a newcomer who sometimes wrestles in a dragon-esque mask and sometimes doesn’t.
Now on to the show!

Anthony Gutierrez vs. Will Lowe
Will Lowe shows off some high-flying, and a lot of it looks good. His back handspring seems kind of slow to me, though. Sharkbait has really come into his own as a wrestler. He can fly, he can grapple, he’s got plenty of flashy moves, and he knows his way around the ring. My only qualm with him is that his kicks don’t look that realistic (which is weird since he’s a legit shoot fighter). I think it has to do with his size (he’s wiry) and the fact that he wrestles barefoot instead of using boots or kickpads. Those make strikes sound better, IMO. Anyway, Lowe gets to show some stuff, but Sharkbait takes most of the match and gets the submission victory with a rear naked choke after he catches Lowe on a handspring.
Winner – Anthony Gutierrez

Ben Miller interviews Sharkbait afterwards. He casts some shade on the Royal Blood for abandoning him and resolves to be his own man. He wants to be in the title picture because he runs Kansas City. Sounds like he’s leaning in a heelish direction without fully turning.

 

Stephen Wolf vs. Christian Rose
This is a solid match, but I feel that its strengths actually highlight some weaknesses. My main qualm is that Christian Rose employs such a smart game plan that it’s hard for me to believe he loses. He works over Wolf and counters a lot of his stuff so well that he obviously did his scouting beforehand. There isn’t even really a point where he blatantly makes a crucial mistake that leads to his downfall. I would have liked to see him fail because he got too cocky or went to a certain well once too often. Or he could’ve won and looked smart and crafty. Instead, he just gets countered and is then decisively pinned after a combo of moves. He had a similar showing against Dak Draper last time out, but at least that loss was against a former champion. I guess I just wanted a different story. My other issue is minor, and it’s that Wolf hits a standing shooting star press twice in one match. It looks good, especially at the finish as a follow-up to a springboard curb stomp, but it loses its impact as a finisher when it’s already been done before. Anyway, good match that doesn’t quite meet my storytelling desires.
Winner – Stephen Wolf

 

The Howletts & Michael Strider vs. The Besties in the World & Gary Jay
Good six-man action here. Jay and the Besties show up the heels early  (and for a while, actually). The bad guys get control, and Jay gets in the most peril. Strider intelligently cuts off the ring. When Jay gets the tag, everyone’s running around and hitting moves on each other. Fitchett gets left alone near the end and shows a lot of tenacity, almost handling all three opponents, but he finally gets put down with side slam/guillotine leg drop by the Howletts.
Winners – The Howletts & Michael Strider

Without seeing any other segments from this episode, I’ve got to give it an OK rating. I liked the main event a lot, but the other two matches disappointed me a bit. The first one was window dressing to a story I’m not that into, and the second one didn’t scratch the storytelling itch I hoped it would. I don’t know if we’re going to see anymore uploads from the NWL now that they’re gone, but if not, this episode is a bit of a flat one to end on, IMO.

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The End of the NWL (For Real This Time)

Update: Metro Pro is coming back.

Original:

Received some remarkably disappointing news today, but I will never forget my time with the NWL. From a professional standpoint, it was an outstanding learning experience. From a personal standpoint, I’m thrilled I was able to meet and work with so many incredible people. Thank you to Chris Gough, Matt Jackson, and Major Baisden for your dedication to me and for sharing your wisdom & advice with me. It is a rarity to be part of a pro wrestling TV show – truly on TV, not just streaming online – in 2018 and these men entrusted me to be a voice representing the NWL on TV every week. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity. There are too many colleagues to thank in one social media post, but so many people on the staff and roster have had an incredibly positive impact on my life and I look forward to more fun with you in the future. So many friendships have been developed. I also want to thank the loyal fans of Kansas City, St. Joseph and beyond. You have been so kind and supportive of me in my ongoing pursuit of sportsmanship in the ring. #MainEventCity #NWL

A post shared by Midnight Guthrie (@midnightguthrie) on

This is a major bummer. The National Wrasslin’ League had really hit its stride in the last several months and were easily my favorite promotion. I looked forward to their stuff on YouTube more than any other wrestling channels I subscribe to. I was so looking forward to what was to come from the Draper/Letterman feud, the Marti/Carolina feud, the Gil Rogers angle, and more. I hope the great talent they had can get booked on other promotions like the returning St. Louis Anarchy, Iowa’s IPW, and maybe even KCXW or a revamped Metro Pro. There are a bunch of other local feds that I’ve never even covered before, too, so hopefully guys and girls can find work.

It was really nice to be able to follow the NWL on YouTube. I don’t live in the US, so I ccouldn’t go to their shows or watch their TV as it aired. There are a few new NWL matches up now for Episode 64, so I’ll probably review them. After that, who knows if they’ll be uploading anything else?

I guess I’ll have more time for Impact Pro Wrestling reviews now. They’ve officially moved up to my favorite active promotion spot.

NWL Episode 63

Our Story So Far…
Gil Rogers, who never won a single match in the NWL, was fired by Matt Jackson a few months back, but he’s been crashing shows and rallying fans ever since.
– Former NWL STL Champion Todd Letterman made a surprise return two episodes ago, attacking Dak Draper and aligning with Matt Jackson.
Buddy Shepherd recently turned babyface and made friends with Jack Foster, though Foster isn’t interested in joining the Buddy System.
Jeremy Wyatt defended the NWL KC Championship cleanly against Dak Draper but needed outside assistance to beat Eddie Kingston.
– When he isn’t wrestling as Danny Burch on NXT, British veteran Martin Stone works indies around the U.S. and U.K.
Now on to the show!

Gil Rogers manages to buy a general admission ticket to the show, promising not to cause any trouble.

Todd Letterman vs. Dak Draper
They go right at it with the Frye/Takayama punches. Dak gets to display some atypical offense due to his actually being the smaller man for once, as he pulls off a tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors on the giant jock. He also has to rely on strikes and body attacks for the most part. Letterman, of course, bullies him around when he’s in control. Dak can’t get him up for the doctor bomb, but he still frustrates Letterman enough that Letterman grabs a trash can lid for assistance. Dak gets him in an interesting figure four/arm lock submission hold, but Letterman grabs the lid and smacks him with it to disqualify himself.
Winner by DQ – Dak Draper

Letterman hits Dak with a spike driver to add…well, injury to injury, I guess.

Matt Jackson and Maddox are talking about weights until Marti Belle comes and asks once again for a singles match with Carolina. Jackson continues with the excuses, so Marti says she’s going to call her out herself. Jackson tells Maddox to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The Top Shelf (Niles Plonk & Rasheed Ali w/ Belvedere) vs. Foster Buddies (Buddy Shepherd & Jack Foster)
Fun stuff at the start when the faces trounce the heels in many entertaining ways. I personally like Ali taking a hiptoss to the floor onto Plonk and Belvedere. After Buddy gets the hot tag, Plonk does his best to avoid Foster, leaving Ali to take the brunt of the big man’s offense. But Plonk takes Foster out with an ice bucket shot behind the ref’s back, and then he pins Buddy with the uncorker.
Winners – Top Shelf

Marti comes out and gets blindsided by Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Rodriguez. Security and Michael Strider pull her away as Gil Rogers checks on Marti from the other side of the guardrail. Strider attacks Rogers and throws him into the ring post. Staff have to help both Gil and Marti to the back.

Jack Foster in the back talks about his upcoming championship match and what it means to him and his family. Oddly, this has nothing to do with Niles Plonk or the events of the previous match.

NWL KC Championship: Jeremy Wyatt (c) vs. Martin Stone
Great stuff. I don’t think it will end up as my match of the year, but it’s on my top ten list of the year so far, at least. I wish Martin Stone could be a regular so I could see him wrestle more people. He does a lot of British-style catches and escapes. Wyatt isn’t outclassed, but he is put in jeopardy a few times. It’s pretty back-and-forth. The only thing that hurts it is that nobody believes Stone will win the title, but that’s par for the course when you give an outsider a shot. Wyatt retains in clean but crafty fashion; he baits Stone in to get snapped over the ropes, then does a sunset flip, rolls him through, and hits the piledriver.
Winner – Jeremy Wyatt

I have one complaint about this week’s episode, and it’s the placement of the Jack Foster promo. It’s very strange to me for a guy to lose a match and then cut a promo about his upcoming title shot without even touching on the loss. Sure, it wasn’t a clean loss, and he wasn’t the one pinned, but I would’ve expected him to be peeved at Niles Plonk for hitting him with a foreign object. I’m guessing the promo was taped before the tag match, but it would’ve made more sense to save it for a different episode, IMO.

The rest of the show was good, especially the opener and the main event. Also interested in Gil’s and Marti’s respective stories.

NWL Episode 62

Our Story So Far…
– Two episodes ago, Maverick finally won the Spirit of the NWL Championship back from Gary Jay thanks to Drew Gold pulling some strings and getting Matt Jackson to book the rematch.
– Last episode, the Besties in the World weathered a bloody street fight with The Foundation to capture the NWL Tag Team Championships.
– Jet Royal has been having to go solo or hook up with other partners ever since his twin brother, Jax, went down with an injury last summer.
Now on to the show!

Drew Gold and Matt Jackson makes plans to sign the paperwork for Maverick to join the Jackson Administration. A blue-haired woman tells Gold to not be late.

Spirit of the NWL Championship: Maverick (c) w/ Drew Gold & Thomas Shire vs. Mike Outlaw
These two have had some good matches together. This one is solid, though it doesn’t reach the level of their previous encounters. Maverick retains with the Gory bomb not long after the commercial break.
Winner – Maverick

Matt Jackson comes out and says its time for Maverick and Shire to officially join the Jackson Administration. Maverick says he’s his own man, so no. Drew Gold says he owns Maverick and slaps him. Maverick lays hands on him, but Shire attacks from behind. Thor Theriot makes the save, but then he spits black mist in Maverick’s face and joins with Gold and Shire. Surprising double turn, considering that Maverick just won the title back, but it makes enough sense. Thor hasn’t been up to much recently, so this gives him some focus.

The Besties in the World say that the NWL Tag Team Championships are special to them because they didn’t come easily. Fitchett makes a Blood Brothers reference and says he’ll bleed for his brother.

NWL Tag Team Championships: The Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. The Howletts (Marco & Leonel)
Great stuff here by both teams. Flyers vs. brawlers, plus everyone can strike. They lay it all out there. Marco hits a move on Fitchett I’ve never seen before. He tosses him up as if for a tiger driver, but he drops him with a neckbreaker over his knee. The Howletts try to ape the Besties’ synchronized running moves on the floor, but the Besties dodge, and Marco in particular takes a scary bump on the back of his head as he tries a senton. Leo kicks out of a 450. Controversy looms over the finish Vega gets Leo in a sharpshooter, and the referee apparently mistakes his reaching for the ropes as a tap.
Winners – The Besties

The Howletts corner the referee in the back and accuse him of being on the take. Matt Jackson and Maddox have to talk them down and take them away. The blue-haired woman tells the ref he’s in trouble now.

Ace Steel w/ Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Rodriguez vs. Jet Royal
Hard to get a bad match from these two. Ace has so much experience, and Jet has matured a great deal since the first time I saw his brother and him wrestling in IPW. They do technical stuff, and Jet takes to the air a few times, of course. Ace actually misses catching him on a tope con hilo, but Jet doesn’t sweat it. Very easy to watch an enjoy, I think. Carolina interferes near the end, but it doesn’t help. Jet hits the shooting star press right to Ace’s face, but Michael Strider pulls the ref out for the DQ.
Winner by DQ – Jet Royal

The Foundation beat on Jet and mug for the camera until a Jax Royal video interrupts them. Jax comes out and takes care of both heels (slipping on the ropes a bit at first). He and Jet hit Ace with a doomsday blockbuster and celebrate their reunion. My only complaint is that Jax let Jet get beat up surprisingly long. But the fans ate it up, so it worked.

The middle match was very good, and the other two were enjoyable and set up new stories. Glad to see the Royal Blood back in the tag team division. The NWL is my favorite promotion to watch right now.

NWL Episode 61

Our Story So Far…
– Marti Belle has been petitioning Matt Jackson for a singles match with her rival, Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Rodriguez. Every time she calls her out, Carolina has an excuse and a replacement, and Jackson has enabled her.
– After losing the NWL KC Championship in the NWL Rumble, Dak Draper came up short in his first title shot against Jeremy Wyatt.
– Christian Rose hates everyone.
– The Besties in the World have been working their way towards the NWL Tag Team Championships, but Michael Strider and Ace Steel kept denying them a shot. The Besties finally got them to agree to a title match by calling their respective legacies into question and challenging them to a no holds barred match.
Now on to the show!

We get a recap video of the Besties (Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett) making the challenge to The Foundation. They employ the Back to the Future method and call The Foundation (Michael Strider and Ace Steel) chicken. This leads to the acceptance of the title match as a Chicago Street Fight.

Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Rodriguez & Laynie Luck vs. Marti Belle & Savanna Stone
Matt Jackson is on commentary to rip on Marti during the match. I do not like this because now we have two overbearing heel commentators to one straight man. But the match itself is solid, and I think everyone looks good in the parts that are shown. Savanna and Laynie aren’t given much as far as characters, but they’re mostly here to facilitate the Marti/Carolina story. Savanna looks like one to watch. Marti does get her hands on Carolina and takes out a lot of her frustration, but Carolina tags out and refuses to tag back in. She leaves Laynie hanging, and Marti spears her to finish her off.
Winners – Marti Belle & Savanna Stone

Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett in the back say that they’re not the underdogs that people think they are.

Dak Draper vs. Christian Rose
“Shame…on…you!” “No, I’m shameless!” Good story here as Rose seems to have counters for most of Dak’s regular offense. Draper is frustrated, but Rose can’t put him away and lets his cockiness get the best of him. I feel like Dak has been more fun to watch ever since he became a babyface. I like hearing the crowd chant “Drapers win” better than “Tighty whiteys.” Rose hits a Styles clash for some reason. Rose escapes one doctor bomb, but Draper nails the springboard forearm and pulls off another doctor bomb to get the pin.
Winner – Dak Draper

Draper says that Matt Jackson has been trying to distract him, but he can’t stop him from getting back the NWL KC Championship. Jackson comes back out and tells Dak that he has much bigger problems than Jeremy Wyatt. Suddenly, Todd Letterman attacks Dak from behind. This is Letterman’s first appearance in an NWL ring since the demise of NWL STL. Draper tries to fight back, but Letterman gives him a spike driver. Then he shakes Jackson’s hand.

NWL Tag Champs Michael Strider and Ace Steel are in the back. Steel is pissed at the Besties for questioning their abilities. Strider says that they’ve been spilling blood since the Besties were dating cheerleaders.

NWL Tag Team Championships, Chicago Street Fight: The Foundation (Michael Strider & Ace Steel w/ Carolina) vs. The Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett)
Have I described enough NWL matches as “brutal” yet? Because this is another one that fits that bill. Chairs, ladders, thumbtacks, Kendo sticks, and trash cans are all involved. There’s a brawl to the back of the floor crowd that’s hard to see because of dim lighting, but it’s not unwatchable, and they do come back to the ring soon enough. By the way, Ace and Strider pay tribute to Terry Funk with “VEGA SUCKS EGGS” and “FITCHETT SUCKS EGGS” T-shirts. Anyway, it’s pretty long and very violent. They go nuts at the home stretch. Vega duct tapes a brick to his thigh to enhance his barineater move. Fitchett kicks out of a Strider spiral onto tacks, then no-sells a doomsday device, landing on his feet and taking out both opponents. Then Vega hits Strider with the braineater on the brick to finally get the pin and win the titles.
Winners and NEW Champions: The Besties in the World

A couple thoughts about this kind of match…
First, I sometimes wonder how wrestlers can survive sickening bumps and keep fighting in these sorts of violent contests, and then end up losing a regular singles or tag match to an average finishing move. I suppose the logic is that the stakes are higher here and they can find the will to dig down deep. This isn’t a criticism, just a lingering thought I have whenever I see something like this.
Second, I know the fans love watching these hardcore matches, and I really believe that a lot of the wrestlers enjoy putting them on, but I personally have trouble getting past the long-term damage these guys are doing to themselves. I’m not trying to tell them not to do this stuff – they’re grown men who can make their own decisions – I just don’t want to come across as a guy who’s pushing them into it against their better judgment.

All in all, another good episode of NWL TV. And from what I gather about episode #62, it doesn’t look like things will be slowing down much going forward.

NWL Episode 60

Time to try something new…

Our Story So Far…
– The Matt Jackson administration is still in control of the NWL.
– The miserable Leonel Howlett has been on a singles tear in the NWL, but he was recently derailed by “War King” Eddie Kingston, who now has his sights on the NWL KC Championship.
– Fuego del Sol doesn’t have a lot of wins, but his high-flying style has won him many fans.
– The crafty NWL KC Champion Jeremy Wyatt won the title in the NWL Rumble and then managed to defend it cleanly against previous champion Dak Draper.
– Maverick has been bitterly chasing crowd pleaser Gary Jay ever since losing the Spirit of the NWL Championship to him back in November.
Now on to the show!

Maverick and Drew Gold arrive at the arena. Maverick isn’t interested in shaking Matt Jackson‘s hand, but Drew assures Jackson that there’ll be a new champion tonight.

Leonel Howlett vs. Fuego del Sol
Good brawler vs. flyer match. Leo gets to rag doll Fuego a lot, and Fuego gets to make big comebacks. He only slips up a couple times, and he recovers well, I think. Leo kills him with a uranagi, though, to get back to his winning ways.
Winner – Leonel Howlett

Jeremy Wyatt cuts a promo in the back about how he’s a man of his word. Eddie Kingston interrupts and talks about legacy. They jaw briefly.

NWL KC Championship: Jeremy Wyatt (c) vs. Eddie Kingston
Big deal title match. Neither guy mails it in. They wrestle, they brawl, Kingston does a tope. Kingston won’t let you be cocky in front of him; you’ve got to fight to survive. Kingston hits the spinning backfist (to the Future), but Wyatt seems to have (accidentally?) KO’d the referee. Michael Strider runs in, Kingston tried to fight him off, but the numbers game overwhelms him. Strider hits the Strider spiral, and Wyatt hits the piledriver. The ref wakes up and counts the pin.
Winner – Jeremy Wyatt

Afterwards, Kingston goes on a tirade backstage, demanding that he get Strider in the ring if he comes back.

In the middle of that match, we get a Gary Jay promo about how Maverick knows that Jay is better than him.

Spirit of the NWL Championship: Gary Jay (c) vs. Maverick (w/ Drew Gold)
Maybe the most painful looking fight in NWL history that doesn’t involve foreign objects. Maverick attacked Jay a few weeks ago, so Jay returns the favor to start this wild match. They brutalize each other with their fists and elbows, and Jay takes a freaking release German suplex on the floor, landing on his head! Somehow, he can still stand and fight back after a while. Maverick breaks out a sweet dropkick, too. Neither will say die. Maverick kicks out of the flying double stomp to the back of the head. Gary misses something and gets nailed with a lariat, and Maverick finally finishes him with a running Gory bomb to become the first two-time champion in the NWL.
Winner and New Champion – Maverick

Very good episode of the show. The NWL has hit its stride.

Took Some Time Away

Happy Easter! He is risen!

I took time off wrestling again for Lent this year. Forty days from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday (minus all the Sundays in the middle). I’ve done it before, but I don’t think I’m going to do it again. All things considered, it’s a pretty weak “fast” to do. If I’m really going to fast from anything that isn’t food, it needs to be something more substantial, like Internet or even my computer all together.

I updated my Panda Power-Plex blog a couple times on Sundays because the Chinese matches I had available were shorter and less numerous than the stuff I usually review here. I think I’m going to get back to reviewing NWL and stuff but in a more streamlined fashion. We’ll see how long I can do it. I’m also trying to write fiction and real-life blogs on top of planning lessons for my classes.