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.