The Championship tournament begins!
All matches are from the January 21, 2017 tapings.
We get a cold open with Marti Bell backstage interviewing Kim Royal, mother of Jet and Jax Royal. The Howletts (Left Coast Guerrillas) and Daniela show up and harass her. She spills her drink onto one of them, and they move to attack until Blaine Meeks comes to her defense. The Howletts mock Meeks and leave.
The Howletts (Leonel & Marco) (w/ Daniela) vs. The Union (Mac & Joe)
The Howletts are leather jacket-wearing gang bangers who think that California is the superior state. One of them carries a lead pipe or something. Meanwhile, the Union (American Bulldogs) are blue-collar workers who like to wrestle after they clock out.
The announcers mention a YouTube video that features the Howletts kidnapping an intern. Daniela introduces them and speaks Spanish briefly. Marco (Anaya) says they came to prove that they’re better than all the other teams. He stumbles a bit at the end. Leonel (Hoodlum) sends a message to the Royal Blood, saying they’re going to end their livelihood and burn KC down. Strong promo.
This is a longer match that I was expecting, but it hits all the right notes. The Union pull off something I haven’t seen before – they pick the Howletts up onto their shoulders and launch them into each other. Daniela gets heavily involved multiple times, actually coming into the ring and pulling Leonel out at one point. Joe is kept from tagging for a good chunk of time, and the Howletts are much more on-point with their double teams than they were in that one Ring of Honor match. Once Joe gets to tag, Mac cleans house and shows off his strength. He sets Joe up for his big moonsault, but Daniela gets on the apron and distracts both the babyfaces and the ref, allowing the Howletts to post Mac and hit Joe with a sidewalk slam/leg drop to win it.
Winners – The Howletts
Rating – Good
NWL KC Championship Tournament Round 1: Chad Barstow vs. Blaine Meeks
Another longer match. I think it would’ve been better if they’d shaved some minutes off, personally. I know it’s a tournament match, but I felt like the story they’re telling doesn’t take so long to tell. There are some good spots, a few miscues, and more than enough down time. Meeks almost hurts himself on a tope con hilo that torpedoes into Barstow and nearly sends Meeks over the rail. Meeks pulls out the win when he leaps off the second rope into a lung blower (called the Comic Mishap).
Winner – Blaine Meeks
Rating – OK
After the match, Meeks’ music is interrupted by Dak Draper’s. Meeks tries to high five him but gets denied. Based on previous videos, it’s obvious that Meeks wants to be pals with Draper, but Draper’s too cool for him.
NWL KC Championship Tournament Round 1: “The Mile High Magnum” Dak Draper vs. “Lockdown” Ray Briggs
Here’s another match that, to me, is hurt by its length. They could have told this story much quicker. Draper cuts Briggs off so many times, it gets kind of tiring. Briggs is still a rookie, so shorter matches are more to his benefit anyway. His match with Ken Dharma was much more his speed. Draper is good, but he doesn’t do enough for me here to keep the match interesting throughout. Draper wins with a doctor bomb to advance.
Winner – Dak Draper
Rating – OK
Ken Dharma & Niles Plonk (w/Belvedere) vs. Royal Blood (Jet & Jax)