All matches are from the February 4, 2017 tapings.
Ken Dharma vs. Blaine Meeks
I’m loving Dharma’s character in the NWL. As Mike Sydal, he had a yoga motif, but he didn’t really get to do much with it besides using a yoga mat while moonsaulting. Whenever he worked in ROH or the like, he was just a dude who lost a lot. Now, whether he loses or not, it seems like he gets to do more and show more personality. Part of that just comes with him being a heel, but even when he was a heel as Sydal, I don’t think he got to show as much talent as he does now.
This match is very good. Both guys are thin, toned, and flexible. They both show off good moves. They start with technical wrestling and do that for a while. Dharma drapes Meeks’s left arm over the rope as he does the splits. He slams the arm around a lot and puts Meeks in a hold similar to the Rings of Saturn, but he crosses a leg over Meeks’s arm. That looks painful and would really work as a submission finisher. Meeks kicks out of the Kickstarting the Elephant pinning combo and gets his knees up on a standing moonsault by Dharma. He gets denied one Comic Mischief back stabber attempt, but he gets the pin after hitting a cross-armed Comic Mischief backstabber.
Winner – Blaine Meeks
Rating – Good
Once again, Dak Draper interrupts Meeks’s music, and once again, he denies him a high five. If you watch Meeks’s promos and interviews on the YouTube channel, he seems oblivious to the fact that Draper doesn’t like him. This can’t end well.
Dak Draper vs. Scott Slade
Fans chant “Tighty Whities!” at Draper’s tights. He says he’s easily dispatched Kansas City’s best athletes and he’s the greatest man in the city. He issues the “Dak Draper Dreams Come True Challenge,” offering anyone from anywhere the chance to be in the ring with him. Scott Slade comes out to a James Bond-esque theme and video. I don’t recognize him from any other gimmicks. (UPDATE: He’s “Rolls” Royce Isaacs from Rocky Mountain Pro, which Draper also wrestles for.)
This is a slower-paced affair than the last match, but I definitely enjoyed most of it. Slade looks good in the ring, but he seems to have trouble getting the crowd invested. It’s probably because he’s debuting and his character isn’t strongly defined yet. Maybe if he’d come out in a tear-away suit? There’s a lot of stalling by Draper before the match actually begins. Slade shows off several martial arts-style throws against the bigger man. Draper stalls some more and takes control after snapping Slade’s head over the top rope. He does a lot of bullying moves, including a gator roll. Slade doesn’t give in and finally gets some crowd approval for a deadlift suplex from Draper’s knees.
After stringing three gutwrench suplexes together, Slade escapes a crucifix from Draper but gets a stun gun, and a Mile High Doctor Bomb ends his night. Maybe I’m just in a good mood, but even though there wasn’t a lot of heat, I really enjoyed watching this.
Winner – Dak Draper
Rating – Good
NWL KC Championship Tournament Round 1: “The Monarch” Jeremy Wyatt (w/ Michael Strider) vs. Thor Theriot
Thor lost to Wyatt in a non-tournament match, but did he find a chink in the Monarch’s armor?
Another good match from these two, as expected. They work the mat for a while, with Wyatt getting the upper hand often and escaping whenever he loses it. Thor looks to be building momentum with a dropkick, but Strider grabs his leg and allows Wyatt to give him a neckbreaker through the ropes. Wyatt controls the match for a long time after that, thwarting Thor’s constant attempts at coming back. He tends to focus on Thor’s neck, softening him up for the piledriver. Thor finally “turns it on” and fires up after taking a few head slams into the buckle. He rolls through some offense, but Strider distracts him. He gets rolled up, and Wyatt grabs the tights, but Thor still kicks out. Thor turns a cradle into a suplex, but misses the big swanton bomb. He manages to kick Wyatt off the top to the floor and hits a tope onto Strider, allowing Wyatt to grab him and drop him onto the apron. But when Wyatt tries to slingshot into the ring, Thor catches him on his shoulders and hits the Ragnarök gutbuster to get the big victory.
Winner – Thor Theriot
Rating – Good
Overall: Good. All good matches, and a big-time main event. Wyatt losing is a shocker, considering he was a strong favorite to win the tournament, both in and out of kayfabe. I don’t know when, but I’m sure his string of good matches with Thor will continue. Meanwhile, I hope that Scott Slade’s character gets more exposure, as I liked what I saw from him. And the day that Blaine Meeks comes to his senses as it pertains to Dak Draper is definitely something I’m anticipating. Roll on, NWL!