NWL: Jeremy Wyatt vs. Mat Fitchett (January 27, 2018)

My wife just had a baby last weekend, so updating blog posts is not going to be as easy as before, especially when I have to watch matches before writing. But I don’t want my blogs to go stagnant, so I’m going to try to post short reviews whenever I have the time and motivation.

Sadly, the NWL has removed most of their videos from their YouTube channel. The good news is that Jeremy Wyatt was able to upload several of his matches to his own channel, and I think he got the word out about the situation in time for others to rip videos so they can host them personally, as well. This match is one that I never reviewed before, but it’s between two of my favorites, so I thought I’d give it a look.

Jeremy Wyatt is defending the NWL KC Championship.

Fitchett runs wild right off the bat and hits the busaiku knee, but Wyatt rolls out. Wyatt takes over and zeroes in on Fitchett’s back. This comes up later when Fitchett can’t do a running move because his back hurts too much. Wyatt spends a lot of time taunting the crowd, though, and allows Fitchett to fight back. Surprisingly, though, he doesn’t tap out to any of Wyatt’s wicked submissions near the end. He and Wyatt both kick out of big moves. Fitchett gets very defiant at the end, but Wyatt drops him with the piledriver to put him away.

Nice match, very good work from both guys. No interference, not seconds at ringside, just two guys wrestling. The finish was never in doubt for me, but it was fun to see how much fight Fitchett had in him. I’d love to see a rematch.

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NWL Episode 59

Another requested review of a show I missed!

Our Story So Far…
– Dak Draper is on the road to getting back the NWL KC Championship from Jeremy Wyatt.
– The Besties in the World are on the hunt for the NWL Tag Team Championships currently held by The Foundation.
– Leonel Howlett has a win over Jimmy Jacobs, but he recently lost to Eddie Kingston.
– Thor Theriot and Jeremy Wyatt had a series of matches in the early months of the NWL, with Thor coming out on top in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Since then, though, Wyatt has gained the top title in the promotion, while Thor hasn’t been too focused.
– Gil Rogers was fired by Matt Jackson, but he refuses to go away, and the fans have been rallying behind him.
Now on to the show!

Matt Jackson is with Ace Steel and Michael Strider in the back. They make fun of Mat Fitchett and Davey Vega and say they aren’t worthy of a title shot.

Dak Draper vs. Leonel Howlett
Both guys have been really good lately. I was a bit critical of Dak’s in-ring work in the early days of the NWL, but he’s definitely come into his own in my eyes. Despite his size, he’s good at working from beneath as a babyface against the aggressive Leonel Howlett. They do a lot of reversals and counters in the latter half, keeping me guessing as to who has the advantage. After a slugfest, Dak flapjacks Leonel, and out comes Marco Howlett for a distraction. He ends up accidentally superkicked by Leonel, but it doesn’t quite lead to the finish. Instead, after a couple more slams and pin attempts by both men, Dak wriggles out of a fireman’s carry and pulls Leonel right into a doctor bomb for the pin. Love that sequence.
Winner – Dak Draper

Gil Rogers is out in the lobby with a large group of chanting fans. He says that Matt Jackson can’t silence them.

NWL KC Championship: Jeremy Wyatt (c) vs. Thor Theriot
This one’s lengthy, as expected, and very engaging. They match up very well, and they go back and forth throughout the match. There are plenty of nearfalls and big moves down the stretch. Thor gets his knees up against Wyatt’s elbow drop, something I don’t see very often. They almost reach a double count out after a clothesline to the floor, but both men make it back just in time. Thor kicks out of the lightning spiral, but I guess everyone does that nowadays. He makes the mistake of rolling Wyatt into what maybe was going to be an Alabama slam, and Wyatt uses it to pull him into a piledriver and gets the clean win.
Winner – Jeremy Wyatt

Gil Rogers is escorted out by security, but he reiterates that he can’t be silenced and he’ll be back.

The Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. Top Shelf (Niles Plonk & Rasheed Ali w/ Belvedere)
Plonk is in the ring up until the commercial break, showing off his skills and then taking some double team attacks from the Besties. After the break, Vega is in peril for a few moments before making the hot tag to Fitchett. Fitchett goes wild on everyone and hits a moonsault kick to Rasheed while both are on the apron. I’ve gotta say, Fitchett has been one of my favorite NWL guys to watch since almost the beginning. Belvedere provides a distraction that saves Rasheed Ali, and then Plonk hits the uncorker on Fitchett. He feeds him to Ali for the money driver DDT, but Vega makes the save. Top Shelf then try to steal the Besties’ wacky new finishing move, Total Taker, but the Besties counter and hit it on them for the win. Total Taker, by the way, is Fitchett performing a tombstone and a last ride at the same time on two guys.
Winners – The Besties

The Besties call out The Foundation after the match. Ace says they’re crazy if they think they’ll give them a title shot. Fitchett challenges them to a no holds barred match. Vega says it’s The Foundation’s match, as Ace is a veteran and Strider is a local hardcore icon. Ace still says no, and Vega calls them chickens (taking the old Back to the Future route). Strider takes it personally and accepts the match against Ace’s wishes. (This match happened on episode 61, and it was wild.)

Good stuff on this episode. If not for the big challenge at the end, I would have preferred the Wyatt/Theriot match be the main event. That one’s really worth watching, and I hope they do it again in Metro Pro or elsewhere.

NWL Episode 58

In honor of a special request I got through Twitter DMs, I’m going to back to review a couple episodes of NWL TV that I’d skipped.

Our Story So Far…
– Marti Belle has been trying to get Matt Jackson to book her in a match with Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Rodriguez for quite some time now, but Jackson and Carolina have constantly thwarted her efforts.
Thomas “Livewire” Shire recently aligned with Drew Gold, who also manages Maverick.
 Jet Royal has been tagging with Anthony “Sharkbait” Gutierrez while his brother, Jax, is out with injury.
– Gil Rogers was fired by Matt Jackson, but he’s still been gathering fan support outside the shows.
Now on to the show!

Marti Belle once again asks Matt Jackson about a match with Carolina. Jackson calls her a bully and says she’s not getting her match tonight.

NWL Tag Team Championships: The Foundation (Michael Strider & Ace Steel w/ Carolina) vs. Friendship Team 9000 (Jet Royal & Anthony Gutierrez)
Very nice tag team match here. Babyfaces run wild early, heel cut them off with some underhanded tactics (like Ace using Carolina as a shield) and isolate Gutierrez, Gutierrez finally breaks free and makes the hot tag, everyone gets some shine in, and the Foundation ultimately retain with a doomsday powerbomb. Solid as solid can get.
Winners – The Foundation

Impact Wrestling’s Kiera Hogan says she was invited to the NWL by Carolina. She’s here to make an “impact” and set this place on fire.

Drew Gold introduces Thomas Shire as having “the spirit of the past with the body of today.”

Thomas Shire w/ Drew Gold vs. Jack Foster
Shire shows a lot of character, walking around with that dopey smile, thinking he has everything under control. It works really well to show how foolish he is for not taking Foster seriously. He looks good when he’s on offense, too, opting for kicks, forearms, and other moves that don’t require him to pick the (admittedly not that much) bigger man up. Foster still controls most of the match, and Shire gets to show his backside a lot. Shire hits a final cut and pulls his straps down, ready to end it, but he gets a choke hold for his arrogance. Foster shoves him into Gold, knocking him off the apron. Shire avoids the chokeslam  but is immediately speared and pinned after that.
Winner – Jack Foster

Marti Belle says it’s like Groundhog Day, but she’s challenging Carolina again.  Carolina says she fights when she wants to, but she brings out Kiera Hogan as her replacement.

Marti Belle vs. Kiera Hogan
These two work pretty well together. Kiera doesn’t play heel; in fact, she’s not very happy when Carolina interferes on her behalf. She finally has enough and convinces the referee to eject Carolina from ringside. She does work on top for much of the match, though she doesn’t dominate. Marti ultimately gets the pin with a kneeling DDT, which i think suits her better than her spear, personally.
Winner – Marti Belle

Carolina runs back out and attacks Marti, but Kiera makes the save and helps Marti take her out. While they’re celebrating, Gil Rogers jumps the guardrail and gets a mic, saying that Matt Jackson can do whatever he wants, but he can’t silence Gil’s Army. Jackson and the staff come out, and Gil bails, saying that he’s still selling shirts outside.

Nice little wrestling show here. Can’t say it’s must-see for following the storylines, but it’s very enjoyable.

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.

The End of the NWL (For Real This Time)

Update: Metro Pro is coming back.

Original:

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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

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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.