Metro Pro: Marti Belle vs. Lucy Mendez, No DQ (May 19, 2018)

Our Story So Far…
– In the NWL, “Dominican Dynamite” Marti Belle had beef with Lucy Mendez (then known as Carolina Grizelda Esmeralda Redriguez), but Mendez constantly made excuses and found substitutes to so she wouldn’t have to wrestle her. Then-NWL general manager Matt Jackson constantly aided her, refusing to make the match and calling Marti a bully.
– Jackson comes out before the match looking quite disheveled. His hair’s a mess, he’s missing a shoe, and he’s got Elmo pajama pants on. He claims that he’s down on his luck, living like Oscar the Grouch out of a garbage can, and he ultimately blames the fans for it. Marti comes out and defends the fans, telling Matt that’s he’s the only one at fault. Jackson says he has just enough power to finally put her in a no DQ match with Lucy. Marti says she never backs down from a fight.

This is an NWL tribute/closure match if there ever was one. Actually, this whole show is starting to remind me of the first “ECW One Night Stand” pay-per-view. It’s “NWL One Night Stand,” and I’m enjoying it.

Both women do the no DQ stipulation justice without getting too crazy. The only foreign object involved is a chair, and no one bleeds. There’s a lot of chops, forearms, and choking, and not a lot of classical technique. Matt gets involved a few times; in fact, Lucy only gains and then regains the advantage because of him. But her hubris gets the best of her, because she sits Marti in the chair and chooses to waste time yelling in her face. This only serves to fire Marti up, and she fires off some forearms before dropping Lucy face-first into the chair, Raven-style. Then she applies something like a camel clutch through the chair, pulling on Lucy’s hair and forcing her to tap.

Afterwards, Matt wants to throw down, but he falls while taking off his one shoe. Marti pounces on him, but then she lets him up and ducks his clothesline attempt. He stops to roar to the heavens, and then Marti beats him into the corner and smashes him with a running hip attack. She finally throws his shoe at him for good measure, then poses and high-fives some fans. That was all a little sloppy, but it kind of suited the goofiness of the situation, and the crowd ate it up.

If you were into the feud between Marti, Lucy/Carolina, and Matt, then this match and its aftermath ought to feel pretty cathartic. 

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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 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 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.