WWN Mercury Rising 2018 (4/6/2018)- Kenner, LA
DRAGON GATE RULES MATCH: DJ Z, Trey Miguel, & A.R. Fox vs. Austin Theory, Travis Banks, & Zachary Wentz- 6/10
This was, in fact, very Dragon Gate-ish with its cutesy spots. The action was good, but I was expecting this to both be a lot better and get a lot more time. The “WrestleMania weekend six-man tag” has always been portrayed as not just a big deal but as something that will surely be a highlight of the weekend in terms of its action, and this was just a random opener. We were told that these six men were chosen because they are some of the men WWN officials think will be leading independent wrestling this year.
Banks wrestled this match despite being too injured to wrestle for EVOLVE earlier in the day. Between Lenny Leonard’s comment about him taking a “nasty bump” but now being okay and the small bandage above his eye, my guess is that he had a concussion scare but passed his testing and his cleared now.
DJZ got the winning pinfall for his team and got into it with Theory afterwards. DJ Z had pinned Theory at least night’s EVOLVE show, so this did its job of building up to an eventual title match between those two.
JAREK 1-20 JUMPS JASON KINCAID- good segment
Kincaid was part of the next scheduled match but Candy Cartwright once again came out during Kincaid’s entrance to serve as a distraction so Jarek 1-20 could sneak up behind Kincaid and attack him, punching him with a pair of handcuffs. A referee came out to break it up but Jarek attacked the ref as well, which seems very counterproductive to his stated desire of getting booked on an EVOLVE main show because guys who attack referees in EVOLVE usually get suspended, not booked more. He handcuffed Kincaid to a guardrail, then hit him with a running boot. Then he pulled out another pair of handcuffs, stuck the chain in Kincaid’s mouth, and started pulling from behind, then locked them to guardrail, essentially giving Kincaid an inverted double fishhook. A fan asked if anyone was going come save Jason Kincaid, but Kincaid has never struck me as the friend-having type. Some referees eventually came out to help him. During this segment they also gave Jarek credit for putting Darby Allin out of action, so I assume that injury is a total work.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. MUNENORI SAWA- 7.5/10
The story here was one of a clash of personalities, with Sawa enjoying being back in the ring while Zack was grumpy and pissed off about having lost the Evolve World Title last night.
NEW ORLEANS STREET FIGHT: The Work Horsemen (Anthony Henry & James Drake) vs. Catchpoint (Dominic Garrini & Tracy Williams) vs. The End (w/Drennan)- 8/10
Stokely Hathaway came out to ringside with Catchpoint but then cut a promo announcing that due to his status as a “national treasure,” he really shouldn’t be putting himself in such a dangerous situation, and thus he is going to watch this match from the back.
These three teams had an awesome weapons match. And I do mean a “weapons match” because while weapons have been used in EVOLVE matches many times before, this is the first time that I can remember where it has just been guys pulling a bunch of weapons out from under the ring and hitting each other with them. The Work Horsemen got a much-needed win here. I was afraid they weren’t going to win after a spot where they had the match won but Henry decided that he wanted to do more damage to The End to really “end this” feud tonight, but sure enough they did more damage to the end and then still beat them. This match was worked at a much slower pace than you would usually see a match like this worked at, but I thought it worked really well and gave things time to breathe and really sink in (and gave the wrestlers more time to sell).
In perhaps the least intentional story I’ve ever seen in a wrestling match, the tables just did not want to cooperate, and it almost always ended in an extremely painful manner for The End. Poor Parrow in particular took a powerbomb from Tracy Williams, and instead of going through the table, he wounded up bouncing off of it and landing on his back on the concrete floor.
SHINE TITLE MATCH: LuFisto(c) vs. Holidead- 0.5/10
This went two minutes. It was basically on here just so LuFisto could tie Ivelisse’s record for title defenses in one reign so that she has the chance to break it at Shine 50.
LUFISTO PROMO- AWESOME!
She buried the WWE’s beloved “Women’s Revolution” as “a marketing plan for Barbie dolls,” declared herself to be a walking, one-woman revolution, and said that she didn’t care who challenged her for the title because she would beat them anyway and be champion until she decides to retire. I f*cking loved everything about this promo.
Then Kimber Lee returned and got nose-to-nose with LuFisto. LuFisto headed to the back, but we’ve got a new challenger lined up for what should be a great match!
KEITH LEE vs. DAISUKE SEKIMOTO- 7.5/10
This was one of those matches that really makes me appreciate how good Keith Lee is. I’m having trouble coming up with a big-man who sells as well as Lee does. The story here was Sekimoto wearing Lee down over the course of the match, and Lee’s selling was instrumental to making it work correctly.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- GREAT!
Keith Lee got jumped by a dude in a hoodie… who then pulled down his hood to reveal that he is NICK GAGE. He beat Lee up and cut a promo in which he averaged 2.3 F bombs per sentence. After Gage left and Lee recovered, Lee simultaneously cut a promo on both Gage and a heckler. These two are facing off in the first round of the Style Battle Season 1 Finale.
EVOLVE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Catchpoint (Chris Dickinson & Jaka)(c) (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. RingKampf- 8.25/10
Both of these teams doing what they do best. Awesome tag team wrestling!
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- very good
Tracy Williams comes out and puts over Jaka & Dickinson’s performance as “everything that Catchpoint is about.” But do you know who Tracy thinks doesn’t understand what Catchpoint is supposed to be about? Stokely Hathaway, that’s who. Tracy says that ever since they hired Stokely to run their business affairs, all he has done is “run it into the ground.” He tells Stokely that “you’re services are no longer needed. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.”
Stokely retors that Tracy obviously doesn’t understand contracts very well because last time Stokely checked “I bought Catchpoint! I own Catchpoint. You can’t fire me… but I can fire you. Tracy Williams: you are OUT!” Dominic Garrini then came out from backstage, came up behind Tracy and gave him a low blow. Jaka & Dickinson then sided with Stokely, ripping the Catchpoint shirt off of Tracy, as Lenny Leonard declared this to be a total disgrace and a betrayal, as it was Williams who allowed Jaka & Dickinson to join Catchpoint in the first place.
I liked this segment a lot, as, while Stokely has certainly done things that go against Catchpoint’s mantra (most heinously being last night when he wanted Garrini to lie down for Jaka & Dickinson in the tag team scramble), the only person whose position on the card has really suffered under Stokely is, in fact, Tracy Williams, so Jaka & Dickinson siding with Stokely makes perfect sense here.
NO ROPE BREAKS MATCH FOR THE EVOLVE WORLD TITLE: Matt Riddle(c) vs. Will Ospreay- 8.75/10
The story of this match was Ospreay’s injured neck. Ospreay showed no fear of going for things that might injure his neck because the Evolve World Title means that much to him. They did one big scary injury/stoppage tease which they went all out on, including having Gabe run out to ringside to check on Ospreay, but Ospreay shoved the referees away from him and said he wanted to continue… at which point Riddle immediately went into killer mode and went after the neck 100%, but Ospreay just refused to stay down and made a big, dramatic comeback, but Riddle eventually got the win by reversing the OsCutter into a Bro-mission for the win. FANTASTIC match!
An awesome show from the WWN… although in reality it’s just from EVOLVE, even more so this year than past years. We had awesome wrestling, a big return, storyline advancement, and one hell of a main event. What more could you want?
PWG, EVOLVE, AAW, WWN, etc
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