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Thursday, March 01, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 142

Episode 142

Otto Schwanz/Mace Li vs. Michael McAllister/Nick Richards

PAS: I enjoy the McAllister and Richards team, kind of an old school slugfest tag team, kind of like the face Andersons in 1990 WCW. Otto is also a hoot in this, making tons of noise, singing London Bridge just being a nutso. I think this would have worked a little better as a sprint, as working it as a straight southern tag took a little steam out of Richards and McCallister. Still a fun match with good performances by all four guy.
ER: Otto is out driving business away before the bell (noticed a YouTube commenter complaining that he had to turn this episode off because that big guy wouldn't shut up) and amidst all his noises and barks and songs he even comes up with a hilarious improvisation about his Fila track suit. I died. The match was fun and got a lot more time than I expected, and I especially dug the Richards/Otto sections, also dug how McAllister would go right after Otto. Mace Li is still hit or miss for me. I like the dynamic between he and Otto, but some parts of his game could use a lot of work (in this match he threw some of the worst stomps). But we get a lot of Otto/Richards, and Richards is looking leaner (slimming singlet?) and has no problem trading shots with Otto, but Otto pretty much runs this whole match. He's making noise the whole time, throwing fast chops, fast elbowdrops, mugging at people in the crowd in the middle of punch exchanges, never not entertaining. Lots to like here.

Dave Dawson vs. Snooty Foxx

PAS: I like the idea of having big boy punch outs on every episode. CWF has a lot of indy big guys, and matching them up throw at each other is a fun idea. I really liked Foxx's Ronnie Garvin open hand chops, and I am always going to dig a match built around a big body slam. Cheap low blow finish is fine for this kind of match. I am going to miss the Sandwich Squad, but a Foxx/Biggs team is a fun idea.

ER: There really are enough bigger guys in the area to do a match like this every week, and I would be a-ok with that. Snooty is a big guy who is good at working from behind, and his signature offense works as both a surprise comeback move, or as an aggressive in control move. Take his great flying back elbow, here used to surprise Dawson, but often used when he's in a roll of offense; or his big powerslam, which is often used as a big move he breaks out down the finishing stretch, here used as a Samson knocking down the pillars slam, as he hardway muscles Dawson up and down. Snooty's placement on the big slam was great as it was close enough to the ropes for Dave to grab them and not need to kick out. The ending mule kick was fine here, and I dug how they set up the visual early in the match: You had Foxx tying up Dawson with a wristlock, with Dawson having a hard time getting to the ropes to break it. Then at the end you have Foxx grabbing a waistlock, with Dawson again struggling to get the ropes, so he grabs the ref and gets the opening and leverage for the mule kick. It was a really nice bit of foreshadowing. I was also amused by Cecil Scott and Smith Garrett on commentary, talking about the active lifestyles of their moms and grandmas, and Smith does a great job putting over the Dawsons as nasty bar bouncers. I will ALWAYS get into a guy billed as a tough guy bouncer, one of those great old tough guy wrestler trope sidejobs. They went into tons of detail about the bars they work, in the sketchier parts of NC, literally throwing people out the doors, etc. And yes, I'm also excited for a potential Foxx/Biggs tag team, but I'm also curious to see more singles work from Biggs.

Arik Royal vs. Hurricane Shane Helms

PAS: The match starts with the Coach doing the old Chikara gimmick of calling out funny wrestlers who aren't there (although I despise the idea of the great El Dandy being used as a punchline, fuck you Bret Hart you overrated hack, you couldn't lace El Dandy's boots). Helms is there are they have a spirited back and forth match. Royal is on his game these days and I loved his beat down, the huge left hand to set up the splash on the apron was super nasty. Helms still looks good, although he does sort of awkwardly shoehorn in his early 2000s WWE comedy spots. I imagine it is a big deal to get a guy like Helms to commit to appear on every show, but I was really in to the idea of a Royal TV title run and it is kind of a bummer to see it cut so short.

ER: Overrated maybe, but I don't think I could call Bret Hart a hack. He did properly assess the perception of El Dandy in WCW and brought him more American fame than he otherwise would have received (can the weird Los Fabulosos C-show push be attributed to Hart's comment?), as really a short pudgy guy with a teenage mustache and Dustin Hoffman-as-Dorothy-in-Tootsie haircut was never going to be a hit in late 90s American wrestling. Honestly Dandy could have capitalized on his post-WCW internet meme popularity and probably done some nice business working American indies and selling "Who Are You to Doubt El Dandy" merch. Hart gave him a money gimmick the same way someone like Ellsworth can get actual good paydays, or how they gave Shane Helms easy mask merch for life. I get it's not flattering to compare Dandy to Ellsworth, but it probably would have been a smarter career path than wrecking his body going back to hard lucha mats.

And I'm not sure how I feel about the direction of the TV Title. I was so happy to see it off Adler, and was really excited about getting weekly 8-10 minute Arik Royal singles matches. Royal is one of my favorite performers in wrestling, so guaranteeing me weekly matches with him would just sweeten the pot. Helms is still a good worker, but I also know he's been really part time the last few years due to injuries (and I think a pretty major automobile accident). Are we going to actually get weekly or almost weekly Helms matches? That would be great! But if it suddenly turns into a title that is only defended once a month then I think most of the charm of the TV Title will be gone. So the result of this match will be a wait and see. The match itself was pretty awesome, really one of Royal's best performances. He worked like a guy who was losing a title, and a guy who was looking as great as possible against a big name. Royal looked big time here. Helms looked good too although I was surprised he didn't just work as Shane Helms: NC Legend. But I'm happy the People's Elbow missed and allowed Royal to capitalize, but hopefully in future weeks we get more of Shane Helms: big bumping southerner. And he is still a surprisingly big bumper. That's how he came back on my radar, as he was managing on TNA some time last year (I don't think wrestling) but I was surprised at him taking some big bumps on the apron as a manager. So I'd love Helms Classic back, but do not mind the iteration we got. Royal, though. Royal. This is the reason I was so excited for him as TV champ. Dude looked awesome, worked fast, worked more aggressive than I've seen in months while still shtick in at good times (telling that same woman in the crowd that he's going to take her hat again, walking ref Redd Jones away from the corner so that interference could happen), just worked tons of cool stuff into the match. Mace Li had nice interference towards the end, really nailing the batting helmet shot. But I guess my only real problem with the match itself was Royal took so much of it, and Helms took so much damage, that the win didn't totally feel deserved, made Royal look kind of weak and Helms look like too much of a superhero (I know, I know, buts that's not what I mean). Still - and we'll see where this all goes - it was a really good match to cap off a really good episode of TV.

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