No Surrender is the focus in IMPACT Wrestling while elsewhere…well no, that’s actually about it honestly. Strong actually earned some buzz last week, but that won’t air until August and so, we remain in the midst of ‘The New Beginning.’ Seriously though, spoiler alert: MLW Fusion is good this week, so there’s a hook I guess. No such thing will be found in NWA, unless you count the Team War final. In which case, hello Mr Corgan, thanks for reading.
Match of the Week
The week’s four best matches, regardless of promotion or show.
- Jay White vs. Jay Lethal – NPW Strong: The New Beginning 2/19/22
This was quite clearly the week’s best match, even though its mere existence reminded me of why these projects suck. I mean, each show already has enough guys that I don’t want to see, let alone securing extras via loan. I don’t know man, wrestling sucks but Jay White remains great or whatever, another very good match in the latest Strong main event.
2. Ace Austin vs. Blake Christian vs. Laredo Kid – IMPACT Wrestling 2/17/22
Whether it makes sense or not, the X-Division feels well and truly back in 2022, now regularly featuring these familiar multi-man sprints. The final building block before No Surrender’s enthralling fatal four way opener, this was Ace Austin’s route, also spotlighting Blake Christian and Laredo Kid. This current division is an admirable love letter to the ranks’ glory days, featuring an impressive talent pool that frankly, probably should be battling for world honours at this point.
3. Davey Richards vs. ACH – MLW Fusion 2/17/22
Two guys that in theory, peaked years ago but yet, appeared strikingly sharp on Fusion. Honestly, the work here was levels above Fusion’s usual standard, with Davey Richards and ACH combining seamlessly for a dynamic television affair. This was paced with a refreshing poise, two veterans that knew how to make their expansive spots count, maximising the still impressive degree of athleticism and explosiveness left. It’s worth noting of course that ACH is still only 34 so hopefully, he has many ‘major league’ chapters left.
4. Fred Rosser vs. Gabriel Kidd – NJPW Strong: The New Beginning 2/19/22
Though I sense that I’m slightly lower on this than the consensus, there was still an awful lot to like here. A bruising, gruelling affair, Gabriel Kidd brought that familiar physicality to the fight, mostly matched by Fred Rosser’s own admirable effort. If Kidd’s match with Eddie Kingston had one flaw, I’d say that it was some slight pacing issues, which were even more apparent here. No big deal, it’s still very much worth watching but once Kidd’s battles find that natural ascension, he’ll be an even better pro wrestler.
Segment of the Week
The week’s four best segments, from backstage interviews to in-ring brawls.
- Gnarls Garvin & Budd Heavy Pre-Tape Skit – MLW Fusion 2/17/22
I don’t know man, this category was aggressively slim and so, here we are. Look, I chuckled at this, even if it set the stage for a quite frightening bout against The Saito Brothers. With that being said, this was genuinely entertaining and had some life which apparently, was enough to secure its place at the top of this week’s segment standings.
2. Jay White Post-Match Promo – NJPW Strong: The New Beginning 2/19/22
Again, this wasn’t much but at the end of the day, it’s a Jay White promo and in this process, I guess that’s enough. White is incredibly charismatic and it feels like he’s more confident with each outing, increasing his presence at every turn. On Strong, White was basically just playing around again after another main event win but frankly, it was more compelling than the candidates below, so here it is.
3. Richard Holliday Post-Turn Promo – MLW Fusion 2/17/22
A tale as old as time: the post-heel turn promo, as a villain takes the time to explain himself, maybe even offering some truth along the way. Though the content isn’t (yet) anything particularly captivating, I thought that Richard Holliday did a nice job here, again utilising his refreshing confidence in this arena. I liked last week’s angle and thought that while nothing mind-blowing, this was a neat follow-up that kept the emerging programme trending in the right direction.
4. Davey Richards Post-Match Promo – MLW Fusion 2/17/22
Didn’t think I’d ever find myself writing these words but well, here we are I guess. Davey Richards was a genuine highlight on Fusion, kicking things off with that aforementioned thriller opposite ACH and then even taking the microphone afterwards. Richards was good here, adding a straightlaced sports feel to the Alexander Hammerstone build that unfortunately, was later impossible with Cesar Duran standing between them.
Star of the Week
The top four stars of the week, excluding talent signed to the big two.
- Jay White
What is there left to say about ‘Switchblade’ Jay White? Fresh off his best week since having his momentum halted by the most unforeseen circumstances, White was immense on Rampage and produced similar efforts elsewhere. That includes last week’s IMPACT main event, as well as a captivating PPV bout with Eric Young that he isn’t even credited for in this format. White is just about as good as it gets right now, and it shows at every turn.
2. Davey Richards
Overproduced pre-tape aside, Davey Richards honestly felt like a cut above the rest on MLW Fusion. Now, that can be more indicative of the talent or territory depending on your perspective, but it still speaks to Richards’ quite admirable return. On sheer focus and know-how alone, Richards stands out on the independent scene but perhaps more impressively, he still seems far more deserving of television time than almost all of his Major League peers too.
As a long-time ACH fan, I was delighted to see him perform with such spirit on Fusion. Granted, his placement here could be accused of being slightly sentimental but I enjoyed the match with Richards and think, or least hope, it was a real statement as far as ACH’s current status. This is a guy that physically, remains in (or at least close to) his prime and still has an awful lot to offer, comfortably separating himself from the pack on Fusion.
4. Gabriel Kidd
I really love the simplicity within Gabriel Kidd’s matches. He’s a gutsy, rough fighter who brings that energy to every showing, winning fans with each defeat. Kidd will only get better as the years go by but as is, he’s a pleasure to watch. Just raw physicality, packed with passion and that rare ability to transcend the current setting or circumstance. Kidd was the driving force in his match with Rosser and all things considered, that’s a major compliment.
Show of the Week
The week’s television shows ranked in order, from best to worst.
- MLW Fusion
Indeed folks, it’s only February but here we are, already crowning the upset of the year! MLW Fusion was genuinely good this week, bookended by enjoyable in-ring action and not completely failed by goofy, ill-conceived skits along the way. Granted, it did feature an alarmingly rough tag team bout in the middle but even still, the good greatly outweighed the bad and with this run-time, that’s always a formula for success. More of this please, a genuinely enjoyable experience.
2. NJPW Strong
The opening match didn’t do much for me and so, this was a tier below the Strong norm. With that being said, the main event probably exceeded expectations from a match quality point of view, so this was still a good episode of Strong. Two matches very much worth your time, even if both weren’t without bloat but even still, more than enough to earn this episode the 2-seed. Clearly, this product is the project’s most reliable, remaining my lead suggestion for those looking to expand their wrestling diet.
3. IMPACT Wrestling
Nothing much here unfortunately, but still solid enough to comfortably outscore the show below. IMPACT Wrestling shows flashes of being a tier or two above the other alternatives but seldom maintains those promising standards. This week was another good example of that, again far from bad but just a little less interesting than you’d like, especially for a go-home show. Unfortunately, it’s a show that while competent, lacks headlines and X-Division triple threat aside, this show was without highlights in general.
4. NWA Powerrr
There was lots of wrestling on this show, six matches worth in fact. Unfortunately, not much of it was good, even less worth your attention and some downright bad. Pair that trend with an episode lacking any segments of note and you have a dull, impressively un-Powerrr episode of Powerrr. What does that mean at this point? No idea really, but it’s definitely intended as an insult, which speaks volumes considering my consistent issues with Powerrr itself.
The Top Talent
The top four talents thus far, ranked by the best match, segment and star categories above.
- Jay White – 29 Points
- Deonna Purrazzo/Jacob Fatu/Matt Cardona – 13 Points
The Top Territory
The four promotions’ performance thus far, ranked by the best match, segment and show categories above.
- IMPACT Wrestling – 71 Points
- NJPW Strong – 62 Points
- MLW Fusion – 43 Points
- NWA Powerrr – 34 Points