Powerrr Prevails, Daniels Delivers | Best of the Rest #8 & #9

Last Monday, I was taken out of the game slightly, streaming for 12 hours as we raised $2000 for Voices of Children. As a result, I opted to delay the eighth Best of the Rest, pairing it with the following week for a double-header of sorts. With that in mind, we now have a lot to catch up on, as NWA gets a new set of tapings under their belt while New Japan’s New Beginning tour concludes, then kicking off their Rivals event. Elsewhere, IMPACT is headed to Sacrifice and MLW has an alleged superfight on the way, so let’s get started.

Best of the Rest #8

Match of the Week

The week’s four best matches, regardless of promotion or show.

  1. Colby Corino vs. Rhett Titus – NWA Powerrr 2/22/22

Though not always silky smooth, this was the kind of pro wrestling match that quite frankly, has become far too infrequent on NWA Powerrr. Competitive and spirited from start to finish, Colby Corino and Rhett Titus worked harder than the norm, producing a strong television bout. Corino has really impressed me as of late, both on NWA and elsewhere, and he was opposite a real pro here, combining impressively with Titus. Just good pro wrestling, exciting action but yet still totally at home in this setting, imagine that!

2. Openweight Title: Tom Lawlor (c) vs. Taylor Rust – NJPW Strong: The New Beginning 2/26/22

The first NJPW STRONG Openweight Title match of this process so far, Tom Lawlor and Taylor Rust had a solid television main event. If I was being critical, I’d say that the content wasn’t quite up to this somewhat bloated run-time but they got their in the end and produced a worthy title tilt. Lawlor certainly doesn’t feel like this programme’s centrepiece but in this title match at least, he delivered when necessary.

3. Digital Media Title: Matt Cardona (c) vs. Jordynne Grace – IMPACT Wrestling 2/24/22

Genuinely fun and action-packed, this was the ideal television plunder match, especially considering the circumstances. This whole programme has hit honestly, with Matt Cardona spotlighting Jordynne Grace at every time. Though she dropped the title in this feud, Grace leaves it feeling like an even bigger deal than she entered, often dominating Cardona and always fighting with that admirable babyface fire. Really good stuff and a reminder of what’s possible with some commitment and creativity.

4. Chelsea Green vs. Kenzie Paige – NWA Powerrr 2/22/22

This is maybe the best in-ring performance that I’ve ever seen from Chelsea Green, packed with energy and polish. She felt like a star in this setting, neatly guiding Kenzie Paige to a really enjoyable television match. Paige was up to the task too of course, maximising the spotlight that Green offered and making a real statement opposite such a familiar face. Green’s work hasn’t gone without criticism but with showings like this, she has genuine value to brands such as this.

Segment of the Week

The week’s four best segments, from backstage interviews to in-ring brawls.

  1. Steve Maclin Pre-Tape Promo – IMPACT Wrestling 2/24/22

Reacting to Eddie Edwards’ heel turn, Steve Maclin continued his unexpected babyface turn in encouraging fashion here. This has actually been really well-booked, giving a logical reason for Maclin to switch sides, positioning him in a role that he can easily maximise. Maclin can talk too, which helps, extending his ceiling with promos like this.

2. Eddie Edwards In-Ring Promo – IMPACT Wrestling 2/24/22

I don’t think anyone would accuse Eddie Edwards of being Eddie Kingston on the microphone, regardless of what Chris Jericho says. With that being said, Edwards did a good job here, assisted by some solid content along the way. Explaining his heel turn from the weekend prior, Edwards paired a decent delivery with understandable complaints, adding some heat to this whole angle.

3. Jacob Fatu vs. Mads Krugger Pre and Post-Match Brawls – MLW Fusion 2/24/22

The match itself was too short to be anything much but before and after the bell rang, this was a blast. Jacob Fatu and Mads Krugger brawled through the crowd and did some insane stuff in the process, concluding things with a spectacular dive from the former champion. Fatu’s presence really stands out on this show and for all his limitations, Krugger tried his best to match that striking intensity.

4. BULLET CLUB Promo – IMPACT Wrestling 2/24/22

Fresh off a genuinely surprising switch at No Surrender, BULLET CLUB entered a new era on IMPACT Wrestling. That new era of course includes some familiar faces, with Gallows and Anderson now alongside Jay White and Chris Bey. With White leading the way, these four were present for a neat group promo, nothing crazy but even still, they neatly set the table for the brawl that followed.

Star of the Week

The top four stars of the week, excluding talent signed to the big two.

  1. Colby Corino

I don’t want to understate Rhett Titus’ performance on Powerrr, as he always delivers once the bell rings. With that being said, this was all about Colby Corino in my mind, who was just fabulous as the match’s antagonist. Corino’s scrappy style is really at home in this setting and I mean that as a compliment, he needs to be a go-to guy when Powerrr needs some legitimately good wrestling. The star of NWA’s first match category leader, Corino is a worthy week winner.

2. Jordynne Grace

Though it’d be easy to look elsewhere with so many fresh faces, Jordynne Grace’s value to IMPACT Wrestling can’t be overstated. Grace has been immense against Matt Cardona, the energy and power behind some of the NWA Champion’s most enjoyable matches in fact. Whether it’s in this role or back as the women’s division’s top babyface, Grace is one of IMPACT’s most consistent, reliable acts.

3. Chelsea Green

Appearing on two of our weekly programmes regularly, Chelsea Green hasn’t been a constant in this particular format, especially inside the ropes. That’s not to say that Green is bad, just somewhat uninteresting at times. That wasn’t the case against Kenzie Paige though, as Green really shined and led her less experienced opponent to an exciting television tilt. Hopefully this isn’t an outlier and instead, will be more of the norm moving forward.

4. Eddie Edwards

Tasked with following up on his frankly overdue heel turn, Eddie Edwards exceeded my expectations. Closing an episode of IMPACT with his in-ring promo, Edwards delivered on the microphone and kept this thing moving forward. The Honor No More angle needed a jolt and in theory, Edwards can provide exactly that. Clearly, it’s too early to say for sure but through one week, Edwards was thankfully up to the task.

Show of the Week

The week’s television shows ranked in order, from best to worst.

  1. NWA Powerrr

Well, who saw this coming? NWA Powerrr is back I guess, whatever that means. Seriously though, this new set of tapings got underway in style, taking the refreshing atmosphere and actually not immediately killing it. Instead, they gave the people something to enjoy, including two strong television bouts and barely a miss along the way. Inside the ropes, this is about as good as this programme has ever been honestly which granted, is telling in its own right but even still, thumbs up.

2. IMPACT Wrestling

Though without much of note from a bell to bell perspective, I thought that IMPACT produced a solid television show. This episode had multiple segments that I enjoyed and alongside Cardona’s plunder title defence against Grace, that was enough to secure it the 2-seed. Must say, I’d love to see this product confined to the run-time of its competitors, as I think some quality control could improve this programme immensely. The pieces are there, they just need to be more picky.

3. NJPW Strong

While Strong usually goes three for three in terms of matches, I only really enjoyed the main event this week. Don’t get me wrong, Karl Fredericks – ETHAN HD and El Phantasmo – Matt Rehwoldt were far from bad, they just didn’t do much for me unfortunately. Combine that with a main event that was good but not an absolute homerun and you have the weakest Strong in recent memory. Again, not bad, just somewhat bland and lacking the quality that I’ve personally come to expect.

4. MLW Fusion

One step forward, and two steps back. Indeed, after a strong edition of Fusion that suddenly felt full of life, the follow-up was a swift return to the disappointing norm. With just two matches, Fusion lacked anything of real substance on that front and unfortunately, only had extended video packages to offer elsewhere. It just wasn’t good television, and I say that as someone that limitations and all, still thoroughly enjoyed Jacob Fatu’s presence. Disappointing outing, a real shame.

Best of the Rest #9

Match of the Week

The week’s four best matches, regardless of promotion or show.

  1. Christopher Daniels vs. Karl Fredericks – NJPW Strong: Rivals 3/5/22

On a week without much of note inside the ropes, leave it to Christopher Daniels to show the kids how it’s done. Continuing his recent return to form, Daniels looked great on strong, combining seamlessly with late-notice opponent Karl Fredericks. This wasn’t Strong’s main event but it comfortably stole the episode, with that familiar Daniels polish shining through once again. Fredericks was good here also, even if he’s still finding the other puzzle pieces beyond his physicality.

2. Bad Dude Tito & JONAH vs. FinJuice – NJPW Strong: Rivals 3/5/22

Though not quite as compelling as Christopher Daniels’ prior effort, Strong’s main event still very much delivered. I must say, Bad Dude Tito and JONAH have really connected as a team here. It’s early days obviously and they’re working with a polished team but even still, I’ve been really impressed by their chemistry and cohesion. This was nicely done, just good tag team wrestling and armed with a surprise finish too, as Shane Haste emerged to help the bruising antagonists win.

3. Steve Maclin vs. Eddie Edwards – IMPACT Wrestling 3/3/22

This wasn’t anything much, hamstrung by a short run-time and throwaway finish but yet, I thought the work here was just excellent. Two of IMPACT’s most reliable in-ring performers, battling away with a raw intensity that’s too often missing from this programme’s more bloated bouts. I’ve loved just about  everything Maclin has done in IMPACT and for all his prior struggles as a character, Edwards always brings it once the bell rings. More of these two together please, ideally with some time and better yet, an actual finish too.

4. World Middleweight Title: Myron Reed vs. Bandido vs. Matt Cross vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri (c) – MLW Fusion 3/3/22

The modern multi-man match that you’ve come to expect, but one well-executed enough to comfortably earn a spot here. Bandido was a nice addition to increase the star-power, relatively speaking of course and the right guy won too, with Myron Reed regaining his MLW World Middleweight Title. Matt Cross and Yoshihiro Tajiri were solid veteran glue guys also, in their own contrasting fashion anyway, with the latter’s brief, unexpected title reign coming to a swift end.

Segment of the Week

The week’s four best segments, from backstage interviews to in-ring brawls.

  1. JONAH Flattens Brogan Finlay – NJPW Strong: Rivals 3/5/22

I adored this, old school pro wrestling. With Shane Haste by their side, JONAH and Bad Dude Tito were continuing their assault on FinJuice when suddenly, young Brogan Finlay arrived. Attempting to make the save, Finlay was not even an hour removed from his earlier loss and within seconds, JONAH only saw an opportunity in his presence. While Tito and Haste forced his older brother to watch, JONAH flattened Brogan Finlay, with the announcers putting it over perfectly in the process.

2. Guerrillas of Destiny Promo – IMPACT Wrestling 3/3/22

Though it can be divisive at times, Tama Tonga’s delivery still stands out and in this context, it really worked for me too. Responding to Jay White’s betrayal, Tonga paired pain with pressure, threatening all involved and setting the stage for this feud that’s placement still remains somewhat unclear. Tanga Loa’s confidence has been striking in this particular run also, very much belonging alongside his fiery brother.

3. 5150 Pre-Tape Promo – MLW Fusion 3/3/22

I’ve been consistent on these because honestly, they’ve been consistent too. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nothing ground-breaking in terms of concept or format, but Rivera’s charisma packs a genuine punch. The content usually isn’t much either, but it’s trash talk done well and in pro wrestling, there’s always a place for that. This isn’t a stacked tag division by any means but in 5150, they at least have worthwhile champions.

4. Gnarls Garvin & Budd Heavy Vignette – MLW Fusion 3/3/22

These are dumb and probably not what you’d call “funny” but once again, they have some life and personality so here they are, wandering into the 4-seed.

Star of the Week

The top four stars of the week, excluding talent signed to the big two.

  1. JONAH

If you know me, you’ll know just little I expected to enjoy JONAH. Honestly though, he’s genuinely impressed me, working with an edge and finally maximising his size. He’s having really nice runs in both IMPACT and NJoA right now, with this week being a neat encapsulation of what he currently brings. JONAH was my favourite part of the Strong main event, pairing that with the week’s best angle for a comfortable category win.

2. Steve Maclin

After his work opposite Trey Miguel, I was all in on Steve Maclin getting a consistent television presence. Even still, I’d have probably hesitated if you told me that along the way, he’d become a de facto babyface. That just felt like a challenging transition but I have to say, credit to creative and Maclin himself, who have made all of this feel impressively organic. Maclin’s work seamlessly adjusted too, operating with his own brand of babyface fire against Eddie Edwards.

3. Eddie Edwards

In many ways, see above but simply switch things around. Eddie Edwards has been a babyface for years now, the go-to babyface at times and yet, he immediately feels at home in the heel role. Granted, this is slightly different as it definitely felt overdue but nonetheless, it speaks to Edwards’ experience that he adjusted his game so swiftly. I’m intrigued by how far they go with this version of Edwards, who’s very much become the internal status quo as of late.

4. Karl Fredericks

Though he doesn’t pop quite like some of his peers, Karl Fredericks is a good pro and was a worthy dance partner for Christopher Daniels on Strong. Fredericks showed polish and poise as Daniels’ late-notice opponent, performing admirably in the week’s best match. I don’t really know how high Fredericks’ ceiling is but with showings like this, he’ll always have a role to play in some form or fashion.

Show of the Week

The week’s television shows ranked in order, from best to worst.

  1. NJPW Strong

With the week’s best two matches and perhaps even more impressively, its best angle too, this was a lock. I usually like Strong but this week was particularly fun as nothing overstayed its welcome which admittedly, isn’t always the case. The main event was good and Christopher Daniels again rolled back the years against Karl Fredericks, with a sound opener not undoing that good work either. Just rock solid pro wrestling and on this occasion, even a touch better than that, an encouraging start to the Rivals event.

2. MLW Fusion

The return of Fusion has definitely improved my enjoyment of MLW. The energy is up and warts and all, I mostly have fun. The main event wasn’t exactly my thing but it was enjoyable enough television and Myron Reed standing tall is always a win for me. In addition, Alex Kane’s opening title tilt with Calvin Tankman didn’t quite connect but they’d built that match some and so, I had good reason to actually pay attention. Sprinkle some entertaining vignettes in along the way and you have a fun episode of TV.

3. IMPACT Wrestling

I’ve seen some love for this episode of IMPACT but I don’t know, it just didn’t really work for me. As usual, it wasn’t bad or anything, just without many hooks in my view. The roster lacks genuine depth in terms of actual quality and the result is a television with somewhat bloated bouts and just a general usage of lacklustre acts. It’s hard, as they’re clearly operating under a different set of parameters but even still, I can’t hide my relative disinterest.

4. NWA Powerrr

In fairness, this wasn’t really bad either but unfortunately, it just wasn’t what you’d traditionally call good. Built around three longer, for Powerrr standards at least, matches, this episode needed one of those to truly connect and for me anyway, they all fell just a little short. Again, they were all solid enough but just didn’t really go beyond that unfortunately, greatly limiting this show’s ceiling. Not a complete momentum killer, but a reminder of the roster’s limitations.

The Top Talent

The top four talents thus far, ranked by the best match, segment and star categories above.

  1. Jay White – 30 Points
  2. JONAH – 19 Points
  3. Steve Maclin – 16 Points
  4. Jacob Fatu/Matt Cardona – 15 Points

The Top Territory

The four promotions’ performance thus far, ranked by the best match, segment and show categories above.

  1. IMPACT Wrestling – 91 Points
  2. NJPW Strong – 82 Points
  3. MLW Fusion – 53  Points
  4. NWA Powerrr – 44 Points

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