Actual Good Wrestling, From Everyone | Best of the Rest #10

You know, I usually come up with a snappy title for these. I’ll take a hit or miss of the week, sprinkle some alliteration and call it a day. Well, that wasn’t possible this week as somehow, all four wrestling shows were good. I know, I know, it startled me too. In fact, I’m so startled by this competence that I forgot to write this intro as though I haven’t watched the shows yet. Indeed, shook to my core by some actual good wrestling. Seriously though, this was fun, let’s get to it!

Match of the Week

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

  1. World Heavyweight Title: Alexander Hammerstone (c) vs. Davey Richards – MLW Fusion 3/10/22

My favourite of three genuinely excellent television main events, this was MLW’s best Heavyweight Title bout in some time. Thus far, Alexander Hammerstone’s reign has been very much hamstrung by circumstance, matched with limited opposition and/or in front of uninterested fans. Here though, even if for only that twenty minutes or so, this was actual major league wrestling. With Davey Richards as his challenger, Hammerstone turned in a career-best performance, taking the genuinely invested audience on a ride and giving Fusion its strongest match in many, many months.

2. Eddie Edwards vs. Rich Swann – IMPACT Wrestling 3/10/22

This was shockingly good, honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of what both guys remain capable of but in this setting, I expected something more solid than borderline spectacular. The physicality here was immense, with both guys bringing their A-game in a lengthy television main event. Even with the extended run-time though, these two pushed an incredible pace, especially considering how deep they are in their respective careers. This woke the live crowd up and had a real spirit to it, excellent work from both Eddie Edwards and Rich Swann.

3. Jay White vs. SW3RVE – NJPW Strong: Rivals 3/12/22

On any other week, this would feel like a lock for the top spot but somehow, here it is as my 3-seed. Honestly, I could change my mind on another rewatch but there was a lot of good wrestling this week, so you get what you get, etc. Jay White is on fire right now and this match continued that trend, with SW3RVE’s sheer charisma and presence providing the perfect opposition. Upon thought, this is honestly about as big a match as Strong can reasonably host and it certainly delivered. Ideally, we’ll even get a sequel eventually.

4. I Quit Match: Nick Aldis vs. Thom Latimer – NWA Powerrr 3/8/22

While a level below the three bouts listed above, this was genuinely good and even had some solid competition for the final spot. I remember being torn on this pair’s prior PPV match, as they themselves seemed torn between potential stories to tell. Here, that problem was erased, as the stipulation forced Nick Aldis and Thom Latimer into a hateful, vicious brawl. They pulled it off in my view, even showing some creativity while producing a gif-worthy highlight or two. The finish will be divisive but like the match itself, it worked for me.

Segment of the Week

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

  1. BULLET Club – Motor City Machine Guns Promo – IMPACT Wrestling 3/10/22

Generally speaking, I don’t usually enjoy these extended live promo battles but incredibly, this week’s IMPACT went two for two on that front. This particular segment featured one exchange that even went wrestling viral, but that wasn’t the only hit here. Instead, this was kicked off by a strong Good Brothers promo, reacting to their title loss with an overdue edge. Things then transitioned to that aforementioned exchange, as Jay White and Alex Shelley had an awesome back and forth, setting the stage for an enticing tag match.

2. Josh Alexander In-Ring Promo – IMPACT Wrestling 3/10/22

There were other people in this segment but honestly, they were simply there to feed Josh Alexander’s hot hand. That rules to be clear, as they made their top babyface look good here, actually. It’s been fun to watch Alexander steadily fill this role honestly, growing in confidence with each in-ring promo and by this point, becoming a consistently good talker. This was just the latest example of exactly that, as Alexander commanded the crowd with ease.

3. Nick Aldis Interrupts Matt Cardona’s Post-Match Promo – NWA Powerrr 3/8/22

The above title aside, this segment’s strongest portion was actually Matt Cardona’s solo effort, as he quite openly gave his own take on Shane Douglas’ famed NWA Title win victory lap. Ideally, you’d save Nick Aldis’ interruption for a separate segment but if you’re going to do it, at least do it well and thankfully, they managed that quite comfortably here. Fair or not, Aldis certainly has his critics but his presence and promo were unsurprisingly up to the task in this setting, neatly setting up his title shot.

4. Richard Holliday Attacks Alexander Hammerstone – MLW Fusion 3/10/22

After his impressive title defence against Davey Richards, Alexander Hammerstone’s night wasn’t yet complete, then advancing his programme with Richard Holliday. Sitting at ringside for the television main event, Holliday swiftly took advantage of the situation, covering his white suit in Hammerstone’s blood. There’s been a clear effort to add an edge to Holliday’s game and with segments like this, he’s been positioned to succeed in that regard. This was simple, old school pro wrestling done well, an effective way of heating things up as Holliday is quite visibly relishing this opportunity.

Star of the Week

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

  1. Jay White

With another excellent in-ring showing alongside his latest triumph on the microphone, Jay White’s hot streak only continued this week. White’s sheer visibility helps of course, but his performances are so consistently good that it’s hard to keep him off these lists. Clearly, circumstance is the only thing making White such a regular on these shows but as one of the world’s most complete wrestlers, he’ll be featured as long as things remain this way.

2. Alexander Hammerstone

This was a big week for Alexander Hammerstone. More specifically, this was a vital week for his MLW World Heavyweight Title reign, as Hammerstone produced his first truly impressive title defence, delivering in a major way opposite Davey Richards. Naturally, the credit will probably go in the other direction but Hammerstone was genuinely good here, matching his challenger’s performance and proving his worth as MLW’s centrepiece.

3. Davey Richards

The less surprising half of MLW’s captivating World Heavyweight Title tilt, Davey Richards still deserves immense credit for his part in the Fusion main event. Richards has been the promotion’s most reliable performer since arriving in the alleged ‘major leagues,’ bringing a believability that’s frankly absent elsewhere. These major matches are actually treated as such, returning MLW to in theory at least, its sports-based roots.

4. Rich Swann

Since losing the IMPACT World Title almost a year ago, Rich Swann has quietly returned to a mostly midcard role. Whether that’s right or wrong, it’s hard to argue, as Swann has been just another babyface after six months as world champion. With this match against Eddie Edwards though, Swann made a real statement, performing at a level that simply demands better from creative. Swann remains one of this promotion’s finest performers, and this match reiterated exactly that.

Show of the Week

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

  1. IMPACT Wrestling

If IMPACT had continued in its recent form, they’d have come in dead last this week. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case though, as IMPACT Wrestling hosted two standout talking segments as well as one of the week’s best matches. Most importantly though, there was hardly anything on this show that I deemed actually bad, not allowing a lack of quality control to lower this episode’s ceiling. On a stacked week, IMPACT’s depth gives them the impressive win.

2. NWA Powerrr

As good as Powerrr can be while also featuring a Tyrus match, this was a mostly worthwhile hour of wrestling television. Nick Aldis’ brawl with Thom Latimer delivered and honestly, so did Matt Cardona’s title win over Trevor Murdoch. The latter missed out on a best match ranking but was enjoyable nonetheless, followed by a strong post-match segment. For this roster, Powerrr was pretty much stacked and best of all, the two important matches exceeded my expectations, too.

3. NJPW Strong

Though I enjoyed Hikuleo’s surprisingly back and forth opener with Kevin Knight, this was basically a one-match show. That’s fine and on most weeks, would be enough as the main event was borderline excellent. For me though, it wasn’t quite good enough to overcome this show’s relatively thin undercard, which hurt it on such an unusually stacked week. Either way, SW3RVE vs. Jay White was very much worth your time and this placement speaks more to the competitors than Strong itself.

4. MLW Fusion

This all feels terribly unfair, as this week’s Fusion probably featured the promotion’s best match in this project so far. Unfortunately, that closing portion was about all it had to offer me, as I just didn’t enjoy much else. 5150’s pre-tape aside, this episode was without depth, again hosting a match or two that I could’ve done without. The opening triple threat never quite clicked and nZo is nZo, so you get what you get, I suppose.

The Top Talent

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

  1. Jay White – 40 Points
  2. JONAH – 19 Points
  3. Matt Cardona – 17 Points
  4. Steve Maclin – 16 Points

The Top Territory

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

  1. IMPACT Wrestling – 105 Points
  2. NJPW Strong – 86 Points
  3. MLW Fusion – 59 Points
  4. NWA Powerrr – 50 Points

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