NGW’s GenX League Championship was on the line in this week’s TV show, with Bubblegum defending against Matt Myers – as the company continued to head towards the Team Warfare match.
As ever, we start with the out-dated plug for FSM magazine. After eleven episodes… come on guys, it’s not like Alex Shane is a shy man. Can you not slip in some updated copy whilst you’re recording commentary?!
The standard panning shot of the Hull City Hall call opens up the show, as does a plug for the GenX league cup match for the main event, but first… the studio. We’ve got Francesca Wood with the usual talking heads, who are again labelled as outspoken pundits. Isn’t that the very definition of a pundit – someone who speaks their opinion? It’s not like their opinions are shocking… unless those lines somehow get cut out?
Apparently there’s three weeks until the Team Warfare match. Hopefully that doesn’t mean there’s going to be three weeks full of one-match shows in the meantime! Wood plugs the main event between Bubblegum and Matt Myers, and we’re told that Myers isn’t confirming his place on the NGW team until after this match.
A large part of this segment was pretty much inaudible as they overlaid Alex Shane’s segment with footage of some ring introductions for an earlier Matt Myers/Nathan Cruz match, except the volume on those hadn’t been turned down quite enough, so we got a lot of clashing… but I’m not complaining it it overshadows Alex Shane. He’ll be the one to complain, not me!
We’re shown video from the TV show last month where Matt Myers beat “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman in a number one contender’s match for the GenX title. Complete with referee Steve Lynskey pulling Boar’s hair to pull him off of Myers, before Myers used a Stone Cold Stunner to win the match. Then we get footage of Bubblegum beating El Ligero, featuring a double stomp on the apron from Bubblegum, before a small package saw Bubblegum take the win.
After leaving the studio, we’re shown footage from two weeks ago with Joe Hendry and Lionheart being interrupted by Stixx and Colossus after a match, with Lionheart getting wiped out by the former champs. That segues into a backstage promo from Joe Hendry, which doesn’t really say much other than continue to build to their eventual title match.
Back from break, we’ve footage from a match from last year where Nathan Cruz beat Rampage Brown to win the NGW titles in a match where they had two referees. That’s segued into a sit-down interview with Matt Myers talking about that match, bemoaning how he’s not going to win anything prestigious in his hometown venue of Hull City Hall. Ah, that fantastic British sporting spirit, eh? Myers says that he’s invited his family to watch tonight, just to add some extra pressure.
GenX League Championship: Matt Myers vs. Bubblegum (c)
This is NGW’s version of the X-division, except their matches all have a ten-minute time limit. Myers facially looks a lot like Sami Zayn. Except without the ginger hair. Bubblegum’s out in his traditional Manchester City shirt and flag; that’s part of the gimmick I feel doesn’t work in cities that don’t have strong football rivalries.
The rules of this match are simple – Myers has to beat Bubblegum inside ten minutes and the bell doesn’t ring until both men are touching the top turnbuckle at the same time… and Bubblegum starts by climbing out of the ring and standing on the apron. Myers follows Bubblegum to the outside and takes a kick to the head, but Myers retaliates with a forearm as they trade blows on the floor. Then we get a commercial break? We could do without that trope from Stateside…
Back from the break, Myers gets thrown inside, and gets a leaping knee into the corner from Bubblegum. A rear kick and a German suplex downs Myers as we cross the two minute mark, then Bubblegum throws Myers to floor. Myers fires back with a forearm, but another dropkick sends him to the floor.
Myers eventually rolls back in, and reverses an Irish whip to send Bubblegum into the corner, then follows in with a big boot. A suplex from Myers takes down Bubblegum, before a low dropkick doesn’t even get the challenger a one-count, as Myers drags Bubblegum back into the ring.
As the match approaches the 5 minute mark, Myers sends Bubblegum into the corner with an uppercut, before Bubblegum knees out of a suplex attempt, then lands a clothesline to a back of a cornered Myers. Bubblegum goes to the top, then misses a double stomp before sweeping the leg of Myers, and then getting the leaping stomp for a near-fall.
Bubblegum hooks away at Myers’ face, then hauls him to his feet, before a chop sends him down once more. A back rake follows, as Bubblegum goes for the Ice Cream Headache (Pedigree), only for Myers to roll him up for a near-fall, then catch him in a cross armbreaker after a nicely worked roll-through.
Bubblegum rolls back and nearly wins it by pinfall, but he goes back to his back and forces a rope break as the match entered the final two-and-a-half minutes. Myers sidesteps a charge in the corner, then goes up with a springboard moonsault off the middle rope for a two-count.
A Myers Stunner is blocked, before he and Bubblegum trade kicks on the apron, which leads to Myers going to the top once more, only for Bubblegum to roll away from a springboard 450 splash, which missed badly. The Sugar Rush (shining wizard) got Bubblegum a near-fall as the time ticked away, then tried for the Ice Cream Headache. Myers backdropped out, but got kicked into the corner, and landed a step-up knee strike and a bulldog.
Myers ducks some kicks, then missed a Stunner, but ran into Bubblegum in the ropes with a lariat, as we entered the final 15 seconds. Bubblegum misses a lariat, then takes the Stunner, and with one second left on the clock, Myers snatched the win… and the title! The time limit really helped this match, which was pretty good to begin with. Basic, but it worked! ***½
Myers celebrated with the GenX League Championship trophy, as if this were the highlight o f his career. We even saw a shot of ring announcer Stevie Aaron’s iPhone showing the official time at 9:59.63, showing just how close-cut this was.
Now, my nitpick – the addition of a commercial break seemed to add no time to the match, as we came back at just about the same point we did when we returned. Given that other matches doing this have shown us replays from “during the break”, it’d be nice to have some consistency… but eh, if not kayfabing taped action as “live” is the only negative, then it’s been a good run!
Another commercial break now, and we return to the studio as we have ten minutes left in the show. Francesca Wood and her two talking heads recap what we just saw, complete with footage… with the same volume issue we had from earlier as the commentary clashed with the “live” studio speech.
They take us to clips of Dara Diablo vs. El Ligero ahead of their unsanctioned/last man standing match next week. We go back to “last season” where Ligero dropped Diablo with a frog splash, only for Dara to kick out at the last moment possible. Apparently the referee had taken a bump to the outside, and only just made it back to make the count, before Diablo blocked a C4L and landed a death valley driver, then a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Diablo looks to finish off Ligero, but he rolls him up for the win, and we’re back to a sit-down interview with Dara Diablo. This feud apparently saw Diablo unmask Ligero en route to a win, and we also saw clips of Diablo shaving his own head in the ring. We’ve got a dark-heel promo as Dara talked about “what happens when the mask slips”, and oh good, we have yet another secret in wrestling.
The talking heads ask why this is an unsanctioned last-man-standing match, and apparently it’s because their prior two matches were “too extreme for television”. NGW’s apparently accepted the challenge because both Diablo and Ligero asked for it, on the basis that it’s the last match they have with each other. We’ve got more footage from the past with slightly-too-loud commentary, whilst both of the talking heads sell that Ligero and Diablo have signed a waiver to resolve NGW of liability – good kayfabe, and a detail that a lot of promotions seem to overlook these days.
They go over the rules of the Last Man Standing match (again, good for new fans; but I’d have expected that to have been addressed in commentary – perhaps they will), and then pitch to some footage of an Alex Shane/Nathan Cruz Last Man Standing match. Yeah, this was from 2010, but you can see two things: 1) NGW’s come on leaps and bounds since then and 2) one of these guys looked mighty out-dated even here. Hint: he’s not the one who’s still wrestling today.
That segment ends the show, and this felt like a bit of a letdown for me. Save for some throwaway references in the studio segments, we got zero build for the Team Warfare match. Could you imagine the WWF/WCW Invasion blow-off having an episode of Raw where it was only mentioned in passing?
It wasn’t as prevalent as prior episodes, but my God some of the commentary on here was patronising. We’ve said it before, but this product, in targeting new fans, does come across as if they’re talking down to the fans at time. During the last segment, the commentary on the Diablo/Ligero match contained these lines that left me gobsmacked: “I didn’t even realise the referee was knocked out from the tumble to the outside… I was so gripped, I was so engrossed, I was so enthralled by this epic showdown”.
As a commentator, yes it’s your job to sell the action and sell the story, but when you’re actively saying how engrossed you are in a match that you’re missing details, more often than not, it comes across like you weren’t, and you’re just reading a script. The point’s been made before, but if you’re selling everything on commentary as “best thing ever”, eventually the fans will see through you, particularly if the latest “best thing ever” really isn’t.
We’ve covered a lot of the issues with the NGW product before, but the last few weeks of shows have only served to underscore them. Having just the one match a week really hurts these shows, and in turn, leads to an awful amount of filler. The current format of taping a live event and splitting it across TV shows is the main culprit, and there’s there’s only so much you can do with studio segments, sit-down interviews and even replaying clips from old matches.
As a wrestling fan, I’d expect to see wrestling – not 20 minutes of waffle and filler before my match, and then another 10-15 minutes thereafter. It’s a shame because the NGW in-ring seems to be fairly good, but that all seems to be lost by the wayside on the transition to TV.