The Epic Begins
So we start off with some backstage banter between Foxx and Karl Brown. Kinda uncharacteristic behavior from the normally squeaky clean Dragon, but Foxx resists the temptation. Are we setting up a heel turn for Brown with this, or maybe a sort of romantic type story between the two? Not sure, but whatever this sets up seems more interesting than the actual segment. It'd be harsh for me to say this segment didn't belong on the show, because it did, but I don't think it should have opened the show, especially since it's a PPV event and you either want to open with a match or a really dynamic segment.
Future Legend Signed
Another segment... I love EPW shows and the segments usually are top notch, but I question the logic of having two to open the show. I felt that maybe this one should have gone first, then the opening match, then the Karl/Foxx seg. This is still a good set-up for a debut, who claims to be an old name. The letters GXW seem to forebode a name more familiar to the old-school FW guys on the roster.
Very short intro, but I thought it worked. I liked the preamble, I liked the logo and I laughed out loud at Mike Neely's choice of wardrobe. The EPW announce crew is tied for my favorite announce crew in eW, along with Kerry O'Connor and Lamont Hollywood.
Priest vs. Damian Stone
The beginning of this match was very well-written. I especially liked the ole spots, it showed the natural panache that I've been trying to impart in Priest. Commentary really shines in this match, although I feel they made Dean a little more heelish than he should be. I especially liked this line:
MN: Hallelujah! Large men hitting each other!
If only because it made Neels look like a closet fag ;) Very good match, albeit for a match that had as little effort RPing as possible for a match that wasn't a double no-show.
Very short segment that is probably setting up another arrival or something.
Rocko Daymon vs. Kazuo Shizaki
Could have done without the "hey, this is the biggest night of the year because we say so" moment at the beginning of this match. Let the storytelling in the ring dictate that, because outright saying it actually takes away from that. Even with Neels balancing it out, it just seems cheesy.
AS for the match itself, it's great to see other writers adopt the full PBP style, so that's a plus. The minus is that the action to me didn't really back up the pre-match hype. It seemed a bit incomplete, but that could very well be due to a lack of RPing for the match. I'm not sure. I like the post match stuff, hopefully it leads to a bigger role for Shizaki on the card (although with the introduction of the new special assistant on the following Aggression, I think not :p).
That Wasn't the Plan
Another short segment hyping up Cassidy Stewart's client. Something tells me we're getting a debut shortly :)
Nakita Dakaha vs. Frankie Scott
We start with Neels professing his lust for Dahaka and Dean-o calling him a fat-ass. That's my announce team! The intros were both very well-written, descriptive but not overdone... there are some PTC-fed matchwriters who'd do well to take notice of this.
Before the action starts... looks like Cassidy Stewart's client is none other than GXW legend Ice Tre, the most over winless wrestler in the history of winless wrestlers. He comes out and entertains everyone who reads the show with his antics before Scott and Dahaka lay the smack down on. Did I mention this is my first exposure to Ice Tre and he's already become one of my top 10 favorite characters of all time?
We get back to the match now. I like the staredown, a slightly overdone tactic, but an effective one nonetheless. Neels breaking out the Count von Count is priceless too. More people should crib Sesame Street. Once again, I do like the full PBP action, but I think this match has too much Dave Thomas block text. It's my personal preference to break up the PBP man a lot with good color commentary, but I also admit that it's not detracting that much from the match. All in all a good match, very solid, what you'd come to expect from EPW.
Post match angle seems interesting. I guess Scott and Dahaka's feud isn't over yet, although the strap match is one of those gimmick matches that could go either way in terms of feud advancement or blowing off.
Proleteriat vs. Motor City Maniacs vs. Saviors of Wrestling
Starting off with the announcers highlighting the EPW Tag Division, which right now is the only real viable one on FW. NEW and NFW have 'em in the wings, but it's true, Empire's got the most active one, probably second to only NAPW in all of eW.
God bless whoever took this match on, because tag matches are rough to write by themselves. Three-ways... fugheddaboutit! Cool opener though, can't go wrong with mass chaos. Commentary was amusing, but I thought that there was too much of a sidebar with the hot dog stand with no parenthetical action. I think if you go to a sidebar with the commentators, you still have to describe action in the ring in parentheses to show that the world didn't stop because Mike Neely got a hot dog.
On the whole, I thought that this match was a little sloppy. In the past, I could make the excuse for the cluster, but with people busting out cluster matches with the efficiency, at least my expectation level is heightened. Still though, it was a good match.
Foxx vs. Ninja K
Looks like we get a follow up from the opening segment of the show as Karl Brown is accompanying Foxx to the ring here. Like the sell of the build to this match in the beginning. Matchwriters should take note. Solid match if a tad unspectacular. Injury angle at the end.... I hope Tramel isn't leaving EPW, although if he is, I can understand.
Triple X vs Bloodhunt
In terms of action, this is the best match of the night thus far. Crisp transitions, good PBP, although I could have done without the TWO AND 9/10 stuff. Seems overly melodramatic. The pin sequence was pretty neat, although the draw was dissatisfying, especially since it seems Stanton isn't coming back with Bloodhunt. It would have been a better finish with Stevens going over clean.
Post-match... MORE ICE TRE! This time, Stevens lays him out. I don't think this will ever get old :)
Mysterious segment, very introspective, bordering on RP-worthy rather than seg-worthy. A lot of questions being asked, and really many of them can be answered through the fed's relative inactivity :p. The payoff for this segment is golden though. It's the return of Kin Hiroshi to EPW, and it looks like he's back to stalk the CCP. I'm a fan.
Shawn Hart vs. Mike Evers
Shawn Hart doing the Macarena... do wonders ever cease? Once again, the commentary shines here. Most of the matchwriters in EPW seem to have a command of the team, and that's what makes it so easy to write for them. Another solid match in terms of action, and the finish was absurd but in a good way. The Whizzinator is something I can just see Hart pulling out.
A segment to set up Sarge's hiatus from Empire. Kinda anti-climactic and a spoiler to the next match, but I guess it's necessary.
James and Sergeant vs. Blitz
Match time and no James Irish? What's going on here? Sarge is left to get his ass kicked by himself, at least early on. Blitz lays the smack down on Sarge, but then James appears. He was held up by something... what? We don't know yet. James gets laid out and then Blitz picks up the win on Sarge... okay match, and I guess it may set up a few things, but with Sarge leaving, I'm not sure what it is.
I'm guessing there's some angle going on between these two in the longterm, because Foxx is returning the favor.
Karl Brown vs. Steven Shane
This is the most rapid-fire paced match of the night so far. Spot after spot, it's like a pseudo-technical spotfest. Indie-fed chic! I like Foxx's constructive interference here. It's a new wrinkle on getting extracurricularly involved in a match. Good match, but I don't like how every single one of Steven Shane's finishers was killed in this match. If you're going to do that, have Shane kick out of a Dragon's Bite.
Geishas - Sage Advice
More teasing of our Japanese themed friend, plus more of the good stuff with Ice Tre. Short seg, but there's nothing wrong with that.
Dan Ryan vs. IrishRed, Part 1
And one of two main events gets started. We start off with a quick rundown of the feud between the two. Seriously, even though the matchwriting itself has been hit or miss, every matchwriter out there except Katz, JAAAAAAAMMMMARRR~! *shakes fist*, Steve and a handful of others should take note here at how well EPW frames and dresses its matches. Seriously, it's a clinic.
I like the spillover into the crowd and the accidental assault. Both of these men are portrayed as going all-in for the company. They'll go to such lengths to get a company that they won't care that there's a lawsuit waiting for them because of it ;).
I also LOVE the fact that everyone is piling on IrishRed to lose this match. It's something unique, in fact things like these set Match of the Year candidates away from regular matches.
The one thing that's confused me throughout this entire feud... who's the face? Honestly, there have been times when both guys could have claimed either face or heel role. In fact, it's bounced back and forth throughout, including on Aggression 28.
More Ice Tre goodness! Hands down, he's been the star of this PPV so far. I probably would have marked out in my seat to see him hop off the bus, even if he's been all over the PPV so far. Big props for the ballsy bus driver too. This match is freakin' awesome so far.
Dan and Paul Disappoint the Social Club
Good angle to set up the deck being stacked against the Tag Champs in a unique way. I think it's a pretty clever way to get around a no-show, plus PAUL FREEMAN SIGHTING!
CCP vs. HPSC
On the whole, this was probably the best match of the night so far. Not really much to say either way, since it was solid all the way through and it was your basic wrestling match, very well-done. Good to see the Tag Championships getting a write-up befitting a World Championship match. That's how it should be if you're looking to build a tag division. I loved how each character was written within itself, ie, the writer really got the characters, especially the bumbling pain sponge known as Slambo.
After the match, we get the payoff to the geisha buildup during the show, and it's Beau Micheals.... scratch that... BEAUKOZUNA! He brought the San Diego Chicken with him too. You'd think they're there because of Beau's history with Cruise, but apparently, they want Melton. Melton and Beau, programmed together? I'm REALLY looking forward to this. (And yes, everyone who reads the end of that segment needs a bath :p)
Red vs. Ryan part II
We pick back up, and yes folks, this is still your early favorite for match of the year. I mean, they make small talk and then go to the bus bathroom to fight just so the bus driver wouldn't get on their case, the old lady wanting in, blaming the ref for the mess... all BRILLIANT!
Ice Tre In
Ice Tre for Wrestler of the Year.
Red vs. Ryan The Conclusion
They're mysteriously cleaned up... hm.
The action is still top notch, working in slot machines and free drinks. More interfed action, this time with them showing up at a UCW show, and now a sort of reversal with UCDub staff attacking Ryan. This sets up UCW's newest signee... and former EPW World Champion Beast to screw the Boss and help Red win. In retrospect, it should have been a bit predictable, but it's still one great swerve. This certainly makes things a lot more interesting.
Troy vs. Troy - Ladder Match
The opening was a bit long, but it's a PPV main event, and unlike some places that have epic match openings for mid-card free TV matches, this match has earned it with the build into it and the story behind it. I really liked the "Fanfare" into "Beverly Hills" for Troy Diddy; the sheer pomposity of it all works well with his character.
As for the action... all I can say is WOW! Match of the Year Candidate for every reason opposite as to why the Red/Ryan affair is also a candidate. Just wow. Some of these spots, from the most minute like the trading of eye-thumbs in the beginning to the cavalcade of huge spots near the end (like the leapfrog guillotine leg drop off the ladder by Windham and the ZOMG triple jump moonsault off the ladder by Troy, to the very end, where Troy ranas Windham off the ladder while grabbing the briefcase at the same time), amplified the heat in this match. This is THE example of how you make a match of the year candidate through the action.
The swerve at the end... I liked it. I thought it was ballsy, and it plants seeds for a future program, be it over the title or not, between Melton and Troy. For utter shock value, this is your Dis moment.
I thought this was a solid affair. Not EPDub's best, but it was definitely strong, albeit top-heavy. I thought in terms of matchwriting, things started out pretty slow and gradually picked up the pace. That's really the formula for any wrestling show, but still, you'd like to see the low and mid-cards represented nicely. I also think the earlier matches suffered from the writers trying too hard to make this seem like EPW's big big HYOOGE OMG CUM show of the year. I don't think EPW is a fed that necessarily needs to have a WrestleMania-type show. Every PPV for them has that "event" feeling to it, and there really are no fillers.
Still, it's an overall success. Three really, really fine matches at the top of the card, including two surefire candidates for MOTY (Ryan/Red, Troy