Saturday, April 20, 2024

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WSU Mutiny in Review: Havok and Alpha Make War, LuFisto and Athena Make Art

It only takes a single drop of poison to contaminate the entire well. WSU had everything in place for a monumental Internet-Pay-Per-View, with an international main event championship match to die for, propped up by a stacked undercard. However, the most minor of technical difficulties veered the show off the tracks, leaving everyone but the live crowd totally in the dark – hence the reason why this review comes to you two days late.

It’s a damn shame too, because with the VOD finally up it’s become apparent that we missed a hell of a show.

WSU World Champion Jessicka Havok faced a rare equal in size and power as she defended her title against the monstrous German import Alpha Female in an International Dream Match. Beginning with flurries of forearm strikes, the match descended into a stellar showcase of brute strength, with both women dominating for large periods of the match and Havok almost incapacitating Alpha entirely with a lethally-applied crossface. Finally, the two traded vicious clotheslines before the Havok Death Machine was able to pick Alpha up and hit the Air Raid Crash to retain her championship. A great match that more than lived up to its lofty expectations (though oddly short, at a mere nine minutes – certainly less than one would have anticipated considering the calibre of the two stars). Following the match, DJ Hyde came out to the chagrin of pretty much everyone present and announced his goal of making Havok’s life a living hell for as long as she holds the WSU World Championship, before Havok’s former friend Sassy Stephie went on the attack with a chair, only for Alpha to make the save and for her and Havok to shake hands in respect.

All in all it was a day best forgotten for Stephie, who in the show’s opening contest had lost her WSU Tag Team Championship at the hands of Havok. Her partner, Allysin Kay, was forced to miss the show after suffering a concussion the night before, and Havok had been picked to replace Kay in the title match against challengers C.U.N.T. (Kimber Lee and Annie Social). Havok would turn on Stephie barely a minute in, taking her out with the Air Raid Crash and giving Lee and Social an easy victory.

C.U.N.T. were less than impressed, issuing an open challenge in order to immediately legitimise their championhood. Nevaeh and Christina Von Eerie came out to accept the challenge, and the two teams put on a solid tag team match, with Lee and Social winning after a huge double chokeslam to Nevaeh, retaining their titles on the first defense, and in doing so having more Tag Team Championship matches in one show than WSU have had in over a year and a half.

The WSU Spirit Championship also changed hands on Saturday, as Marti Belle‘s record reign with the belt came to an end at the hands of Ezavel Suena in a Title vs Mask match. The match itself was decent, ending when Suena hit a TKO to Belle for the victory. However, despite winning the match – and the championship – Suena removed her mask anyway – revealing herself (to the surprise of absolutely nobody ever) to be Niya, the banished prodigal daughter of WSU. To her dismay, upon making her way to the back she met a couple of people who weren’t quite so happy with her little scheme – the entire WSU roster, who sent Niya packing – out the front door.

My favourite women’s match of last year featured LuFisto as one of the competitors, and on Saturday she put her name in the hat for a very early candidate to this year’s title, as she took on Athena in a match to determine the next number one contender to the WSU World Championship. For nineteen minutes the pair had the crowd clinging onto every single motion they made in the ring, putting on a masterclass of strong style wrestling brimming with stiff strikes, innovative power moves and a host of near-falls. LuFisto’s experience and creativity in the ring provided a perfect compliment to Athena’s high-octane, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it style (which showed no signs of rust – you would never have guessed by looking at Athena that she had just returned from being out of action for six months), and though LuFisto got the win in the end, countering Athena’s O-Face with a Burning Hammer, the ovation from the crowd – and the respect shown between the two women after the match – made it clear that on this occasion, they were both winners. Many are calling this WSU’s greatest ever match, and I’d be inclined to agree.

Another standout contest of the night was the Uncensored Rules match between Mickie Knuckles and Jewells Malone. A high level of violence was to be expected – Malone stapling a dollar bill to Knuckles’ crotch, however, was not. Indeed, there were more than a fair share of wince-worthy moments, including a brutal spinning side slam by Knuckles which sent Jewells Malone’s body crashing back-first onto the hard floor outside the ring with a dull thud, and the finish which saw Knuckles hit a pumphandle slam on Malone through a doll’s house for the win. Despite the defeat, Malone came out of the contest with the fans’ respect, and has definitely turned more than a few heads in her direction with her performance.

Elsewhere, Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae faced Chris Dickinson and Portugal’s Shanna in intergender tag team action for a spot in the upcoming Queen and King tournament. The match was enjoyable, but sleazy in a way that was at times very uncomfortable to watch, especially if you’re like me and you’re weird about personal space. What they did they did well though, with Shanna getting the win for her team with an inside cradle (despite protests from the commentary desk that Candice had her foot on the ropes – something which I didn’t see at all). Finally, Hania faced Jenny Rose in a great singles bout which was unfortunately marred by awful officiating as Rose got the victory after hitting Hania with a flying clothesline for the pinfall, despite Hania kicking out at two. While the result could not be changed, the fans wasted no time in letting the referee know how they felt about the finish.

As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s an enormous shame that Mutiny wasn’t able to be seen live by the majority of its potential audience. It was frustrating for us as viewers (huge thanks must go to the omnipresent Dave Muscarella for his live results from the venue), but let’s not forget that it must have been equally as frustrating for the people who were involved in the show. To the credit of WSU owner Drew Cordeiro, he kept the online audience updated on the situation regularly over social media, and seemed genuinely upset by what happened, offering an extremely generous free month of streaming WSU content for everyone who bought the show.

In my book, the epic encounter between LuFisto and Athena was worth the money alone, but for all of the negatives on the technical side the show more than impressed in every other facet. With no bad matches (and a handful of truly brilliant ones), intelligent, interesting and funny commentary (featuring Veda Scott, who was missing from the card due to injury) and high-quality, crisp production, WSU continue to distance themselves from their troubled past, upping their game in terms of wrestling, booking and telling exciting stories in the ring. If they can get their streaming issues in order, the only way for them to go can possibly be up.

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