DECEMBER 6, 2018

Watch: Triple W on Demand

White Wolf Wrestling took a big gamble booking La Hora de la Verdad. It was advertised as their first-ever Supershow, their version of Takeover. It was also their first paid show in a new venue, and the promoters were heavily depending on turning fans that are not used to pay to see their shows into paying customers. When the announcement was made, it felt like a make it or break it situation for the company, and thus the name of the event, which roughly translates to “the moment of truth”. Thankfully, the show was a tremendous success business-wise, sold out the venue a few days in advance, and cementing Triple W as a potential big player in the European wrestling scene in 2019. They have the momentum, and they depend mostly on their own nurtured talent, which is something that a lot of European (especially British) promotions would kill for, considering that at the turn of the calendar, WWE will own almost every star in the scene. So La Hora de la Verdad was a success in terms of business, but was the card worth the hype?


The newly crowned tag team champions Utopia came out to open the show. Since they’re not officially on the card, they issued an open challenge for the tag titles, which they considered worthy of being defended on a show of this caliber. The Irish trio More Than Hype, which made it into the top 10 of indie wrestlers to look out for in 2019 that was published in this very website, came out to answer the challenge. However, Utopia was still outnumbered, so Chris Brookes, one half of CCK and Rev Pro regular, offered his help to the local stars and we had a match. Aside from the fact that making a tag title defense in a trios match is a bit weird, this was a good opener. More Than Hype are insultingly young and talented, and LJ Cleary is a charisma machine that looked like a star in this building. Brookes worked well with Utopia, and the match was structured around usual hot spots to hyped up the crowd: hot tags, multi-man powerbomb-superplex combinations, over the top rope moves, etc. The champions retain in convincing fashion after they hit mirrored Phoenix Splash while Brookes connected an Underhook Lifting Piledriver for the pinfall. Entertaining little opener. ***


This match was set-up when Trashman attacked Yunke after his last defense at Cuenta Atrás. I thought that this was going to be a Triple Threat since, on the same show, Dorian asked for a shot at the title, but that went nowhere. Yunke continues to be a great and imposing extreme champion, and Trashman brings an intensity to his performance that matches the intimidation factor of the champion. Unfortunately, the match didn’t quite live up to expectations. At first, they had some really intense throws and bumps, but the match didn’t have any particularly great spot aside from an awesome-looking sit-down powerbomb through a table. Also, they botched another table spot pretty bad in the final portion of the match. Right at the end, when they were both leaning on the ropes, Trashman kissed Yunke, which the audience was demanding for some reason, and Yunke proceeded to kill him with a furious spear and applied his modified Facebuster twice for good measure. It had its moments, but some parts felt flat. **¾


This was your typical “battle royal-so-we-can-make-everyone-participate-in-this-huge-event” type of match. It features talent from Triple W’s development brand, Level E, whose shows, unfortunately, don’t make tape, but it was a nice opportunity for a lot of very young wrestlers. Battle royals are not my preferred wrestling stipulation and this one didn’t convince me otherwise, but at least it was pretty fast. Also, if you like to watch battle royals just for the “what is that guy doing over there” factor, this one has some of that in the beginning. It’s actually kind of a miracle that it was not that bad since we see a lot of veteran talent finding themselves in uncomfortable spots in much bigger promotions. The final four were a couple of tag teams that are part of the same stable, Kaibel & Keibel and Alex Soul & Viral. Looking out for the greater good, Soul grabbed the twins and sacrificed himself so that Viral could hit and throw them out of the ring, becoming the winner of the contest. It will be curious to see if this causes even more friction in Redención and there’s also the possibility that Viral turns on Soul to selfishly cash his title opportunity for an individual title shot. **


We now enter the second half of the show, which has some notable international talent and has been the key to selling out the building, since this was the matches that were announced in advance. The first match was the first title defense by the newly crowned Absolute champion Pol Badia, the wrestler turned into a reality tv star who also makes a terrific impression of one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s most hated taunts. He faces Angélico, the globetrotter of the international wrestling scene. The South African isn’t new to Spanish wrestling, he’s had a close relationship with White Wolf Wrestling over the last few years, but he has not wrestled in the country for a while. He’s also the perfect first challenger for Badia since he’s a very charismatic individual, very popular with a crowd that hates Badia and you can beat him without losing anything. This match put the show back on track and was a perfectly good dirty heel vs babyface match. The story was about Angélico being superior to Badia in every aspect, so the champion had to result to tricks and foul play to get the advantage. The finishing sequence revolved around a ref bump, which Badia tried to take advantage of by hitting Angélico with the belt. Angélico evaded him and connected a Superkick for a visual pin. Angélico tried to wake up the ref, but Badia went for the low-blow and finally hit Angélico with the belt for the dramatic and slow count of three. I hope that they don’t make Badia the chicken-shit heel just because he’s a champion now, because he was winning all his matches since the return in pretty convincing fashion. Hopefully, it’s one-and-done deal due to the stature of the opponent. ***


There are common structures and ideas between this bout and the one before. Like Badia, Jason Jupiter is the less experienced underdog against a veteran, and the contest was structured around Jupiter not being quite at Devlin’s level. The execution, however, was noticeably different, since this was a babyface vs babyface affair, at least until Devlin pulled out some nasty and tweener-like moves. Speaking of the import killer, this guy has been one of the biggest stars in the whole wrestling scene in 2018. His prospects are almost scary since he’s already a 12-year pro and not even in his thirties. Triple W has booked him twice this year, the first one being a few months ago in a fantastic match against Carlos Romo. This match was nowhere near the level of the previous one, but it was a very competent and entertaining match nonetheless. Jupiter and Devlin had good chemistry, but they lacked a bit of intensity, especially if you compare this match with the Romo affair. Perhaps is due to this being a normal match with no tangible stakes, and obviously, Jupiter is not at Romo’s level yet, but with matches like this happening more often, he’ll be there eventually. In the closing moments, Jupiter surprised the Irish ace with a Top Rope Spanish Fly for a two count. When he tried to pick up Devlin, he reverted into the Ireland’s Call for a nearfall of his own, only to finish the job with an angry Package Piledriver. ***¼


A beer match is basically a ladder match where a bucket full of ice and beer is suspended above the ring. To win, you have to take out one of the beers and have a drink. Only in Spain, you can come up with a concept as wild and stupid as this one. This was a comedy hardcore match, and that’s a style of wrestling that I don’t enjoy at all. I get that it was unique and funny at times, but this type of bouts strip wrestling from the elements that I enjoy the most: stakes, dramatic physical confrontations, competition to see who’s best. This affair had none of that. For starters, stakes where nowhere to be found. Ruky, king of the beer match, came into this event with zero victories this season and his current arc is that he’s desperate to win. You would think he would be focused on winning, but at the end of the match, when he was going to win, he shared a beer with Martina to have a draw. Drama was obviously not in the picture since this is just a “fun time” and most of the spots were played for laughs. And well, no real competitiveness either since the match ended in a draw out of mutual agreement. I’m not saying that this was trash by no means. I think the dynamic between Ruky and Martina was fun, since they are basically two sides of the same coin, the Spaniard party guy and the Irish party girl. Both of them are also great performers that had notable chemistry, but if I don’t see one of these again I won’t miss them. *1/2


This was the most hyped match coming into the event, and also a pretty historic occasion since the high profile Progress tag titles were defended in Spanish soil for the first time ever. It delivered big time, both teams knock it out of the park, with Romo and Davis looking particularly fierce in this battle. Their interactions made sense considering that Davis is partly responsible for Romo’s title loss to Badia in the previous event, and the intensity went up every time this two collided. This affair also had a certain invasion flavor. It’s not a proper invasion since the champions are the invaders, but this crowd really treated Aussie Open like the classic foreign super heels during the match. Davis makes a great job feeding them since he does great corner banter, and when he gets tagged in, he’s brutal and powerful. I’ve really enjoyed both of his performances in this company, and he has the potential to have a great 2019 as a singles wrestler if he chooses to. Once the match entered the classic indie tag team sprint, it got into another gear, with multiple very well choreographed spots and dramatic count breaks and nearfalls. There was a moment where everyone believed that the local stars had won, when Kyle Fletcher ate a Top Rope Spanish Fly from A-Kid, followed by a Moonsault by Romo for a 2.99 count that the crowd really disputed. That’s an aspect of Triple W’s crowd that is also really enjoyable since it’s a reflection of the sports culture in the country, where soccer referees are constantly yelled at and insulted. A few seconds after that, Aussie Open went back on track and isolated A-Kid. Fletcher connected the Aussie Arrow,  Davis drilled him with the same piledriver that he calls the “close your eyes & count to fuck”, and just for good measure they send the kid to sleep with the Fidget Spinner combination. This rocked. ****¼


La Hora de la Verdad was a good, solid show with a great main event. It featured a lot of international talent and was a massive success in business terms for the company, and we’ll certainly get a few more of these supershows base on the reaction. The gimmick matches messed the pacing of the show a bit, but with a main event like that you can’t really complain that much. Triple W is on the verge of being an important player in the European wrestling scene moving forward and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in 2019.