Fight to Survive is in the books. In the end, I thought it was very solid. The theme there is that a lot of workers are giving everything and experimenting in new ways in the ring (and some of them, outside it). It was PACKED. Every time I go, it seems to get more crowded. This is great news. It opened with a well-done recap. And then Kate introduced $Payday$. I don’t think $Payday$ has done a lot of promos, so what he said was fine. But how he said it lacked. Speaking to a crowd is not easy, and I probably couldn’t do too much better. But I would suggest giving him a mouthpiece or creating an essence to his character to where he doesn’t need to speak. (“A man of few words”, “He’s not there to speak, just to get his payday.”) $Payday$ wanted Carrion Arcane. Mike Dolenz told him that Arcane was already booked. But $Payday$ could have his match. Only it was going to be against Wally Darkmon. For me, this didn’t have the same drama. Wally and $Payday$ are both good guys. While I like getting to see both guys in the ring, it just was not the match I wanted to see (because as a fan, I want both guys to win).

First match: Ironheart vs. Carrion Arcane w/”The Angel of Mercy” Claudia

This was my first time to see Ironheart. Arcane was talking about “she was coming” and apparently, that Claudia. It’s nice that MPX has a valet, as women never hurt (but please don’t get “divas”). Her look is very gothic/Suicide Girl-ish. It is a great fit for Arcane. The match was solid. Claudia is a good throw-back to the old Woman/Nancy Benoit-type valet. And after Claudia attacked Ironheart with red mist, Arcane scored the pin.

Winner: Arcane

Second match: Kenny Steele vs. Ben Wylde w/Kyle Davis

This match was a lot better than I thought it would be. Steele is improving both in the ring and in his persona. Steele has great facials, and he’s learned other things than telling crowds he has abs. I saw something out of Steele tonight. He is an amazing athlete and has a heel charisma that you can’t teach. I can see him going places. I’m also loving the Kyle Davis aspect. Ben made him wear this green hat that was worth a million laughs in and of itself. I’m thinking this is probably my favorite storyline in MPX. The two wrestled a nice story of Steele not being able to bodyslam Wylde because he was injured. It was also a good way of Steele losing without making him look weak.

Winner: Wylde

Third match: Cash & Carry vs. Lucha Lucha & some masked guy

When Cash & Carry, came out with a grocery cart full of fun, I knew it was going to be a fun match. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve been spoiled with seeing Necro Butcher through the years. The hardcore match was probably the un-stiffest hardcore match I’ve ever seen. I’m ok with it. I understand most of these guys are green. And I’d rather see them again, so I have to say it was fun. There was some nice plunder in this match: a baseball bat, lots of chairs (Lucha found a chair that had the Corona logo. Nice touch.), a bowling ball, a vuvuzela/”Grenade whistle” (of all things), stop sign, garbage can, grocery cart. The match was full of several OMG moments. Zach the Muscle at one point either got his bell ring or is the best seller ever. Also, there was a moment in the match where Zach attacked the masked man and he smiled a really saddistic smile. They can go a lot of places with this. I saw a little bit of of that Cactus Jack in him. I would like to see his character evolve a little bit more in that direction. He has the size to where I can see him going places. At one point, Cash & Carry found Kris Haiden out in the crowd and asked him if he wanted to hit Lucha or masked guy. He said no and this laid the groundwork for his face turn that night. This may not have been IWA-Mid South King of the Deathmatch Tournament-worthy, but IWA-MS isn’t running anymore, and a lot of those fighters aren’t fighting anymore. Not bad for a first hardcore match.

Winner: Lucha & Masked Man (I will call them Team Enmascarado)

During the intermission, the wrestlers continued their mingling with the crowd. This is one of their strongest aspects. It’s good for the kids. After the intermission came the 6-Man Elimination match.

Fourth match: James Hawke vs. Zero the Antihero vs. WASP w/Kyle Valo vs. Regrub vs. Headbanger Gregory James vs. Carlos Esquivel (with Ryan Gauge as the special ref)

This was a very multi-layered match with a lot of storylines. This is difficult to weave together and I thought the booking was nicely-done. So forgive me for missing some of the highlights. Carlos and Zero have a good dynamic and chemistry. It reminded me of that moment in “The Wrestler” when Randy “The Ram” asks the Ayatollah how they’re going to do their match. Ayatollah says “I’m the heel. You’re the face. Any questions?”

James Hawke cut a nice promo where he apologized for his attack on Frankie Fisher. I waiting for “It will neeeeever eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever happen again” but no Jericho heel turn for now. We do Streamers for Zero. I love the Japanese/ROH tribute. Also, WASP was a very engaging heel, getting the crowd going and making fun of Regrub for breaking up pins when it was an elimination match. Ryan Gauge who had been previously in a sling, took off his cast and revealed his arm was just fine. Then he attacked WASP and made sure he was pinned. It is difficult to comment on all the dynamics as it was complex. The match ended when James Hawke made Regrub tap out. This meant something and made Hawke look very strong to make the monster Regrub tap out.

Winner: Hawke

After the match, WASP and Valo came out of the back informed Headbanger he was going to be fighting in a handicap match. Kate whispered something to Headbanger and then announced that it would be an inter-gender match: WASP & Valo vs. Headbanger & Kate. I will give MPX the benefit of the doubt, but I HATE inter-gender matches. The only one I’ve ever seen done right is Beulah-Bill Alphonso in ECW.

Fifth match: $Payday$ vs. Wally Darkmon

There were two kids behind me last night that were really into the whole show. $Payday$ saw them on his way to the ring and danced with them. This is awesome. A wrestling promotion always needs wrestlers to dance with the kids. There was a watershed moment in Mark Henry’s life when Andre the Giant brought him to the ring and danced with him. It’s hard to remember sometimes that they are what it’s all about.

The match between the two wrestlers was really good. I think this is $Payday$’s best match yet in MPX. Wally is such a pro that it was a fun match, even though it was face vs. face. As a fan, I was a little torn, because I don’t want to watch either lose. There were hand shakes for everybody. Wally gives 100%, and it is evident from his matches. The match was declared a no contest when Carrion Arcane attacked both. (I’m ok with no contests and dq’s and all that. It’s when a wrestling company does the same finish over and over again that it becomes boring, aka TNA.)

Winner: No contest

Sixth match: Matt Andrews (c) vs. Barrett Brown

This was my first time to see Barrett Brown live. He looks all of 13 years old, but he has a great focus and ring presence. His intensity reminded me a lot of Chris Benoit’s. The Matt Andrews title reign continues. He is quickly becoming a lot like Gollum with his belt. That is as it should be. He makes the belt seem important. This was a really good match. Brown was very impressive in the ring, and I hope to get to see him again. Andrews submitted Brown for the victory.

Winner: Matt Andrews

After the match, Mike Dolenz announced that Andrews would be defending his belt at the next show. After attacking him, Kris Haiden came to his rescue. He then cut a really great promo about one thing he learned from his time there is that the boys in the MPX were some of the toughest SOB’s he’d ever seen. This was a GREAT face turn. I can’t think of the last time I saw a face turn this good in wrestling. In a show of support, the MPX roster unanimously supported Haiden’s reinstatement and receiving a title shot. It was an emotional moment.

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