wXw Ambition 9 Review

Image result for wxw ambition 9
Three tough dudes. Credit: wXw

Ambition is a shoot style tournament meaning you can only win by submission or knockout while rope breaks are instantaneous. Everyone involved has a legit background and judging by past results it is presented as being in its own little world, taking place outwith the regular storylines and pushes of wXw.

Before I get into reviewing it, I want to make it clear that while I watch a bit of MMA, I am not an expert on this stuff. I’m looking at it from a wrestling fan’s point of view. Cool with that? Good. Let’s dish out some stars.

Timothy Thatcher defeated Alexander James

We kicked things off with a grappling-heavy contest, where both men were aiming to force the other to the floor. While James would seem to be at a disadvantage there, he wasn’t as outmatched as you might expect. He was able to slip out from underneath the bulky Thatcher, turning holds over to gain the dominant position.

There were a handful of strikes and suplexes thrown in, but this was a battle won and lost on the mat. When Thatcher eventually caught James in a hold he couldn’t escape from, he tapped within seconds.

I think I’ll be saying words similar to these ones a lot throughout my review: how you feel about this will be entirely down to personal taste. It was wrestling with the emphasis on the wrestling. If you’re not interested in that, don’t bother.

Verdict: Three Stars

Bobby Gunns defeated Marius Al-Ani

Short and sweet. In the opening lock-up, there seemed to be some confusion as neither man wanted to break a hold when they came to the ropes. After that was sorted out, they went to the ground and didn’t get back up.

Instead, they twisted and turned around each other seeing who could get the upper-hand. In the end, it would be Gunns. He was able to hook both an arm and a leg leaving Al-Ani with to choice but to tap.

Another wrestling focused wrestling match. I like that when a submission does get locked on the tap out comes almost instantly as it helps make things feel legit. Again, if you’ve no interest in grappling, skip it. (Told you I’d be saying that a lot.)

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

Speedball Mike Bailey defeated Jonah Rock

A very different style of fight. Big Jonah was looking to grab hold of Bailey, throw him to the floor and smother him. Bailey’s speed made that hard. He was able to dance around Rock, whipping out kicks and staying out of the reach of those giant arms. When Rock did get a hold of him, Speedball wriggled out before any real damage could be done. Eventually, he’d spot his chance, leaping onto Rock’s back and choking him out for the win.

The changeup in style was perfectly timed after two very similar bouts. I imagine that your standard wrestling fan will gravitate more towards this as it was a classic big man little man story.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

David Starr defeated Laurence Roman

Starr is a former amateur wrestler, a skill-set which he used to dominate Roman in the early-going. Basically bullying him on the floor. When they got back up, Roman made the mistake of trying to get revenge, which pissed off old Davey Wrestling. A massive forearm to the head was followed by a trio of wince-inducing German Suplexes. The ref decided to not let Starr murder Roman and called for the bell.

That was a nice change. Starr snapping and unleashing a stiff blow followed by the suplexes made a difference from the submission focus we’ve seen so far. Unleashing those Germans in a tournament that hasn’t seem many moves like that made them look almost shocking at how brutal they appeared. I don’t think I’ve done enough gushing about David Starr. The man is fantastic. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t watched enough David Starr.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Matt Riddle defeated WALTER in a non-tournament match

Wrestling, shooting or thumb wars, I am always going to be up for watching Riddle vs WALTER. Riddle’s credentials are well established in this world, and that made the idea of him out-wrestling a man WALTER’s size perfectly feasible.

WALTER apparently realised the same thing. He decided the best way to floor Riddle was to kick the shit out of him. There was a blow to the ankle that made me cringe, as Riddles foot seemed to cave in on itself. He then followed that up with a massive boot to the chest, sending Matt crumbling to the ground.

All of that just served to wind Matt Riddle up, and when he got back to his feet on the count of nine, he took WALTER down. A barrage of elbows to the head was all it took to make sure The Ring General stayed there.

A quick and exciting fight between two fantastic wrestlers. The air of legitimacy that these men carry added a lot to the contest and made it feel like an event.

Verdict: Four Stars

Timothy Thatcher defeated Bobby Gunns

Gunns struck the second the bell rang and from that point on was in control. Thatcher was selling that he was dazed by the early assault and it was giving Bobby the chance to assert himself on the contest. Tim didn’t want to give-up, though, and he was able to use his strength to drag himself to the ropes.

It meant he spent the majority of the contest on his back desperately struggling to break Gunns’ control and there was more than one occasion when it looked like he’d have to tap. It was some classic babyface in peril wrestling, and Tim was doing a great job.

And, as with the best stories, he managed to overcome and get the victory. It was a nicely worked match with an enjoyable story running through it. Thatcher is super over with the crowd, and it helped that they were willing him over the finishing line.

Verdict: Three Stars

Speedball Mike Bailey defeated David Starr

Bailey’s inclusion was a smart touch. With a lot of guys who are going to be spending time on the ground, he’s someone who tries to kick your head off.

Against Starr, he was looking to kick his head off while also avoiding being suplexed. It was a fun dynamic allowing him to dodge around David, looking for his opening while at the same time avoiding those grasping hands.

It was a task that he turned out to be equal too. Having survived the few times Starr managed to get a hold of him, it took just one kick from Bailey to end this. His foot came crashing down on David Starr’s head, and the lights went out. It momentarily looked like he was going to get back up but his legs crumbled from underneath him and it was over.

These two stand out as the highlights of this short tournament, and together they put on a good show.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Timothy Thatcher defeated Speedball Mike Bailey to win Ambition 9

You know the story I outlined in the last match? Read that again. With the added caveat that in the ring with Timothy Thatcher, Speedball looks like a small child.

Despite that, he wasn’t overwhelmed. Speedball’s pace was giving him all kinds of advantages and combined with his striking he was able to shake the foundations of the giant across from him. Thatcher was somehow managing to continue playing his babyface in peril role despite looking like a bear mauling a bairn.

In the end, it forced Thatcher to leave his comfort zone. He leapt into the air with an enziguri, catching Bailey on the side of the head and causing him to crumple to the ground. Tim was right there to take advantage, locking on the armbar to get the submission and win the tournament.

Another solid showing, with both men playing their roles well. They deserve praise for managing to make Bailey look like the dominant man in there with someone so much bigger than him. That was quite a feat.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Post-match, Tim got on the microphone and continues to come across as a genuinely lovely man. Let’s all say thank you for Timothy Thatcher.

Overall Show

This is a hard show to recommend. If you’re at all interested in shoot fighting, you should probably give it a try. If you consider MMA professional hugging (an opinion I’ve heard a few times) then stay far away. It was intriguing rather than good. I liked how different they made everything feel, with even the crowd taking on a reverential tone, watching silently and applauding at the right moments. There are of course issues with shoot style wrestling in that it raises the kayfabe question of what wrestling style wrestling is. However, when it’s presented in a bubble like this tournament was, I say go for it. The more cool shows we have, the better.

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