After last week’s technical and timing difficulties, this week’s edition of Prime Time Live would surely be watched by far more critical eyes. Would the United Wrestling Network and NWA be able to fix the problems of last week and present a compelling show?
Let’s head to ringside and find out!
The improvement to the show was noticeable immediately, as we opened on a quick series of promos from some of tonight’s performers, before revealing a title card and theme tune, something missing from last week’s show.
Notable moments from the promos included a very confident Thunder Rosa speaking in front of a spider web; Slice Boogie warning Kevin Fredrickson that he’s no Young Lion, he’s a man; and Eli Drake saying he’s where he’s meant to be—ON PRIME TIME! YE-AH!
This was a well-done opening. It was quick-paced and introduced the competitors to members of the audience who may not have seen some of these wrestlers before. It also reminded me of the way classic Saturday Night’s Main Event would sometimes open, which gave me that warm fuzzy feeling. I’m getting old…
Danny ‘Limelight’ Rivera vs. Kevin Martenson
This is a rematch from Saturday’s Championship Wrestling, with commentary playing up Rivera’s resolve to win this one while commenting on Martenson’s worry about his own ring rust.
Rivera struck hard first with a great sequence where he hit a snapping kick to the back of Martenson’s head, followed by a rolling Northern Lights suplex and massive dive to the outside. Martenson came back with a basement dropkick, a double stomp over the top rope, and a mental dive of his own—running and sliding across the ring and out the other side to hit Rivera with a spear! What a move.
Martenson slowed things down back in the ring, but Limelight soon increased the speed, running the ropes and nailing a big hurricarana for a near-fall. A kick sent Rivera to the outside, where Martenson attempted a springboard double stop onto him and appeared to just miss him. Rivera made up for it by backdropping a running Martenson straight from the floor into the ropes!
Back in the ring, Martenson countered some Rivera kicks with a ‘Rat Trap’ attempt, the move he put Rivera away with on Saturday. Rivera was able to counter it though with a roll-up. A Symbiote DDT attempt failed, however, when Martenson caught Rivera and just threw him onto on to the ramp! A frog splash onto the ramp saw Rivera put up the knees to counter, but it wasn’t enough to stop Martenson. He picked up Rivera, nailed him with a killer brainbuster on the ramp, and rolled Rivera back into the ring for the pinfall victory.
This was a great opener and built on their match from Saturday. The big moments looked great because they were unexpected, and Danny Rivera’s rope skills are always astonishing.
The question remains: where does Danny Rivera go from here. It appears they’re pushing a losing streak storyline. Is Papo Esco the man to get Limelight back to winning ways?
“I’m Better Than You and I’m Not Even Trying”
Backstage, David Marquez had the NWA National Heavyweight champion, Aron Stevens, with him. It’s been announced that next week Stevens will be wrestling his old nemesis Trevor Murdoch with the title on the line.
Stevens has proved himself to be a decisive character, but I think he’s great on the mic, especially when he’s focussed. He’s ridiculous and funny, yet he’s so smarmy that you genuinely want to see someone like Murdoch give him a pasting!
I’m looking forward to this one.
Watts vs. Eli Drake
This is the first time we’ve seen Watts since he lost the Heritage title, and boy he does not look happy! Eli finds this out for himself when he comes down from posing in the corner to find Watts right behind him in his face. Eli calms him down with a handshake, and Watts jokes about hearing the fans chanting his name at home, but this one, I think, is going to turn ugly quickly.
So it turns out to be when Eli nails Watts in the face with a dropkick. Watts takes offense to the kick being to the face and begins to just dominate Drake with punches, a big overhead suplex and four fallaway slams. I didn’t mind this part of the match and felt it made sense for Drake to be dominated by the larger Watts, but I did feel Watts’ offence was a little too slow for my taste.
Eli did come back with an amazing running dive from the ramp straight over the top rope into a clothesline, followed by a leg sweep and a power slam. Watts took over, though, with a big boot and a Choke Force sit-down powerbomb, which Drake amazingly kicked out of. Watts took too long setting up a second Choke Force, though, giving Drake enough time to counter with the Gravy Train for the 1-2-3.
This wasn’t my favourite match of the night, but I did enjoy the story being told of Watts being too cocky, which is starting to cost him matches. And it’s always great to see Eli Drake back in action.
Friendship Farm vs. Real Money Brothers
For all the shenanigans and games Gentleman Jervis likes to play in the ring, he is quick on the draw and sharp on the action. Knowing Suge of the Real Money Brothers was going to attack him out of the handshake, Jervis was a step ahead, catching the boot, before moving on later to a leg sweep into the ropes and then throwing his body against his prone opponent. We all love the fun—there was even a tickle moment—but don’t forget that Jervis can go.
He and Sweet Robin looked really strong here, dominating the Real Money Brothers until Sweet Robin fell victim to the bruising tactics of Real Money Brothers. Jervis tried to tag back in, but RMB were too much for the Farm boys, who took out Sweet Robin on the apron then smashed Jervis, who’d tried to hit the Rock-a-Bye slam, with their ‘Signing Bonus’ discus punch/spinning slam finisher.
A short and sweet encounter that I enjoyed, as I always enjoy the Friendship Farm. But please can they win a match? No one will pop as big as me, I promise.
Dickinson Is Here to Clean the Mess Up
In the back, ‘Dirty’ Chris Dickinson is less than impressed at what he’s just seen, singling out Jervis in particular. He calls it a mess and asks where David Marquez and Billy Corgan are to clean it. He says that if they aren’t willing to clean things up, he is…
I’m really enjoying Dickinson’s work at the moment. Who’s he going to clean up first? Watch out, Jervis!
Slice Boogie vs. Karl Fredericks
Slice Boogie we’ve recently seen on Championship Wrestling taking the awesome Danny ‘Limelight’ Rivera to a time-limit draw. Fredericks, on the other hand, was the winner of the New Japan Young Lion Cup and is the first graduate from their LA dojo. He’s since wrestled Jeff Cobb and beaten Rocky Romero, so he’s certainly got talent. He also appears to have a penchant for dressing like 1996-era Marc Mero, but none of us are perfect.
This was a great, physical encounter, plain and simple. It was two tough bruisers wanting to prove they are the best. Wrestling really can be that simple. Slice Boogie showed a real crispness in execution, punishing Fredericks with various suplexes and an impressive corkscrew stunner he calls the ‘21st Street’. Fredericks was perhaps a little more athletic, demonstrating his speed and skill with a standing jump crossbody and an excellent dropkick whilst Boogie was slumped in the corner. Of course, there were some fearsome strikes on display too.
Fredericks took the win with a spine buster and a brainbuster, but both men looked great by the end. Just a solid, hard-hitting encounter. Recommended.
NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa vs. Priscilla Kelly
Wow. Just wow. I knew this one was going to be great, but I didn’t expect such a hard-hitting, hard-fought, bruising encounter between the two.
Thunder Rosa is perhaps the most organically ‘over’ wrestler in the world right now. Her ‘Tour of Destruction’ has taken her to AEW, Warrior Wrestling, her own Mission Pro Wrestling and now to Prime Time Live. This has been Rosa’s own version of the Aldis world tour from the end of 2018 and really re-establishes NWA champions as fighting champions who will go anywhere there’s a challenger to defend their prestigious titles against. There’s such a buzz around Thunder Rosa lately and it’s very exciting to see.
Priscilla Kelly is perhaps more of a cult figure but, after this banger, she deserves to have all eyes on her paying her attention.
This was not a tidy match, with a neat sequence of spots structured nicely. This was rough, ready and raging, and all the better for it. Pushing at each other with MMA techniques, the match saw various takedowns, mounts, suplexes, armbars and chokeholds on display, giving the match a real big fight feel and a brutal overtone that really added to the MMA style on display. Rosa countering Kelly’s armbar into a leglock was a thing of beauty to behold. MMA when used well really can add something to a wrestling match.
The ramp came into play again as Rosa nailed a brutal Death Valley Driver on the solid walkway. Kelly amazingly was able to continue. Two versions of her finisher, ‘Crippling Depression’, one modified, looked like they would yield us a new NWA champion but Rosa would not be denied.
Kelly went for a headscissors/stretch combo in response, smashing Rosa in the ribs with fists for added pressure. Rosa incredibly stood up with Kelly still attached and dropped back, squashing Kelly in the process. AN exhausted yet enraged exchange of forearms and chops followed, but Rosa was able to dodge a Kelly kick and hit a high knee, a running knee and finally the Thunder Driver to retain her title.
This was one hell of a match. Priscilla Kelly still looked great in defeat for how much punishment she was able to lay on the champ during the match. I hope she makes it big somewhere.
Meanwhile, if you’ve yet to see Thunder Rosa in action, you’re missing out. Join the revolution and start this match—you’re probably looking at one of the best wrestlers in the world right now.
After a shaky start last week, I thought this week was a massive improvement and a very enjoyable evening of wrestling.
There was now a title package, with a cool promo intro package; the matches were well-timed, and no single match felt too long or too short; consequently, the show felt much better paced; and Todd Kennely and Alyssa Marino work really well on commentary.
But what of the wrestling? Well, we got a great opener between Danny Rivera and Kevin Martenson; a bruising encounter between Karl Fredericks and Slim Boogie; fun and games with the Friendship Farm; and an absolute must-watch main event. If the United Wrestling Network and NWA can keep up this quality, then Prime Time Live, slowly but surely, could really build up a sizeable audience. I’m hoping word of mouth will spread because quality wrestling needs to be celebrated, it really does.
I’ll see you next week, grapple fans, for more fantastic action from Prime Time Live!