MKW – A New Chapter: Professional Wrestling’s Return to Harbin

Middle Kindom Wrestling returned to Harbin, China for their first show of the year. With over 7,000,000 streams of December’s Bash at the BayA New Chapter had to follow quite the card. Add several card changes happening in the final push towards the event, and the pressure was on for MKW.

Being the first wrestling event I have attended here in China, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. How would fans interact with the show? Would anything get lost in translation with this relatively new experience? I knew that Adrian Gomez, the owner and promoter of MKW, had been traveling recently, and mentioned stopping to get tips on how to improve the production value of MKW’s shows.

So what did we see?

Beer Bash, home to multiple MKW events, looked sleek. The stage, and overall presentation, looked very professional. The event began with our announcer for the evening welcoming the crowd to the venue. This was done in Mandarin, as many would expect. He then met a couple of young talents in the ring, where they briefly went over the ways someone can win and lose a match. This is only MKW’s fourth year in operation, and many within the crowd might be experiencing professional wrestling for the first time. The venue was also only a few blocks from multiple college campuses. With a pretty affordable ticket price, walk-ins could certainly happen. When you also factor in talent inviting friends for a first time look, this move made a lot of sense.

After the rules demonstration, our announcer for the evening was interrupted by Khan Spirasi, the leader of the Flat Earth Foundation. His promo was in English, though he was heckled from the outside by the ring announcer in Mandarin. He introduced Tommy Combat, a member of the FEF, who would be challenged by the Time Wizard. Conspiracy theorists challenging a Time Wizard is arguably the greatest opening to a show, wrestling or otherwise. The match itself was solid. Tommy Combat does a nice job of adding muttering and coming across as a lunatic. He wins this fun match, scoring a victory for Alex Jones in the process.

Before the next match, Chairman Al and Lady Marie of The Stable make an appearance. They inform those in the crowd that are not aware, that MKW World Champion Big Sam will not be in attendance, as he is injured. While it is a shame that the world title will not be defended on the first show of the year, we get a great MKW vs OWE match later on instead.

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The tag team match that followed, Bamboo Crusher and Curry Boy taking on “The Monster Keeper” KC and Little Johnny, had a lot of comedy in it that worked with both the local and international crowd. The match did a great job of building KC and Little Johnny as absolute monsters. With Little Johnny being listed as over 400 pounds, he might have quite possibly weighed more than the total weight of the unsuccessful team of Bamboo Crusher and Curry Boy. KC and Little Johnny appear to be the team to beat in MKW’s tag team division.

The Stable is back, this time escorting Uncle Money to the ring, as he battles former NXT talent, Jason Cheng. The match had a stereotypical vibe of the outnumbered hero having to do his best to beat the numbers game. This probably would have been less noticeable if the crowd wasn’t seemingly behind Uncle Money. In a match filled with interference from Chairman Al and Lady Marie, Cheng was eventually the one who was disqualified, after hitting Money with a foreign object The Stable introduced. The match followed a format that’s been done many times before, but it worked well enough. I’m looking forward to seeing Uncle Money in the future.

The next match featured “Master Class” Michael Su, originally set to challenge Big Sam, defending MKW against OWE’s Hyperstreak. This was an incredibly fast-paced, athletic match, that only slowed down a bit for Hyperstreak to start playing the heel. This was my match of the night. Perhaps unexpectedly, the match actually had a clean finish. The more it was mentioned that Shanghai and Harbin’s favorite promotions were colliding, the less likely the ending we got seemed, but Michael Su came out victorious, without any sort of shenanigans, just a strong contest all around.

After a brief intermission, we would get our final two matches of the night. The second half began with an interview with Su, letting fans get back to their seat, and giving Su a bit more time to shine. Master Class is clearly someone MKW plans to build around, and it is obvious to see why.

Next, Belt and Road Champion Black Mamba defended his title in a triple threat match. Bitman, from HKWF, and the Trial of Kylin ladder match winner, Junyan Lee. As mentioned in previous articles, you can only challenge for the Belt and Road Championship by a wrestler from one of the more than seventy countries that are members of the Belt and Road Initiative. Black Mamba received one of the best reactions of the night in a match that gave each competitor a bit of time to show what they were capable of. After eliminating Bitman from the ring, Black Mamba got Junyan Lee to tap out.

The main event saw the return of WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitorHo Ho Lun to MKW. He took on Cam FergusonZombie Dragon, and Ash Silva (with The Stable), in a fatal four-way. The winner of this match would receive a title match against Big Sam. This match saw a bit of everything. We once again had interference from Chairman Al on the behalf of The Stable. Zombie Dragon was accompanied to the ring by a ninja, introduced bugs into the match, and put Cam Ferguson through a makeshift table. In the end, however, Ferguson was victorious in this high octane, chaotic battle.

After the match, Ferguson cut a solid promo, beginning by calling out all of the nepotism in MKW, declaring he had to work harder than anyone else in the company because he isn’t a pretty boy. He has sacrificed it all over the past year, but he finally has his chance to take his place at the top of the card. The second half of his promo, Ferguson went full Mad Max, screaming about riding into Valhalla.

In the end, tonight’s event proved that high-quality professional wrestling translates across the globe. The antics of The Stable and the Flat Earth Federation, the athleticism whole roster, all would translate well to an American audience. Given the last show’s streaming numbers, and how packed the venue was for A New Chapter, it clearly is catching on with the Chinese audience. Adrian Gomez takes pride in creating a wrestling promotion with Chinese characteristics, and that is certainly what he has done. But in achieving that goal, he has also created a global success. In such a short period of time, MKW has become a flagship promotion here in China, and a company that wrestlers from all over the world should look to work for.