Review: WSU Full Steam Ahead (13 October 2012)

Women Superstars Uncensored kicks off a new era under new owners Beyond Wrestling with Full Steam Ahead, featuring Mercedes Martinez taking on LuFisto, and Jessicka Havok defending the WSU World Title against joint top contenders Lexxus and Alicia.

Results
1. nCw Femmes Fatales International Champion Kalamity pinned Leva Bates in a non-title match with a Kalamity Driver.
2. Tina San Antonio defeated Brittney Savage by pinning her with a roll up with her feet on the ropes.
3. Addy Starr beat Jessie Brooks with a running forearm.
4. Mercedes Martinez v LuFisto went to a 30 minute time limit draw.
5. Saturyne pinned Niya with a victory roll to earn a spot on WSU’s roster.
6. WSU Tag Team Champions Sassy Stephie & Allysin Kay beat Annie Social & Kimber Lee in a non-title match when Lee was unable to continue.
7. WSU Spirit Champion Marti Belle successfully defended the title against Nikki Addams by pinning her with a Pedigree.
8. WSU Champion Jessicka Havok retained her title against Alicia & Lexxus in a 3-way when she rolled up Alicia for the pinfall.

Highlights
• Bates’ dressing-up was slightly darker this time around, dressing as Billy the puppet from the Saw movie series.
• Addy Starr and Saturyne made their WSU debuts, while Niya made her first WSU appearance in 2012 after falling to Jennifer Cruz in a Loser Leaves WSU match at Breaking Barriers 2 last November.
• Martinez & LuFisto’s draw saw them both hit their respective finishers (Fisherman Buster & Burning Hammer) in the final few minutes of the match. The pair had to be separated after the bell by the roster, who emptied the locker room to break them up.
• Two non-title matches on the show, though the champions still emerged victorious.
• Of the two championship matches which did take place, both titleholders retained their belts. Both received perceived challenges after their matches – Belle was confronted by Ezavel Suena and the pair exchanged words in Spanish, while Lexxus claimed she was the rightful WSU Champion because it was Alicia who was pinned by Havok, and not her.

Observations
• Bates’ continued in-ring improvement over the second half of 2012 continued here, as she entered a strong performance against Kalamity – who was wearing her old style gothic overcoat-style gear, which I think makes her look more intimidating. Leva was on the backfoot for more of the contest, but had some lovely moments like double stomps and big kicks. Her attempt to use leverage and speed in a crucifix attempt came back to haunt her as she was muscled into the Kalamity Driver.
• There was no real reason for Savage and San Antonio to be wrestling, but here they are – also, with her long blonde hair and bright pink outfit, Brittney Savage is now a life-size Barbie doll.
• A less than dynamic match followed, with a really weird victory roll exchange which looked very awkward. However, the finishing sequence was good, as Savage’s comeback was spirited. However, when she went for an RKO, San Antonio reversed it into a roll-up with her feet on the ropes for the three. The ending was good, but I didn’t care much for what preceded it.
• Jessie Brooks’ new gold and white gear is great – it suits her and she looks fantastic. Across the ring, Canadian Addy Starr had a great look too, and was sporting an outfit emblazoned with the American flag.
• Brooks was a machine in this match. Gutwrench suplexes, overhead throws, snap suplexes with a bridge, front powerslams, butterfly suplexes into cross-armbreakers – she was fun to watch. Likewise, Starr had some flurries of her own, including a massive jumping DDT and the straightjacket neckbreaker and running forearm she used to get the fall. Considering I wasn’t expecting much, this was a big surprise, and a two thumbs-up match. Great job.
• While the match was going on, Sammy Geodollno stalked the ringside area. Looks like she’s scouting for talent.
• Live reports from the show insisted that Mercedes Martinez v LuFisto was a great 30 minute battle – they weren’t kidding. Brawling to the outside on no less than 8 occasions during the match, the pair clubbed each other with stiff shots in a contest where neither woman gained a sustained advantage. This was less of a wrestling match and more of a fight peppered with wrestling moves along the way.
• A minor thing – this was the only match where time limit announcements were made during the match from 20 minutes, which telegraphed the result a bit. Fair enough, no other match hit the 20 minute mark, but to make the announcements at 10 minute intervals throughout the evening may have hidden the result of this match a bit.
• Saturyne v Niya was – like Brooks v Starr – a pleasant surprise. While I’m a fan of Saturyne, I didn’t care much for Niya before she was sent packing at the end of last year. However, she wasn’t bad at all in this match, and the exchanges between the two surpassed my expectations. Saturyne also showed why she is one of the best female fliers in North America with some lovely aerial moves like jumping spin kicks and a springboard crossbody before getting the pin with a victory roll. Having said that, I must also point out that Niya landed a lovely handspring moonsault for a near-fall a few moments before the end.
• The post-match angle with Cruz attacking Niya before Jana made the save seemed surplus to requirements though.
• Annie Social & Kimber Lee v Sassy Stephie & Allysin Kay was your typical tag match format, though the babyfaces showed off some slick fast tags before the Midwest Militia got the heat on Social, attacking her midsection and ribcage. When the hot tag was made to Kimber Lee, her offence was quick and sharp… but short, as she was shoved off the top back into the ring and “injured” her knee, causing the match to be thrown out. Kay took another shot to the leg before leaving though.
• One thing to notice is that on two occasions, Kay was yelling instructions at Stephie. It seems as if Allysin has appointed herself the captain of this tag team.
• Marti Belle v Nikki Addams lacked heat and drama, partly because while Belle was popular enough, Addams didn’t generate any kind of strong response. While the pair tried hard, their greatest benefit may also be their biggest problem – they are regular opponents and know which spots are coming. For example, on two occasions, Belle bumped for kicks before they had connected.
• Another point that should be mentioned is Addams constantly adjusting her top because she was spilling out of it. The thing with it is that it was not custom-made gear – it was just a vest top which had been creatively slashed at the back, and it offered no support. Niya was doing the same thing with her gear – pulling up her tights and adjusting the top to make sure it looked right or to ensure that everything stayed in place. A quick suggestion – if you have grown or shrunk and your gear doesn’t fit anymore, alter it or change it, because constantly fiddling with it during a match makes me feel that you’re more interested with how you look than beating up your opponent.
• If you merely read the result of the main event, it doesn’t look great for the dominant WSU Champion Jessicka Havok – rolling someone up for the pin – but the match itself tells a different story. Rather than being a three way, this felt like singles matches – as either Alicia or Lexxus were outside of the ring for large portions of the contest while Havok laid down the beatings in the ring. Sure, there was some three-way action near the end as wrestlers started breaking up pins, but this wasn’t the kind of triple threat match I thought it would be.
• The finish came when Alicia was kicking Lexxus out of the ring, and Jessicka snuck up for the pin – which seems a shame, as the opportunity was there for Havok to gain a decisive win, which would have been her first in a title defence considering the screwy ending to the Casket Match at the Uncensored Rumble in June. Had Havok nailed Alicia with the Air Raid Crash and pinned her, she would have looked like the ultimate badass.

Match of the Night
Mercedes Martinez v LuFisto
The match kicked off before the competitors could get to the ring – Martinez went straight after LuFisto as she came through he curtain, and started a contest which would be a mix of technical wrestling and wild brawling.

As mentioned earlier, neither gained a sustained advantage over the other, which made for a different sort of match – it was a war of wills, with both trying to prove they were the better wrestler. It was also two matches rolled into one, as inside the ring the wrestling was mostly technical, though it did degenerate into chopping and kicking on more than one occasion, while during its numerous trips to the ringside area, both women were pummelling each other with big shots. No matter what sort of match you’re into – you would probably be satisfied with what was presented here.

Considering the post-match brawl which they had, these two could have gone even longer than the time limit allowed, and trust me when I say that this did not feel like 30 minutes when watching it – the time just flew by. A top contest, and one of my favourite matches of the year – and all this when LuFisto should have been in bed recovering from the influenza bug she was suffering at the time.

On a final note, it was weird seeing Martinez wrestling as a babyface here, as in most of the other high-profile promotions – SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales & SHINE – she is a full-on heel. Considering she was the fan favourite everywhere for so long, it is a testament to her heel character that seeing her wrestle as a babyface is so starkly bizarre.

Overall Impressions
I was watching the fancam version of the show, which was recorded at ringside, which gave you the impression of sitting in the front row – however, most fans would have been able to sit in the front row, as attendance for the show was in the region of about 50 paying fans and 80 in attendance in total – and made you feel that you were actually there. As an experience, it was fine to see the matches as they happened, but I am also interested in seeing how the final product is presented on DVD and Video On Demand. Smart Mark Video is editing the footage after having their camera team there, and the NYWC Sportatorium now benefits from better lighting, which should make for a better home-viewing experience.

As for the show itself, I’d say it was a good start for Beyond. With a focus on the in-ring action for now, there were only a couple of angles after the matches – which was good, as it meant that I was able to write this review pretty much from memory. The show also benefited from concentrating on the wrestling for now, as it follows the KISS principle of Keep It Simple, Stupid. The right wrestlers won, the ones who lost looked good in defeat, and pretty much everyone has a new path to go down for the future – the only one who doesn’t seem to have a direction is Nikki Addams, who was soundly beaten and is a bit directionless now, though it could be questioned where Alicia goes from here too. Keeping the numbers down on the roster for the show also helped, as the matches were given time to develop – most of the matches were around the 7-9 minute mark, though the main event felt a little short.

This is only the first outing for the relaunch of WSU, so it would be unfair to make any major assessments, but it was a good start.

As for whether you should buy the show for yourself, I’d encourage you to do so. With three good matches and one fantastic one, you can’t really ask for more than that from an 8 match card. I’ll be returning to watch the VOD when it comes out to see if the presentation has changed since the previous era, but as it stands, everything seems to be heading in the right direction.

You can buy the fancam/VOD or DVD deal by clicking here.

- Lee Burton

foleyfunk89 says:

Good review Lee. Being there live, there was nothing like the Mercedes/Lufisto match. Simply amazing. Did not feel like 30 minutes whatsoever. They gave 110% in that match, clear MOTN.