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Mixed Match Chambers – Jake’s MMC Review – Week 13

December 16, 2018 | Posted by Jake Chambers
R-Truth and Carmella Mixed Match Challenge
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Mixed Match Chambers – Jake’s MMC Review – Week 13  

Regrets. Many of us who watch WWE are feeling a lot of regrets at the end of 2018. None more so than someone who has been exclusively watching every minute of Mixed Match Challenge Season 2 for the past few months.

The WWE clearly regrets starting this second season of Mixed Match Challenge the way they did, considering the way it has now ended. They regret having booked many of their A-level stars in a show that was going to get D-level effort and attention, and thus by the end of the season most were gone either due to injury or disinterest.

The WWE regrets having booked themselves into a corner with the concept of a Round Robin Tournament. One of the main reasons I wanted to write this column was to analyze how the WWE was going to utilize this real sport concept that has worked so well in other companies, and really could be used to turn around the dull and directionless narrative of the WWE on the whole right now. Of course, once they realized it required some effort and long-term planning, they ditched committing to the idea around Week 4.

The WWE regrets using creative names to label all the tag teams this season. During the “playoffs” weeks, the stopped using the team names all together, which for a company that promotes the most hollow tag team in its history right now, from the Undisputed Era to the Ascension, feels tellingly committed to generic blandness.

The WWE regrets buying into the fad of the “dance break” for a couple of weeks, so much that they even had Vince McMahon come out on Smackdown and join in on one. They thought they had something with dumb-ass dancing segments, so for the meat of this season they turned the whole show into an embarrassing extended dance break.

The WWE regrets all the time and money they put into creating content for the Network through this Facebook deal that is so bad that it will likely lead to no rewatches in the future. What a waste. Everything else they produce has gotta appeal to some segment of the audience for eventual rewatches on that database, but MMC 2 gonna have less on-demand views than NXT Season 3.

The WWE regrets hinting at inter-gender wrestling, as it almost completely disappeared as a theme to many of these matches in the second half of this season. After a beginning to 2018 that felt like we were really rolling towards gender equality in the faux competition that is pro-wrestling, the WWE doubled-down on segregation, which I’m sure is not so coincidentally connected to that big money Saudi deal they signed.

The WWE even regrets having The Miz, I mean, they gotta. Every time they find a go-nowhere bit to try and hide this guy, whether it’s a dead end tag team with Damien Sandow or being saddled with the sad-sack Intercontinental Title again, Miz still finds a way to shine. The first MMC season shouldn’t have worked, but it did and Miz was a major part, as champion and anchor to the entire mixed team concept. And then in Season 2, when the guy isn’t even booked on the PPV where the final match is taking place, they don’t even want him.

The WWE regrets ever taking this show seriously, and now so do I. Shame on you WWE, for a lot of things, but truly shame on you for turning this show, and all the great potential it had in a variety of the areas mentioned above, into a big fucking joke.

As always, 411mania is the home to the greatest show/match reviewer alive, Larry Csonka, and his weekly review of Mixed Match Challenge and god bless him for also watching this show all season and putting in the effort to breakdown the matches and expertly rate them in relation to his extensive knowledge of the pro-wrestling canon. On the other hand, here for the final time is the alternative “star ratings” rubric that I created for mixed match wrestling in 2018, as a way to pump up what I expected to be some fun and well wrestled matches this season. A good idea, but a bad show to try it with.

MMC Match Rating Rubric

5 Stars – a transcendent match that truly evens the playing field for the male and female wrestlers involved at a main event level.

For example = Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H: enraptured a Wrestlemania audience with action, drama and moments of believable inter-gender combat. It is unlikely any match from MMC 2 will be able to reach this rating level.

4 Stars – near-flawless and exciting wrestling action, where characters are out of the element and realistically trying to win the match in dramatic fashion; elements of inter-gender wrestling will be a strong bonus.

For example = MMC S2 – Week 1 – AJ Styles & Charlotte vs. Jimmy Uso & Naomi: house-show level competitive back-and-forth between Charlotte and Naomi, fun verbal interactions between Styles and Uso, and inter-gender elements that resulted directly in the finish.

3 Stars – solid, clean wrestling where you don’t notice any continued errors or lethargic sequences; if lacking in drama or action, superior exterior features such as macro or micro storylining and/or character flourishes are taken into account.

For example = MMC S2 – Week 2 – Alicia Fox & Jinder Mahal vs. Mickie James & Bobby Lashley: Well-timed sequences that fit together like dominoes, giving four wrestlers with often little opportunity on the main roster a chance to put on a compelling and satisfying match.

2 Stars – even if the wrestling performed is average or the outcome predictable, a match at this level should feature a solid pace that stops it from being boring or pointless.

For example = MMC S2 – Week 6 – Finn Balor & Bayley vs. Bobby Roode & Natalya: dull wrestlers being instructed to “have fun” in between moments of chain wrestling with the energy of a backstage run-through.

1 Star – basically a match that goes through the motions, relies heavily on rest holds, or features a lop-sided effort from competitors of one gender; mistakes and botches stand out significantly.

For example = MMC S2 – Week 5 – Asuka & The Miz vs. Lana & Rusev: a lifeless match of unnecessary comedy and dancing anchored by Lana’s poor wrestling.

MMC2 – Week 12 Review

Match #1: Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox vs. Apollo Crews & Bayley

If it wasn’t already obvious WWE had decided to go full-joke for the finals, putting C-level Crews in for B-level Balor was the final rubber chicken in the Carrot Top chest. Eh, kind of happy I didn’t have to watch that soulless MMC version of Balor zombie his way through another match.

Nothing really worthy of analysis in this match. This one followed the exact same booking formula of just about every match this season: brief stalemate between the men, multiple pinfall attempts with the women, an extended wear-down hold sequence, and a quick move-trading ending sequence where some kind of confusion leads to an “out of nowhere” finisher and pin. These four went through these motions with about the same level of energy as the dead-voice monotone Renee Young and hammy canned-voice Vic Joseph used to drag their boring asses across the finish line of this season.

Match Rating: **

Match #2: The Miz & Asuka vs. R-Truth & Carmella

The audience was as bored for this one as they were during that already uncool “Dance Break” bit (what a shocker). R-Truth dusting off that ridiculous Alarm Clock move was at least one highlight. Although a close second was the sloppy Unprettier he used to get the win after the break-up of Awe-ska.

Awe-ska was the brightest point of the MMC through the first season until now. You could always count on The Miz to at least take this shitty second season seriously, even as the fortunes of Asuka slipped to the midcard on Smackdown and with it her mood as a competitor. Breaking them up here should have felt bigger, much like everything this season, so it’s a perfectly impact-free way for the show to go out.

Match Rating: **

I won’t have to eat my hat, as I promised I would last week if the finals wasn’t Mahalicia vs. Fabulous Truth (good thing too, since I would have had to go and buy a hat in the first place just to eat it). But there is one more match left, and so I will be back with one last Mixed Match Chambers to review what is sure to be a complete dud.

4.0
The final score: review Poor
The 411
Harmless wrestling with hilariously bad results. The MMC went full dumb-ass with a finals featuring two jobber teams that could barely compete in what was ultimately a total waste of time round robin tournament. At least these two teams did slightly elevate themselves as a combination across this season, but that's like saying you feel better after vomiting. Whatever skits they have planned for the eventual "all expense paid vacation" with the team that wins is destined to be completely unfunny, and nothing about this episode or this season should make anyone compelled to watch.
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