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Mixed Match Chambers – Jake’s MMC Review – Week 7

November 5, 2018 | Posted by Jake Chambers
MMC WWE Mixed Match Challenge AJ Styles Charlotte Flair
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Mixed Match Chambers – Jake’s MMC Review – Week 7  

Is there a future for Mixed Match Challenge as a self-contained WWE series?

Right now, the best stuff WWE is producing are all these shows taking place on the periphery of the “main roster” universe. 205 Live is the clear stand out, a show that has become the most compelling TV produced by WWE; it builds up and pays off its own rivalries in a mix of Lucha Underground structure and Evolve in-ring wrestling. NXT is weaker from a serialized perspective, since they are not stuck in the taped TV loop of preparing for quarterly events like a pre-In Your House WWF, but those Takeover specials are phenomenal. NXT UK, on the other hand, has already dug itself in as a very patient, pay-off heavy, and in-ring focused side promotion. The Mae Young Classic this year was a fantastic package of indie-style wrestling, and then we had Evolution last weekend, arguably the best non-NXT event the WWE has put on in years. All of these shows are almost completely detached from the nonsense of the main roster.

Could WWE shift the MMC in this direction for future seasons? Obviously to do so they’d have to remove all the main event level stars from the show; no more Braun, AJ or Charlotte like we had on this week’s episode. However, it would be a great place for teams like Mahalicia and Fabulous Rusev Day to have something meaningful to fight for on a regular basis, even if that was just the bragging rights of winning a comedy-based tournament. Mike and Maria Kanelis would have made much more sense for a MMC series than they do in 205 Live, and you can bring back Goldust and Mandy Rose, put R-Truth together with anybody; hell, bring back Ivory and throw her in there somewhere!

The WWE is currently fabricating a push for redundant Women’s Tag Team Championships on their main roster brands, but a Mixed Gender Tag Team Championship would make more sense. Much like how the original reality competition seasons of NXT set up the side promotion that we have today, these early MMC tournaments could be establishing another component of the WWE’s increasing resume of quality self-contained side brands.

I mean, anything has got to be better than what they’re doing to this series now!

As always, 411mania is the home to the greatest show/match reviewer alive, Larry Csonka, and his weekly review of this show will breakdown the matches and expertly rate them in relation to his extensive knowledge of the pro-wrestling canon. On the other hand, I created this alternative “star ratings” rubric to specifically focus on ranking only the best/worst of the WWE’s mixed gender matches, of course, that was assuming they were going to actually put some effort into this series like they did with season one. As expanded on thoroughly last week, my mistake.

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 that stand out significantly more than any of the actual action in the match.

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 7 Review

Match #1: Monster Eclipse vs. Mahalica

Not too much to say here. This whole thing was like the skeleton of a great MMC match: wacky characters interacting, clean wrestling, some unique sequences; except, they’ve booked the whole tournament into a predictable corner and drained much of the energy out any match from now until the final weeks. When Mahalicia went up against Country Dominance in Week 2, all these same elements were performed with so much more enthusiasm because it felt like the match had an actual impact on the standings.

I’m going to give this one a happier 2-stars than the sad sack matches from last week, and this is even with the meat of the match being an unnecessary chin-lock sequence by Fox on Moon. Otherwise, I did like the interactions between Braun and Jinder at the beginning, and the whole ending came together nicely enough. Still… who cares?

Match Rating: **

Match #2: Fenomenal Flair vs. Ravishing Rusev Day

Not sure what to make of this match. If they hadn’t already, the producers just completely threw out any urgency by anyone to want to win this tournament.

And, let’s just say, the stand-still chop-off was no Kobashi vs. Sasaki…

… but what is, really?

The rest of the match was light enough, but really useless. Once they started the “wrestling” side of the match, it was worse than the chop-off, so wrap your head around that one.

Match Rating: *

Boringly, the WWE has booked both blocks in the EXACT same way. Mathematically, I’m not sure they could do much different, I suppose, but there might have been a way to arrange it all in somewhat of a less predictable manner. Regardless, it’s gonna be tough to be interested in the matches next week between two teams on the Smackdown side with no shot at winning, and the two on the RAW side looking to repeat the pattern from this week. Therefore, I predict a lot of dancing. Heck, Solid Gold had more drama that this show (and you thought C+C Music Factory was as dated reference).

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The final score: review Bad
The 411
The first match was okay, I guess, but like just as pointless as the rest of the dumb mid-card matches on shows like RAW and Smackdown. WWE had the opportunity to mix the fun house-show level pro-wrestling of Season One with the sustained drama of a Round Robin tournament with Season Two. They've failed... miserably!
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