By Brian Dusel
On June 3rd at 4pm SLT at the Infinity Colosseum, the VWE teams with DIE and WPWF to present the Tag Team Classic, a tournament filled with 16 mixed gender tag teams to collide in a single-elimination tournament. June 3rd is just day one of this event, day two happening the next day, but on the first day we will see eight matches. We will see eight teams move onto day 2 in the quarter-finals and we will see eight teams go home empty-handed and broken hearted. As we look at the bracket for this tournament, let us see if we can break down the individual match-ups.
Braden considers himself the “King of VWE” and it is hard to argue with him when he is the reigning VWE World Heavyweight Champion. Braden is one of the fastest competitors in the VWE and has the experience to keep him on top for a while. The Crisis might not have as much experience as Karsin, but he has shown during his time in DIE and guest-appearing on VWE Pulse, that he will throw caution to the win and put his own body in danger if it means taking out his opponent. The Crisis is the biggest wild-card in this match. Teaming with The Crisis is the new VWE Queen of the Arena and the woman who immediately cashed in that briefcase last Friday to become the new VWE Radiance Champion, Hilary Lanfier. In one night, Hilary locked in her contendership to make 2017 her year. Like Braden, she utilizes her speed and agility and her own ruthlessness to catapult her as high as she wants to go. But, opposing Hilary and teaming with Braden is a woman who is all power and at almost six-foot tall, one of the biggest names from WPWF, Lyra Phoenix. While the ladies are in the match, it will be the classic strength vs agility and that is always a good thing.
Final Thoughts: Braden and Lyra will have a great mix of power and speed, but will that classic style offense be enough? If we break this down into single match-ups, Lyra vs Hilary will be very close. Both women know the other very well and have no issues facing someone out of their comfort zone. But where this match goes into the realm of unknown is with Braden vs The Crisis. As described above, Crisis is very unpredictable. There is no way to plan for his offense or what state of mind he might be in.
The reigning VWE Men’s Pulse Champion, Hamaso, could have done a lot worse when picking his partner. Teaming with Hamaso is the former VWE Women’s World Champion, Chloe Valentine. Facing off against their team is Austin Knight, a man who has found success managing and his partner, Marionetta the Trickster. Hamaso brings pageantry when he comes down to the ring with one of his majestic horses from his personal stables, while Austin comes off as more of a no-nonsense type wrestler. He has had personal training from the people he manages, including the “Human Concussion Machine” Derrick Cult. Look for Austin to use some quick strikes he’s picked up. Marionetta is one-of-a-kind. She comes off as crazy and she enjoys having people underestimate her. The truth is, she’s very calculated in what she does inside that ring. And when we look at Marionetta vs Chloe, this is a match that is supercard worthy but is too even to call. Hamaso taking on Austin is a little easier to predict. Hamaso has been on a roll since his debut on VWE Pulse, working his way up the ladder to eventually defeat Night for the VWE Pulse Championship. Hamaso goes into every match with something to prove and that kind of drive really pushes a person to fight harder.
Final Thoughts: Hamaso is much more of the traditional competitor, compared to Austin Knight. Look for Hamaso to try to assert his dominance early in the match. But while Franizzi is more experienced, Austin is more cunning and will be looking for an opening. Marionetta will have Chloe very well scouted thanks to how much social media the “Selfie Queen” puts out of herself training, but it would be a mistake to take Valentine lightly.
Vince and Maxine go back a long time. They have been the best of friends for the better part of a decade. That is going to come into play in this match because they will make sure their partners are ready. Vince will be able to give Kasumi every detail about Maxine’s skills and weaknesses and vice-versa, Maxine will fill in Fireguard. This is a clash of some of the biggest names in wrestling with hundreds of matches’ worth of experience. Vince Easterwood, besides just being a former VWE World Champion, is also recognized as arguably the top guy when it comes to technical wrestling. His opponent, is another former VWE World Heavyweight Champion, Jeffrey Fireguard. Jeff will use his speed against Vince, he will hit fast and hit hard. But will it be enough? Kasumi from WPWF is a great partner for Vince, thanks to her striking ability. She is going to want to push Maxine into the corner and lay into her with heavy kicks. But, Endrizzi is a talented performer and will use her experience to be looking for a counter attack.
Final Thoughts: This match is going to come down to who can make the other team wrestle their style match. If Jeff comes out and tries to chain wrestle or technical wrestle with Vince, he will fail. If Maxine tries to get into a striking contest with Kasumi, she will fail. But, in this type of match, where all you have to do is tag out to make the entire match shift momentum, anything can happen. For Jeff and Maxine, it is really important for them to push the pace, try to wind Vince and Kasumi, but that won’t be easy. This could be the best match of day 1.
This is one of the more interesting matches for day 1. “The Gunslinger” Matt Asadar is quite new to the VWE roster, but has already been showing people how hard he will work to prepare for his matches. The best thing for him in this match is how much stock footage there is of his opponent, Loody Graves. The leader of Team Awesome has been traveling the world and wrestling for near a decade, even being at the founding of VWE itself. Into the ladies match-up, it is hard to deny that Brooke Owens is probably feeling very down right now after losing the VWE Radiance Championship. It had to have been heartbreaking to have survived a Fatal 4-Way at King of the Arena, still champion, only to have Hilary Lanfier take advantage of winning Queen of the Arena to defeat Brooke. This is going to create a situation for Brooke, not just a desire to win, but a desperate need to win. Unfortunately, facing off against Brooke is Cheryl White, a woman who seems to find it almost too easy to get under people’s skins. If Brooke does not come into the match ready for a battle, or if she comes too eager to prove something, White will find a mistake in Brooke’s offense and take advantage.
Final Thoughts: Loody will need to curb his normal ego to make sure not to look past Matt Asadar. Sometimes Graves can have too much confidence and that can lead to a surprise upset. “The Gunslinger”, on the other hand, needs to be watching the footage, analyze the combinations Loody likes to use to find a counter. Being relatively unknown going into this tournament is Matt’s greatest weapon. For the ladies, as described above, it depends on Brooke comes into this match. If she is too emotional and wants the win too badly, it will slip through her fingers. And on the other side, Cheryl needs to be careful about her pro-American rhetoric when speaking to Loody, who might take offense and something like that could break down their team.
This match is DIE vs DIE with a sprinkle of WPWF thrown in. Damien Hex has found quite a bit of success around the world and has honed his abilities as almost a jack-of-all-trades. If you want to mat wrestle, he can mat wrestle. If you want to brawl, Damien will oblige. Across from him is the former DIE Heavyweight Champion and a man who has been a fixture on VWE Pulse lately, Drake Edwards. Since losing the DIE Championship, Drake has really turned his regiment around, training harder and in more unorthodox ways. For the women, it is one of the best strikers in wrestling, Natalie Sonnen, taking on the second-generation Ellie Christensen Embers. Sonnen is going to be looking for openings to let her fists fly and if Ellie has not prepared for that, then this match could end in a knockout. Ellie will be looking to fly, perhaps to keep Natalie off her feet, knowing the old adage that if a person cannot stand, a person cannot fight. What makes this match something to watch is the flying ability of Drake and Ellie. This could be the match that we see a dive in unison, for them to try and take out Damien and Natalie.
Final Thoughts: Damien has the experience advantage, Natalie has the submission experience. Drake has more of a lucha or puroresu style while Ellie has the speed and agility edge. This is a clash of contrasting styles and could come down to which team makes the least amount of mistakes versus the types of risks they take. Drake and Ellie will want a faster-paced match, but if Damien and Natalie can ground them and slow the pace down, they have the better advantage.
On the surface, this seems a mismatched staging for this first round. With Misaki and Derrick Cult both experts when it comes to striking and both having a decade of in-ring experience, but Wolfy and Kitty are coming into this tournament not just to have a good showing, but to win. Kitty is the reigning DIE Women’s Champion and proves how much heart she has every time she steps into the ring. She has faced stronger women, bigger women and even more talented women, but finds a way to survive and win. Will that help her against Misaki Yumako, a woman who can claim she trained Derrick Cult? We’ll find out this Saturday. Wolfy is no stranger to winning and earning championships. Can a dog and a cat survive on the same team? For the men, Derrick will have the size advantage, the experience advantage and dangerous elbows. It is not a mistake when people call Cult “The Human Concussion Machine”. Kessel will have to be dipping and dodging, looking for an opening to hit the spear on the Derrick. If Cult gives him an opening, Wolfy will take the opportunity to hit the Howling Destiny.
Final Thoughts: Derrick and Misaki will be looking for hard strikes. They are going to take every opening to fire off an elbow or a knee. If Wolfy and Kitty can survive the initial barrage, they can try to work around them, slipping and ducking some shots. This is not going to be the flashiest match. This match is going to be on the mat, hitting hard and Wolfy and Kitty clearly the underdogs in the match. But, that could make the moment so much sweeter if Wolfy and Kitty can find a way past the strikes to capture the win.
GOAT vs GOAT. That announcement sent people into a frenzy on social media, specifically Night and Cody Houley. While they might have had a slight tiff at King of the Arena, Cody has said that there are no problems within GOAT. We will know that for sure on Saturday if they can both come out and work together. That might sound odd in a tournament-style showdown, where only one team can move on, but this could be the quickest match if Cody and Christina can convince Night and Chiyoko to forfeit. It also would not be surprising to see the match entire rest on Christina and Chiyoko, perhaps a gentlemen’s agreement between Cody and Night. If that were to happen, the reigning VWE Women’s World Champion would have the experience edge, but Chiyoko could find herself making huge waves if she gets a pinfall or submission win over Christina. If Cody and Night cannot work together in the match and want a legit competition, then it would be hard to choose which could have the advantage. While Cody has the experience advantage, Night has shown how talented he is from becoming the VWE Pulse Champion and then the night after losing that title, immediately wins the VWE US Championship.
Final Thoughts: This entire match could hinder on Night and Cody’s relationship. If they are on good terms, we will see a different style and type of match than if they are looking to actually compete against one another. On paper, it might look like Cody and Christina have the edge, but it would be very foolish to count Night and Chiyoko out.
Skill vs Will. Experience vs Heart. This is a match full of these types of professional wrestling tropes. When breaking this match down, Kieran and Lily Martinez have all the experience, but Rani and Morgan, while newer to wrestling, have shown exactly how they can hang with some of the biggest names in their division. One thing to look out for would be Kieran’s own ego. If he tries to overlook Morgan or does not take Jones seriously as a competitor, “The Devil” and his partner, Rani, might be heading home disappointed. Kieran is all about style and flash, but behind that, is a very talented and charismatic performer. Morgan is quick and will try to keep the pace of this match fast, trying to check Darkwatch’s conditioning. Lily Martinez has been enjoying retirement, but apparently, the Tag Team Classic is intriguing enough to make her dust off her boots. Lily is a very sound wrestler, who can fly if needed, brawl if required and will mat wrestle. Opposing her is “Ms. Bollywood” Rani Patel. Rani has shown that she is a very well-rounded wrestler too, perhaps leaning towards being speedier. But, she needs to be doing her homework and watching for any tells Lily might have.
Final Thoughts: Who wants this more? That could be all this match comes down to. It would be too hard to say that Kieran will just own Morgan because if Jones can tag Lily in, that will not matter. If Kieran can keep his eye on the prize and perhaps try to keep Lily out of the match, their team could walk away with the victory.
And there you have it. If you are looking for my predictions, don’t bother. That would be unethical. My goal as a journalist is just to look at the situation and report the facts. Go make your own predictions http://challonge.com/vwettc and while we may only have a 1/16 odds of our favorite team winning the whole thing, we can be assured that this Saturday and Sunday will be amazing. And remember, the action starts at 4pm SLT at the Infinity Colosseum.