Gold Standard: universal vernacular for a symbol of perfection, excellence – a benchmark for what something ought to be when it achieves its finest form. Whether it’s the gold of a championship belt, the standard for incredible performance, or the personal goal of true friendship, the gold standard can take many forms – and at MPW’s Gold Standard, we bore witness to nearly every variation on that theme.
So, who is who? Which athletes on the MPW roster were the gold standard, and who were the tin men, women, and other configurations of being? Let’s find out.
You know the drill: spoilers ahead. Let’s do this.
Miggy Rose DEFEATS CJ Tino
A rematch from last week’s Don’t Look Under The Bed, this was a contest where not only pride was on the line, but integrity: still relatively fresh off of the personal revelations that have led to a change in Miggy’s outlook, if not his actions, the dirty tactics used by Tino to win last week could have embittered the former World Champion.
Would he question himself going into this match? Would self doubt get the better of him and strip away that newly discovered core of shining steel within his mind and heart?
As the bell rang, it was a beautiful sight as Miggy Rose went right to work the way only he can: by being the better wrestler. Driving his rage home by grinding his boot into Tino’s ankle where it sat on the ropes at one point, among other things, Rose was hell bent on not just winning, but conquering. There was no sign of shortcuts or weakness in the man, just an inferno burning within his soul to prove himself the better man.
Proving himself was precisely what Rose did. Despite an absolutely vicious assault from Tino that had Rose struggling, he continued to outwrestle and out perform Tino at every turn. One especially beautiful armbar had the crowd screaming for Tino to tap, but a rake to the eyes from Tino soon had Miggy Rose fighting for his life again. There was even another attempt at a tainted victory with the same dirty trick as last time – however, to the joy of fans, official Victor Cuentas was right on point this time and stopped a three count when he caught sight of Tino cheating.
As the old saying goes, cheaters never prosper…and while Miggy Rose is never going to be a Boy Scout, he won clean in this instance, proving that he’s the man to beat when the playing field is even – and if it’s not, Rose will make it even one way or another.
Rebel Storm & J2 DEFEATS The Void (Hellman Rosecrown & Richie Coy w/Auntie Hydie)
With the return of the Playmaker imminent, and alongside his best friend, the Rebel Storm, no less, the audience was buzzing with excitement as Bryan Carter, again on the soundboard, announced the match.
That excitement was replaced with horror as the Void made their entrance.
Fans at the MPW Arena bore witness to the initiation of Hellman Rosecrown and Richie Coy into the Void last week at Don’t Look Under The Bed, and as the waters of the Void transformed them before their very eyes. What we saw then was barely a taste, as this week when the pair entered the ring, they were hard to call ‘human’ any longer. The wild look and twisted grimace on Rosecrown’s face turned his features into a mask of animal fury, his form seeming to swell with power as he moved, while Coy was a much different kind of animal: a panther, sleek and lethal. Eyes ringed with the Void’s shadow, as we saw on J2 for so long, were not dead but alive with malice, their every move sinuous and liquid as they entered the ring.
The pall that fell over the crowd dispelled, however, once the Rebel Storm’s music hit – and when the familiar riffs of J2 Mattioli’s theme punctured through the lingering dark with a dazzling ray of bright blue light, the crowd came to life again. To say the team of Storm and J2 were well received discredits just what this pair and their amazing bond means to the MPW audience…the entrance of this duo was a balm upon the psyche, a shift in the scales of the natural order back to equilibrium.
As the match got underway…well, readers, it’s hard to properly describe what happened in that ring. There was so much going on, so much to take in and understand that it would take pages more than I have available here to fully lay out. The best I can do is to break down the major takeaways from this match, then refer you to MPW’s YouTube channel to watch the show when it’s uploaded.
Firstly, there may be residual effects left behind by the Void’s influence on J2. His performance was beyond reproach, and more importantly he was present: smiling, talking, focused and fighting rather than acting as a puppet with his strings being pulled. Specifically, however, his physical performance was notable – vicious chops to the chest barely registered, and his speed was such that the crowd all but gasped at a particularly beautiful series of arm drags. These are things we’ve seen before, from the dark thrall that’s haunted the halls of MPW for months…could whatever power he was granted by the waters of the Void remain? If so, this is an advantage that may be of use at some point to strike the Void down.
These powers, however, now also belong to Coy and Rosecrown. Along with preternatural speed and strength, the pair worked in the ring with little visible communication, but were machine-like in their synchronicity. Communication may not have been truly possible, save for some otherworldly communion, as both acolytes of the Void were as animal as they appeared. Barking, snarling – even shrieks worthy of any banshee from the throat of Coy were horrifying enough to send the referee fleeing from the ring, the hounds of Hell seemingly nipping at his heels.
However, as J2 and Storm took the win by pinfall, it became clear that perhaps Hydie was too swift in dismissing Storm as a potential convert and J2 as a lost cause once her control was broken. With a victory over darkness that was positively cathartic, the lights of the arena seemed to glow brighter as the team took their bows and the Void skulked back into shadow, the air clearer and lighter as it filled the lungs.
With their win, J2 and the Rebel Storm brought just that: a storm, not a maelstrom to darken the skies, but a cleansing rain that lit the world with the pure electricity of blue lightning and soothed with the gentle but powerful rumble brought forth by the Thunder Wonder.
Before the show could continue, the card was interrupted, yet again, by one Alejandro Mauricio Fernandez – and he brought his lackey, Jack Slammer, to keep him company.
Once again taking to the ring, Slammer by his side, Fernandez took up his grievances with Bryan Carter – who, for once, was on the side of the crowd as they booed Fernandez and Slammer for inserting themselves where they did not belong.
Once again, Fernandez demanded his right to face the National Champion. Once again, he was denied.
This time, however, Fernandez sent Slammer down to where Carter sat ringside to announce the show – and while it looked as if Slammer might be serving as hitman on this occasion, instead he served Carter with papers. True to his threats from last week, Fernandez was suing Millennium Pro Wrestling because he was being passed over for both competition, and for the title shot he felt he was entitled to.
At least, that’s what he wants us to believe. More on that in a moment.
Off of a passing comment from Fernandez that Carter needed to wake up and smell the roses, so to speak, none other than Miggy Rose presented himself, offering Fernandez a shot at some real competition. Fernandez seemed ready to accept, and general manager Bryan Carter has since made the match official.
Now, back to the lawsuit – as the next match got underway, I was surprised to see a message pop up on my phone as I was taking notes. A personal missive had arrived from a source, with actual proof of the nature of the lawsuit in question. Now, while I intend to maintain the anonymity of my source for their own protection, I can assure you they are highly credible, and in a position to attest to the authenticity of the document I received should Fernandez try to come after the X-Press with his battalion of lawyers.
This exclusive information was first shared on the X-Press’s own Instagram account, but the publication of this document is exclusive to the MPW X-Press – and it absolutely legitimate. These are strongarm tactics, pure and simple, and if there is a single shred of moral fiber left in the marrow of our general manager, he will not allow these despicable tactics to produce results. Competition is the proving ground of champions: if Fernandez wants a shot at National Champion, Brendan Divine, he should be forced to earn it like any other member of the roster.
Let’s hope that our general manager is reading along with you all, dear readers.
Dustin Daniels DEFEATS Dr. Phil Goode
The energy and dynamic of this match was bizzare at the start, but as it progressed began to feel more natural – a sign of things to come.
When Phil Goode came to the ring, he was cheered. When Dustin Daniels entered the ring, he was greeted with a chorus of boos and angry questions – one in particular.
Where were you?
As reported here last week, the two-on-one match of Duke Bennett versus Full Send ended up being a return match of Bennett versus Bucio when Daniels was a no-show. As he came to the ring, fans demanded answers and Daniels gave them one.
Where was he?
“None of your business.”
With this, the match proceeded – and truthfully, there’s very little to tell. The world felt twisted inside out as the fans cheered Phil Goode, until the moment he left the ring and demanded that Daniels be shown some respect before he was willing to compete. After that, however, as Phil Goode dominated with his size and strength, fans were calling for Dustin’s blood every second.
Things only worsened when Daniels took a shortcut by raking Phil Goode’s eyes, and scoring a pinfall that no one wanted to see. After the match, there was even a fleeting moment when Bucio’s music played…but no sign of MPW’s resident purveyor of peace and happiness.
Confounded, Daniels sought out a microphone and confronted the crowd about their reaction. When they again demanded answers, Daniels finally, reluctantly, answered…but with every passing moment, his reluctance vanished and he became more impassioned, more confident.
According to Dustin Daniels, Bucio made the match with Bennett. Dustin himself never agreed, so he showed up for moral support – and ditched Bucio when a better offer came along, namely an invitation to go bowling. By his own word, Full Send was dead.
Finally, at long last, Bucio showed up to silence him. With rage in his eyes, the otherwise upbeat Bucio set aside his phone, squared up, and stormed the ring.
Dustin Daniels immediately fled.
With an exchange of harsh words – Bucio calling Daniels the Marty Janetty of Full Send, Daniels accusing Bucio of being an adrenaline junkie, the match was made: Full Send 2. Bucio versus Dustin Daniels to finish what they started at Destiny Returns.
Who will triumph? Only time will tell…time, and the official. However, if the fleeting sneak attack Daniels unleashed before finally running for his life, for good this time, Bucio may have his work cut out for him.
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Duke Bennett DEFEATS Robin Shaw
Disdainful, disrespectful, degrading – the American Grizzly was in top form this week as he offered his absolute worst in trying to show up his opponent. Strutting to the ring in a Polk High football jersey bearing the name of Married With Children main character, Al Bundy, he seemed to be attempting a weak parody of Robin Shaw who so often wears the logos and imprints of Enterprise sponsors such as Taco Bell and Baja Blast. This week was no exception as he showed up in a Baja Blast jersey, and even partook of a Baja Blast offered to him by a fan at ringside.
Bennett’s first move in this match was to grab the drink, head to a trash can at ringside, and unceremoniously dump the Baja Blast to get under Shaw’s skin. While he seemed to succeed in that, aggravating Shaw served not to distract him or steal his focus, but make him more determined to bring Bennett down a few pegs.
The match began with a shoulder check that moved no one in the ring, but sent shockwaves through the building. What followed was a mammoth collision of two titans that was, at turns, breathtaking and horrifying. The size of both men meant we would likely see some power moves, but the strength of both men surpasses their incredible size, and moved ring and safety barricades alike with the force of every maneuver, in the ring and outside of it.
In addition, what was most captivating to see was the way both competitors could move – Shaw, in particular, was executing moves like a senton bomb as if he were a man half his true size. Bennett was no slouch, taking advantage of speed more defensively than offensively,
taking advantage of speed more defensively than offensively, and was impressive in his own right.
However, while Shaw had every shot at beating Bennett fair and square, eclipsing him athletically, Bennett has been shouting from the rooftops since his return to MPW that he’s a menace not to be trifled with. He proved it this night as, when taken to his absolute limit and barely stable on his feet, he resorted to raking the eyes on Shaw in order to gain just enough of an advantage to claim a pinfall victory.
It’s a tainted win, to be sure, but the American Grizzly’s performance up to that point? Journalistic integrity demands unbiased honesty…and the fact of the matter is that Bennett more than proved himself. Had he gone the distance without cheating, even a loss could have been a credit to his strength and his skill.
As it stands, his actions have cheapened his performance – but make no mistake: Duke Bennett may have put the locker room on notice weeks ago, but for the first time it feels as if he’s given true weight to his threats with the performance he gave this week.
M.O.B. (Diego Valens/Michael Hopkins) & Danny Divine DEFEATS Barbie Boi/Mylo/Johnnie Robbie
In this sport, wins and losses can matter a great deal. However, in this instance, the outcome of the match is secondary to the events that transpired.
Without question, it was a thrill ride from start to finish – so much so that this reporter took precious few notes, and must give credit to sources within the organization for the finer details on the outcome. Mylo in particular showed a vicious streak we’ve yet to see, and yet absolutely sparkled with enthusiasm and good cheer with every vicious blow she delivered. Robbie was relentless and nigh on unstoppable, persevering even when the referee allowed himself to be distracted, resulting in a brutal assault that nearly did her in.
And Barbie Boi…if ever there was a performance of championship caliber, it was on this night as he threw everything he had at Divine and his partners. Valens and Hopkins were their usual ruthless, arrogant selves, and Danny Divine was, admittedly, gifted as ever in his performance, but possessed of a quality one could only describe as having spiritual bad breath. His overwhelming sense of entitlement was on full display, and only serves to cheapen the belt he carries on his shoulder.
Still, all of this could easily have been…not overlooked, but eclipsed by his unquestionable skill and talent in any other circumstance. The same can even be said for Valens, a top caliber former champion himself, and for Hopkins – an elite competitor if ever there was one.
However, the winning outcome, the stellar performances…none of it mattered.
It all went to hell, because the manager of the tag team champions, the general manager of Millennium Pro Wrestling, one Bryan Carter, chose to insert himself into the match. This is not a descriptor, this is not hyperbole: Carter picked up a microphone, walked out from behind the soundboard, and spoke directly to Mylo during the course of the match to create a distraction that allowed for the pinfall victory executed by Diego Valens, stealing a rightful win from Team Barbie.
What’s more, after this unmitigated and disgusting display of bias and manipulation, he took time after the match to offer Barbie Boi an opportunity to “prove himself,” as if the man who was all but robbed of his title needed to do anything more to confirm his position as number one contender. No, Carter will make Barbie Boi fight for that at MPW’s Full Stop on February 25th.
His opponent? The man who scored the pinfall: Diego Valens. Out of this whole fiasco, it’s the closest thing to ‘fair’ in terms of decisions that Carter has executed.
For Your Consideration
The card for Full Stop is coming together a mile a minute — including a National Title match between Brendan Divine and former MPW World Champion Che Cabrera no less — so check out MPW’s social media for details as they come. Also, as was announced as of this writing, champion Danny Divine has sustained an injury that will keep him out of action for several weeks, so laying personal differences aside? We at the X-Press want to wish Divine a speedy and thorough recovery.
In the meantime, you’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for information on the X-Press Twitter and Instagram: we’re all about the exclusives, and if any fresh news reaches us before MPW’s weekly events? You’ll see it there first.
Until next time, readers: stay healthy, say safe, and stay awesome. Full Stop.