#Preview: OWE Toronto – Night One

On Wednesday, August 7th, Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE) makes its North American debut in Toronto, Canada. A handful of OWE roster members have performed on All Elite Wrestling shows in the last few months, and some have represented the promotion on Wrestle-1 and DDT shows in Japan. But this show, the first of two taking place in Toronto in the week leading up to WWE’s SummerSlam, represents the first event that this still-new promotion has presented outside of China.

It is an exciting moment for the company, which also has shown taking place in the UK in September. They are bringing many of the young talents they have discovered and developed and will give North American fans their first chance to see them in person. The event is taking place at the Mid Town Event Theatre, also known as The Met, an upscale event space that will make for a suitably stylish backdrop for the show. Besides the aforementioned young talents, the event will also feature several independent veterans from North America, a couple of North American up and comers, and even a couple of living legends. What exciting bouts can fans expect to see at the event? Here is Pro Wrestling Post’s preview for OWE Toronto night one.

Sunny Zhai vs. Buck Gunderson

OWE Toronto
Photo / OWE Toronto

Though this show is OWE’s first foray into Canada, the first match on the card actually pits two Canadian citizens against each other. What makes this an appropriate match for the event is that it pits Zhai, the first Chinese-born Canadian wrestler against long-time independent veteran Buck Gunderson.

Gunderson has been around for ten years and has been all over the world, but lives in Toronto and is a wrestling trainer at Battle Arts Academy. Zhai is also a ring veteran as well. These two will be looking to kick off the show with an impressive showing but considering they’ve never faced off before the finish is unpredictable.

Brandon Cutler vs. Bolo Fung

This match is unique on the card, as it pits an AEW roster member against an opponent from the local independent scene. These men have very different backgrounds and divergent styles of wrestling. Fung at first blush may seem to have a comic element to him, as his ‘Drunken Master’ character hearkens back to the series of films by the legendary Jackie Chan. However, this trainee of suburban Toronto’s Battle Arts Academy also possesses a strong striking game and a martial arts background that makes him a fierce adversary.

The other man in the bout, Cutler, is a long-time veteran who was one of the first members of the AEW roster. His experience, greater than his opponent, will serve him well and makes him the ‘ring general’ of this match. Fans can expect this to be a very entertaining match and expect to laugh at some moments only to cringe at some of the blows being struck moments later.

Alexander James vs. Sammy Guevara

Up and down this card fans will have the opportunity to see cross-promotional battles, but even in that context, this is a unique one. It pits an American wrestler who is a mainstay on the roster of Germany’s wXw, Alexander James, against a young man, also American, who is a rising star in the wrestling business. James has enjoyed a great deal of success overseas with wXw, building upon a foundation that was laid during his time wrestling in his home country for Combat Zone Wrestling. He is will bring the stiff style to this match that is a hallmark of wXw.

Fans are becoming very familiar with the high flying Guevara, as he has been prominently featured on all of AEW’s events so far. And certainly, the cocky yet charismatic American makes a quick impression on an audience. Fans can expect to see fast-paced and feature breathtaking displays of athleticism from the young Guevara, but his offense will be met with suplexes aplenty, loud strikes and torturous submission holds from his opponent.

‘Flying Prince’ Gao Jingjia vs. ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey

Did you think that last match was a great opportunity to see an impressive display of aerial prowess? Well as the old saying goes ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’ The Canadian Bailey has been impressing fans all over the world for years now, not only with his flying ability but his strong striking game that is rooted in his martial arts background. He is a skilled savvy veteran who can put on a good showing whether facing physical peers or men much larger than him.

Jingjia, on the other hand, another of the young Taiwanese wrestlers OWE is bringing to Bailey’s home country, is perhaps the most impressive of that group due to his innovative aerial repertoire. Just the nicknames of these two men tells you all you need to know about the kind of match you will see hear. Indeed, fans may not believe what they see in this match as the limits of human athletic ability is tested.

The Dark Order vs. #Strong Hearts

Photo / OWE Toronto

Because of the OWE/AEW partnership mentioned at the beginning of this article, these last two matches could be considered straight-up All Elite Wrestling presentations. However, the #Strong Hearts faction, though they have appeared on AEW shows are the foundation of OWE, and still, represent that brand first and foremost. T-Hawk and El Lindaman, two very experienced natives of Japan, have been key to the new promotion and its development of young stars.

They will employ stiff strikes and numerous suplexes to get the better of their opponents, and show how they are poised to dominate the tag team ranks of OWE and AEW in equal measure. The Dark Order, who was very well known on the independent scene, particularly in their native Canada under their previous name the Super Smash Brothers, have quickly risen to the top of AEW’s tag division and will have a home-court advantage in this meeting. The sheer size of Evil Uno and the in-ring skills of Stu Grayson will present a formidable challenge to their Asian adversaries. It is quite possible this is just the first of many meetings between these teams, so fans shouldn’t miss it.

CIMA and ‘Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels vs. Private Party

OWE Toronto
Photo / OWE Toronto

What a contrast this match presents! On one side of the ring, you have the team of CIMA and Daniels, two legends of the business who combined have almost 50 years of ring experience. On the other side, you have the team of Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen, two youngsters who have only been wrestling for four years. Though CIMA and Daniels have scarcely ever teamed, and indeed the last time fans saw them they were adversaries at AEW’s Fyter Fest, they are very familiar with one another as they go back decades. Private Party, in contrast, has been a team right from the outset of their brief careers.

Fans have had glimpses of their high-flying skills on AEW’s shows, but now they will pit them against two veterans who can take to the air if they so choose, but will likely elect to ground them and wear them down. CIMA is the leader of OWE, and will no doubt take the opportunity to show these two young men, as well as the other youngsters from his company roster that will be looking on, how to use skill and experience to control and beat down an opponent. Daniels, who is known to call himself a ‘ring general,’ will seek to teach a similar lesson. This battle of youthful exuberance and athleticism against veteran savvy will make for a compelling contest, and provide an excellent capper to OWE’s North American debut.