1. Smith Garrett vs. Darius Lockhart
PAS: This was a rematch from Episode 1 of the CWF Worldwide and was a spirited little affair. First time I have seen Lockhart, and I am a little uncomfortable with a heel wearing #blacklivesmatter trunks, especially in the South, especially against a white power looking babyface like Smith Garrett. Troublesome politics aside, match itself was hardhitting and fun, Lockhart really laid it in, and Garrett is a fun brawler, I especially liked Lockharts stomps in the corner, really felt like they were going to crack a rib.
ER: I liked simpler parts of this, like the fast missed chop exchange, but move trading portions kinda turned me off. But the shots landed hard and that will go a long way. I didn't love the finish of Garrett taking a running knee straight to the face and just responding with an elbow. If I had a nice running knee I wouldn't want someone shrugging it off. But Garrett throws a nice elbow, and he had some big overpowering throws, including an Angle slam that practically flipped Lockhart over. Like what I saw of Lockhart and I second those corner stomps. As usual Cecil and Stutts fill me in on all kinds of personal history which really helps accelerate my acclimation to all the indies that CWF pulls from.
2. Percy Davis vs. Tripp Cassidy
PAS: I am continuing my warming to Cassidy. I am embracing the corniness of the character and trying to appreciate the commitment. The story behind the match is that Davis was a former member of Cassidy's IWA-MS invading army and turned his back on evil to become a dancing babyface. Cassidy is trying to punish him for that and bring out the brawler, I liked how Davis got more vicious as the match went along, and his KO selling on the finish was great, he really looked unconscious.
ER: Cassidy is really winning me over too. I don't love the shining wizard finisher (but love how Davis sold it), but the rest of the work, the cheating, the cheapshots, all that is totally working for me. All of the stuff outside the ring was great, him undoing a turnbuckle pad, wrapping Davis' head in the ring skirt and kicking it, throwing weird open hand strikes; he moves with a nice confidence and that's important when doing a character like that. No matter how cheesy I think it is, committing to it 100% at least raises its floor.
3. The Carnies vs. The Sandwich Squad
PAS: The Carnies are both really great at making that switch from clown to killer, it isn't an easy transition, but something which is critical for being a great heel wrestler. Early in the match they are stooging around for the Sandwhich squad, Awful is selling an open hand chop like he is having heart palpitations, Iggy is in midair screaming to be let down and getting bodyslammed. However when they flip that switch they really lay in an asskicking on Mecha Mercenary, including some great looking full weight drops, it has to really suck to have a porker like Kerry Awful drop right on your breastplate. When Aaron Biggs makes a hot tag they are back to stooging, just a great heel tag performance, the kind of thing you might see from Arn and Tully or the Midnight Express.
ER: Man this was great, just constant moving and constant squishing. The first couple minutes are mostly comedy, and then Iggy just smacks Biggs and does a nice dropkick to Mecha on the floor, then gets Irish whipped into a dive onto Mecha (that gets him slammed onto the apron), then Awful comes barreling in with a wild flip dive. And then the Carnies take over with all sorts of great attacks to Mecha's gut, big sentons, double stomps, Awful does a couple great bombs away butt drops, really working the big guy over, Awful even breaks up a pin attempt with a diving headbutt to Mecha's nether regions. Phil is right that they know how to flip the switch from stooge to nasty, and it's huge. Iggy can do amusing do-si-do spots with Mecha one moment, and the next he's hammer punching him in the back of the head. Carnies leaped way up the list of my favorite current tag teams with this match, but I dug both teams.
4. Joshua Cutshall vs. Nick Richards
PAS: This was a rematch of a match we loved from earlier in the year. It was Three Stages of Real, which had the first fall submission or KO, second fall you had to win with your finisher and the third fall was falls count anywhere. First two falls were pretty disposable, the match would have probably been better off as a straight falls count anywhere, but that final fall was a hell of violent brawl. Both guys take some really nasty bumps, especially Richards who finds lots of ways to fly kidneys first into the sides of chairs. Richards clearly has Cactus Jack influences, and this felt like an ECW era Cactus brawl. Cutshall was right there throwing big shots, and taking some pretty nasty bumps of his own. The finish was especially great, with both guys brawling on the bleachers, Cutshall throws his big elbow and smashes the wall full force, Richard then cutters Cutshall off the bleachers into a bunch of chairs, he didn't get the cutter full, but it was an insane bump by both guys. Nasty stuff and I continue to really dig this matchup.
ER: Yeah they didn't really make great work of the 3 falls format, they run through those first two falls like they were working an Ultimo Guerrero tribute match. But I liked Stutts putting over not only the submission, but attempting to add some psychology to Cutshall tapping so early, saying he's like someone who works better when they're cramming for a test, a guy who works harder when he's under the gun. Third fall is where the money is at. Most of it takes place outside the ring and there's a ton of unnatural and painful bumps. Richards lays down chairs and is the first to get knocked off the apron on to them. There's a kid in the front row chanting "Let's go Nick!" and the two of them make sure to do some close up magic right in front of them, really laying in the strikes. I always like Richards' strikes, they're kind of weird as he doesn't have much of a wind-up but they always land with a thud. Both guys take some gross spills across chairs both in and out of the ring, and the brawl through the crowd was a good one, loved them brawling up through the crowd (past more kids) and the spots into the wall were really satisfying. I really like how these two match up.
5. Slade Porter vs. Cain Justice
PAS: This was the least of the Cain Justice matches I have watched so far. Porter has a bunch of Chikara style comedy spots he shoehorned in, and alternated between comedy spots and headrops and stiff elbows, lots of current indy tropes I don't like. Justice did some cool stuff, I love his finisher and some of the armwork to set it up, but it felt like he needed to force Porter to work his match, and instead it felt like he worked Porter's match. Did really like the post match angle with Justice ripping up Cecil Scott's bad arm, although I was bummed we didn't have Scott on commentary for the main event.
ER: I still thought this was more of a Cain match than Phil, and there weren't really head drops in the match (just one snap German suplex), but I still didn't love Porter's comedy offense, it all felt pretty forced. I laughed before the bell when he built to exposing his nipples, only for Cain to chop him right when they were exposed. But I hate comedy workers who go in there with bad strikes. If you're gonna work comedy spots, at least work stiff enough to give your opponent a reason to be selling while you go through your comedy routine. But Justice brought some nice kicks and some of his nasty subs, loved him joining Porter's hands behind his back and then throwing them past his shoulderblades. I liked this, but it could have lowered the level of silly.
6. Ric Converse/Trevor Lee/Chet Sterling vs. Arik Royal/Brad Attitude/Roy Wilkins
PAS: CWF MA does this kind of big star trios matches well. Gives everyone a chance to shine, sets up future matches and doesn't burn through too many singles matches. I really loved Attitude in this as he is great at timing cheapshots, he also is a great slimly corner man, he is really expressive. I could use a picture in picture of just Attitude reacting to all the action, while the main match was going on. I also really enjoy the Wilkins and Royal team, and they are great at both the slow down cutting off the ring parts of the match, and the big time fast exchanges. I don't know the history of Converse in this fed, but Stuttsy did a great job explaining why his presence in this feud was a big deal, and the Converse and Attitude showdown felt big time
ER: All-Stars & Attitude are a hell of a trios team, and those other guys ain't too bad either. This match looked better on paper than in execution, but these guys have higher floors than most, so even with some out of sync spots and time that maybe could have been used better, this was still good. Attitude comes off like such a star, and the Converse/Attitude interaction was my favorite thing in the match. Sterling was off on a bunch of his stuff. I know I've been higher on him than Phil has been, but I understand those prior complaints now. I dug all the "All-Stars/Attitude slowing things down" parts, and Lee always bring impressive everything (he had a killer thrust kick here, much closer to one of Kabuki's old throat/chest jabbing kicks than the more modern slappy kick), and this was a perfectly fun match.
ER: Really fun, suitably epic episode of TV for their big 100. We thought the Richards/Cutshall match was good enough to land on our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List, meaning that every single damn one of the 2017 Cutshall/Richards matches (both of them) have landed on our list. I need to figure out which episode their 2016 match aired on...
Labels: 2017 MOTY, Aaron Biggs, Arik Royal, Brad Attitude, Cain Justice, Joshua Cutshall, Kerry Awful, Mecha Mercenary, Nick Iggy, Nick Richards, Percy Davis, Ric Converse, Roy Wilkins, Trevor Lee, Tripp Cassidy