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Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Night Bootleg: REGAL vs. BOURNE

William Regal v. Evan Bourne 4/21/11 - Bucharest



How has a wretch like me, living a subway ride away from Titan Towers, never seen Regal live? The plebes who attended this show have now all seen Regal live, and they’re literally a buggy ride away from living in freakin’ Transylvania. The setting adds a lot: you expect Bourne halfway through his shooting star press to turn into a bat and fly away, or for Regal to be revealed as a vampire bear, thereby validating all of Striker’s corny Morrissey references in Regal matches. Bootleggers of the world: unite.

This could have been a clash in styles, but Sydal has worked with bases as built like Regal (Sheamus, Mark Henry, Lizzy Valentine) in the past, and Regal can still flip, flop and fly with the best of ‘em, as he does for an array of monkey flips and ranas. WWE house shows are some of the more exciting wrestling to watch these days, as you have a bunch of really capable workers breaking out of the four minute TV shell and actually interacting with a crowd. You could have no idea who either guy is, and immediately get Regal’s character from his stink-eyed leering. Bourne also gets it, whoo-hooing the crowd and pausing for effect before his big offense spots.

In this match and WWE handhelds at large, you get to see the fun shtick that they don’t have time for on Raw. It’s old stuff, but the kind of fun old stuff you haven’t seen in a while: Regal cowering in the ropes to avoid getting hit, Regal stealthily telling the crowd to shut up after he offers Bourne a cordial handshake, Bourne as fist-pumping babyface on fire.

The chain wrestling is off the hook as well, with the best armbar spot I’ve seen in a while as Regal cinches one in, gets caught by a Bourne headscissors, then fights out of it and body slams Bourne, all while holding onto the armbar and taking the fight to the ground. It really helps your aerial babyface dramatically to have an awesome mat worker keeping you out of the air, until the crowd is eager to see some high flying. You also get several vicious Regal knee strikes, and him dropping a Hansen-sized elbow drop out of nowhere.

By the end Regal is screaming like a banshee at the crowd, and teases a dangerous-looking tiger driver. It’s been enough of a fight to that point that it doesn’t seem absurd for Regal to spike Bourne straight down on his head in this irrelevant midcard match. The finish is an expertly fluid top rope moment: being able to watch Bourne do his thang in a fairly steady one-shot (as opposed to RAW's bait-and-switch camera angles) puts into better perspective how crazy it is that he can hit these moves. Probably my favorite WWE match of the year, just ahead of a comparable Mysterio-Cody Rhodes handheld from Lyon and the recent Masters-McIntyre series. Crowd goes wild and returns home to Castle Wolfenstein happy as clams.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, this is what happens when matches actually get significant time.

1:21 PM  

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