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Thursday, January 22, 2015

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

38. Shield v. The Wyatt Family 3/7/14

PAS: This is a house show version of my favorite match up of the year, and had a bunch of the fun elements I loved in their more high profile stuff. We started out with a cool staredown and brawl which included Rollins doing a super fast, really crazy for a house show dive. Two long face in peril segments one with Rollins and one with Ambrose, Wyatt's were a really great bully trios team, cutting off the ring violently working over someone with a mix of simple violent slams and throws and some very quick high impact stuff. Ambrose was the star of the Shield team, he was at his best during their brief run as a face trios team, he had an awesome crazy man hot tag, and followed it up with a great Terry Funkish face in peril where he keep begging the Wyatts to hit him harder. They kept Reigns on the apron until the end where he unloaded all of his cool offense in the crazy bang bang finish. Such a bummer we never really got a big blowoff to this feud, as even in this format it was some of the best stuff all year.

ER: Fun match and really it's matches like these that made me not care about going to TV tapings when WWE rolls through town, only the house shows. House shows seem to bring out more excited screaming kids, less people trying to get over with their signs. And the crowds seem hotter because there's no down time for commercials or promos. Here the crowd was hot before the bell, as a "This is Awesome" chant started while the teams were just staring each other down. I could see that kind of thing annoying me most of the time, but here I was kinda with them as in my head I was like "*squeal* a Shield/Wyatts trios I haven't seen!" so I can only imagine how much I would be flipping out live. And, sure enough, this ended up being a Shield/Wyatts trios. We do lose a lot with the fancam aspect as these are all guys who add stuff with their facial expressions, so seeing just white blurs for faces isn't as engaging, but since it means we actually get to see this match instead of never seeing it then I'll obviously take it. There's still enough high end work in here that shines through without the mugging. I thought Harper looked fantastic here. The crowd seemed to respond to him more than any of the Wyatts, and his stuff with Ambrose was great. I loved them trading blows, Ambrose getting repeatedly knocked back into the ropes. All the strikes looked great, and Ambrose is such a house show pro because you know he was teasing the rebound clothesline every single time. Harper would uppercut him, Ambrose would stagger backwards into the ropes, the whole crowd expecting the rebound...and then he ends up hitting it several minutes later when people aren't expecting it. Bray was good with the house show crowd and he even added a new little wrinkle to the crab walk, flopping to his back for a couple of beats before springing up on all fours. It looked creepy and the crowd was delighted. It's weird seeing Wyatt in brown sweatpants instead of white slacks. He looked like Mick Foley at an autograph signing. The finishing run was really hot with a couple great saves and nearfalls, and all the guys seamlessly running in one after the other and believably cutting the others off. Wish I could have seen these teams live. At least we have this.


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Anonymous Rah said...

I must have watched "this" match about four or five times, each from different arenas/events. I believe this is the only one I've seen that isn't clipped.

Has it usually been WWE strategy to script their house show matches to the letter? These are move for move, taunt for taunt, the same. The only difference across those matches, IIRC, is Bray Wyatt missing his cue in Waco.

I have nothing against that, as it ensures their wrestlers aren't left to drown (especially for a guy like Bray who has things down but needs a formula or great worker to get the most out of him) but sometimes things don't feel as organic as you'd hope. The better wrestlers (Cesaro et al) nuance their matches to match the crowd's reactions, yet still hang on that formula.

I didn't get that feel from something like Regal/Bourne which is why I ask. Of course that complete run of house shows wasn't video'd, and both are such great, tight workers that it may just be down to their abilities more than anything but it's certainly interesting to see that difference, regardless.

Anyway, did you guys review Sheamus/Cesaro from a Dublin house show? I thought it was their best match of the year. Cesaro was killing it on the European tour back in May so it's a shame to see how wasted he's been on TV.

3:55 AM  
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11:29 PM  

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