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Thursday, April 07, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Callihan v. Thatcher

Sami Callihan v. Timothy Thatcher WXW 3/12

PAS: This was one of the matches I was most excited for when Callihan was unleashed back on the indy scene. I loved the early parts of this, as it had this fun stop and start quality, with each guy searching for a big shot.  Callihan spent a bunch of time aiming at big strikes to the back of Thatchers head, which is an especially nasty looking move. Back during my boxing days I got cracked in the back of my head sparring and had to spend Phil Rippa's bachelor party totally sober, so I sympathize with Thatcher who catches elbows, kicks and stomps right in the soft spot. Thatcher spends much of the match hunting for the Fujiwara arm bar, while throwing in some big headbutts and slaps of his own. He has a bunch of cool counters and attacks for the move, and really broke out some nice near falls with the move. I loved the viciousness of Callihan in the end run, Thatcher was hard to put down, so Sami just got nastier, if Thatcher was willing to die, Sami was willing to kill him. Great, great match.

ER: This felt like the kind of match you would expect coming from these two, if a tad underwhelming based on what you've seen from them. Thatcher had a couple awkward moments where he was waiting around to be hit, and some of the strike exchanges came off as lesser than other 2016 Callihan strike exchanges. Those matches didn't have as much turn based strikes, or guys both going for the same strike at the same time type of spots. But obviously both of these guys are good, and so even with some sticking points they are going to work a base level match that most guys can't. And this one benefitted from a nice build with no overkill. That goes a long way when you already have the high floor these two have. I love Thatcher's thrust headbutt, it's such an ice cold spot that I don't always see coming, and it's a vicious way to break up a strike exchange. Thatcher takes quite a beating in this, gets dumped right on his neck and shoulder on a deadlift back suplex, and several shots to the back of the head. Sami stomping him in the back of the head several times before locking in the stretch muffler is a nasty finish, and most importantly, the thing that should have finished.


2016 MOTY MASTER LIST

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