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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brian Kendrick Really Gotta Bite

Brian Kendrick vs. Kyle O'Reilly QPW 2/1/14 - REALLY GOOD

ER: I really liked this. Kendrick is not wrestling like his CWC self, but he's good at doing what he's doing. O'Reilly can be annoying, but he's less annoying in this match (except for the parts where he's really annoying). The opening lock ups were really fun, much different from the Catch Point style that we've been getting used to over the last year plus, this was more exaggerated and showy, but still tough; a lot of bullying around and nice strength tests, but played large. O'Reilly works a snug side headlock and they do some fun work around that (though get a little too cute with a loop of missed splash/slip out of headlock). Kendrick commits to things in fun ways, like flinging his whole body into an armdrag but spinning himself into the mat because O'Reilly held onto the ropes. The best parts are when Kendrick starts yanking on O'Reilly's arm, bending and twisting and working some nasty holds. At one point he picks up the arm by the wrist and just stomps it to the mat. All the arm work was killer. And O'Reilly is good at selling it, in the moment. But it kind of predictably gets dropped, and shoot O'Reilly even wins with his own armbar using his MY ARM arm. O'Reilly is just frustrating as hell, as a lot of his simple grappling looks good. I really loved his headlock variations, the standing one, the bulldog choke he locks on, but he does too much klutzy Johnny Saint kind of stuff, with leapfrogs and crawling between legs and most of it looks bad. His repertoire needs a trimming. Some of that stuff could of derailed things, but I think it points to Kendrick's strengths that he was able to take the stuff straight and not let things devolve. Overall I thought it was really satisfying despite O'Reilly's faults, but the potential was there for this to be really great.

Brian Kendrick/Noam Dar vs. Sin Cara/Rich Swann (WWE Raw 11/7/16) - FUN

Kind of a waste of 4 minutes. Kendrick isn't really a major part of the match as he does a little cheating behind the ref's back, but for the most part it's the Noam Dar show. I get it, they're in Scotland and shoot if you're going to use Dar then use him in Scotland. But the guy isn't ready for prime time. He'll throw a nice kick to the shins or a nice uppercut, but it will be offset by really bad strike combos and cutesy horseshit. This match was more about a nice little Sin Cara statement performance. Cara has been a man with no place on the roster for some time, and even him in the Cruiser division seems a TNAish move for both sides (Cruisers get a guy with a "not a star" stigma suddenly treated like a star, Cara gets demoted and has to be cool with it) but if he comes into the division with this attitude then I'm game. Him deadlifting Dar in a powerbomb was cool and then him breaking out the rolling senton to the floor was sick. Match had zero build and ended sudden, but it had a couple moments.

Brian Kendrick vs. Sin Cara (WWE Raw 11/14/16) - FUN

If asked several months ago if I thought Brian Kendrick would be getting 10+ minute matches on Raw, nobody would have seen that coming. So here he is, and it's weird and kind of awesome. But it's also been just kinda hung right out to fucking dry. Here he gets a long match on Raw, right before Brock and Godlberg are set to come out and be all big buff not cruiserweights. So this match gets a ton of time, and the crowd predictably treats it like they've gone to see their favorite band and they're now enduring an awful unannounced opener. There were plenty of cool things buried in here, even as the crowd was openly shitting on it. Cara had a great showing last week and sadly didn't really have that aggression this week. Our dreams of Cara shooting on live TV are quickly vanishing. But Kendrick dishes out some fun hockey punches and short knees, and takes a big bump to the floor to set up a nice Cara dive. I love how Kendrick smashes himself into the ring barrier. And later this sets up Cara getting ole'd into that barrier on a second attempt. Loved Kendrick's big bump to the floor off a clothesline. Kendrick takes all of Cara's offense nicely and is overly generous, really letting Cara show off his moveset. Nice northern lights, tilt a whirl backbreaker, springboard back elbow. really he kind of owns the last several minutes. Finish is an awesome modern Kendrick touch, with him getting desperate and twisting Cara's mask sideways (hinted at a bit earlier when he was yanking at it) and locking on the bully choke. Finish was really cool but the announce team was shitty during it, really reading it wrong and calling it in bizarre dead Owen voice like it was a grave tragedy. "Look at the mask of Sin Cara, look at how Kendrick twisted it," said in these weird somber tones. Shame.


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Blogger Brian said...

I'm beginning to feel vindicated with all the recent Kendrick love having him in my top twenty on my GWE ballot.

11:21 AM  

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