Segunda Caida

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Thatcher v. Sabre

3. Timothy Thatcher v. Zach Sabre Jr. EVOLVE 79 2/25

PAS: Really great match with Sabre trying to finally be the guy to solve Thatcher, and a rabid crowd wanting Thatcher to go down. Really great early grappling leading to a super hot finish, with Thatcher pulling out counters to counters, before finally falling to a crazy abdominal stretch version. The announcer mentioned Thatcher watching Johnny Valentine, and I see his title reign almost like Johnny Valentine as he trained the crowd to respect and loathe his style, Thatcher had more real heel heat then anyone I can remember seeing in EVOLVE, and he did it all with a sneer and an armbar. Really exiting match, that I especially loved watching live not knowing about the title change.

ER: I loved how this was worked, really the most interesting way to work a 50/50 match, with neither guy out of the running at any point but either able to put it away at any moment. I've loved Thatcher for quite some time now, and his win over Hero at the 2015 WWN Supershow was one of my all time favorite babyface moments. The crowd was so electric for him and it was such a special moment that I've just never thought of him as a heel. But Phil is right, this is the most genuine heel heat I've seen a guy get in Evolve. Shoot, earlier on this show fans were still chanting for that oaf Ethan Page while he beat up a guy half his size who had his hands cuffed behind his back. But the fans start to turn on Thatcher and he soaks it up, and it's pretty great. The whole match was counters and both guys just nibbling at the other. Thatcher grabs an ankle while also kicking at Sabre's shoulder, Sabre does the same and kicks Thatcher in the face. Thatcher chokes Sabre with a boot to the throat, Sabre craftily uses the ropes and his positioning to turn it into an ankle lock so Thatcher immediately abandons the choking. All of the reversals and counters never came across like a rehearsal, they all felt like organic counters within each man's skillset. One guy would come in too hot with an armbar attempt, which would allow the other to use the momentum to roll through to a crossface, but in the haste of rolling through the grip wouldn't be tight which would lead to another counter, etc. It was all very satisfying, and we had very few pauses or breaks in the action, just both men fighting in the trap, both willingly put themselves in constant danger by fighting right within the other's wheelhouse. There aren't many "highspots" in this, with Thatcher's two Karelin lifts and maybe a Sabre running kick, and there wasn't necessarily any escalation. This was two guys wearing each other out, and by the time Sabre was attempting to lock on his octopus hold I was fully rooting for a title change. The slow application as Thatcher fought through, but Sabre kept locking on another dangerous piece of the puzzle, was awesome. That rings of Saturn/octopus hold looks like it should have dislocated several parts of Thatcher at once and was an excellent way to change a title. Great match.


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