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Sunday, March 04, 2018

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Gresham v. Yehi 1

49. Jonathan Gresham v. Fred Yehi NOVA Pro 5/19

PAS: Awesome grappling battle between a pair of sawed off Mr. Hughes trained mat killers. Pretty basic grappler story with Yehi working the knee and Gresham attacking the arm. As you might expect in a Yehi match there was some awesome weirdo attacks. At one point he rips Greshman down from mid air while Gresham was attempting a leapfrog, and Yehi uses the counter as a way to put on a leglock. Yehi also has this great yank the arm German suplex which was one of the coolest German set ups I can remember seeing. Gresham is really skilled too, he chains stuff together in a really interesting way, and has some great counters on his own. I didn't love Gresham going for a dive and a shooting star press, felt like it belonged to a different match. Gresham countering the figure four by rolling both guys to the floor was super nasty, just a hell of an unprotected fall by both guys. Finish may have been better in idea then execution, Yehi throwing multiple up kicks until a KO is a cool idea, but they really needed to be nastier for me to buy a knockout finish. I really dug huge parts of this, and can't wait for the rematch to show up on

ER: I really liked how these two matched up, doing mirror sequences without really seeming like mirror sequences, unique counters that didn't feel overly mapped out and never got too cute, innovative but also painful. There were cool variations on spots you've seen, and this was definitely the most I've ever enjoyed Gresham. He was a natural match for Yehi. They manage to do dance-y stuff without making it look dance-y (seriously, it must have been really difficult to get that standing go behind reversal sequence to look cool instead of silly), doing these cool fluid roll throughs or catching an arm, ducking under and using it for leverage to try something else that might get reversed, often ending in an exclamation point stomp to a tender area. There were many sharp and fast stomps and kicks to inner thigh, inner bicep, ball of the ankle, rough stuff. At one point Yehi grapevined Gresham's leg and stomped on the inner thigh of the leg he was grapevining. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Gresham has several great roll up counters, getting really snug cradles and high leverage pins, so that every time Yehi made it out of one of them it felt like a big deal. There was none of that "I pin you but push you away on the two count so we can get into position for our next spot" nonsense that is tough to unsee once you see it. No all of Gresham's cradles looked potentially match ending. I actually really loved the dive, it was out of nowhere, and did feel like it belonged in a different match, but I thought that's why it was so effective. It was perfectly timed and hit flush. Yehi got sidestepped and took a big bump around the ringpost to the floor, and with two seconds Gresham was already flying into him with a fast dive. The shooting star looked effortless and was also done with no time wasted. So I agree that they looked out of place, but I liked how Gresham used them. Plus doing the shooting star left Gresham pinning Yehi in the perfect position for Yehi to pop in the Koji Clutch, which leads to a great Gresham cradle (with Yehi having to break the clutch or else get pinned). I did not like the finish as Yehi's kicks to the chest from his back always look silly to me. It looks just as close to giving your nephew an airplane ride as it does aiming to hurt someone, and it's the weakest part of Yehi's large set of offense. The stoppage makes logical sense as Gresham couldn't defend himself and was getting kicked in the face, but the kicks from that position just don't look like they have much mustard on them. If they DO really hurt, they shouldn't be used any more, because they read like the weakest strikes of the match.


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