Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 144

Episode 144

Cain Justice vs. Ian Maxwell

PAS: Cain is really great at working with greenish guys and working around their limitations, it is the thing that is most impressive about him being a rookie himself. Maxwell has some fun highspots, and Justice is great at filling in the middle parts of the match around them. I loved his fake knee injury, and how it played off of the Battle Royal. I also liked how he used the ref to distract Maxwell a couple of times, including the awesome finish were he maneuvered the ref in between him and Maxwell who was perched on the top rope. When Maxwell finally dove, Justice snatched him out of the air with a cross armbreaker.

ER: This was a cool twist on the modern indy workrate match, with Cain constantly - awesomely - throwing a wrench into typical modern workrate moments. Every time it would threaten to devolve into This Is Awesome, Cain would just wash to the floor, jaw with fans, sip hilariously from a water bottle, stall, and generally just upset the rhythm. That style works great when you have a great worker upsetting rhythm. Modern indy workrate comes off too much like swing dancing big band, and you need an upsetter to introduce people to the irregular phrases and angular melodies found in bop. Cain as Thelonious Monk? I thought they hit the first armbar spot too long, as I never like when somebody is just able to casually survive in a Cain Justice submission, it does them a big disservice. This one was even weirder as Cain had a fully extended armbar and was looking to KO Maxwell with heel kicks, and with the armbar still extended they do a raise/drop the arm spot. That's weird. Maxwell doesn't pay attention to the arm again even though he was locked in the armbar for 30 seconds. But I liked the rest of this, always like how active Cain is during simple lockups and go behinds, reaching back between his legs for something, looking for hammerlock openings, grabbing for headlocks, punching Maxwell in the hamstring, etc. His elbows land so damn hard, short staccato bursts, and I like the offbeat timing he brings to the standing exchange. Nobody should get excited for back and forth match for match exchanges anymore. They're dull. So once this one starts, I appreciate them mixing it up and not robotically trading elbows. They brought kicks, elbows, a superman punch, and more, a nice variety that was offbeat and welcome. Maxwell has some smooth stuff, really liked his leaping rana, and he has nice timing on his enziguiris. I agree with Phil on how cool the finish was. There were a lot of moving parts, and it was still able to come off naturally, the somersault leap into the armbar was precise and looked great, really fun match.

Mace Li vs. Kool Jay

ER: I liked this one too, although I don't love an overuse of "I kick you and it causes you to stumble, and you sell on your feet until I get up, then you kick me" in a match, I thought they handled a lot of things nicely. I still can't really get a good read on Mace Li, even though he's popped up regularly over the last 4 months. Within a match he'll do some things I really like, here he throws a really great shoulderblock and an awesome missed elbowdrop, really sticking the point of his elbow, and late in the match he planted himself on a DDT; but then he'll do some annoying or lazy things, like a slo mo missed clothesline to get into position for the next bit of offense. But overall I liked him here more than I've liked him in other matches. I am still not over how they handled the Kool Jay RGL title win. It makes no sense to me. Kool Jay now acts like an established fighting champion, and I didn't even get to see him fight for his title win. It is not sitting well with me. It feels like we missed 70% of his story. I think CWF has been mostly really good about working people up and down the card, but Kool Jay already getting a title feels like I just skipped 4 months of TV. And I'm still adjusting to him getting a lot of offense, and I do still think he's a more interesting wrestling working from behind than working even. But I liked his body shot combo in the ropes, and his DDTs go down with a nice snap, so he's still going to be a guy I get interested in seeing. I just feel a little robbed.

PAS: I agree with the silliness of not showing Jay win the title, I do enjoy him as champ though. He has a nice arsenal of little guy spinning offense. I really liked his jumping complete shot and his DDT. Mace has some fun shtick although he definitely still looks a little tentative when he applies moves. The All Stars are a great act and you can pretty much slot in anyone around Jerry Carrey and the Coach and have it be entertaining. 

Faye Jackson/Aaron Biggs vs. Zane & Dave Dawson

ER: This was so-so, but I thought the Dawsons did well to put the whole thing over. Faye Jackson is fun and I like her vibe, like the big butt attacks and her rolling cannonball, but I don't think it really works with these guys. It doesn't help that she appears to gas out pretty hard at the end, taking a long time to leap into a sunset flip and then taking even longer to ready a chairshot after the match. Obviously I miss the Sandwich Squad, and Mecha was my favorite part of that team, but Biggs still brings value on his own. I won't ever get tired of a huge guy doing splashes and avalanches. But the Dawsons held this together, Dave especially was really mean to Faye, hitting a big dropkick under her chin (I liked her sell of it) and pulling on her hair while taunting her in a chinlock. I like the Dawsons cheating to win because basically why not, but they should also work a little harder to make their tag champs look like they deserve to be tag champs. It seems like every single makeshift team takes them to the limit.

PAS: Faye does have really fun offense, although she might be best used as a face manager who comes into hit some spots, kind of like Que Monito. I do love her rolling cannonballs. Biggs is fine, but I am not sure if he is ready to be the A1 in a tag team, he is a little like a good secondary scorer who has to take the majority of the shots when the star player leaves. He may get there, but I am not sure he is there yet. Dawsons were fun in this as dick heads, I loved the taunting of Biggs with the EAT chants, and Dave blocking the low bridge attempt by punching Faye in the face was great.

Chet Sterling vs. John Skyler

ER: I was skeptical when I saw the episode still had 25 minutes left, and didn't think these two could stretch things out that long without me getting restless and wanting the match to end. But I really liked this and came away impressed with how they used the 25 minutes. It was simple stuff but paced well and paid off nicely, with Skyler stalling to start, eventually attacking Sterling's ribs, removing a turnbuckle pad early, and that pad and the early rib work leading to the finish. It's all very satisfying, linear stuff. But what put it over for me is how much the fans in the Sportatorium love Chet Sterling. I was a slow convert on Sterling. We've probably seen 20 Sterling matches now, and it's been a slow burn. I did not like him on first watch, slowly accepted that he was decent in trios, slowly accepted he was good as the Ricky Morton in a tag, finally became a singles match convert after the Royal match, and now I enjoy Chet Sterling. Hearing the fans (and especially all the screaming kids) cheering for him when Skyler was beating him down really made the match. We have so many 25 minute matches where the guys are going to do their match no matter the reaction, and while this didn't feel like the crowd was dictating the pace of the match, it did feel like these two knew exactly what kind of match to give them. The rib work was set up nicely, with simple things like Skyler smashing Sterling ribs first into the apron, or hitting a fat senton, on up to bigger things like Sterling going for a crossbody but landing on Skyler's knee. Sterling's comebacks are good in tag matches, and it was good here. He throws his hot comeback punches from the same arm slot as Lawler's comeback punches. They aren't as good as Lawler's, but that's not a very fair expectation, because Sterling has great babyface punches. They do several moments that are hard to naturally pull off, where Skyler keeps missing offense while Sterling keeps moving out of the way, too tired to counter with anything of his own. The misses usually look hokey but Skyler did them well, especially crashing into the buckles chest first. The end pays off the early work nicely, with Attitude knocking Sterling off the top rope, making him fall on the exposed buckle, leading to Skyler planting him with the Finlay Roll off the middle rope. I got similar vibes during this match as I got during the Foxx/Royal Chapel Hill match, just a hot crowd rooting for their babyface as fans of the hero, not fans of "This is awesome".

PAS: I thought this was a heck of Skyler performance. I loved all of his shtick early in the match, stalling, demanding time outs, begging off, and then flipping the switch when he got an advantage. I loved him catching Sterlings dive with a stomach buster and then just pounding on him with head and body shots. Skyler was really focused on the ribs and small of the back in an entertaining way and they timed Sterlings comebacks really well to keep the crowd engaged. Timing comebacks is a really important part of a traditional face vs. heel match, wait too long and the match just drags and feels too one sided (This was the fatal flaw in the Wrestlemania main event), go too early and it is just a your turn, my turn match with no selling and it doesn't allow the crowd to pop at the comebacks. I don't love Sterling's 1997 ECWA offense, but it was timed great. Finish was awesome too, with Chekov's exposed bolt coming into play perfectly, we get some classic dickhead Brad Attitude and a great second rope Finlay roll for the pin.

PAS: Pretty good show, with everything getting a thumbs up and Skyler vs. Sterling making our 2018 Ongoing MOTY List. 

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