Segunda Caida

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 148

Episode 148

No Ropes: Trevor Lee vs. Roy Wilkins

ER: Writing about a match like this always seems like I'm stepping on eggshells, as I didn't love it, but am aware that many people did, and I much prefer writing posts based around "this is why I thought this match was awesome!" instead of posts framed around "here's why I'm the low vote on the match". And I guess the reasons for not liking it are fairly simple: I don't think the work within the match was interesting enough to pay off the stipulation, I don't think the No Ropes gave the match any more drama than it would have had with Ropes (ropes could have possibly been more interesting with the same rules, as it would allow for submissions to be applied within the ropes, with no breaks), and I don't think the work within the match justified the near 60 minute run time. I think certain parts of the match peaked too early, while other parts took too long to get moving. I also thought Wilkins looked weak offensively in spots, especially on his stomps. There was one moment where they spilled to the floor and Wilkins threw some of the lightest stomps, and capped them off with a really soft superkick; later, during our big and expected All Stars interference moment, Royal and Li threw more weak strikes to a grounded Lee, making it seem like they were fake putting the boots to a guy with shingles (Li threw a couple especially bad ones, but I think stomps are the weakest part of his game. He should consider dropping them from his repertoire). Overall, the match just didn't work for me.

I think you have to do something pretty special to justify an hour run time, and I don't think there was anything in this match that couldn't have been accomplished in half the runtime. And, I think the longer it went did more of a disservice to the submission attempts. With no rope breaks, we just ended up with several submission attempts that just ended up being applied, and eventually let go by the applier. Rope breaks are a great tool, a great way to build drama and structure some big moments around a narrow escape. But when a guy applies a move, doesn't get a tap, and just drops the hold, I thought it made the subs lose their luster. I can only see a submission being applied so many times, and then being broken without a tap, before it makes the guys look like they must not be very good at applying submissions. I also thought they could have integrated the unique ring set up more than they did. I've had similar complaints when guys worked a mostly normal match inside a cage. Some of my favorite spots in the match integrated the lack of ropes, from simple things like the early match lock ups with each man trying to back the other off the apron, or Wilkins teetering on the edge a couple times, to bigger things like Lee hitting a huge punt while Wilkins was climbing up onto the apron, an angle that would not have been possible without ropes. But the match was overly long, and even the Sportatorium crowd didn't start getting into it until past the 30 minute mark. When you sense a match is going long, you either get an excited reaction of things ramping up (like in Almas/Gargano, a match that ran 25 minutes less than this one, but had the crowd hooked from minute 1), but here it felt more like a "we know this is going long, the first half doesn't matter" reaction. And there were things that didn't matter, that I think happened at an odd part of the match: We get a finger break that didn't prevent Wilkins from doing anything the rest of the match, and not long after we got Lee posting and stomping Wilkins arm, which never stopped him from attempting subs. I liked the home stretch, where it became clear that Wilkins was a corpse and Lee was just going to keep propping him and and setting him in place to wreck him over and over, I liked Lee yanking off Jaray Caray's pristine white kicks - signing them! - and tossing them to the crowd, I liked the babyface locker room running off the All Stars, I liked the babyfaces pounding on the mat while surrounding the ring, but overall the match didn't land with me. It's not easy to work a near hour match, and I hope they're proud of that, at least. Ballads are being sung, but not for me.

PAS: I liked this a fair bit more then Eric did, overall I thought there was enough really great stuff in the match to recommend it overall, but there were some maximalist flaws which are present in a bunch of Lee's biggest matches, and especially his big and long matches which kept this from being on my MOTY list. Nearly an hour is really hard to pull off, especially in a modern wrestling environment which is going to demand big bombs and moments through out. Lee smashed his ankle into the post early which led to concerns of a broken ankle, but the match probably went 35 minutes after that, and we had several mid match KOs which didn't end up going anywhere ect. The run in had the great moment of Lee signing Carey's white shoes and sending them into the crowd, but otherwise was just overbooking and felt out of pace with the rest of the match. There were also some fatigue strike exchanges, which looked soft and kind of overacty.

Despite those complaints though, there was a lot to really love about the match, I was all in on the no ropes stip, and I thought it led to a bunch of very cool twists, especially in the early excellent grappling sections. I loved how Trevor used different levels to apply holds, sometimes coming from below to get torque and sometimes locking stuff on from above. I also thought all of the work around the figure four was cool, the lack of rope breaks added to the drama, Lee had to reverse it to break it, and the end with Wilkins taking a cool unprotected fall onto his head. I also really loved the finish with Lee just pounding Wilkins down and out with big shots until the ref stopped it. Exhaustion KO finish is a great finish for a long match, it makes sense that at some point shots can't be blocked or stopped. It is damn hard to make me want to watch a match this long with a modern work style. This had those flaws, but mostly kept me engaged, and I continue to be fans of both guys. I want to watch their first no ropes match, I imagine four years ago, they might not have had the need to go so big, and I might enjoy it even more.

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