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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 150

Episode 150

John Skyler/Mace Li vs. Aaron Biggs/Keith Mac

ER: This started out rough, with none of the stuff featuring Mac looking good. He threw a bunch of bad hiptosses, the kind that looked like a local high school PE teacher got in the ring to pop the crowd while the wrestlers bumped around for him, and then Mac capped it off with an ugly dropkick. Bad start. But Skyler willed this thing from the grave with a fast sprawling bump to the floor, and once Skyler/Li take over on Mac I get into it. Mac takes a great bump to the floor thanks to Skyler holding the ropes open, and Skyler/Li don't do anything spectacular to pick apart Mac, but they keep things engaging, keep Biggs away, Skyler is good at things like that. I especially liked how he occupied himself to allow Mac draw out the hot tag to Biggs: Skyler had eaten a facebuster and wandered around the ring holding his jaw, in total disarray, going to the wrong corner to tag in Li, all good stuff to let Mac build to that tag. And Biggs is a super fun hot tag, obviously, smooshing the other two and ending things once Li gets whipped into his rib crushing Thesz Press. This recovered quite nicely after

PAS: This is a good example of how a classic southern tag structure has a really high floor. Mac wrestles like a veteran in his 70s still working nostalgia shows (does Thunderbolt Patterson work Georgia indies, imagine that), good shtick, but utter inability to execute offense or take bumps, he is the Ricky Morton in this. Despite that, some good bumping and shtick by Li and Skyler and an awesome looking hot tag by Biggs make this a plus match. Get the crowd behind someone, and delay the gratification for a bit and it is going to be entertaining.

Otto Schwanz vs. Chet Sterling

ER: Is Otto the best (only?) guy to pull off a "tough guy/goofball" persona? He comes out in his velour Fila track suit and comically large chain, jump scares little kids, gets in the ring and does some combination of amateur rolling and warm-up break dancing, looking kind of ridiculous and yet kind of dangerous. "Kind of Ridiculous and Kind of Dangerous: The Otto Schwanz Story". I really liked this match, and loved Otto tossing Sterling around. Sterling would fire back with punches and I thought Otto did a good job picking and choosing which ones to take seriously, and which ones to storm through and ignore. Sterling rushes in with some body shots, Otto chuckles and doesn't slow down a bit; Sterling pops him in the jaw, Otto gets rattled, eyes widen, he cracks Sterling back harder. Otto has this one punch that I really love - and a few big guys use punches like this - where he throws one big shot horizontally across the jaw. It's a cool angle, stands apart from normal stand and trade punches, reminds me of the visual of when Andre would punch across his opponents face and body. I thought Sterling was good firing back with hard overhand chops, loved Otto sinking in bearhugs and elbow drops, thought Sterling bumped around great for Otto (and love that Otto charging shoulder in the corner, that sent Sterling through the ropes to the floor), and the nice high cradle is a believable way to get a pin on a bigger dude.

PAS: This was pretty good, Sterling has some dodgy offense, but is a good bumper and good at getting the crowd behind him, so having him eaten up by Schwanz is a good match structure. Otto is great at making simple things look devastating, nasty bodyslam, really great ragdolling bearhug, nice straight punches, nasty backbreaker. He reminds me a lot of Mark Lewin, who would be the answer to Eric's question for tough guy/goofball combo. Great match for the crowd, who really got into Otto's shtick and Sterling's comeback.

Dave & Zane Dawson vs. Dirty Daddy/Kool Jay

ER: At this point, every Dawsons tag feels longer to me than it actually is. I thought this match went 20, was shocked to see it was just 14. I don't know why, but it feels like there are rarely any changes in pace throughout their matches, they just kind of continuously operate at one level, and the Dawsons are just a bit too dry. They've shown flashes, they've had decent matches, but there's zero nuance to their performance. They sell for opponents in minute one of a match the same as they sell in minute 13, so there's never the impression that a babyface time is making headway or falling behind in a match. They're essentially always equally about to win or about to lose, and that makes things drag. Teams never gain or lose ground against them, they just do stuff to them until the match ends. They're not great at setting up offense for their opponents, but I still enjoyed Jay and Daddy here, thought both had nice punch combos. Daddy had some nice moments showing his really excellent attention to detail, and it's a shame he's been kind of lost at sea for the last few months. He'd be a far more interesting guy with a tag belt than these two. A great detail moment I loved from Daddy was him getting caught by the Dawsons in a crossbody, leading Jay to missile dropkick him, sending him into a pinfall on the Dawsons. But Daddy comes up selling his back, which is huge, as it rarely happens with that spot. Somehow in wrestling physics, if you get hit with friendly fire you don't have to sell it. But Daddy is a smart worker and it really lends credibility to his matches. Dawsons on the other hand make taking a headscissors look about as plausible as Kenny Omega bumping for a blow up doll. I liked Jay taking big bumps and getting planted by the Dawsons, Zane threw a great punch in the corner at one point, but overall the match dragged for me.

PAS: Kool Jay is a great pinball and takes some big time bumps by the Dawsons, and I actually think this would have been a pretty good match, except for Dirty Daddy's lethargic hot tag. He is usually so good as both the hot tag and the face in peril, here it felt like he mailed in the big comeback a bit, which took some steam out of the crowd. Dawsons title reign has taken a bunch of steam out of the tag titles, not sure I have really liked any of their title defenses, this had some moments, but was too long and never hit third gear.

Donnie Dollars vs. Trevor Lee

ER: I've never seen Dollars come out in his button up and 1994 gaudy tie, and I like it. He looks like an IRS/Big Bubba cross, and the IRS look makes sense with his name. If he's supposed to have been some kind of equity trader then I have totally missed that. I dig Lee dismantling big guys, and I've been waiting for a longer Donnie Dollars match, so I was excited for this one and thought it delivered, although less than other Lee main events. Dollars was fun using some shortcuts that a huge dude shouldn't need to use, but I love seeing a heel cheat just to cheat, so Dollars pulling the ref in between he and Lee so he can blast Lee with an elbow, or Dollars kicking the ropes while Lee steps through them. Lee never really felt in danger in this one, which lands this lower than other title matches. Lee was mostly one step ahead of Dollars, with Dollars being the one to get occasional hope offense (like a big running boot), which is kinda backwards. But Lee is fun working ahead on a big guy, stomping early on Dollars' elbow, which Dollars never really recovers from. Dollars was really good at keeping that elbow stomp present, even though we never went back to it. His selling was good enough (without being constant) that it played as a rough move that set him back early in the match, that gave Lee the advantage the rest of the match. Lee would be kicking at Dollars' body, and he would be holding his elbow and leaving himself mostly defenseless against kicks, and it really made it seem like his elbow was messed up if he was willing to take these kicks to protect his arm. Lee amusingly baited him a couple times, like hitting a running elbow in the corner and duping Dollars into following him so he could hit him again. The end was never in doubt, and I wish Dollars had a bit more of a showing, but it was fun.

PAS: I tend to really like lesser Lee title matches, he is more interesting when he works around a formula worker, then just having an indy classic. The structure of this was kind of unique with Dollars playing a heel underdog big man, not a combination I can remember seeing before. Lee almost comes off heelish here, do you really need to break Donnie Dollar's elbow to beat him? I agree that Dollar's elbow selling was great and I thought the built a couple of nice near falls for Donnie. I think this match would have been better if Donnie went on a bit of winning streak before it, so the crowd might buy him a bit more, or if it had just been a sprint. Going this long without Dollars having any chance of winning was kind of odd.

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