Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, June 09, 2019

2019 Ongoing MOTY List: Gallgher vs. Ohno

15. Jack Gallagher vs. Kassius Ohno NXT UK 4/20 (Aired 5/29/19)

PAS: Pretty crazy that the WWE has expanded so much that they can run a match built around determining who is the superior World of Sport grappler. Really cool that they can find a roll for this kind of niche wrestling. Gallagher is such a technician, his grappling is so slick and impressive, and every time I see him I wonder why I don't watch everything he does. The first part of the match has both guys using WOS grappling and signature holds, and Gallagher getting the edge. He catches Ohno with the handstand in the corner, and goes for the lady of the lake, Ohno stares at it for a second, and instead of playing along, stomps Gallagher right in the head. He then hits him with a big right hand which busts Gallagher's mouth, and we move from a Johnny Saint match into a Terry Rudge match, with pretty nasty stiff brawl, including Gallgher countering a rolling elbow by headbutting the wrist, and some great Gallagher body shots. Finish was OK, with the little bit of business about the ref missing the leg under the ropes, but I think a bigger finish really could have elevated this to the top tier of matches this year.

ER: I loved pretty much every single thing about this, from the fact that it happened at all down to (obviously) everything they did. You get Nigel talking about how they did an ode to Steve Grey, and ode to Johnny Saint, an ode to Nigel McGuinness, and man if Ohno keeps doubling down on Arby's Beef 'n Cheddars he could give us an ode to Big Daddy. But at no points did any of this feel derivative. Lesser workers could have made this look like a minor league baseball stadium Al Snow match, all World of Sport equivalents to doing Stunners and People's Elbows. No, we were getting cool WoS spots worked nicely into their own match, with twists we didn't always get in WoS. They played off familiar moments and gave them right turns, successfully playing off our expectations and giving us something fresh out of something near and dear. I liked Gallagher going for Saint's old lady in the lake spot - a spot we started seeing a ton on the indies around 2003, when more indy workers had finally seen a Johnny Saint match - and Ohno just stomps Gallagher in the face. Gallagher headstands in the corner like Nigel, Hero doesn't sucker in. The standing exchanges were as good as I was hoping they'd be, with my favorite being Gallagher trying to knee his way into Ohno's knee and elbow crooks to force leverage. Gallagher tying on a wristlock and then lifting his opposite grip side knee to force down Ohno by the elbow, or digging his knee into the back of Ohno's, that's the kind of thing that this wrestling fan loves. And when the broke out of the WoS spot, it was with an absolute bang, with Ohno bloodying up Gallagher's face with a "I'm done messing around" punch. Gallagher is smaller but can strike with the best of them, and once Ohno moves the match into punch territory, Gallagher is more than fine throwing hard elbows and a couple of his great headbutts. Ohno throws some of his greatest pump kicks in the biz, and I really only wish we had gotten the built up finish the boys had earned. Ohno hits a finisher worthy rolling elbow, landing Gallagher's leg well under the rope (and hanging off the apron), but the ref counts as normal (which is odd he wouldn't check the ropes as Gallagher was lying right next to them, feels a safe bet he would have had a limb breaking the plane) and Ohno amusingly swipes Gallagher's leg back into the ring. I really would have liked the ref to have noticed, and Gallagher to have slipped to the floor, continuing the match and giving Gallagher another break to come back. That probably would have been enough to launch this into the upper parts of our list, instead of "merely" easily ON the list. The finish wasn't even bad, it's just a really good finish would have made this legendary instead of undeniably great.


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