Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, August 17, 2019

WWE Big 3: Lorcan, Gallagher, Gulak 8/4-8/17

So we got thrown off schedule by none of these guys having a match one week, and then a TakeOver happening last week, so we doubled up the weeks to bring you KING SIZE post worthy of these badasses.

205 Live 8/6

Oney Lorcan vs. Jack Gallagher vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Ariya Daivari vs. Tony Nese

ER: WWE is usually as good or better than most companies at doing fast paced juniors multimans, but I don't think this one came off as natural or organic as their best ones. This one had a lot of guys shimmying into position and some of the set ups looked off, but with some of the guys involved obviously there was going to be some gold. This was all about getting Oney to Summerslam (in the first match on the pre show no doubt), and here he looked like a guy who should obviously be at Summerslam. This had the regular problems of multimans, where we would get a great spot followed almost immediately by some kind of gaffe. We got a tandem submission where Lorcan basically had to hold his legs in place while nobody was holding them, but the spots were all a bunch of fun. Kalisto took a nasty bump PAST the announce table when then other 5 chucked him, Daivari was a fun opportunist and Gallagher bumped huge for him into the barricade, we got a dive train where Lorcan's unhinged flip dive was the star (and as is a rule in multimans, 4-5 people were entirely unable to catch Nese or Gallagher on their dives), Gallagher wasted Nese with a headbutt (but terrible agenting meant that Nese kicked out of it when there were literally 4 guys who could have broken up this pin instead), Nese athletically stumbled through this whole thing and it would have been much more interesting as a 4 man, but the whole thing would make an excellent 4 minute highlight package and that's not nothing. The important thing is Oney looking like a star while keeping guys like Gallagher and Tozawa still strong enough, and I thought this match succeeded in that.

PAS: This was a bunch of fun, although pretty flawed. Nese Nese'd it up for parts of this, just flipping and flopping around and setting up his dance moves. But I liked everyone else in this. This type of match doesn't work to Gallagher's strengths, but he had some fun multiman spots, and took a couple of nasty bumps on his head: that German suplex into the turnbuckles was way too sick for a spot which didn't mean anything in the match. Davari was almost Buddy Landelish in his stooging and cheap shotting and Kalisto and Tozawa had fun flying spots and move with real grace. I agree with Eric that there was enough awkward stuff to stop this from being a highly recommended match, but I enjoyed watching it.

Summerslam 8/11

42. Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan

ER: Yes sir. This was what got me excited for this card. And there is nothing else that can happen on this card that will take this match away from me. This ruled, and was a killer showcase for both men. We were so excited seeing TAKA Michinoku doing quebradas on WWF TV 20 years ago, so excited for cruiserweight wrestling on our TVs, and now we have evolved to TV cruiserweight wrestling being two guys ripping at beards and punching throats. Look at the things we as a people can do. This was an unhurried unsanitized version of what these two can do, and it got to happen on (the undercard of) one of the biggest shows of the year, and that's a very cool thing. It was a tidy 9 minutes filled with a dozen cool ideas, and just made me want to see them match up a dozen more times. Gulak slams Lorcan into the ropes in a flat out sinister way, and is practically inventing cruel subs to try to trap him in. Lorcan's aggression is his double edged sword. He flies into everything with abandon, which allowed him to come so close to beating Gulak, but it also meant he lost to Gulak. These guys made me buy into everything they did, moves had consequences, actions lead to finishes. Gulak took on the persona of a big brother who picked on his little brother too long and accidentally pushed him over the edge, and it was great. The look on Gulak's face as Lorcan is grabbing him by the fucking beard and muzzle and slapping him was classic. Both read naked choke spots were great, with the first looking like a genuine finish as Lorcan is not close to the ropes, and Gulak drags the arm closest to the ropes back across Lorcan's throat. That they went back to it soon after and created an organic Lorcan false win showed they understand their characters and the match they were having 100%. I loved Lorcan flipping out of that rear naked and almost getting the "fluke" pin, everything they had done made that finish an absolute possibility. Lorcan's flying uppercuts are a thing of beauty, and I'm not sure I've seen someone just lean into them standing the way Gulak did. It's one of those spots that somehow made both men look tougher, Lorcan flying into Gulak and Gulak absorbing the shots but refusing to show ass. And the finish was great, with Gulak being drug into the ring holding onto the ring skirt for dead life, then at the earliest opening just punching Lorcan in the throat and hitting the neckbreaker. Lorcan's sell of his throat was palpable, and I just want to see these guys continue to crush every opportunity they're given.

PAS: This was really great and vicious, and very different from the matches these guys were having on the indies 4 years ago. I loved how nasty they have made the Gu-Lock, every time Gulak goes for it, it is fought like death. I was watching Nate Diaz fight tonight, and I loved how Gulak's striking near the end of this match resembled that, he would throw these flurries of sharp quick punches, and slaps looking for little openings to land something hard and solid, I loved how he overwhelmed the harder hitter with volume. Finish was great with Gulak looking like he was in deep waters, only to crack Lorcan right in the throat and finish him off, it looked like a fatality in a kung fu movie.

205 Live 8/13

Jack Gallagher vs. Akira Tozawa

ER: Just another typical WWE juniors match. You know, cool matwork, two guys landing stiff shots, and one of them busting open his head doing a nutso bump off the ringpost. That kind of WWE juniors match. And it was cool as all hell. Gallagher had some of his coolest transitions in this one, and I especially loved his slick escape from an early headscissors into an Indian deathlock variation. Gallagher's placement and timing were impeccable here, he always knew the right distance to throw his great dropkick, knew right where he had to be to properly counter Tozawa. Tozawa took a wild bump to the floor after getting booted over the top, hitting his head on the ringpost and then the steps and getting a cut on his head from it. Gallagher kept his attack simple, and I liked how Gallagher kept using his nice strikes to create distance for bigger moves (really liked him using that headbutt to the stomach a couple times to knock Tozawa back on his heels). Tozawa's tope was real nice, a true classic tope where he lead with his head, and I like that Tozawa has a couple of really cool great looking signature punches. The finish appeared to be setting something up with Kendrick (they haven't crossed paths in a year and obviously that's a match up I'd love to get more TV time), but did take away from what they had been doing: Gallagher went for a superplex and Tozawa reversed to a nice front suplex, hit the senton, Gallagher got his foot on the ropes, and Kendrick plausibly accidentally knocked it off. We'll see where it leads, but even in a vacuum I loved what they did in this match.

PAS:  I really liked this, Tozawa has really great looking offense, one of the better non luchadore topes in the world, killer senton, awesome Tenryu jab. He doesn't always have the best structure to his matches, so it is great when he has a maestro like Gallagher to work with. The crazy bump Tozawa takes to the floor where he busts his head open on the ringpost, was really cool looking, but the long ref stoppage to try to clean the blood did funky up the momentum of the match a bit. I get why that is their policy I suppose but it is hard to keep a pace. Gallagher always seems to have interesting finishes to his matches, and I liked the ambiguity of Kendrick knocking his foot off, leads to some interesting business in the future.

22. Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan

ER: Let's just continue giving these two as much TV time as possible, and I guarantee they will become popular names off their work alone. This match is completely different from the match they had a couple days prior at Summerslam, opting to build directly off the finish of that match into this match. Gulak really came off like a modern day Finlay here, sadistically attacking Lorcan's throat after winning their last match with a punch right to the throat. Lorcan is really great at flying into things, so here he is crazily flying neck first into ropes and buckles and the announce table, with Gulak even pulling out a Finlay staple by slamming Lorcan's throat into the edge of the ring apron (not throat related, but I also like how Gulak uses another Finlay staple, bodyslamming Lorcan leg first into the ropes to weaken him). Gulak kept attacking with hard lariats to the neck, and by the end of this I was wondering if any WWE match had more lariats this year. Lorcan is an extremely exciting "working from behind" guy, and all of his comebacks were scorching. I liked how hot he came out the gates, dumping Gulak with a half nelson suplex and hitting his great cannonball dive to the floor, flying into Gulak with uppercuts, really showing his wealth of babyface charisma. It honestly felt like Lorcan was going to keep maniacally running headlong into Gulak until he either won or could no longer run, and that kind of die hard babyface is missing from wrestling, or bogged down in shitty wide eyed heavy breathing play acting. Lorcan's huge suplex from the top was an awesome moment, and I love how him throwing Gulak so far across the ring ended up benefitting Gulak, as he got launched close to the ropes a Lorcan had to struggle to get over to him. The finish is a slick variation on learned behavior, with Gulak using a chaos theory to instead roll into a dragon sleeper. Lorcan has now cleanly lost his two singles matches against Gulak, yet due to his behavior in these losses comes out looking as strong and threatening as ever. Time to keep this feud going, to our benefit.

PAS: This was totally killer, glad we get to see this guys match up in the era of weirdly long TV main events for cruiserweights. And these are two guys who can fill 20+ minutes together.  The opening burst by Lorcan was great, and I totally bought Gulak having to get nasty with the throat shots. The simple throw into the announce table was so much cooler with the pre-existing injury and Lorcan's selling. That top rope suplex was a huge near fall, and I thought Lorcan had the match. I loved the call back to the first match with Lorcan forcing Gulak to turtle up and eat strikes to the body, as opposed to what happened earlier in the week. Finish was really cool and Lorcan looks like a total badass passing out rather then tapping. I want Gulak to have this belt forever, he is just great at putting together cool unique championship matches.

ER: Well this was pretty great for a couple week's selection of matches, with both Gulak/Lorcan matches landing on our 2019 Ongoing MOTY List. I'm with Phil, Gulak as Champ Forever.

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