Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, September 07, 2019

WWE Big 3: Lorcan, Gallagher, Gulak 2019 Catch-Up

WWE is cruelly depriving us of fresh Big 3 TV matches this week, so I figured I would dive back deeper into 2019 and pick up some matches of the guys that I missed, see if there's anything worth going back for.

Drew Gulak vs. Jordan Devlin WWE Worlds Collide 1/26/19 (Aired 2/2)

ER: I thought this was really good, especially when viewed as a great Gulak performance. I thought Devlin was along for the ride and held up his end in a lot of ways, but also thought the weakest parts of the match were because of him, and still find it weird that a lot of these UK guys seem to work really flat finishes into their matches. But you view this as a Gulak show with an 80% capable guy across from him, and there were some great fireworks. I loved every way Gulak would grab a limb, and every way he would kind of stop a sequence midway through and take it a different direction. I would have been happy with him working cravats, locking in a leg in place while twisting Devlin's arm behind him, sinking the body vice of the Gulock while stretching his bicep back across Devlin's eyes, all of his work looked nasty. But I liked the bits of personality he added, too, like the section in the middle where both guys try to get their feet on the ropes during pins, and Gulak escalates things into a slugfest. Now, I dug that, because Gulak hits much harder than Devlin. Things come to blows, and Gulak gives him an elbow that knocks him back in the corner while walking through Devlin's punch/elbow hybrid thing. As the match went on it felt like Devlin started working up to Gulak, I thought his elbows looked harder during the back half of the match, he started toeing Gulak in the cheek with little kicks, and then he hit two strong as hell standing lariats. Those lariats looked so mean that if I had taken them I would have been clutching my chest on the floor like Redd Foxx. Gulak brings in fun misdirection when Devlin starts firing back harder, and I loved the look of Gulak bringing a unexpected dropdown, then getting up to run a alternate direction before catching Devlin in the surprise sunset flip. That was a great nearfall and I think could have ended the match. I also think Gulak's nasty trailer hitch could have ended things, as he kept Devlin's ankles tied up and bent, while wrenching every other limb away from the ropes. The finish itself came off flat (a lot of these UK guys seem to peak their matches 3/4 of the way through), so it just feels like Gulak going down to a fireman's carry, but I also think Gulak sold well enough for Devlin, put over the physical toll well enough, that the finish didn't feel out of place.

Jack Gallagher vs. Lince Dorado 205 Live 2/12/19

ER: This kind of felt like a weird WCW match up, throwing together Robbie Brookside vs. JL, only WWE gives that match up 10 minutes in front of a silent crowd. They threatened to make some noise while Gallagher held an abdominal stretch, then almost came alive when Dorado was hitting moonsaults off each turnbuckle, but most of this time this read like an exhibition both guys worked in an empty training room. And that's not such a bad thing, but the match itself didn't seem to have much glue. There were cool things, and I dig this kind of style clash, but Gallagher wasn't working as quirky as he can, and Dorado wasn't as interesting as he is in multimans. Taken in highlight form it would make an excellent package. Dorado hit a big springboard crossbody to the floor with his knees cracking across Gallagher's face (the replay showing the angle from behind Gallagher looked even more nasty) and I dug how Gallagher took all of Dorado's flying in a really heavy way. Gallagher would take a crossbody and fall back with a thud, or flip into a heavy flipping back bump off a headscissors; I thought it made Dorado's light offense look more damaging than if Gallagher had just rolled through everything with more lucha style bumps. I dug the build to Dorado hitting his three moonsaults, catching knees on the one off the top, and then flipped out for Gallagher's muscled up powerbomb turned into a tight single leg. But when the match didn't end on Gallagher's rebound headbutt, I called shenanigans. Dorado treated every move from Gallagher the exact same, sold it the same, so you had him shrugging off a sick powerbomb and kickout out of that wicked headbutt, but treating them the same as early match work. Good moments, fun highlights, never really felt like a match.

Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake/Zack Gibson) NXT UK 1/27/19 (Aired 2/27)

ER: Simple match with a simple formula of GYV cutting off the ring, with the enduring problem being that GYV aren't very interesting here. Now I understand that to build to a big fiery comeback you need to wear down the faces, really make it seem like long odds, and then the faces explode into action. But Drake and Gibson really didn't do a ton with their long heat segment, and the hot tag kept weirdly chopping off its own limbs. The time was right, the formula was sound, but I didn't think it added up to much. Gibson and Drake work this match like the least interesting Gallows/Anderson, with occasional bright flashes coming from Lorcan and Burch. Burch has a couple of nice thrust headbutts, Lorcan tags in with his huge double blockbuster and then hits a wild Doomsday Device uppercut that sends Drake flying dangerously off Burch's shoulders. But the only big moments that GYV would build to all ended up in lame chestbreakers. This whole thing was way too dry. Simple can often lead to great, but some guys aren't great at doing anything interesting while working simple.


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