Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

WWE Big 3: Lorcan, Gallagher, Gulak 11/24-11/30

Smackdown 11/29

Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali

ER: "A rivalry that really heated up when Drew Gulak did a PowerPoint presentation on Twitter" is something that's going to sound just as stupid to future generations as it does now, yes? This match goes maybe 3 minutes - pretty dumb on a 2 hour show with only 4 matches - but is fairly meaty for the short runtime. Gulak is back to shaved head and is sporting some cool as boots, and he aims to make the most of his ring time (and the way things have been going this might be all the ring time he gets this month). Gulak looked sharp in control, backed Ali with hard chops, worked a nice single leg crab, and hit a wicked one arm powerbomb when Ali jumped to the middle buckle (he really flung him too, really great). Gulak made Ali's kicks look like a million bucks, and the match had an actual good use of a superkick that made for a plausible nearfall even just 2 minutes in. Sub-3 minutes is almost always going to be unfulfilling, but Gulak made the most of his time.

205 Live 11/29

Jack Gallagher vs. Angel Garza

ER: 14 minutes of Gallagher on my TV on a Saturday morning is just not something I'm going to complain about, but I am really not a fan of the way Garza transitioned to comeback throughout the match. The bones of a killer match were there, with Garza working over Gallagher's stomach and Gallagher being the one to try to keep him at bay with cool strikes. You don't see a lot of stomach work, but Garza was clearly targetting Jack's stomach, setting up a big dropkick to the gut in the corner, dropkicking him again in the stomach on a missed Gallagher crossbody, and in maybe the coolest moment of the match breaking out a slingshot gutbuster. Gallagher hasn't been done many favors with the way he's been portrayed. He's the guy they use as a heel or face depending on what's convenient that week, and throwing a pasty British guy into the ring for almost 15 minutes in Alabama is the kind of thing that has been leading crowds to root for matches to end. Gallagher is diligent and eventually wins them over, but it is not easy. And I think part of that is because almost all of Garza's comebacks are structured to come immediately after taking a big move from Gallagher. This was the worst use of the Gallagher standing thrust headbutt (he has a nice one early in the match where he rains it down on Garza while trapping him in the corner), and he lays that headbutt in, causing Garza to bounce off the ropes and hit a superkick. Obviously that is one of the worst trends in go go go wrestling, where a guy can take a move that has always been used for a nearfall, but this time the momentum from getting headbutted really hard makes him bounce off ropes and throw a kick. Maybe there's a way to make a spot like that work. I'm sure Finlay could find a way to make it work. But I don't think I've seen it work. Gallagher does win the people over when he kicks Garza in the face on a corner dropkick and begins landing stiff windmill punches. The windmill punches were hitting hard enough and landing quick enough and overwhelming Garza enough that the folks in Birmingham couldn't help but make a little noise. But Gallagher got crippled by another lazy transition: Late in the match Gallagher leaps onto Garza and tries dragging him down with a guillotine choke, shifting weight, gradually seeming like it could work...but Garza just gets choked for awhile and then hits the wing clipper. Oh. The layout only seemed to work to the match's detriment, and the worst version of a 50-50 match is where one guy responds to a big move immediately with a big move. This had the chance to eclipse their better, shorter match from a couple weeks ago, but alas.

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