Ok, I know what you’re thinking. What the hell is Kyle O’Reilly doing here? This series is supposed to be about lesser known guys, right? Well, this match definitely flew under radar despite involving a high profile name. This match took place on Night 2 of St. Louis Anarchy’s event titled, Gateway to Anarchy. The date was March 1, 2014.
St. Louis Anarchy ran its last show in November last year. Their catalog can be found at smartmarkvideo.com. While they provided a mixture of indie darlings as well as local wrestlers, their production values were often low-budget. Furthermore, their distribution had been spotty as many of their shows are unreleased. Still, SLA produced a lot of gems in their six years of existence. This match was one of them.
Fans should be familiar with Gary Jay. While he may not be getting big bookings every weekend, he has performed for some major promotions over his twelve year career. CHIKARA fans may know him Gary the Barn Owl. In fact, he was a participant in last year’s King of Trios. Jay has also done work for AIW and EVOLVE.
The weekend of February 28 and March 1, 2014 must have been nerve-wrecking for Gary Jay. On night one he came up short to Roderick Strong. The following night, he had to defend his heavyweight title against Kyle O’Reilly in a 2 out of 3 falls match.
The crowd was electric from the moment these two stepped in the ring. Despite the venue being a sweatbox, the fans were very passionate throughout this entire match. O’Reilly ceremoniously opened the match with a big boot. They started exchanging strikes, and it was quite surprising to see Gary Jay hang with Kyle O’Reilly. O’Reilly, however, made quick work of Jay, securing the first fall in the first two minutes.
Gary Jay rolled outside in attempt to avoid any further pins from O’Reilly. Outside, things got heated pretty quickly as O’Reilly introduced chairs into the match.
The turning point came when O’Reilly went to the well one too many times
Gary Jay would get the upper hand on O’Reilly as the match broke down into brawl. The main weapon involved in this match was the chair, and Gary Jay took every opportunity to use it to his advantage.
They started slugging it out Necro Butcher style, trading punches and elbows while seated. O’Reilly was first to his feet, and in the end it cost him a fall. Gary Jay caught O’Reilly off-guard, delivering a backbreaker onto the chair. The score was now tied.
The final fall made for some exciting action as they took to the outside for the second time. This time, they took the action through the crowd. To see guys like Kyle O’Reilly give this much of themselves to such a small crowd really says a lot about their work ethic. Gary Jay controlled most of the match on the outside, but a tornado DDT off the wall quickly changed the tide back in O’Reilly’s favour.
Back in the ring, O’Reilly almost became the new SLA Heavyweight champion after giving Gary Jay a devastating brainbuster on the chair. Gary Jay still had some fight left in him, but a miscalculated middle-rope senton almost cost him a few brain cells.
By this point, both men were running on fumes. They put their remaining energy into an exchange of strikes, hoping that other man would go down. The final fall saw Gary Jay gain an upset victory over the Ring Of Honor Superstar.
Through Smart Mark Video’s #RAWltertanative stream, this match did receive some recognition the following year. However, for the most part, it remains untalked about. It may not be a classic or anywhere close to Match of the Year, but it’s a hellacious battle that saw a weekend warrior hang with one of the best wrestlers in the world. This match may have been under the radar, but it definitely put Gary Jay on ours. ★★★½