DEFY’s TV-like production values may seem a bit overambitious, but its inaugural event shows a lot of potential for the Seattle based promotoion. This vent was held on January 13, 2017.
Matt Cross vs King Khash
This was a pretty decent opener. It was a very rudimentary match. They didn’t try to complicate things and they kept it very basic. When you see guys like Matt Cross (who are known more for their elaborate style of matches) work such a basic match, you really appreciate just how much these guys have mastered their craft. Their understanding of the basics is what makes them the pros they are today. King Khash got some good heat, but Cross’ comeback kind of overshadowed Khash’s work. If anything, it gave the rookie a valuable learning experience. ★★¾
Mr. Fitness vs Eddie Van Glam
If you’ve heard these names before, there is a 100% chance you live in the area. Despite his name, Mr. Fitness rocks a dad bod and Eddie Van Glam’s gear screams, “local guy”. He was extremely over though. The match was sloppy and there wasn’t really anything engaging or interesting about it. This was as good as it can probably get for two local acts who wrestle once a month. ★
Ethan HD vs Mike Santiago
According to the commentators, these two were former tag team partners and have held gold in Canada. This was a surprisingly really good match. I found that they were a bit emotionless in their performance, but as far as the action goes it was hard-hitting, back and forth and there were some nice exchanges. I enjoyed this. ★★★¼
Drexl vs Nick Radford vs The Catch vs Kate Carney
More local acts which means that the gear was bad and the gimmicks were cheesy. To their credit, there was a lot of heart and soul to their performance. However, the eagerness to impress led to a lot of sloppiness and slip-ups. Kate Carney was the bright spot in this match. She did impress a lot and has a ton of potential. She’s done some work for SHIMMER and RISE in the past, so hopefully her momentum can catch on. ★★
Jeff Cobb vs Big Jack Cunningham
Apparently, these two have done battle before. Big Jack Cunningham is the reason why you should never judge a book by it’s cover. Despite the 1980s WWF name and gear that’s way too tight, this guy is deceptively agile. Early in the match he did an up- and-over that took my by surprise. If that wasn’t enough, he did a lucha libre tightrope arm drag. Oh yeah, did I mention that he weighs about 350 pounds? Jeff Cobb was his usual self in this match so there’s no complaints about him. This was a hoss battle mixed with athleticism. The finish brought it down, but this was a really solid match. ★★★
Los Sexi-Mexi’s (Ave Rex & Sonico) vs Batboy & Greengo Loco
This was a lucha libre attraction from regulars in another local promotion, Lucha Libre Volcanica. This match was a blast. They didn’t just get themselves over, they also put Lucha Libre Volcanica. After seeing this match, I really want to check out that promotion. If you’re into lucha libre and it’s ‘over choreographed’ sequences, then you will enjoy this. They even threw in a hilarious comedy spot. There were a few sloppy moments here and there, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this match. This match was on its way to stealing the show, but a tacky ending really hurt it. Still, it was the second best match of the night behind the main event. ★★★½
Cody Rhodes vs Shane Strickland
It’s amazing how much Shane Strickland has developed over the years. He has really come into his own and he has honed his craft. He has gone from being just a flippy guy to an all-rounded wrestler. His timing, his pacing, his selling, his mannerisms- everything about him is so polished now. Cody’s matches can be a hit or miss, but this one was definitely a hit. This match had great pacing and storytelling. Everything they did felt like it had meaning. They weren’t just rushing to the next spot, they took their time to get there and sold everything well. Strickland was very calculated and methodical in the latter half of the match- stark contrast for the displays of showmanship earlier on. You can tell the exact moment when he shifted gears. It just made for great storytelling. Cody had a lot of fire to his comeback and these two meshed pretty well. Another cheap ending hurts this match, but not as much as the previous matches. This was a great main event and Shane Strickland just continues to prove why he has deserved everything accolade thus far in his career. ★★★¾
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