Brawlin’ with the deviiiiiiillllll!
I just might dare to call this the best match in the NWL’s short history. Part of me wants to refrain from doing that because I don’t like setting a hardcore brawl as the benchmark that all other matches are measured against. But I cannot deny the emotions these two dug out of me as I watched them settle their score. The only other matches that roped me in like this one were the two inaugural title matches, and nothing against the four guys in those, but I think Thor and Strider gripped me just a little bit more.
Strider attacks Thor in the locker room, and they brawl out to the ring through the entrance opposite the stage. They’re both in jeans, T-shirts, and wrist tape, so it’s akin to a bunkhouse match. They pull off a lot of wild spots, and I’m probably not going to remember them in the correct order. Thor jumps off of a balcony onto Strider and some other guy. Thor gives Strider a running boot to the face against the guardrail. They bash each other with things (though they seem to mostly avoid unprotected head shots). Strider hits an inverted DDT on the apron. Thor kicks out after a brainbuster through an open chair. Both guys take back bumps onto thumbtacks. And I know I’m forgetting stuff.
This is Strider’s third match since coming out of retirement, and it’s his first singles match since the NWL started. He hasn’t missed a beat. He’s long been a standard bearer in the KC area for the old school brawling style, and his hardcore matches never disappoint. He’s so good at what he does that it’s kind of hard for him to stay heel. I heard someone once say that it’s not the moves you do that make a match, but what you do between the moves. Strider has some good moves, but he really knows what to do in between them. They crazy eyes, the way he plays to the crowd (whether as a face or heel), the way he sets things up for the next spot. Sure, there’s some telegraphing, but that’s part of the charm.
I don’t know how many weapons-based matches Thor has done, but he seems comfortable with the style. I suppose Strider is good enough to carry anyone in this environment, but I think Thor held his own here. Heck, if you’d never seen him before, you’d probably think he made his home in this genre, especially with the beard and hair.
Oh, and perhaps shockingly, neither guy gets color.
Thor ultimately pins Strider after a piledriver (Jeremy Wyatt’s move) on a chair, accomplishing his goal of beating the devil at his own game.
Winner – Thor Theriot
Rating – Good
Jeremy Wyatt (who was banned from getting involved during the match) comes out to face off with Thor. They jaw with each other while nose-to-nose, but no blows are exchanged. Thor leaves Wyatt in the ring with the fallen Strider.
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