Turbinenhalle Oberhausen (Oberhausen, Germany)
wXw Unified World Heavyweight Championship
This match had a lot of hype from fans that witnessed it live and I could definitely see why. It wasn’t quite the MOTYC that some have made it out to be, but I enjoyed it quite a bit in spite of some of its flaws.
They actually billed Gresham at 5’2 or 5’3 (I don’t remember exactly which one) which in the world of professional wrestling worked heights and weights stands out for its accuracy. Poor guy really is so small – even by US indie standards – and far more solid than spectacular that you can see he would struggle finding regular gigs. He is extremely solid and well-rounded but if you are just eclipsing the five-foot mark you likely need more than “well-rounded” on your resume in order to stick out.
The bulk of the match is worked cat-and-mouse style with Gresham using his quickness advantage to get spurts of offense while End cuts him off in short order each time Gresham starts to get something going. End is hit or miss for me. I thought he was off versus Zack Sabre Jr. in January but this was a much better showing from him. His kicks generally looked good, his cut-offs were on the mark, and both guys worked a smart match. The mat work at the beginning was basic but effective. I thought all of Gresham’s dives looked good and were well placed within the body of the match.
They probably would have been better off stretching the mat work for a few extra minutes because the final few minutes of the 19-minute match got a little kick out and pop up happy. The cat-and-mouse sections worked well because you look at the two – End much bigger with a kickboxing arsenal and Gresham as the small but technically proficient wrestler – and that dynamic makes a lot of sense. Gresham taking copious amounts of punishment, shrugging it off, and hitting his own offense fits the visual expectations of this match up far less.
On the positive side, they could have gone much further with it. Like the Hero/Styles match from the following week, the match ends quickly via submission just when the match seems in danger of veering way out of control. I don’t know if sudden submission endings are turning into a new thing, but I would certainly welcome that trend on the indies over long kick-out fests.
US Indie | Worthwhile | Quality & Hype