(01/19) AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander

Pro Wrestling Xperience
Ziggy’s (Winston-Salem, NC)

In 2014, A.J. Styles has perfected the 2004-era US Indie style. I mean that as a compliment. It is not a bad style – surely beats the Michael Elgin/Davey Richards overdrive style currently dominating the “workrate” Indie scene – and like I said, he’s got it down to a science now.

The first five or so minutes of this match were really good. The match begins with the Styles’ trademarked opening mat work (waist lock take down, rides his opponent, opponent reverses, and there is a stalemate), but the match stays on the ground for a little longer after that. It is basic stuff but any concern that a return to an “anything goes” indie atmosphere combined with wrestling someone like Alexander might bring out the worse tendencies in Styles appeared to be unwarranted, at least early on. The match eventually picks up its pace but never degenerates into a series of moves and never gets all that close to becoming goofy.

Alexander looked very good. His strikes connected nicely and he did not look out of place going toe to toe with Styles. There was the occasional moment where he seemed to stumble but overall it was an impressive performance. Alexander – who also has a tendency go a little overboard on his offense – stayed reigned-in. His strikes stood out the most, with good forearms, uppercuts, punches and kicks used effectively throughout.

The match was the latest in a series of Cedric Alexander versus dream opponent bouts in PWX. The idea seems to be that Alexander is testing himself against topflight competition (Chris Hero, Davey Richards, ect.) in memorable matches. What makes this match work – and what also made the Hero match work – was that it didn’t try to be epic. Both guys stayed relatively within themselves, did not go overboard, and produced an enjoyable match as a result.

Styles came away with the win after a run-in momentarily diverted Alexander’s attention, handing Alexander his first loss during his trial series. It will be interesting to see how much, if at all, Styles loses during this run. While Hero has been dropping matches left and right since his return, Styles (at least early on) seems to be going in the opposite direction.

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