James Mason vs Zebra Kid, ASW (6/1/12)
Oh look, another really entertaining and enjoyable bout from Mr James Mason. Match is again a true staple of British wrestling with the crafty and cunning Zebra Kid having an array of tricks up his sleeve to contain Mason who proves to be a far classier opponent on the mat and trading holds and it sets up an intriguing story of whether Mason can finish Kid before Kid's tricks prove to be the great equaliser. Ton of great British chain wrestling in the early going and I especially loved Mason's counter of a body scissors by torquing Kid's wrist in an ugly angle before launching him halfway across the ring. Kid was a really fine heel here as well, constantly antagonising the crowd and having some really entertaining heel tactics such as drawing the referee's eye towards the crowd long enough to low blow Mason, punching Mason in the ribs as he was kicking out of a pin attempt, raking the eyes immediately after Mason has a nearfall as well as him constantly fiddling with the turnbuckles and drawing the referee away from the action. Loved how Mason looked a class above throughout and was only contained briefly by Kid who had to come up with more and more creative ways to keep Mason down before his overexuberance costs him the match as Mason reels off a flash combo to win the match.
Finlay vs Danny Boy Collins, ASW (6/1/12)
Another gem of a match in the Finlay indy run and a true testament in how to work a more even contest but still employ control, selling and making each comeback/transition feel like a small personal victory given the beating that preceeded it. Collins was eerily Finlay esque in almost everything he did. Very opportunistic in capitalising on any small opening Finlay would give him, such as popping him with a forearm as Finlay was talking with the ref and I adored his crybay esque posturing when the ref admonished him for unsportsmanlike conduct. Finlay was his usual self, showing glimpses of his ability to play a tough face who took everything superbly and sold the wear and tear of the match superbly as the match ticked closer to the finish. Special mention to how he sold the exposed turnbuckle irish whip as if it had given him nerve damage in the right side of his body. Very physical and aggressive match with some well timed bumps and sequences and a nice way to work an even and scrappy bout with plenty of smart transitions and making each other look good whenever one of them was selling. Tombstone bump was also a variation of the usual Finlay tombstone and something unique again from Collins.
Damien Wayne vs Kahagas, NWA (11/9/12)
This was covered very well by a few others, but I'll second the praising for it all the same. Very well worked 10 minute brawl that seems to be building to a big return match and given the work both men put in (although Wayne looked the more assured and polished performer) I'm excited for the future rematch. Commentator as mentioned really put this over and tried his hardest to make up for the small crowd and decline of the NWA from its heyday. Wayne's offence was spectacular with the legdrop looking really vicious and not out of place for what felt like a studio brawl as Seabs mentioned. Loved all the bumping and usage of the ringside area and whilst I can see Wayne bleeding as not being necessary, it did at least heighten the drama and make you think the match was heading in a more violent direction. Might have preferred if Wayne had taken the bottle finish instead of Kahagas, if only to put more heat on the champion but it was still a good looking spot to reflect the chaos that preceeded it. Nothing mindblowing amazing but its nice to see the art of subtle and simple brawling is still going strong with the loss of Gallows to TNA.
Luke Gallows vs Charlie Dreamer, OSF (4/7/12)
Excellent brawl, most likely the best brawl from the indies all year (Santo TXT tag from 2/25 takes the cake as far as worldwide brawls go). Gallows is really super here and as a worker in general and its a shame he gets overlooked compared to some of the more popular workers. Everything he does looks great and he works his dominance and size advantage brilliantly to get you invested in the beating Dreamer takes. There's a ton of really simple yet excellent spots but the best one is definitely an homage to Lawler/Mantell with Gallows just throwing a bin at Dreamer's feet and making him take a great bump on the floor. Dreamer himself is a good babyface who eats a nice beating and some very nice bumping for Gallows' offence as well as selling emotively whenever the camera picked up on his facial expressions. Thought the stuff in the ring was a satisfactory way of them deciding to win the match and liked how both men just went out to end it there and then instead of trying to drag the match out any longer. Some of Dreamer's offence once in the ring didn't look that great, but that's a minor complaint as otherwise he was a good foil for Gallows who continues to impress in these small indy settings.
Dean Allmark vs Nathan Cruz, ASW (3/24/12)
Allmark shines again, ridiculously fun and entertaining match with a clear structure, another good energetic babyface performance from Allmark and Cruz being serviceable with some nice cut offs and having no trouble playing the fool in the heel in peril segment at the beginning of the match. I'm a sucker for comedy spots in British wrestling at the heels' expense and there were a couple of such moments during the babyface shine period with Cruz constantly being outsmarted by Allmark who seemingly had a counter for everything Cruz threw at him, the best being Cruz trying to float off the top turnbuckle in replicating Allmark's prior successful attempt only for Allmark to have it scouted. Transition spot and subsequent aggression from Cruz leading to a public warning was a nice continuation of the opening portion of the match where he was outclassed and noticeably irritated as such and Allmark always gets the crowd invested in everything he does without fail. Finishing stretch is packed with a couple of nice teases of Cruz getting the win and I especially dug the struggle in hitting the inverted michinoku driver which eventually led to a convincing nearfall. Finish was satisfactory and sent the crowd home happy.
Steve Corino vs Sam Shaw, PWX (1/28/12)
"Shut up Carlton!"(to a black kid)
"D'ya know what Delta is? Its a place you'll be rejected from!"
"Not all white people are Justin Bieber you racist!" (to same black kid from earlier)
"I'm all man, just ask her. In about 3 hours she's gonna figure that out!"
So yeah, this is pretty much the Steve Corino show. It goes 25 minutes but I'd be surprised if more than 10 minutes of this was actual wrestling. Corino just excells at playing the classic heel who milks every trick in the book and continually trades insults with certain sections of the crowd. He pulls hair and then feigns having his own pulled, he sells his arse 90 seconds after an atomic drop, he shrieks at the ref for not getting a 5 count in the corner, he points to his taped up shoulder when he loses a shoulder charge battle etc. Its just wrestling schtick 101 and honestly its perfect from Corino to work this sort of match and just feed Shaw into doing the basics and still keeping the small crowd invested in what's developing. Actual finishing stretch suffers from dodgy camerawork and some less than clean transitions but the bulk of the match is consistently entertaining and I'll admit they got me on a couple of nearfalls. Classic case of a wrestler just working a character and making a match infinitely more entertaining whilst achieving the same purpose as they would working a match filled with strikes and sequences which look appealing but aren't timed or sold well enough.
Excellent to hear Seabs regarding the British indies stuff. I've got the Lawler 6 man tag from March ready to watch tomorrow as well as Finlay/Sanders and a couple of puro matches I doubt more than 10 people on here will bother to watch. Also found a few Allmark/Mastiff matches from 2010 and 2011 on youtube, will definitely have a look at them after I'm caught up with what I want to watch. Will Finlay/Kirby be in those Indy links? I only ask because I came across your review of it and I'm psyched to get a hold of the match at some point. I love seeing Finlay work as a face to freshen up his work but any chance I get of 2006 ruthless heel Finlay is good by me.