Drew Gulak vs Timothy Thatcher
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, California, United States
Fuck yeah, Gulak’s theme is Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark”, totally forgot about that. He grabs the mic and asks Thatcher if he could speak for a moment, and the fake Brit concedes. Gulak asserts that pro wrestling has lost its integrity, and that men like Biff, Thatcher, and himself are some of the few remaining men with any integrity in the sport. He continues on that wrestling is about the competition, the catch point (in an analogy that doesn’t make a lot of sense), and quotes Kid Rock with the “if it’s real, you’ll feel it” line. Solid little promo from Gulak, who I don’t recall being the best promo ever even in his Campaign for a Better Combat Zone days, if a little too pointed. Still, I’ve heard much, much worse. As you’d expect, these two start things off with a bit of grappling, and Thatcher looks incredible here. It’s not often that I think Gulak is completely outclassed in a bit of mat wrestling, but he mostly is here. Thatcher just makes things happen out of nowhere but they make sense and are brutal more often than not. He does incredibly well to block and reverse what Gulak throws at him, and to top it off, a lot of it is stuff that I’ve never seen before. Thatcher is just a dream. Real quality stuff from both men here at the beginning. Gulak shoots for a German and gets it, a solid as fuck suplex, and goes for an armbar afterward, but Thatcher does quite well to avoid it before getting locked in, then wrestling around to reverse it, and finally get to the ropes, really selling how dangerous this move is. Likewise, he sells very well for a tight ankle lock from Gulak and shortly thereafter goes for an armbar that Gulak does well to fight it before he’s eventually caught in a short arm scissor. It doesn’t pop out to you in any way, but man alive, this match is pretty vicious insofar as grapplefucking is involved. Just real mean and tight technical work. As of this writing, these two have had, I think, four matches, and this is the first of them that I’ve seen, and I have a hard time imagining that they have a better match in them. There’s a couple of real impressive feats of strength from Thatcher, just muscling up Gulak from a bad position to slam him right back down again. Gulak blocks a Tower of London attempt and hits a real pretty flying clothesline off the top for two. Gulak grabs an ankle lock and Thatcher is pretty easily able to flip him over for one of is own, and Gulak works his way back up to a standing position, takes Thatcher down with a quick Fujiwara armbar, and transitions back into an ankle lock. Thatcher flips it over and kicks Gulak into the ropes, tripping him and going for a Fujiwara himself, but Gulak fights through it and turns Thatcher over for a pin with all his weight right on his head for the win. Great finish I really appreciate to a match that I really, really enjoy. Gulak’s certainly no slouch, and is almost certainly one of the best technicians in the US, if not the world, but Thatcher really shone here and supplied yet another fantastic match. Check this one out if you’re a fan of this style.